Loose Change

From the horse’s mouth: How to work with INTPs

Posted in Musings by Neeraj on 05/23/2010

I’m an INTP and I’ve often felt that the rest of the world doesn’t really “get” how to interact with us. In this post, I’ll explain my thoughts on how to approach and deal with an average INTP person. Since, the post title may be a little misleading, I’d like to clarify that this post is not specifically about dealing with INTPs in your workplace (although you could very well apply these principles there too!).

First off, for those who are not fans of personality tests or  who do not know about MBTI personality types, INTP is one of the 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs personality classification system (wikipedia). MBTI type indicators were developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Briggs and was derived from C. J. Jung’s theory on psychological types early in the 20th century. Here is a brief description of how the system works:

The identification and description of the 16 distinctive personality types that result from the interactions among thepreferences.”

Excerpted with permission from the MBTI® Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®

Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

Your Personality Type: When you decide on your preference in each category, you have your own personality type, which can be expressed as a code with four letters.

Source.

INTPs are one of the rarest personality types (by some estimates, they make up only 1% of the entire population). It is important to understand exactly what makes an INTP ‘tick.’ This page is a good start (and so is this one, for those who prefer shorter descriptions). INTPs are usually described asThinkers, which is to say they live mostly in their heads. INTPs view the world around them with a great deal of logical detachment. In addition, they are fiercely independent, consciously striving to be different from other people. INTPs also detest facades and greatly value frankness, both in demeanor and in conversation. This means that they do not much go for small talk or social niceties that are valued by ‘normal’ people with more extroverted personalities. Because these personality traits often make them seem cold, aloof, and uninterested (more…)