INFJ vs INTJ Part 2

Tertiary Functions

In introverted types,  Introverted Judging [J]i function is responsible for organizing the internal world.

Dominant introverted judgers such as INTP/ISTP and INFP/ISFP create an internal model of the world and filter their perceptions to harmonize with it. They spend most of their energy re-organizing their internal world to maintain harmony or consistency.

INTJ and INFJ are dominant perceivers, despite the J in the letters. They do not have a solid internal model but a constantly evolving network of perceptions and insights that serves as a tool for understanding the world. The fluidity of Ni requires an introverted judging function to maintain a degree of stability and sense of self.

INFJs use Ti as their tertiary function.

INTJs use Fi as their tertiary function.

The different tertiary functions are responsible for the differences in decision making processes and thought patterns between the two types.

Decision Making

In most types, the tertiary function serves as a crutch when the first two functions fail to meet the demands of the environment. Ni dominants rely on their extraverted judging functions (Te/Fe) to deal with novel situations in the environment. The extraverted judging processes conform to commonly accepted methods of thought and behavior. In INFJs, this takes the form of subscribing to social values and behaving appropriately. In INTJs, it is seen as reliance on established facts and accepted modes of thinking. These objective judging functions are usually sufficient for most situations. However, these functions can be challenged when the person faces a challenge that requires decision making on subjective grounds.

The INFJ that is accustomed to using Fe may not know how to decide when presented with multiple options that are equally appropriate or have similar effects on others.

The INTJ that has relied on objective facts may not know which path to take when presented with questions on matters that cannot be verified through empirical means.

In these situations, the person retracts into the internal world and relies on the tertiary function to present a solution. This is especially stressful in [P]i (Ni/Si) dominants because both the auxiliary and tertiary function are judging functions and are opposed to each other. (Fe/Ti in INFJs and Te/Fi in INTJs) The extraverted judging functions have a quality of urgency but the introverted judging functions are complacent and take time to process. In addition, the functions are opposed (Feeling vs Thinking) so the person will need to suppress one for the other to function.

For example:

An INFJ and an INTJ have been invited to different social events they find equally interesting may have trouble deciding which one to attend.

The INFJ will initially use Fe to consider the importance of the person who invited her and how it would impact their relationship. She will project how the decision will affect her social relationships, public image, the amount of  social interaction involved and her preparedness for the environment (attire, mood, etc…). If she is unable to make a decision based on these factors, she turns to her tertiary function, Ti  to analyze her options. She will reflect on her worldview and philosophy to find principles (Ti) that reinforce her visions and goals (Ni). She may consider what she would learn from the events and how it could help her achieve her goals or refine her understanding of people or the world.

The INTJ will consider the convenience and pros/cons of attending the events. He will use Te check if they are compatible with his schedule and the plans he has made for the day. He will think about how the events would benefit him and which would yield a greater return (in tangible goods or simply pleasure) on the time and cost invested. He may consider the location of the events, the risk of accidents and other mishaps, and the worst and best possible outcomes. If Te does not provide a good reason to choose one over the other, he will come back to himself and reflect on his personal values (Fi) and how each event harmonizes with it. He will introspect on the reasons behind his interest in the events and think about how it would help him understand himself better.


INFJs values usually resonate with their surroundings and prefer to subscribe to an external standard (Fe). Their values are usually learned from an early age and they usually reflect the cultural environment they were raised in.  When it comes to moral decisions, INFJs are flexible and may adjust their beliefs to adjust for the situation. They may analyze situations based on group dynamics, individual differences, and other measures they can use to plan their speech and actions. (Ti). For this reason, they can explain their decision making process more easily than INTJs. Relationships and one-on-one communication can be stressful for INFJs because they create models of how other minds work, and they adjust their attitudes and opinions to fit other individuals’ needs. Their moral decision making can be intellectual and they may suspend their immediate instinctual reactions to sudden events to predict which actions lead to the greatest good. They expect their values to be universal and may set high standards for themselves and others to reach their external ideal.

INTJs base their values on internal standards of integrity, self-honesty, charity and other virtues that revolve around their sense of self. (Fi) They usually have a strong will and are aware of their wants and preferences from an early age. When it comes to relationships, they have an easier time evaluating others and deciding if a person meets their standards. (Te) Competence is a core value shared by most INTJs, they value independence and ability in themselves and others. For this reason, they devote much of their energy mastering skills and assessing themselves using objective methods. If their Fi is well developed, they may have a fascination with ideals such as universal good and evil. They like to have freedom in making moral decisions and can sometimes despise societal values they find pointless. When confronted with decisions that require quick moral judgment, they turn to their heart and make decisions based on what feels right (Fi) despite the resistance of their intellect (Te). When it comes to people and relationships, they judge people based on their qualities and are more comfortable with dismissing those with different values.


INFJs use Ni-Ti to form their ideas and express them through Fe.

INTJs generate interest using Ni-Fi and think through Te.

INFJs tend to be terse and dispassionate (Ti). They craft their thoughts internally and express them in an appropriate fashion (Fe). Their speech is brief and they may pause between sentences when they are processing. (Ti) For this reason, they usually prefer writing to speech because it gives them time to choose words, tone and other subtleties.

INTJs are verbose and direct. They can be passionate about ideas (Fi) and may disregard tact and others’ feelings because they organize their thoughts as they speak. Their speech has a flow and they can instantly organize their ideas into bullets or numbers. (Te) They prefer to make charts, graphs, and drawings to share their explicit logic.



