How to Tell if You’re an INTJ vs. INTP

INTJ vs. INTP blog cover

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an INTJ vs. INTP personality type. These two types are often confused because they share many of the same characteristics. Both types are logical, reserved, and creative. They are also deep thinkers who love to learn.  

But there are also some core differences between how these types think and experience the world. In this post, we explore these key differences. If you’re unclear about your type, we hope this helps you.

So here are five differences between the INTJ vs. INTP personality types:

1. Motivation for learning.

There are few, if any, personality types who enjoy learning as much as INTJs and INTPs. Both types innately have a thirst for information, and they are some of the most knowledgeable people out there. However, their motivation for learning comes from different places.

INTJs tend to learn with a specific goal in mind. They care about efficiency and get satisfaction from achieving what they set out to do. For example, an INTJ may read a book about pensions and take a course on money management because they want to maximize their retirement income.

School blackboard

INTJs make calculated decisions, and they carefully consider the opportunity cost of their time. This is what drives them to learn about topics that can help them further their life in one way or another. If there’s one thing that INTJs love, it’s learning about abstract topics with real-world applications.

They love to solve problems and make systems more efficient because of the impact the results have on the external world. They think about the long-term impacts of everything they do, which means that their actions generally have clear reasons behind them, including learning.

INTPs tend to learn because they are deeply curious about how things work. They get considerable enjoyment from learning for the sake of it.

For example, an INTP might read a book about pensions and take a course on money management because they are intrigued by all the potential ways you can invest money. They may or may not use the learnings in their every day lives.

INTPs tend to go through phases where they are deeply interested in a specific topic for a while, and then, once they feel that they fully understand it, they move on to the next subject of their fascination.

While INTPs also love to solve problems, they are less concerned about using the learnings in the outer world.

2. Exploring possibilities.

INTPs and INTJs both look for underlying meanings, and they naturally read between the lines. Their brains are always connecting things. However, INTPs think more broadly, while INTJs tend to focus on fewer topics.

INTJs naturally delve deep into concepts. They are constantly thinking about different scenarios, whether or not they want to. In fact, INTJs can often foresee how events will play out with great accuracy.

The thought process they go through (often unconsciously and at lightning speed) is if X happens, then Y happens, then Z happens, and so forth.

Similar to INTPs, INTJs are also talented at recognizing patterns, but they tend to have a narrower, deeper focus. They think far into the future. This means they are often capable of playing the long game and can stand out in a world where the vast majority of people are focused on immediate gratification.

INTPs naturally imagine many different possibilities. They are always thinking about ideas and have the ability to connect the dots between seemingly unrelated topics. Some people might describe INTPs as scatterbrained.

It’s common for INTPs to jump from one idea to another in quick succession. As a result, they can find it hard to finish projects. When another shiny new idea takes their fancy, they can become excited about this instead.

In a recent poll we conducted at So Syncd, INTPs were one of the types most likely to say they are easily distracted.

3. Making decisions.

INTPs and INTJs both use logic to make decisions, but in slightly different ways. INTJs use logic based on objective facts, while INTPs use logic based on what makes sense to them.

INTPs use inductive logic to make decisions. This means they start at the theory, then go to the facts, and then return to the theory. Essentially, INTPs use facts to prove their theories.

Over their lifetimes, they build an internal web of knowledge about how the world works. In fact, they can find it hard to accept information that conflicts with their framework of knowledge.

When making decisions, INTPs ask: “Does this make sense to me?” INTPs can take longer to make decisions because each choice must align with their internal model. Sometimes, it takes them time to work out where a new concept fits into their internal framework.

INTJs use deductive logic to make decisions. This means they start with the facts, then go to the theory, and then return to the facts. Essentially, INTJs use logic based on what is verifiable in the outside world.

INTJs tend to focus on the end result they are looking to achieve and work backward from there in order to decide on the best decision to get to that point.

When making decisions, INTJs ask: “Does this make sense based on facts?” They tend to be a little quicker at making decisions because they don’t filter each choice through a complex internal framework in the same way that INTPs do. That said, INTJs aren’t typically “quick” decision-makers compared to your average person.

4. Organization.

INTPs and INTJs have a similar approach to life in a lot of ways. After all, they share preferences for introversion, intuition, and thinking. However, the way they organize their day-to-day lives can look quite different. INTPs prefer to keep their options open, while INTJs feel more comfortable when they have a clear plan.

INTPs often appear relaxed and adaptable. In fact, they are in a lot of ways. They don’t like to plan too far in advance and are open to new experiences. This is because they love entertaining possibilities and can feel uncomfortable when they give up options.

