On June 24, 2005, I wrote — Mark of the INTJ Rational-Mastermind — and today, that article has over 440 comments:

My temperament type is INTJ or Rational-Mastermind and I’ve known that over many tests over the arc of my life and here is a fun link to a fancy online report on my personality type that makes it really easy and clear to understand how your type affects you and others around you.

Living as an INTJ can be challenging because so few people really understand how you think or where you’re coming from, and in a business setting, we INTJs really need to be careful because our comments are so often negatively misunderstood as we operationally make our way through the world.

INTJs are rarely free to share what we know because people don’t speak directly and bluntly in the USA.  People soften, prevaricate, and allude when they speak to each other and that, unfortunately, leaves things open for interpretation and, perhaps, purposeful misdirection.

I find it helps the INTJ personality to have an “interpreter” available — either in person or offline — who can better parse the indirect meaning of what others are saying in consequential situations and to help “soften” how the INTJ chooses to respond.  An interpreter can help save time and heartache and also assist the INTJ in achieving our communication mantra — “Be blunt and cruel, it saves time;” — but without offending anyone on the way.

The interpreter — a “feeler” or a “guardian” personality type works best — can suggest word replacements for the INTJ: “Yes” for “No” and “Of, course!” for “Never!” and to let us know “Speak Your Mind” really means, “Say Nothing!”  In a pinch, another INTJ can have the necessary distance and scope to help an INTJ survive under a communication gun with an adversary personality.

The reverse translation also helps the INTJ:  “If you wouldn’t mind” becomes “Do it now” and “We’ll see” becomes “No” while “What do you think?” is revealed to mean, “Tell me what I want to hear;” and suddenly the world is a cleaner and clearer place for the intransigent INTJ trapped in the business wilds.

INTJs do a lot of hiding and coping in the workplace, and that can be a painful experience, because our vision and our knowing of the future are rarely valued and often mocked.  We take refuge in understanding we’ll eventually be proven right — even if that confession is never made by others in the public square.

27 Comments

  1. As another INTJ – I can only say how true this article is . I looked in to make sure you were safe , weathering the storm or if you had orders to evacuate. I have relocated to Portugal where I have a new man and a new life which suits me very well.

    1. Nicola!

      I have been concerned about you! I recently checked out your domain and your discussion area was closed without comment. I am thrilled to hear you are doing well and surviving.

      Hurricane Irene is causing a lot of heartache. So far, we are safe and good. We’re holding thumbs we don’t lose power tonight or tomorrow. We live in “The Heights” and our city is built on bedrock, so things tend to not get soggy and rain and show runs downhill away from us into Hoboken. The weather folk are saying the wallop will hit us in 12 hours and last for 12 hours through two tide cycles. When a hurricane moves slowly, like Irene, at about 25 mph instead of 70 mph, a lot of damage is done over a much longer period of time. Everything around is closed tomorrow. No subway or PATH trains starting 18 minutes ago. The whole area is in lockdown.

    1. We made it through the worst of it, although our living room was pretty much flooded because of leaking windows in apartments floors above us. That’s a curse of living on the ground floor — everyone’s else’s dismay winds up on your floor. We’ll have to clean and un-soak the rugs and books all day today and tomorrow. Not a great task worth seeking, but it must be done.

  2. It is a horrible job – have done it several times – please don´t be tempted to try and dry the books too fast otherwise you can cause more damage. If you can lay your hands on a dehumidifier that will help enormously. Good luck with the clean up X

    1. Thanks for the good energy! It’s sunny and 60 degrees here right now and on track to hit 80. Simply beautiful. Every fan I have has been “de-humidifying” the living room since yesterday and it seems a bit better now. Moving all the heavy furniture and bookshelves back where they belong will be a test.

  3. I hear you! Try being a black INTJ female 🙂
    I am learning not to speak when I am bursting to say something at work….smiling and nodding and trying to find softer words to communicate! I think it gets better with practice.
    I am grateful I meet a lot of like minded people on the internet.

  4. As a female INTJ, I found this Novara poem splendid 🙂

    B who u r
    n say wat u feel
    cuz those who mind
    dont matter
    n those who matter
    dont mind

    2 all my fellow INTJs, we have the power 2 change the world.

    1. Hmmm.

      I’m not sure a “True” INTJ would find value in such a poem. We tend to want to be precise and specific and “text speak” just doesn’t fit that measure because it is sloppy, unreadable and juvenile.

      1. “sloppy, unreadable and juvenile”

        Hah! It saves time N is simple 2 read n type. Sorry if u find it complicated but there is also a book on it 4 people who cannot understand, such as yourself. Also, I have taken 5 tests and am a TRU INTJ on all of them. The poem is something every INTJ lives by, n if u do not then mabe U r not 1. ;P

        Oh yes, do not take it personally. Lets talk: from this discussion, what could I B if i am not an INTJ? U R the ‘expert’…

  5. I didn’t do the ‘whole’ purchase thing, but it called me an ARTISAN (SP) Really? I’m confused. That’s not what I see in the mirror everyday. 🙂

        1. See? It’s starting, Lillian! You’re going to begin comparing that analysis with previous parts of your life and you wil have an entirely new understanding of who you are and who you have been all this time and where you are going — and you’ll start to understand the how and the why of other people not really understanding you in the past. It’s a great gift! You will feel released.

          1. It’s a great feeling, Lillian. Then, you need to get a copy of the “Please Understand Me” book — the original is better than the sequel — because it will begin to unravel other people in your life. You will see which personality types best fit you and which do not and why not. That gives you powerful prescience and insight into people and their motivations.

  6. How interesting! This is the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone else talking about this! I’ve always called it my “social chaperone” rather than “interpreter”, though. I’ve actually done this for a couple of years now.

    I’m part of a hobby that has events from time to time. I like to go, but the larger the event is, the greater the risk that I’m accidentally ticking someone off. I don’t mean to, but I naturally talk very fast and blunt. In situations with less people, I can concentrate and focus more on how I say things. But in larger groups it gets very tiring quickly.

    I really got tired of the misunderstandings and felt pretty defective when I decided I was either going to have to stop going or find someone that could help me with what I must be lacking. I ended up opting to try going with a socially adept person I could trust to give me accurate feedback. It’s actually worked out pretty good. I now just have to put up with the bruises on my legs from being kicked under the table! 🙂