49 Comments on “INFJ vs INTJ Part 2”

  1. Jammy Johnson says:

    I like how they explained the how the Teritary function can affect the auxillary. As an INTJ I have a bad habit of saying things out loud that I probably shouldn’t because I don’t consider how other people will feel about it. So I completely relate to “organize their thoughts as they speak”.

  2. Jason says:

    I know you say that a person cannot have both an INFJ and an INTJ personality at the same time, but both combined match me perfectly. Though I lean a little more towards being a INTJ, I also have a good portion of the traits that an INFJ has. For instance, when I am making a decision, I tend to weigh the feelings of the person(s) that it involves or wil affect alongside with the pros and cons of the decision. I also prefer writing over speaking but when I do speak it is usually blunt and to the point. I also go back and forth in between pausing between sentences in order to process what I plan to say or speaking without pausing for one second, usually interjecting numbers and measurements into what I am saying with ease.

    • psyphics says:

      I was not implying that it is impossible to have both preferences. The MBTI system is a type theory and tries to classify people into 16 distinct types. It is an instrument so don’t take it too seriously, go with the type that seems to fit you better.

      You will have internal conflict when you are trying to use Fe and Te at the same time. “I tend to weigh the feelings of the person(s) that it involves or wil affect alongside with the pros and cons of the decision” this sounds like Te/Fi reasoning. Fe is more concerned with the direct emotions, so it would be implementation (sugar coating, being tactful, minimizing conflict) instead of the internal judgement.

      There is no reason to assume you cannot have balanced thinking and feeling.

  3. joe says:

    I am both. Absolutely…depending on the context I switch my processing style…the MBTI needs to be expanded…there are still blind spots.

  4. T says:

    I tested INTJ the first time I took the test (at 13). I took the test a few more times in the following years, always getting INTJ. Now I’m almost 21, and for various reasons am starting to suspect I’m actually INFJ. I took the test again, making sure to be extremely honest with myself (i.e., answering how I actually am/feel/think and not how I think I *should* feel or think) and got INFJ.

    My question is this: Would the result you get at 13, as a child, more or less accurate than 21, as a young adult?

    • T says:

      * be more or less accurate

    • kius says:


      Determining your type through quizzes and tests is not something I would encourage. The questions are often of the type like “Do you prefer your mind or your heart when making decisions?” and at the end the test counts down, do you have more “F” or “T” responses as if they were traits. If you consciously, through-out the test, look for how you *should feel*, I suppose it would only make sense that you give more “Feeling” answers. You focusing on being honest with yourself and how you feel also sounds like Fi (introverted feeling), which is an INTJ process. INFJs apply their Fe, and I confess to trying to give the “right” answers that I “should” be giving. (I am an INFJ.)

      However, the MBTI is not a trait-based theory. It is a developmental model. An INTJ at 10 years and 40 years will look dramatically different. The quizzes, thus, work better on people who display more of a text-book description of said type – that is to say, young people or people who have not developed their other functions.

      I personally tested as INFJ, INTJ and INTP when I was a teenager, mostly INFJ. I was hell-bent on being smart and logical back then, due to my physicist parents making very convincing arguments for that. (See how my extroverted feeling adopted their thinking preferences, making me look like a theorist! But it is not the traits you exhibit that determine your type but your underlying motives and reasons.)

      In the past year, the quizzes have given me everything but my true type (ENFJ especially, also INFP, ESFP, ISTP, ISFJ, ISFP, ENTJ – which, curiously enough, are the types of my friends here where I moved). I constantly test as an extrovert now, due to my embracing of Fe and Se instead of the Ni and Ti of my childhood. Doesn’t make me one bit more of an ENFJ, though. 🙂

      So, the answer to your question in short: most people would get a more accurate result out of a test as teenagers. But the real way to determine your type is to understand the theory: the interplay of the cognitive functions, temperament styles and interaction models. People may use or be forced to use other than their preferred functions for a myriad of reasons like stress or other external demands.

      Hope that helped!

      • zodlion says:

        you are not wrong as a teenager the intj description fits me perfectly and actually has for a while and yes it is more of a guideline though it does help to understand certain things. a little while back I started to wonder (as injt usually do) why I didn’t understand how to react to others emotions I just don’t get them enough said. I have for a long time generally understood myself and this test hasn’t told me anything new to most extent just explains a bit more as to why I am like I am or maybe I just want to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t get them(emotion and people in general)

      • psyphics says:

        As you develop your tertiary Fi, you will learn to understand your own emotions. Introspection or meditative practices may help you in this area.

  5. experiencelifemagic says:

    I took the test a few years ago but don’t remember my result (ahem), and now I’ve rediscovered it and am getting both INFJ and INTJ results. I’ve been reading about both of them and can definitely relate to these characteristics that seem to be conflicting. I may be an INFJ socially because I was raised in a very calm and respectful family (we are very sensitive to each other’s feelings). In your Part 1’s different situations, I felt conflicted about which option to choose, some leaning more towards INFJ and others towards INTJ. People find that I’m too apologetic and “polite” even when they think I shouldn’t be because we’re not strangers anymore, but that’s just how I am. So in that sense I am more of an INFJ because I want to be “nice” to others. However, this may just be due to social norms and education, because I’m more of an INTJ inside or when annoyed/under stress/tired, when I start being more blunt. I’m not the type to say negative things because I don’t think very negatively, but I wouldn’t lie about my feelings either. People say I’m too direct with my compliments, especially with people I don’t know too well (because I say positive things from the heart, not to be socially acceptable). I get very frustrated when people don’t accept the “truths” I say (mistaking them for politeness) and go into a strong INTJ mode.
    I do often feel that I prefer expressing myself over writing than speech, because I’m very literal and feel like each word has to express exactly what I want to say, but then I can also ramble (and sometimes not realise I’m boring other people). It also very much depends on what I’m speaking about on who I’m speaking to. I’m either one of the two with tendencies of the other, but I’m not really sure which!

