It is no wonder that ENTPs and INTPs are so often compared to one another. They share the same cognitive functions but in a different order and consequently have many similarities.
They are both creative people who have active intellectual lives. They don’t like boring, day-to-day routines in their work and both have the capacity to work alone. They are problem solvers and especially love theorizing and philosophizing about the world around them. They are not wildly social and hate small talk, preferring to have meaningful, stimulating conversations.
A closer examination of both personalities, however, reveals many differences. Here are just a few:
- ENTPs will ask for help when they need it.
- INTPs will try to do everything themselves.
- ENTPs have a whimsical and fun side that they aren’t afraid to show to the world.
- INTPs have a silly side too but it is usually only shown to those closest to them.
- ENTPs will jump right in and act without much deliberation.
- INTPs will deliberate and rationally analyze an issue before they act.
- ENTPs are happy to work alone but would enjoy having someone else around for consultation.
- INTPs do not require anyone to work with them and are happy to be alone.
What are the Key Differences between ENTPs and INTPs?
ENTPs and INTPs are very similar, but their differences stand out in their approaches to problem-solving. ENTPs tend to think on a large scale, conceiving of and applying general patterns in order to understand a situation, while INTPs are more focused on the details, primarily considering individual facts.
ENTP vs INTP Cognitive Functions
Every personality has four cognitive functions — Intuition, Thinking, Sensing and Feeling. Those functions are then further described by how they are expressed, either Extraverted (outside of the mind) or Introverted (inside of the mind).
ENTPs and INTPs are mirrors of each other. ENTPs’ dominant function is Extraverted Intuition and their auxiliary function is Introverted Thinking. INTPs’ dominant function is Introverted Thinking and their auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition.
Likewise, an ENTP’s tertiary and inferior functions are Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Sensing respectively. INTPs are the exact opposite with their tertiary function being Introverted Sensing and their inferior function being Extraverted Feeling.
An ENTP’s dominant function is Extraverted Intuition, which means they are very much in touch with and fascinated by the possibilities that exist in the world. They take in all available information and then form theories, changing their environment, if necessary, to conform to their theories. Here are some ways ENTPs express their Extraverted Intuition:
- They are generally very open-mined.
- They are excellent at seeing patterns and making connections between disparate entities, often seeing relationships when other people do not.
- They are very oriented toward the future and the possibilities that the future might hold.
- Some people may criticize ENTPs for having too many crazy ideas that could never be practical.
An ENTP’s auxiliary function is Introverted Thinking, which means that they trust their inner logic and intuition, even if that trust may baffle other people. This function describes how they logically take information in and are able to use it to make decisions, reach conclusions and ultimately act. Here are some ways ENTPs express their Introverted Thinking:
- This function allows ENTPs to use logic to organize the flood of information they receive from the outside world.
- They consider what their senses are telling them as well as objective evidence, rather than emotional evidence or subjective opinions.
- They seek to not only understand how things happen but why things happen the way they do.
- Their Introverted Thinking makes them excellent inventors and imaginative thinkers.
An ENTP’s tertiary function is Extraverted Feeling, which involves seeking peaceful and harmonious interpersonal relationships. This aspect of their personality is not usually naturally developed but can be improved upon with work. Here are some ways ENTPs express their Extraverted Feeling:
- If this aspect of their personality is particularly weak, they may seem insensitive to others.
- They can be whimsical and playful with others if they sense that the mood in the room needs to be lightened.
An ENTP’s inferior function is Introverted Sensing, which is about trusting past experiences and using them to shape current behavior. Here are some ways ENTPs express their Introverted Sensing:
- Many ENTPs simply don’t consider what has happened in the past because they are so preoccupied by what could be in the future.
- Past results may feel like irrelevant details to an ENTP.
An INTP’s dominate function is Introverted Thinking. They are focused on keeping their inner world under control by using reason and logic. Here are some ways INTPs express their Introverted Thinking:
- They are very tightly controlled and self-disciplined.
- INTPs are generally very private people.
- They respond well to personal goals and challenges.
- They live by a rigid set of rules for themselves that do not change and are not typically applied to others.
An INTP’s auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition. It allows them to collect data and consider solutions from many different sources in a logically organized and methodical way. Here are some ways INTPs express their Extraverted Intuition:
- Their Extraverted Intuition supports their Introverted Thinking and makes them excellent problem solvers.
- They will consider out-of-the-box solutions along with what has worked before.
- Their rigid rules for themselves do not necessarily apply to problem solving. When necessary, they will go outside of their comfort zone to find a solution.
