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INTJ Relationships Guide

By on June 16, 2016

Today we are going to sharpen our general knowledge on one of the man’s greatest mysteries – INTJ relationships. Are there any two words so paradoxical when printed together? You are INTJ, so the answer is likely “yes.” On the other hand, we can agree that comparing INTJ relationships to the more mundane variety is like comparing your home kitchen to Area 51. And I hope you’ve already explored your kitchen and know its secrets well, or my comparison won‘t make any sense at all.

1. INTJ Romance

An INTJ’s decision to choose a romantic partner is something like a horse deciding to become a unicorn; difficult, unpredictable, and highly improbable. It is not, however, impossible. (Just hard to understand from the non-INTJ perspective.)

Your standard human being will use two of three primary qualifiers when first seeking a romantic partner- physical attraction, emotional connection, and common interests. The INTJ, however, uses a more scientific approach. First, they compile a list of specific desirable attributes their ideal partner will have. This first step can be taken to an unhealthy extreme, and when the list (mental or otherwise) becomes too specific, this will end in disappointment.

Second, the INTJ will observe people in or connected to their social circle (if they have one) to see if any of the people already connected to them match their criteria for an ideal partner. If none of the people already connected with INTJ match their minimum standards, the INTJ may choose to revise their original list of desirable attributes. More likely, they will wait for the right person to enter their circle of influence. It is important to note that INTJs value freedom and solitude, and will only start a relationship if they think that being in that relationship will be more satisfying than their alone time.

1.2 INTJ Behavior In a Relationship

  1. Listening > Talking

When an INTJ has entered into a relationship, (s)he will often spend more time listening than speaking. This is an expression of respect, refraining from correcting or sharing opinions until after the partner has finished talking. The INTJ’s purpose is not only to show respect but also to gather information about their chosen partner in order to make their relationship as perfect as possible. This pursuit of perfection may strain the relationship if the partner finds it uncomfortable or tiring.

  1. Loyalty

The complexity and depth of an INTJ’s emotions can’t be shared with everyone. (Trying to make an INTJ do so may cause headaches, dizziness, blindness, or death. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek INTJ help immediately.) When an INTJ finds a person worth spending time with, a partnership is formed. Once that partnership has been created, the INTJ will invest much time and energy in improving and maintaining it. Cheating of any kind is not an option. Either the relationship will continue (monogamous and self-sustaining), or it will end.

  1. Lack of Compliments

If an INTJ has given a compliment to their Partner once, they rarely feel the need to repeat it. A Partner can interpret this lack of repetition as a lack of affection, and become upset. If the Partner doesn’t tell the INTJ the source of the problem, the INTJ may not understand (INTJ Telepathy© not yet perfected, patent pending). INTJs spend the majority of their time inside their own minds and are commonly disinterested in daily expressions of romance. Instead, they show their devotion through spending time with their partner and being completely honest with them. Compliments from an INTJ – like physical gifts – are rare, but creative.

  1. Intellectual Discussions

For an INTJ, interesting and intelligent discussions are just as important as physical sustenance, if not more so. These conversations also serve as the way in which an INTJ will test and strengthen the relationship with their partner. It is important for an INTJ’s partner to meet this need, lest their INTJ become bored or dissatisfied.

  1. Alone Time

It is necessary for an INTJ to have time and space to recover from social interactions. Like a battery that needs to plug in prior to regaining lost energy, INTJs will seek solitude and privacy in order to recharge. An INTJ will appreciate the freedom to process, meditate, and plan in whatever inward or outward form suits them. When their partner is willing to listen to their ideas and encourages INTJ to put them into action, the INTJ is more likely to feel accepted and loved.

  1. Problem-solving

It is normal for an INTJ to want to solve any problem that crosses their path. Problems that take place within an INTJ’s relationship require immediate attention and swift resolution. This is at least partially because anything that hurts the INTJ’s partner is hurting the INTJ themselves. If an INTJ truly loves their partner, they will try to solve the problem before it ever arises.

  1. Emotional Distance

Discussions concerning emotions are often considered unimportant and uninteresting to INTJs. (This is a generality, and may not apply to INTJs whose special interest is psychology, abnormal or otherwise.) The INTJ prefers to keep emotions to themselves, and even if they choose to show their emotions outwardly, they will not express them as other people might. This results in the popular theory that most INTJs are actually androids, as well as the INTJ “death stare” resting face.

