Have an INTP you’re wondering about, or looking for a way to explain INTPness to those around you? We all have needs; it’s not so strange. Here’s a list of what to keep in mind when you’re dealing with an INTP:
Mental space. INTPs are independent thinkers who need a lot of mental space to contemplate ideas without external interference. They may seem like they’re spending a lot of time doing nothing, but that time is being occupied by their mental landscape. As long as they don’t get so sucked into this landscape that they neglect real life duties, allow them to spend some much needed time in their heads.
Alone time. INTPs are introverts and find social interaction draining. They also need alone time to enjoy their mental space. Don’t feel offended if your INTP needs a lot of time to themselves. Let them know that it’s alright for them to enjoy solo time without guilt tripping them for it. If you can, find an activity you can both enjoy together to pull your INTP back into your shared world.
Fascinating and stimulating ideas. Ideas are the gas to the INTP’s car. You’ll find them examining and dissecting all manner of concepts or creating interesting projects to test them out. Give them the time, space, and encouragement to do this, even if you think their ideas are silly or pointless. The INTP mind thrives on intellectual stimulation.
The ability to explore without obligation. INTPs are thinkers rather than doers a lot of the time, and asking them to engage in too much direct activity can be draining without a balance. Sometimes an INTP needs to explore an idea even if it has no practical or real world application. Don’t demand to see the fruits of the INTP’s every labor. For this type, the exploration is the point.
Patience. INTPs may not be the quickest to respond to physical or emotional demands. Do encourage them to develop an awareness of these things, but don’t be quick to lose your temper when your INTP is slow to implement this awareness. INTPs are very mental people and may forget duties and obligations, so try not to take it too personally when this happens. (Though yes, do give them a kick in the ass from time to time.)
Flexibility. Don’t box INTPs in too quickly. Let them take time to come to a conclusion or definitive plan. An INTP works best when they can take the time to contemplate many possibilities, and they can’t do this when they are always pressed to come up with a definitive plan in the moment. INTPs would prefer less boundaries, not more.
For you to know when to leave them alone. They have trouble expressing their feelings and needs, or indeed even knowing about them at times. If your INTP is getting cold and distant, the last thing you should do is cling to them or try to goad them into a response. Give them space to work out whatever they need to figure out. Often all they need is some time to themselves. Of course, if this is a chronic issue, your INTP may have unhealthy coping mechanisms and might need to be willing to reach out to others and work through things together. Try to be aware of the difference and step in when you need to.
Healthy social engagement. Although INTPs often want to be alone, many times they hang back because feel they aren’t included or accepted in social situations. Let them know it’s okay for them to participate and show them you want them around. You’ll find your INTP can be funny, engaging, and quite social if they want to be.
A sense of purpose and belonging. We all want to know we have value and purpose, and INTPs are no exception. They may have an offbeat perspective but they have a lot to offer, so make sure you take the time to value their ideas and contributions. Don’t make an INTP feel irrelevant. Give them something to bring to the table that is unique to them.
A way to get in touch with their body and feelings. INTPs may not want this, but as they can struggle with getting in touch with their physical sense of being, encourage them to exercise and go outside. Make sure they have a safe, healthy space to explore emotions and relationships. INTPs withdraw at the first sign of stress, so if you have chaotic environment you might lose them. If you are in a romantic relationship with one, help them learn to connect with you better on an emotional level.
With these things in mind it should be easier to understand where your INTP is coming from! Feel free to add below if you’re an INTP and want to weigh in!