Find out what makes each of the 16 Myers-Briggs® personality types feel vulnerable. #MBTI #Personality #INFJ

Here’s What Makes You Feel Vulnerable, Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type

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Have you ever wondered why what makes you feel vulnerable feels easy to someone else? Maybe you’re terrified of public speaking, but your best friend relishes the opportunity. Perhaps you despise unexpected changes but your sibling gets excited when plans change and life is unexpected and new.

In today’s article we’re exploring some of the ways that each of the 16 Myers-Briggs® personality types feel vulnerable. Knowing this about ourselves and others can help us to have more empathy for ourselves and the people we know. It can also help us to recognize why we feel the vulnerability we do so it doesn’t seem as mysterious or scary.

I hope you enjoy! Let’s get started!

Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.

Estimated reading time: 40 minutes

Table of contents

Your Inferior Function and Vulnerability:

Before we get into the individual personality types and explore what makes each one of them feel vulnerable, let’s discuss why vulnerability exists the way it does for the personality types. According to Myers-Briggs theory, each of us has a cognitive function stack. This stack is essentially the preferred mental processes we use to navigate the world both around and inside of us.

As an example, here’s a look at the ENFP cognitive function stack:

Dominant Function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
Auxiliary Function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)
Tertiary Function: Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Inferior Function: Introverted Sensing (Si)

The dominant function is naturally the most easily accessible to any personality type. Operating within that function feels like breathing – it feels natural and automatic. The top four functions in your “stack” are preferred by you. You value them. Of course, the dominant is the easiest one to use effectively, but you still aspire to use all four functions well. However, the inferior function is the one that tends to feel the most awkward or difficult to control out of those four.

An introverted intuitive type (INFJ or INTJ), for example, operates from a place of depth and meaning-seeking. With dominant introverted intuition, these types look for underlying patterns, symbols, and complexities. They seek out long-term ripple effects and predictions.

If an introverted intuitive type is dominant in this pattern-seeking plane, they also have an inferior function – one that is nearly the opposite of the dominant. For the INFJ or INTJ, this function is held by Extraverted Sensation. Extraverted Sensation focuses on the exact literal world around one’s self. It notices everything happening in the external world in explicit detail and doesn’t read in a bunch of subjective meanings or associations. It sees the world as it is and jumps into action to immerse one’s self in that world.

INFJs and INTJs value both introverted intuition and extraverted sensation, even though they are opposite in nature. But they feel more at home in the world of intuition and more vulnerable in the world of sensation.

Mark Hunziker, a psychologist and author of Depth Typology: The Guide Map to Becoming Who We Are states of the inferior:

“We repeatedly try to employ our inferior function even though it usually ends in embarrassment and a sense of incompetency, incapacity, and shame. Typologically, it is the epicenter of Alfred Adler’s “inferiority complex.”” (178)

Should We Avoid Using the Inferior Function?

Absolutely not! Even though we might feel a bit vulnerable or awkward when using this function, it still is a pathway to growth and maturity. Hunziker even goes so far as to say that it is the doorway to the unconscious and allows a lot of valuable information to ascend from the unconscious into the conscious realm.

“Repression of (the inferior), on the other hand, can block this communication pipeline and create an unhealthy backup of unconscious material that needs our conscious attention.” (179)

Most importantly, the dominant and inferior function of our personality make up the “spine” of our personality and shape a lot of who we are. In order to be a healthy Introverted Sensing type (ISFJ or ISTJ), for example, you should have a healthy connection to both your dominant Introverted Sensing and your inferior Extraverted Intuition. Neither should be repressed or shoved aside.

Moving On…

Now that we’ve discussed some weighty type theory (and have hopefully not lost you in the process), let’s jump into the individual types and explore the ways that they feel vulnerable and how to find peace with that vulnerability.

Here’s What Makes You Feel Vulnerable, Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type

The ENFP

Dominant Function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
Inferior Function: Introverted Sensing (Si)

As an ENFP, you are tantalized by possibilities and patterns. You enjoy entertaining ideas and considering “What if?” hypothetical questions. Generating ideas and avenues of interest is easy for you! There is so much to explore and discover. As you entertain ideas, you can envision a totally new future. A tree becomes a magnificent haven complete with a moat and a drawbridge. A lazy Sunday afternoon becomes an opportunity for a new adventure.

You don’t find it hard to imagine yourself into a brand new world filled with potential and meaning, and this gives you a sort of magnetism that draws people near.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

The inferior function to your dominant intuitive function is Introverted Sensing (Si). This function focuses on verifying details from the past; painstakingly checking for reliability and focusing on a subjective impression of the literal world around one’s self. It sees a tree and thinks, “Are the branches strong?” “What classification does this tree fall under?” or even “I remember climbing up a tree like this when I was seven-years-old.”

While your mind still might cascade over these thoughts (you still value Introverted Sensing after all) you quickly supersede them by diving into a world of new possibilities.

When you are in a situation where people expect you to give them a lot of Introverted Sensing data it can make you feel edgy and anxious. You might struggle to trust the information you’re giving or you may freeze up or feel awkward.

