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 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 significant effect 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? Interestingly, strategists don’t prop themselves up as perfect individuals because they know their 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 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 to see through their inner desires and feelings. 
INTJs are surprisingly capable of seeing through people, but much differently than others. 
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 are. 
A relationship can go on for years without strategists having developed one iota of emotions since the first meeting.
How Strategic Thinking Introverts Develop Relationships Differently

Strategists grow emotionally through consistency of behavior

To say that strategists always look 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 end any relationship with a strategist. At least any profound, 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,” 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 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 that 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 available value.

Strategists live in the field of ideas

It was once said that ambitious people seek 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 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 the 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 predominant motivation for marriage, nor is friendship a compelling motivation for partnership. 
Communion with a strategist must accomplish something bigger than what they could achieve individually. The idea is, “If I can do it by myself, I don’t 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. 
Strategists would never select spouses and business partners who don’t understand their core roles. In this regard, being chosen by strategists is the highest compliment and sign of respect to a spouse or partner. 
From a strategist’s perspective, they are putting their lives on the line. Miscalculations and errors in judgment are much more devastating to strategists than average individuals, mainly because the spousal and partnership roles carry heavy responsibilities for their mission. 
In some instances, it may have taken a lifetime for strategists to find someone worthy of this degree of trust.

Strategists are life-long learners requiring spousal and partnership participation

Strategists are big on following systems, methods, and routines and expect you to do the same. It is not enough to cheer strategists on the sidelines; you must get into the game. The way to strategists’ hearts is through their minds. 
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 disciplined life all their life. Their process is constant and consistent growth and development. 
You’re not trusted when you start reading and working out after meeting a strategist. It feels disingenuous for strategists, and as soon as the relationship blossoms, you’ll resort to your old ways of not reading, writing, or working out. 
Strategists view such manipulation as a betrayal; no matter how superficial you 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. We usually take the more conventional route when we come to an intersection. 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 constantly evaluating or judging. Strategists have already observed if you gain a mere 5 pounds of body weight. Misuse a word or out of context; they are on it. 
You can’t hide anything from strategists because they are in tune with your mental and physical states and any changes that arise. And once more, how they look at you tells you what they know. You feel naked and vulnerable. 
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 appreciate order, symmetry, and regimentation already. Otherwise you’ll feel like you’re being dragged within the relationship. 
At first, you’ll feel refreshed that you’ve 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 in marriage. Do you think an extra bedroom in the house is merely available 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 strategists must maintain their identity.  The average person may find this level of candidness peculiar. 
However, if you understand the more profound meaning and goals, 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. Unlike many people who begin settling and lowering their standards as their lives rush into the Golden years, strategists will never concede. They are the eternal holdouts. 
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. 
In retrospect, nothing has changed regarding a strategist’s lifestyle. The ultimate pragmatists and strategists are realists and view life in its rawest form. Their solitary life makes documentaries, books, and critical analyses their best friends. 
Money, fame, and acclaim are measures of accomplishment but do not affect strategists. It never did. It was always about the work and the intellectual pursuit of ideas for strategists. 
As long as strategists can continue learning and creating without any life stressors, 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. 
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.


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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