INTJ: How To Identify Us…Or Not

It’s pretty hard to spot an INTJ out in public and even more so to identify an INTJ in general. As hinted in the last blog, INTJ can exhibit their shadow function, the ESFP, for a period of time; especially when we, INTJs get overly excited, stressed or just needing to blend into our social surrounding.

Shadow functions are just the ‘backup’ personality or relevant cognitive function that your brain turns to for when you feel like you are in deep sh*t about everything :’D


Now, first of all, not every INTJ exhibit the same shadow functions and in general, everybody has at least 2 shadow functions. Having said that, I have found that majority of INTJs can relate to becoming an ESFP.

Instead of covering all of which the ESFP embodies; I’ll talk about parts of the ESFP personality which adheres to us the most.

Before that, let’s identify what the ‘typical’ INTJ would look and sound like in a group of friends.

***The following ‘signs’ are based off of INTJ females – INTJ males, feel free to let me know if you relate to these in the comment section below***

~ Appearances –  We don’t tend to wear make-up, heels or even dresses (not that this should stop any INTJ from wanting to, just do whatever is comfortable for you). Most just don’t find the whole process stimulating, practical or necessary AND sure we’ll go through phases where we want to experiment privately but other than that, we’re fine with looking natural most days. You’ll find that our make-up tends to lean towards the natural and minimalistic side of things.

Instead of make-up, heels and dresses though, most like to wear something quirky like hats and beanies and fake glasses or just paint their nails. Subtle things like perfume or a change in hairstyle is also a thing. So look for the natural looking and quirky females.



~ We’ll promote a topic and then listen to you – If we can get you to talk about something close to your heart or something that interests you then we’ll feel successful. Not because we have the next 10 minute of listening to you and getting to know you, nor is it because we don’t have to talk about ourselves. It’s just that we feel a level of trust happening when you open up to us; we’ll feel pretty happy just listening to you ramble (as long as it isn’t gossip).

In a sense, we are seeing more of who you are and seeing your ‘history’ as to how you think and how you became the person you are today, this is interesting to us, moreover, this allows us to feel relaxed as you talk. Which brings you to my next point.

~ We’ll ask questions – When we sense a conversation is coming to a stop and we want to continue this topic to allow a deeper discussion to follow, then we’ll prompt you with questions. Sometimes, we find that people glaze over important bits that they themselves find trivial; so, when we are confused, intrigued or need to clarify something, we’ll ask. This is how we continue a conversation instead of jumping onto another topic; if the conversation was cut short though, we’ll only hope that this topic picks back up some other time. To an extent, we continue conversation deliberately, yet, most of the time, the information provided by you just intrigues us to prompt for more which then sparks a genuine yearn to understand what you are saying.

Here, listen out for the females that asks questions and then stays quiet for the duration of their answer in which they are receiving.

~ We’ll pause, rephrase our words and stutter a lot – Yeah, this will happen a few times during our input if we don’t have time to think out our thoughts thoroughly. So if you so happen to hear the words, “so, errr, ummms, hmmm, wait, hold on, interesting”, then you are onto something.

~ Intense focus – We’ll look focused in on the person talking (whilst being pretty aware of everything around us – granted, there are times when we voluntarily or involuntarily block out background noises and people). Anyways, what I mean by focused is that we seriously look at that person; their eyes, their lips, their facial expressions, their posture and their tone of voice to gauge how personal their stories are. A lot of people look at the person talking just out of kind gesture or politeness, we do too but to a more analytical (yet none judgemental) extent. Lets’ say that when an INTJ listens and looks at you properly then that means they are ‘figuring’ you out, listening for any hidden meaning, honing in on your choice of words…or just collecting data. So yeah, look for someone who manages to sit like a stone looking at their friends talking for about 5 – 10 minutes or more.

We’ll also do quick glances at our other friends in the group to gauge their interest. Our glances provides us with more than enough information as to ‘understand’ how others are feeling or even thinking.

~ We become stoned (yeah I know what you are thinking, say no to drugs guys) – Okay, about that ‘stone’ thing…we don’t move a lot whilst by ourselves or with friends, especially if we are listening to you; except for the occasional adjustment to get comfy or to grab our glass of beverage. Other than that…we are pretty much still (unless some developed a fidgety habit like foot shaking). When it comes to our turn to talk, we could become animated in our movements to project our story or viewpoints…or we just…do what normal people do…


~ Silence – We’ll be quiet and for the love of God it’s not because we are shy, seriously guys, shyness is not the best word to use when describing the majority of INTJs or most introverts for that matter. Honestly, we are just quiet so we can listen to you 100% of the time…ironically though, 100% of THAT time is also devoted to thinking about other things. Not sure how we do it…we don’t fully segregate our thoughts into what you are saying and what we are thinking, we just mesh your words and our thoughts together but still somehow end up with a clear thought momentum going on. At times everything gets muddled which is why we end up needing you to clarify and repeat something again or why we repeat your sentences.


