This course runs May 7 – 10 at 8pm Eastern and includes four days of live video sessions and email-based materials as well as a weekly meeting with special guests for four weeks. The cost is $195. Sign up now.

This is a course for INTJs. It’s not like any course I’ve done before. But before I even tell you about it, I want to say you really have to be an INTJ to enroll in the course.

First of all, the INTJs are ruthless to people who are not like them, and honestly, I can barely cope with being in a course with them. Because even when they are trying to be nice (which they may or may not be trying to be when they talk to me) they can’t stop squashing other people for having weaknesses. Literal illustration: Melissa sitting on me because I didn’t wake up on time.

Usually the best way for me to tell if someone is an INTJ is to put them into the first course I did for INTJs – the INTJs are in heaven and everyone else is like why are all these people such assholes?

But that takes a lot of time, so here’s a shortcut for how to tell if you tested as an INTJ but you’re not:

Do you make decisions based on your values?

Yes? No? It depends?

Do you have hobbies?

Yes? No? What counts as a hobby?

Does it bother you that I am not getting to the point fast enough in this post?

Yes? No? I wouldn’t say I’m frustrated, but I do think you should do more preparation before you start to write.

If you did not answer no to all then you are not an INTJ. You can email me though and I’ll tell you your true type. (Note: those three questions are only for people who tested as INTJs.)

An addendum to my emphatic scaring off of non-INTJs. INTJs are loyal, honest, and high earning, and they make great partners for INFJs and ENFPs. There is no better way to learn how to reel in an INTJ than lurking in a course full of INTJs. Because they mostly hate everyone, they don’t generally talk much, but they talk a lot in this type of course. So we will have an INTJ viewing area, with signs that say things like no talking and please don’t feed the INTJs. If you want to be in the viewing area, send me an email.

Ok. So, moving along, here is what the course is about: What is the difference between super successful INTJs and all the rest? We will spend three nights talking about what INTJs need to do to get the most interesting jobs. The fourth night will be a Q&A. Then we’ll meet for four weeks afterwards to do an interview with INTJs that are remarkable. I’ll interview them and Melissa, my trusty INTJ co-host will edit my interview – in real time, while I’m trying to do it.

Day One: The ideal INTJ work environment. An INTJ focuses on getting things done, which means they live in reality. This also means they don’t come up with big ideas on their own, because big ideas require suspension of reality. The ideas INTJs come up with are all systems and solutions. Like, Amazon sorts products one way so if you add a certain type of product you’ll always be at the top of Amazon. That’s an idea, but it’s a boring one for an INTJ to implement.  INTJs are natural editors of big ideas and even more natural implementers of big ideas. So their work is only as interesting as the ideas that come floating by them.

Day Two: The ideal INTJ co-worker. INTJs can succeed anywhere you put them, but too often INTJs end up somewhere that is not worthy of their natural ability to execute a plan. Because not all CEOs try to solve huge problems, and not all grand thinkers are earthbound enough to actually allow anything to get done.

I once read an article about what VCs look for in CEOs. And there was resounding agreement that the best CEO is just a little bit too sane to be living in an institution. INTJ should look for companies a lot like a VC looks for companies – they see good ideas and then need help sorting and executing on the best ones. To an INTJ, it’s counterintuitive to go hunting for coworkers in the thick forest of mental instability. But this course will show you that you can handle much more than you think you can (and why it’s even good for you).

Day Three: How to attract a big thinker. Yes, this sounds like dating topic. Maybe that’s because work is a lot like dating. (And if you want to know how hard it is to connect with a big thinker, consider how incompetent INTJs are at dating.) Luckily big thinkers adore working with INTJs, so if you can make yourself be known, you’ll be well received. Personality type targets: ENTJ or ENTP if they are the CEO. Or an ENFP if it’s their own business.

Day Four: Q&A for all things INTJ.

The following weeks. A parade of INTJs who caught my eye as especially successful in specific ways. People who have launched startups, joined startups, sold out, cashed out, and been pushed out. Each of these people did something really interesting in a way only an INTJ could. You will hear from them about what they did to get where they are. And note: In true INTJ fashion, most of these people never talk publicly about their careers. So it’ll be unvarnished for sure, and who knows what else.

 Sign up now.

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107 replies
    • Natasha
      Natasha says:

      ISTJ’s are too boring for Penelope ;)

      (Fellow ISTJ here…been asking for this course for a while).

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Thank you for asking. Your request really does influence what I do.

        The reason there is no ISTJ course is that this type is the one most likely to think Myers Briggs is stupid. So I’m doubtful that there will be very many ISTJs who want to take the course. But maybe I’m wrong. I will give it a try. Stay tuned…


        • Pj
          Pj says:

          INTJ here. Thanks, Penelope. I will try to get this course. Astounding article, too. Much appreciated. As a full-on, nearly 100% INTJ, life has been tough for me, as you can imagine. Being nice is cripplingly hard— no—impossible for me to do. My searing traits have most certainly messed up my career-life, relationships, etc., even my dog harbors resentment. I am a Psychologist, and believe it or not, I can’t even apply the great wisdom of my profession to help out. It simply doesn’t work. But it looks like this course could whip me into a more palatable status.