- Sometimes ideas that make sense to an INTP will not make sense to others.
An INTP’s tertiary function is Introverted Sensing, which involves comparing the past to the present. INTPs are detail oriented and will often attempt to examine the past to illuminate the present. Here are some ways INTPs express their Introverted Sensing:
- They are known for keeping a list of details in their mind and referring to them when necessary.
- They may get nostalgic about a time, place or activity from their past.
An INTP’s inferior function is Extraverted Feeling. They are introverts, of course, but do seek to get along with others in a group, especially if they have something in common. Here are some ways INTPs express their Extraverted Feeling:
- When they are stressed, they will tend to close themselves off and not communicate with group members.
- They usually have difficulty expressing their feelings.
ENTP vs INTP Intelligence
Because of their natural curiosity and problem solving abilities, both personality types tend to be considered intelligent. They both share an interest about the world and have a desire to learn new things. They also both enjoy engaging intellectually with others. They do, however, express their intelligence in different ways.
How do ENTPs express their intelligence?
- They will jump right into a problem, imagining multiple possibilities and then backtrack and begin analyzing to see if any of their ideas are possible.
- They are attracted by finding unique solutions more than by finding tried and true real-world options.
- They love debating and learning new ways of looking at ideas that they hadn’t considered before.
How do INTPs express their intelligence?
- Before jumping into a problem, they will think about it logically for a long time, considering every aspect and data point that they know of.
- They are more interested in finding out the truth rather than examining endless possibilities.
- They don’t mind an intellectual discussion but would prefer to work alone to find the answers they’re after.
Am I an ENTP or an INTP?
Both personality types are so close to each other in so many ways, how can you tell them apart? Here are a couple of basic questions that can help to narrow down which personality type you may be.
How talkative are you?
ENTPs are generally talkative with others, especially if they are discussing something that interests them. They will not hesitate to start a conversation or ask for someone else’s opinion.
INTPs are quieter and reserved and will save the talking for when it is necessary. They will speak but only after they’ve given a great deal of thought to what they are going to say.
Do you have many interests?
ENTPs have a wide variety of interests that they enthusiastically follow. They will also tend to bounce from one topic to another rather quickly.
INTPs’ interests tend to be focused on a few specific areas.
Is your life organized in a conventional way?
ENTPs usually want nothing to do with tradition and are most happy when they arrange their lives in a way that works for themselves and for themselves only.
INTPs prefer a rational structure to their lives and will generally be more traditional than an ENTP.
Can you stay on task?
ENTPs are easily distracted from what they are doing because their interest has been piqued by something else.
INTPs need little supervision because they are very focused and will stay on task.
Do people think of you as outgoing?
ENTPs have periods when they are social, fanciful and impulsive. Those times are usually followed by quite a bit of down time and quiet introspection.
INTPs are generally thought of as being reserved or quiet rather than outgoing. They do have their moments, however, when they are comfortable sharing their fun side with others.
Do you think of yourself as being an introvert or an extravert?
ENTPs generally think of themselves as being ambiverts or as having both introvert and extravert qualities.
INTPs would usually consider themselves to be strictly introverts.
What is the difference between an introverted ENTP and an extraverted INTP?
On the surface, they seem very similar but ENTPs and INTPs still perceive the world in an inherently different way. An ENTP will see the world as a big picture and more often than not may miss the finer details and nuances.
An INTP sees the world in an opposite way, with a focus on details and the smaller picture. They are more connected to real world parameters than are ENTPs. So even if an ENTP is more introverted and an INTP is more extraverted, they will always be fundamentally different.
Can a shy ENTP be an INTP?
A shy ENTP will still be an ENTP. Shyness, or being introverted, is not the key feature of what makes someone an INTP. No matter how social they are, an ENTP will still perceive the world in a big picture, abstract sort of way and an INTP will still focus on real world, detail-oriented solutions.
Can you be both an ENTP and an INTP, or on the cusp of both?
You cannot be two personality types at the same time. That doesn’t mean you can’t share many of the characteristics of another personality, however. Your personality can evolve and change over time as a result of your life experiences, relationships or just by working on improving yourself.
Can an INTP become an ENTP?
According to the creators of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, your personality types do not change. That doesn’t mean aspects of your personality won’t evolve over time. An INTP you can work on developing their auxiliary, tertiary and inferior functions, which could be extremely helpful for their lives but they will still be an INTP.
If someone previously considered an INTP suddenly tests as an ENTP, it means they were more than likely an ENTP all along. It is important to remember than the MBTI does not seek to define an individual but, rather, it seeks to describe them.