“I feel everything. I feel emotions that aren’t even mine. It’s exhausting”

“I don’t do emotions. I do logic. Emotions are stupid.”

“Nobody understands what I feel inside. Why can’t they appreciate my values?”

As an MBTI® practitioner, I hear lines like these daily. Differences in emotional processing can create rifts in relationships and damaging misunderstandings. In families children can feel misunderstood if their parents speak a different emotional language. But here’s the thing. We all feel emotions! We all have values. Even the most logical, stoic personality has emotions and values.

If you knew how to speak your husband or wife’s emotional language wouldn’t it make life easier?

If you could understand your child’s emotions, wouldn’t that make parenting easier?

If your answer is yes, then I hope this article will be an encouragement! I want you to get to the end of this article and understand how to connect emotionally with the people most important to you.

Let’s get started!

Warning: This post is LONG. You may have to scroll for a while to find the section that applies to your type!

How ESFJs and ENFJs Process Emotions

ESFJs and ENFJs are Extraverted Feeling (Fe) dominant. These individuals are extremely concerned with the well-being of the people in their environment; their family, friends, communities, even the whole of humanity. They absorb outward emotions like a sponge, and strive to bring others joy and understanding. Because they so readily feel the moods and emotions of others, they are experts at peacemaking, empathizing, and identifying with people.

EFJs place importance on good manners and taking care of others. When something goes wrong their first thought will be for the welfare of the people involved, and less for their own personal welfare. They work tirelessly to care for the ones they love, often putting their own needs last. There are a lot of differences between the ESFJ and the ENFJ, but because they are both Fe-dominant they will experience emotions in much the same way.

How they make decisions: When EFJs  make decisions they will first consider how that decision will affect the people involved. They’ll ask questions like “Will this decision maintain harmony? Will it cause conflict?  Does this align with what I feel is right?”. The EFJs ability to sense what will maintain harmony makes them skilled in the art of diplomacy.

How they handle their own emotions:  Because ENFJs and ESFJs use Extraverted Feeling, they are very aware of other people’s emotions but may struggle to understand their own. When they feel emotions inside it’s like a strong, overwhelming, unidentifiable force inside of them. For this reasons, these types may feel the need to “vent” or write out their emotions so they can understand them. They feel an urge to express their emotions because otherwise it’s like a storm brewing inside them that they can’t calm down. The best way for them to identify and sort their emotions is to put them out in the world somehow, which allows them to channel the emotions through Fe.

How to have a good relationship with them:

– Try to express your feelings when you can, or be honest about your reserve to do so.

– Listen when they’re venting or airing their frustrations. Don’t try to fix the problem right away, just listen and acknowledge their feelings.

– Compliment them on their people skills, empathy, and the good they do for others.

– Don’t ridicule their emotions or say they are ‘illogical’.

– Don’t assume a feeling preference means a distaste for knowledge. Dominant and auxiliary Fe users simply prefer to consider the needs and harmony of others when they make decisions.

– Provide re-assurance before giving criticism.

– Show appreciation for the helpful things they do.

– Try not to speak harshly of others. Simply being around conflict (even if not directed at them) is exhausting for them.

Related: ENFJs, INFJs & Empathy Burnout

How INFJs and ISFJs Process Emotions

INFJs and ISFJs have auxiliary Extraverted Feeling (Fe). Because they are introverts they will need more time alone than ENFJs and ESFJs. They will also be more private and reserved. However, when they are engaged with others they want to ensure that everyone is in harmony. They are naturally empathetic, as their Fe works to immediately absorb and attune to the emotions of others. When they make decisions, they will consider the emotional impact those decisions will have on others.

Because ISFJs and INFJs have Fe, they will often take on the emotions of others. If the people around them are happy they will seem happy, if they are sad, they will seem sad, if there is tension they will feel it. This ability makes them conscientious, self-aware, and excellent at listening to not just the words, but the whole message someone is trying to communicate. IFJs abhor conflict and will do whatever is in their power to try to resolve it. This makes them skilled in the art of peacemaking and diplomacy.

The IFJ personality types care deeply about humanity and tend to pick careers and life paths that will have a humanitarian aspect.  If their career isn’t focused on helping people in some way then they will often choose humanitarian paths outside of work like helping in shelters, support groups, or their communities.

How they make decisions: When INFJs and ISFJs  make decisions they will first consider how that decision will affect the people involved. They’ll ask questions like “Will this decision maintain harmony? Will it cause trouble for anyone? Does this align with my values?” They constantly strive to reach an outcome that meets everyone’s needs. However, they may put themselves last as they focus on making other people happy.