          • Frank
            Frank says:

            Love it!!! Guess I am an ACDC, that is an entj out in the world, but an intj at home. I must be a glutton for punishment as well, because years ago I tried to hook my wagon to a lovely intj. Unfortunately she loved her work too much and was very Persnickety about everything. I really regret that it did not happen, but the universe was probably protecting me! 😂😂😂

          • MT
            MT says:

            Your comment is so funny and accurate I’m sure. Are many INTJs psychologists? I know of one also. -ESFJ

  1. Alissa
    Alissa says:

    Signed up for the course before I even finished reading this post. I am an INTJ and I know this course will be just as fantastic and eye-opening as the previous courses I’ve taken with you.

  2. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    If I can’t attend live, will all the video sessions be recorded and accessible for later viewing?

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        If you can’t make the live sessions you can get a recording of the session. However the course will not be available for purchase later. Once the course begins it won’t be sold again.


  3. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    INTJs are “being nice” when they do the following:

    – Stalk you
    – Help you in some silent, intrusive way you may or may not ever become aware of
    – Criticize you (which is them helping you)
    – Listen to you

    And by “being nice”, I mean “showing they like you”, because an INTJ has an annual Actual Niceness allotment they use up in 3 minutes per year per all 2-3 people they like.

    And, Penelope, INTJs are being nice to you by paying you for your course, thus indicating they are interested in you. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t like you, even if they’re unpleasant about it.

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      Anyway, I want to be in the INTJ viewing area. The INTJ course I took before was so much funnier than the INFJ one.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Oh this is such a great example of why I like having INFJs in my life — such good translators of the world for me. Thank you, Wendy. And I’m so happy to hear you want to be in the course as a non-INTJ. I’ll email you separately with signup info.


    • Mireille
      Mireille says:

      Oh that’s all the thing this one INTJ guy did for me, he said we weren’t compatible though, I think it was because I was too unpredictable and not smart enough for him -yet- I’m in the process of attending college gimme a break :(

    • MT
      MT says:

      Lol great points, so are INTJs very selective with the people they keep in their lives or keep in touch with on a daily basis? They sound like rather selective people. -ESFJ

      • Ryan B.
        Ryan B. says:

        Yes. I have 2 close friends from the military that I visit about 1 a year and my wife’s group of 6 close friends that we visit 3 to 4 times a year. We never go out for the purpose of socializing but we do try to friend our neighbors when we move into a house, as it is worth the time and effort to build those relationships, even though they immediately perish when someone moves. I find it awkward to hang with co-workers outside of work and only do so when there is an event that I’m socially obligated to attend. BTW, my wife and I are perfectly happy with life and don’t feel the need to socialize to be happy. -INTJ

      • Jen
        Jen says:

        INTJs are selective in general from the job we do, to the hobbies we have/how we spend our spare time and also to the friends we have.

  4. Dave
    Dave says:

    I’m INTJ but I’m not ruthless to people. I would say I’m more “punishing” than “ruthless.” So does that mean I can attend?

    • JulesGrace
      JulesGrace says:

      Personally I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself even that. I don’t tolerate intolerance and ignorance but I’m not “punishing” just willing to cut off people who refuse to be educated >.>

      • Save
        Save says:

        So am I the only INTJ who knows that the remaining 98% of the world that is incapable of thinking clearly, following the manual, saying what you mean, or expressing some form of intellectual original thought are utter morons inworthy of our time, effort, or affection? This is surprising to me. Maybe I should attend.

  5. Valorfreak777
    Valorfreak777 says:

    I am uncertain you posses the knowledge for this cource. At first, you immediately rule out all non-intj’s by asking 3 questions. As an intj, I must diseagree, by saying my values help me make decisions, I do have hobbies, and I could care less how quickly you get to your point. You would have to explain why this wouldn’t work because it does not correctly match my results if so. It is possible I am an enfp, but if so I may be an ambivert. Maybe an antj.

  6. Amy INFJ
    Amy INFJ says:

    I can’t tell what I love more, the class (for my career-frustrated INTJ husband), or the comments at the end of this article.

  7. Ak
    Ak says:

    I don’t know that I would get anything out of the course right now, but what I really want is to observe it. Why can’t INTJs be in the viewing area? What if I’m silent so I can’t be not-nice to anyone?

    • May
      May says:

      Maybe there should be an observer discount lol. It’s unlikely she’d ever do this since she’s already offering a discount but I too would like to yell-at-everyone-in-my-head-but-not-participate like an audience member watching cats duke it out in a coliseum.

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      You pay for the viewing area same as the non INTJ observers so you can just join and not say anything.

      • Reichart
        Reichart says:

        I’ve always felt education, in general, should work this way.

        – Watching a lecture would be free or very cheap.
        – Watching in real time (and perhaps participating in text/chat forums in real time with the speaker) would cost more.
        – Being allowed to ask questions in real time would cost more (or cost ‘proof points,’ i.e. a PhD student or TA in the topic is permitted to speak up or interrupt.

