Generally speaking, the NT and SJ temperaments do not mix well together. While SJs are interested in security and tradition, NTs strive for completely different things: innovation, change and challenge.
This is especially true for this case, because INTP is the opposite personality to the ESFJ, all the letters are different. Also, all the cognitive functions are in different priorities. ESFJs have dominant extroverted feeling (Fe), while INTPs have inferior Fe. INTPs have dominant introverted thinking (Ti) while ESFJs have inferior Ti. This means that both persons will have to make a real effort to understand each others position, and that's not a very good starting ground for a relationship. Relationships should be as effortless as possible.
Why these two personality types clash:
- INTPs usually don't place a lot of value on tradition and social expectations, while ESFJs live for it
- ESFJs don't care a lot for intellectualism, ideals or big ideas, and that can be a disappointment for an INTP
- ESFJs don't usually like theorizing and big picture thinking, also a disappointment for the INTP
- INTPs might seem too cold and lifeless to the ESFJ
This, however, does not mean that all INTPs are incompatible with all ESFJs. That would be too ignorant and inconsiderate to say because two well developed individuals of ANY type can get along if they want to.
Michael on November 03, 2019:
My sis is an INTP and I am an ESFJ, and we actually get along extremely well. When we were younger, we had our share of drama, but as we grew older, we learned from each other and got more understanding. My sis is incredibly good with feelings though she is a thinker type. On the other hand I can think up quite some elaborate things even though I do better with feelings. It really depends on how rounded your character has become to harness you personalities abiliites.
Jeni Mae on October 16, 2019:
Well I dont know about us being "well developed" but im INTP and my husband is ESFJ and we have been making it work for 14 years now. Dont get me wrong its been... Far from boring but in the craziest way we are happy and good for eachother.
ESFJ Woman on August 14, 2019:
My boyfriend is an INTP, and like most of the comments I've read, my relationship was the same- a ROLLERCOASTER! We've been together for two years already, and it wasn't always rainbows and skittles. We fought a lot after our honeymoon stage. From small things like me telling my friends about his life, or the way I am so needy to the point where he doubts whether he can fulfill my emotional needs. He is a man who is more introverted, analytical and isn't really the type to spill out his emotions/feelings. I was essentially very sad and we both doubted on whether we could be together long term. After some arguments, and realization that we truly love each other despite our differences, we made the decision to both work on improving our relationship. Because I'm an emotional mess and constantly need validation, I've come to moderate my emotions and seek out other sources of support- my girl friends, volunteering in the community, etc. He loves to be more isolated and only needs a few good friends/loved ones in his life. I respect that, and so I would spend time with him doing things he enjoys doing. Through bonding, I see that it's his love communication- Quality time. We then discussed ways to communicate better too, because when he's critical he can be so entirely blunt that I would cry about it each time ! So, that has gotten better for us, and he learned to be empathetic and caring with his words when it comes to arguments. We are happier now that we overcome our conflicts. We both learn alot from each other in ways we could not imagine if we were to date someone exactly like us. I dream a lot and he always helps keep me grounded and execute my plans. I help him with visions, planting ideas of adventures and motivation;/empathy, etc. Overall, I think no relationship is entirely peachy. We come from different backgrounds, upbringings, and environment, and imperfect. When two people merge together, I believe it's necessary to compromise when things get difficult. That doesn't mean you have to lose yourself in order to do that, rather, you just become more patient, humble and resilient enough to make it work for both of you. This is just from my experience as an ESFJ dating an INTP. :) Best wishes to all!
NoWayDoc on March 11, 2019:
I'm INTP Assertive while my wife is ESFJ Turbulent. We are dipolar in nearly every way. Where I'm 90% in one direction, she's 90% in the opposite. We're that different. However, we've made it through 23 years of marriage and we're each other's best friends. But, it's not for the faint of heart. I'm just learning after 23 years to understand how she thinks and accept it where as before I'd often dismiss and condescend. I now accept and appreciate (usually) who she is and how she thinks even when I strongly disagree. We still find ourselves in plenty of fights, but we are overall more respectful and willing to hold our tongues when necessary.
