There are 3 consistently touted matches for INFJ; the INTP, the ENTP, and the ENFP. I think all matches have pros and cons. The ENFP is definitely the easiest and most comfortable but it’s also the most limiting in terms of growth. Because of this I’ve found that younger INFJs, although attracted to ENTPs and INTPs (because we’re fucking rad AF) will steer clear and engage in romances with ENFPs or INFPs. I do know some INFJ/ENFP partners in their 40s and they have solid relationships. Keep in mind these post are always with respect to ideals.
INFJs that have been around the block or that are post-college or entering into careers tend to finally muster up the activation energy needed to initiate INTP or ENTP relationships. Essentially relationship-focus shifts to life-building and partnerships. I know this is always on the radar of INFJ but the focus matures from “What do I want in a partner to feel happy?” into “What do I want and need in a partner to be happy but also be the best version of myself?”
*NTPs start getting more consideration at this point. *NTP relationships are not the easiest or most comfortable to get off the ground for an INFJ. They’re actually rather tough. I’ve had 2 successful INFJ relationship blast-offs and they were long, dangerous, and frightening courting processes. I mean like Little Pilgrim’s Progress type danger… dragons, and armies of emotional banshees to fight off and secret tunnels under dangerous graveyards of perfectionist judgements (fitting since INFJ actually gets fulfillment from being fought for). I’ve also had one failed attempt at an INFJ relationship blastoff that I’m still thinking about revisiting in some years for a second try. INFJs are like crack-cocaine to *NTPs despite that we can initially be very irritating to each other.
I’ve talked about the reason they are tough to get going in the golden pair blog. But in summary, they have to do with *NTPs crappy Fe and INFJs crappy Ti and Se. As we mature these functions get more play time in our lives and we all start to get better at using them, We start understanding how we make bad decisions based on them, and we start respecting other people’s dominant functions that we don’t share. We also start to look for growth and to complete our functional-stack journey we started at birth. This is why INFJs eventually find deep, and sometimes persistent longing for *NTPs. And *NTPs start to find the same feelings for I*FJs and particularly INFJs. (ISFJ is touted as the OTHER *NTP match).
So let’s talk about the meat of the question, INTP or ENTP? We can start by looking at the functional stack of both types.
The INTP/ENTP Functional Stacks
The first thing to note is that we share the same exact strong functions(first two) and the same exact weak functions (last two).
They’re just swapped. This swap creates some big changes early in life for how these personalities play out, but later in life it might be hard to tell the difference between an ENTP and an INTP. Both types are charming, engaging, quirky, and happy in social settings. Both types are thoughtful, pensive, and creative when alone. This is assuming they both set out to challenge themselves, conquer their weaknesses, and receive the full experience of their authentic selves. A textbook INTP and textbook ENTP that you read about online is an underdeveloped personality. This hopefully won’t fit most people. I only really know I’m an INTP because I can remember what was driving me in my youth. People constantly mistype me as ENTP and I often will mistype as ENTP if I take a test. I’m also still conquering Fe. Si, although it does cause me the kind of problems it causes an ENTP, isn’t so life or death. So I know I’m an INTP and not an ENTP. Keep this in mind if you are a younger INTP, as INFJ’s will probably prefer the more happy social and charming version of you…the ENTP.
The next thing to notice is the Inferior function.
This will become important later when we discuss what it means to fulfill our authentic selves. The inferior functions for INTP is Fe and for ENTP it’s Si.
Finally the dominant functions make ENTP extrovert while INTP is introvert.
ENTPs love being around people mostly because they are looking to engage their Ne. This is their debate function and their creativity function. It’s what allows them to jump from topic to topic with ease and excitement. INTPs use Ne too. The function, honestly, is a little bit ADHDeee. I feel like I’m on uppers when I’m being social and in Ne mode. The one way we socialize differently, at least later in life, is that INTPs really start to engage Fe more so than ENTPs. Both types are still using Ne and Fe, it’s just Ne is driving the ENTP socialness and INTP socialness is a little more balanced with Fe. This is an important difference, especially when considering INFJs needs later on.