Because INFJs and ISFJs have tertiary Introverted Thinking (Ti) they will also consider the logic of a decision, and they will try to balance their decisions with a logical approach. However, when push comes to shove, it’s more important in their minds to find a decision that maintains harmony and aligns with their values.

How they handle their own emotions: Because INFJs and ISFJs use Extraverted Feeling, they are very aware of other people’s emotions but may struggle to understand their own. When they feel negative emotions inside they may feel sick, overwhelmed with a negative, churning feeling inside that they can’t easily define. For this reasons, these types may feel the need to “vent” or write out their emotions so they can understand them. This outward expression allows them to channel the emotions through Fe and sort them out. When INFJs and ISFJs “vent” it’s usually very frustrating for them because they are so private that they’d prefer to keep their emotions contained. This apprehension is combined with a simultaneous need to express, get the feelings outside of themselves, and find understanding.

How to have a good relationship with them:

– Try to express your feelings when you can, or be honest about your reserve to do so.

– Listen when they’re venting or airing their frustrations. Don’t try to fix the problem right away, just listen and acknowledge their feelings.

– Give them regular alone time and don’t feel offended if they don’t want to spend a lot of time at social events.

– Understand that they will probably prefer small groups of close friends to large social engagements.

– Don’t ridicule their emotions or say they are ‘illogical’.

– Don’t assume a feeling preference means a distaste for knowledge. Feeling types simply prefer to consider the needs and harmony of others when they make decisions.

– Provide re-assurance before giving criticism.

– Show appreciation for their strengths and abilities.

– Try not to speak harshly of others. Simply being around conflict (even if not directed at them) is exhausting for them.

Related: Understanding INFJ Intuition

Related: Understanding ISFJ Feeling

 

How ESTPs and ENTPs Process Emotions:

ESTPs and ENTPs have tertiary Extraverted Feeling (Fe). Before they process or respond to emotions they first channel input through their dominant function (either sensing or intuition) and then their auxiliary function, Introverted Thinking (Ti). ETPs prefer to take a logical, detached perspective when making decisions, but their tertiary Fe gives them an ability to innately understand the motives and desires of others.

ETPs are good-natured, spontaneous, and adventurous. They prefer to keep their judgments to themselves unless they someone violates one of their values – when this happens they can become much more intense and precise, letting go of their normally easy-going demeanor.

Both ENTPs and ESTPs prefer the world of facts and logic to the world of emotions and values, however they still crave a sense of understanding and harmony with others because of their tertiary Fe. They usually know how to “read” a room and adjust their mannerisms to be appropriate. They use their Fe to easily navigate social settings, and they enjoy using humor to lighten up tense situations. They have a natural charm and knowledge of what people want to hear. Their feeling function makes it easy for them to build rapport with others, although they may feel frustrated when trying to handle other people’s emotional issues for long.

How they make decisions: These types prefer to remain objective and logical in their decisions. They’ll ask themselves, “What are the facts? What is the truth of the situation? What are the various pros and cons?” Because they have tertiary Fe they may try to frame their answer in a way that is readily accepted, and in fact they are often skilled at using just the right words to make their viewpoint compelling. That said, they are less concerned with the harmony of the group than making a decision that fits with their sense of logic.

How they handle their own emotions:

ENTPs and ESTPs generally don’t place much importance on their own feelings. They try to sort things out through Introverted Thinking (Ti) as much as possible before accessing feeling. They’ll ask themselves if what they’re feeling makes sense and try to compartmentalize or sort things out logically. These types aren’t especially aware of their own feelings and if they feel especially strong negative emotions they tend to feel stifled and annoyed at themselves for being swayed by them. They may bury or stifle their emotions and try to find something to distract them from whatever is bothering them.

How to have a good relationship with them:

– If they seem emotionally stifled or frustrated, try not to badger them about their feelings. Gently let them know that you’re there if they want to talk, but don’t force them.

– Try to focus on the facts when you want their decision or advice on something. ESTPs are incredible when you seek practical solutions, ENTPs are incredible when you want an answer that focuses on the big picture.

– Give them space and time alone if they’re stressed or frustrated.

– Focus on opportunities and possibilities to excite them. ESTPs are more focused on action-based opportunities (business plans, adventures, physical activities) whereas ENTPs enjoy possibilities that are more based on theory and ‘what if’s’. Both enjoy discussing exciting plans and opportunities.