    • psyphics says:

      Can you describe your empathy?

      • Mau says:

        Hi! Sorry for cutting in (and all the mistakes if I’ve made them), but I was just wondering if you could perhaps explain how the distinction between the two types relates to empathy?

        I find this question intriguing because I only get “emotional” when it comes to my own personal business or things I can relate to; I’m rather lacking in empathy in all the remaining contexts. I’m aware that, “OK, she’s sad because…”, but I can’t feel sorry for her (unless, for some reason, I happen to be sad, too) and I don’t feel a genuine need to be the one who cheers her up.

        Still, I’m quite sensitve to how people react to what I say or do and I change my behaviour accordingly, because I don’t really want to hurt anyone. Yet, I fail to consider the impact of my words or actions in advance, so I sometimes end up doing or saying something that I later realize must have been painful for others.

        I would assume this makes me an INTJ rather than INFJ…?

      • psyphics says:

        This sounds like Te. INFJ Empathy (Fe) is based on immediately observed emotional states of others, INTJ sympathy (Fi) is based on one’s subjective estimation of another’s state of mind.

    • Ecspyred says:

      I’m also like this. I’m quite polite and tend to compliment others (only if they really do deserve it) and refuse to speak if I think of something negatively. However, if someone would ask me to tell criticize them, I wouldn’t hold back. I would say things like “I see you as this, but that’s okay because…” and “It’s not your entirely your fault that you’re like this…” and I don’t know if saying these is being nice or not. From somebody else’s point of view, this may sound quite mean but I’m actually just being honest. This sounds INTJ to me but I’m also concerned about the way people feel so afterwards I would go like “It’s okay, that’s normal” or “But you’re still a great person”, and most of the time that second sentence would either be a lie or a truth with no evidence. I also prefer writing over speech because most of my thoughts cannot be easily explained (by me) and I have trouble organizing them to make someone fully understand what I mean. In some circumstances I have to speak but I tend to misuse some words making others think that I’m talking about something else, when in fact I’m not. Then I go like, “No! What I mean is, argh! It’s quite hard to explain, but…. You understand, don’t you?” and sometimes people say yes but I really don’t think they get what I’m saying. This frustrates me. Does this make me an INFJ?

  6. wonderful post. i was deciding which one suited me better and after reading these two post i can tell it for sure is intj. you have made it clearer to me. thanks

  7. Avery says:

    I can’t tell at all whether I’m INFJ or INTJ (or something else completely, I suppose). The problem is, I tend to VALUE people and humanity above rational thought, but I tend to be unempathetic and selfish (such harsh words! Not to an extreme, usually, but as a general tendency) in my own personal interactions. I’m not socially skilled unless it’s in an academic setting, such as a classroom, or a job interview. I am aiming to become a professor of literature, and as such value narrative and human interaction theoretically, but in practice I tend to be much more blunt and analytical. I am both an eloquent speaker and writer, although sometimes I have too many thoughts and trip over my own words, and I certainly do not prefer numbers to the written word. Does this sound more like an INFJ or an INTJ to you (or, again, something else! I don’t have an extensive knowledge of the personality types.)

  8. Andi says:

    I initially tested as an INTJ, but always felt a little unsettled, and almost indignant, when constantly being presented with the “cold, emotionless scientist” description of the type. I took the short test again today, and whaddya know- INFJ.

    My initial reactions to circumstances are often highly emotional in nature- frequently causing me to withdraw in order to process, find meaning, and a way forward. My overly self-critical tendencies are often crippling and all-consuming, and completely disproportionate to the circumstance or event. My driving goal in life is to grow myself personally, so that I am equipped in my fullest capacity to in some way, big or small, benefit other people. I have a very strong faith and moral conviction, and have been told by the handful of people whom I’ve allowed close enough that this conviction, as well as my fierce loyalty, are by far my strongest and most admiral traits (together with my intellect and wit).

    Sounds INFJ for the most part, except for the fact that I relate quite strongly to Avery’s explanation of being- or at least appearing- “unsympathetic and selfish” in social interactions, even though I can read emotions and intentions almost intuitively. While I am always concerned about how my actions, or the actions of the people very close to me, may affect someone else, and have a longing to give help, comfort and counsel, I don’t actively go out of my way to help other people where I see a need.

    Conversely, I can get so absorbed in my own world, that I am completely oblivious to those around me; or otherwise, am so single-mindedly focused on a task that I consciously choose to remove myself mentally and emotionally from everything else, no matter what’s happening around me…and I really do mean no matter what. Someone could be attempting to engage me in conversation while I’m trying to focus on what I’m doing, and I’m hard-pressed to even pretend interest, until I’m satisfied that my task is done. INTJ all the way.