  1. Independence

INTJs value the ability to plan and do things in their own way and their own time. One of the best ways a partner or friend can show they care for their INTJ is by giving them the freedom to think things through at their own pace.

  1. Honesty

INTJs see the truth about their situation, interactions, and partner much more clearly than most, functioning without the interference of rose-tinted glasses. Because the unfiltered truth is what they perceive, the unfiltered truth is what they are most likely to speak. This can be distressing for the INTJ’s partner but never fear. There is a solution. If you don’t want to hear your INTJ’s unadulterated honesty, don’t ask.

  1. Resistance to Manipulation

We’ve all met That Girl. The one who thinks she’s the center of the universe and everyone has to construct their schedules around her whims. Or That Guy. You know, the one that completely disregards your opinion because it’s not the same as his. Or any mixture of the two. INTJs will not tolerate these people or any that show symptoms of becoming one like them because the INTJ dislikes being manipulated into doing or saying anything they don’t want to do or say.

If at any point in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) the INTJ feels he is being manipulated into situations he doesn’t like, that relationship is likely to end quickly and irrevocably. Attempts to manipulate an INTJ will not end well, and the INTJ’s Partner should understand and accept this from the beginning.

  1. Reactions to Stress

Within a relationship, stress happens. Someone gets angry. Someone loses their job. Someone accidentally donates the other’s favorite jeans to a second-hand shop. The INTJ is likely to respond to all stress in more or less the same way: Withdraw, think carefully about each aspect of the situation, and finally, offer a potential solution or feedback to their partner.

Because INTJs hate drama, it is important that they have the freedom to process stress in the way that suits them best. If the INTJ’s Partner needs more emotional feedback than the INTJ is comfortable providing, it is advisable for the partner to have a friend or confidant to communicate with in those situations.

  1. Time Spent

To an INTJ, an investment of time with a loved one is very important, even if the INTJ and their partner are engaged in separate activities. Being in the same room with a loved one to play games, read books, or surf the internet is relaxing and gives the INTJ time to recoup from social interactions while also spending time with the person in their life that matters most.

It’s interesting to note that while most INTJs value time spent with their partner above other expressions of affection, it’s not the only way an INTJ or their partner can show they care about each other.

1.3 INTJ ending a relationship

An INTJ would rather be alone than in an unsatisfying or stressful relationship. If the INTJ notices a flaw in the relationship that’s causing friction, they will first try to fix the problem themselves. If fixing the problem is not within the INTJ’s capabilities (for example, if the solution requires the cooperation of a resistant partner) the INTJ will most likely end the relationship rather than deal with the strain of coping with the unsolved problem.

Some INTJs prefer the blunt approach, simply stating “I’m ending this relationship because X.” Others may prefer a more subtle plan, either leading the partner to end the relationship on their own or communicating through their actions that they are no longer interested in continuing the relationship.

2. INTJs friendships

2.1 How do you Make Friends with an INTJ?

There are two words that best describe how INTJs choose their friends: Natural Selection. This might seem heartless and cold, particularly in comparison to the mundane friendship development, which is based on good feelings and emotional understanding. INTJs have a more utilitarian approach to friendship, measuring acquaintances against specific criteria until they find one that matches what they need and desire in a friend. (If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same process they use when selecting a romantic partner, only slightly less rigorous.)

Personally, intelligence is at the top of my list of requirements, and if the people I’m with lack this quality, my respect for those people falls dramatically. That isn’t to say you have to be a genius in order to be a friend to an INTJ, but you do need to have something to offer intellectually. If an INTJ feels they have nothing to learn from you, then you’re likely to be ignored.

2.2 How to keep a friendship with INTJ?

It’s difficult to get to know an INTJ well, but not impossible. Some people have succeeded in becoming friends with an INTJ, inviting an endless barrage of sarcastic remarks. On the other hand, maintaining a friendship with an INTJ isn’t difficult, because INTJs aren’t particularly demanding.  

