Michael CalozBlog: Synthesizing & Simplifying Complexity, Personality Typing84 Comments


Summary: Since ENTP’s are one of the most introverted of the extrovert types, it’s common for NTP’s to be confused about whether they’re an I or an E. It doesn’t help that the Internet is full of stereotypes and exaggerated memes about both of these types too. I’ll break down the most prominent differences I’ve personally seen between those two types after having coached over a hundred NTP’s (they’re my specialty as a transformation coach).

This page is for you if:

  • You know you’re an xNTP but you’re having trouble settling on INTP or ENTP
  • You’ve been typed as an INTP but you’re curious if that might be wrong (yes, you appreciate alone time, but sometimes you also love being the center of attention)
  • You’re trying to better understand a friend, family member, or co-worker who’s an NTP

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Last updated: March 3, 2024

Are you an ENTP or an INTP? What’s the difference?

I’m an ENTP. But for most of my 20’s, I was mis-typed as an INTP. I even took the full official test by the Myers & Briggs Foundation, but it kept getting me wrong because I had so many “introverted” traits.

When asked if I’d rather “go to a party” or “stay home and read a book,” the book won every time. The books I read are guaranteed to be interesting and thought-provoking, whereas—in my experience at the time—most parties were boring, full of dull people and excruciating small-talk.

Then I learned that ENTP’s are one of the most introverted extrovert types, and I learned that the E/I dichotomy is more about how you recharge and take in information than how loud or quiet you are.

I’m a coach who specializes in NTP’s, and many of the people I work with were confused or wrong about their type. There are a lot of type guides out there full of stereotypes and absolute proclamations, so I’m going to keep this post short and point out some of the differences I’ve personally seen between these two types.

Nothing is absolute though. Type simply refers to the tendencies you have. We’re all extroverted sometimes and introverted other times, so this is more about which is more of your natural go-to.

Tip: When reading the table below, think about how you were as a kid—before parents, teachers, friends, movies, or whatever else told you that you should be a certain way. Who are you deep down at your core?

One more caveat: Remember that this post is all about comparing INTP’s and ENTP’s against each other—not to other types. For example, even though I say that INTP’s tend to get bored sooner with abstract philosophy compared to ENTP’s, if you compared them to SJ’s instead they wouldn’t get bored soon at all.

Make sense? Here we go:

Thinking, speaking, convincing

  • Literally thinks out loud, sometimes not realizing how they feel about something until they “taste it” in their mouth
  • Voice tends to be more expressive and varied
  • Understands concepts by talking them out and debating different perspectives (whether with other people or just presenting all sides of the argument to themselves)
  • Focused on convincing others, making a case, and selling their point using logic (and, for more mature ENTP’s, also taking people’s needs and group dynamics into account). ENTP’s tend to enjoy debate and persuasion more than INTP’s
  • Speaks more slowly, and pauses longer before answering (but, they can still speak quickly when excited and with someone they trust)
  • Voice tends to be more monotone
  • Understands concepts by having time on their own to dive deep into a topic and explore all the nuances
  • Focused on building a logically-sound case based on solid evidence that feels indisputable, then expecting that others will be convinced by seeing everything laid out that way (but, less mature INTP’s often neglect the relationship and emotional aspects at play)

Depth and width of exploration

  • Loves exploring possibilities and what-if’s. ENTP’s can often discuss the pure abstract philosophy of something for longer even if has no practical application
  • Although ENTP’s can still delve obsessively deep, they tend to cast a wider net around a topic than do INTP’s, and they tend to lose interest on projects more quickly to move onto something else that catches their eye
  • It can be frustrating to INTP’s when an ENTP doesn’t seem to have a strong opinion since the ENTP can so easily present all the sides of the argument in a way that feels perfectly balanced with no clear winner
  • INTP’s can often get bored with pure abstract philosophizing a bit sooner if there’s no real action to be taken and it feels like the conversation is just looping or going down unnecessary rabbit holes
  • INTP’s are more likely to dive even deeper into a topic to find what’s verifiably true about it rather than just what’s interesting to discuss and debate
  • INTP’s tend to be more focused on communicating the nuances of a subject rather than on presenting it in a balanced way like ENTP’s