– Try not to be continually negative around these types. While they often see a light at the end of any tunnel, being around regular negativity can stress them out.

– Understand that sometimes they will seem tactless. Try not to take it too personally. Let them know if they’ve offended you in a calm way.

– ETPs hate to be restricted or controlled. Try not to micro-manage them or fill their schedule with tasks.

– Even though ETPs have a preference for thinking, they still desire affirmation. Compliment them on their strengths regularly.

Related: Understanding ESTP Sensing

Related: 5 Ways to Annoy an ENTP

How INTPs and ISTPs Process Emotions

INTPs and ISTPs have inferior Extraverted Feeling (Fe). They will focus less on Fe than any of the other types we’ve mentioned. They tend to think of it almost as an untameable ‘child’ that gets in the way. They often see emotions as confusing and even useless and tend to focus on the logical aspects of life. As they get into their 50s and 60s, ITPs often develop their Fe more and become more skilled at using it and understanding other’s feelings.

Because Fe is the inferior function of these two types, they have very little conscious control or respect for it. Being around strong emotions frustrates them and can cause them to have a “grip” stress reaction. You can find out more about that here.

Even though ITPs may not know how to access Fe as readily as the other types, as they get older they become more and more aware of the emotional atmosphere. They may find it easy to ‘rub shoulders’ with other people in a lighthearted way and can enjoy friendly banter and lighthearted emotional expression. Their Fe gives them a desire to see everyone treated fairly and respectfully. They also have a natural distaste for conflict.

How they make decisions: These types will think of the logical approach when they make a decision. They will focus on impersonal analysis and will consider the truth of the situation, the various pros and cons, and the most objective resolution. They don’t like conflict, but they prefer not to tailor their answer to the moods and emotions of others. They may actively resist social niceties and pressure to conform to the emotions of others.

How they handle their own emotions: These types tend to be extremely unaware of their own emotions. They bury them and try to focus as much as possible on solving problems, personal or otherwise through Introverted Thinking (Ti) and either intuition (for the INTP) or sensing (for the ISTP). They may stifle their own emotions for so long that they experience an eruption of Fe when they are under chronic stress. You can find out more about that here.

How to have a good relationship with them:

– If they seem emotionally stifled or frustrated, try not to badger them about their feelings. Gently let them know that you’re there if they want to talk, but don’t force them.

– Try to focus on the facts when you want their decision or advice on something.

– Give them space and time alone if they’re stressed or frustrated.

– Respect and validate their personal values and goals.

– Show appreciation for their problem-solving skills, independence, and strong sense of logic.

– Try to be calm and straightforward whenever you have a disagreement with them. Being exposed to intense emotions can cause them to have a grip stress reaction.

– Understand that sometimes they will seem tactless. Try not to take it too personally.

– These types hate to be restricted or controlled. Give them plenty of time to explore their own interests and recharge.

Related: Understanding INTP Thinking

Related: Why ISTPs Make the Best Action Heroes

How INFPs and ISFPs Process Emotions

INFPs and ISFPs are extremely concerned with maintaining emotional integrity and inner harmony. They have very deep, powerful emotions and values that they adhere to in every aspect of their life. They are guided by their personal morals and strive to live an authentic life. While their emotions are strong and deep, they are very private and they don’t readily share them with anyone.

INFPs and ISFPs use their emotional understanding of themselves to connect with others. They can easily empathize with people by imagining how they would feel in various situations. They are deeply concerned with the objects of their concern, and they tend to take up the cause of people they feel are oppressed or misunderstood in some way.

When IFPs spend time with others they love to connect on a very deep level. They have very little interest in small talk or gossip. Emotions don’t scare them and they are capable of deep personal understanding.

These two types are very focused on authenticity and are less concerned with social niceties or saying or doing anything that is inauthentic just to make other people “feel good”. They will be who they are, and although they prefer harmony, they are more concerned with staying true to themselves. They have an independent set of morals and are less influenced by external pressures or environmental values. IFPs have a strong belief in personal freedom and expression, and they tend to be soft-spoken unless one of their values is violated.

How they make decisions:  When IFPs make decisions, the first thing they consider is their values – “Does this align with what I feel is right? How will this affect others? How will this impact me? How does this experience broaden my own personal understanding?”. IFPs will also consider the feelings and desires of others, but they place more importance on staying in tune to their values and personal morals and beliefs.