        The exact metrics can be refined, the basic concept is you pay for attention and interaction.

        This would be true for a private consultations as well of course.

        This is all just models of economics and values of people’s time.

  8. Tim Clark
    Tim Clark says:

    You have mistakes that you should attend to. “Yes, this sounds like dating topic.” No. That sounds like cave-speak. What a wonderful idea to get people to pay you, though.

  9. Kevin
    Kevin says:


    You’ll freak, but I just got this blog post via a Google News Alert on “INTJ.” Serious. Do I win a prize?! LOL!

    Don’t have time/money to do the seminar but I’m glad the brain trust is on the case. Subscribed to your newsletter, too.

    The code…SMARTAF…LMAO! That should be the INTJ nickname.

  10. Steve Garcia
    Steve Garcia says:

    Well structured comedy … Pure comedy.

    Like us intj’s would EVER accept non-intj’s rhetoric as legitimate fodder for self improvement…

    Go sell crazy to the other 98.2%

    Great article tho, ever consider writing shtick professionally?


  11. May
    May says:


    (Maybe intj hobbies like investing or attaining credentials just don’t “count” as hobbies lol — anyway, i also make art so that one counts!)

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      I read your post and love it, especially regarding job performance. Personality types do not measure knowledge, skills, and experience. If it were up to personality types alone, I would NEVER have the job I have.

  12. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    INTJ with hobbies here. I like reading books, researching various topics, and I admin/moderate an online discussion forum. If I met an INTJ without a hobby I’d think there was something wrong with them.

    As INTJ’s grow and mature and become the best version of themselves they become more-open minded and less judgy—for us that’s huge, but it takes a very strong partner or friend to notice because even with us being less-judgy we’re still too “critical”. See example above about me thinking INTJ’s without hobbies are weird.

    When I see the values/job thing keep coming up I think to myself “What in the world do they have to do with eachother?” Doesn’t mean that I don’t have values.

    This course could be valuable for young INTJ’s with careers.

    • Mariana
      Mariana says:

      I totally agree with the ‘grow out of being judgy’ part. Being more open-minded made me feel, well I don’t want to say happy; it made me feel adequate in this world, like I could be part of the flow of life.
      I’ve been rehearsing to grow out of MBTI for a while, especially after I read Richard J. Davidson’s ‘The Emotional Life of your Brain’. But for all of MBTI’s shortcomings, mapping the 16 personality types has been such a pragmatic tool, and one I keep using successfully in daily life. Penelope always comes with interesting ideas on how to use MBTI, and I am really curious about the idea of pairing us with crazy visionaries. Although it seems only rational to do so, I would guess that most INTJs would not seek this arrangement purposefully. And I really liked when she said that we can take more than we think. My boss is an ENFP and all Penelope is saying resonates deeply. But at the beginning, all my friends discouraged me to work with my ENFP boss (especially the TJ’s). Even now, few people get why we work so well together, and how we deliver so much. It was a defining moment in my life, and I am proud I went with my gut.

    • Julia
      Julia says:

      Late to the party as usual, but I have to respond to this. I’m INTJ and totally got the hobbies question as an identifier of my personality. My first thought in response was “who has time for hobbies?” But thinking further, I realized that I do have hobbies, but they are indistinguishable from my work. The people closest to me think I’m a workaholic, but really I’m just doing my “hobbies” that happen to be more meaningful extensions of my work and that further my career. And, I’m happiest when everyone leaves me alone to do these things.

      • Reichart
        Reichart says:

        On the sub topic of hobby = work.
        (not sure this is an INTJ issue, or even related)

        But … I notify people that I bond over work, not play. Seems most humans bond over sports (watching or playing), in pubs, or vacationing or what not.

        I bond with other people’s productivity. I value contribution to society and ourselves.

        American society seems to sort of look down on this, as if this is something shallow or wrong.

        B#)) $#!+

        One of the most rewarding hobbies is working as a team to build stuff. In fact, for the most part, it is the only situation I can tolerate other humans.

        • Dave Gordon
          Dave Gordon says:

          When I was young and energetic, I really liked to play sports but watching other people play sports never appealed to me. I never got into porn, for the same reason.

      • Dave
        Dave says:

        Julia – I’m the same way. I have the hobbies I mentioned before (collecting films), but I also have “hobbies within my work,” like doing crazy stuff in Excel, or whatever. I actually lock the last hour of my day three times per week for “creative time.”

        I also collect watches, and I’m currently building my own hi-fi system part for part. I’m not an electrical engineer (I’m a finance/accounting professional), but I’m crafty with a soldering iron, and I love high-quality music (mp3s and streaming sound awful to me), so I took it upon myself to try to make my own system. It’s been fun so far.

        So yeah, we do hobbies, but I think the way to view them is that to others, what we like to do for a hobby looks like work to them. To us, it’s not.

        Oh, and I am a jigsaw puzzle freak, and I always buy a book of logic puzzles when I’m in the airport. My mind is constantly “solving puzzles” all the time in life, so these sorts of things aren’t “work” to me, but actually a great way to relieve stress, find purpose, and enjoy myself.