Situations like this might include:

  • Having to recall specific details of something (a document, a lecture, a work project)
  • Having to follow a prescribed formula to complete a task
  • Creating routines and following them consistently
  • Having to painstakingly verify or account for a lot of details (like when you’re doing your taxes or balancing your bank account)

While Extraverted Intuition looks for new possibilities and ideas, Introverted Sensation seeks out routine and stability. Thus, as an ENFP you may start to feel edgy, restless, or uncomfortable when you’re in a stable place for too long. There may be a feeling inside like something is missing or you’re being stagnant.

Finding Balance:

There is a way to reconcile this tension between your intuitive and sensing functions. You can start by taking the time to engage in activities that help you slow down and enjoy the present moment. You may want to start a gratitude practice or make time for yourself to read, do yoga, or just be still. You can also start to enjoy the stability that comes with mastering a skill. Take up an instrument you love and pay attention to the details of the instrument; the sensation of the keys of the piano against your fingertips, the way the intensity or volume changes depending on how hard you press down on the keys.

Finding some relaxed, enjoyable ways to experience your sensing side can help you to feel less vulnerable when moments come up where you’re expected to tap into that side of yourself.

Find Out More About ENFPs: 10 Things that Terrify ENFPs

The ESFP

Dominant Function: Extraverted Sensing (Se)
Inferior Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

As an ESFP you are drawn to the world of experience and hands-on immersion. You see opportunities all around you and can’t wait to jump in and feel the sensation of something new. Life is rich and full of pleasure waiting to be felt; you don’t just make dinner, you dance in the kitchen and belt out your favorite songs while you inhale the delicious fragrance of what you’re cooking. You don’t just drive to work, you become one with your vehicle, cranking up your favorite music and singing at the top of your lungs.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

The inferior function to your dominant Extraverted Sensing (Se) is Introverted Intuition (Ni). This function focuses on finding a deeper meaning in everything. Instead of seeing the real world, it looks to concepts, ideas, and epiphanies. It focuses on imagining in order to know and divine something for the future. While an introverted intuitive prepares a meal, it thinks, “What is the deeper meaning of nourishment?” “How will my choice earlier today ripple out and effect the future?”

While your mind might occasionally play with thoughts like these, for the most part you push them aside to stay present and to stay in tune with what’s happening around you.

When you’re in a situation where you’re expected to think and reason like an introverted intuitive, it can make you feel awkward and out of place. You might struggle to find that deeper meaning or feel like you don’t have the right answer.

Situations like this might include:

  • Having to plan something in advance (like a project) and predict how it will unfold in order to map it out
  • Being asked a philosophical question and having someone wait on the answer
  • Being part of a conversation that primarily focuses on abstract ideas and theories rather than real-world data or experiences

While Extraverted Sensation looks for new experiences and immersive opportunities, Introverted Intuition looks for silence in order to ponder concepts, meanings, and ripple-effects. Thus, as an ESFP you might feel edgy, anxious, and restless when you’re in a situation where you have to sit still in a place with little to no sensory distractions. You might feel uncomfortable initially when you try to meditate or dive into your thoughts. Over time, however, you may develop a comfort level with this or even begin to find in it a profound sense of satisfaction.

Finding Balance:

You can start to develop a balance between your dominant function and its inferior function by incorporating practices that draw you back into the inner world of thought. Don’t overdo it though! Being in the energy of your dominant function is good for you. But taking 10 minutes of intentional time each day to reflect and ponder is also healthy.

You may want to try things like journaling or engaging in conversations with yourself about various ideas like love, death, grief, joy, or the meaning of life. You can also begin to explore the realm of philosophy, literature, history and other subjects that require an internal focus.

A practice of contemplative meditation can also be beneficial for developing your Introverted Intuition. You might find yourself feeling more comfortable with this side of yourself after some exploration and practice.

Find Out More About ESFPs: 7 Ways That ESFPs Make an Impact

The ENTP

Dominant Function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
Inferior Function: Introverted Sensing (Si)

As an ENTP you are compelled to explore ideas, theories, and evolving possibilities. You thrive in the presence of others, exchanging ideas and discovering patterns or new ways of seeing things. Naturally adventurous, you enjoy challenging preconceived notions, debating and discussing various outcomes, and teaching others about your discoveries.

A world of exploration and discovery is close to your heart. While you enjoy experiencing new places, you get even more of a thrill when a new idea sparks your fancy. Anything that gives you a sense of curiosity and wonder is likely to draw you in.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

The inferior function to your dominant Extraverted Intuition is Introverted Sensation (Si). Instead of focusing on hypothetical possibilities, Introverted Sensing focuses on details that hold a subjective meaning. This function is painstaking and thorough, verifying details, accounting for changes, and seeking stability. When Introverted Sensing is in charge, it asks “What has my experience taught me?” “What is verifiable and tried-and-true?” “What are the specific details that I can recall?”

While ENTPs still value this information, they are restless to instead focus on the world of new possibilities and evolving concepts. They may feel vulnerable or anxious in situations that call on them to use Introverted Sensing.