How they handle their own emotions: IFPs are very private about their emotions. They have a strong awareness of what they feel, and can easily identify their emotions. They like to process emotions on their own and may retreat into a quiet place where they can deal with them independently.  They often like to channel their emotions into some creative form; writing, artwork, poetry, dancing. They need to be allowed to have space and quiet to ponder how they feel, make sense of things, and find solace in their own ideas and thoughts.

How to have a good relationship with them:

– Be as authentic as possible. These types are very quick to spot phoniness, and they can’t stand anything fake.

– Respect their emotional experience and their values. Listen when they talk about their values and the causes that they believe in. These are extremely important to them.

– Don’t be afraid to talk about your emotions with them or be honest about your need for emotional privacy.

– Do not dismiss their feelings as ‘irrational’ or silly. Remember that their emotional intelligence is a strength, not a weakness.

– Be careful and gentle when dishing out criticism. Remind them of what you do appreciate about them.

– When they need to discuss their feelings or problems try not to ‘fix’ it for them. This only will make them feel worse. Just listen and acknowledge their feelings.

– Give them space and time alone to sort out their feelings.

– Don’t gossip around them. They hate gossip.

Related: Understanding INFP Feeling

How ENFPs and ESFPs Process Emotions

EFPs use Introverted Feeling (Fi) to add conviction and emotional depth to their ideas and passions. EFPs keep their feelings internalized and may need to find solitude and respite from others to fully access them. They strive to remain authentic and true to their values no matter what they do.

These two types feel things deeply, and believe in standing up for their causes or beliefs regardless of how ‘socially acceptable’ or inacceptable those beliefs are. They don’t like to project their own values onto other people, and they especially dislike anyone else pushing their values onto them. Their freedom is vitally important to them. They have great patience when understanding and dealing with other people’s emotions. ESFPs will provide a more hands-on, practical approach when helping others whereas ENFPs tend to provide a more therapeutic, insightful approach.

How they make decisions: EFPs will consider their own values and their internal harmony when they make a decision. They will ask themselves, “Do I believe this is right? Is this what I want? How will this impact me? Am I being true to myself?”. Like all types with a feeling preference, EFPs will also consider the emotional impact a decision will have on others, though this is less vital to them than their own values and emotional needs.

How they handle their own emotions: EFPs are private about their deeper emotions, although they enjoy using emotional honesty to connect with others and form bonds. They can easily identify their emotions and may retreat into a quiet place where they can fully access them and handle them in their own unique way.  Like IFPs, they often channel their emotions into some creative form; writing, artwork, poetry, dancing. They need to be allowed to have space and quiet to ponder how they feel, make sense of things, and find out how to sort everything out.

How to have a good relationship with them:

– Be authentic and genuine in your interactions with them. They are quick to spot phoniness and hidden agendas.

– Respect their emotional experience. Let them explore their own independent values and viewpoints.

– Show them affirmation for their strengths and abilities.

– If you have a thinking-preference, remember that their emotional intelligence is a strength, not a weakness.

– Be careful and gentle when dishing out criticism. Remind them of what you do appreciate about them.

– When they need to discuss their feelings or problems try not to ‘fix’ it for them. This only makes them feel worse.

– Give them space and time alone to sort out their feelings when they are especially stressed.

– These types tend to be optimistic and enthusiastic, so they often fall into the role of ‘encourager’ and ‘inspirer’. While this is good, they need people who are there for them on the bad days too.

How ISTJs and INTJs Process Emotions

ISTJs and INTJs will focus on objective logic much more than their emotional experience. They are far from the cold emotionless stereotypes that are often perpetuated, however. ITJs have tertiary Introverted Feeling (Fi) and so they often have deep, resolute values and emotions that they strive to live by. These emotions will be private and rarely expressed, and their values may be very personal and contained, but they still exist.  Fi gives the ITJ motivation to be authentic in all they do and a steadfastness in their beliefs. When ITJs are young, they may tend to hold grudges, take things personally, or focus especially on themselves as a result of immature Fi. As they reach their 30s and 40s, ITJs develop more mature use of Fi.

How they make decisions: ITJs believe it’s very important to make a decision with a logical perspective. They will “step out” of the situation and try to look at it from an objective place. They will consider what the facts are, what they know is true, and the various pros and cons before moving forward. They won’t make a decision that violates one of their values or personal morals, but they are unlikely to get emotional about it. The feelings and emotions of others are far less important to them than making the most sensible decision.