The INFJ Functional Stack
They get a cool image because they really are my favorite type.
First thing to note is that INFJ has a strong Fe to *NTP’s weak Fe.
This doesn’t do too much to differentiate the romances at first glance until you understand that we are all aspiring to our weakest function. It’s conquering our inferior function that completes our development. Our tertiary functions are useful, we care, they aren’t used often but we use them to supplement our day to day. We are OK at our tertiary function and can shift away from it if necessary. It won’t turn our world upside down like our inferior function. Our inferior function is our personal arch-nemesis. It’s what we revert to in stress, and depression, and heartache, and fear and when we are underdeveloped, it’s what we neglect at all other times. We aren’t good with our inferior function so when we shift to it in tough times, we usually create more problems for ourselves and prolong our suffering. ENTP is NOT looking to increase Fe as part of their development so ENTP has less use for INFJ. Fe doesn’t really cause problems. It’s sort of
“yea, feelings are cool. I dig them. I just don’t care to use them much bro I got Ti and Ne. That’s enough.”
ENTP Fe is supplementary to their dominant functions and if you read up on some ENTP posts they usually COMPLAIN about feelings and sensitivity. They understand it, they use it, but in general, they aren’t that interested. INTPs, when they’re young, aren’t annoyed by Fe, they’re uncomfortable with Fe. Once an INTP shifts into embracing growth in their inferior function, Fe becomes a big driver in their lives.
ENTP is looking to fulfill their competence with Si, which is their inferior function. INFJ offers up what other nurturing types offer. The match is a wash. As an INTP I also have poor Si. My last INFJ partner would ask me daily things like “Did you drink enough water? Are you sure you actually want coffee and aren’t just thirsty? Do you think you’d do better if you napped first? You’ve been working since4 in the morning.” This is the Si realm and ENTPs have a tougher time here than INTPs. Si is the ENTP understanding his inner senses. It’s ENTP being able to stop and smell the roses. It’s ENTP being able to look at a nice steak, smell it, appreciate it, eat it slowly and feel the juices coat his tongue and hear the gulp in his throat as he swallows. It’s ENTP understanding when he is tired and needs to sleep or when he has been at the gym too long or when he has been drinking too much coffee or smoking too many cigarettes. It’s ENTP realizing that he’s over-drinking on the weekends or has already had too much to eat. It’s ENTP going to get a massage and really learning how to FEEL his body because ENTP neglects this. He doesn’t know how. And when he’s depressed or stressed or unhappy he goes to indulge in his inner senses in all kinds of messed up ways. This is why ENTP’s match is often stated to be ISFJ. ISFJ helps ENTP aspire to complete his development more so than the INFJ. That ISFJ match is tough for the same reasons the INFJ match is tough, but the payout is bigger for ENTP. The built in support for ENTPs inferior function is missing from the INFJ/ENTP match.
Contrast this to INTP’s inferior Fe. We love it and we hate it. INTPs are aspiring to Fe. We are much more likely to be poets (bad poets) and writers and musicians than an ENTP. We will value INFJ Fe like a spring water geyser in the middle of a dessert once we reach the stage where we are filling out our development. We will consistently appreciate INFJ for helping us maintain this Fe. INFJ, as a nurturer will understand this dynamic. The appreciation and validation of INFJ’s skills are vital to INFJ’s sense of worth (not true for all types). A big boon for INFJ is this sincere and genuine appreciation for their skill set. INTPs will give appreciation and mean it because they really do need the Fe maintenance. ENTPs appreciation is akin to a “wow. you’re good at that. That’s neat” It’s not quite the same. INTP appreciation is more like “WOW. you are amazing. You’re so amazing at that. it’s beautiful.” I think this is a big pro for the INFJ/INTP match. The function support is built in and the typical response from the INTP is admiration, which is like daily chocolate for INFJ personalities.
What is INFJ aspiring to?
