The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality tool that savvy writers use to create deeply complex and startlingly realistic characters. Yes, it’s as complicated as the name implies. But worry not. There’s a simple explanation. And it’s worth your time if you want to take your fiction to the next level. MBTI is a personality tool, yes. But this isn’t astrology. It’s a science-backed explanation of how humans process and use information.
Compatibility and Dating Advice for INFP Relationships
Fortune 555 companies use MBTI to find the perfect match for high-level career positions. People use it to make sense of their lives, to find spouses, and to understand their children. Since INTJs are among the rarest personality types (among women, INTJ is the rarest type), you might be surprised it’s the most often used yet least understood type in fiction. You’ll find INTJs cast in villain roles everywhere. From Professor Moriarty and Lex Luther to Emperor Palpatine and Khan, INTJs are the personality type that people love to hate. Of course, these examples are just from fiction. In real life, do-gooders like Nikola Tesla and Isaac Newton were INTJs. Jane Austin and CS Lewis were also INTJs. So why is the divide so vast between these real life INTJ heroes and the villains they become in fiction? If you want to write a great story, you need to know the pitfalls when it comes to INTJ character design. Don’t feel bad. If writing an INTJ were easy, every writer would do it. Here are a few reasons why INTJ characters are a challenge for writers. INTJs hate small talk. To the INTJ, talking about inanities like the weather and how many siblings you have is like slamming your head against a stone wall—painful, with no discernible payoff. An INTJ who is genuinely interested in you is more likely to ask how you deal with despair when confronted with mortality or how your concept of god has evolved through the years. This startles people. And the INTJ has become aware that others find this line of discussion uncomfortable. Since small talk is still too painful, though, most INTJs withdraw instead. INTJs are also terrible at explaining their thoughts sometimes. This makes it even tougher to understand them. The INTJ doesn’t think linearly. That makes translating their thoughts into language extremely difficult. In fact, explaining things to others is often so exhausting that if your INTJ struggles to explain something to you, you can bank that he has both a high opinion of you and your intelligence. Most INTJs have been called unfeeling machines.
This is because INTJs hide their emotions. To the INTJ, it’s just polite and appropriate. And communication is often detached from emotional content. To many other types, it makes the INTJ seem robotic and unfeeling. This makes them easy scapegoats for villain designers. INTJs are very confident about their conclusions, ideas, and projects. This often comes across to others—even other INTJs—as arrogance. Really, the INTJ just knows he’s analyzed far more data than those around him. He also has the experience of being proved right more often than not. This is because the INTJ is a far more long-range and analytical thinker than any other type. The INTJ’s predictions aren’t tied to personal experience or limited to what has “always happened before. ” Instead, the INTJ takes into account new data, changes, and shifts in trends to predict future outcomes. All of this analysis, coupled with an inability to explain these processes to others, plus their ultimate need to create systems that work means that the INTJ takes confident action while ignoring complainers, naysayers, and doubters. So what you have is a man who knows what he is doing and doesn’t care what other people think about it. The disdainful smirk he’s wearing may come from his resentment at doing the right thing for others while they criticize him for it. But it also adds to the “arrogant” perception. INTJs are so used to systems thinking that what seems glaringly obvious to them isn’t always obvious to others. This is genuinely confusing to the INTJ. Some INTJs are openly disdainful in these situations, assuming that the other person is not just different but stupid. This is because INTJs have just as much trouble understanding others as others have understanding the INTJ. This is a character flaw worth exploring in your story. But be sure to include the INTJ’s motivation and lack of social skills here. This is especially important if you write from the INTJ s point of view. As the writer, your character’s blindspot should never become your blindspot. This magic elixir:
Who You Should Marry Based On Your Myers Briggs
perceived arrogance + perceived lack of emotion + perceived unpredictability + intelligence = prime fictional villain. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cast your INTJ in the villain role. Let’s be honest, INTJs make great villains. The problem comes when the writer uses the above as given qualities without exploring cause and motivation. This mistake results in the dreaded cardboard character, kills the story, and reveals an embarrassing lack of insight into character. If you’re lucky enough to find an INTJ in the wild ( only 7% of the population is INTJ ), ask direct questions. But, fair warning, you re going to get an exceedingly honest answer. So ask at your peril. INTJs are exceedingly direct and often appreciate this quality in others. You might even find that the more “inappropriate” questions garner the most interest from your INTJ. So ask away. Are you an INTJ writer? Get in touch. I m interviewing INTJs and HSP s for upcoming articles. Someone you know would love to read this article. Be a bro and send it to them. Decided to keep it all to yourself? That’s okay. Who doesn’t want to look like a natural? Don’t worry, I won’t tell. But don’t be a one hit wonder either. Psst: You ll get The Character Most Writers Get Wrong (And How To Fix It) character design guide free. This is so true. Sometimes this type of character is just put into a stereotypical box because writers don t explore every facet the character/person can have.
