MBTI: Lenore Thomson's Descriptions of Types
This set of profiles is incomplete and only covers 12 out of 16 types: INxJ, ISxJ, IxFP, ENxP, ExFJ, and IxTP. Taken from Lenore Thomson's book Personality Types
“Because INFJs use Fe to relate to the outer would, they may seem more outgoing than they really are. Their personal approach and ability to find common ground with others combines with their intuitive need for innovation and alternative views, and they frequently find themselves in positions of authority. They may not seek leadership, but they are often elected by others to serve on boards and committees. People appreciate their ability to listen and to consider group feelings and values” (246).
“Thus, it should be recognized that INFJs and more like INTJs than they initially appear. Their primary relationship is to their inner world, and they are receptive to others only up to a point. Indeed, these types often find that their sympathy and perceptive listening have been mistaken for an overture of friendship, which they didn't intend” (246).
“Unlike INTJs however, their sense of the unexpressed is not impersonal and casual; it is intensely personal and oriented by emotional awareness. Their intuition takes them into psychological areas that other types are likely to keep at bay. Because they don't usually know right away the import of what they're intuiting, they may ‘go along’ with a questionable situation until they can get a hold of how they actually feel about it. This tendency can be confusing to others, and it is often misinterpreted as reckless experimentation” (246).
“Like INTJs, INFJs have a penchant for abstraction and symbolic representation. If interested, they excel in the fields of science, math and medicine. However, they are not generally motivated by sheer intellectual challenge. INFJs require a sense of meaning in the work they do. They are more likely than INTJs to personalize their skills - as teachers, psychologists, consultants, ministers and family doctors. They are particularly sensitive to others' feelings of exclusion, and they may address or try to rectify inequities of status or opportunity within the context of their profession” (246).
“Such types can be quite tenacious in pointing out the discrepancies between stated beliefs and actual behavior. This is the arena in which their intuition is most evident. INFJs wrestle all their lives with the conflict they perceive maintaining harmonious relationships and expressing emotional truth, and it is a central issue in the books, novels, plays, and psychological articles that INFJs write. Their 1 percent representation in the population belies the tremendous influence these types have in shaping cultural ideas about identity and being true to oneself” (247).
“INFJs are exquisitely sensitive to nuance and suggestion - all the ways we unwittingly express how we feel, who we are, what we believe about ourselves and others. They are not interested in the precision of language, as INTJs are, but in its rich possibilities for metaphor and multiple layers of meaning. They often have a gift for verbal imagery or poetic expression, and they are sometimes capable of raising to consciousness something that others can only dimly sense” (247).
“INFJs frequently express themselves indirectly, depending on unstated implications to carry their meaning, and they can be put off by too direct a reference to something that is of great value to them” (247).
“Because INFJs are so alert to the unsaid, they may find it difficult to sort out their own emotions from the mood and feelings they discern in others. Young INFJs, in particular, are sometimes labeled hyper-sensitive or melodramatic, because their self-experience is tied to others emotional boundaries” (248).
“Optimally, they bring their emotional insights into the community as art, or they use them to help others come to terms with conflict in their own lives. INFJs are also capable of turning their inner experience into trenchant social commentary - by finding their truest voice and using it, perhaps in the ministry, or in the kind of edgy comedy of a Richard Pryor. Types who do this can become a potent focal point for others' unexpressed fears and yearnings. However, the pressure of speaking one's own truth in a public forum is ultimately taxing for most INFJs” (248).
“The INFJs sense of physical well-being is very much allied with their relationships and emotional investments. They want very much to be liked, buy they're afraid of being hurt, and they often develop a sense of humor that helps them to maintain a wide range of friendly contacts. Such types are by turns highly sociable and maddeningly inaccessible” (248).
“INFJs have to find some way to sort out their feelings from the feelings of others - in not in writing or art, then in an expression of religious faith, or the effort to help others to express themselves” (249).
“Like INTJs, INFJs have a tendency to use their secondary function for protection - for example, to distance themselves from a relationship that demands too much of them emotionally. They are entirely capable of meeting the expected surface demands of a situation, all the while nursing secret criticisms of a partner or a friend” (249).
“In general, these types do create their own reality, and it is one of great riches - a storehouse that artists, poets and writers draw from for their material. However, if their inner life is not balanced with reality, they may feel so different from others that they become self-conscious and defensive. They may be drawn to dysfunctional people, romanticizing their ability to see something in them that others cannot see” (250).