(C’mon guys, am I the only one that read it wrong?)

~ Friends priorities first – Generally, we will just let our friends decide what we all do. Yeah, remember how I said that we put our friend priorities first? Well, we also let go of the reigns and let our friends choose where we eat, hang out or watch movies etc. Therefore..if you hear someone saying, “I don’t mind, I don’t care, sure, okay”, then…you have NOT found an INTJ because although everyone goes with the flow, we tend to do some of the following first (sometimes in synchronization):

  1. very quickly check the time on our phone or watch (so it doesn’t look rude)
  2. ask about our next venture, such as, “is it nice there? or ask “have you been there before?”
  3. pack up everything the fastest (unless we are stalling time because someone went to the toilet, just sayin’)

~ Sincerity and sarcasm – We’ll be downright sincere and serious like normal or just sarcastic as eff. Not sure where our sarcastic off button is, maybe you should just slap us. It’s not that our sarcasm is bad, they just tend to lean towards the ‘dark’ humor side…kind of like this.






aaaand this.



~ Observation – We observe our surroundings and are quick to highlight something quirky or unexpected to our friends. Other than that, we just pretty much eyeball the whole place to get a sense of where everything is; for example, in a bar, we’ll figure out where the 2 seater or 6 seater areas are, where the quiet (or at least tamer) areas are, where the ‘secret’ booths and corners are, where the toilets are, where the exit signs are or where fire escape door is. Yeah, we would attempt to pretty much try to see where everything is from our seats – this one is simple to spot, just look for someone who now and again look at their surroundings for prolonged periods.

Now, onto our shadow function, the ESFP. Let me just get it out there that this shadow function doesn’t last long and as hinted earlier on, the ESFP normally comes out when we are either really stressed, overly excited or just feel scatter brained – however, with our ability to pull through problems logically or just needing a quiet moment to recharge then the ESFP side of us will slowly fade away.

So in a state of cognitive conflict or just simply during a turbulent moment, the ESFP will most probably come out for an hour or so.


A brief breakdown of the ESFP:

~ Extroverted (E) ESFP are playful, curious, fun and easily gets excited (no, stop it, not in that way…=_=) when around people, thus recharging and taking energy from being around people. ESFP like to encourage people to have fun; when they are excited, then they want others to feel the buzz too. This is done via talking excitedly (yet authentically) to people as well as entertaining everyone. The world is their playground and their energy source.

~Sensing (S) – ESFP rarely wants anyone to feel left out and so will ‘feel’ the needs of their friends which makes them want to involve everyone and try to make everyone happy; ESFP are also known to be the peacemaker when everyone is feeling feisty…or argumentative. This is due to their strong interpersonal skills whereby their decisions are made based on their personal values; this makes ESFPs generally concerned for other people’s’ well being and happiness. ESFP sense peoples’ needs via observation whereby they tend to come up with a solution; here, the ESFP exudes their genuine character as being a warm and generous person, not only this, they are pretty handy giving practical care and emotional support. As a result, they tend to like spending a lot of their time with people; simply put, they are sensitive to other peoples’ emotions and wants to adhere to them positively and practically.

~Feelers (F) – ESFP are spontaneous and optimistic about life, they love to have fun which tends to make them over-indulgent of something as immediate gratification are somewhat more important than long-term or resulting consequences. ESFP do like attention and people which isn’t a big shock when I say that ESFP have a general acceptance of everyone. No matter who you are (to an extent), stimulating everyone’s’ senses is great fun for them and proves to be a great friendship bonding experience.

Yeah, to an extent because if you piss them off greatly then you will be deeply disliked for a long time (backed up with stubborn negative judgement about you). Touching on the negative aspect of the ESFP, immense stress will be felt when they feel that positive possibilities are taken away from them (I’m not sure how you get out of this state ESFPs, do feel free to enlighten me in the comments below ^-^ – apparently, explaining a general fault in the economy which in turn affects you is enough for you to get back up. Is this just a generalization?). Anyways, when problems or drama arises about them then they tend to avoid any conflicts; passive aggressive is nothing new and when it gets too much, the odd outburst of emotions here and there is unavoidable.

