The Dark Side Of The INTP Myers Briggs Personality Type

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The Negative Traits Of The INTP "The Logician" Myers Briggs Personality Type
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The Myers-Briggs personality test has sixteen possible results, or personality types, each indicated by four letters. INTP (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving) is one of the rarest types, representing only three percent of the general population (and only two percent of women).

Often nicknamed "The Thinker", "The Logician" or "The Analyst", the INTP personality type is pretty impressive in many areas and is easily one of the brightest Myers-Briggs types.

They have an uncanny ability to solve problems and think outside of the box. In fact, some of the greatest thinkers and innovators in history were INTP including Socrates, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and even Carl Jung himself, the psychologist whose theories largely influenced the creation of the Myers Briggs test! Clearly, this type has some serious brains.

But with this intellect comes plenty of shortcomings. INTPs have what some might call a dark side, but much of it is unintentional and they typically mean well.


1. They have a really hard time empathizing with other people.

The main downfall for most INTPs lies in the “T.” Instead of Feeling, like several other personality types, INTPs are prone to neglecting emotional aspects of life which leads to defects in their relationships with others.

If you try to open up to an INTP with personal details and vulnerability, you might feel ignored or dissatisfied with their lack of feedback and investment in the conversation. They might come across as completely detached.

It’s not that they’re cold per se; their emotional side is simply underdeveloped while their focus is on logic. They’re problem solvers, so they might be able to offer a unique perspective or solution in lieu of empathy.

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2. They can become socially withdrawn and painfully uneasy in social settings.

INTP personalities are socially withdrawn overall due to their focus on theories, work and problem-solving. In short, they live in their own heads and prefer to keep to themselves.

They’re introverts to the extreme! When given the opportunity to talk about a topic of their expertise, INTPs will elaborate freely, surprising coworkers and acquaintances who’ve been around them before. But small talk is nearly impossible for them. They become easily distracted by more interesting thoughts in their mind or happenings in the environment.

They might come across as rude or condescending during conversations with less substance, even though they don’t mean it. If you can engage them about a complex topic or new idea, they’ll come out of their shells and thrive. Beware, however, that their thoughts on more complex topics seem convoluted or messy to outsiders. They might make sense and seem organized enough to the introspective INTP, but they always seem to come out jumbled in conversation.

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3. Surprisingly, they aren't very good at debating.

Engaging an INTP in a debate is extremely stimulating to them, and they’ll thank you later. But their debate tactics aren’t perfect (i.e. the previously-mentioned convoluted thoughts). For instance, when debating or speaking on a topic that they aren’t fully familiar with, an INTP will state assumptions and opinions as facts. They are eager to be fully informed, but might mistakenly misinform others during their quest for knowledge.

They might also become overly analytical of their counterpart, correcting grammar, semantics and irrelevant details in a desperate attempt to come out ahead in the conversation (even though it really isn’t productive). Since they take problem-solving personally, it's easy for them to get frustrated when presented with evidence against their established theory.

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4. They’re not lazy; they’re just thinking too much.

It might seem like your INTP friends are lazy, but why is that? They’re certainly smart enough to motivate themselves. They come across as lethargic to many due to their debilitating overload of self-doubt and fear of failure, and their internally-focused thinking doesn’t help.

In fact, INTP is the most likely personality type among college students to violate alcohol and drug policy (more likely self-medication than partying) and they tend to get lower grades than their generally high aptitude scores predict. They have trouble giving full attention during class (despite their love of learning and critical thinking) because they get caught up in the details and tangential thoughts. However, this doesn’t really impede them as much in the workplace.

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5. They might struggle with close relationships.

Finally, let’s talk relationships. We’ve already established that INTPs aren’t “people” people, so how do they navigate their friendships and romantic partnerships? Well, they’re pretty picky. Their fear of rejection only allows them to get close to a lucky few who they believe that they can trust.

INTPs also only care to put effort into long-lasting and close relationships with people who live up to their intellect or, at least, can keep up with their logic in in-depth conversations. If you’re romantically involved with an INTP, you probably know that it’s a two-sided coin.

While they get creative with ways to spice up the relationship and keep you guessing, they are quick to put themselves first and neglect your emotions. They have trouble putting themselves in your shoes, or they might not pick up on your feelings at all, so you need to tell them if you’re upset.

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INTP holds a lot of mysteries, many of which could be considered a dark side of the personality. Being of one of the rarest personality types, INTPs strive to be understood better than they are, so it’s imperative to be understanding of their quirks and the reasons behind them.

Remember that while the general description of INTP is startlingly accurate in many circumstances, each INTP is an individual with his or her own, unique spin on the personality type. Don’t just rely on the test, get to know them as individuals!


Emily Van Devender is a freelance writer and Colorado native. When she’s not writing, Em enjoys live music, photography, and spending time outdoors.