This blog will delve into the differences between the INTP and INFP personalities by comparing their characteristics and inclinations. It is a detailed analysis of both personalities thereby sharpening our understanding of the INTP and INFJ.
Differences between the INTP and INFJ personalities
- Organised vs Messy
- Planning vs impulse
- Emotional vs indifferent
- Thinker vs feeler
- Flexible vs rigid
- Idealist vs pragmatist
- Pure scientist vs social scientist
Organized vs. Messy
The INFJ is an organizer. He/she will often maintain a neat and clean environment. Whether it is their room, home, or office space the INFJ will take the time to ensure that everything is put in its rightful place and is properly organized.
They often like to sort things out by putting things with a similar color or texture together, gathering and packing anything that is scattered, and will often hang or fold their clothes. Their spaces are always therefore always neat and pleasing to the eye.
The INTP in contrast is quite messy. He/she doesn’t mind whether or not things are neatly organized. They may leave their things anywhere or everywhere and not bother to clean or pick up after themselves.
The accumulation of these actions is a crowded and dirty environment. INTPs will however claim that their mess is functional for them as they will still know where to find anything even in that mess.
Their office desks, homes, or cars may be filled with clutter but they will tell you that they are not inconvenienced in any way by the mess.
Planning vs. Impulse
The INFJ is particularly a good planner and they like to meticulously plan out and schedule all their activities.
They do not want to work randomly and so they approach their daily activities and tasks with a work plan in mind.
They thrive in and like to establish routines so that they do not have to keep making plans over and over to do the same thing which saves time and makes them proficient.
On the other hand, the INTP has a more relaxed approach to life. They do not stress much about routines and plans on how they will get things done.
They just throw themselves into their activities and figure out what they need to do in the process of working. Additionally, INTPs can be quite impulsive, often acting on the spur of the moment.
Emotional vs. Indifferent
INFJs have the Feeling function which drives them to be emotionally sensitive and responsive. As a Feeler, an INFJ will typically be able to understand not only their own emotions but those of the people around them.
It is therefore easy for the INFJ to show compassion and empathy to others in a way they can appreciate and understand. They are also capable of handling emotional situations and people with great ease.
This makes them easily likable by other people but it also makes them useful and helpful.
In contrast, the INTP is unfortunately detached from their own emotions and the emotions of others. They are Thinkers and as a result, their Feeling function is quite weak.
They are not able to appropriately understand or express how they feel so they usually just ignore their own emotions.
When it comes to emotional situations and people the INTP will often focus on the facts of the matter.They will not necessarily pay attention to how the person involved is affected or feels in that moment.
They resultantly come across as indifferent, cold, detached, and uncaring.
They are often misunderstood by people as a result but they often can’t help the fact that they just can’t seem to access their emotions when they need to.
Thinker vs. Feeler
As aforementioned, the INFJ has the Feeling function while the INTP has the Thinking function. This particular difference is manifested in each personality’s decision-making model.
To begin with, the INFJ makes their choice on the basis of their feelings and emotions. When presented with a problem or situation requiring them to make a choice, they will begin by considering how it makes them and other people feel.
They will not immediately regard the facts on the ground but will be considering options that align with their emotions. As a result, the INFJ will act on their emotions and follow their heart when they decide.
Unfortunately, in situations requiring logical solutions, reacting emotionally often comes back to mock the INFJ’s reasoning power. People will often misunderstand them and wonder why they did not just make the logically obvious choice.
The INTP has the Thinking function and this drives them to seek out knowledge that is logical and rational. This puts an INTP at an advantage when they are dealing with scientific or mathematical problems that require the application of practical knowledge.
When making a decision the INTP will focus their time and energy on gathering and understanding the facts of the matter and basing their decisions on the evidence they find.
The INTP will spend hours contemplating their options and the various outcomes of each option. They are not very concerned about how their decisions will make others feel because they are simply doing what is logically correct.
