7 Differences Between The INTJ & INTP Personality Types
If you've ever taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, you know that people can be divided into 16 personality types based on factors like sociability, emotionality, information processing, and more.
When two types have only a one-letter difference—like an INTP and INTJ, for instance—you might assume they have a lot in common. And while this is partially true, the INTP and INTJ have some important distinctions that make them very different people. Here's what to know.
INTP vs. INTJ.
INTP stands for introverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving, whereas INTJ stands for introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. They're both relatively rare personality types: INTPs make up roughly 3% of the population (and more specifically, 5% of men and 2% of women), while INTJs make up 2% of the population (and are twice as likely to be men as women).
According to Dario Nardi, Ph.D., personality expert and author of Neuroscience of Personality, INTJs typically come across as busy, orderly introverts, who are as innovative as they are hardworking. INTPs, on the other hand, are big abstract thinkers, highly creative, and a bit more "loose" than INTJs, according to licensed therapist De-Andrea Blaylock-Solar, MSW, LCSW-S, CST.
While these two personality types are both introverted, intuitive, and thinking, the primary distinction between an INTP and INTJ is their difference in judging versus perceiving. Judging or perceiving relates to how you approach life, especially when it comes to planning for things to come. Someone with a preference for judging (INTJ, in this case) will feel supported and secure with the help of things like schedules, structure, and clearly defined expectations. A preference for perceiving (INTP), meanwhile, likes flexibility and spontaneity, and may actually be turned off by too much structure and routine.
7 key differences between an INTP and INTJ:
How they approach work.
As Nardi tells mindbodygreen, INTPs and INTJs may seem similar on the surface, as they're both creative, deep thinkers and innovators. "But when we look closely, we see that they work in different, sometimes even opposite ways," he explains. "INTP asks, Is the wording or thinking accurate? and INTJ asks, Is the idea implementable, and if so, is it effective?"
Two famous inventors—Albert Einstein and Nicola Tesla—are a prime example of this contrast, with Tesla being an INTJ and Einstein an INTP.
"[Tesla] dreamed up ideas for inventions and then went about trying to build them. If the result was effective, then he was satisfied and might keep building off of that, or more often, follow a new vision," Nardi says. Einstein, on the other hand, "observed the world around him, asked questions and formed hypotheses, and worked those out in his mind and with math to find a singular theory or framework to explain a very deep 'problem' (aka question)."
What they prioritize.
When it comes to what these two personality types prioritize and are motivated by, they have very different reasons for doing potentially the same thing. INTP, for instance, "focuses on problem-solving and has a deep psychological need to be right, whereas INTJ focuses on progress and has a deep psychological need to be invulnerable," says Nardi.
How they view their emotions.
The INTP and INTJ may both be thinking types rather than feeling types, but that doesn't mean they view their emotions in the same way. According to Nardi, INTPs are generally less aware of their emotions, and they mostly view them as social or relational in nature. "That is, caused by interactions with other people," he explains.
In contrast, INTJs are generally more aware of their emotions, and they mostly view emotions as intrapersonal, which Nardi describes as "something that arises within themselves, that is their responsibility to deal with."
How they come off to other people.
It turns out the difference in judging versus perceiving can dramatically impact how other people perceive you. According to Nardi, INTJs are "generally more socially presentable, more organized in daily life, and better able to make their ideas presentable and useful."
INTPs, on the other hand, come off as more flexible and relaxed, but are actually more mentally organized and logically consistent. "And they're more prone to actually do a lot of in-depth reading and digging for understanding," Nardi adds.
What stresses them out.
INTJs and INTPs can both be prone to stress, but for different reasons. When it comes to INTJs, they can be obsessive, with a narrow kind of tunnel vision that can keep them in a holding pattern. They also have a hard time relaxing in general and can be extremely impatient with themselves and others.
For INTPs, they have more patience, but do tend to get stressed out when they doubt themselves, have too much going on, or can't identify (or articulate) their own emotions. As psychotherapist Annette Nuñez, Ph.D., LMFT, previously told mindbodygreen, "These people are so highly intuitive but struggle to articulate that intuitiveness."
How flexible (or not) they are.
As you're likely catching on, INTJs are considerably less flexible when it comes to organizing and structuring their days—and lives in general. This helps them be hard workers who know how to stay on track but can result in that aforementioned impatience and rigidity.
Meanwhile, according to Blaylock-Solar, INTPs would actually benefit from being a bit less lackadaisical, whether they set up different systems to keep them on track or take more time to plan things out.
What they look for in relationships.
Lastly, INTPs and INTJs have some nuance in what they look for in their partnerships. Namely, according to Blaylock-Solar, INTPs love to ponder, think abstractly, and problem-solve, so they appreciate a partner who can keep up with their mind and intellectually stimulate them.
In the case of INTJs, Nardi says, they'll have their own unique, personalized criteria when it comes to what they're looking for and "tend to focus on having clear morals and ethics and hold themselves to high standards."
How can you tell an INTJ and INTP apart?
The primary distinction between INTJ and INTP is that INTJ is a judging type (preferring structure, planning, and organization), while INTP is a perceiving type (preferring flexibility, spontaneity, and "going with the flow").
Is INTP better than INTJ?
"Better" is a relative term, and no MBTI type is better than another. Each of the 16 types have their own strengths and weaknesses, and all of them have the ability to grow into well-rounded people.
Are INTJs and INTPs similar?
Yes, aside from their difference in judging versus perceiving, INTJs and INTPs share in their introverted, intuitive, and thinking traits.
When it comes to personality, slight nuances go a long way in how people behave, think, and approach their life in general. The INTJ and INTP may only differ in their judging versus perceiving traits, but that's clearly enough to make these two their own distinct and unique personality types.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.