Why INTJs Are Loners

Good news, everyone!

So, INTJs are loners, but why are they loners? Initially, I wrote a blog covering this about 2-and-a-half years ago on my original blog. I came up with six reasons why INTJs are loners. They were (Constantly) Misunderstood, Don’t Understand Everyone Else, Prefer the Inner World, Kind of Assholes, Too Intense for Some People, and Succeeding Alone Proves Your Strength. It was an okay blog, but I know I can do better.

So, I started to brainstorm ideas for a rewritten version, and I managed to come up with more than the original six. But when I started expounding on them, certain patterns began to emerge. It became obvious that the many reasons why INTJs are loners is due to our cognitive functions/function stack. That may sound obvious, but I did initially try to separate the reasons why INTJs are loners from the cognitive functions—I tried to keep it simple. But, there’s no doing that it seems since INTJs have such a unique function stack. It’s not just the functions themselves, but also how they are influenced by the dominant function. So, let’s talk about why INTJs are loners.

The Rarest Function – Ni

Honestly, it’s all Ni’s fault. It all begins with Introverted Intuition, the rarest cognitive function, and as a result, making NJs the rarest types.

For those who don’t know, Ni collects conscious and subconscious information, synthesizing it all to produce impressions, insights, answers, and theories, as a means to see deep causes, patterns, and laws underlying data. It’s tied to deep perceptiveness and insight, deep knowing, theoretical genius, powers of analysis and focus, and advising and troubleshooting (My True Type, 83). And this is the problem: for one thing, not many people concern themselves with analysis, deep knowledge, or insight into the world. Some people don’t even bother looking for it, and many who have it, don’t know what to do with it once they’ve found it. This mystical perspective almost places INTJs on a higher cognitive plane than others.

But, it should be said that INTJs are not the only ones with Ni, and further, they’re not the only ones who have Ni as their dominant function. INFJs also have Ni as their dominant function, while ENJs have it as their auxiliary function, ISPs have it as their tertiary function, and ESPs have it as their inferior function. So then, what is so different about INTJs and their use of Ni to make them such lonely characters?

Firstly, it should come as no surprise that the dominant function affects the others. After all, why wouldn’t it, it is dominant. This means Ni forces the other functions to look for, adopt, and operate by deep truths and deep knowledge, which forces a state of constant analysis. It pushes every function to operate at its greatest capacity and to bear no contradiction or hypocrisy, for neither is truth and there is no knowledge in lies. So, if the unique eccentricity of INJs boils down to Ni being their dominant function, that means we can disregard the other personalities, but that then begs another question: what separates INTJs from INFJs?

As I said before, it’s not merely enough to pin the blame of the INTJ loneliness on Ni; we must also look at the other functions in the function stack and how Ni influences them. For the sake of a quick argument, I’ll only look at how Ni affects the auxiliary function when comparing INTJs to INFJs as the tertiary and inferior functions are often much more buried and not as likely to be interacted with. Therefore, let’s take a look at how Ni influences Extraverted Thinking, Te, an INTJ’s auxiliary function.

The Search for Truth Supercharged – Ni-Te

Te is mainly focused on logic and rationale. It’s about efficiency, decisiveness, and getting things done. It would rather fix a problem than commiserate. It’s about being correct, taking action, and it doesn’t have time for nonsense (My True Type, 175). Basically, Te has no chill, and it doesn’t want any chill. It’s here to chew ass and kick bubblegum, and it’s all out of bubblegum.

So, what happens when tight-ass Te meets mystic, deep knowing, deep theorizing Ni? You basically get an HP Lovecraft character. You get someone who is on a fever-pitched search for the truth, no matter what sort of monsters and mayhem may be revealed. They’re looking for those deep, deep, deep hidden truths and deep, forbidden knowledge that no one knows. It also doesn’t help that both functions are known for analysis, which is probably why INTJs can spend days doing “nothing”. They look like they’re doing nothing, but in reality their minds are working away at a million thoughts a minute. They’re pushing hard to find the truth and the greatest of all knowledge, and Te aids in this search by making it ruthlessly efficient and logical, which helps to further their loneliness. Again, most people don’t bother with these things or they don’t bother with it to this extent. It basically turns INTJs into a sort of weird recluse who goes digging for information in places where others wouldn’t think to look or want to look. Again, an INTJ is basically an HP Lovecraft character, like Charles Dexter Ward. But what about the difference between INTJs and INFJs?

The Wise Old Sage

Well, where INTJs have Te as their auxiliary function, INFJs have Fe as theirs. And whereas Te is concerned with objective truth, feelings be damned, Fe is concerned with fulfilling others’ feelings, the truth possibly being damned. Due to their Ni-Fe combo, INFJs tend to act as advisors and counselors to their friends, like an old sage or wise man. They want to genuinely help their friends and others, and so, although INFJs may see themselves as outsiders, INFJs are usually welcome additions to the group, possibly even sought out and elevated as a pinnacle of wisdom. INTJs however have no issues ostracizing themselves in their pursuits for the truth. And due to the ruthless efficiency and rationale afforded to them by Te, they can be seen as brusque. Sure, sometimes they may be sought out by others for sage-like advice, but generally, society has no issue turning its back on them for being “rude” and “weird”.

The Most Perfect Morality – Ni-Fi

Fi is the function most concerned with personal morality. It spends a lot of time weighing and surveying its personal thoughts and feelings. It’s a function aligned towards having the best possible morals and ensuring that whoever has this function lives their life accordingly.