“INFJs are a bit like Merlin, summoned by the voice of Nimue deep with the enchanted forest. The song they hear is calling them elsewhere, beyond the cultivated borders of common consensus. When they are able to use their Extroverted Feeling function well, they bring that song back into the public domain, find a way to integrate it into the fabric of the community. INFJs who don't do this can get trapped, like the great wizard of Camelot, in a kind of enchantment that robs them of their very genuine powers of discernment and insight” (250).
“Because INTJ’s rely on Extraverted Thinking for their dealings with the outer world, they often have a scientific, somewhat skeptical approach to reality. They want to know how things work and what they’re likely to do under varying circumstances. Impatient with wasted motion, words, and emotion, their outward demeanor may be difficult to read” (239).
“Indeed, an INTJ’s bearing can seem downright Vulcan. The Vulcans, of course, are a fictional people in the Star Trek series – resolute logicians who barely change expression or use body language, even when they’re puzzled or aware of danger. Thus, one might heed the words of Tuvok, the Vulcan tactical officer on the spaceship Voyager, who warns: “exterior composure is no indication of a Vulcan’s inner state” (239).
“Although they superficially resemble Extraverted Thinkers, INTJs are always guided by their Intuition. They are rarely committed to general assumptions about rules, laws, and hierarchy, and they may have an acerbic sense of humor about such things. INTJs will use what works in the service of their ideas; and they will quickly discard or change what doesn’t” (240).
“A (probably apocryphal) story tells of a delegation of sailors who went to the tribunal of the Inquisition in the seventeenth century, when the Catholic Church had forbidden the use of Galileo’s astronomy as an affront to the Bible’s account of creation. The sailors sheepishly confessed that Galileo’s theory had both simplified their journeys and made their maps more accurate. They hoped that the Inquisitors would exempt mariners from the church’s proscription against it. The Tribunal considered the problem, consulted with the bishops, and sent an emissary to the Pope. Finally, they conceded. They said, “OK, if the theory works, use it. But don’t believe it”. This is a pretty fair description of the INTJ’s basic attitude. Fundamental truth is something different from expressed knowledge, which is always a fiction of one sort or another. If a theory works, it doesn’t matter who supports it or what anyone thinks it means. If it doesn’t, why bother with it?” (240).
“Although both INTJs and ENTJs realize their Intuitions by way of rational criteria – principles, law, organizational structure, and so forth – ENTJs will not usually pursue a goal unless it strikes them as compatible with reason. INTJs are more classicaly Promethean. They will steal fire from the gods without any assurance that a reasonable hearth exists at which to tend it back home. For such types, knowledge is not information, but a way of looking at things” (240).
“Consider James Hillman’s understanding of the soul as ‘a perspective rather than a substance, a viewpoint toward things rather than a thing itself’. This is a typically INTJ antidefinition. Such types may expend a great deal of time attempting to winnow the actual logic of accepted theories and formulations from expedient or merely limited assumptions. INTJs are accordingly drawn to science, mathematics, and medicine – fields in which new ideas about reality are constantly being forged and tested logically. They may also take interest in psychology, theology, publishing, and linguistics. As they pursue their intuitions, they inevitably combine elements from varied fields, perceiving an underlying commonality of form or meaning” (240).
“This sense of underlying structure and meaning leads INTJs to value both elegance of form and subtlety of expression. Nothing exists that can’t bear reediting and paring down to its essential components. The connections INTJs perceive among very different areas of knowledge may be sufficient to convince them they’re headed in the right direction, even when they can’t explain what they’re after” (241).
“Like the ISTJs, INTJs cannot accept new information until they relate it to their inner world. However, ISTJs analyze new data by aligning it with what they already know. Once they’ve accepted a fact, it becomes part of their identity. INTJs explore information largely by rejecting its influence – examining it from other perspectives and determining its limitations” (241).
“Because this inner process is tied to their sense of self, INTJs can take a long time to figure out ‘who they really are’. Their need to find out ‘what’s missing’ from a system of information invariably takes them into their own mental world – to an imaginative reconstruction of ideas – and the effort necessarily becomes a search for part of themselves. Such types can develop the destructive habit of formulating their identity in terms of their ability to see a situation’s limits, needing to find the flaws that will allow them to become spectators rather than performers” (241).
“For this reason, others don’t usually recognize the need of the average INTJ for external structure. INTJs are invariably described as independent and self-motivated, and this is certainly true with respect to their strongest functions. Where technical and intellectual competence are concerned, INTJs have a kind of inner compass, and they prefer a situation in which they don’t have to coordinate their work with or report to someone else” (241).