        • Dave Gordon
          Dave Gordon says:

          I play Spider Solitaire on my iPad, with four suits. It’s a good way to wind down in the evening—when I start to nod off, I go to bed.

    • Julia
      Julia says:

      I’m INTJ and totally got the hobbies question as an identifier of my personality. My first thought in response was “who has time for hobbies?” But thinking further, I realized that I do have hobbies, but they are indistinguishable from my work. The people closest to me think I’m a workaholic, but really I’m just doing my “hobbies” that happen to be more meaningful extensions of my work and that further my career. And, I’m happiest when everyone leaves me alone to do these things.

      • Julia
        Julia says:

        I didn’t think this comment was important enough to post twice, there was a glitch in the system.

  13. Dave
    Dave says:

    I’m not entirely sure this course makes sense FOR the INTJ, rather it makes more sense as a course for others ABOUT the INTJ, since we already know everything about ourselves, and since everyone else around is inept and incapable of understanding facts. If that’s the case, I would love to attend, since observing the stupidity and logical fallacies of others is one of my hobbies. I can see it now:

    Participant: “Wait, when the INTJ speaks, it’s always true, has been vetted by scientific methods, and it makes sense?”
    Instructor: “Yes.”
    Participant: “…”

  14. JP
    JP says:

    I always test as INTJ but now I think I’m INFJ because I don’t like conflict. How does that translate into no hobbies, though? I have always really wanted a hobby but nothing sticks—I never considered that this could be linked to personality type.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      The hobby thing comes from non-INTJ people who see what we like to do and to them, it looks like work (or wizardry), so they erroneously believe we don’t do hobbies. But the INTJ has lots of hobbies. For example, some of mine include: counting the ways non-INTJs piss me off (the number is colossal), ways non-INTJs are inferior, could ting times I could have been nice but instead decided I need the stupidity around me to cease, beating everyone at Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit, etc. etc. We have plenty of hobbies, it’s just that none of them appear constructive to outsiders; hence the confusion on this point.

  15. Mia
    Mia says:

    Hmmm… I never thought about it this way.
    I better go do some editing now 🙂
    yeah, and thanks for the tips. You rock Blog Tyrant!

  16. Priscilla
    Priscilla says:

    Two things, I’m an ENFP who is wildly attracted to INTJs, so I’m tempted to sit in on the course, but that wouldn’t be good for my marriage.

    Secondly, “you can handle much more than you think you can (and why it’s even good for you).” can you please write about this?? A whole post??

  17. Dave Gordon
    Dave Gordon says:

    If your definition of a hobby is “collecting consumer products,” then no, we don’t have hobbies. My sister-in-law is 52 years old and she collects that wretched “Hello Kitty” paraphernalia like it might someday be edible—maybe that’s a hobby and maybe it’s just a manifestation of some mental illness from childhood. I read and write about project management, recite the dialog along with the actors in obscure movies, and play a very aggressive form of finger-style acoustic guitar (think “Leo Kottke in a bad mood”). Maybe those are hobbies and maybe they’re just obsessive behaviors. In any event, I already know how to be an INTJ—let me know if you ever lead a course on how to tolerate Trump supporters. I won’t take that, either, but good to know someone is trying.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      I’m an INTJ with a consumer product hobby, but the INTJ side of me comes out by taking it in a strange direction. I still collect CDs, DVDs, and Blurays even though most of what I own can be found through streaming services. I like the idea of owning the physical product, reading the liner notes, and most of all, hearing/seeing my media in uncompressed lossless format (most people don’t know that streaming services, for example, only play about 1/10th of the audio quality that the CD of the same music gives you – and yes, if you have good equipment, it absolutely does make a difference. If you have bad equipment, the difference is negligible). So, by your definition, I think these are considered “consumer products.”

      Where the INTJ factor comes in, is I catalog all of it in a massive spreadsheet (set up as a database table) on my home server, and I use Tableau to generate reports on it – what years my music was recorded (most of it in 1977, apparently), what director is most common in my film collection (Spielberg, then Hitchcock), etc. etc. So yeah, I feel compelled to compile all that data into an aggregation tool like Tableau (or PowerBI), and be able to see my own listening/watching trends, understand genre preferences, etc. etc.

      So even “collection hobbies” can appeal to the INTJ, but it’s not just about the collecting, it’s about the cataloging and analyzing, too.

      • Dave Gordon
        Dave Gordon says:

        Good counter-example. I salute your obsessive compulsion to create order. Do you also push abandoned shopping carts into the corrals as you cross the parking lot, taking the last one into the store with you?

        • Dave
          Dave says:

          Yes, and I’m f***ing good at it.

          The only time I don’t is if it’s snowing and I’m improperly dressed (rare, but not impossible), so snow is hitting the back of my neck as I walk into the store, in which case I’ll start to engage in the activity but quickly give up, citing to myself that this is “bull$$it” and “the people who abandoned these carts should be promptly shot on sight” and then I’ll realize that things will never be as I wish they could, and to lament by thanking all non-INTJs for lowering the world’s overall average intelligence curve so that myself and other INTJs can continue to appear to be smarter and better than all others. So in a sense, my own misery at others’ stupidity or lack of decency can come back to me in the form of satisfaction.