    I believe it’s important to note that I have a history of social anxiety, depression and low self-esteem/body dysmorphia (anorexia). I have a nagging suspicion that the affect these psychological issues have on my thoughts and behaviour, may be what’s making it hard for me to accurately type myself.

    So..yeah…that’s me.

  9. Sue says:

    Psychics, are you still answering individual INTJ/INFJ inquiries? I would like to explain my specific tidbit about myself as well… so that you can help me. I don’t want to overwhelm you, yet it is so kind of you to respond individually like this to help us. I’ve been obsessed with wanting to know which functions I’m inclined toward using, for the past month.. thank you.

    • psyphics says:

      Hi Sue,

      If either type doesn’t fit, go with what you feel most comfortable with.
      Your writing strikes me as that of an FiTe user, so I would say INTJ/INFP.

  10. Sue says:

    I may as well, just in case you respond (*if* you do that’d be great, thanks).

    I may have trouble figuring this out because of an underdeveloped Te, and I *think* I’m an INTJ, which surprised me when a friend brought it up a couple weeks ago (after four years of me thinking I was INFJ). Now I’m obsessed with getting it right. I don’t *want* to be INTJ, nor do I *want* to be INFJ. I just want to *know* the fact of what I am.

    I came from a pretty distorted upbringing and a manipulative NF mother. ENFP mom, ISTJ dad. Five years ago when I was 21, I sat down with a lot of introspective self-help books and tried to understand my feelings about my upbringing (this may have enhanced my so-called Fi)? It’s hard for me to discern how I was as a kid, as I was always a depressed zombie and daydreamed excessively. I loved Disney princesses, and looked up to them and I had very idealistic tendencies which I modeled after them (when I was a kid). I used to always imagine I was a Disney princess of some sort, waiting to be rescued. Among other kids, I didn’t do well in group projects and ended up doing the whole thing myself a lot. I was perfectionistic, followed all of the rules, and got frustrated with other kids who weren’t obedient (influence from my upbringing)?

    I find I do have a systematic approach to almost everything, but at this point only in theory (I keep wanting to perfect my theory of perfect scheduling methods before implementing. It may also be that I’m a bit immature for my age and type, considering the abuse I endured). I have always been primarily interested in people, and as a kid I went out of my way to befriend the outcast kid many times. I remember the one time a kid was rejected during a game of tag I was in in the first grade – I felt guilty and proceeded to look for the kid to apologize. Sadly, I couldn’t find her.

    I like and am good at writing. Fascinated with psychology primarily. I’ve noticed I have tendencies to interpret things literally, causing me to be slow with laughing at jokes. I have a tendency to be linear and structured. I used to think my linear tendencies were because of a weak N, but I discounted this weak N possibility because I find the complexity in people fascinating and have a lot of creative potential whether it’s poetry, problem-solving, painting, insight, etc. I feel my childhood has taught me a lot about the complexities in people, and I feel that I can help people overcome the result of dysfunctional upbringings and situations, and better themselves on an individual level. I’m much more interested in the individual than in a group of people.

    I know for a fact that I’m intuitive, and that I’m Ni. I have piercing insights regarding people or how to better myself in general, I know I’m very very introverted, and I also know for a fact that I’m a strong J.

    Regarding empathy, maybe it’s because I haven’t been around too many people but I get uncomfortable when someone starts crying on my shoulder because I feel I’m not “smooth” at comforting them and am afraid I will be more of a detriment to them (maybe this is because I haven’t often been comforted myself?). Usually I think of what to say that will help them, and it’s easy for me to be sensitive (if not necessarily charismatic in that nurturing sort of way that comes so easily to, say, an ENFJ?). However, when watching movies I flinch and squeal and cry during intensely sad parts (I cried for the second time I watched “Hunger Games” when Rue died.. the first time I watched it was in theaters). If someone gets killed, I get angry and curse at the bad guys. I am in fact a very emotional person and my feelings are easily hurt.

    In real life (not portrayed in the structured writing I tend toward), I appear very sensitive and kind and polite and apologetic and feminine, sometimes very confident other times very nervous. People are surprised when out of nowhere I confront them and say, “This isn’t ethical… I don’t appreciate this” (whether or not they are in positions of authority). I am usually very tactful because I believe it makes sense, others will benefit, and it’s a win-win all around. I can be very charismatic if I want to (perhaps learned from my ENFP mother?) but normally don’t desire to or see the point. My tact is concise in a way that the person I’m interacting with doesn’t always realize I’m being concise for the sake of saving time, which pleases me because it’s systematic yet discreet. I love systems, and I love philosophy because it’s abstract and structured at the same time (my favorite combination). I can’t keep a straight-face to save my life, and I have a sensitive conscience. If I feel guilty, I’m a pretty bad liar because of my guilt. I recently noticed when sitting in the classroom and listening to professors lecture, I usually laugh and have all sorts of facial expressions whether that of surprise or angry at injustice being lectured about or awe, giving away very clearly things that I feel or think. I can hide what I’m thinking or feeling if I really wanted to, but I find in the long run that will build up and make me nervous… so I figure if I’m honest with who I am there’s nothing wrong with being transparent about who I am. It’s easy for me to express my feelings, in words and in facial expressions (unlike the stereotypical stone-faced INTJ, which I’m not). I love the idea of combining psychology with science, but I get lazy in school when it comes to science and math (determined to change this).