“Moreover, they don’t take criticism of their ideas personally. Position, title, and reputation have no meaning for these types. They will not entertain another’s judgment of their worth unless they believe the person intellectually qualified to make the assessment. And even a legitimate judgment will usually strike them as an indication of the other person’s assumptions and expectations” (241).
“Personal relatedness, however, is a different matter. INTJs are much less confident in a purely social situation. It is no exaggeration to say that their primary relationship is to their inner world, and they will nurture that relationship at the considerable expense of social abilities and the art of compromise” (241).
“In a field that excites and interests them, they are often driven, and they tend to expect the same degree of investment from subordinates. They frequently convey impatience when a situation that had seemed impersonal and outwardly predictable suddenly requires free-form personal interaction” (242).
“INTJs don’t like to say something more than once, and they may cut others short when conversation strikes them as unnecessary. Moreover, their need to find an alternate point of view in order to understand something can sound like disagreement or negativity – as though the speaker’s ideas had been judged and found wanting. Thus, even people who know an INTJ well may believe the person is either indifferent to them or critical of them” (242).
“INTJs can also be lonely behind their reserve, not knowing how to fit in even when they want to be included. This aspect of the type is partly the result of the INTJ’s comparative rarity. At 1% of the population, INTJs are usually the only one of their kind in a family. Throughout grammar and high school, they are often the only such type in a classroom” (242).
“Although this ratio changes at the college and graduate level, when INTJs specialize in fields that appeal to other INJs, for most of their developing years, these types have good reason to feel different from others. Because they relate to the outer world with Extraverted Thinking, they generally interact by trying to determine the logical relationship of others’ views and demands to their own needs. Consequently, they get little experience in areas of relationship that don’t interest them” (242).
“Many such types become articulate quite early, and they use their verbal abilities to fend off involvement in anything they don’t understand or don’t wish to. However, their awareness of others’ feelings does not keep pace with their verbal abilities. Young INTJs may be intellectually precocious but emotionally immature, exercising their dominant function by distancing themselves from others, engaging in ironic comments and somewhat juvenile sarcasm” (243).
“Sometimes, to their surprise, their observations make people laugh and afford them the group approval they were attempting to preempt. INTJs rather enjoy the paradox this sets up and will play to it – experimenting with the boundaries of humor itself. One might consider comedian Dennis Miller, who presents himself as a caustic observer and occasional saboteur of the images and conventions on which his livelyhood depends” (243).
“Like all types, INTJs resist their least-developed functions and attempt to avoid situations in which they’ll come into play. It should be granted, however, that Sensation and Feeling, the INTJ’s weakest functions, cannot be avoided wholesale in the course of a normal human life. These functions are our means of concrete embodiment – our physical pleasures and desires, our emotional connections with others, our love of home and hearth, our sense of being grounded and real” (243).
“INTJs appreciate these things well enough, but more in the abstract than in the messy realities of everyday existence. Regarding most events as arbitrary arrangements of elements, to be dismantled and reassembled at will, they may find it difficult to assume the duration of another’s affection or interest in them” (243).
“In general, these types deal with feelings the way they deal with ideas – by formulating and explaining them to themselves so they know what to expect, or getting far enough outside them to resist their influence. In an INTJ’s mind, friendships require a particular kind of investment; sexual connections another; marriage another. Such types want to know which category they’re dealing with before they get involved” (243).
“But real relationship is unpredictable, and real people resist the categories the INTJ attempts to apply. In fact, sexual attraction and romantic infatuation usually catch these types by surprise. And although they enjoy the distinct pleasures of sensuality, the careening roller coaster of emotions that comes with the territory ultimately forces them to use their inferior functions” (243).
“As opposed to their usual view of reality as arbitrary, they begin to experience the influence of primitive Extraverted Sensation and feel an anxious sense of material possession. They feel impulsive, out of control, and unable to take anything for granted. They worry that their intellectual life will never get back on track until the relationship becomes more ordinary and settled. Ultimately, they attempt to regain control – by pressing for declarations and permanency, even if their own intentions aren’t clear to them yet, or by using their critical judgment to distance themselves from their emotions” (243).
INTJs appreciate the security of a committed relationship, and given the ration of Extraverts to Introverts in our culture, often marry Extraverted types. They enjoy their families and maintain an unusual respect for the individuality and independence of both spouse and children. However, they may not sustain the kind of Extraverted interaction their partner expects.
