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INTP Relationships

How INTP types approach relationships

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On the surface, INTPs may seem to struggle with relationships. They are quiet, reserved and have a difficult time talking about things that don't interest them. Despite these more introverted traits, an INTP can be an ideal partner or friend. The most important thing to an INTP in any kind of relationship is compatibility. INTPs don't like to waste their time. They have a thorough understanding of who they are as people and use logic in their relationships. INTPs are hesitant to let people into their social and romantic circles, they analyze relationships like everything else in their lives, and if they feel that someone is a good fit for them, they will open up.


INTPs Attitude to Relationships

How do INTP types approach relationships?

INTPs' logical attitude extends to their dating lives. INTPs are patient when looking for love because they know that there is someone out there who is perfect for them. They are always on the lookout for someone who is their intellectual equal. It may take them a while to work up the courage to admit interest, but when they do they are incredibly passionate and loyal. INTPs are interested in good conversation, expanding their horizons and finding someone they can curl up with on the couch and watch documentaries. They are open minded and always willing to help their partner grow and learn.

An INTP type is likely to:

  • INTPs don't like having the spotlight on them and it may take them a while to warm up to someone enough to ask them on a date.
  • INTPs are very upfront and like their partner to be as well.
  • INTPs will use their creative ingenuity to keep the relationship exciting.
  • INTPs love intelligent conversations and enjoy bouncing ideas off their partner.
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INTPs deeply value their relationships. If they connect with another and feel this person is special they will treasure this relationship and not play silly games to jeapordize it.

While INTPs may initially seem guarded and introverted, they often have a fun-loving creative side that they’ll reveal to their romantic partner. Like many other introverts, INTP personalities need time alone to recharge; however, they find joy in spending time with a partner who meets them on the same mental level and engages them in intellectual conversation. The INTPs love of education and self-development is something they want to share with their romantic partner, encouraging this person to grow alongside them. It may take some time for the INTP to step into the dating world; they may also need time to gather up the courage to ask a person they like out. This sort of risk is a challenge for the attention-averse INTP, but a person who meets their intellectual and emotional needs will be worth the risk.


INTPs and Dating

How do INTP types fare in the dating world?

Initially guarded and quiet, it may take a while for an INTP to let down their guard. However, once they do let others in, the INTP will often reveal a tremendously bright and fun personality.

INTPs can have quite high standards when it comes to finding a romantic partner. These standards are not defined by looks, but by finding someone who can stimulate their mind. INTPs enjoy imaginative conversations and talking about ideas and opinions.

INTPs are fairly easy to please in relationships. They do not require any extra attention or love in the forms of material symbols or elaborate gestures. They just need to know that their partner is there for them.

blue star

INTPs can sometimes be their own biggest obstacle to finding love. Their introverted personality can make them seem unapproachable or disinterested.

Romantic relationships are very important for INTPs. With a lack of romance or love, an INTP can often feel lonely and will not feel their happiest self. INTPs in love transform into joyful, lighter souls.

Info Table
Beneficial dating traits Negative dating traits
INTPs take their relationships seriously. A partner who meets the INTPs needs rarely needs to worry about being taken for granted. The introverted nature of INTPs can make them seem unapproachable. Their aversion to attention can be overcome with good conversation on the same intellectual level.
INTPs are very direct and honest. Mind games and ‘tests’ are not something the INTP wants to engage in. In return, INTPs value their partner's honest thoughts and opinions. The INTPs honesty can come off as blunt sometimes, although this is never the intention. INTPs see their up-front attitude as a source of pride.
Imaginative INTPs can be passionate partners with lots of enthusiasm to share. Conflict within the relationship may lead to an INTP personality type ‘shutting down’ emotionally, trying to use logic rather than emotional responses to ‘win’ an argument.
INTPs value their own growth and pursuit of knowledge. They want to see their partner show the same level of self-development and learning, and will encourage them every step of the way. Standard gestures of love may not resonate with INTPs; as such, they may struggle to show their love in a way their partner understands. However, the INTPs creative nature will allow them to put their own spin on gestures of love, surprising their partner at every turn.
As INTPs grow into a relationship, they will share the depth of their joy with their partners. INTPs can sometimes ignore their emotions, and those of their partners, during periods of conflict. This willful ignorance will decrease as the INTP matures into their relationship and sees the validity of people's emotions-- both theirs and their partner's.