Now, when you combine an already perfectionistic function with another function that’s looking for the deepest knowledge and the deepest truths, then you end up with a personality most concerned with finding the best morality and acting according to it. Many don’t realize how moral or ethical INTJs can be since they usually deal with an INTJ’s Ni-Te combination, but behind the purely rational exterior of Ni-Te, there’s a constant struggle in the shape of Ni-Fi, trying to make the INTJ be the best person they can be.

“Those who do not live by the law, shall die by the law!”

However, if an INTJ has no religious upbringing, then it’s very possible that all their morals, as discovered by Fi, have been rationalized out by Te, making those particular INTJs practitioners of a rational, fact-based morality, like the Renaissance humanists of the Age of Enlightenment. But for INTJs who do practice a religion, they will likely accept the morality of that religion and push themselves continuously to live up to its morals. Either way, Ni will push Fi to find the most honorable and most truthful morals, and Fi will push the INTJ to live according to those morals.

This is another reason why INTJs are loners. They have stringent morals that they adhere to as strongly as they would to any factual truth because, put simply, their morals are truth. 2+2=4 is as factual and as truthful as “thou shall not kill”. This can result in a zealous-like adherence, hence why INTJs are not likely to be found amongst more common personalities which may bend their own rules to justify having a “little fun”, a fact that INTJs find utterly repulsive.

Exquisite Taste – Ni-Se

Here’s where things get a little tricky. As I keep mentioning, and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing, Ni is concerned with deep truths and deep knowledge and great theories. Se, Extraverted Sensing, doesn’t really concern itself with any of that. Se is more about experiencing the physical world and living it up. It’s about enjoying life, having fun, taking spontaneous action, and experiencing new things. It hates books and lectures, and would rather go shopping, dancing, driving, having sex, or playing sports. Now, that probably doesn’t sound like a lot of INTJs you know and the reason for that is that many INTJs deny the existence of their inferior function because they’re not used to using it. This gives rise to the stereotypical INTJ who says things like “Dancing is a waste of time” and “I don’t like hugs”. Both are outright lies. It’s just that INTJs don’t want to be seen dancing poorly and they have standards when it comes to hugs.

Ah-ha! There it is! There’s Ni’s influence. Ni, the function concerned with only the very best of everything, won’t allow an INTJ be seen dancing poorly. Unfortunately, everyone has to start somewhere and INTJs don’t want to be seen starting from the bottom. They want to hit the scene like a dance machine. And when it comes to hugs, they don’t hug anyone and everyone. They only hug those who have earned their respect and affection. They also make sure to give the best hugs possible and despise half-hearted hugs. Those are used on inferior people that you can’t say no to, like your relatives.

The C8 Corvette – The Ferrari-Killer – The only GM vehicle an INTJ is allowed to own.

As with Te and Fi, Ni pushes Se to find the ultimate truths and greatest theories behind all the sensual pleasures of the world. This is why INTJs have such exacting tastes with regards to music, literature, art, sports, food, having fun, and making love. They pursue the truth, often found within the classical methods and theories when it comes to the arts and often found within basic science when it comes to other sensual pleasures, and they adhere to it. This is why INTJs often sneer and turn their nose up at pop culture or anything vulgar and common. It’s why INTJs don’t listen to rap or why they don’t drive anything made by General Motors. It’s why you don’t see them eating at McDonald’s, playing football (American), reading Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey, and why they don’t believe in quickies (unless they have the “combination” memorized). INTJs are pursuing an epic lifestyle, worthy of remembrance for all time, and many of the above aren’t worth remembering.

But believe it or not, Ni’s relationship with Se goes deeper than that. Not only does Ni influence Se, but Ni also uses Se to collect information and data about the outside world so it can utilize that information when trying to figure out the truth or when trying to form its theories. This is why INTJs are kind of hard to jump-scare in public—because they’re always on high alert. (That and they’re not always comfortable with their surroundings.) That’s probably why INTJs find being out in the world so exhausting—they’re constantly absorbing new information and trying to figure out how it all goes together. And again, this all lends to their loneliness.

How many people are looking for objective truth in realms where others think there is no objective truth? How many people want the very best of everything, including every experience known to man? And how many people use their findings to reform their current body of data? As it is said, if you want to be a part of the 1%, you have to be willing to do what 99% of people aren’t.

Unlike Everyone Else – Conclusion

In the end, is it really any wonder why INTJs are loners? To put it simply, they’re more interested in doing their own thing than getting along with or interacting with others. And their own thing is mystical, esoteric, and abstract—something that many people in the world are not good with. As a result, it really isn’t much of a wonder why INTJs are most attracted to and most attractive to other highly intuitive types—those with Ne and Ni in the top two roles of their function stacks. And unfortunately, those sorts are rarer than everybody else, hence adding to the loneliness. But ultimately, INTJs are loners because it’s who they are.

What do you think? Did I nail this one, or am I missing something? Let me know in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “Why INTJs Are Loners

  1. This part made me finally understand my husband. You wrote it really well. (I am an Infj) Thank you for that!

    “How many people are looking for objective truth in realms where others think there is no objective truth? How many people want the very best of everything, including every experience known to man? And how many people use their findings to reform their current body of data? As it is said, if you want to be a part of the 1%, you have to be willing to do what 99% of people aren’t. “

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