They are aspiring to fill out their Se. Neither *NTP has Se so it might seem kind of odd that the matches work but NTPs indirectly support Se development. Unlike Fe, which requires engagement with others, Se is a function that is about self-engagement. Fulfilling Se for an INFJ means getting out of their heads and feelings and getting into moments of physical and sensual happiness and adventure. This is NP’s ‘fly by the seat of our pants and take some risks and see what happens’ coming in with activities that support INFJ Se. INTPs are more likely to get out to go on a hike, balloon ride, road trip to see sunsets or sunrises, a surf trip, attend a play or concert, enroll in a cooking class or Yoga class. INTP Se-like activities (because of Fe and Ti) tend to be more INFJ friendly. ENTP Se-like activities tend to be more ISFP friendly (Because of Ne and Si) which really just means more exciting and thrill seeking. Things like skydiving, clubbing, MMA, boxing, basketball games, race-car driving etc… Sex for both NTPs is pretty adventurous and creative and pretty damn complimentary to INFJ Se development. Both NTPs are likely doing all the activities I listed. I’m into every single one for example. We are doing these things on whims and with an adventurous spirit and this gets INFJ into her body and out of her head. Staying on Se, ENTPs, as a group, are probably more fit and fashionable than INTPs. This is also an Se plus. Both *NTPs help INFJ fulfill her Se development. I think it’s hard to say which is better here. INTP is more likely to throw a mattress in the bed of his truck and take INFJ out to the desert to stargaze and drink wine (I’ve actually done this) while ENTP is more likely to buy tickets to take INFJ out skydiving with friends. Both types are likely to do both kinds of activities there’s just a small preference towards extrovert and introvert activities for each.
A caveat to the tertiary function for INFJ
Unlike ENTP not needing too much Fe-support or INTP not needing too much Si-support, INFJ actually does need support with her third function, Ti, and will be very interested in developing it. This is driven by her perfectionism, idealism and desire for her own personal growth and competence. But it’s more important because INFJs suffer from something called an Ni-Ti loop that can be pretty disastrous. This is an underdeveloped Ti feeding Ni poor logical information that Ni then uses to make bad conclusions. The bad conclusions then feed another round of logical processing that ends up being incorrect and the cycle can escalate into some pretty bad life choices. Because INFJ is so adept at Ni she takes the conclusions very seriously, but they are faulty. This is a problem all INFJs are familiar with. The loop leads to paranoia, distrust, insecurity, judgemental behaviors, anger, self-doubt, anxiety, and panic. If you are an INFJ you know what I’m talking about. And because INFJs are such sensitive souls these negative feelings are amplified. The loop can lead INFJs to be manipulative, opportunist, spiteful, prideful, and hateful. It’s one of the bigger reasons INFJs are stated to be so paradoxical because they can also be the most loving, virtuous, empathetic, happy, and humble type. Both *NTPs will supplement the INFJ Ti and help break the loop if there is trust established between the partners. This is a huge benefit to INFJ. Not only does the *NTP assist in breaking the loop but he also assists INFJ in developing Ti. The loops happen less often due to better reasoning. It allows INFJ to maximize her personal journey. INTPs have a stronger Ti and are more willing to use Fe to engage. The other way to break the loop is to shift to Fe. INTPs are better at facilitating this than ENTPs. From the INFJ perspective, it’s simply going to be easier to develop trust and comfort with an INTP partner but both *NTPs are going to be a huge support here.
ON extroversion vs. introversion
In my experience, Is do better with Is and Es do better with Es but this trait is on a spectrum more so than the other traits so there are many many exceptions. For life building, parenting, and deep romances, I think this is a pretty good default though. All relationships require compromise and we compromise for the pros of the relationships. The E vs. I is a tough compromise to make for a long time. I hear about the pros of balance with E/I relationships but I’ve never had problems with balancing my I/E with friends. However, I have had problems with E/I clashes often. I think this balance will vary pair by pair. One subtle difference here is that INTP and INFJ are looking to be social for the same reasons…Fe, while ENTP is usually after Ne indulgence. This is where the loud, arrogant, debate lover label comes in. All stuff that rubs the INFJ the wrong way. Not to say INTPs don’t have this either it’s just not AS loud. I love Ne, I just have an easier time backing off than an ENTP.
