How to Explain INFJ Thought Process to INTPs


So I have a friend who is a very intelligent, rational, logical INTP. INTP thinks I’m crazy, my actions are crazy, and when I try to explain my reasoning, it doesn’t make any sense. How do I explain how weirdly and differently an INFJ makes decisions and thinks and how unconscious my processes are? Every time I try, it comes out all weird.

And yes, I care enough about this person’s opinion to want to try. It’s a problem I face at work too since I work primarily with NTs and a few STs.

INTJs have it so much easier with Te so easily accessible.


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Say it’s hard to explain, because you “absorb” information from everywhere (environment, research, emotional/social information) and your “mind” works on it subconsciously (Ni) to come up with the likely outcome and solution/action, so you can’t logically lay it out like the INTP can. Call it non-linear thinking.

Challenge the INTP to try to “logic” this for you, since it’s hard for you to word. Maybe they will be all too happy to solve the puzzle of how you got from A => B since they get to flex their Ne and Ti to reverse-engineer your thinking. lol Likely they won’t be exact, but if it’s “good enough”, then leave it be. Sometimes we all find peace in our misunderstandings of one another.

INTJ don’t always have clear logic either, but they seem to know which pieces of information to maybe “pick out” to make it seem so! lol


could you give an example of ‘what’ you’re trying to expalin to this INTP friend?

and how you did before? and exactly what he doesn’t get?

maybe i can help, i have Aux Ti so,

why does this INTP think you’re crazy?

what about you does this person think you’re crazy?


@prax–thanks, that helps

@supernokturnal–easy example is my romantic relationship decisions and how unconventional they are and not making sense (why not find a good, staid, normal, well off guy to marry); I get this from 3 of my friends --1 male and 2 female intps, but not so much from my one close intj friend. I don’t want to go into too much detail in a public post, but it very much goes back to the post about infj needing some kind of suffering to be at their best. My guess is that INTPs see the suffering, notice the details and don’t see the overall successful bigger picture. More complicated and more frequently I run into this when making project decisions as to when to close a project, stop working and declare success, how to sell it to the client to get them to want to do the work, etc. Probably the same big picture/little picture problem and its hard to say “just trust me.”


I think when it comes to selling projects ideas, INFJ probably have to rely on past successes and being a little bit ENFJ about it. Pump up that charisma and make yourself sound sure!

INFJ are good at Ti too, but I guess Ni => Ti doesn’t always translate well?
Maybe the secret is to just fudge it a little so it looks like it lines up with reality instead of what you intuitively know (there’s no way to truly explain those Ni workings to their essence, I don’t think). It will probably feel a bit like lying, but rest assured, if it’s true enough, it’s good enough. I think that’s how most ENTJ and ENFJ get on with being successes anyway? :smiley:


use your owns words. but i would say something like…

hey, you know the saying no pain no gain? well. i believe it 1000%. and therefore. i enjoy pain. because i see so much gain from it. i’m more afraid of losing everything from ‘normal, steady, relationship’, than hitting the rock bottom, so there’s only one way to go, up. or maybe left or right. but i can’t get lower than that. and i feel safe being there. because now i can just look up. and stop looking down. so i may jump into unhealthy relationship knowing well that i will suffer. but i thrive in bringing changes and seeing the possible in impossible. and that suffering you see, is what makes me, me. will i truly be happy from deep inside if i was in a relationship with a normal person with money? where is the beauty in that? where is the fight? can this person truly give me happiness? but from what? not certainly from being normal and having money. i need more. and sometimes that includes pain. and that’s when i feel alive.

okay. i don’t know what i just said but i just kinda said whatever came to my mind.

i think ‘Ti’ can understand what i said though. i think.


Great idea @Prax

@Impossibletobe, for intp maybe and for me as entp definitely, I tend to handicap people based on their degree of emotional expression of surety. The more strongly people phrase something the lower I move my baseline expectation for how correct they actually are (assuming it’s like a thing I know nothing about–other factors play a role for sure like my own knowledge of the space). The more they acknowledge doubt in their own understanding of their selves, the more I tend to defer to their models. If they ask me to help I start listening real quick and stop assuming I know better than them.


Interesting ideas–admitting the need for pain/growth as well as asking for help. INTPs tend to be handicapped by only seeing one path, the most “logical” one.


Based on my experiences with INTPs (and I love INTPs, just check out my topic: GOD I LOVE INTPS) I noticed an affinity for hypothetical examples. I have thought of a few:

Short Ones:

First Hypothetical: Being Lost In The African Jungle

Experiencing what it is like to think like an INFJ is like traveling to Africa for the first time alone, and when you get there, you randomly lose your detailed map and instructions, and because of how tired, hungry, overwhelmed, and scared you are, you are left with no choice but to improvise ways to make peace with natives(learn their language), keep yourself alive and in high spirits, and do your best to put all of the pieces and impressions of the map in your head back together in some sensible way to find your way back home.


A Breakdown of The African Jungle Using Cognitive Functions

Fi Shadow: The raw pain of being tired, hungry, scared, and overwhelmed by being lost and alone in a foreign country.

Ni Dominant: Starting out on a journey with a map that you may have looked at only briefly, but it gives you comfort that their is a map and instructions, a form that shows the way to your glorious destination and the way home. But because the map is lost, you only remember the overall general gist and fleeting impressions of the map, without all of the important details. And you are constantly gathering information, and running this map through in your head over and over again to put all the pieces back to a clear guide back “home” or to your “desired future destination”.

