How Strategic Thinking Introverts Develop Relationships Differently

For strategic thinking introverts described as INTJ, ISTJ, and INTP personality types or Strategists, love and relationships are intellectual pursuits more than emotional encounters. 
Yes, these introverts exhibit emotions as mere mortals, but are not saddled with the emotional baggage many people experience to fulfill voids. For strategists, the value of a relationship is proportional to the intellectual value that is brought to the connection. 
There might be instances of “Lust at first sight,” but rarely “Love at first sight.” This is largely because strategists live within their heads, and at an extreme level. 
Consequently, many relationships are formed organically where strategists are always in control of their emotions. This alignment is also exercised within professional relationships.
INTJs, ISTJs, and INTPs can only follow leaders, managers, and supervisors that garner their respect morally and intellectually. The more gaps and holes these introverts can observe within leaders, the less credible they become. 
Strategists are said to be able to “Look through people.” Purported leaders may experience some discomfort with this notion, because they feel the scrutiny of these introverts. Quick quips, faulty syllogisms, and impractical concepts have no influential affect on strategists. Additionally, the vetting process does not stop after the initial encounter has ended. 
The strategist is still analyzing the various angles of the leader. Why did he choose that particular suit color? What did his posture say about him? Was he relaxed? Was he trying too hard to make a good impression? 
Did he state the obvious or use clichés to underscore a point? Interesting enough, strategists don’t prop themselves up as perfect individuals, because they are well aware of their own insecurities, shortcomings, and flaws. 
That’s the magic! Because strategists are so keen on how and why they operate and are hard-wired, others who are less self-aware come off as disingenuous, inauthentic, and phony. 
If strategists were to utter what they were thinking about these individuals, they would say, “Cut the crap… I know what you’re hiding, and I know why you’re doing it.”
Strategists can see through people
Personality Growth (2018) outlined the specificity of INTJs, in particular, being able to see through people with this note:
INTJs are not emotional people and so they don’t find themselves connecting to people easily on an emotional level. For them it is easier to analyze someone’s behavior and actions, than it is to see through their inner desires and feelings. 
INTJs are surprisingly capable of seeing through people, but in a much different way than some others types do. 
For them it is about disconnecting from an emotional connection, and seeing what that person is trying to hide from those around them. They can look at their behaviors and try to read the traits they express without meaning to.
For strategists, all personal and professional relationships run through this process. That’s why some friends of strategists think they are closer to them than they actually are. 
A relationship can go on for years without strategists having developed one iota of emotions since the first day of meeting.
How Strategic Thinking Introverts Develop Relationships Differently
Strategists grow emotionally through consistency of behavior
To say that strategists are always looking out for red flags in people is an understatement. The difference with strategists is that they heed them. They grow emotionally through the alignment of words and deeds. 
To try to explain away an irrational act would be the end of any relationship with a strategist. At least, any deeply, abiding one.  
ISTJ personality types exemplify this mindset of rules and consistency the best. BSM Consulting, Inc.(n.d.) suggested that:
The ISTJ’s word is as good as gold, and they honor their commitments faithfully. They believe that to do otherwise would be nothing less than a breach of honor and trustworthiness. Consequently, they take their vows very seriously, and once they have said “I do”, that means they are bound to the relationship until “death do us apart” or otherwise. 
ISTJs are driven to fulfill their responsibilities and duties, and will do so with tireless effort. They will do their best to meet the obligations presented by the different relationship roles which they play during their lives, i.e. spouse, parent, offspring, etc. They may have difficulty showing warmth, but they frequently feel it in abundance, and most develop the ability to show it through sheer effort. 
If nothing else, the ISTJ holds the gold medal of all the personality types for Effort. They will put forth tremendous amounts of effort to accomplish goals which are important to them. If healthy relationships are among these goals, you can bet that the ISTJ will do everything that they can to foster and maintain healthy relationships.
As a collective, strategists can only grow emotionally when individuals demonstrate consistency in what they say and do. Otherwise, strategists will view inconsistent individuals as possessing limited value, and only use the value that is available to them.
Strategists live in the field of ideas
It was once said that ambitious people look for help when they can’t do a project alone. This is especially true for strategists. Many strategists see people as mere conduits for expressing their ideas. 
At first blush this may suggest that strategists use people for their own ends. And you wouldn’t be wrong. The difference is that strategists embrace the idea that their genius is indispensable. 
Average individuals go through life without dreaming or imagining things bigger than themselves. 
And since average individuals will not accomplish anything noteworthy, they should be utilized to help the ideas of strategists to flourish.
INTP type personalities are best representation of pursuing compelling concepts. Storm (2019) posited that:  
Abstract ideas, inventions, and possibilities bring life and wonder to the INTP spirit. These types would much rather explore a conceptual idea than something tangible or pre-existing. What “could be” will always be more fascinating than what “is.” Exploring ideas in the boundless world of the mind is a thrilling experience for INTPs.
Whether a relationship is a marriage or a business partnership, the bigger picture of a merger of two lives must encapsulate a compelling idea for strategists. In other words, love is not a predominate motivation for marriage nor friendship a compelling motivation for partnership. 
The communion with a strategist must accomplish something bigger than what they could accomplish individually. More or less, the idea is, “If I can do it by myself, I don’t really need you.”
