The INTP personality type is rare and special. People of this type are probably some of the quirkiest and most socially awkward individuals you could ever meet.
INTP personality type is one of the popular classification of Myers-Briggs types. It is based on one main principle: do you prefer one trait over another?
- Introversion/I or Extraversion/E
- Intuition/N or Sensing/S
- Thinking/T or Feeling/F
- Perception/P or Judgment/J
Many great thinkers with extraordinary minds and eccentric personalities were INTPs, with Albert Einstein being the most outstanding example of this personality type in its pure form.
So what makes INTPs be the way they are? Here are 6 reasons the INTP personality type is one of the quirkiest and most misunderstood:
1. The romantic side of relationships doesn’t make much sense to INTPs
We INTPs are great analysts, so we are able to “see” through people. It’s not uncommon for us to give advice to our friends or predict the outcome of a relationship just by analyzing people’s personalities and behavioral patterns.
Yet, some other aspects of human relationships are simply beyond our understanding. Thus, the lovey-dovey side of a relationship is incomprehensible for us as we value things like respect, understanding, and deep communication in the first place.
So flowers, gifts, cute names, and promises of eternal love don’t really make sense to us. An INTP can completely seriously say something like:
“It’s not possible that he could fell in love with you so soon. Don’t fool yourself, love at first sight exists only in the movies!”
2. INTPs don’t get what social relations are about
Similarly, we are unable to understand how social relations work. We seek a deep connection with other people and crave meaningful conversations, so we see no point in maintaining relations with someone based only on social necessity.
It just doesn’t make sense to us why we should ask a neighbor how he or she is doing and how their weekend was if we have nothing in common except for living in the same street.
Our way of thinking is simple: Why would I talk to someone if we don’t have anything interesting to discuss? It would be a waste of time.
No need to say that this kind of behavior may be mistaken for disrespect and arrogance. But the truth is that we don’t hate or disrespect other people – we just don’t like having pointless, superficial conversations.
3. We physically can’t stand small talk
For the reasons described above, we don’t simply hate small talk – I would say, we are physically unable to participate in it. Our brain seems to have a switch button that automatically sets our mind into ignore mode when someone talks about insignificant stuff.
So when we hear conversations about food, clothes, homemaking, etc, we just slip into our inner realm of thought, paying no attention to what is being discussed.
At the same time, when someone is trying to have small talk with us, asking something like “What did you eat for dinner?” or “How was your weekend?” we give a one- or two-word answer and change the subject. This is another reason why a person with an INTP personality type may seem weird and even rude to others.
4. We are really scatterbrained and detached from reality
INTP personality type has a strong inclination towards deep thought. We love to reflect on the essence of being, life after death, the nature of reality, and other thought-provoking things. That’s why we can often be found immersed in our thoughts and detached from reality.
For this reason, we tend to be scatterbrained – to those around us, it may seem that we just live inside our heads and are not conscious of what is going on in the world around us.
It’s especially evident when we are too captivated by an idea or a project. We just keep thinking it over all day long, losing the sense of time, forgetting to eat, and putting on clothes inside out.
5. We are ridiculously impractical
INTPs are true masters of theoretical, abstract thought. This, in turn, results in the fact that we are ridiculously impractical. INTPs can come up with the most brilliant ideas and incredibly complex theories; yet, we are useless when it comes to facing the mundane challenges of life.
Sometimes, a simple task like going to a public office for some paperwork or buying a washing machine can make us feel completely helpless. We INTPs lack practical thinking, that’s why we rarely become good entrepreneurs.
6. INTP personality type is allergic to rules and obligations
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
– Albert Einstein
While INTPs think logically and rationally in the first place, this type is also a true example of a chaotic creative mind. We are disorganized, messy, and hate the rules. We perceive them as a limitation of our creative energy and freedom of thought.
INTP personality type also tends to value independence and freedom most of all, so there is no way we can work under control and be effective members of a team.