          I’m glad there’s someone out there who understands this aside from just me.

          • Dave Gordon
            Dave Gordon says:

            Yeah, there are two kinds of people in this world—those who can walk past a mess and those who can’t. INTJ’s are almost always in group two. I don’t think abandoning devices wherever you last used them is indicative of a two-digit IQ; more like an inability to acknowledge the existence of other humans. Those passengers who manage to litter the area around their seat on a one hour flight are another example. I don’t think we should shoot them, but I would support mandatory vasectomies. By the way: which MBTI type is most closely associated with “clueless f**kwit?”

            I expect there’s also a strong correlation between turn signal usage and INTJ, and an inverse correlation with library book fines. No data, just a hypothesis.

        • Dave
          Dave says:

          It’s hard to know which type would have the highest proclivity to be a “clueless f**kwit,” but I would think it’s maybe the ES prefix combination grouping…? I’m not very good at guessing other personality types other than my own, mostly because every time I venture off to learn about some of the others, I always conclude “dear god, how in Sam Hell have these morons not been hit by a bus or fallen off a cliff by now?!” every time.

          So from your hypothesis re: turn signal usage, if true, would unequivocally prove that no INTJ has or ever will own a BMW. It’s simple ‘modus ponens’ logic, really.

          • Dave Gordon
            Dave Gordon says:

            We have to confirm what people mean when they indicate DST or standard time and it’s not aligned with the calendar because a substantial fraction of the population can’t even get the lyrics to Hotel California right. I just finished a project with some folks in the UK. They transition between standard and DST on a different schedule from the folks in North America, and I reminded them that there would be some overlap. Outlook would automatically compensate, but some meetings would shift an hour, so check before you call in at the wrong time. Yeah, that worked …

        • Dave
          Dave says:

          One other thing – I think we’re the only personality types that actually know the difference between “daylight time” and “standard time.” Once I had a call with a potential vendor in the summer, who asked me to call him at “3pm Mountain Standard Time,” so I did. He asked why I was calling him at the wrong time, and I reminded him that he wanted to talk at 3pm MST. He still didn’t get it. So I asked him “Aren’t you in Arizona?” He said “No,” and I said “Oh, I figured anyone who uses MST in the summertime must be in Arizona.” He STILL didn’t f**cking get it.

          They didn’t win our business.

          • Reichart
            Reichart says:

            We really should just have an INTJ dedicated rant forum, some topics:

            – Relative Time Zones are random and artificial, but get them through your head. Yes, you arrive in California before you took off in New Zealand.

            – Dots Per Inch don’t matter to computers, only to paper. I don’t care that you’ve been in the printing business you’re whole life, asking me if the image is 200dpi means nothing to me on the website.

            – I’m sorry you had a bad a day, are you going to give me my order now?

  18. Dave
    Dave says:


    Here are some of my suggested topics for INTJ rant forum:

    1. Four-way Stops and You: Why INTJs are the Only Personality Type Who Know How it Works

    2. Pissing Off Your INTJ Partner: Move Their Stuff, Tell Them What to Do, Being Wrong About Their $hit, Unsolicited Career Advice, and Other Bad Ideas

    3. Why Would Anyone Ever Design a Printer to Hold Less than a Ream of Paper and Other Stupid Crap that Makes Us Think You’re Dumb

    4. Taking Selfies Proves You’re a Narcissist

    5. Using “Big Words” in Conversation is Your Problem, Not Ours

    Etc. etc.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      Also, and Penelope, please take no offense to this, but there also needs to be a course rant topic: “The Title of CEO is Not for Those Who Work for Themselves in Blogging, Photography, Life Coaching, or Other Sole Proprietorships that Do Not Have a Professional Board of Directors”

      Sorry, but this one bugs the snot out of us.

      • Dave
        Dave says:

        You’re welcome, Bostonian! I want to add that an acerbic sense of humor is one of the ways I cope with the world/other people. If I were to take myself (and, by extension, our personality type) 100% serious all the time, I think I would have found a way to ‘off myself’ by now. There really is a lot to be frustrated about in a disorganized, random world, so laughing at it is a futile way of being able to mentally handle it. I could go on and on about how INTJs think and behave, pointing out our absurdities through humor and juxtaposition…

        If you all want to hear what the INTJ sounds like in a full-on comedic sense, I believe Bill Burr is the best comedian who expresses our frustrations. (Warning: curse words galore). I’m not sure if Bill is a INTJ, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he is. Check out his 45 minute special called “Let it Go.”

    • Dave Gordon
      Dave Gordon says:

      Europeans know how a four-way stop works, and they also use turn signals. Americans drive like they’re the only ones on the road. One time on the NJ Turnpike, the woman in front of me apparently missed her exit and slammed on the brakes, in the middle lane, with cars whizzing by on both sides. I leaned on the horn until she got the idea that no one was going to let her back up and try again. I admire the cops who can tell drunk from sober drivers.