But despite being flexible on the surface, INTPs are less adaptable in terms of their inner world. They feel very strongly when they think that someone is “wrong” or if they think someone is sharing inaccurate information. They will feel a deep need to correct this person, and they can do this in quite a blunt manner. As discussed, INTPs have very clear views on what makes sense to them.

INTJs are organized and tend to feel at ease when they have a plan. They like to know what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. This is because they have a lot going on in their heads and feel more comfortable when they have some structure in their outer lives.

Being in an environment where there is structure enables INTJs to think clearly and explore concepts internally. While both INTJs and INTPs are logical, the fact that INTJs are more likely to apply their logic to the outer world plays out in them organizing their life efficiently.

For example, they may have a specific place where they always put their keys, and so on. They are highly aware that small actions like this save them time in the long run.

Even though INTJs feel most comfortable with some kind of routine, they do need periods of time to recharge in their introverted bubble and pursue their interests.

5. Communication style.

INTPs and INTJs both tend to communicate in a calm, non-emotional manner but there are some nuances that can help you distinguish these types.

INTJs tend to be direct in the way they communicate. As they focus heavily on facts, they see the world as relatively black and white. This means they are clear about what they think and, in turn, what they say.

Rubix cube

INTJs often look for one clear answer based on facts. Additionally, they like to get to the point when communicating because they are so focused on efficiency. This also means that they can feel that it’s a waste of time going back and forth discussing different points of view.

Ultimately, INTJs don’t like to waste time, so they tend to be articulate and are often seen as people of few words. They can struggle when it comes to verbalizing their emotions.

INTPs communicate in a more direct manner than a lot of personality types but less so than INTJs. Despite being reserved, INTPs love to debate topics because it helps them clarify their opinions and thoughts.

In fact, they may even argue with themselves in their mind. They communicate in a more open-ended way compared to INTJs and often actively seek out other people’s opinions.

This means that although they can be blunt in some situations, they are generally less direct and set on a specific answer. INTPs will often play devil’s advocate just for the fun of it.

In general, INTPs can find it more challenging to communicate their thoughts than INTJs, and they can also find it difficult to talk about their feelings.

INTJ vs. INTP frequently asked questions

So, we have looked at the key differences between the INTJ vs. INTP personality types. Even for those who have explored personality types in depth, it can still be hard to tell the difference between these two types.

Let’s now look at some frequently asked questions about each personality type.

Are INTJs vs. INTPs smarter?

There’s no clear answer when it comes to determining which personality type is more intelligent. After all, intelligence can be measured in a lot of different ways and can mean different things to different people.

That being said, if you consider the most common measure, the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), INTJs and INTPs both tend to fare quite well. For example, both types are highly adept at problem-solving and conceptual thinking. They’re also quick learners who enjoy finding creative solutions to complex challenges.

So, while there’s no clear winner in the battle of INTJs vs. INTPs, it’s safe to say that both types have a tendency to be highly intelligent.

Are INTJs or INTPs more sociable?

INTJs and INTPs value their alone time, and they are the two least social personality types. However, that does not mean they don’t have social skills. More often than not, they have the potential to be charming and at ease in social situations; it’s just that they prefer not to spend too much time with other people, particularly in large groups.

INTJs tend to be more assertive and willing to share their opinions than INTPs. They are often quick to make decisions and are more comfortable taking charge. Plus, they often have goals that require sociability to some degree.

INTPs often prefer to stay in exploring a new topic of interest or playing games. As a result, they tend to spend less time with people because they often feel extremely fulfilled spending time by themselves learning about things they love.

In a So Syncd poll, 26% of INTJs described themselves as sociable compared to 22% of INTPs. So, on balance, INTJs are slightly more sociable than INTPs.

Are INTJs or INTPs more creative?

When it comes to creativity, both INTJs and INTPs tend to excel. These two personality types often see the world in a unique way, which enables them to think outside the box and come up with novel solutions.

However, there are some key differences between the two types. INTJs are more likely to use their creativity to plan for the future and improve systems.

In contrast, INTPs are more likely to use their creativity for fun. They are often drawn to solving problems because they enjoy it rather than because they have a deep desire to solve a real-world problem.

Ultimately, both types can be highly creative, but they take different approaches.

Final thoughts on INTJ vs. INTP differences

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our individual INTJ and INTP posts, which delve deeper into each personality type. Last but not least, if you enjoyed this blog post, you might also like ISTP vs. INTJ and INTP vs. ISTJ.

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