So INTPs rarely choose public service or office jobs as a career path. For the same reason, people with the INTP personality type may have a difficult time at school even if they may be some of the most brilliant students in the class.
Are you an INTP? Do you relate to the traits described in the article? Share your opinion with us.
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This Post Has 40 Comments
I am most certainly an INTP and can relate to all the comments about INTP except that I am practical as well as able to think theoretically.
If you are both practical and capable of theoretical thought, then you must be in the middle on the Intuition/N or Sensing/S scale. For example, you could be 55% or 60% Intuitive.
I just knew someone would claim to be a godly INTP with no down-side. What’s your problem then, if it’s not that practical awkwardness, since nobody is pewrfect? I’d imagine if you’re practical then you wouldn’t have any social problems either because, as INTPs are one of five MBTI types with a much higher correlation with high IQ, you’d be able to work out the social stuff easily enough since you’re not getting your head caught in the castle in the clouds.
Few more triats loyal,Honesty,speaks what’s in there mind every it is harsh
I don’t understand how this post justifies the author’s theory that INTPs are rare or special.
The first, second and third points are shared by all NT types, the third being even more strong in INTJs.
Fourth and fifth points are shared by NxP types, and can hardly be considered quirky.
The sixth is just a flaw.
There are quite a few things that set INTPs apart from the rest, but almost all of them are subjective, and can’t be generalized to all INTPs, the same as every other personality type.
You can tell that the article is written by someone who is an INTP just by reading the points.
Who put a bee in your bonnet? As far as #6 being a flaw, then I suppose we should return to pre-60s America when rules went unquestioned. Back to colored drinking fountains when a woman’s rightful place was pregnant in the kitchen. If it weren’t for people questioning these rules, such as INTPs do, society would have never advanced very far.
How is #6 a flaw? I question rules and obligations not for the mere fact they are rules but to question the ethics and psychology behind the rules and the people he selves who make the rules. I question rules for my personal worldview to see if they are common sense or a barrier to my life.
I am an introverted Artist that has all these traits. I do not fit in anywhere but that’s fine. It’s just nice to know there is
a name for what’s going on with me. When I was young I was ridiculed for not being like everyone else, it was tough. I felt something was wrong with me. Now I feel special
Looks like I’m one of its kind. I can’t talk to people just for the sake of talking and working in a team is very hard for me, though I may work in a small team with fully known persons.
How many here are women? The INTP is the rarest personality type… but of those only a very small percentage are female. I’ve personally found that men feel compeyitive/challenged by me. It’s not very enjoyable. They find me intimidating
INTP isn’t the rarest saddly. The rarest is the INTJ. About 2 percent of the women’s population is INTP while only 1 percent of the women’s population is INTJ. It might not seem a lot, but look at this way: 1/50 women are INTP while 1/100 women are INTJ
Hi Jojo, please check my recent article about INTP females:
100% true for me
I agree with most of this, although I’m pretty skeptical about these posts when it’s written by someone who clearly is an intp. Realizing that human connections are one of the key ways to achieve happiness and fulfillment, and most humans like or even need small talk, I try to get over myself and do the small talk. Y’know, social skills and stuff. They’re called skills for a reason.
That logic is flawed if you consider INTP is a very small percentage of “MOST HUMANS” Which make them not inclusive tot= the argument.
tnx 4 text….nothing else just every body I repeat EVERY BODY keep calm and love INTPs!!
There are you point out that don’t exactly match other INTP descriptions out there. We’re supposed to be deeply romantic, in an almost childlike way due to inferior Fe, and I am although I’ve definitely talked to other INTPs who claim they’re not. As for point 4, finding ways to make things in a faster, easier way is our thing so I expect many INTPs to be perfectly capable and actually quite good at solving everyday problems, that is if they feel like it, which as we know, may not be the case frequently.
Hi… I’m an INTP student, and i currently have some problems in school. so i would like you to elaborate on INTP having trouble in school and how to deal with such problems. thank you
I’m an INTP and did VERY well in school.
