Today I’d like to delve into the world of feelings as they relate to Myers-Briggs. Some people seem to guard their feelings in an iron chest; hidden and locked away. Other people wear their hearts on their sleeves, and they let all their emotions show forth vividly. If you got a ‘T’ result in your MBTI test, you might be thinking ‘oh those silly, sappy feelers…I’m so glad I’m above all that emotional nonsense!’, but there’s a very true value to emotional intelligence and the ability to understand and empathize with others. And besides that…
Everyone’s a Feeler
If you got a “T” result on the MBTI® it means that you prefer thinking over feeling, but you still use it. The same goes for feelers; you still use logic and thinking, but you prefer to assess a situation through Feeling before looking at Thinking criteria.
What’s the difference between thinking and feeling anyway?
Thinking and Feeling are decision-making functions. If you’re a thinker, when you make a decision you analyze pros and cons, causality, and you want logical explanations. If you’re a Feeler, when you make decisions you think first about your inner values and what’s best for the people involved. You want to maintain harmony and you are more focused on people than systems or facts. This isn’t to say that thinkers don’t care at all about harmony, and feelers don’t care at all about facts. Your thinking or feeling preference only indicates which option you go with first.
Do You Use Extraverted Feeling (Fe)? Let’s Find Out
The four types above are going to be the most advanced extroverted feelers; with ESFJs and ENFJs having the highest regard for it.
So What is Extraverted Feeling (Fe)?
Extraverted feeling is focused on evaluating the world outside one’s self and organizing the outer world to maintain harmony and interpersonal effectiveness. As such, Extraverted Feeling types want to create harmony and warmth in relationships. Extraverted feelers have an uncanny way of absorbing other people’s emotions and identifying with them. They want to make others feel at ease, and are very conscious of the emotional temperature of the room.
Manners, social graces, friendliness, and consideration are the hallmarks of Fe dominant and auxiliary types. They want to create an atmosphere of good-will, comfort, and harmony around them. They care deeply about others and the human race as a whole. Because of this, they find global problems deeply upsetting and try to take everyone’s needs into consideration when they make a decision. They want to change the world and make it a better place, and will often try to bring awareness to others about problems being faced around the world.
When it comes to conversation, Fe users will readily laugh at jokes, try to get people to interact kindly with each other, and adjust their conversation to the moods of those around them. They will ask questions or disclose information about themselves as a way to help others feel comfortable or open up. They may master self-depracating humor, making fun of themselves so others will feel at ease around them.
FJ types in particular are famous for wearing their feelings on their sleeves; even the very private INFJ may have a hard time hiding their feelings because Fe users are usually very expressive with their facial features. They also become easily embarrassed, and will probably show it in some way by blushing or becoming very flustered.
Fe users find immense joy in building rapport and a bond of shared feeling. They enjoy supporting and counseling others with emotional or relationship difficulties and friendships are highly prioritized. Even the introverted INFJs and ISFJs value close friendships and will almost never turn down an opportunity to listen to a friend in need.
Extraverted feeling is a blessing and a curse to those who have it. The ability to absorb emotions can sometimes be difficult in situations where conflict arises. Fe users literally “feel” other’s emotions to a point where it can cause severe distress if someone around them is angry or sad. If those around them aren’t aware of others’ feelings, or make decisions largely based on logic, without regard for harmony, the Fe user can feel confusion and stress over the lack of harmony in the atmosphere. If someone is angry at them, the Fe user can become so distressed that they will literally become physically sick. Fe dominant and auxiliary types will do almost anything to resolve conflict and bring the mood back to a warm, harmonious atmosphere.
Are You an Introverted Feeler? How to Find Out
The above four MBTI types are going to be the most skilled and adept at using introverted feeling; while INFPs and ISFPs have the most dominant use of this function.
So what is introverted feeling?
Introverted feeling is a deep, intensive focus on someone’s own personal values, tastes, and emotions. Unlike Extraverted Feeling (Fe), which is largely focused on people outside oneself, Introverted Feeling is focused primarily on one’s own value system. For this reason, it’s often described as “subjective” feeling. Fi users are individualistic and determined to discover their own sense of right and wrong. They can usually identify how they feel; this is in contrast to Fe users, who easily can identify other people’s emotions, but can be very confused about their own.
Introverted feelers have a deep set of personal values, morals, feelings and tastes that they live by. They are constantly evaluating whether their choices match up to these values. Fi-dominant types are very sincere people and are usually incredibly thoughtful and empathetic. FP types are very adept at seeing through people’s motives and picking up on what is “fake” or insincere. Where extraverted feelers want very much to create an atmosphere of harmony, and where everyone is “getting along”, Fi users are much more concerned with creating an atmosphere that coincides with their inner values. They are less concerned with social niceties and more concerned with being true to themselves and their individual preferences. While they prefer harmony, they dislike anything phony and will avoid social niceties if it means going against what they feel inside.
Introverted feelers aren’t as emotionally expressive outwardly as extraverted feelers. They like to keep their emotions private and handle them largely on their own. They will only share their deep feelings with those they know they can trust and who will listen well.
Fi users are slow to put anyone in a “box.” If you have been accepted into the Fi user’s inner circle, there is probably nothing you could tell them that would make them reject you unless you violated one of their deeply-held values. They can be very accepting people for those they choose to love or have friendships with. INFPs are often champions of the “underdogs” and choose a cause or group of people or animals that they want to help or “fight” for.
Introverted feelers are more likely to say “no, I’m not interested” when asked to do something they don’t find personally interesting. While Fe users will often do what is needed to keep everyone happy, Fi users are usually a bit better at saying “No” to unwanted activities.
In a nutshell, Fi users will do whatever they can to live by their own personal values; and are not easily swayed from their opinions. They can easily empathize with those they relate to or have a common bond with, but don’t need to have group harmony to the extent that Fe users do. Fi-dominant types may even come across as cold when really they are just withdrawing to analyze their values and thoughts. Fi-auxiliary types, like the ESFP and ENFP, filter their feeling through their dominant functions, Extraverted Sensing or Extraverted Intuition. This means they will have a much more expressive, talkative, lively air about them and may be more expressive of their values and beliefs than Fi-dominant types.
How to Identify a Fe User or a Fi User:
Fe Users – The Good:
– Good listeners
– Crave harmony
– Easily understand and relate to others’ emotions
Fe Users – The Bad (what you would see in an unhealthy/imbalanced Fe user):
– Can be phony and insincere
– Can be too controlling of the values of others.
– Can be “people pleasers” to an unhealthy degree
– May hold on to bad relationships for too long
– May become so obsessed with having harmony that they avoid any type of conflict, even necessary conflict
– Can be manipulative; since Fe-users read other’s emotions so well, they can know how to manipulate them easily
Fi Users – The Good:
– Deep personal values
– Champion of the downtrodden
– Emotionally intelligent
– Stand up for their beliefs
Fi Users – The Bad (what you would see in an unhealthy/imbalanced Fi user):
– Overly dramatic
– Take everything too personally
– Overreact to things
– Can be emotionally manipulative
– Fails to take responsibility for mistakes
I hope this has helped you identify whether you use extraverted or introverted feeling. In some ways they are very similar; both are concerned with people, harmony, and helping others. In other ways they are different; one is concerned with people outside one’s self, and the other is concerned with personal values and emotions. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, not one is better than the other.
What about you?
Are you an extraverted feeler or an introverted feeler? What experiences have you had using feeling? What are some of the joys and struggles YOU deal with with your feeling function? Let me know in the comments!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!