~ Prospecting (P) – ESFPs live life via constant physical stimulation, seeking novelty experiences; they like to be very practical and like to live ‘in the moment’, with the dislike for structure and routine. Being the spontaneous individual that they are, improvisation and going with the flow is part of their daily routine, if they can help it. ESFPs are pretty artistic and creative with an eye for fashion and style; theory isn’t that important but being hands-on is much more up their street; learning in the moment and with others via kinesthetic activities. ESFP likes to make tasks fun for themselves and for others in order to develop a strong bond with people, oh, and to get any mundane tasks done. As said earlier, ESFP are immediate gratification seekers with their eyes set on the finer things in life (who isn’t? Then again, definition of this varies) but being poor planners, a lot of luxuries and materialistic aims are made impossible or does not come with immediate effect due to ignoring responsibilities to get there, not to mention being easily distracted; very often just relying on luck, opportunities or just asking around (friends) to see if anything interesting pops up on their radar.

Despite all the fun ESFP portrays, they too like to touch upon intellectual topics and being an ‘explorer’ themselves, having a diverse group of friends brings them great joy.


Now, what do INTJ relate most to about the ESFP whereby majority of us agree to this type? Maybe this is our extroverted side coming out, we are closet extroverts after all. Also, having mass amount of our lives not being in the ‘limelight’, feeling and accepting the spotlight shining on our back now and again creates a pleasant thrill – I’m not talking about drama, I’m talking about expressing ourselves openly to people via our extroverted persona.

So, here are some parts of the ESFP that INTJs adhere to in public or with friends (or at least most of us). The following list will make us harder to be identified – you’re welcome fellow INTJs, I got your back ;)

  • ESFP love to experiment with aesthetics – This is true for INTJs (it’s just a matter of when it happens), we’ll get inspiration all of a sudden to try out a new look and these tends to be utilizing quirky assets as noted earlier. From time to time, we too want to take a break from being invisible to wanting to stick out in a crowd – sometimes, we’ll experiment with a ‘trademark’ look that would make people instantly recognize us…only to fail after the second or third attempt of sticking to it. Like I said before, our shadow functions don’t stick around for long. Despite this, the INTJ is quirky in general so this isn’t necessarily our ESFP coming out; instead, this is based more on the novelty factor.
  • ESFP like to experience everything – Somewhere inside our INTJ minds, we too want to experience everything or at least challenge ourselves and surround our senses; be it going to new places, talking to mass groups of people (yeah, fellow INTJs, are you sweating bullets? I’m strangely excited by this prospect) or just jumping out of a plane (like you do). When INTJs are in the midst of spontaneity then they literally want to do things so don’t be alarmed if an INTJ is the first to put their hands up to trying something new.
  • ESFPs are observant and will find a solution for practical use – Now, normally, INTJs are observant in order to gauge what people are thinking and feeling without acting on the ‘data’ gathered (we just store it). However, in scenarios where we feel and think that an awkward silence is settling in or the atmosphere doesn’t ‘feel’ right then…we’ll do something to make everyone feel involved and less stressed as to who should break the silence first. Typically, this involves initiating conversation first and making eye contact with everyone when talking, stealthily ushering everyone into the formation of a circle or even touching someone if they are looking excluded. We’ll seem pretty fearless as opposed to the ‘death stare’ that INTJs are associated with as we’ll smile a lot. With our observation here, we tend to end up being the one who talks the most (or even the loudest) to keep the flow of the group going.
  • ESFP are playful and are entertainers – Continuing with the above point, INTJs are good at mirroring moods, we can definitely be the fun person who entertains and spark off conversations just to get the party started and if we are really in the moment, our witty and sarcastic side will come out more fluidly. We want everyone to be happy or at least try to make sure they are happy or having a great time. In the height of extraversion, we can be loud, we’ll dance and even start laughing like a crazy person; our expressions can become intentionally animated to make people laugh. Needless to say, we are pretty much dead at the end of all this.

Yeah, we can be pretty much out of character depending on the circumstances and how comfortable we feel – most of the above actions are forced at first but will quickly become genuine actions so don’t worry about us being fake and whatnot; you’ll find that with most social things that we do, we have to put intentional effort in to hype ourselves up (unless we already like the activity).

Nonetheless, the above points indicates our ESFP coming out due to excitement and stress of wanting everything to go right.