My advantage was:
1. In class, I was very focused (thanks to my INTP curiosity). I did go to a good school, which I suppose kept things challenging/interesting. The harder the class/year, the more I excelled.
2. At home, I developed a way to be very disciplined and focused, something that does NOT come naturally to my INTP personality. But you observe yourself and work around it. For instance, I noticed I couldn’t get myself motivated to study on weekends, so I’d study right after class before my motivation had a chance to diminish. And I set myself a very short challenging time budget, which made the task look less bad, tapped into my competitive instincts and made for amazing focus. In the end, grades in school is nothing but working hard using whatever mind tricks needed to ensure you stay focused on getting more work done.
Hope this helps!
I am a tragically complex and tortured intp which would be no problem on its own but the explanation that most people are not equipped or just don’t want to know much less care to put forth the effort to get to know much less care to understand a typical intp personality type….sigh I don’t know why I even am expecting even a fellow intp to believe what I have become if you are interested in the full causality and tragic origins and insane and seemingly impossible events that I will never waste my time explaining just to have someone else who refuse my words hard as it is as the truth …. this is all I offer you decide if you will be the first to know me before my time is up and no one will ever know I existed….. ok a few things about me 5 still born children before me I’m an identical twin my brother died in labor and the cord wrapped around my neck and required c-section lonely twin syndrome alcoholic father made me pick my own switch so beat me for years 8 car accidents all totalled ive been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder I am psychonaut or like a shaman using psychoactive substances and hallucinogens for universal truth and introspective discoveries 3 suicide attempts and one success dead for around 4-5 minutes before resuscitation also debilitating insomnia on average 5-7 days awake and 1 maybe 2 nights in between longest without food or sleep or chronic pain meds 14 1/2`days straight now here is where shit gets weird since my death I am in a group of people called sliders meaning my electromagnetic field signature makes most electronic devices malfunction and also I apparently have thro7 traumatic events have awakened several psionic and pychcokinetic abilities that were dormant and it’s driving me crazy with no one will ever know or care …. well I’m done for now your move
Interesting. I’ve also died and been resuscitated a few times. Got PTSD Major Depression and anxiety. Not so big on the ”attempt suicide” But you obviously had your reasons.. Not claiming anything superpower wise but certainly some type of psychic ability, and things like bizarre coincidences that happen just a little too often. Almost as if merely saying/thinking something makes it happen. Pointing out things before they happen. Hard to explain without sounding like some hippy nut that’s surrounded by a room full of crystals and incense. The logic part of my mind can only come to the conclusion that there is a much higher power at play. As Einstein said :”Coincidences are gods way of remaining anonymous”. I’m not big on religion coming from a book written by man, but after the things I’ve seen and been through It’s near impossible to ignore that there’s nothing else out there. The transparency of the media and Governments games are hilarious. Almost as if they know what it is. I often look out at the night sky like I’ve been left behind. Or perhaps someone crashed our ship here, now we’re trapped on the planet of the apes. Who ever the bastard was, should be called out.
I’m Sure That I’m also an INTP too, and I May also be a Starseed. Are There Many More People, Who Can also Move Object’s in their Own Hand’s, With Only Using their Own Mind’s too?
And I’m Sure, That I’m an INTP too.
Hi, I’m definitely an INTP. In school I was a total science geek. I had one or two close friends, didn’t date at all. I never studied (didn’t need to) left everything to the last minute, and graduated with a solid B. Skipped college as I knew I’d slack off and joined the Air Force. To make a long story short, I’ve always worked alone or as part of a small team. I’ve managed to work my way into degreed RF Engineering positions without holding a BSEE.
When I was 29 I got tired of the social awkwardness and 12 years later it was mostly gone.
I married an INFJ and she is amazing! If you ever get to meet one, they will scare the crap out of you. They can read you like a book. Don’t even bother to lie to them.
My roster of friends is still small, I loathe small talk but will engage in it when needed.
