Eleven Paradoxes of INTJs that Aren’t Really Paradoxes

Good news, everyone!

So, if you’ve been with me since the beginning, you’ll know I got my start making reaction blogs to articles about INTJs. These articles were things like “50 Struggles of Introverts”, “8 Gift Ideas for INTJs”, and the like. I stopped doing those because I covered the most interesting ones and because I thought it was better to stand up on my own two legs, meaning my own content. But this past week I came across a post on IG titled “11 Paradoxes of INTJs”. After looking through the list, I can plainly see that none of them are paradoxes, and I’m going to explain why here and now.

1. I don’t like being misunderstood, but I really don’t like it when people act like they have me figured out.

No one likes being misunderstood—it causes problems when people think you’re something that you’re not or think you represent a perspective that you don’t. Their assumption can lead to, well, misunderstandings. But that’s why this first one isn’t a paradox—being misunderstood and someone assuming they have you figured out are the same thing. Assumptions can lead to misunderstandings. What would make more sense is if it said “I don’t like being misunderstood, but sometimes I’m embarrassed to explain myself” or “but I don’t like talking about myself”. Both conditions are true for INTJs. I don’t know if it’s because we don’t feel comfortable explaining ourselves to that person or if it’s because we’re afraid of being shunned further if people knew how weird we actually are, but either way, we’d rather suffer the misunderstanding than explain ourselves.

2. I usually think I’m right, but don’t mind being proven wrong—especially if it’s a learning experience.

There are a couple of reasons why this isn’t a paradox. Firstly, because sometimes you just have to think you’re right. If you don’t run on some assumptions throughout your day, you’d be paralyzed with fear and not accomplish anything, so some chances have to be taken. Secondly, there’s a big difference between thinking you’re right and being wrong and knowing you’re right but being wrong. Thoughts can be wrong—they’re not knowledge, truth, or fact—they’re just thoughts. That’s why Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a disorder—because people with OCD are wrong in their thinking. (Ask me how I know that one.)

What is actually a paradox is that INTJs hate being wrong, but they appreciate being corrected so long as they learn from the experience. I mean, you can’t be corrected and learn something without being wrong first, but INTJs do their best not to make that mistake. We’d prefer to learn we’re wrong the easy way rather than the hard way.

3. I like being alone, but I also like the thought of being in a committed relationship with someone that “gets” me.

This isn’t much of a paradox either. Everyone has their own needs in life. Some people need more alone time than others because they’re more easily drained by social interaction. This happens to be the case for INTJs. But if you’re in a “committed relationship with someone that ‘gets'” you, you don’t need to worry about losing your alone time as a person who “gets” you will understand your need and not be offended. Especially since when you’re done being alone, you almost certainly want to be around them because that’s how a relationship works. Further, if you really preferred being alone that much, you wouldn’t pursue a relationship in the first place. And if you found yourself in one by accident, it wouldn’t last long. 

4. I don’t mind taking chances, but I hate making mistakes.

Isn’t this just #2 again? Anyway…

This isn’t a paradox because people hate being wrong. When you get things wrong, you waste time, you embarrass yourself, you lose money, etc. To make matters worse, when you take a chance, you’re already dealing with odds that may not be in your favor. That’s why it’s called “taking a chance”. Ask any gambler why they gamble and they’ll tell you that they love winning, but they’ll also say they hate losing, but all gamblers lose at some point—it’s the nature of the beast.

Further, mistakes can happen even when you’re not taking a chance, and often times those are the mistakes that hurt most of all.

5. I can be the life of the party, but would really rather be at home by myself—most of the time.

Okay, so the reason why this isn’t a paradox is because these two conditions are not mutually exclusive. Having the ability to be the life of the party and preferring to be alone are two different things—one is an ability, the other is a preference. That’s not paradoxical, that’s just ironic.

6. I’m creative, but logical.

Again, just like with #5, creativity and logic are not mutually exclusive. There’s no law stating that if you’re creative you can’t be logical. In fact, there are many creative pieces out there, movies, books, poems, art, etc, that possess an internal consistency. That is to say they have rules and norms by which the piece governs itself. Without them, the piece would simply be chaos. As for logic, mathematics is very logical, but there are math problems out there that can’t be solved. I don’t know how that’s possible, I just know they exist. However, sometimes a mathematician does come along who can solve these equations, and it’s usually because they were creative. There is science in art and art in science, people.

7. I’m either hot or cold, but never lukewarm—especially when it comes to people.

This isn’t a paradox either—this is just how people are. You’re allowed to feel any way you want: hot, cold, lukewarm, apathetic, whatever. It’s your choice if you want there to be a middle ground or only extremes. What’s more is that you’re also allowed to like and dislike whomever you want. Again, there are no rules defining this situation, so there are no paradoxes either.

8. I like to have a plan and a backup plan, but can be impulsive when feeling inspired.

INTJs like to be prepared, that is true, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Sometimes plans have to be changed. Either intel, our mood, or the situation changes, and we need to improvise on the spot. Things don’t always go according to plan. This isn’t being paradoxical, it’s being flexible. What would be madness is saying you act according to your plans, but then you’re completely impulsive. Which isn’t so much paradoxical as it is hypocritical.

9. I’m passionate about something, until I lose interest.

Now, this may or may not be a paradox depending on which definition of passion you’re using. If you’re using the common definition where passion is regarded as a short-lived, but intense emotion, well, then it’s no surprise that you lose interest—passion is short-lived. That’s one of its characteristics. If however you’re using the classical definition where a “passion” is a “labor of love”, meaning that you love something so much that you are willing to suffer for it, then that would be a paradox because if you really loved it, you wouldn’t lose interest in it. And perhaps in these moments, it’s not fair to say you’re passionate about “it” because you don’t intend on suffering for it. Maybe a better term is you feel “inspired” by it because it pushes you to show interest in something new.

10. I like to solve problems and create things, but I hate the monotony of maintaining the things I’ve created.

No one said creation and maintenance are the same thing. Sure, there are times where this is backwards, such as in the case of a relationship or a child, but if you’ve created something, then it makes sense that you don’t want to maintain it. You’ve made it—you dreamt it up, you made it real, and now that it exists, you no longer have to dream about it and you can move onto the next thing. You can take what you learned creating the first thing and use that knowledge to make the next thing better. (Although, I’m not sure if this is an INTJ paradox as I love maintaining the things I created. I can’t get enough of them and I’m very protective of my babies.)

11. I don’t like being the center of attention, but I hate being overlooked.

Wait, isn’t this the same thing as #5? Anyway…

Look, being the center of attention and being overlooked are not opposites. Being overlooked suggests you’re being ignored, whereas just because you’re not the center of attention that doesn’t mean you’re being overlooked. It’s fine to want people to care about you to only a certain extent. INTJs don’t need the same amount of maintenance from others that other people do. Just so long as someone cares enough, we can make do with that and not feel as if we’re being left out.

Rain on Your Wedding Day

Hopefully, that was illuminating. I realize that this wasn’t a long blog or even as intellectual as I usually write, but I tried the long-winded approach, and it didn’t work. I mean, how long is a piece of string? Well, that depends on what it’s being used for. In this case, I didn’t need a very long string. These weren’t really paradoxes—most of them were ironies at best and felt like they violated some sort of convoluted, inner INTJ logic at worst. But that’s all it was. Just a few things thought up by an INTJ who spends too much time in his own head.

But what do you think? Did I miss the mark on some of these? Are they actually paradoxes and I didn’t notice? What are some INTJ paradoxes that actually exist? Let me know in the comments below.

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