    I am very frustrated that I don’t neatly fit in one MBTI category. Part of the reason is because I really like categories, and the other reason is that I like the idea of understanding myself down to a t (no pun intended), and the fact that I don’t fit means that I can’t understand myself as thoroughly. There is little that I love more than breaking down the abstract into systems broken down into more systems broken down into more systems, so that it’s all perfectly defined and accessible to everyone and that even those not capable of what’s abstract have access to it (even though I know that’s not realistic… I try to do it when I can)! I am not a jerk, but rather a very nice person who is considerate and appreciates kindness balanced with efficiency.

    I do subscribe to the TeFi vs FeTi theory, and don’t want to label myself an INXJ.


    • SallyNova says:

      I think you are totally an INFP, Sue. Don’t forget that Introverted feeling is a judging function, as you say, “I know I’m very very introverted, and I also know for a fact that I’m a strong J.”
      In mbti the introverted P types get mistaken as being the passive perceiving types when in reality, they are dominant judgers. Its just that their introverted judging function is introverted so people don’t initially see your introverted judging function.
      Also, “I know for a fact that I’m intuitive, and that I’m Ni. I have piercing insights regarding people or how to better myself in general,” Fi is very much about bettering oneself, and I wouldn’t discount the INFPs ability for piecing insights. INFPs do have Te and I think that makes them a lot ‘tougher’ than stereotypically assumed of them. It gives form and force to their Fi, and why perhaps someone who utilizes their Te a little more than average might seem INTJish.

      • Sue says:

        Keep in mind, that I did exaggerate my F tendencies in this comment, as well as downplay my J tendencies on purpose. The reason is either because my T is underdeveloped, or I have the hardest time believing I might be a T (I always feel myself leaning toward T, and for some reason I keep interpreting that as bias or wanting to be T… when I might actually just be more T). Every single test I’ve taken over the past several months results in INTJ, including the socionics tests (when I try to “lean” toward F). Including tests which only evaluates cognitive functions.

        I may have pretty good Fi, but the cognitive functions test I took suggests I have low Ne (and I also observe this myself). Earlier this week, I told my landlord that I would email her a copy of our contract on Friday as there was a Kinko’s in my original hometown an hour away and I work there on Friday (not realizing until last night that, wouldn’t there be a Kinko’s or local library or some sort of copying shop in this current town I’m in as well)?

        I noticed that P’s are content with being outwardly laid back. I am not. I am obsessed with task managers, and I love love love them. I can be creative if I wanted, but I love structure much more than I love creativity. I like the feeling of a project completed, rather than a project started. I am from a family of really obvious J’s (ISTJ or ISFJ), with the exception of my ENFP mother. My mother’s capriciousness drives me crazy, and when she forgets things it’s annoying. I dated an ENXP for 5 years. I noticed P’s are more perfectionistic with principles/inward ideas, while J’s are *strive* to be outwardly perfectionistic while inwardly are more laid back (this doesn’t mean they are organized; it means that it’s a cognitive function). I recently bought a budget book planner, and a sleep cycle app on my phone to average out the number of hours I specifically need. I was excited by these things. In fact, I probably seem very organized to most people. I’m never late, and when things really matter it won’t be forgotten. However, I might perceive myself as very disorganized, since I’m not as structured as I would like.

        I’m still unconvinced of my T/F, and I think part of the blame is that I had a pretty severely abusive upbringing. However, I am very convinced of my J. I’ve met many P’s, I’ve even tried to emulate them. I’ve met other INFP’s, even self-proclaimed INFP’s. They’re inner judging function (at least when they’re introverted) is not apparent to the outside world, and that is the point of they’re being “P”.

        This clip also convinced me that I’m not an INFP, though keep in mind he’s a bit blunt and not afraid to admit his biases:

        I’m pretty certain I’m an INTJ who was kicked around and treated like sh**, and the way I responded was with a developed Fi. So when I do develop my Te (through my current love of math and sciences), I predict that I will never become a stereotypical INTJ…. because I was squeezed through the ringer and as a result can also have a lot of empathy and understanding toward people which in my mind is logical, I think.

        I appreciate your respectful opinion though, and your alternative viewpoint. It really helps me to understand myself, from even a devil’s advocate perspective. If you still disagree with me, that’s fine too and I’m happy to hear any perspective.

      • psyphics says:

        How is your sensing? INFP would have a stronger sensing function than INFJ or INTJ.
        Are you constantly aware of the sensations and feelings in your body (Si) or are you always aware of the thoughts and hunches in your mind (Ni)

      • Sue says:

        My Si is pretty high for some reason actually, but my Se is usually the weakest. My Ni is usually the highest. When I take the test which individually evaluates cognitive functions, my Ni or Te is the highest (Te = OCDish?). Really high Te, but when I take the typical MBTI tests on OKCupid and the like, I still score T albeit the preference toward T is usually “slight” or “15%”.

        And when I take tests, I “try” not to score T when the questions are ambiguous for me, because I want to be sure the T holds up. If I had continued to score higher on F, then I would have done the same to see if my F holds up (if that makes sense).

        I feel I’m an odd case. I grew up with a very manipulative ENFP mother who essentially raised me to believe that her way of acting and behaving were ideal/ethical/etc. She used to even threaten me. I didn’t realize until I was 21 that people acted the way they did because that’s just who they were or how they felt (the healthy ones anyway) – I was convinced for much of my life that I was supposed to pretend and go through the motions.

