Wednesday, June 13, 2012

INTJs Are Like Onions

Ever seen Shrek?  As an INTJ woman I identify with Shrek and Donkey's conversation in which Shrek claims, "Ogres are like onions!"   Listen in, but, in your mind, replace "ogres" with INTJs!

Donkey totally misunderstands!  "They stink?"  "Oh, they make you cry?" "Oh, ya leave 'em out in the sun and they  get all brown and start sprouting little white hairs?"  All of which, perhaps not the hair-sprouting part, has surely been said about INTJs!  "No!" Shrek yells, "they have layers!"
We're known for being difficult to read and are certainly not the most adept of all types with people, but what most people don't see is that if you peel us back in layers we have all sorts of hidden treasures! 

As is the case with most Introverts, the best parts of us are hidden below the surface.   Our hold-the-world-at-arms-length approach to life makes it hard for others to see what's in our hearts and minds...but there is a lot in there!

Here is an non-exhaustive list of things it would be nice for non-INTJs to know (although, we're OK if you don't want to take note of it...we still know we're awesome):

INTJs are passionate people.  On the outside we are a pillar of silence and strength.  On the inside our minds are like tornadoes and our resolve is unstoppable.  When we care about something or someone, it is deep and meaningful.  We have strong feelings, we just hold them very close and only let them out in the presence of someone we trust.

INTJs are pretty funny.  Perhaps our sense of humor is a little dry, or maybe too morbid for your taste, but every INTJ I know appreciates a good laugh (sometimes we're laughing on the inside).  More often than not our best material is saved for ourselves, our very closest friends, or our writing...but it's there, and it's FUNNY!

INTJs search constantly for improvement!  You might feel this in our sometimes critical nature, but what we're really getting at is making everything better, stronger, and more effective!  This includes ourselves.  We might not readily admit our faults but deep down we know we have them and look for ways to improve ourselves too.

INTJs are not above feeling lonely.  Even when we pretend that we don't need anyone, we have a desire to connect deeply with people.  But, when small talk is like a foreign language it makes building relationships a challenge!  This is especially true for INTJ women--being less than 1% of the population means that we don't find too many kindred spirits out there, and when we do, they are usually male, which complicates things.

INTJs are like onions!  Yes, sometimes we stink, and make people cry, but what we're really trying to say is that what you see is not all you'll get with an INTJ.  Peel back the layers and you'll find a complex and, we do say so ourselves, pretty spectacular individual!


  1. Got any advice for men married to INTJs?

    I found this in earlier research, found it both true and hillarious:

    Q: How does an INTJ show they care for or love someone?

    A: Trick question. We never love. We don't understand this concept you
    Earth humans call "love."

    A: Are you trying to gauge an INTJ's feelings towards you?
    And if you are, don't you have something easier to do, like building a
    perpetual motion machine or a cold fusion reactor?

    A: i just show up. my presence alone and interest in their lives is
    usually enough

    1. Yes, only because my husband and I have to work through this on a regular basis! He is an ESFP. Here's a few things I can think of:

      #1 Don't interpret our need for space as lack of love for you.
      #2 We feel most connected to you when we can discuss things that are important to us. Quality of time is always preferred over quantity of time.
      #3 We may not be romantic or want to commemorate every little "meaningful" holiday, but we still like to know that we are interesting and valued.
      #4 We may come across to some as negative and critical, and sometimes this is true, but often it's just us working in the way our brain was made. We're really good at problem solving...and pretty passionate about solving the problems if they are important to us. Sometimes we can take that too far, but our intention is to make things better!

  2. Oh my goodness...I wrote this ( before I knew I was an INTJ...some more light bulbs just came on. Thank you! I like your version of the onion much better!

  3. I believe my "light bulbs" are changing the night view pattern on Google Earth.
    I was constantly trying to figure out what "normal" was, but deep down inside didn't honesty feel I was abnormal.
    Currently, I am feeling a sense of worth ...and don't hate myself (though deep down inside I honestly don't think I really hated myself but perhaps was using that as a protective mechanism).

  4. I tired reading this post. I really did. Yet black text on a grey background just makes it a waste of energy. Are you sure you're an INTJ? That font... cripes.

  5. And, not everybody likes onions. Or ogres. Or INTJs.
    That's OK.

  6. I love this so much! I recently watched a TED talk about The Power of Introverts which led to watching The Power of Vulnerability, and they completely changed my life (okay, it's been about 8 hours since I watched them, but I am still changed). Basically, I learned you have to be vulnerable and open up in order to make deep connections with people. I have an INFJ friend who really puts himself out there and I feel like I can really open up when I'm around him. When reading about INTJs we are so often seen as purely knowledge-concerned people, but i have a whole other inner world!! I just don't show it. I have been struggling recently with acceptance in society (being the rare female INTJ) and those videos really helped me. I was starting to think I didn't fit in with the personality descriptions (though, I promise I am INTJ) and reading this post gave me hope that I'm not alone. Thank you!

  7. I agree with John M. Reynold. Great post, but one of the few here I had to use a parser before I could read the text.