How they handle their own emotions: ITJs find emotions somewhat exhausting and frustrating, even their own. They prefer things that can be handled logically and rationally, and so they tire of experiencing emotions they can’t carefully store away. They like to be alone when they handle their emotions, where they can identify what’s wrong and try to find a solution independently. They generally don’t like sharing their feelings with other people. In mid-life, when their Fi becomes more conscious, they may enjoy more emotionally expressive activities; listening to romantic classical music, reading poetry, or looking at artwork that mirrors some of their deeply held values and feelings.

How to have a good relationship with them:

– When you need their input, try to stick to the facts and what you know to be true. ISTJs will place a greater importance on their past experience and the facts, whereas INTJs will enjoy focusing more on the big picture, or a visionary approach to solving a problem.

– Try not to be overly emotional around the ITJ. This makes them uncomfortable and stressed, and they are often unsure how to react. If you do need to express your emotions, give them time to process what you are saying and don’t expect an immediate response.

– Praise them for their knowledge, independence, and strength of character.

– Give them plenty of space and time alone to focus on their interests.

– When they are emotionally upset or overwhelmed, give them space. They want to be alone to resolve it.

– Understand that they may be tactless unintentionally. Be patient with this, and try to calmly work out offenses.

– Understand that even though they may not vocalize their values and emotions, they do have them and they will only share them with a very trusted few.

Related: Understanding INTJ Intuition

Related: Understanding ISTJ Sensing

How ENTJs and ESTJs Process Emotions:

ENTJs and ESTJs have very little conscious control of Introverted Feeling (Fi). Because this is their inferior function, they tend to distrust it in themselves and in other people. They may especially distrust Extraverted Feeling (Fe) because this is their 8th shadow function, or “demon” function. Because feeling is nearly unconscious for them, they have a tendency to see feeling-oriented personalities as “irrational”.

When ETJs ignore Fi for too long they can become closed-minded, harsh, and judgmental towards others. As they grow and mature in life, their Fi usually becomes more accessible and they can show a more compassionate side to themselves. They often have strong values and a desire to reach out to the oppressed and persecuted. Many ETJs seek to find tangible ways to work their goals alongside their values.

How they make decisions: ETJs try to keep their focus on objective logic when they make a decision. They try to step out of a situation and see it from an impersonal perspective. They focus on what they know is true, plus the various pros and cons when deciding. They work to separate their feelings or the feelings of others from the decision-making process.

How they handle their own emotions: ETJs tend to ignore their own feelings quite often and try to bury them under their projects and other tasks. They are very goal-oriented individuals and prefer to keep their focus on those goals. As emotional turmoil increases the ETJ may become increasingly focused on solving an unrelated problem or completing any task they can find. They may become short and irritated with people. If they continue to ignore their own feelings and emotions they may fall into the grip of their inferior function. When this happens, Introverted Feeling (Fi) will take over and the ETJ will become uncharacteristically emotional, withdrawn, and focused on the many ways they believe others have failed them. You can find out more about this here.

As ETJs grow and mature, they will develop more balanced control of Fi, and they will become more aware and at peace with their own emotions and values.

Related: Understanding ENTJ Thinking 

How to have a good relationship with them:

– When you need their input, try to stick to the facts and what you know to be true. ESTJs will place a greater importance on their past experience and the facts, whereas ENTJs will enjoy focusing more on the big picture, or a visionary approach to solving a problem.

– Try not to be overly emotional around the ETJ. This makes them uncomfortable and stressed, and they are often unsure how to react. They may jump in and try to ‘fix’ the problem for you. Understand that this is their way of trying to help.

– Praise them for their knowledge, their productivity, and determination.

– Refrain from being lazy. Follow through on your commitments with them.

– When they are emotionally upset or overwhelmed, give them space. They want to be alone to resolve it.

– Understand that they may be tactless unintentionally. Be patient with this, and try to calmly work out offenses.

– Understand that when they are highly stressed they may become irrational and angered. Give them space to deal with this on their own and listen to them when they’re ready. Many ETJs like to “vent” to feel better.

– When they’re stressed out, refrain from badgering them about their feelings. They don’t like it when people appear overly sympathetic or concerned. They just want someone who will listen calmly and who will provide ideas that could lead to solutions.

What Do You Think?

I hope this article was helpful! Let me know if you have any thoughts to add in the comments!

MBTI Emotions

Subscribe to Typology Tuesday!

Email_header

Want to discover more about your personality? Get the inside scoop on all things typological, along with special subscriber freebies, and discounts on new eBooks and courses! Join Typology Tuesday today!

You can unsubscribe at any time. We won't spam you! Powered by ConvertKit