What would be the perfect birthday gift for an INTJ?

People are always wondering: How do you please an INTJ? We are deemed difficult, particularly when it comes to social convention. If you have no idea what an INTJ is, this would be a good time to read about the Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI) here. Birthdays can be confusing for the loved ones of INTJs, because we seem to be impossible to please, leaving friends and family feeling like they did something wrong or that we are ungrateful. On the contrary, we can be absurdly easy to please. Perhaps this list can elucidate.

As an INTJ, these are gifts I would love:

  • Nothing. Zero. Really, from most people, I would prefer no gift. No gift means no obligation or social cues of reciprocity to navigate.
  • A nice, genuine email.
  • Something personal, handmade, or tiny but meaningful.
  • Sharing something of mine online with a positive testimonial (Ex: my latest song, music video, my Patreon, album, blog post, things like that). Only do this if you mean it though! Insincerity is extremely distasteful.
  • Gift card to a grocery store I frequent.
  • Costco gift card.
  • Amazon gift card.
  • Gift card to a reasonably-priced store I buy clothes from (it’s a short list).
  • Paid/complimentary subscription to a service I use or want to use.
  • A specific thing I have stated definitively that I want.
  • A piece of musical/recording equipment (whether it’s an expensive microphone, software, or even just an XLR cable). Gift cards to music retailers like Guitar Center or Sweetwater are great too. Or just paying for a bow rehair or set of new violin strings.
  • A really cool or useful tech-related gadget, perhaps something I won’t readily splurge on myself. Smaller/less expensive things work great too. (Ideas: mirrorless camera, latest Amazon Echo, latest Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, a “smart home” product such as Hue or Nest, battery charger, tripod, extension cord).
  • A really cool or useful kitchen-related gadget, perhaps something I won’t readily splurge on myself (Ideas: Yonanas machine). Inexpensive things work amazingly too; I’d be thrilled to receive a 6-pack of paper towels, a few sweet potatoes, because it’s practical and I will definitely use it.
  • A computer or phone accessory (Ideas: new Apple earbuds, lightning cable, MacBook charger, converter for one of the ports).
  • A prepaid deep tissue massage with my one and only therapist (I really need it, but I don’t let myself spend money on it very often, and thus a gift card or voucher for a massage would be a really nice thing for someone to do).
  • Something fun that I would probably never consider spending money on (Ideas: handheld video game console,
  • If you’re gonna try giving something out of left field, for the love of god, please include a gift receipt.
  • The gift of exoneration from a social event or other protocol. For example, if it makes you feel good to call me on my birthday, just know that I will not answer. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. But a lovely gift would be to leave a message and state in the message that I am under no obligation to respond.
  • Overall guidelines: Think practical. Think no pressure on the recipient. Don’t create too much work for

These are things I do not appreciate:

  • Flowers. Any plants in general, really. I don’t want anything I have to take care of, because it’s hard enough taking care of myself.
  • Greeting cards, unless they are really special or specific or very personalized. I don’t need more crap taking up space. If you have something heartfelt to tell me, you don’t need to put it in a card (though you can, if it’s actually a specialized message); I love receiving birthday emails more than anything.
  • The “gift” of someone’s presence. This includes parties or even taking me out to lunch. I simply don’t want those things; they’re much more a burden than a gift.
  • Jewelry, unless there’s a very specific, purposeful, or unique reason.
  • Books. Again, unless you specifically know I want that book (and in that format).
  • Decorations or tchotchkes, unless I’ve specifically mentioned that I want the item.
  • Food or drinks. I don’t need cool or special food. I already have my own routine down pat, and it would be a waste of money/time plus force me outside of my comfort zone and put pressure on me to like what you’ve given me.
  • Humorous gifts.
  • Anything that creates work for me, whether it’s taking care of the gift, needing to buy a ton of accessories for it to work, having to undergo extensive training in order to use the product, etc. Exception: If you know for a fact that I want this thing and am ready to commit to it.

Final thoughts:

  • I realize this may sound intimidating. And I realize you may “mess up” and give a “wrong gift,” but as long as you don’t put any pressure on the INTJ recipient, it’s all good! We probably won’t remember the gift anyway, but we’ll remember if you were just gracious and chill. Personally, it only sticks out to me negatively if I’m guilt-tripped, pressured into liking something, or if the gift giver continually reminds me of the “wonderful gift” they gave me.
  • Also, I realize this looks like a list of really expensive stuff. But I can’t emphasize enough that NO PRESENT is often the best present of all. Cheap and practical = wonderful.
  • Sometimes, a completely random, unexpected gift just works. *Shrug.*

An excerpt from this post was originally published on Quora