On the postive, I've helped her see the importance of thoroughly analyzing important decisions before she acts while she's helped me interact among friends and society more freely. I prefer to stay locked in my room writing/playing music or researching my newest outlandish, impractical idea. She's helped me create relationships with others that I would never have created on my own. I still don't prefer relationships outside my immediate family, I'm a better person for expanding my sphere.
Again, don't get me wrong, it's been tough. I've made her cry on so many occasions I've lost count. She's literally driven me insane with frustration for her emotionally random attacks with no visible underlying cause or logic that last for hours well into the night. I've dismissed her opinions as utter dribble as they had little basis in fact or logic. She'd point out every little thing I've ever done wrong when, after much deliberation, she's feeling or perceives x, y, or z which has nothing to do with what we were discussing. Just knowing that this his how she processes her feelings and accepting it has helped decrease dissonance in our relationship. She, in turn, has helped peel my multilayered "onion" personality. I can finally be completely open with her in ways I've never dared be with anyone before. It's still very uncomfortable, but I'm a much better person for her unyielding persistence.
I still hate social gatherings and getting to "know" people, and I abhor meaningless conversations. But I do my best to participate as I know it makes her happy. She, in turn, allows me to stay away from the center of the party where I am less anxious. Once in a while, I'm pleasantly surprised and find someone with whom I truly connect and find a new friend to include in my "friend" spear (aka talk to once a year when I need a logical springboard with which to bounce off ideas).
In summary, the reward of an INTP/ESFJ personality is great if you are committed to the relationship first. I'm a much better person because of my ESFJ wife and she, in turn, is as well.
Sam on February 05, 2019:
I'm an INTP with an ESFJ friend and I'll be honest I feel absolutely no relationship between us. The other person gets offended whenever I'm thinking instead of talking to them and I get annoyed when they want to talk to me while I'm thinking.
Ama on October 20, 2018:
Intp female involved in an 18 months relationship w/ ESFJ male. I am sigma he is alpha, we need our space and independance. We feel like we can't fully express our personality w/ each other although being very good teachers respectively in the sense that we complete each other.
kerin on September 28, 2018:
Iam ESFJ and my husband is INTP. We married in our 30s. It was extremely crazy when we married and a roller coaster. It's been 4 years now and I keep wonder what always goes in his head. Suspense always Haha. We seem to adjust a lot to reduce conflict work together to build family. We love each other a lot and he loves my company. I dont force too much socialization on him but keep my social life busy and independent, which is fine by him. Kind of worked it out. It's good to give space to each other. It's going great But I still have longing for him to understand my emotions. I
Luis on July 23, 2018:
I am an INTP male with an ESFJ wife. Honestly sometimes we clash a lot, she can easily cover my weaknesses but for me it is very difficult.
Major challenge: I am really disappointed when I find she make illogical decisions (as I see them from my side), speak out our own plans to other people (I don’t like to involve a lot of people in my plans), mostly influenced by the society but I appreciate her existence in my life!, she makes me socially connected.
Good thing, when we started dating, I found myself known to a lot, she connected me to the society something which is difficult for me.
Miri on April 26, 2018:
Im a INTP female and I work with my dad ESFJ. O-M-G!!! The only positive aspect is that my dad is amazing with sales. I do the technical work and I believe I deliver a great job but without him I wouldnt have one single client.