One last thing that really makes being an INTP all the more fun, I have Asperger’s syndrome. I didn’t find that out until I was 47 (I’m 52) so I had learned to mask most of the more obvious traits by then.
I’m the weirdest person I’ve ever known and now that I’m understanding these personality traits, I have a better sense of what makes me tick.
I agree almost all the points, except for number 5. I am actually practical but I need to detach first from my thoughts and try to focus on the task.
I’m an INTP – very high NT but borderline on I/P. I fit a lot of this article but not everything. I was very rule oriented when younger in the sense I did want to follow rules. However I would note inefficient or redundant rules, so didn’t necessarily like them. Over time I’ve become a bit less rule oriented and better at prioritizing important rules from silly ones. Still, I hate when people inconsistently apply rules or try to break them to cheat at something or cheat others.
On small talk, I do generally hate it and used to find it very uncomfortable. But I studied/read a lot about human behavior and other personalities. So once I understood why some people found it ‘important’ and tested out different reactions in conversations I learned to manage it and even be OK with it. Part of the reason I hated it was it seemed meaningless and a waste of time. But now I know that for some it is important and a meaningful way they try and connect, so it isn’t horrible. Same with eye contact – used to find it really jarring but am OK with it now as many personality types take meaning from frequent and extended eye contact. Empathy I had to sort of reverse engineer as well as it does not come naturally.
I’m not useless in practical things but I am far less ‘practical’ than most other people I know since I am more interested in theory and can lose track of time easily. I have to deliberately focus to get most tasks done (but when focused on an artistic or intellectual task it’s hard to get me to stop!)
these are 100% true about me. Im really really annoyed of being impractical. could you please tell me how can i be motivated,disciplined and practical?
I became more motivated, disciplined and practical when I was a subcontractor for the US Army. I think some of those qualities rubbed off on me. So perhaps, joining the military or working for them in that type of environment raises the importance of those traits more often. I tested as an ESFJ when I added the words “at work” to the MBTI questions. Maybe knowing the aspects of our “opposite” personality type and being aware of where and how we can manifest those characteristics in our lives would be helpful too. I’m just theorizing, hopefully it will help you to generate some ideas of your own.
I am Sure That I am an INTP, Because I’ve always Being sarcastic. Whilst, I Didn’t Realise That I may Also be the Risen Christ?
Its quite uncanny how I can relate to 99% of what youve said, and to the many other good sites that explain the INTP personality type. The only thing I differ from is that while im extremely creative and can get lost in my thoughts, I can also translate them it into reality, usually by making/ building my designs. I am very practical and dexterous too.This is however a learned skill.
Eh. I’m an INTP and entrepreneur. All that had to happen is that I had to be an entrepreneur in a field I’ve been obsessed about since I was young and then I had to give myself time to visualize the complex system I’m creating with my business. Also, I had to make clear what problem I was finding solutions to. It’s not hard, it’s just different. As an INTP, what’s new?
This is TOO accurate. Why do INTP’s have to have so many bad characteristics LOL. Anyone else feel like deep down they wanna be an extrovert but they just CANT?
I’m being exposed and it’s scary how accurate this is.
SSSttt…now we are both exposed.
Actually really funny reading how freakishly close all the points are. I find i have a Fine line between Sensing and Intuition and Perception and Judgement. The test usually says INTP But also comes up J sometimes. Also how could so many INTP’s misspell words and be ok with that? Up your game people. We’re meant to be the best! I feel like some kind of freak INSTPJ. Or perhaps i just have a personality disorder. Lol. It is great to actually get some sense out of why we can be surrounded by people but still feel alone. Unless you’ve something interesting to say or want me to beat you in an argument, then don’t say anything. That’s how I feel. + Birthday and Christmas cards are stupid.
Outsiders think we’re assholes/rude or arrogant because we use facts and logic. But remember those close to us know who we really are, and that’s all that matters.
I used to be INTP but now I’m ADHD … apparently.