In such cases, they may be perceived as heartless people who lack empathy.
Flexible vs. Rigid
INFJs are people who do not like change. They are often rigid and set in their ways. Changes are viewed as disruptions of the routines and beliefs that they have worked hard to establish. They may not even be able to consider how much better or efficient the new ideas may be.
INTPs are the opposite as they are more open and relaxed towards suggestions for a change. Their objective view of the world allows them to easily adapt and change especially when there is a chance for new innovation to be achieved.
Idealist vs. Pragmatist
INFJs are idealists and as such, they hold strong values and beliefs which they try by all means to live by. These ideals are often formed from their past experiences or borrowed from a previous generation.
As a result, their beliefs and values may sometimes be quite irrational which gives them a hard time defending or explaining their values to others.
INFJs go to great lengths to uphold their beliefs and avoid people who believe otherwise. They are therefore not accommodating of the views of other people.
In contrast, INTPs are pragmatists. This entails that their system of beliefs is based on logical and empirical facts and evidence. They do not care for vague or unverified beliefs or concepts but focus on the most practical things.
Unlike INFJs they are fluid and can easily take on a new belief system if they prove that it is better than what they currently believe. They are very curious people who are open to any kind of knowledge regardless of nature.
As a result, they may sometimes get confused due to a mixture of contrasting values and doctrines. They do, however, have a good understanding of how the world works and can easily discern patterns they observe.
Pure Scientist vs. Social scientist
INFJs are idealists who are usually driven by a cause or a need to make their ideals a reality. They are people who seek to make the world a better place by fixing social injustices and problems.
And as such, they are attracted to social sciences which will equip them with the knowledge to achieve their social goals.
They usually pursue and study to become Psychologists, Sociologists, Developmentalists, Managers and Administrators, Philosophers, Environmentalists, or Lawyers.
INTPs on the other hand are pure scientists who prefer the rigor and difficulty of tackling mathematical and scientific problems. The INTP seeks to create a better world by inventing technologies and machines that make life easier for people.
Their goal is to help people do things better, faster, safer, and easier. They think for the sake of thinking and may spend hours contemplating theories and formulae and how they can be applied in real life.
They resultantly pursue pure sciences and mathematical careers such as Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Advanced Mathemathematics, Medical Science, Architecture, Computer Science, or Actuarial Science.
This blog delved into the differences between the INTP and INFP personalities by comparing their characteristics and inclinations. It was a detailed analysis of both personalities thereby sharpening our understanding of the INTP and INFJ.
Frequently Asked Questions: INTP vs. INFJ
Can I be both INTP and INFJ?
No, one person cannot be two personality types simultaneously.
Are INTPs attracted to INFJs?
Yes, INTPs are attracted to INFJs because of their compassion and spontaneity. However, INFJs are often drawn to INTPs because of their intelligence and ability to apply logic to every situation.
Why is INFJ so rare?
Some possible explanations for the relative rarity of INFJs may be because most INFJs have not taken the MBTI test and have not yet been identified statistically.
What are INTPs attracted to?
INTPs are attracted to someone capable of experiencing new things and not just remaining stagnant. They are often attracted to people who are very passionate but analytical and logical just like them.
What personality is compatible with INTP?
The INTP’s natural partner is the ENTJ or the ESTJ. The INTP’s dominant function of Introverted Thinking is best matched with a partner whose personality is dominated by Extraverted Thinking.
Why are INFJs so private?
INFJ’s are private because they are introverts and as such, they tend to be more private with their thoughts. They prefer to be inwardly focused and only wish to share outwardly when they truly feel comfortable with the people they are around.
Isabel Briggs Myers, (2015), Introduction to Type, CPP. PDF
Rajagopalan & Guruswami, (2015), “Relationship between Personality Traits and the Psychological Biases of Retail Investors – An Empirical Study”, Vidyasagar University Journal of Commerce, Vol. 20. PDF