        As a result, I’m fairly good at reading people and I’m also very good at using the right words and not hurting their feelings, and I’m very patient and empathetic, and very nice. I also have been told I have an heir about me that’s rigid, mechanical, and I almost always misinterpret people (at minimum wage jobs) out of context which makes me seem even more awkward, but I do great in the classroom when communicating about the topic or with the professor. E.g., a coworker at the restaurant told me once: “When a guest leaves a crumpled napkin on the table, you pick it up and fold it nicely like this… but only if they’re gone.” I panicked and thought, ‘he’s going to think I’m stupid. I don’t know what he’s talking about. But if we are folding the napkin right then and there, where in the world would the napkin go?’ So I said, “What in the world do you mean…. when they’re gone?” He responded, “Uh… like if they go to the bathroom or something…” (referring to the guest). This happens to me all the time, and people think I’m so strange because it’s hard for me to interpret basic conversation (which I think is often full of many implications).

        Thanks for helping me understand myself.

        Cognitive Process Level of Development (Preference, Skill and Frequency of Use)
        extraverted Sensing (Se) ******************* (19.1)
        limited use
        introverted Sensing (Si) ********************************* (33.5)
        good use
        extraverted Intuiting (Ne) ******************* (19.1)
        limited use
        introverted Intuiting (Ni) ******************************************* (43.6)
        excellent use
        extraverted Thinking (Te) *************************************** (39.7)
        excellent use
        introverted Thinking (Ti) ******************** (20.9)
        limited use
        extraverted Feeling (Fe) **************************** (28.4)
        average use
        introverted Feeling (Fi) ************************************ (36.3)
        excellent use

        I must have taken the cognitive processes test about 10 times.

        Cognitive Process Level of Development (Preference, Skill and Frequency of Use)
        extraverted Sensing (Se) ***************** (17.9)
        limited use
        introverted Sensing (Si) ****************************** (30.2)
        good use
        extraverted Intuiting (Ne) ************************** (26)
        average use
        introverted Intuiting (Ni) ************************************* (37.3)
        excellent use
        extraverted Thinking (Te) ************************************* (37.4)
        excellent use
        introverted Thinking (Ti) **************************** (28.9)
        average use
        extraverted Feeling (Fe) **************************** (28.1)
        average use
        introverted Feeling (Fi) *********************************** (35)
        good use

      • psyphics says:

        Typology is only a tool used to understand people. It may very well be that you don’t fit any of the types. My intuition tells me you use Si-Te-Fi so may be INFP or ISTJ.

      • Sue says:

        I read in your post: “INFJ vs INTP” that xNJx types are future oriented, while xNPx types are present oriented. This furthers my suspicion that I’m NJ. All my actions are planning-type actions: thinking about the future. Although I’d like to teach myself to be more present-oriented.

        I always score about 100% on introverted, and 100% on J (which doesn’t surprise me). I spend inordinate amounts of time alone. I’m ethical, care about humanity, and refuse to hurt anyone, but most of the time never really deal with people on an individual basis (unless I can learn something substantial…. which sounds selfish, but it’s for my sake and efficiency sake). I’m almost completely certain about the I and the J, especially when I go back and read the bullet points on the basic site.

        I also usually score as moderately intuitive (or highly intuitive on the cognitive functions test? I’m not sure what the “scale” means on the OKCupid tests). I’m pretty certain I’m Ni dom because: no matter how bad things get, I have an heir of confidence that I can sort through any complicated big-picture-problem (hence my introspective nature, tendency to create insight, etc). I used to win essay contests growing up without really trying. If I encounter a problem, I almost know I’ll encounter a solution if I dwell on the problem by dwelling on it in a subconscious manner, if that makes any sense. It’s a free-flowing subconscious process that I let do its own thing, and soon the answers present themselves to me as “aha” moments. I also drive my boyfriend nuts because I’ll point out people I’m convinced are manipulative and detrimental (they’ll be out of nowhere, e.g. I’ll be thoroughly suspicious of someone’s grandmother who most wouldn’t dare suspect), and then I’ll avoid them like the plague…. while society will see them in a completely opposite light. He’ll say, “What’s your basis for this observation?” I’m convinced this is my Ni dom, because the gut reaction happens before I come up with the evidence. Sometimes, I can’t come up with the evidence, but it doesn’t mean I’m any less confident :/ (I try hard to avoid this… it’s shameful for me to admit so most times I don’t). I think my intuition also has a “zeroing in” quality about it which also makes me think I’m Ni, but I also feel like my Ne leans toward a bit pathetic (making me appear as if I’m not intuitive).

        I think that people intuitively think I’m a sensing type, because I’m so introverted that at times I find I’m disconnected from aspects of mainstream culture. I also deal with people from a thoroughly analytical perspective, which makes me feel robotic at times and look like sensing type (especially when I’m nervous, which is almost always the case with spontaneous groups or at work). When I’m in the classroom, I’m ahead of everyone and seem more fluid and thoroughly intuitive about patterns and concepts. Teachers love to call on me, because I offer insight about the material. I love when insight occurs in the math or science classes (which doesn’t happen too often), but to me that is the best combination. I’m convinced I’m an INTJ with really developed Fi. I think my cognitive functions are that of INTJ, but I “look” like an INFJ (yet my inward cognitive processes sound a bit more like INTJ). I could be wrong, but after rethinking all of my cognitive functions and letters (again), my debate still stands with the T vs F. I have a *lot* of feelings and I’m sensitive (so I’ve been told by counselors), but I don’t usually notice my feelings and I don’t consciously operate through them, if that makes any sense.