As a general rule, DON’T:

  1. Call your INTJ without warning. In general, it’s better to send a message via whatever media is most expedient.
  2. Force your presence on your INTJ. When they want to hang out with you, they will invite you to do so.
  3. Seek emotional comfort or attention from your INTJ. Whether something terrible has happened (“my dog just got hit by a car”) or something really exciting has happened (“I finally got that job I’ve been applying for!”) your INTJ’s response will be pretty much the same; “Calm down. Clear your head. What are you going to do next?”
  4. Insult or deride INTJ ideas. Ideas are the INTJ’s sacred property. To condescend is to blaspheme.
  5. Question your INTJ’s expressed expertise. Your INTJ will not offer advice unless they are confident that it is sound.
  6. Betray your INTJ’s trust. If your INTJ has trusted you with a secret (particularly with a personal struggle or flaw) don’t talk about it to anyone else without specific permission. This is a no-brainer for most relationships – just note that once you’ve lost your INTJ’s trust, it would take a minor miracle to get it back again.
  7. Put your INTJ into unwanted or unexpected social situations. Any situation where an INTJ is forced to interact with or be in close proximity to strangers can be extremely stressful. It’s not nice. Don’t do it.
  8. Ask stupid (subjective) questions. Every INTJ enjoys a challenging question, but the inane ones qualify as small talk and are neither enjoyable nor productive. If you ask a question like “does this make my butt look big?” or “what’s your favorite color?” you’re likely to get a sarcastic response.
  9. Interrupt your INTJ when they’re talking. An INTJ won’t say anything unless they think it’s important. Besides that, it’s rude to interrupt.
  10. Practice manipulation on your INTJ. INTJs are natural Puppet Masters. You won’t like how that ends for you.


3. INTJs as parents

INTJs are the least likely out of MBTI personality types to have children. Not only do INTJs have the obvious difficulty of finding an acceptable life-partner, but even when they have a partner, the choice to have children is an enormous life change. The planning alone, not to mention the financial, emotional, and logistical preparations might take years. The amount of time and resources involved generally prompt the INTJ to simply choose not to have children at all. 

There are some INTJs, however, that do take on the challenge of having and raising children. They love and care for their offspring to the best of their ability, but the expression of that love and caring can be complex and difficult for the INTJ parent. Despite the challenges of being an INTJ parent, most who choose to accept this mission produce intelligent, independent, productive members of society.

Children with an INTJ parent may have difficulty understanding their emotions and developing emotional intelligence. (This is where an emotionally savvy life partner is exceptionally useful.)

Grammar and punctuation errors eviscerated by Elle Taylor


  • Setsuna Kiri

    About that having a kid part, I thought I’d have an ‘Just in case I die’ plan before having one.

    Take note: I used “a kid” and not “kids”

    • INTJ vision

      50+ year plans are never too long for us! However, 500+ years plan could be a little too challenging :).

  • CD

    I agree with the concepts expressed in the romantic section, but the first three points of the “DO NOT” list really stretches the generalization to a small niche of people. I thoroughly enjoy communicating and socializing with my close friends. I always answer my phone when a good friend calls. I just ignore everyone else.

    As for providing emotional support, I think the INTJ has outstanding potential to provide the rich depth of emotional resources necessary to help others through pain and grief–mainly because we are deeply thoughtful, emotional, and empathic creatures. Even if we do not understand how people are suffering from personal experience, we can use our intuition to synthesize an approximation and respond with word and action accordingly–often more appropriately than others because we tailor the response to the individual, not based upon ourselves.

    • INTJ vision

      Yah, if INTJs start to develop emotional intelligence, they can become quite good at emotional support. They can develop an ability to create 3rd person thinking scenarios in their head about how others feel. But in my opinion, this is trait that must be learned and wanted to be learn by INTJs – many are proud to be blunt at the feelings area.

      • Veritas

        Based on my own INTJ experience I agree with you, Mindaugas. I think if we treat emotional intelligence as a project to undertake with appropriate observation and analysis we can become quite good at it, BUT it isn’t a natural ability. We are very good at intuiting others’ emotions via the brain, not the heart…we don’t fully “feel” what the other person is feeling but we do “feel” it via our unparalleled Introverted Intuition. Having an INFJ partner I had an excellent motivation for learning this 🙂

  • Maria Cristina McDonald

    I really enjoy this site and articles, the only thing I take issue with enough to comment is #6 on the friendship list. In the rare case that someone gets close enough to know any secret of mine and divulges it, that person will simply be vanished from my life. I won’t even waste time exposing that person or getting even. Vanished to such degree that they may just question their own existence.

    • INTJ vision

      Good point, updated article.

      • Johannes Kwan

        I had a friend (well, ex-friend…) who did that to me, and I managed to get out of it. Cunningly, I made people believe me more than the other. It worked, and that guy lost more than one friend in a day. Seriously, I felt fiendish that time.

