"INTP" Themes and Relationships

By Linda V. Berens Ph.D. and Dario Nardi Ph.D.

Personality Type:    INTP - Designer Theorizer
Temperament:   Theorist (NT)
Interaction Style*:    Behind-the-Scenes
Likely Social Style: Amiable

How to use this Personality Type Description

INTP Snapshot

  • Theme is designing and configuring.
  • Talents lie in grasping the underlying principles of something and defining its essential qualities.
  • Seek to define precisely and bring coherence to systems based on the pattern of organization that is naturally there.
  • Easily notice inconsistencies.
  • Enjoy elegant theories and models for their own sake and for use in solving technical and human problems.
  • Interested in theorizing, analyzing, and learning.
  • Thrive on exploring, understanding, and explaining how the world works.

Themes and Relationships
for each Personality Type
by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D.
and Dario Nardi, Ph.D.**


INTP Theme

For Designer Theorizers, life is a process of becoming an expert. And they almost never feel quite expert enough. They enjoy reflecting on how things work, why they work that way, and what makes them not work and then really solving a problem, not just fixing it for now. They also enjoy generating ideas and seeing new patterns and elegant connections. These new connections activate their talent for design and continual redesign. The clarity they bring to defining problems as well as words helps them go straight to the essence of a problem, a situation, or a concept.

Their thought processes seem random, yet they are logically coherent. It is as if they hold a matrix in their minds with multiple connections, and their conceptualization and design work often involves crossing the arbitrary boundaries of thought and disciplines to activate the imagination and picture the patterns. Making discoveries is a better form of nourishment than food, for without these, their intellect would starve. These are the people who reflect on the process of thinking itself and seek to produce an elegant design to solve social as well as technical problems. Flashes of insight truly energize them.

In the interpersonal realm, they also engineer connections—connecting people with new ideas and information and sometimes with others. For being such basically solitary people, they have a surprising ability to network people with people, usually around expertise. They know who knows what and how well.

Their most satisfying relationships often come from sharing knowledge. Even then, they frequently detach to analyze a situation or problem before re-engaging. Others often misread this detachment as not caring, when often the analysis and problem solving are done on behalf of the other person.

They often say they struggle with attending to the physical world—like filing papers, dealing with repairs, deciding what to wear, or maintaining their own bodies. Even more, finding the right words to use to convey their clarity of thought often eludes them.

INTP Relationships

For Designer Theorizers, relationships are a lot about expertise. They enjoy having a joint area of interest and expertise to share. They often seek out relationships to have different thoughts and experiences. Disruption that comes with conflict and strong emotion keeps them from thinking clearly, so they avoid confrontation unless it is necessary. Frequently they may find themselves lacking the interpersonal skills they need, and relationships can become competitive. Their penchant for precisely defining words, clarifying ideas, and pointing out inconsistencies can be wearing at times even if it is in the best interest of the other person, the group, or the project. A calm, conflict-free environment is preferred, and consultative relationships are preferred over hierarchical ones.

In their close relationships, they need autonomy, with the perspective that nobody has the right to “let” them do or not do anything. The notion that there is a role they are supposed to serve can be a surprise and a shock, and a relationship can feel like bondage if too many traditional roles are imposed. Traditional roles can interfere with their intellectual needs. The challenge for them in a relationship is to not be robotic and preoccupied with constant analysis and work or hobby interests. They may self-sacrifice for the relationship, sticking with one person in spite of difficulties. They can be very supportive about giving each other independence and going the extra mile to support that independence.

This concludes "Themes and Relationships for INTP,"
A Personality Type Description.

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**The Personality Type Description shown above is wholly owned and copyrighted by the authors Linda V. Berens Ph.D. and Dario Nardi Ph.D. and is used herein with their permission.

For a complete set of Personality Type Descriptions by Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi please see: "The 16 Sixteen Personality Types - Descriptions for Self-Discovery"

*Interaction Styles as developed by Linda Berens, is a powerful lens with which to better understand people. For a complete understanding of Interaction Styles see:
"Understanding Yourself and Others, An Introduction to Interaction Styles"

Practitioners, Organizational Development Consultants, HR Managers, Leadership and Teamwork Trainers,
click here for professional level training by Linda Berens in:
Interaction Styles, Temperament, and Personality Type