Situations like this might include:

  • Having to recall a lot of data from a spreadsheet (perhaps when doing taxes)
  • Having to follow a step-by-step detailed plan that they have to remember very specifically
  • Having to follow a process in the same way time and time again
  • Being questioned about the specifics of a past event, interaction, or report

While Extraverted Intuition looks for new theoretical ideas and “sandbox style” possibilities, Introverted Sensation grounds someone in lived experience and memories. It craves stability, predictability, and routine. Thus, as an ENTP you may feel restless or annoyed in situations that are predictable, routine, or lack room for intuitive creativity or rule-breaking.

Finding Balance:

The key to finding balance between your dominant Extraverted Intuition and its inferior Introverted Sensing is to build a routine that grounds you in the real world or in your memories. This could mean journaling about a favorite past memory every day. It could mean standing outside and really feeling the gravity of the earth beneath your feet and the wind around your body. This could also mean picking one routine to follow each day that makes your life simpler (like practicing a new language on your way to work or wiping off your vanity after you brush your teeth each day).

By engaging in activities like this regularly you can learn to make peace with your vulnerability and feel less vulnerable when presented with situations that require Introverted Sensing.

Find Out More About ENTPs: A Look at the ENTP Leader

The ESTP

Dominant Function: Extraverted Sensing (Se)
Inferior Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

As an ESTP, you are driven to immerse yourself in the world in a physical sense. Life is full of rich sensations to be explored. Whether you’re climbing the tallest tree in the forest or sipping coffee at a buzzing cafe, you’re engaged in the present moment and soaking up as much of it as possible.

You are likely to have a strong sense of fun and adventure. Each day is meant to be truly lived, rather than pondered or frittered away with needless worrying. With your ability to read people and situations instinctively, you fit in well to most any environment.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

The inferior function to your dominant Extraverted Sensing is Introverted Intuition (Ni). Instead of focusing on the real, literal world around you, Introverted Intuition focuses on deep, subjective meanings and epiphanies. It asks, “What’s really going on here?” “What mysterious patterns are at work?” “How does this fit in with the greater whole?”

While ESTPs still value this information, they often feel restless and crave action on a physical level. They prefer to grasp a concept by experiencing it first-hand rather than ruminating about it or sitting in silence to reflect or ponder. Situations where they’re called upon to tap into Introverted Intuition can make them feel vulnerable, hesitant, or awkward.

Situations like this might include:

  • Having to forecast how something will go or how likely something is to happen
  • Being asked to interpret a metaphor or allegory
  • Having to come up with original ideas without any reference points
  • Having to interact in a conversation that is largely focused on metaphor, concepts, or intangible, abstract ideas

While Extraverted Sensation looks for raw, physical experiences and immersive interactions, Introverted Intuition detaches from the environment in order to ponder meanings, ideas, and ripple-effects. Thus, as an ESTP you might feel restless, bored, and awkward when you’re in a situation where you have to sit still in a place with little to no sensory distractions. You might feel bored and impatient when you try to meditate or focus on the future. Over time, however, you may develop comfort in this area and even find it surprisingly refreshing.

Finding Balance:

Having a good relationship between your dominant and inferior function doesn’t have to be painful! I promise. You can get in touch with your intuition in easy, bite-sized ways by taking a few minutes to meditate each day. You could also practice pausing and breathing deeply before jumping into a new fun pursuit, asking yourself “What’s the outcome of this? Does this align with my vision for my life?”

Simply making a few small moments for mindfulness and contemplation can work wonders for improving your relationship with Introverted Intuition. This will in turn make you feel less vulnerable and more capable of integrating intuition in your decisions and ideas.

Find Out More About ESTPs: 24 Signs That You’re an ESTP, the Daredevil Personality Type

The ENFJ

Dominant Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
Inferior Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

As an ENFJ, you have a desire to relate and connect with people in deeply meaningful ways. You enjoy bringing people together, inspiring them, and catalyzing them to reach their highest potential. You are naturally attuned to the emotions of those around you and look for ways to help individuals feel seen, heard, and understood.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

The inferior function to your dominant Extraverted Feeling is Introverted Thinking (Ti). Introverted thinking focuses on categorizing, defining, and understanding how things work. It’s very specific about logic and has no patience for logical inconsistency. It asks questions like, “What are the principles at play in this argument?” “Is this really the truth?” and “Is this the correct word to describe this?”

While ENFJs still value this information, they naturally prioritize personal details over this. While they can easily apply their thinking side to understanding how people work, they are less interested in understanding how impersonal objects work or crafting the perfect argument. Situations where they’re called on to use Introverted Thinking in an impersonal way can cause them stress or a feeling of awkwardness.

Situations like this might include:

  • Reading a technical manual for an object
  • Presenting technical data in an organized and linear way
  • Debating a controversial issue on logical grounds
  • Fixing a broken appliance or computer with people observing

While Introverted Thinking places accuracy and logical consistency at the forefront of the mind, Extraverted Feeling focuses primarily on people and their connections and values. Thus, situations that are devoid of people or lack personal meaning can feel boring or pointless to ENFJs. They may find themselves feeling restless or vulnerable after spending prolonged periods of time focusing on fixing an object, reading a manual, or doing their taxes.

Finding Balance:

If you’re an ENFJ, there are many ways to embrace your inferior function without getting overwhelmed. Start by seeing Introverted Thinking as a way to deepen your understanding and connections with others. Take time each day to ask yourself questions like, “What psychological components are at play in this person’s story?” or “What logical inconsistencies could be at play in this argument?”