        I think that there are MBTI stereotypes which are either true by those who are clean-cut INFJs or INTJs or whatever other type who strongly possess all of those qualities (and are thus drawn to the MBTI), or who falsely perpetuate the stereotype by exaggerating certain qualities in themselves either in forums or real life or who limit themselves to developing certain personality traits… don’t help people like me.

        Sorry for commenting on this post so much. Once again, thank you for helping me sort it out – knowing myself better means a lot, partly because I’ve spent so long not having much of a clue.

      • Tiago says:

        Hello Sue.

        Everything you say resonates with me. I also score high in Ni for some reason. But, I’m INTP. Your Ni could be a strong Ti with Ne. With introverts, J are perceivers and P are judgers; it’s their dominant function. I suggest you read INTP descriptions to see if they resonate with you.

        Best of luck in your findings!

      • Sue says:

        Introverts are inwardly perceiving, which is what Ni is. I may be confusing by giving and doubting more info than needed.

        Isn’t Ti more of a conscious, inward judging process? What is that like? Since you say you experience similarities, would you like to chat somewhere away from this comment section to try to understand ourselves better? It’s always easier for me to type others better than I can type myself.

        My email is

      • Sue says:

        …or, I could be an INFJ with weak Fe? *gives up*

        You know, I found a forum one day after hours of forum hunting on INXJ topics where this businessman (INFJ) with developed Ti (who initially thought he was INTJ) claimed that after a lot of research, he believed that INFJs feel before thinking and that INTJs think before feeling. “That’s it,” he said.

        Maybe that’s something.

  11. Sue says:

    Whoops that was so long, and self-centered. I’m sorry!!! If you do decide to respond, feel absolutely free to delete it afterward because, wow I just bombarded your nice informative website with my annoying self-centered me-ness.

    • Tiago says:

      I hope psyphics has the opportunity to respond to you Sue, because I believe I’m in the same boat.

      • Sue says:

        For the record (if this helps anyone), I finally discovered that I’m hands-down INTP. My so-called Ni was Ti-Ne. The strong judging feeling was Ti, and the logic/intense feeling dichotomy is dominant Ti and inferior Fe.

    • Christy says:

      Sue, I have been reading through your comments with great interest and was so pleased to get to your September 2015 comment and find that after two years you’d reached a conclusion (and came back to comment about it). I know that when abuse and manipulation come into the picture, it becomes just that much harder to find out who you really are.
      I don’t have that sort of background, but I was raised by a mother almost diametrically opposite to me in personality and who, inadvertently, also made me think that her way was the right way to be and mine the wrong, and I have spent years trying to figure out how much of what I do and how I think is a result of that and how much who I actually am. It’s been a bit relieving to read comments by people with some of the same questions.

  12. JeremyHK says:

    Hi first of all, thank you for sharing your intensive research and explanation on personality types. I have been obsessively searching and trying to classify my type over the past few months. However, I still can’t seem to nail down my dominant type!

    After researching and taking countless personality tests / quizzes and consciously classifying myself everyday through my behaviour and interaction with people, it could be one of these 4 types: INTJ-INFJ-INTP-INFP.

    But recently, I have narrowed down to either INTJ or INFJ and felt like I have both of these traits when making judgement. I am currently working as an electrical engineer and most of the time I need to portray an INTJ behaviour. By going through the scenarios that you laid out in your ‘INFJ vs INTJ’ article, I still couldn’t come to a conclusion which is my type. I felt like I am between both of them.

    I saw from one of your replies that one’s type could be INTJ/INFP? Is it because of their shared Te & Fi functions? I liked your article on INFJ vs INTP. Appreciate if you can do an article on INTJ vs INFP?

    Thank you for your patience and understanding. Looking forward to more great articles from you!

    Have a nice day,

    JeremyHK, Singapore

    • psyphics says:

      INTJs with well developed feeling can come across as INFP/ISFP to others. I’ve seen many writers who would probably type as INTJ being typed as INFP (C.S Lewis, George Orwell…) because of their topics of interest. But the two types are very different in behavior, cognitive functions, worldview and drive.

      What in particular about the INFP do you I identify with?

      The Ti/Fe vs Te/Fi difference is very clear in communication styles.
      Ti/Fe discerns intention from tone, non verbal cues… and filters the content of speech subjectively.
      Te/Fi places emphasis on the content of speech and assumes the intention of the other person.

      People who use the same function pair usually communicate better.
      To test this out, simply ask another person (whose type you know) to paraphrase what you tell them.

      A Te/Fi user is more likely to limit what you said to the context of the conversation.
      A Ti/Fe user is more likely to describe where you are coming from and “inferred” meaning.

      If you find that INFJs/INTPs understand you better than INFPs/INTJs, you are probably INFJ.

      Another obvious differentiator is self-disclosure.

      Fi/Te users see their emotions as very private and are unlikely to share them openly in a group. They are slower to “open up” to people and need to establish trust with a person before sharing their feelings because they experience them as parts of themselves.

      Fe/Ti users are more comfortable discussing personal topics in group settings, and they find it helpful to discuss their emotions with other people. They find it helpful to share their emotions and analyze them with another person or a group because they usually experience them when they are interacting with others.

      I will talk about it more in a future post about the cognitive function pairs.

  13. An Ri says:

    darnit. I’m still not sure.