      As for pissing off your INTJ partner; after 41 years, I don’t need to give your list to my wife, as she already knows how to do all of them.

      • Dave
        Dave says:

        My SO says that our personality type should be called “ITYS” for “I Told You So.” My response: “Stop giving me reasons to say that, then!” :-)

        • Reichart
          Reichart says:

          Indeed, there are many models for labelling people.

          The MBTI is often 100 or so question, but I find as an INTJ that without even asking most people any questions I can tell how much of a PITA they are.

          At the end of the day, that is really the only metric that matters.

          • Dave
            Dave says:

            Reichart, you nailed it. Maybe that’s why Jung gave this analysis so little of his time and effort.

            I’ve often thought that being deeply gifted/cursed on the logic axis means that WE are the PITA to deal with, but lately when in the presence of the general populous (morons, idiots, etc.), I’ve been asking myself the question “JFC people, why is this so fu**ing difficult for you?!” to nearly every situation. For example, you put me in front of one of those self-checkout lines in the grocery store and I’ll come in prepared, move through it with tremendous ease, grab my bags and receipt, be standing on the podium right there at the end of the self-checkout lane as the gold medal winner of the (apparently) lost sport of “Knowing What the Hell to Do in Situations that Require Processes, Norms, and Procedures.” It’s just head-spinning how many people exist solely to just ‘get in the way’ of others.

          • Mark
            Mark says:

            Beautiful stuff with the “how many people exist just to get in the way of others” line. Sounds like an INTJ take on things. Same thing happens much of the time in an ATM line as if this is the first time for some of these folks to run thru the process. Seems to me that this kind of predictable irritant must be an evolutionary adaptation. Dumb and dissonant acts literally stun or disable nearby people which somehow leads to at least perceived advantage. Our society should be advancing so much faster than it is and some of this flawless ball-and-chain effect that slows down the faster in the population is part of the reason econ growth seems limited to two or three percent even in a Renaissance time such as we are living in now.

  19. Reichart
    Reichart says:

    ‘Four-way Stops and You: Why INTJs are the Only Personality Type Who Know How it Works’

    Oh man, so true.

    The bloody xxFxs just want everyone to FEEL good so they break the rules and PUSH people to the left to go first.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      Is that what it is? They want to feel good about themselves by breaking the rules and letting someone else go first?

      That says a lot more about them than it does about us.

      • Julia
        Julia says:

        This is also what happens when a bike and a car meet at a 4-way, and why cyclists feel they don’t even need to slow down at stop signs. I’ve frightened more than a few cyclists by simply following the rules.

  20. Jenifer K
    Jenifer K says:

    I am struck by the realization that I have taken the personality type test at team-building seminars for at least 4 different employers and no employer ever seemed to use that info to any identifiable advantage to the team or the business. Second realization: are team-building seminars at work pretty routine or are they triggered by the presence of the INTJ?

  21. Mark
    Mark says:

    Hello Melissa and Penelope

    Very much looking forward to the upcoming INTJ course; you had me at “big idea”. Melissa – as much as possible, without limiting Penelope’s fun bashing INTJs, please try to see that the big-think stuff doesn’t get lost in the scuffle.

    As an INTJ (almost INTP) with an Asperger’s diagnosis I can also appreciate Jenifer K’s comments above about employers not having a clue what to do with peoples talents even after they have profiled their lackeys. There might be an opportunity in helping some of these companies properly structure their workforce. An INTJ is going to know what to do but then take their ideas to managers and human resources and in exchange just get the same old dumb-ass-cow-stare as if we are speaking another language (every day experience for someone on the spectrum).

    One thought for the big-think part – take clues from Peter Thiel’s “Zero to One” book based on his lecture series. I am very interested in hearing about your experiences with VCs and how the back-and-forth between visionaries and implementers works in reality, as well as the mistakes that blow up the working relationships.

    Just this morning I cancelled a $200/hour series of meetings with a professional to help with executive function stuff and planning to help me get some work done and in front of the right eyes (VC’s) because I know the time spent with you is far more valuable. I also apologize for the rough personal emails; we’re not as bad as we seem once you get to know us…


  22. Jon
    Jon says:

    Agree with other posters – stumbled on this after the fact and would love to be able to buy now. Hook it up.

    I also have a theory that anyone who talks about being an INTJ and uses language like “world domination” or “we’re always right” is either 1) an imposter or 2) is one of the INTJs Penelope will use as an example of a failure. Kind of disgusts me reading the sycophants who ruin any good INTJ forum, but Penelope’s content has actually proven quite useful in driving improvement in my life so I keep coming back.

    You can’t use being (or pretending to be) an INTJ as an excuse for being an obnoxious, egotistical asshole. The real masterminds are more nuanced than that, regardless of personality type.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      Jon, there’s a third option you missed, and that is that we’re being funny about who we are, we are self-aware, recognize our limitations, and cope with it by using humor. At least that’s how I cope, recognizing that being INTJ has vast limitations, especially within an emotional realm. Most of my comments here about the rest of the world being full of morons who can’t follow instructions, or people who ‘exist for the sole purpose of getting in the way’ are merely attempts at laughter.