Apart from that, it is reaaaaally hard! He talks too much, he is not assertive at all, and he is also VERY disorganized. The plus side is that he is my dad and I love him very much, so being together all the time is an amazing oportunity to grow as a human being. I get to practice my patience, and i am able to understand how Es perceive the world and why they love being around people so much :)
Nicole on July 01, 2017:
I'm an INTP female dating an ESFJ. I knew it would be a challenge but it's way more difficult than I realized. Whenever we end up in what I consider a small argument, I'm over it in 2 minutes, whereas he wants to rant and be upset about the argument until he thinks I get what I did wrong? We agree we will work on it but I'm getting worn out and losing my respect and love for esfj types. Is there any site that gives solid advise on how to deal with the bazaar overwhelming melt downs ESFJs have?
Matt on February 20, 2017:
I'm an INTP and my wife's an ESFJ. Never a dull moment. I think we work well together because of the life experience under our belts and the common ground we share (we're both teachers). To complicate things further, there are also cultural and linguistic differences (she's Japanese). It's not the easiest relationship I've ever been in, but it is the most rewarding. She keeps me real, and I get her dreaming.
darktower19 on August 15, 2016:
INTP female here, married to an ESFJ male. It's exhausting.
Rick on July 16, 2015:
Don't dismiss that the emotions and excitement of an EFSJ, if done right, can be a wild thrill ride for INTP's. And the thoughtfulness and calm of INTP can be grounding and enlightening for ESFJ's.
I suspect, unless both work at the relationship, it can be a roller coaster though. But with work and commitment from both sides, no more of a roller coaster than any other relationship.
Unfortunately, I was an INTP married to ESFJ that was mentally ill. No insult intended at ESFJ's, but mental illness combined with the ESFJ character traits can be unbearable for anyone (the extroverted nature has them project the symptoms onto others around them, often their romantic interests, the sensing/feeling combined with mental illness has them experiencing periods of hypersensitivity and perceiving things that just aren't true), and INTP's that often are very loyal in relationships, mean they will stay and be tortured longer than others.
Maggie on February 24, 2015:
INTP female with an ESFJ boyfriend. I would say development is key in this relationship working. It is only doomed if both the intp and the esfj do not fully know and recognize their weak points and try to overcome them. For an esfj who does less self reflection, it is often hard for them to see how they can be harmful to the "cold / emotionless" intp, while a still developing intp can see the esfj partners emotions as unnecessary/invalid. I think my boyfriend and I have both grown together because being with your exact opposite really grounds you and makes you see a world in a different way. For the first time we are both with people who equally challenge us in a positive way. This is the most fulfilling relationship I have been in and I really hope it works out.
Addison on November 21, 2014:
INTP with an ESFJ partner. We are very different, but I find it fascinating to figure out and watch how he works, though it can be very emotionally tiring and too much at times. I really enjoy our relationship though. He's so expressive and affectionate and eager to show that. Obviously, as an INTP, I am far more reserved, but his child like love helps me express myself a bit better. We also work very well collaborating on ideas, since he focuses in on small details that I might miss, but I can see the larger picture and make sure everything fits together logically to keep him on track.
Mr V on April 20, 2014:
INTP dude here, my two closest female friends are ESFJ. They both care about me a lot, so much I feel guilty sometimes for not being that caring towards them. But you know, I cannot be someone I'm not.
Mel on March 31, 2014:
I'm an ESFJ my husband is an INTP. He completes me so well, his strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. However, it is difficult we have a hard time seeing things through each others eyes. He often doesn't understand why I have to let my emotions out, but he does understand why I'm feeling them. I keep him down to earth and centered. It is the most rewarding and challenging relationship I have ever had. Now that doesn't mean it's easy, like most things in life.
Also I don't appreciate how belittling some of the comments are when they mention how ESFJ's aren't interested in this and that we are shallow thinkers.
bella on September 17, 2012:
I am an ESFJ and my husband is an INTP. We have only been married for 4 yrs, together for a total of 8 and it still feels like we are still dating. We complement each other perfectly in every way and are having a fulfilling and romantic marriage. But I would like to point out that my undergrad degree was in physics, not a typical choice for an ESFJ. Because I am more analytical then most ESFJs, our arguments are logical and calculated. We were also best friends before we got married and still are.
