INTPs distinguish themselves by having amongst the most repressed social emotions, but do not mistake them for robots. There are many INTP emotional needs. On a universal level, INTPs just like all of us need happiness, love, security, and confidence. On a personal level, INTPs love the experience of being right, of mastering a new skill, or of breaking a record. INTPs when young may struggle hard with anxiety. Many INTPs deal with problems of anxiety without realising it. INTPs can have issues with self-doubt but also, strangely enough, arrogance. As head types, often they highly desire a sense of mastery over the world. They want to know how everything works, and they want to be able to master the world so that nothing will surprise them.
Common INTP Emotional Needs
Simultaneously, INTPs are highly curious and amused types. When healthy, they tend to walk around with a sense of smirk on their face, seeing the ridiculousness and the absurdity of the world, and having the philosophical distance to be able to laugh at it. INTPs enjoy that the world is strange and take great amusement at the world. Besides this, INTPs love to be the ones to figure something out first. They want to be the one that can always maximise the high scores and beat the records. They are curious and will love you if you let them explore different options.
The INTPs have a sense of logical and theoretical distance to the world, but often at the expense of not being well in touch with their bodies. They may not notice when they are in pain, and can detach from both their body and their place in the world. Sometimes this can be as a way to escape from the world itself. The problem is that this can cause them to experience more long-term distress and anxiety later on. This anxiety often drives INTPs to pull away into books, research, and the search of self-mastery. INTPs can talk about things without realising how it affects them emotionally, in a distanced way, and may be surprised when others judge them for it emotionally.
Not devoid of empathy
INTPs are, however, not necessarily lacking in empathy. Often, these advisors (IP) offer their advice as a way to help others. The INTPs may just not be tactful in how they choose to convey it. Empathy does not necessarily require awareness of social protocols (at least not in all definitions of the word), just a desire to help someone who is in, or at risk of experiencing pain. In fact, thinking is a love language for the INTP, and INTPs express love by sharing information and knowledge with others.
What an INTP tells you can help you avoid bad decisions, and can save you in times when things go to hell. INTPs are gifted problem solvers and quick at thinking up solutions in a crisis situation. (The main drawback is that not all of their solutions are practical in reality.) An INTP that loves you will offer creative solutions to solve problems, and suggestions for how you can improve at existing tasks. They will let you know how you are doing and what you need to work on.
INTPs are easily overwhelmed. When rushed, and when overloaded with sensory stimulation, INTPs tend to struggle to remain composed and efficient. They become anxious and negative when rushed, so if you want to rush an answer from an INTP, expect a no. If you want an INTP to consider your ideas and thoughts on a deeper level, also avoid overwhelming them, or they will just dismiss it outright. Ideally, INTPs want the customised, perfect solution for every situation. And they want to make sure that, even if they are emotional beings like all of us, their decisions follow some sense of rationality and fit with what is best in each situation.
INTPs however live by the rationality of the present. As thinking perceivers, they thrive on figuring out what is rational or reasonable in each particular situation. For this, it is important for the INTP to know the rules and the laws at play in each situation. If other people are not clear about what they want, and how exactly they want it, the INTP will be very confused. And that is often when they are accused of not caring. Usually, it is more that they just don’t understand your more informal way of communicating. People who can love an INTP while also making themselves understood to the INTP will find it much easier to see the INTP as a deeply caring type.
Misconceptions of INTPs being socially oblivious
Often people tend to describe INTPs as socially oblivious types, in the sense that they miss emotional signals around them. This is more true to mistyped INFJs and INFPs than to INTPs. INTPs are actually not socially oblivious. On the contrary, they are hypersensitive to social feedback. INTPs are hit hard by others’ social signals and, for that reason, they often want to tune out of it.
They generally understand very well when other people are being emotional or what other people are expressing. They struggle to deal with it and find it too intense a lot of the time. It is also hard for an INTP to know how to respond to it or how exactly to fix it. The INTP often needs the other person to tell them clearly what is wrong. For that reason, INTPs may even feel an urge to escape and pull away.
A surprising thing about INTPs is that they are capable of showing a lot of affection to the ones they care about. INTPs do not shy away from expressing words of love and admiration to others. They can show great appreciation to others when necessary. Usually, this side of the INTP is filtered through their intuitive and thinking side. This means, if you want to see this side of the INTP, you have to earn their respect first.