“They’re more likely to settle in and, at their first opportunity, reassert their primary relationship to their inner world. This is true of both male and female INTJs. When there is too much outer stimulation or conflict, INTJs lose touch with their intuitive process and become restless, bored, and emotionally exhausted. Thus, INTJs need a fair amount of time alone” (244).
“They also need a fair amount of intellectual challenge and exercise. If a partner can’t provide it, INTJs are likely to seek it privately or with others. The same INTJ who gets bored at parties and looks around for the nearest bookshelf may well forget to eat or sleeping when involved in a complex and intricate conversation about ideas. In fact, for an INTJ, the communion of like minds is a kind of cerebral analog to falling in love” (244).
“INTJs may even resist concomitant physical attraction to a kindred spirit for fear of compromising the relationship with the exigencies of chemistry and social expectation. Such types frequently envision an ideal way of life that would unify NTJ cerebralism with SFP physical immediacy, but in actual practice, they are most likely to understand such unification as something ultimately spiritual. For this reason, INTJs may have an abiding interest in Sufism, or the Buddhist warrior philosophy, or the kind of mystical poetry that celebrates this idealized state in language” (245).
“Ironically, INTJs can best engage their Feeling and Sensate qualities by developing more Extraverted Thinking. The inner world of an INTJ is so compelling that such types can let their physical and emotional needs go for long periods of time. Deliberate use of Extraverted Thinking gives them more of what they need – a sense of rootedness in the material world: the world of bills, train schedules, medical and dental appointments, shoe repair, and the like. As the Zen Buddhists are wont to say, ‘after ecstasy, the laundry.’
“Extraverted Thinking also connects them to the assumptions and expectations of others, so they are better able to analyze people’s expressions and behaviors for social cues. Many INTJs find, for example, that their career ambitions push them into developing a serviceable repertoire of behaviors that convey goodwill and put people at ease. Ultimately, these behaviors are more predictable than the abstract categories of relationship INTJs are inclined to devise” (245).
“When Extraverted Thinking isn’t working well enough, INTJs draw directly from their tertiary function, Introverted Feeling, which merely rationalizes and supports their worst tendencies. It encourages them to idealize their abstract ideas about life and to avoid real relationships as unworthy of their investment. Such INTJs are often credited with staying above the emotional fray of life, when they have actually never been in it” (245).
“Like ISTJs, ISFJs, are most comfortable with facts and information about concrete reality. However, where ISTJs organize and apply what they know impersonally, preferring numbers, schemes, or logical premises, ISFJs relate to the outer world in a decidedly personal way, with Extraverted Feeling. ISFJs are highly alert to behaviors and gestures that suggest another’s emotional attitude, needs, or expectations, and they generally acquire knowledge that allows them to be of service—preferably to one person at a time.” (p.191)
“For this reason, many ISFJs are attracted to social work, pastoral counseling, nursing, or family medicine—fields in which they excel because they can concentrate on the needs and problems of individual clients. However, like all Introverted Sensates, ISFJs are good at following procedures, and they may have a flair for research and statistics.” (p.191)
“Thus, they are sometimes attracted to more technical fact-based occupations—for example, in library science, biometrics, computer programming, engineering, or insurance. Even in these cases, ISFJs tend to personalize what they do, using their skills on behalf of an employer, an administrator, or a customer: someone who needs their assistance and expertise.” (p.191)
“Indeed, ISFJs are so focused on others’ goals and expectations that they can sem literally selfless, without a full personality of their own. Support staffs throughout business and industry are made up of these types, who function almost invisibly, in the background of an organization, implementing decisions made by others. For this reason, it may be difficult to appreciate the Extraverted Feeling nature of an ISFJ’s expectations.” (p.192)
“Like the Extraverted FJs, ISFJs need to feel needed. They have a hard time saying no, even when they’ve taken on more obligations than they can readily handle. Moreover, like EFJs, ISFJs need personal feedback. They want their efforts to matter to someone. In this ISFJs are often disappointed, owing, in part, to their self-effacement. Their tendency to shrug off what they’re doing as no more than any decent person would do under the circumstances ensures that they are usually taken for granted. Their Introversion also contributes to the problem.” (p.192)
“Extraverted FJs are drawn to roles and commitments that reflect prevailing social values, which assures them of feedback in predictable terms. ISFJs are more subjective in their motivations. Their behavior is dictated not by their social role—as a good parent, citizen, employee, and so forth—but by their self-experience as a helper, rescuer, or nurturer. Most ISFJs find that they are drawn to and attract individuals who need them wherever they go. Moreover, the response of an ISFJ to another’s need is immediate, dictated entirely by the other’s situation.” (p.192)