Other relatable functions to the ESFP

  • ESFP tends to over indulge – True for INTJ but the underlying reason is different, we don’t over-indulge because we are happy or want to feel pleasure, quite the opposite as you have read in my ‘stressed’ blog post. Instead, we do it to numb ourselves or to block out any internal or external turmoil that could add to the existing pressure that we are feeling. Over-indulging ourselves can become obsessive when we give ourselves permission to ‘let go’.
  • ESFP are spontaneous and unfocused (although ESFP try to be focused from time to time) – When INTJs get stressed or are envisioning several possibilities for their future, they become overwhelmed as to where to start first; this propels them into a level of stress that invokes a highly unfocused and spontaneous mentality – especially when they don’t take time to think of a logical plan. Instead, they now focus on the present moment which makes them obsess over minute and unimportant details. It’s just that sometimes they have to physically feel or see the results instead of always envisioning how something might turn out; with this, the “what ifs” get thrown out of the window.
  • ESFP are curious and value novelty experiences (especially traveling) – The travel bug tends to hit INTJs in the head when they are stuck in a rut, feeling pressured or just feel inspired to explore (this doesn’t happen often to INTJs when they don’t see the practicality of traveling). One of the underlying factors why traveling or exploring becomes more appealing is when the INTJ feel like disappearing off the face of the earth for a while – just the thought of not having to worry or think about problems for a little while and replacing these with experiencing something new, stirring their senses, seeing other possibilities and feeling independent is enticing (independence is a big thing for INTJs). Yeah, when an INTJ want to disappear, they jump to extremes.
  • ESFP re-evaluate their commitment constantly and have no problem breaking things off – This sounds pretty much like when INTJ decides to erase someone. Both ESFP and INTJ don’t have a problem getting rid of people or a relationship; however, whereas ESFP break things off when they don’t feel the same about someone, they still have that person stick around sometimes. Whilst the INTJ breaks things off permanently as a last straw (we will consider the serious implications of our decision when re-evaluating). Although both types are willing to work on a relationship, the ESFP needs to realize (normally from experience) that someone is worth holding on to. Whilst INTJ don’t technically need the experience to know who and what they deserve, thus, when they hold on to someone, the mean it and want it to work.
  • ESFP relationships are exciting and full of physical touch – As you may have noted on previous posts, the INTJ can become quite affectionate when in a relationship (especially the females). Like ESFP, INTJ like to give in to their spontaneous and playful side with a lot of exciting activities and ideas on their mind. When comfortable enough, our inquisitive nature may just spill out whereas usually we’ll sieve through the most important things to ask first; topics tends to be light-hearted and not the general serious and deep conversations. We just become somewhat free-spirited.
  • ESFP are passive aggressive – INTJ can be passive aggressive if they take in too much negativity, we don’t like passive aggressiveness and we’ll stop it if we catch ourselves doing it. Normally, ‘healthy’ INTJs would either talk about the problem or just hide themselves away to figure things out (basically to get over it). Also, we can become passive aggressive but normally it is for sarcasm and humor sake, plus we’ll make it obvious that we are joking; therefore if you experienced proper passive aggressive tendencies coming from INTJs then you know that they are feeling pretty steamed up and need a moment to chill.

(Not exactly the ‘perfect’ list but it’ll do)


Having stated the above, I’m not sure whether INTJs are happy with any shadow functions coming out, we don’t dislike it nor would we entice these functions willingly unless they are well-developed and easily manageable.

Most people (in general) have at least 2 or 3 shadow functions which is dependent on the individuals strengths and weaknesses. Depending on what you are going through, the brain can convert through many cognitive flips such as J (judging) to F (feeling). Interestingly, the brain may choose your weakest function to use when under extreme stress or when you are outside of your comfort zone – which would explain why INTJs over-indulge when stressed as a sign of letting go of their Judgement function OR becoming the entertainer when they let go of their Introverted function.

You’ll find that with time, you can definitely develop your other cognitive functions and to utilize them where you see fit. It’s a good technique to master as you would develop the ability to see all sides of a situation as a third-party spectator. Speaking for the INTJs out there, I find that some are pretty good at understanding situations via different perspectives anyway.

This should pretty much sum up why it is hard to identify an INTJ (or any other personality types) just purely because of how the brain can jump from one cognitive function to another when the individual is influenced by biophysical circumstances.

Granted, most of the time we will show our INTJ self after a while (when we have relaxed or are exhausted) – we just want to charge our energy quietly and peacefully, however, the initial first hours will prove tricky for you to identfy us…so have fun hanging around for hours hahahaha~.

Geomeun Goyangi =^-^=

geomeun goyangi mark
***Disclaimer: 87% of these quotes are from myself. Also, please note that these blogs should NOT influence you to generalize that all INTJs, as a niche group, are all the same – because we are not; a lot of other factors shapes and individualizes a person.***