That s why we love evil geniuses —the more we don t understand them, the more intriguing they become. I look forward to hearing more of your insights. I am not an INTJ I m an INFJ however, my book s protagonist is. I honestly thought she wasn t until I took the test for her, but then I was glad I kept this open. I agree with the statement they villains often have that personality type. It might be a challenge to create a protagonist like this. However, she is the most fleshed-out character I have ever created so much so that I had to rewrite my entire plot to keep her alive and I feel it important to focus not on her type, but how her personality allows her to react to everything that happens to her. I get it right every time because I am an INTJ. If you have questions, just ask me. I will help. I really liked this! As a female INTJ, I often get frustrated with how people write characters because it doesn t always seem to be accurate which then can frustrate me as a writer because I want to make sure my characters are perfect! I do have a little bit of S in some areas, but I would be willing to volunteer if you need another person to interview! I m the same way, Jessica. I want my characters to be absolutely true to life. You re right too that so many writers get this wrong (Don t even get me started on the inaccuracies of Sheldon Cooper as an INTJ, though I love him! ). And that just increases the pressure for writers who want to get it right. I am a female INTJ as well. And yes, I too have spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy on characterization it s fascinating (and I m OCD, but that s for another conversation). This is probably the best post I ve read on the type and scarily accurate. Thank you for taking the pains to understand and articulate this. I m printing it to reference. Not for myself, mind you. The protagonist in my novel-in-progress is an INTJ.
I actually didn t do this on purpose, but when I took the test for myself I found it was the same as his (although less extreme). This, as you mentioned, is in stark contrast with INTJ s gross overuse use in antagonist characters. I find the depth of his POV and the dynamic it creates with other characters very interesting. Particularly because of its rarity in a leading role. I wish more authors would use it. I am wondering though which type would be the best antagonist complement to the INTJ? Any thoughts? A good villain is one of the hardest things to tackle, at least for me. Maybe I should find a type commonly pitted against an INTJ villain, and then make him the antagonist. That could be interesting Anyway, thank you for the post and feel free to contact me if you wish. I will explain myself as well as I can XD. Well you could go with any type and make a great antagonist for an INTJ, since an antagonist really just needs to have contrary goals. Like an INTJ from a different background who came to a different conclusion about a situation that both feel extremely passionate about would be a great starting point. Because fighting galore. But if you re looking for easy tension in those everyday we-have-a-tough-time-getting-along ways, as an INTJ I find ISFJs difficult to understand. ENTPs are oddly compelling but often leave me feeling suspicious of their motives. And ESFPs think so different from me that I often just don t know WHAT to do with them 🙂I am a conversational INTJ and would like be one of your interviewees. It would be nice to answer questions as I am, and not have to alter them to format acceptable to society. Could you find/do one for INFJs? That would be super awesome. Or maybe the character type most heroes/heroines. Excellent idea. I m planning an entire series on MBTI character design in fiction, Alexis. Stay tuned. That way I can let you know when MBTI articles post.