“ISFJs will go out of their way to help a family member in trouble, a misunderstood coworker, or a perfect stranger sitting next to them on a bus. They rarely consider the amount of time or effort their involvement will require—or even the potential consequences of their actions. They may find it difficult to justify, or even to verbalize, their fundamental motives, but they are quite certain they are doing the right thing and will not be swayed from their perceived task.” (p.192)
“For this reason, ISFJs can seem stubborn, even when their behaviors are demonstrably selfless, or unable to appreciate people who aren’t in some way dependent on them. They may react to signs of a person’s independence as a kind of betrayal, which leads to their feeling jealous and possessive of the people they care about.” (p.192)
“ISFJs are puzzled or hurt when others bring this aspect of their behavior to their attention. They don’t experience themselves as strong or controlling. If anything, ISFJs see themselves as too “easy,” too influenced by others’ opinions, too eager to please, too scattered, unable to decide when to take a stand and when to give in.” (p.193)
“This self-experience derives, in part, from the ISFJ’s other-oriented basis for decision making. ISFJs are both firm and decisive when they’re in a one-to-one situation—such as caring for a patient or carrying out an employer’s wishes—because their behaviors are being guided by the other’s immediate needs.” (p.193)
“In a group situation, however, or in a position of general authority, ISFJs often feel unsure of their position until they know how others in the group will be affected. They resist making plans that appear to give their own needs precedence. For example, ISFJ administrators may find delegation difficult—as though it were an admission that they need help—and they can end up doing all the work themselves.” (p.193)
“The ISFJ’s preference for basing decisions on others’ needs or wants is magnified by the length of time it takes this type to process sensory information. ISJs in general have a difficult time with Extraverted Intuition—“taking in the big picture.” They want a concrete grasp of all the details before they’re satisfied they understand what’s at stake in a situation. If they’re listening to a story, for example, and a minor point doesn’t make sense to them, they may spend all their time trying to get that fact straight before they can react to the story’s other implications.” (p.193)
“Consequently, most ISJs experience a certain degree of pressure from other types to make decisions before they’re prepared to do so. Although this poses a problem for ISTJs, their grounds for appraising external demands are impersonal and logical, and they may insist on taking the time they need. ISFJs, however, take others’ reactions and expectations to heart, and they may end up offering approximate information rather than taking the time to think out what they know.” (p. 193)
“The constant experience of people pushing them to make up their minds and then correcting their facts can encourage the type to develop an inaccurate self-image as inadequate or not smart enough, and they may defer to an external authority or go along with others rather than process facts and information to their own satisfaction. They’re constantly wrangling with themselves over their need to be true to themselves and their desire to maintain interpersonal harmony, and they sometimes wonder if they’re simply rationalizing thir inability to stand up for their rights or beliefs.” (p.194)
“Like ISTJs, ISFJs have an idiosyncratic view of reality, but they don’t recognize how individual their perspective really is. Their comments and observations often precipitate reactions from others that surprise them. ISTJs, in the inimitable way of most TJs, are hurt by rejection, but generally conclude that the problem is with other people’s intelligence. ISFJs are more likely to be wounded by an unsympathetic response, and they’re inclined to conclude that their opinions aren’t good enough or worth voicing.” (p.194)
“In fact, many ISFJs develop a self-deprecating sense of humor—intended, presumably, to beat others to the punch. Where ISTJs will comment on the little absurdities of life, as much for their own amusement as for that of others, ISFJs will call attention to their own foibles—as it where, telling on themselves.” (p. 194)
“For example, an ISFJ nursing administrator, talking about an upcoming trip, claims that she has to pack three suitcases, even for a weekend, because she’s never sure exactly what the weather is going to be and wants to be prepared for every possible contingency. This is a good illustration of the ISJ’s constant need to control discontinuity perceived between inner expectation and outer reality, but it also illustrates the way ISFJs will turn the humor of the situation back on themselves.” (p. 194)
“ISFJs can become overly dependent on others’ ideas about what’s appropriate in a situation, especially if these ideas coincide with their own ideas about integrity and commitment. For example, they may find it difficult to approve of those who don’t behave or dress appropriately for their social position. Extreme types can place a great deal of weight on social signs and signals of all sorts. Like ISTJs, they may believe that men and women should comport themselves quite differently from each other.”