Recharging energy

  • Enjoys alone time too, but tends to get most energized by working in a group and throwing ideas back and forth
  • Often (but not always), after spending time with a group of interesting people, goes home feeling inspired to create, innovate, process what happened out loud, or otherwise do something with their boosted energy
  • Enjoys time in groups too, but tends to get most energized with alone time to go deep into researching and analyzing a topic
  • Often (but not always), after spending time with a group of interesting people, goes home feeling drained, like it was fun but now they need a lot of time to themselves to recharge

Social situations & judgment

  • Enjoys being the center of attention (which can include grandstanding), and would often love to give an impromptu lecture. But, this isn’t to say ENTP’s are always “on” and ready to be loud; they appreciate quiet time too to process all the ideas and perspectives they’ve been considering
  • Social struggles tend to be more about difficulty making deeper friendships because of their negative judgment of others (though much of that is likely rooted in self-judgment too, but that part might be less conscious)
  • Both types can be judgmental of Feelers, but less mature ENTP’s are more likely to mess with people, thinking others should just have thicker skins and not get so easily offended
  • Tends to feel more social anxiety, awkwardness, and trouble reading people
  • Social struggles tend to be more about low confidence and negative self-judgment (and, they also tend to be more intolerant of other viewpoints that they don’t consider accurate)
  • Less mature INTP’s might realize that their feelings are lurking nearby but then push them away so they don’t have to deal with them. They might prefer communicating via text so they have time to sit and think before answering and they don’t have to deal with either side’s emotions as they pop up in real-time

Under stress

  • Obsesses over having unlimited freedom to fully explore all possible perspectives and possibilities (“but what if there’s a better way of doing this? we can’t commit to something if we only have incomplete information!”)
  • Withdraws and feels unmotivated, painfully nostalgic, depressed, or like everything suddenly needs to be cleaned or organized
  • Obsesses over proving others wrong, nitpicking, and having indisputable logic (“but that’s just wrong! it’s not rational! can’t they see the obvious proof here?”)
  • Feels more emotional than usual—hypersensitive, unlovable, and consumed by proving they’re right

What paralyzes them

  • Logistics, bureaucracy, and having to follow step-by-step procedures in a certain way
  • Can also have some stickiness with relationships and social pressure, like feeling frozen if they’re embarrassed in a group or publicly called out (though they can cover up that discomfort with arrogance too)
  • Having to make difficult choices that don’t have clear, objective, logical answers
  • Can also feel some stickiness with authority and hierarchy by usually being against it but sometimes taking a while to realize they’ve made an exception for someone they respect a lot, and now they’re being overly rigid around that (“Elon Musk did this, so obviously that’s the ideal approach; if you disagree you must not be intelligent enough to see it”)

Common struggles (both types tend to do all of these, but the three on each side tend to be more correlated with that type)

  • Struggles more with fear of rejection or FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • More concerned with achieving freedom and independence (e.g., financial independence, not being micromanaged at work, avoiding bureaucracy, not having to deal with boring tasks, etc.)
  • More likely to struggle with depression and feel an existential void of meaning
  • Struggles more with feeling their feelings, understanding what emotion they’re experiencing, and knowing how to express it (or feeling safe doing so)
  • More concerned with living aligned with their values and dissatisfied with not making enough of a positive impact on the world in the area they care about
  • More likely to feel misunderstood by others and to not trust people

Still undecided? Here’s a bit more from my personal experience:

In my opinion, the “depth and width” of exploration is one of the key differences between the two types.

It’s tough, though, because an objective, non-NTP observer would likely say that both ENTP’s and INTP’s seem to get obsessed with topics and hobbies.

