October 19, 2021

INTJ weaknesses, issues and self improvement

But, but, INTJ is one of the smartest types, they don’t have weaknesses!

Oh yes they do, just like every other type, or maybe even more than other types.

Sometimes unaware of how they come across to others

This one is repeated in every INTJ profile description and it is very true for many INTJs. In this regard INTJs could learn a lot from ENTJs who really care about their reputation and appearances. Most INTJs are good, honest people, but the amount of non-conformism some of them have can make them seem rude or snobbish to other people, especially the extroverted sensing types. It seems like many INTJs really don’t have a good grasp of how other people around them perceive them and it would help a lot to directly ask your friends. You might discover that you are unintentionally annoying people with some of your behavior.

Can be bad at trusting people, it can take months or even years

Not allowing anyone to see you in your vulnerable state is just a part of a larger problem of trust issues. Not allowing anyone to see your weaknesses may be a good strategy in the workplace, but if it extends to personal life too, it can create problems. No matter how smart they are, all humans need another human to trust. We need other people to provide feedback, comfort and help in resolving emotional issues. Every psychologist will tell you than we only heal in relation to others. No matter what your weaknesses and vulnerabilities are, they aren’t unique. Somebody else has had them and probably overcome them. They didn’t overcome their weaknesses by hiding them. That takes away too much energy every day.

intj trust issues

You must realize that trusting people is a strength. Most successful people trust other people. Of course they don’t trust just about anyone, but they do seem to have faster methods of discovering who is safe to trust. This is social intelligence, but it can be learned and it’s definitely worth learning because cynicism or paranoia really lead to nowhere good. In fact, cynical distrust has been shown to be correlated with a higher risk of dementia later on life in clinical studies. This should be enough motivation to change, because if there’s anything INTJs are scared of, it’s losing their cognitive abilities.

Use imagination/assumptions too much when dealing with the world

Imagination is great and glorious. It’s probably the best thing about humans. But people who are highly imaginative have a tendency to think or assume too much and not act enough. INTJs often expect people to act according to their mental models of those people and sometimes avoid conversation altogether because they “know” what the other person will say. Sometimes they do this with projects too. They decide it’s not going to work before even trying. This ties into another weakness frequently mentioned online, and that is problems with taking risk, too much thinking and not enough action. Learning stuff from a book or from the internet is fine, but it’s not enough. The best learning is done hands on. Whether it’s dealing with people or learning a new skill, you have to be willing to make mistakes. All creatures on this planet use the method of try-fail-repeat in order to learn. Even evolution uses this method! Failure is just a new opportunity to try again, this time more intelligently.

Some INTJs are narcissists

INTJs that think they’re better than most people, but have nothing to show for it, have a problem with themselves. They can have high expectations for others and be unforgiving, but lack awareness of their own faults in a relationship. They might expect you to initiate contact first all of the time, while they never call you first. It’s a fact that some INTJs can really fit into the profile of a covert narcissist, but they shouldn’t be vilified for it because being a covert narcissist isn’t fun. It is a personality disorder that is probably more damaging to the person having it than to others. But it can be overcome with awareness and continued effort. A good start is to really think about this quote from Alfred Adler deeply: “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life.” Alfred Adler was the founder of the school of individual psychology.

Can have problems with authority

This one is both a weakness and a strength because authority shouldn’t really be followed blindly, but people who do follow it usually do good for themselves in life. Even though they might dress normally and inconspicuously, INTJs usually have a brain that thinks radically differently. They are not like most people posing as free thinkers. You could say that for most of them thinking freely comes innately. Of course, in the West we praise free thinking but we don’t really honestly appreciate it. It gets you in trouble in school, on the job and it can get you ostracized by your peers. This is why I believe INTJs should be aware of their tendency to be extremely non-conformist and try not to go overboard with it.

Can be bad at adapting quickly or being spontaneous

Oprah used to repeat that she doesn’t like surprises. This is because she’s an ENFJ. Most judging types don’t like surprises and this is true for INTJs too. INTJs can be pretty bad at improvisation and spontaneity unless it’s something from their profession. They like to have a plan for every situation. They are usually bad at giving up control. It could be said that some of them are control freaks, but in a sort of internal way – not like some ESTJs or ENTJs. If they seem resourceful, it’s usually because they have a plan or feel in control of the situation. Luckily, some INTJs have so many plans and options in their head, that they can basically qualify as resourceful and adaptable.

Other weaknesses

  • They can be very caring and capable of love but quite clueless when it comes to attracting a mate. Hints can be missed and flirtation interpreted as just friendliness. Some INTJs just need to be told or asked explicitly.
  • Too honest for their own good. They can usually see through everyone’s bullsh*t but can’t accept that most humans are irrational and you should probably use it to your advantage. To be fair, most INTJs eventually figure this one out and fix it.
  • Bad at small talk – many INTJs will say it’s not that they’re bad at small talk, they are just not interested in it, but being interested in something usually leads to being better at it. I guess most INTJs just can’t grasp why small talk would be useful.
  • Being too self critical, but also stubborn at the same time. This is a weird combination, but it happens. The reason is probably not enough real world interaction. No matter how critical you are of yourself, if you isolate yourself you are probably missing out on the good kind of criticism and insight that can only come from somebody fresh assessing you.
  • Prone to nihilism, isolationism, cynicism, misanthropy and depression
  • Face not emotionally expressive, but neither are words. This one comes up often too but I’m not sure how much of it is personality type and how much is just depression. There are many INTJs out there who have depression but are in denial and they think it’s just “being an introvert”. Having a flat affect in your face can actually be a symptom of anhedonia and depression, even though there are people with less expressive faces by default.

Disclaimers: not all INTJs have these weaknesses and not in the same intensity either. There are probably INTJs out there who have none of these weaknesses. This is more of an overview of what an unhealthy INTJ would look like at some point in their life.

And all that said, any person intentionally reading about their own weaknesses is probably humble enough to overcome them.