      • Reichart
        Reichart says:

        Dave, Shhhhh, you can’t give level 7 INTJ existential secrets away to a 4th level INTJ. It’s a longer road than most realise from indignant to self-loathing to the irony of abject horror a true INTJ endures every waking moment.

        Besides, with a sentence like ‘Kind of disgusts me reading the sycophants who ruin any good INTJ forum,’ I’m thinking the imposter here might be Jon, that sure sounded like a xxFx sentiments.

        • Jon
          Jon says:

          Much appreciated Penelope.

          Dave, also appreciate the insightful response. Not sure all the other posters I see on Reddit and elsewhere (which can start as interesting discussions) share the depth behind their comments you shared, but I’ll admit it’s not an option I considered.

          Reichart – you’ve outed me as a closet Feeler…or just annoyed with a bunch of self-aggrandizing comments that add no value and are annoying to wade through. Either one.

          • Jon
            Jon says:

            I also have to add that I don’t think disgust is a very “F” emotion. Never really thought about it but it seems like a stronger variant of the emotions that trigger the curt responses and harsh criticisms INTJs are known for (that and just not understanding or caring how they’re perceived). I’d argue disgust almost requires an absence of empathy, otherwise you’d be more understanding.

            Perhaps Penelope could weigh in and also out me as a F, in which case I will resign myself to the peanut gallery for future events…

  23. G.B.
    G.B. says:

    Female INTJ here. I’m next thing to dismissing you as irrelevant because you don’t seem to know what the hell an INTJ is or how to pick us out of a crowd with three questions. Pardon my bluntness…..

    Hobbies? They may seem more like all-consuming obsessions to others, but I call them hobbies. In my spare time (?) (now retired biomedical research technical staff) I volunteer at an historic estate because I have a deep well of self-developed knowledge about and interest in 19th century horse-drawn antique carriages, so I work closely with their collection and act as their resident go-to on the subject and chief caretaker/protector. I also research, collect and restore my own antique carriages at home, geeking out to old musty flaking paint, axle grease, rotting but exquisite upholstery, brilliantly shaped curved wood panels and carvings, beautifully engineered but eminently sturdy and effective suspension/springing and 100 year old bunny trails of historical info from lost craftsmen and long dead businesses. Then there’s the musical aspect of my life – daily playing both acoustic and electric guitar and keeping up with the devotees of a relatively obscure but fascinating, uniquely designed and engineered particular 50+ year-old semi-hollow “Strat-based but better” model of electric guitar and her accoutrements, care and feeding. These are what I call my hobbies…..

    Just needed to voice my opposition to your vs. my definition of the word “hobby”. And yes – some of this is sorta tongue-in-cheek, but just sorta…;)

    My best friend is also a female INTJ, so I understand the value of your course to bring together INTJ’s – if nothing else for the reassurance that we aren’t each alone in the universe and we ARE in fact a rare (and valuable) extreme of “normal”.

    Carry on.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      G.B. – I reread everything above, and I’m wondering if the hobbies thing was said in jest? Or with sarcasm? I know very, very few INTJs in real life (just me and my son), and we’re very intense about what other people would call “hobbies.” We’re both fanatical geeks about the things we love, almost to an autistic level of obsession. (We’re not autistic though). And as a fellow guitarist, after reading your post, I think you approach your “hobbies” with the same level of intensity that my son and I do – we go “all out” with things, feel the need to do vast research, spend the money carefully, be absolutely damn good and sure we know what we’re getting into, and then dive in deep – DEEP – as in, for our entire lives.

      So yes, the INTJ has hobbies, and we kick ass at them. It’s a scientific fact.

      • G.B.
        G.B. says:

        I’m completely serious about what I wrote, all factual, but being a very self-aware INTJ, I know it sounded pretty over the top, so was laughing at myself. As usual, it’s very possible no one else got the joke. ;)

        Yes, I’m obsessed. That’s how we roll, baby! I read what Penelope said about hobbies – something we are “kick-ass” at as opposed to having fun and meeting people. I dunno – still not seeing a clear line. I have loads of fun doing what I do – and do meet people in the process and usually enjoy it. When doing my museum work, I am often planted in displays, in up to my elbows working when visitors pass, and happily chat with them about what I am doing, or answer questions for them. Last Saturday night, for a mega-buck evening Gala/fundraiser, I was asked to baby-sit/guard “my” collection and be the greeter and on-site expert to guide folks through that section and answer questions. I had a blast, because the attendees were fascinated by my babies, and peppered me with great questions all evening. Haha! Needless to say, I DID need to hibernate for two days afterward to recover from all of the people-time, but it was worth it. Anyway – maybe, for us, obsession IS fun, but I do like to share my obsessions. Same with guitar. I enjoy playing with others and teaching. Nobody else geeks out as much as I do, but I am very aware of that.