INTP Partner Compatibility

Analysis of personality compatibility for INTP types

The ideal partner for INTP personality types is someone who is patient and a little bit of a romantic. INTPs will search for people who are similar to them since they don't like conflict, but they do best with a partner who is a little less logical than them. INTPs are vastly intelligent, but struggle to address emotional issues. A partner who is better at prioritizing emotions over logic could help the INTP address the emotional needs in a relationship.

This is the exact reason that INTPs are not good for each other. INTPs might think they want to be with someone who is just like them, but eventually they will butt heads about what the ‘right’ answer is. Two INTPs will also skirt around emotional issues and let them fester.

To help avoid these issues, it may be beneficial for INTPs to seek out their opposite: The ESFJ. ESFJs are natural with people. They have a high emotional intelligence, love taking part in social activities, are natural nurturers, and they love taking care of people. An ESFJ can help INTPs grow emotionally, but they are also great listeners and would love learning from their INTP partner.

Figure 1: INTP partner compatibility

Percentage compatibility between INTP and other types

intp compatibility

What this chart shows

This chart shows an estimate of the compatibility between INTP types and other types. We see that INTP types are most likely to be compatible with other INTPs, and least likely to be compatible with ESFJs. This 'like-minds' effect is often the case (see Figure 2 below).

Notes:
  • 1. n=3297
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:
  • 4. The questionnaire asked participants to select the traits that they favor when thinking about their ideal romantic partner, and the traits were mapped to each of the 16 types.

Figure 2: 16 type model partner compatibility

Percentage compatibility between the 16 factor model (Myers Briggs®) types

mbti compatibility matrix

What this chart shows

This chart shows an estimate of the compatibility between Myers Briggs® types. Our research shows that the strongest match is usually with someone of the same type. Another general pattern we observe is extraverts are generally more compatible with other extraverts, and introverts are more compatible with other introverts. This data supports the adage "birds of a feather flock together” and discredits the often-quoted mantra "opposites attract".

Across almost all types, the most compatible combination is with someone of an identical type. Within this general trend, the degree of compatibility varies slightly. For example, the compatibility between two INFP types is very high (at 95%) whereas the compatibility between two INTJs is 86%. The only exception to the observation that the best match is with someone of the same type is for ESFP types. The researchers note that ESFP types do still strongly favor other extraverts.

Notes:
  • 1. n=3297
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:
  • 4. The questionnaire asked participants to select the traits that they favor when thinking about their ideal romantic partner, and the traits were mapped to each of the 16 types.

Advice for dating as an INTP

How to have successful INTP relationships

INTPs have a lot to offer in a relationship and they need to flaunt it. They have a tendency to feel a bit socially inadequate, but it is important for INTPs to remember that everyone has something about themselves that they can improve. The world needs the creativity and open-mindedness of INTPs to function. Many people adore the quiet, pensiveness of INTPs. When going out into the dating world, INTPs are smart enough to know when they can play to their strengths.

As an INTP

  • green tick Do seek out partners who can help you grow where you need it most.
  • green tick Do allow your natural intelligence to shine.
  • green tick Do lean into your creative ability to keep things exciting.
  • green tick Do check in with your partner about how they’re feeling.
  • red cross Don't get into a relationship with someone who has a vastly different world view.
  • red cross Don't avoid your partner's emotions.
  • red cross Don't overthink emotions.