But in my experience, there’s often (though not always) a clear difference if you look hard enough. Here are two examples:

  • In a meeting at work, both the ENTP and INTP will enjoy a meandering conversation that covers a lot of different topics. But after a while, the INTP is more likely to want to hone in on what’s practically applicable to solve the problem at hand. On the other hand, the ENTP might still be debating or philosophizing about all the different paths that could be explored, or how this reminds them of five other (seemingly) unrelated things.
  • I’m an ENTP who’s very interested in cryptocurrency. To a non-NTP observer, I look pretty obsessed: I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching crypto, and I could easily name and (briefly) describe 20 different cryptocurrencies. But to me, my knowledge still feels more wide and shallow compared to many INTP’s I know in the crypto space. Sure, I can describe 20 different crypto coins in a few sentences each. But an INTP would probably dive into a few of them and actually read the technical whitepapers, try out programming an app in that coin’s ecosystem, and analyze the economics of that coin to see if the valuation makes sense.

If you’re struggling to decide which type you are, try asking yourself this:

Let’s say an objective, outside observer could watch you for a while and read your mind.

Would they be more likely to accuse you of not understanding a subject deeply enough or not going wide enough to gather more options and perspectives?

Yes, I know you probably feel like you go both wide and deep. But what would you say if you had to choose?

Think of a hobby like my cryptocurrency one.

Sure, someone might say that I should go wider by gathering more perspectives from outside the crypto community (e.g., the traditional financial world). But, for a side hobby, it seems objectively true that I’ve read enough articles here. In other words, I’ve already gone sufficiently wide.

However, I could see someone arguing that I haven’t gone deep enough because I can’t explain many of the technical details of how a specific cryptocurrency works (plus, I could also see myself completely losing interest in crypto within a few months and moving on to my next new hobby).

Thus, I’m an ENTP rather than an INTP.

Still undecided? This is a bit more of a generalization, but ask yourself:

What is your ideal role? Is it:

  1. The analyst, researcher, philosopher, scientist, theorist, problem-solver.
  2. The communicator, debater, categorizer, negotiator, mediator, storyteller.

Yes, both NTP types tend to enjoy all of that to some extent.

But, INTP’s tend to orient more toward #1 and ENTP’s more toward #2.

One last thing: In my experience, some ENTP’s (like me in the past) incorrectly believe they’re INTP’s (because ENTP’s are one of the most introverted of the extroverted types). But, I haven’t seen many INTP’s incorrectly believe they’re ENTP’s.

In other words, if you think you’re probably an ENTP, that’s most likely right. But if you think you’re probably an INTP, it could go either way.

Hope that helps!

P.S. I just released another post in this style comparing INFJ’s and INFP’s. If you know someone who’s struggling to decide between those two, please send them that way.

Ok, so what? Now that you know you’re an INTP or ENTP, what should you do with that information?

Finding your true type is important, but it’s just the first step. I’m a big believer in actually putting that knowledge into practice to improve your life—to increase your self-awareness and take active steps toward overcoming the barriers you face in living the most fulfilling life possible for yourself.

Here are some next steps I suggest:

  1. I’d love to hear how this post landed with you. Please leave a comment below or feel free to ask a question.
  2. Become full-stack human to transform your life and unlock your full potential.
  3. If you’d like support customized for you, NTP’s are my specialty as a transformation coach and existential counselor. I help people like you make a bigger impact and feel more fulfilled by improving your focus, boosting your motivation/energy, and living more aligned with your life purpose.
  4. Learn the #1 skill that I believe is most valuable for both INTP‘s and ENTP‘s (myself included—it’s truly changed my life).
  5. Check out my new YouTube channel, where I speak at the intersection of psychology, typology, rational spirituality / existential questioning, and deep personal growth.
  6. Want more awesome personal growth content for N types like you? If you liked this post, please subscribe to my mailing list below to get updates on new content I create (most of which is geared toward fellow NTP’s).
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