You can also engage your Introverted Thinking side by playing strategy or puzzle games with others or by yourself. This offers a mental challenge and an opportunity to think outside the box in order to problem-solve. It can also give you the social interaction you crave.

Lastly, you could spend 5-10 minutes each day learning something new. This will broaden your understanding of the world and make you more confident as well. You could learn how a car engine works, how to prepare a new recipe, or explore a psychological theory bit by bit.

By allowing yourself to embrace both Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Thinking, you can gain a deeper understanding of the world around you and your place in it. Many ENFJs find deep satisfaction through harnessing their thinking side; but it takes some practice and some intentionality.

Find Out More About ENFJs: 24 Signs That You’re an ENFJ, the Mentor Personality Type

The ESFJ

Dominant Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
Inferior Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

As an ESFJ, you’re fascinated by human relationships and crave loyalty and deep connection with others. You enjoy the richness of family traditions, community get-togethers, and the safety of lifelong or even new friendships.

Because you’re naturally focused on people, you tend to sense their emotional and physical needs. You’re often the first to offer a cold glass of water on a hot day or to lend an ear when someone needs to talk.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

The inferior function to your feeling side is Introverted Thinking. This mental process focuses on understanding how things work down to the finest detail. More interested in accuracy than emotion, it’s often concerned with questions like, “What’s the truth of the situation?” “Is this logically consistent in every way?” “Is there a loophole here?” or “What’s the specific word that best fits this idea?”

While ESFJs value Introverted Thinking, it isn’t their greatest strength and they tend to prioritize their feeling side over this thinking side. So when they’re called upon to take a step back from the personal in a situation and focus on logic, they may feel out of their element or vulnerable.

Situations like this might include:

  • Fixing an object or appliance while people observe
  • Logically defending an argument without focusing on the personal aspects
  • Having to make a public decision without prioritizing the personal impact or personal feelings of others
  • Troubleshooting a technical problem at work

While introverted thinking focuses on the logical consistency of something or the underlying principles of how it works, the ESFJ’s feeling side focuses on the personal components of something. Because of this, situations that are devoid of personal connection or lack personal meaning can feel empty and meaningless to them. They may find ways to fill these moments with personal connection; either through texting a friend, browsing social media, or simply thinking about a relationship or friendship.

Finding Balance:

The key to finding balance as an ESFJ is to take time each day or week to engage in activities that require your Introverted Thinking side. This could be something like watching a documentary that focuses on the inner workings of a new-to-you topic, playing a strategy game with friends, or learning how something works simply because you are curious about it. Look around your house at the various objects you use every day. How do they work? Look up a video on YouTube, take the object a part and try to put it back together, or simply read up on how it works.

When you’re expressing a value or belief, take apart the logical principles of that value or belief. Why do you believe in that idea? What do you know to be true without any shadow of a doubt?

No matter what you choose, the goal is to challenge yourself and practice your thinking skills while recognizing the value and importance of your feeling side as well. ESFJs who do this often find more satisfaction and confidence in their lives and relationships.

Find Out More About ESFJs: 24 Signs That You’re an ESFJ, the Defender Personality Type

The ENTJ

Dominant Function: Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Inferior Function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

As an ENTJ, you have a desire to plan and organize your life to achieve far-reaching objectives. You enjoy mapping out a distant idea or vision and then backtracking the steps that will get you or your team to where you need to be. It’s crucial for you to understand the big picture; not just the details of the moment but where it will all lead.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

The inferior function to your thinking side is Introverted Feeling (Fi). This mental process focuses on understanding your values and making sure your life is congruent with those values. It focuses on judging a situation based on those values, appraising how meaningful something is and how much it matters to you personally.

Fi asks, “How do I feel about this personally?” “Am I being true to myself?” “Am I staying in tune with my heart right now?”

While you value Introverted Feeling, it isn’t your greatest strength and you tend to prioritize your thinking side over your feeling side. You may put countless hours into achieving your goals but minimize your emotional or personal needs. When in a situation where you have to publicly use Introverted Feeling, you tend to feel vulnerable and anxious.

Situations like this might include:

  • Expressing strong personal feelings towards someone
  • Showing others your deeply personal tastes and preferences (like having someone listen to a song that’s emotionally resonant to you)
  • Putting off work or a task to deal with an emotional need
  • Crying or getting emotional publicly

While Introverted Feeling focuses on your personal values and how meaningful they are to you, your thinking side focuses on stepping outside of a situation in order to see it as objectively as possible. Because of this, situations that are highly emotional or require very sensitive emotional maneuvering can feel strange and unsettling to you. Yet you still value introverted feeling and can find immense satisfaction when you take time to tap into it in a healthy way.

Finding Balance:

You can find balance by taking time each day or week to engage in activities that require your Introverted Feeling side. This could be something like writing a journal entry about what your core values are, painting a picture that reflects how you’re feeling emotionally, or having meaningful conversations with friends and family members. You can also access this side of yourself by listening to music that touches you emotionally or meditating and reflecting on what matters most to you.

