INFJs and INTJs are both rare types on the MBTI scale, but they’re vastly different both in expression and interest once you get past the similarity in their letters. Let’s dive deep into both these types and see how they differ from one another so you can identify them among people you know.
1. People vs. Concepts
As introverted intuitive types, both INFJs and INTJs are future-focused and are always thinking about the possibilities, both in general and at a personal level. But there’s a big difference here in that INFJs usually focus their insights towards themselves or the people, allowing them to specialize in emotional management and comprehension.
By contrast, INTJs are usually focused on practical matters or concepts. They’ll be much more mechanical or detail-focused in many respects (or at least appear to be, given the abstract nature of emotions). This can lead both types to pursue very different types of careers or lives despite their MBTI letter similarity.
2. Compromise – Yay or Nay
Generally speaking, INFJs are much more people-oriented than their counterparts. This makes them much more likely to be people pleasers or focused on the emotions of the group, especially since their feeling function is extroverted. This may make them better at negotiating group disagreements or at working with larger teams.
INTJs are much more interested in what they think is right and are more likely to cast a group aside if they don’t disagree with the INTJs conclusions. To some, this can make INTJs seem selfish or unlikable leaders, whereas others might see a visionary willing to ignore the common opinion in order to do the right thing. INTJs are much less interested in peace and cooperation them INFJs, by and large.
3. Logic vs. Feeling
This big difference is pretty easy to see and understand. INFJs, with a dominant feeling function, are much more in tune with both their own feelings and the emotions of others. This focus on the emotional life of human beings can color all their perceptions and decisions and lead them down very different career paths than INTJs. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are illogical, but they place less of an emphasis on practical logic than INTJs.
On that side, INTJs find nothing more valuable than raw logic. Their high-tier T function means that they enjoy practical intelligence and rational thinking more than they care for the abstract and flighty state of most emotions. This means INTJs are also less likely to take things personally, whereas INFJs are much more sensitive both to words and actions.
4. Communication Skills
Even though both of these types are introverts, INFJs are leagues ahead of INTJs in the communication department. Because of their focus on concepts in their own (surely brilliant) ideas, INTJs rarely have enough time for small talk and can’t find it in themselves to care about wasting time with people they don’t really care about. This also makes their relationships a little trickier to navigate, as they are more liable to make missteps that an F type would not.
INFJs are usually fantastic communicators. Their feeling function being extroverted means they are well-equipped to handle most group discussions or even one-on-one talks. They can nurture their relationships and the relationships of others more easily and tolerate small talk more readily, though they yearn for deeper and more meaningful discussions like their INTJ brethren.
5. Intellectual Trust
Both INTJs and INFJs can likely have deep intellectual discussions with one another and appreciate the focus on finding deeper truths. But the types differ in where they get most of their information and how much they trust those sources.
For example, INFJs are more likely to believe in the wisdom of their teachers and take them seriously. Their feeling emphasis means they can more easily get in tune with the emotions of their mentor and understand where that other person is coming from. It also biases them to believe in the validity of information if it comes from a person they see as trustworthy or an intellectual expert in their field.
INTJs don’t have this trust in teachers baked in by default. Instead, their rationale is usually self-focused, leading them to develop their own theories and foster a desire to test out their ideas to see the truth for themselves. This isn’t to say that INTJs don’t appreciate teachers at all: just that INTJs are less likely to take what a mentor says at face value without question.
This can manifest as an INTJ student consistently raising their hand and debating the teacher in the classroom. It can also show up as an INTJ being a skilled inventor or innovator in their field, particularly when other academics in their field disagree with their opinion. Sometimes this stubborn quality is needed in certain scientific or academic areas.
INTJs can tend to be very critical, to the point of harming the relationships with other people. Because their feeling function is so neglected in their everyday activities, they can often say things that are taken the wrong way by their conversational partner. The INTJ may not even realize that they made a misstep until a significant amount of time after the conversation is ended. They’re harsh but “fair” critics, at least in their own minds.
INFJs could not be more different in this regard. Their focus on extroverted feelings allows them to be easily in tune with the emotions of others and precludes them to soften any critique to the point of it being too weak. In a nutshell, INTJs may give criticism that’s too harsh to be useful, whereas INFJs are more likely to give you criticism that isn’t really accurate out of a desire to spare your feelings.
7. Friend Focus
INFJs, even from a very young age, are more likely to seek out a small group of trusted companions that they can depend on and have deep and meaningful connections with. Rather than other feeling types, they won’t usually be social butterflies or have a large group of surface-level peer connections. They tend to stick with a few friends over the long haul and develop those connections painstakingly.
INTJs have a much harder time finding and keeping friends. This is both due to their emotional coldness and a genuine lack of a desire for companionship much of the time. Indeed, INTJs are quite fine spending the majority of their days in solitude and usually engage in social activities only if they have something to gain or want a rare companion who can understand them.
This can lead INTJs to have difficulty finding long-lasting relationships.
Both types, being introverted, crave solitude much more than the average extroverted type. But INTJs take this to a whole new level, yearning for time alone and independence more than almost any other type. In fact, some say that the INTJ is the most independent of all 16 MBTI archetypes.
While INFJs also like introvert time, they’re much less independent and no more reliant on social connections in order to enjoy a fulfilling life. A good example is that an INTJ may only need one or two people they are close with for the majority of their days. An INFJ is more likely to require a larger group of five or six to feel the same level of fulfillment.
Though some books call “N” types Idealists, INFJs fit this description much more than the taciturn and critical INTJs. INFJs have a particular tendency to idealize people they look up to or who they respect; this is partially because they absorb the emotions of others and feel that they understand them on a deeper level. INFJs will be particularly enamored with people who connect with them consistently, leading them to have a much easier time forming relationships or partnerships. This also makes breakups or the disintegration of friendships much more traumatic, as well.
INTJs, on the other hand, rarely idealize other people and are more likely to see other humans in more realistic lights. This works in tune with their tendency to criticize relatively harshly. They don’t find human surprising and are less likely to take things personally or be particularly broken up if someone does them wrong. They will still be heartbroken if the rare friend betrays them, of course.
All in all, INFJs and INTJs can be seen as complementary to one another in many respects. They both prefer introversion and enjoy discussing deep topics more than surface-level subjects. But INFJs are vastly more concerned with the people around them and their own inner emotions. INTJs are much more practically innovative and may be seen as outwardly selfish for all their focus on developing their own theories and interests to the exclusion of other pursuits.
Hopefully, this guide can help you identify either of these types in your peer group or figure out which of the two you are yourself!
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