The INTP is one of the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, making up only 3-5 percent of the U.S. population. As a result, INTPs are often misunderstood and can easily feel alone in the world. But INTPs are brilliant individuals, known for their inventiveness and powerful intellect — and insightful observations. In fact, famous INTPs have been responsible for major innovations throughout history: Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and Isaac Newton were thought to have been INTPs.
Are you one of the few people who possess this rare personality type? If you relate to most of these signs, you might be an INTP.
Signs That You’re an INTP
1. You’re a walking B.S. detector
You easily spot the logical errors in any given argument or explanation. It’s hard for people to lie to you because you know when something doesn’t add up. (It’s also hard for people to lie to themselves around you.)
2. 98 percent of what people do is boring
You have little interest in day-to-day, routine matters, like keeping your space clean and organized or answering emails at work. What you really want to be doing with your time is using your creative genius to drill down on problems and develop solutions.
3. You have a bad case of Christmas Tree Brain
You often seem lost in an unending daydream, as your mind is always humming with ideas — in part because INTPs are one of just a few personality types that exhibit Christmas Tree Brain. This is when so many different areas of the brain “light up” in quick succession that, on an EEG, they look like the blinking lights of a Christmas tree. It’s also when a lot of your most brilliant ideas come to you.
4. You tear things down
You’re eager to break apart ideas that others take for granted. You can be ruthless when analyzing concepts and beliefs, and you consider very little to be sacred; you don’t understand how some people stay loyal to ideas that have been proven illogical. As a result, you can easily offend people when you speak your mind (and many INTPs choose simply not to do so).
5. You only open up to a select few
The stereotypical “nerd,” you may be shy or withdrawn around people you don’t know well. However, you become talkative and enthusiastic when you meet someone who shares your niche interests.
6. There’s a ghost in the machine
Deep down, you’re a sensitive and emotional person. You simply struggle to express your feelings due to your Feeling function not being well developed. Since your mind is a logic machine, it often feels like your emotions are the monkey wrench that clogs up its otherwise seamless functioning. INTPs can get around this by treating emotions as something to be studied in their own right. Many INTPs become exceptional listeners, and exhibit great caring and tolerance to those they love.
7. Relationships have never come easy to you
Getting out and meeting new people, risking rejection, and being emotionally vulnerable are all far outside your comfort zone. As a result, you often wait for others to make the first move. However, when you do get into a relationship, you’re a dedicated, loyal partner or friend.
8. You’re not a cheerleader
You’re probably not the person your friends turn to for emotional support. You’d much rather give practical advice to resolve the underlying issue than offer sympathy. (Some friends, especially INTJs, will really value this about you.)
9. You care about more than just results
Dismissive of deadlines and timetables, some people see you as unreliable. You care more about the process — and investigating every piece of the whole — than you do about speeding toward an end result. Similarly, you feel more comfortable when things are left open-ended rather than set in stone.
10. A brick without a wall
For you, non-conformity isn’t a statement, it’s just a natural state. You have little regard for rules or social norms, and you never quite fit in at school or at work. You’re much more concerned with originality and discovering the right answer than you are with matching pre-set expectations.
11. The analysis trap
Sometimes you get stuck analyzing and re-analyzing your ideas, fearing that you’ve missed a critical piece. As a result, you may struggle to move forward with your ideas and turn them into reality. You leave a lot of projects unfinished.
12. The universe amazes you
You view the world as a big, complex machine — and just like any machine, the parts are all connected. You excel at seeing these connections, and how seemingly unrelated factors tie together, to the amazement of other personality types.
13. You don’t mince words
You believe that truth is the most important factor, so you rarely mince words. Sometimes you come across as overly blunt. It’s not that you’re trying to hurt people’s feelings. To you, to say one thing and mean another would be disingenuous.
14. Your inner world calls to you…
As an introvert, you enjoy spending time alone and you feel drained after certain types of socializing. You spend much of your time focused internally, exploring ideas and seeking understanding. To you, life is an ongoing query into the mysteries of the universe. This search is much more interesting than most types of social contact.
15. …and you may forget about everything else
Sometimes you get so caught up in your mind that you skip meals, neglect your health, or forget seemingly obvious things. Your environment — and even other people — can seem like an intrusion into your thoughts.
16. You’re private by nature
Even your close friends struggle to access your mind — and especially your heart.
17. You work with your mind
Career-wise, you’ve always been drawn to the sciences, engineering, and other technical occupations. If you work in creative fields or the arts, your work is always distinctly different from others in your profession.
Given the choice, in most cases, you’d rather have freedom and autonomy than rules and security — at least from society. But inside your own head, you’ve established a veritable encyclopedia of rules for how things work (and procedures to organize them), all based on hard data and firsthand experience.
19. You don’t now where (or how) to find meaning
You see other people find a sense of purpose in what they do — things like being a parent, going to church, or their jobs. For you, these things don’t seem to scratch that itch, and you find many sources of “meaning” to be downright absurd. You’re intimately familiar with the feeling of being adrift in life, and the struggle to find purpose. Many INTPs flirt with nihilism. Others spend years focusing on the search for meaning rather than any one “purpose” itself.
20. Make it interesting
You have little interest in discussing other people’s lives or practical matters. You’d rather talk about ideas. And you enjoy discovering what makes other people tick — their motivations, patterns, and tendencies.
21. Your mind is never done consuming information
It has an insatiable appetite, especially for theorizing and ideation. You devour books and information about philosophy, religion, psychology, and other similar topics. If there’s any one reason you wish you could live forever, it would be to spend forever reading, learning, and discovering more.
Are You an INTP?
Some of these signs are things a lot of people will identify with, and every INTP is going to be a little different. If you can relate to most of them, however, chances are good that you’re an INTP. Want to be one hundred percent sure? There’s an easy way to find out: Take this free personality assessment from Personality Hacker and see your personality type in minutes.