NE on September 13, 2012:
I am an ESFJ and my husband is an INTP although we have been together for 15 years it has been a hard rollover coaster that I want to get off. As an ESFJ I have been able to compromise but I don't feel that he is able to the same. It is exhausting!
zedya on September 03, 2012:
this is absolutely incorrect according to socionics! look it up! inter-type relationships have been accurately mapped out.
J.C. on July 18, 2012:
INTP male here......wow...its crazy how EVERYONE on this blog are INTP's....guess this type of stuff does not interest ESFJ's......typical....they would never blog here cuz they have no clue what all these letters mean or what they stand for.
Jim on June 22, 2012:
I am an INTP and I just took the test based on how I think my ex-girlfriend would answer. No surprise she's an ESFJ and no surprise that we often clashed and eventually broke up. I felt bad about the way things turned out for us, but this puts it into a scientific analysis that makes it more understandable and acceptable to me.
kate on May 18, 2012:
my boyfriend and i have had a rollercoaster relationship from day 1. been together 7 years. still haven't figured each other out yet
CJW on March 29, 2012:
I'm an INTP female dating a male who I am moderately certain is an ESFJ. My sister is the same personality type and so I have a lot of experience dealing with the extreme amount of emotion that they can release. I'm finding that while I usually have a hard time empathizing I can at least analyze why he is upset or insanely happy or whatever emotion he is experiencing and explaining that I at least understand logically kind of helps when disagreements spring up.
Intp on March 14, 2012:
In the end you find out how different you really are, it is a growth experience. Very attractive to have the opposite around to seek balance of sorts but we all gravitate to ourselves. Codependency issues can lead to trouble if underdeveloped. Was married 13 yrs and when push came to shove there is no common ground however the mystery is alluring thinking all of the time how the esfj handles things. Can be both heaven and hell. Be prepared to have a black hole open up and swallow your logic, at the same time be prepared to have been admired for it.
Chiranjib214 from Serampore on January 23, 2012:
I am an INTP but my dad is a perfect example of an ESFJ; but we get along pretty well,although not as well my mother who is almost certainly an ISFP,maybe that's why I have always been more of a Mama's boy.
However,the three really close friends I do have,two of them are definite INTPs but the other is just a clone of my dad (ESTJ);so that is probably putting to rest the theory that INTP and ESFJs are mortal enemies.
To me,the one personality type i really hate is Judging personality people.
No on January 02, 2012:
INTP female just divorced from ESFJ male. Raised and surrounded by ESFJ females. I am all too happy to be far away from all of them now. Never ever again.
Bob on November 23, 2011:
Intp male here. My wife's an esfj, and we've been very happily married for 10 years. I help her to think clearly and she keeps me grounded in external reality. We are wonderful compliments!
Alan on October 12, 2011:
Intp male here, closest relationship I've had was with an ESFJ and would be the best if it weren't for how things turned out in the end.
From my experience it seems like the two naturally are attracted to one another because they are both mysteries to the other and "complete" each other in a corny kind of way. Once they get to know each other and/or have a rough spot in a relationship will be the tough part, but if they can get passed that stage then I'm guessing that they'll stick together.
daniel on June 01, 2011:
intp here, with esfj live-in girlfriend. we clash a lot, and while i do find her intellectually shallow, which is a disappointment, i love how lively and expressive she is. she helps to keep me in touch with my emotional side, and she reminds me that feelings do not always need to be controlled or ignored.
tiffany on May 21, 2011:
Surprised INTP married ESFJ!
Mike L on March 13, 2011:
Intp here, wife is esfj. We have a wonderful, fulfilling marriage. We cover for each others weaknesses, and allow each other primacy in our domains. We came together in our 30's, both fully developed and matured personalities. We are extremely happy together
Ace1337 on January 27, 2011:
very nice article ;)