By taking the time to understand your feeling side and practice putting it into words, you’ll be able to feel more confident when situations arise that require Introverted Feeling. You’ll also gain a better understanding of yourself and how your values shape who you are as a person.

Find Out More About ENTJs: How ENTJs Say “I Love You”

The ESTJ

Dominant Function: Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Inferior Function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

As an ESTJ, you often feel the most confident when you have a clear plan and goal to achieve. You aren’t afraid of hard work or taking on responsibility, and you’re always up for a challenge. Your main focus is making sure that tasks are complete and everyone has the information they need to reach their goals in the most effective manner.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

The inferior function to your thinking side is Introverted Feeling. This function is all about aligning yourself with an individual code of values and meanings. It’s about understanding not only what you believe in but why you believe it, and living a life that reflects those beliefs. Introverted Feeling is individualistic and emotionally in tune with the self. It asks, “Does this feel right to me?” “Is my heart aligned with my actions?” “What matters to me overall?”

While you value Introverted Feeling, you can also feel uneasy when having to use it in a public way. You might feel awkward or not as competent as usual.

Situations like this might include:

  • Sharing your deeply personal feelings publicly
  • Crying or getting emotional in front of someone else
  • Comforting someone who is emotionally distraught
  • Having to apologize for being insensitive
  • Losing your cool emotionally and feeling overexposed later

While Introverted Feeling focuses on your personal values and how meaningful something is to you, your thinking side focuses on the practicality of something or its use in achieving objectives. Because of this, situations that don’t have a clear goal can feel strange or unsettling to you. You may feel overwhelmed in emotional settings or in situations where people are disclosing a lot of very personal information. That said, you still value introverted feeling and can find immense satisfaction when you take time to tap into it in a healthy way.

Finding Balance:

Being a Thinking type is valuable and necessary for you as an individual. But don’t forget to make time for your feeling side. You don’t have to start with a big emotional reveal or a deep dive into your feelings. Start small, like taking some time to journal about what matters most to you. Or try an activity that requires listening and empathy, such as reaching out to someone close to you and listening to them talk about their lives.

You can also access this side of yourself by watching inspiring films or reading stories that evoke emotions in you. This can be an easy and low-pressure way to strengthen your Introverted Feeling muscles and also reflect on what values and relationships matter most to you as an individual.

Find Out More About ESTJs: A Look at the ESTJ Leader

The INFP

Dominant Function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)
Inferior Function: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

As an INFP, you have a gift for clarifying your values, searching for meaning, and seeking personal growth and wholeness. You enjoy exploring possibilities, imagining rich ideas and potentials, and identifying and defending causes that matter to your heart.

To you, life isn’t about achieving some material goal as much as it is about having an authentic and meaningful experience that leaves you feeling fulfilled.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

Your inferior function is Extraverted Thinking, which helps you to evaluate data in a detached, objective way and organize your thoughts into clear systems and structures. It asks “What steps are necessary to reach X goal?” “How can I organize objects or people for better efficiency?” or “What makes the most sense, regardless of how I personally feel?”

While you definitely value these questions and this way of thinking, you tend to give more weight to your natural strength which is Introverted Feeling. Situations that call on you to publicly use Extraverted Thinking can make you feel vulnerable or anxious.

Situations like this might include:

  • Organizing a group to get a task done by a certain time
  • Managing resources and accounting for them
  • Having to critique someone’s performance
  • Regulating and enforcing consistent rules and guidelines

While Extraverted Thinking focuses on resource management and organizing the world around one’s self to support people in an impersonal way, Introverted Feeling (your dominant function) focuses on personal orientation to one’s inner set of values. Organizing and structuring the outer world can feel like a daunting task and one that might invite a lot of potential for failure or misunderstanding. You tend to feel awkward or bad critiquing someone’s performance or telling them how to do things. Introverted Feeling wants everyone to have space to be themselves, so as an INFP it feels counter-intuitive to organize your environment according to impersonal rules and regulations.

Finding Balance:

While you operate at your best in the world of feeling, you still have aspirations to excel in the thinking world. You like the idea of completing a checklist quickly and having an organized space, but you don’t want to compromise your values or violate someone’s boundaries.

To find balance between the two, it can help to set small achievable goals that you can practice in a stress-free state of mind. As an example, you could create a 30-minute pre-bedtime routine that lines you up with your personal goals. This could include a 5-minute meditation, a 10-minute shower, and 15-minutes of reading and winding down. Try it out for a few days and see how you feel! This is one way you can combine Extraverted Thinking with your own personal values and hobbies.

Another way to practice Extraverted Thinking is to practice an “if, then” exercise. To do this you can start by picking something you want. An example could be “I want to have $20k in savings”. Then ask yourself, if I get $20k in savings (or whatever you picked) then I will get (whatever outcome). Continue this process until you’ve identified your basic desires or roadblocks. You can do this process to predict the outcome of an action and better simplify and organize your life.