  • Joey Edgecombe

    Love this insight. Resonates so amusingly. We visit his main friend ‘often’… precisely once every two months, exactly as this article says!
    And as an INFJ taking my reluctant INTJ out to an ‘obligatory’ neighbourly meet-up last week, I responded to his grumbling with: “I didn’t create these social conventions we must occasionally adhere to…” He remains unconvinced there is any ‘must’ about it..:)
    Fortunately, I enjoy the quiet life too, so am very happy we chose not to have kids.
    Thank you for helping me understand him further.

  • Bianca Freismuth

    I agree that finding a partner is very difficult for me because I suck at talking to people and meeting new folks.
    I’m also very picky if it comes to making friends and potential partners.

    And as about the do-not list another point you could add:
    Do never ever ignore us when we are talking to someone. I despise being ignored when I want to say something.

  • Faith Pineda

    Having children was not something I wanted to do, they both came with many preventions in place, sigh, just my luck. However, now that they are here I did add them to the equation and they became part of the plan. Although, my poor children, as I understand myself more, I feel bad by subjecting them to the INTJ that I am. I get the you don’t love me all the time. Then I logically try to show them all the ways I do love them. I pay for everything they want, I would die for them, I fix everything for them, everything I do revolves around making sure they are taken care of, plan for their future, take care of all the small stuff. I have learned to say I love you everyday and programed myself to tell them something nice. However, I am always looking for that moment when they can start taking care of themselves and I’m back to being alone. The struggle is real.

    • casey sav

      Hi, I have 2 beautiful kids, I am female INTJ, I am not realizing and not knowing that I am INTJ, until just recently, accidentally driven by curiosity. I do have a struggle, I expect my kids understand what I am saying, I have high expectation eventhough not ambitiously pushing them into the edge and I treat them like little adult with sense of simple logic (lucky me, my partner understand and encouraging me to be more gentle, my partner are ESFJ) into my surprise they picking up bit by bit with their own speed. My only guilty is sometime I lost patient when they just being kids, I still digesting this INTJ by reading from trusted source. But watching my kids grow, It is like I watch myself into a mirror, which sometime put me into that smirk satisfied haha. I feel that I need to adapt about the fact I am, and putting it into good course. I do still need sometime alone, eventhough the kids and my partner are around, I’ll put my headset on and they understand that I don’t want to be disturb.

  • kaoriline

    #9: Do not interrupt INTJ talk. INTJs usually stay quiet and only say something when they think it’s important. If you interrupt them when they speak, they will just quit talking with you at all for not respecting them.

    ^^ on point. I rarely talk during social gatherings, and when i do, I often get cut off or they don’t get my point, so I just shut up and never talk for a while then walk out from their circle of discussion because I got annoyed and just drift to my inner world as I push away their topics and categorize it as worth less of my time.

  • Johannes Kwan

    Section 2.2 describes me perfectly. I hate answering phone calls from anonymous callers. And it is quite funny that I usually google quotes on how to even express my condolences to people whenever. I thought it was just me acting weird.

  • disqus_V9g1vnIqzy

    Question… {warning: message may appear to be a neediness rant.. however… I’m nieve and an over thinker} let me know your thoughts? Hoping you’ll tell me I’m being a whiney beeatch. I asked directly , when my boyfriend stayed the night at a girls house(who he never met but was in the couch surf community ).. someone in the couch surfing community .. if they slept together.. he said no. Then the next morning He did the typical intj thing.. he was writing a review of an amazon product and included me and being a long term relationship and proudly showed me(I know he was expressing his commitment the best way he could). I believed him.. however I discovered tonight our relationship status was only visible to both of us and he hasn’t accepted photo tags of us together lately. Also would like to mention he had no problem changing his relationship status to single when we had a disagreement.. which was provoked by me. Him stating he’s cluesless with Facebook relationship titles seems like an excuse and sneaky behavior. On the other hand I don’t want to be that “psycho girl” never trusting my partner. Am I over thinking.. and sucked into the she devil cycle of needy mayhem or are my concerns legitimate? Ps I did ask today if we were okay in the relationship and he assured we are. I know we should be able to talk through these things… and trust is important. I just want to make sure I’m not being taken advantage of. Because I do have a big heart .::. This post is therapeutic nonetheless… not sure how often or how I’m notified of replies. Anywho.. xoxo

  • Karan Malhotra

    Had a great time going through this article.
    Most points are just spot on for me and Hilarious xD