Se Inferior: That random uncontrollable event(e.g. an unexpected thunder storm, full of high winds, rocks, loud noises, and other hazards) that blew your map away and tore it into bits.

Fe Auxiliary: Improvise. Fake-it-till-you-make-it. Blending in with the natives, learning their language, rules, etiquette, and gaining their trust to help you survive and learn to find your way back home. Also, you find fun and creative ways to express your imagination and your feelings as a way to cope with and forget about the raw pain of being a foreigner/a stranger, who is lost, alone, unfamiliar, tired, hungry, and afraid.

Ti Tertiary: When the pieces of your map start to take on more concrete shapes and forms in your head. It allows you to grasp, comprehend, and communicate very clearly with the natives and master the tools and methods to successfully survive in the African jungle. You can finally tell people who you are, what you want, and how you want it without confusion and with efficiency. It is exciting and powerful boost to your ego, reaffirming that you were right all along and that you know the map well enough in your head to face the dangerous African jungle without experience alone. So you get all excited and jump to conclusions without help from experience or from the natives about what the map said, causing you to spring to premature action, leading right into a dangerous trap.


Putting It All Together

The INFJ experiences and learns by naturally having a mind that quickly learns and grasps the essential gists, patterns, and forms of all information of life/death/the universe, however, the confidence of this detailed “mastermind” map of the world is consistently and quickly challenged by the chaotic realities of the environment - which INFJs see as mysterious/dangerous/unpredictable. So their mind is constantly gathering details, and repeating those details, mixing and matching them, with all of the various patterns that they know, making their minds very active, repetitive, never-ending, constantly moving but however, extremely patterned with moments of sharp clarity, like being in a hyper-real waking-dream, or seeing a series of detailed photographs, or even playing out these patterns, in detail, like a movie, complete with a running soundtrack/dialogue/and everything, running through one’s mind. This makes us totally oblivious at times to what’s going on right in front of us. Outside of our heads, we pick up on the patterns, rules, and regularities of the outside world based on actions. “All the world is a stage” to us. It’s all a sort of predictable game, that can be picked up and mastered through improvisation, acting, experimentation, and repetition. That’s our FE working - and it doesn’t really need to fully comprehend or or be authentically invested in anything to be effective. And our Ti is just when we start to really comprehend stuff, and we discover how powerful our comprehension and sharpness can actually be, that it gives those patterns of data rolling around our head a sort of significance, clarity, and specificity.


This is possibly the truest description of the inner INFJ experience that I’ve ever read. Awesome!


Oh I’m so glad! Thank you! Somebody understands…lol…

There’s more. But too tired to write more right now. Thanks.


Because im busy I recorded a few minutes of thoughts in response


NVMIND about the recording, now I’ll summarize the thought:

The narrative about going to Africa and losing the map to the elements and then working back toward the truth. I would say that, reading this narrative as it’s written by @pla.xitore13, it seems that the narrator has experienced “A refiners fire.”

Meanwhile, had I created this narrative to tell something about myself, I would deploy the metaphor from a slightly different perspective as an ENTP, and I would probably use some details that cause it to sound like the narrator (me) has experienced “a Rude Awakening.”

If that has anything to do with Ne/Ni, maybe that’s useful for explaining stuff to the INTP. Dunno. Basically, when I get a map torn away by the elements, and then have to grapple with reality, I think of it as: “How naive of me to think my technologies could protect me from the reality of the thing. What is a map but an effort to domesticate that which isn’t!”

And so if I were to see a friend continually experiencing this kind of thing, I would anticipate that they had a “Rude Awakening” and would adjust their approach. If I saw her continually re-engaging with the same sort of “I’ve got a perfect map here” approach, I’d be like, “Wait, but haven’t you been Rudely Awakened a few times before?” And she might say, “What do you mean? I’ve been through a bunch of Refining Fires that make the truth of the thing a little more clear and a little more exact. The Refining Fire kinda smooths out the rough edges.”

That was the gist of that failed link/ the recording I made. Maybe there is something to glean from the subtle difference between how ENTP and INFJ might deploy that metaphor.


Wow this is my sis in law! She sometimes looks like she is trying to figure out how to be. She cannot just be.


this was awesome! but i have to disagree a little bit…I don’t experience Ti as a feeling of “correctness.” Instead I experience it as a constant desire to further refine my insights, or fine-tune things, or analyze before taking part in the big scary world. Ti is like the safety blanket but the blanket is on fire and it ruins everything good. Ti has helped me in some ways, but for the most part it has been a hindrance. If anything, it’s like Ni is the…well I don’t know how to describe Ni. It’s wordless for me, like air. I might just have difficulty separating myself from it because it is me, so how could things be any other way? If that makes sense. . And Ti is when I begin to attempt to make sense of things in discernible concepts relative to the experience, when I begin to categorize but it’s like using scientific terms to filter something that is just too complicated for black and white, up and down, right and wrong. The intuition isn’t realized in any concrete form until I force myself to speak, or write, or whatever (which is the Fe I guess). I don’t know, I might just be a crappy INFJ (see that might be an example of Ti…it deconstructs/detaches/alienates…at least in my experience.) For a far less deep and thought provoking analogy than the african jungle (which I really like a lot, because I think the truth is discovering our homeland is an inward journey), I’ll instead use a car: Ti is the brake, Fe is the gas pedal, Ni is the car, Fi is the fuel.


So True! Hit it on the nail!


Bunch of you tried to click that link and it didn’t work; I edited the post to add the context of that recording, now typed. Quoting myself here so that it alerts you or whatever if u care.