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Going In Depth: Functions

Now that I’ve kind of reviewed some of the various functions, let’s discuss them more in detail. Understanding functions can help you greatly when it comes to understanding people and, especially, typing them. Personality types can resemble each other very greatly but, on the level of functions, their differences become quite obvious. Here is a very basic example:

My functions: Ne Ti Fe Si

Ne: sees patterns as a web

Ti: uses logical statements to see reality 

Fe: empathy, what others think

Si: uses past experience to shape present behavior 

ENFP Functions: Ne Fi Te Si

Ne: see patterns as a web

Fi: strong moral code “developed internally”

Te: organizing logic

Si: past experiences shape present behavior 

 

On the front, it is easy for one to say, “oh, they must be really similar.” However, they way I truly see the world differs greatly from an ENFP, even though we are only one letter away. While we are similar on the front, when you get to the internal mechanics there is a different story. Whereas I enjoy making decisions and processing through Ti an ENFP feels much more compelled to funnel information through their strong moral system (Fi). Hopefully this example sheds light on why functions are important. In the next post I will clarify each individual function. 

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Thinking and Feeling

This dichotomy is another one that people frequently get confused on. Let’s look at some basic thinker/feeler differences

Feelers

Information is processed through a feeling function before a thinking function. This information is either internalized and compared against a self-created system or externalized through a system that relies heavily on society and what other people believe (this is the simplest way I can put this).

Feelers rely on their feeling function when making decisions. They ask themselves how does this make me or others feel. Because of this, they are frequently seen as compassionate or warm people, as they are naturally more attuned to other people’s feelings, or at least their own. When I discuss functions, we’ll see in what instances feelers can be rather callous. On the contrary-

Thinkers

Information is processed through a thinking function first. Again, this information is either internalized or externalized. Internalized logic is much like internalized feeling- it is a self created system and viewed as nearly impervious to anything. On the contrary, an externalized thinking function tends to be more malleable. Those who use the externalized thinking function tend to be better at mobilizing (actually getting stuff done, at best). Those who internalize information logically tend to, at worst, be impractical, as their system is more abstract. While in some ways the internalized thinking function is very useful, it can manifest itself in the form of sitting around and thinking, rather than doing, all day (especially seen with xNTPs).

 

After reviewing these differences, it can be easy to see why thinkers can come off as colder than feelers.

What Feelers may say to Thinkers

You’re not compassionate

YOU’RE MEAN I HATE YOU

You don’t care about people

You’re too logical

Things aren’t that black and white

A Thinker to a Feeler

You need to be more logical

That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say

Will you calm down?

You don’t make any sense

Why are you angry at me? I didn’t know you implied you wanted a kiss!

I’m sorry I forgot your birthday for the eighth year in a row!

Thinkers can be somewhat oblivious at times (even those who use sensing functions). However, a thinker with a well-defined feeling function can be very attentive. As you learn more about functions and personality, it is important to self reflect, and see what you can work on.