Advice for Partners of INTPs

Tips for a successful relationship with an INTP

INTPs are incredibly loyal and giving partners, so it's no surprise that lots of personality traits are attracted to them. INTPs require their partner to have a deep understanding of them. It's important to listen to the wants and needs that INTPs communicate. They are very straightforward and will tell their partner what they want. Trust is incredibly important to INTPs because they don't open up to everyone. If they sense they can trust you, then you will get a real glimpse of their silly, creative side.

Being with an INTP

  • green tick Do encourage them to come out of their shell in a gentle way.
  • green tick Do ask them about their interests, especially their education or work.
  • green tick Do ask them direct questions.
  • green tick Do encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings with you.
  • red cross Don't skirt around issues.
  • red cross Don't tease them in public. INTPs can be very self- conscious.
  • red cross Don't assume they are being dismissive. They are probably just in their own head.

INTP Friendships

Principles of how INTP types behave in a friendship

INTPs are introverted, but they do not avoid all social interactions. INTPs enjoy a close circle of friends that are carefully curated. INTPs might get accused of being too picky when it comes to making friends, but that's not really the case. They enjoy the company of people with a lot of emotional depth, and they approach friendships in a very practical manner. They know what they want out of their relationships and are more interested in deep friendships than having a lot of acquaintances. Not everyone will meet their standards, but when they find someone who does the relationship is almost instantaneous.

blue star

INTPs can be very picky about who they choose as their friends, as such it can be difficult to feel like a close friend of theirs.

INTPs are natural problem solvers. They love puzzles, riddles and solving all of their friends' problems. They are always willing to come up with solutions to other people's problems. People often go to INTPs for practical life advice. INTPs pride themselves on this. While they love solving practical problems, they are not the most ideal friend to go to regarding emotional issues. Emotions are messy and there isn't always a right answer. This can make INTPs uncomfortable because they operate best in a black and white world.

They enjoy problem-solving in all forms, but INTPs are not limited by their own minds. They are always open to new ideas and sitting around, bouncing ideas off of each other. An ideal night for an INTP is to have an exotic dinner party followed by everyone talking about what they love to learn about. INTPs are the type of introvert who loves conversation, though that conversation does have to be mentally stimulating. They enjoy the viral ‘powerpoint presentation’ trend where people give a presentation on something that interests them. Group learning is one of their absolute favorite pastimes.

You can rely on an INTP to offer you great advice on how to fix your problems. However, if you're just after emotional support, it may be best to seek comfort elsewhere.

INTPs are loyal friends whose eccentricities can bring a level of unexpected fun to any gathering. They are always willing to listen to their friends, no matter the topic and can make someone feel like they are the only person in the room. It is a feat to make it into their inner circle, but the people who do will find a lifelong friend who will help broaden their horizons.


How INTPs can Improve their Relationships with others

Strengthening your INTP relationships with partners and friends

INTPs can be guilty of boiling people down to their intelligence and setting a person aside if they don't see them as their intellectual equal. INTPs need to understand that their friends don't always have to be on the exact same side of issues. They should also be careful not to avoid emotional issues when they come up. In any kind of relationship, there is an emotional component. INTPs prefer to not deal with that side of things and they need to understand and accept that their friends' emotions are valid and deserve to be addressed. INTPs bring a lot to the table in their friendships, but there is also some room for improvement.

As an INTP, this is what can be done to improve relationships with other people:

  • INTPs should work towards being more emotionally available for their friends and partners.
  • INTPs should avoid trying to solve EVERY problem. They should communicate with their friends and partners and make sure that they are actually looking for advice.
  • INTPs should be a little more open to friends and partners who are different from them. They need to recognize that not everyone is going to meet their standards and that is okay, there is still a lot to gain from someone who is different to them.
  • INTPs should be careful to not get stuck in their own mind too often. Being alone with their own thoughts can be comforting, but living in the present can help INTPs solidify lifelong relationships.

 


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Ellie Simmonds, MSc

University of Bath, Psychology

Ellie Simmonds, MSc in Psychology from University of Bath. Ellie is an associate lecturer on psychometric assessments and has extensive knowledge of the 16-type model.