  14. William says:

    I think the way we express our type depend of our life experiences.
    I always been a very sensitive boy, easily overwhelming by emotions and feelings, and I always wanted peace in my relation. Maybe that’s why I wanted to be a good boy in the eyes of my father, who is a very cold and logical man, and I didn’t express myself as I would.
    During scolarity, I had some problem to have close friends so I pursue to seem cold and to analyse why my relations didn’t work.
    But now I have good friends I love, I understand how I love to take care of them.
    All the tests said to me I am an INFJ but I was questionning myself about the fact I was so calculating. Also I think I’m just an INFJ who learnt to use another part of his brain to be closer with his dad and to protect him against other children, and who can now express himself in the way he always wanted.

  15. Dev says:

    I think It would be a great article for INFJ and ENFJ. Your descriptions are fantastic and I know a lot of INFJs and ENFJs would benefit from it.

    I am 100% positive I am an INFJ. But every once in awhile I will begin to doubt that and I feel a suspicion that I am an ENFJ.
    (Guess my Ni is just trying to fine tune the truth.)

    Though, typically I’m introverted ’till I am around a large group of people. Then I adjust myself and I appear to be VERY extraverted.

    Then, of course, I get home, I cry for no reason and get very depressed for a couple days after a large social gathering… and then I analyze everything… of course no one knows I do this except for my mother who feel I need to go on depression medication. I just assume that it is from the over expended psychic energy, and the stress is manifested through unconscious depression. Which I know is an INFJ quality…

    I have a very difficult time with happiness. Because when I am (rarely and truly aware of) happy, it is immediately followed by an equal reaction of depression. and I know ENFJs have depression issues when they are found alone. HOWEVER, most ENFJs are very content with their life and have no problem being happy (Fe/Se).

    I have a strong desire for Se happiness. But I feel like I’ll never attain it.

    Also, I don’t have many “friends”(unlike ENFJs). I have many friends in the eyes of others, however I feel like I don’t have any, because no one truly knows me (strong Ni quality).

    But my main hang up with ENFJs is that I am VERY expressive and passionate, and I feel more aware of Fe rather than Ni.

    Communication wise I’d rather write. Its been my whole life I’ve said that. Id rather write than speak. IDK if ENFJs feel this way, considering Fe (dom) is a passionate function that likes expression.

    But also, ENFJs don’t sit at their computer on typology websites as 12:00 at night for the sake of understanding themselves and expelling self doubt…

    Idk, someone help me out.

  16. ixxx says:

    The INTJ one fits me more, except that I am usually nonexpressive and pensive. I can be passionate when I really know the topic or have an idea, but usually I don’t see the point of being talkative. I think I’m more introverted than average though so neither my Fe nor my Te are as strong as one of them maybe should be.

  17. Natalie Euley says:

    After reading the comments I am even more uncertain. I tend to be extremely empathetic, i.e. I know how to manipulate people and how to comfort them. I totally fit “the counselor” in that way. But I am also a complete puzzle, problem-solving, analytical “mastermind”. I am extremely blunt when I need to be and extremely feelsy when I need to be. With strangers I am generally blunt and with my loved ones generally feelsy. Depending on the situation, when somebody tells me something, I could go, “Give me the numbers.” or “What influences you to feel that way?” I generally prefer to express myself through writing. But I don’t get poetry or art or anything. I certainly appreciate its value and the inspiration behind it, but I can’t analyze it. But I can analyze a binary tree delete algorithm in my sleep. Anyway, writing helps me sort out my thoughts. I can write my own poetry, and I can draw my own diagrams. But half the time I don’t get others’. When I feel like conversing, I do it to the max. But when I am done, I’m done. I have a huge drive. HUGE. And tons of leadership ability. I can work my way to the top and lead like nobody’s business. Some of that comes from pure selfishness. But a lot of it comes from the desire to make a difference, the desire to help humanity by pushing it in the right direction. I love to help people. A lot. But I also love to criticize them. I am the perfect person to find every tiny problem in your math homework or on your research paper and make you feel stupid. Then I’ll sit right by your side and help you work through every little mistake with empathy and compassion. I don’t care what others think of my appearance or my words. But I do care what they think of my actions. I tend to be meticulous and organized when required. But I will also procrastinate to the point that I feel guilty for it. I tend to keep my emotions inside until I completely understand them. Then I express them to people, in the passionate, feelsy, direct way I do everything. And I almost always recognize when I am talking too much. I can sense other people and how they feel quite immediately. Sometimes I choose to ignore it, but I sense it. I an genuinely interested in other people and one of my most common lines is, “Enough about my life! What about yours?” The last thing I am is extroverted, though. For every hour I spend talking to people, I need two hours alone. I often seem distant when inside my head, but down on the earth, I will often be that friend that acts like your mom and hugs you after giving advice. As far as my current life path goes, my career is a classic INTJ- programming and computers. And my hobbies are classic INFJ- reading books, playing with kids, caring for animals. I don’t know if there is enough detail here to determine what I am, or if it is all too conflicting (which is what I tried to emphasize), but I hope you can help XD

  18. Alvin says:

    INTJ vs INFJ – does it automatically mean that if you’re highly empathetic you’re an INFJ?

    • psyphics says:

      INFJs are naturally sensitive to others’ visible emotions. They empathize from “with-out”.

      INTJs are in tune with the internal/unconscious processes that underly emotions. They sympathize from “within”

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