As achievers, strategists must be able to create solutions to compelling problems. Their introverted sensitivity makes it such that they must be change-agents in some form or fashion. 
Spouses and business partners who don’t understand their core roles would never be selected by strategists. In this regard, being chosen by strategists is the highest compliment and sign of respect to a spouse or partner. 
From a strategists’ perspective, they are literally putting their lives on the line. Miscalculations and errors in judgement are much more devastating to strategists than average individuals, largely because the spousal and partnership roles carry heavy responsibilities for their mission. 
In some instances, it may have taken a life-time for strategists to find someone worthy of this degree of trust.
Strategists are life-long learners requiring spousal and partnership participation
It is not enough to cheer strategists on from the sidelines, you have to get into the game. The way to strategists’ hearts is through their minds. Strategists are big on following systems, methods, and routines and expect you to do the same. 
In romantic relationships, the time to start reading, working out, and becoming an “Academic Artist,” is not when you meet a strategist, but way before. Sounds unfair huh? Well, the strategist of your dreams has lived a regimented life all of his or her life. Their process is constant and consistent growth and development. 
When you start reading and working out after meeting a strategist, you’re not trusted. For strategists, it feels disingenuous and as soon as the relationship blossoms, you’ll resort back to your old ways of not reading, writing, or working out. 
Strategists view such manipulation as betrayal, and no matter how superficial you may view strategists’ behavior, you will never change their minds. And once they make up their minds about you, there’s no coming back in most instances.
In life there are crossroads. When we come to an intersection, we usually take the more conventional route. Not strategists! They never blink or go down a road they have already determined leads to a dead end. 
And dead ends for strategists merely mean that they can’t see how your continued participation in their life will make them a better version of themselves. You’re putting yourself through cruel and unusual punishment if you think you’re going to change the mind of strategists once their minds are made-up.
Strategists can remain critical even after establishing a relationship
Strategists never turn off that part of the brain that is constantly evaluating or judging. If you gained a mere 5 pounds of body weight, strategists have already observed it. Use a word incorrectly or out of context, they are on it. 
And once more, the way they look at you tells you what they know. You feel naked and vulnerable. You can’t hide anything from strategists, because they are in-tune with your mental and physical states, as well as any changes that arise. 
They are a combination of Mr. Spock of Star Trek and Batman.
To truly appreciate strategists, you have to be socialized and hard-wired differently. You have to already appreciate order, symmetry, and regimentation, otherwise you’ll feel like you’re being dragged within the relationship. 
At first, you’ll feel refreshed that you’ve actually met someone who says what they mean, and mean what they say. That is until you realize that you can’t keep up, and the cycle never ends. 
For strategists, relationships are conceptual in that they must adhere to a philosophy. 
Also, the relationship has to be unconventional, particularly marriage. Do you think that extra bedroom in the house is available merely for guests? Think again! That will become the strategist’s bedroom. When he says he needs space, he means it. 
Preparing to visit you for date night in your room keeps the flames alive in relationships, but it is a necessity for strategists to maintain their identity.  The average person may find this level of candidness peculiar. 
However, if you understand the deeper meaning and goals attached, life could be a fulfilling experience with a strategist.
  Strategists can remain critical even after establishing a relationship
Ultimately, strategists are content traveling on life’s journey alone. They are the eternal holdouts. Unlike many people who begin settling and lowering their standards as their lives rush into the Golden years, strategists will never concede. 
Their hard-fought self-confidence comes from years of research, writing, and self-determination. It’s all or nothing!
Strategists become more extreme as they age
The extremeness of strategists changes as they mature. During the aging process, strategists, like everyone else can’t compete with “Father Time.” They slow down and don’t quite have the energy they once had when they were younger. 
So, youthful vigor is turned into mature wisdom. Advancing years make strategists more introspective and reflective. Spouses and partners benefit from all the years of strategical research and study culminating in strategists breaking life down into “bite size” nuggets of clarity. 
The ultimate pragmatists, strategists are realists and view life in its rawest form. Their solitary life makes documentaries, books, and critical analyses their best friends. In retrospect, nothing has changed as it relates to a strategist’s lifestyle. 
Money, fame, and acclaim are measures of accomplishment, but have no affect on strategists. In fact, it never did. For strategists, it was always about the work, and the intellectual pursuit of ideas. 
As long as strategists can continue to learn and create without any stressors in life, they are happy individuals. And once more, they make everyone around them happy as a result.
If the strategist archetype can be characterized as a diamond, INTJs, ISTJs, and INTPs are different facets of that diamond. Each personality type has core motivations and features that may overlap with each other. 
Strategists know their strengths and weaknesses in relationships and know the best can be brought out of them by choosing people with the right temperament and personality. The choice is organic, fact-based, and process-driven. 
Always asking how and why people and systems work, strategists bring out the best in themselves, and others by answering these questions.
In the end, strategists are mission and crusade-driven. Be clear and convinced that you are built for a true journey of exploration if you have a strategist in your midst.   


Edward S. Brown, M.S.
Related: Strategist


BSM Consulting, Inc. (n.d.). ISTJ relationships. Personality Page. Retrieved from:

Personality Growth (2018, Nov. 19). Are you capable of seeing through people, according to your personality type? Elite Café Media Lifestyle. Retrieved from:

Storm, S. (2019, Feb. 10). 10 things that excite the INTP personality type. Psychology Junkie. Retrieved from:

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