When I’ve had extroverted partners and we’ve gone out, one of two things would happen:
- it was their show and I’d sort of fall into the background,
- We’d each go into our little social niches to have our own independent shows.
Social outings with my extrovert partners eventually became trying. But when I’ve had introvert partners, (particularly INFJs), when we went out, we were always going out as a team. If there was a funny moment we’d both shoot each other glances and smile. If someone did something odd or weird or rude, we’d find each other and trade secret introvert looks or phrases of “wtf was that!?” It’s a lot more like we were two people at a playground where other people were part of the fun equipment (Fe Fe Fe). We would still run off to engage with friends on our own and regroup and repeat throughout the night but there was always that introvert connection of us finding nuances and reading between lines, having secret thoughts together, finding corners to people watch or sneaking off to balconies to enjoy the moon before going back into the fray.
- An INFJ/INTP match leads to both partners filling out their inferior functions, which I would consider to be a life goal for all people and of particular importance to the INFJ.
- INFJ/INTP leads to some very sincere appreciation and validation for both partners.
- INFJ/INTP matches are better equipped to deal with Ni-Ti loops.
- The I/I pairing will cause less tension in the long term and facilitate more fulfilling social outings because of INTP Fe.
For these reasons I really do think the INTP, in general, is a better pairing. Keep in mind that I’ve exaggerated the differences for the sake of the question. But ENTPs and INTPS are ultimately very similar and both ideal matches for an INFJ. Both *NTPs have problems with social EQ, both can be arrogant, both can be socially charming, both can be scary smart and insightful, both can be annoyingly confident and adventurous. And as *NTPs mature into their 30s and beyond, the differences between them become very subtle. Both matches will be really fulfilling if they get off the ground and have similar challenges. But the INTP/INFJ match will have more spiritual depth to it.
This doesn’t mean an INFJ will like every *NTP or vice versa. *NTPs can be some of the douchiest, most insensitive, laziest, egotistical and arrogant people on the planet. INFJs can be some of the most judgmental, stubborn, secretive, opportunistic and covert-prideful people on the planet. Any underdeveloped type will be a bad partner in general, doesn’t matter if the pairing is ideal from an MBTI perspective. And every developed type could have a nice relationship with any other type. But developed and caring INFJs and *NTPs will do really well together. I’ll close with talking about the INTP-male/INFJ-female match, which is often referred to as The Golden Pair.
Dominant Ni and Auxiliary Ne in The Golden Pair means relationships are revolving around some pretty deep and heavy themes. Strong Fe and Strong Ti mirroring the partner’s weak Fe/Ti means that, emotionally and intellectually, the relationship will get deep around the N themes (which is the stuff of all your romancy shakespearean novels and middle eastern poetry). Both INFJs and INTPs are icebergs. They have the biggest inner worlds of all the types and these inner worlds are sacred. The INTPs inner world is full of deep thoughts and insight. The INFJ inner world is full of deep feelings and insight. The Golden Pair relationship is about letting these deep worlds out into a safe space. It gets deep around the N themes in a way that completes the inferior function of the partner. So the pairing is also allowing each partner to fulfill their own spiritual life journey. It’s like that cheesy ass “You complete me” nonsense… except it’s real… and the INFJ thinks “I knew this was possible. I knew it.” and the INTP is like “wtf…this is weird. I didn’t think this was possible.” Other matches will complete people’s development but not revolve around N-themes. Other matches will revolve around N themes but not complete development (INFJ/ENFP-ENTP). The Golden Pair, is about deep connection, development, and fulfillment. I’ve had many friendships with INFJs, a short term romance that had to end due to distance, and 1 serious relationship with an INFJ. It will take a lot of effort for me to commit to something serious with a non-INFJ. It would be a downgrade. I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to do it.