Find Out More About INFPs: 3 Weird and Wonderful Secrets of the INFP Personality Type

The ISFP

Dominant Function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)
Inferior Function: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

As an ISFP, you are naturally interested in living a life of meaning and rich experience. You have specific causes and passions that stir your soul, and you don’t like to be tied down by structures or rigid rules and deadlines. While you may seem mysterious at first glance, you have a rich inner world of emotion and conviction. Living a life that aligns with your values is of the utmost importance to you.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

Your inferior function is Extraverted Thinking which helps you to step outside of a situation in order to see it through an objective, impersonal lens. Extraverted Thinking is focused on organizing the world and implementing guidelines and rules to make everything run as effectively as possible. It asks questions like “What is the most efficient way to complete this task?” or “How can I assign roles to individuals in order to reach our goal?”.

Situations that call on you to use Extraverted Thinking can be difficult and make you feel vulnerable.

Situations like this might include:

  • Having to organize a group of people to get a task done in a timely manner
  • Managing resources and materials in a workplace
  • Giving a critique to someone
  • Having to convince someone through logical presentation

While Extraverted Thinking focuses on logical order, troubleshooting, and objectivity, Introverted Feeling (your dominant function) focuses on personal alignment with your inner set of values. Organizing and arranging people or resources can feel overwhelming and unsettling. You tend to feel uncomfortable critiquing someone’s performance or telling people how to do things. Introverted Feeling wants everyone to have freedom to be themselves, so as an ISFP it feels odd to organize your environment according to standardized rules and regulations.

Finding Balance:

In order to find balance between your feeling and thinking side, find some simple moments throughout the day to organize an effective routine. You could come up with a 10-minute meditation and journaling practice in the morning or finish your most daunting task first thing when you walk into work so that you can get it over with and move on with a feeling of accomplishment.

When it comes to decisions, you could take a moment to consider what your priorities are. Are there steps you can take to achieving your priorities in a more timely way? Are there lessons you need to learn to stay flexible while still achieving what you need?

Ultimately, by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your type, you can learn to use your skills to navigate through life’s uncertainties with strength and clarity. With a conscious awareness of your vulnerabilities, you can take proactive steps to become more balanced and successful in life.

Find Out More About ISFPs: 24 Signs That You’re an ISFP, the Virtuoso Personality Type

The INTP

Dominant Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Inferior Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

As an INTP, you are naturally fascinated with understanding the principles of how things work. You love exploring ideas, testing theories, and experimenting with the unknown. You are energetic, curious, and independent-minded which allows you to think and act outside of the box. People often rely on you for your analytical skills and your patience with troubleshooting.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

Your inferior function is Extraverted Feeling. This function focuses on how you relate to and connect with others. It wants you to show empathy and understanding, express your feelings openly, and act in accordance with the well-being of others.

Situations that call on you to use Extraverted Feeling can be difficult and make you feel vulnerable and unsure of yourself. When dealing with a technical problem you might feel confident and curious. But when dealing with an interpersonal issue that requires great tact and interpersonal awareness, you might feel unsettled and skeptical of your own ability.

Situations like this might include:

  • Trying to give someone emotional support
  • Expressing your feelings in real time
  • Being in an emotionally charged environment
  • Having to form rapport with someone quickly
  • Opening a gift and having everyone watch you for a reaction

While Extraverted Feeling is energized by interpersonal connection and strong emotional vibes, you are more energized by the pursuit of mental discovery. You also enjoy rich emotional bonds, but it takes time for you to feel comfortable enough to be open and transparent with others. In situations where there is little to no focus on discovering theories, debating ideas, or exploring something from an analytical perspective you might feel bored or uncomfortable.

Finding Balance:

In order to find balance between your feeling and thinking side, it’s important to start in ways that aren’t too daunting. You could begin by inviting a friend to coffee once a week or texting someone you care about after lunch every day. Sometime when you’re bored you could people watch and explore the interactions you see between various individuals.

It might also be helpful to practice exploring your emotions in some external way. You can do this by journaling or talking to a close friend. This can help you identify the emotions that are stirring inside of you and give you space to work through them.

By recognizing the vulnerability of your type and taking proactive steps towards achieving balance, you can create a space for yourself where you can be both analytical and emotionally fulfilled.

Find Out More About INTPs: A Look at the INTP Leader

The ISTP

Dominant Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Inferior Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

As an ISTP, you are compelled to organize information into logical categories. You know there’s an underlying model to how everything works, and you want to figure that model out. Understanding the blueprint of the world, how everything fits together, and creatively problem solving makes you feel energized and alive.

Often your interest in how things work shows up in craftsmanship, programming, debating, or even artistry. You love diving into any world where you can innovate with tangible materials or logical ideas and create something all your own.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

Your inferior function is Extraverted Feeling. This function focuses on how you relate to and connect with others. It craves an intimate “vibe” or spark with another person and can often sense how other people are feeling. It readily expresses emotions and seeks harmony and understanding with others.

Situations that call on you to use Extraverted Feeling can be difficult, making you feel vulnerable and unsure of yourself. When dealing with a technical problem or creative project, you might feel confident and curious. But when dealing with an interpersonal issue that requires strong emotional intelligence or relationship building, you might feel unsettled and uncertain.

Situations like this might include:

  • Comforting someone who is emotionally struggling
  • Expressing your feelings in real-time
  • Making small talk
  • Hosting a large social gathering

While Extraverted Feeling is energized by social connection and emotional intensity, Introverted Thinking is energized by going inward to analyze and understand how an idea or object works. While ISTPs have some natural value and desire for Extraverted Feeling aims, they also get easily overwhelmed by it. Thus, large social gatherings or being “on” socially for long periods can drain them.

