What personality types are theoretically most compatible with INTPs? Please note that compatibility is different from camaraderie (as explained well by C.S. Joseph).
Camaraderie often exists between similar types, such as the INTP and ENTP. However, a high-camaraderie relationship is not necessarily the same as a complementary or compatible relationship (in terms of work and romantic relationships, or general functional compatibility).
How Do We Determine Compatibility?
Here, we will take the approach of defining compatibility as smooth cognitive and functional flow between two types. Each person provides something the other needs, or is able to receive something the other wants to offer.
From one approach or perspective, type compatibility is stronger when the extroverted functions of one type are able to easily “consume” or interact with their introverted counterpart in the other type. In other words, the introverted counterpart functions are all available in the opposite personality’s “ego” and not hidden in their shadow (explanatory pictures will be shown later).
As a reminder:
Fe = Extroverted Feeling
Fi = Introverted Feeling
Te = Extroverted Thinking
Ti = Introverted Thinking
Se = Extroverted Sensing
Si = Introverted Sensing
Ne = Extroverted INtuition
Ni = Introverted INtuition
For example, extroverted thinking (Te) wants to interact with introverted thinking (Ti). Te seeks readily available, accurate knowledge to make efficient, informed decisions. Ti is generally exceptional at providing this quality information on the fly.
Ne can often see problems coming, and can recognize patterns, opportunities, and warning signs in social and work situations. This strength can help to advise and warn Ni in order to help Ni achieve and maintain its internal integrity and goals without interruptions, setbacks, or sabotage from others.
According to C.S. Joseph, Se likes to give good experiences, and Si likes to receive them.
Fe tends to be stronger at verbalizing and identifying feelings, thus giving the quiet Fi a voice.
So, what types have function stacks completely opposite of the INTP’s stack?
Four types: The ENTJ, INTJ, ESFP, and ISFP.
Here, we will refer to the top four functions – or the “main” personality type – as the “ego”. The bottom four functions for each type are their shadow, suppressed, or weaker functions.
As we can see from this diagram, all of the functions’ introverted and extroverted counterparts are available for access within the ego (the non-shadow) section. No one has to reach from their ego down into the other type’s shadow to access their complements.
Similarly, all the types’ shadow functions have counterparts available within the other types’ shadows. In other words, the shadows are compatible with each other. So in a time of stress – in which the two types’ shadows kick in – the types might switch function roles and still be complementary.
The two egos are self-contained and complementary, and the two shadows are self-contained and complementary. There’s no stretching and awkward bridging between egos and shadows.
On the other hand, low-compatibility relationships tend to have what C.S. Joseph calls a “traffic jam”, in which the egos have to reach way down into the other types’ shadows in order to access their functional counterparts. Since our shadows are often less accessible (except potentially when we’re under stress), this means that these types will typically be without access to their complementary function counterparts in the other type.
A couple examples are illustrated below, but certainly there are other types with similar low compatibility for the INTP.
Particularly with relationships such as the INTP – ISFJ relationship, we see a lot of stretching on both sides. INTP’s Ne has to access the bottom of ISFJ’s shadow to have any semblance of a connection with Ni. That’s probably never going to happen, as the ISFJ is generally very out of touch with their Ni.
ISFJ’s Fe will have an extremely hard time accessing INTP’s shadow Fi. The INTP’s Fe can’t really access the ISFJ’s shadow Fi, either. So both the ISFJ and INTP are trying to care for each other with their extroverted feeling (likely in very different ways, or with very different ideas of what “caring” means), but neither one really appreciates or recognizes that with their suppressed Fi, which can’t receive the Fe (or at least receive the type of Fe that’s being offered).
INTP to ENTP might look a little less messy visually, but in terms of compatibility (according to this model), it’s not really that functionally smooth either. They may have to reach a little less far to access their function counterparts, but they still have to reach into each other’s shadows, since they have completely the same functions in the ego and completely the same (non-complementary) ones in their shadows. However, the INTP and ENTP can be great friends (i.e., have great camaraderie), because they tend to understand or appreciate each other’s logic, and often have similar areas of interest.
That said, Isabel Myers, an INFP, had a healthy relationship with her ISTJ husband, even though they had all the same functions in their egos and shadows. So there’s no hard and fast rule about compatibility! Even types predicted to be compatible may not be, depending on the nature of the particular individuals involved.
Additionally, there are some other types we haven’t explored here, which are often considered to have higher potential compatibility with INTPs. Among these are the INFJ and the ENFJ.
Are you an INTP in a relationship, or another type in a relationship with an INTP? What is their/your type?