  24. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Here is some input about hobbies.

    It’s always important to remember that personality type is relative. Compared to a rock, all humans are emotional intelligence geniuses. Compared to a horse all humans are analytic thinkers.

    So all questions about “do you ….” means “relative to other humans.” So you have to look at what do most humans think hobbies are? They are things you do for fun, casually. If you do one thing, and you are amazing at it, it’s not a hobby. It’s something else.

    For example, Larry Ellison was CEO of Oracle while he was winning America’s Cup races. You could say America’s Cup was his hobby, but he was totally obsessed with it, and he was spending more time and money on the America’s Cup than many professional crew members for that race.

    This is all to say that INTJs are so out of touch with other people that INTJs think the idea of a hobby is something you “kick ass” at. A hobby is for fun. But INTJs don’t do fun. And a hobby is to meet people, but INTJs don’t care about that. Hobbies are for switching and swapping and INTJs don’t have enough hobbies to do that.

    Some things to consider: Most INTJs will say they do not have hobbies. And most INFJs will say their only hobby is that they read. INTPs have hobbies, and INTPs often thing they are INTJs, especially if they are young.


    • Dave
      Dave says:

      “But INTJs don’t do fun. And a hobby is to meet people, but INTJs don’t care about that. Hobbies are for switching and swapping and INTJs don’t have enough hobbies to do that.”

      We don’t have fun? That’s a colossal generalization, one so large it tips itself over and sinks to the bottom of the Sea of Wrong. Despite being an “I,” I can get a roomful of people roaring. I even did some semi-successful standup in the early 90s. And when I’m out golfing with friends, we practically piss ourselves into orbit from all the fun we have (we’ve even had residents who live on our course tell us to shut the hell up, several times). At family gatherings, they almost expect me to get them having fun, and I can make seemingly useless game of Old Maid into something unforgettably fun for everyone. Same thing with my trivia night team, ad infinitum. Yeah, we get irritated with others, but ultimately we’re still humans who seek the pleasure of having fun. I have fun everywhere I go. My son is the same way. Call it genetic if you want (I think it’s not), but that’s at least a double confirmation. We have LOADS of fun, it’s just a sort of fun that’s unrecognizable to non-INTJs. You could not be more wrong.

      Hobbies only exist for meeting people??? I just looked up the word (in classic INTJ fashion… and no, I did NOT look it up using Merriam-Webster – American lexicography is inherently flawed, and far removed from its superior Oxford roots… BTW, I’m American), and it says nothing of a social component: “An activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” Sorry Penelope, that’s another generalization that is categorically untrue. We rock at hobbies, and we have plenty of them.

      What is switching and swapping? I build model airplanes (clearly a bona fide hobby), but again, you’re projecting a lexical meaning into the word ‘hobby’ that plainly isn’t part of its semantic domain.

      We’re not perennial robots. You’re not helping bridge the gap here.

      Penelope, I’m having trouble telling if you’re trying to be funny, trolling, or if you’re not very good at this stuff. No offense.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Dave, you’re not an INTJ. You’re an INTP. You can call me and I’ll explain why: 917-853-7772. Meanwhile, one thing to do is look at how long all the comments are on this page. INTJs don’t write long comments. INTPs and INFJs write long comments.


        • Dave
          Dave says:

          I have consistently tested INTJ for 20 years, and the “J” is actually one of the stronger ones.

          But I also write a lot (surprisingly, on my ‘hobbies’ – can we acquiesce to the use of quotation marks?), and I’m waiting for a meeting to begin, so there you go.

          And I also think “INTJs” don’t write much is another misrepresentation. I’m fairly certain I read Isaac Newton, Jane Austen, and even the great C.S. Lewis were INTJs… Hmmm…

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            I’m starting to think you have Aspergers. Not kidding. The reason is that you missed the part where I said people don’t write long *in the comments*. And it’s sort of a social skill to write comments the way everyone else does.

            Not that I am a master of social skills, but when I do something way way more than everyone else, like read comments and look for patterns, I can tell when someone is missing a social cue.

            Also, I have found, after ten years of blogging, that the only people who I have extended confrontation with in the comments are people with Aspergers. Because that means we both have it and we don’t let up. Neurotypical people let things go much more easily than people on the spectrum.


    • G.B.
      G.B. says:

      I’ve always thought that being an INFJ would be the worst possible curse. Next thing to being an empath. (shivers). To be as in-tune with our ever active brains, our environments, the world’s body of knowledge and our stored experience as an INTJ, but doing “feelz” instead of logic/thinking…Gawd…shoot me now. The suicide rate must be staggering.

  25. Dave
    Dave says:

    So now being INTJ and having Aspergers are mutually exclusive? I don’t agree.

    And suggesting INTJs do what everyone else does… LOL! That’s the one thing we vehemently hate. So maybe the pattern recognition needs to be geared to finding ways we BREAK patterns of “normalized behavioral observation.”

    I also type close to 100 words per minute, with ease. So there’s that too. Years ago my mother said it sounds like Chopin flicking away at a piece of plastic…

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