Finding Balance:

For ISTPs, finding balance between Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Thinking can be tricky. To help you reach equilibrium, start small. Find a few moments throughout the day to check in with your loved ones and let them know you care. This could be done through texting, a phone call, or even writing a letter and putting it in the mailbox.

You can also practice using Extraverted Feeling by being more intentional with your interactions throughout the day. When talking to a cashier or barista, truly listen to what they are saying and try to make an effort to show them some positive engagement. This could be as simple as saying, “Thanks so much! Have a great day!”

Finally, try to make time for yourself and your hobbies where you can feel energized and curious about the world around you. Make sure to set aside some time each day to work on a project that interests you or has logical components that challenge your intellect.

Find Out More About ISTPs: 10 Things You Should Never Say to an ISTP

The INFJ

Dominant Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
Inferior Function: Extraverted Sensation (Se)

As an INFJ, you are wired to think in terms of big-picture concepts and trends. You know there’s a pattern that connects events together and can quickly come up with creative insights on how the future might look. You’re also driven by meaningful work that might bring about positive change or help others understand themselves better.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

Your inferior function is Extraverted Sensing. This function focuses on awareness of the physical world and the present moment experience. It notices details, pays attention to sensory information, and has a great capacity for non-verbal communication.

While you value this way of observing the world, your dominant intuition naturally takes priority. You’re more interested in the abstract than the concrete; the imagination more than hands-on experience. In situations where you’re called upon to use Extraverted Sensing in a demonstrable way, you can feel vulnerable, unsteady, or anxious.

Situations like this might include:

  • Driving in a new city without a GPS
  • Participating in a sport or dance without being prepared
  • Having to work with a lot of details at once
  • Having to react to a sudden or spontaneous surprise

Extraverted Sensation is stimulated by all the real, tangible things to be experienced in the present moment. It enjoys stimulation, immersion, and spontaneity. As an INFJ, this is something you aspire to harness, but it can feel challenging and out of reach. You are energized by exploring the abstract world of what “could be” more than focusing on what “is.” Situations where there’s a lot of sensory stimulation happening around you can feel overwhelming, unsettling, and stifling.

Finding Balance:

The key to finding balance between your dominant Intuition and inferior Sensing is to practice awareness. Noticing what’s happening in the present moment, no matter how mundane or chaotic, gives you a better understanding of how Extraverted Sensation operates.

Take some time each day to explore the physical world around you and notice how it relates to your inner experience. Spend time in nature, go for a walk in the city, try some new flavors of food – anything that gets your senses activated.

Also, make sure to set aside enough structured “me” time where you can be creative and explore abstract ideas without feeling overwhelmed. This could be painting or writing, or taking a break to just sit and meditate.

By honoring both your intuition and sensing sides you’ll be able to better understand yourself and know what environments and activities bring out the best in you.

Find Out More About INFJs: 3 Weird and Wonderful Secrets About the INFJ Personality Type

The ISFJ

Dominant Function: Introverted Sensation (Si)
Inferior Function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

As an ISFJ, you are wired to pay attention to details and concrete facts. You have a strong memory for the past and find links to past experiences and memories all around you. A tree isn’t just a tree, it’s a living, breathing memory of a time when you climbed a tree as a child. Every moment is rich with impressions and stories from the past, and you hope to keep that past alive through continuity and meaningful traditions. What you know from experience is often given greater weight than what could be or what might happen in the future.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

Your inferior function is Extraverted Intuition. This function focuses on seeing potential and exploring possibilities. It looks at the world with a sense of curiosity and imagination, seeking out new ideas and ways to bring them into reality.

While you appreciate the power of intuition, your dominant Sensing can sometimes feel threatened by it. In situations where you’re expected to make leaps of faith or take risks, your first instinct might be to reject the idea. This can lead to feeling vulnerable and insecure.

Situations like this might include:

  • Taking a creative project from concept to reality
  • Exploring new technologies or platforms
  • Navigating unfamiliar social situations
  • Having to just “wing” something
  • Brainstorming for a boss or employer in real-time

Extraverted Intuition is energized by all that is new and evolving. It is also drawn to anything abstract or theoretical. The world of what “could be” is more exciting than the world of what “is” or “was.” While you aspire to use this function well, it can feel unsettling and bewildering. In situations where all your traditions are nonexistent or unvalued you can feel out of place or anxious. When you have to work with a bunch of unknowns or wing something unexpectedly you can feel lost without your past experience to rely on. ISFJs enjoy practice, familiarity, and thoroughness. Extraverted Intuition, in contrast, can seem all over the place and impulsive.

Finding Balance:

The key to finding balance between your sensing and intuitive side is to practice curiosity. Take time to explore the unknown and be spontaneous in small ways. Allow yourself to be curious without judgment and don’t be afraid of making mistakes or feeling confused. Some ways you could do this include:

Reading up on a different subject matter

Trying something new and creative, even if it doesn’t come naturally

Visiting a place you’ve never been before

Asking questions in conversations to get people talking about their ideas and opinions

Brainstorming alone to come up with new and unusual ways to solve a problem (don’t worry if they seem silly)

Also, it’s important to set aside moments of structure and routine where you can ground yourself in familiar and reviving routines. Whether you’re reading a favorite book, sipping a cup of tea and watching a sunset, or calling a beloved friend for a chat, it’s important to make time for yourself and your beloved traditions.

Find Out More About ISFJs: The Childhood Struggles of ISFJs

The INTJ

Dominant Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
Inferior Function: Extraverted Sensation (Se)

As an INTJ, you are keenly attuned to the inner world of thought, ideas, and possibilities. You are an independent thinker that relies heavily on your intuition. Your dominant Introverted Intuition is energized by uncovering underlying patterns and meanings in situations and promptly integrating them into a holistic understanding. You use this understanding to create far-reaching strategies and achieve your goals.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

Your inferior function is Extraverted Sensation. This function focuses on absorbing all the details of the present moment and reacting spontaneously. It asks “What is happening right now?” “What is relevant in the moment?” “What can I experience, feel, touch, or interact with right now?”

While you value Extraverted Sensation, it can feel overwhelming to tap into – especially in any public or high-pressured way. Situations that call on you to demonstrate Extraverted Sensing can feel overwhelming and stressful for you.

Situations like this might include:

  • Having to navigate or lead people through a new, unfamiliar setting
  • Having to act quickly and spontaneously on the spot
  • Having to work in a busy, stimulating environment
  • Having to manage a lot of details in your environment

Extraverted Sensation enjoys reacting in the moment to unexpected or surprise events. It gets a hit of dopamine from experiences that involve lots of sensory input or interaction with the environment. For INTJs, this can feel uncomfortable and over-stimulating as their intuition keeps wanting to process and interpret everything in a slower and more in-depth way.

Finding Balance:

The key to finding balance between your intuition and your sensing side is to practice mindfulness and being present in the moment. You don’t have to do this by going to a concert and dancing in the mosh pit though!

Try setting aside small moments throughout the day to be present and mindful. Maybe take a few minutes in the morning or evening to meditate, practice breathing exercises, or go for a walk and notice the beauty around you in nature. You could take it one step further and practice improv comedy or go to an arcade and play a game of pinball. Any situation that puts you in the present moment and has you acting quickly with tangible items can get you in the place of Extraverted Sensation.

By giving yourself permission to be present in the moment and accept this side of yourself you can find a balance that allows you to experience greater personal growth.

Find Out More About INTJs: 10 Things You Should Never Say to an INTJ

The ISTJ

Dominant Function: Introverted Sensation (Si)
Inferior Function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

As an ISTJ, you are deeply in tune with your inner world. You have a strong internal database of lessons and rules that you rely on to make informed and careful decisions. You trust this framework because it is based on facts and data that you have gathered over time. Life is a collection of lessons and stories that give you a sense of what can be counted upon to be true. You value history, reliability, and tradition because it gives you wisdom based on the struggles, stories, and lessons learned from the past.

What Makes You Feel Vulnerable:

Your inferior function is Extraverted Intuition. This function focuses on recognizing and exploring possibilities in the outer world. It looks for creative solutions and asks open-ended questions like “What if?” or “How can I think about this differently?”

While you value Introverted Sensation, Extraverted Intuition can make you feel like you are not in control. Situations that call on you to use Extraverted Intuition can be scary and uncomfortable for you because it calls on your to open up to new possibilities that don’t fit within the framework of what you already know.

Situations like this might include:

  • Having to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new
  • Being asked to brainstorm ideas or think of creative solutions on the spot
  • Being put in a leadership position with no clear direction
  • Having to explore abstract topics for a long period of time

Finding Balance:

The key to finding balance between your sensing side and intuitive side is to practice openness and curiosity. This doesn’t mean throwing out the wisdom from the past, but rather have a willingness to look at things from a different perspective.

Try taking some time each day to practice being creative. Maybe spend some time reading a book or watching a movie that challenges your beliefs. You could also try out new activities like painting, playing an instrument, or writing poetry. The point is to experiment, follow your imagination, or try something you’ve never tried before just to see what happens.

By allowing yourself to embrace both of these sides of yourself you can find that you have strengths and abilities you never imagined before. Just be patient with yourself and don’t push yourself too hard.

Find Out More About ISTJs: 24 Signs That You’re an ISTJ Personality Type

What Are Your Thoughts?

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any input or suggestions for other people with your Myers-Briggs® personality type? Let us know in the comments!

Discover more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via FacebookInstagram, or Twitter!

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3 Comments

  1. I’m an ISFJ in her late forties and I can honestly say that as I’ve gotten older it’s become easier for me to use my inferior function of extroverted intuition. In my younger years it was like pulling teeth for me to try something new. Now I actually find it enjoyable! It’s really not (usually) so scary to branch out and put that extroverted intuition to work!
    I’m never going to be as bold as dominant Extroverted Intuitives but it does make life more interesting. 🙂

    1. I’m not sure! I’ve tested this on several devices and it’s not happening for me. I’ve sent a request to my tech support person to see if I can get help with this.

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