“In the best of all possible worlds, ISFJs prefer to have a clear and concrete understanding of what is expected of them. Once they have all the details in order, they will follow through on their obligations conscientiously and exactingly. It should be said, however, that most ISFJs overestimate the expectations that anyone actually has of them. They seem to believe that worth accrues to any pursuit only by “going the extra mile.” (p.195)
“Like all ISJs, ISFJs may stay too long in a situation, out of loyalty or commitment, even when their potential is being limited or squandered. This kind of dedication can be a genuine virtue, but it can also indicate that Extraverted Feeling isnt doing its proper job in the ISFJ configuration. ISFJs tend to use this function only to link the objective needs of others to their self-experience as helpers. They need to learn to train it on themselves and to assess their own needs and goals in outer reality.” (p.195)
“When ISFJs become too dependent on Introverted Sensation, they have no way to assess the worth of their investment in a situation. Instead of using Extraverted Feeling to balance their viewpoint, they may turn to their tertiary function, Introverted Thinking, for support in their accustomed behaviors.” (p.195)
“Introverted Thinking can, under such circumstances, convince the ISFJ that his or her actions are part of a much larger scheme whose integrity must be maintained self-sacrificially—the future of the children, the survival of the much-admired employer, the Christian way of life. ISFJs are often praised for their loyalty to lost causes, but they can actually use this proclivity to avoid real intimacy.” (p.195)
“For example, such types can become accustomed to relationships in which all emotional risks are taken by the other, and the ISFJ’s own weaknesses and problems remain private. Indeed, some ISFJs unwittingly undermine the efforts of others to become independent for fear of losing the relationship, and they can make serious romantic mistakes—choosing partners who are likely to keep them in a service-oriented role. They may have a difficult time with stories or movies that don’t end happily and in favor of emotional commitment.” (p.195)
“Like ISTJs, ISFJs enjoy an exchange of acquired facts, and they will warm to their subject in the presence of a receptive listener. And like ISTJs, ISFJs are often interested in outdoor activites—hiking, camping, swimming, hunting, fishing, and so forther. As with all activities that matter to them, ISFJs acquire the facts, equipment, and expertise their pursuit requires and take seriously the rules and behaviors that govern its performance.” (p.195)
“ISTJs are so task-oriented, and so conscientious in their handling of details and standard procedures, that they are often stereotyped as “establishment” types, weighed down by the gravity of institutional priorities. Although ISTJs are indeed careful, and concerned to preserve what has been proved to be worthwhile, these characteristics are only a part of the type’s approach to the world—the part that most people see. ISTJs are fundamentally Introverted Sensates, with a highly subjective, original turn of mind.” (p.186)
“As Introverted Sensates, ISTJs are unparalleled realists. However, they don’t concern themselves with external reality as such. They relate to facts about external reality, and largely by way of the mental constructs determined by Extraverted Thinking: words, numbers, schemes, diagrams, hierarchies, methods, and codes of conduct.” (p.186)
“Moreover, outward predictability is important to the only in so far as events and experiences involve their primary interests and emotional investments. For example, an ISTJ may be exacting about taking lunch at the same time every day, but oblivious to the clutter of books and papers on the desk or living room floor.” (p.187)
“The very selectivity of the type’s sensations give ISTJs an extraordinary capacity for detail in the areas that strike them as important. Where date and figures are concerned, ISTJs are painstakingly thorough. Such types make persistent, informed, tough-minded finance officers, prosecutors, engineers, administrators, researchers, accountants, psychiatrists, professors, trustees, and the like.” (p.187)
“Their powers of concentration are unequaled—and nothing escapes their attention, whether they’re preparing a contract, assembling materials for a seminar, calculating a mortgage, repairing an electrical system, researching a legal precedent, or making sense of medical statistics. They prefer to work in an uninterrupted manner, and they are patient with routine undertakings that other types might describe as tedious.” (p.187)
“Their capability and reliability in this respect often results in their attaining a position of administrative power. ISTJs oversee and supervise departments in far more organizations and institutions than their 6 percent representation in the population might suggest. They take their authority seriously, are always ready to solve a problem, and are scrupulous about their responsibilities. However, they may be perceived as emotionally distant and demanding.” (p.187)
“They don’t always understand what people want of them, and they may be uncomfortable and awkward about conveying warmth apart from a situation of personal intimacy. Although they enjoy socializing, especially the kinds of rituals and holidays that bring family and friends together, like Introverts, they need a fair amount of tie to themselves.” (p.187)
“Privately, ISTJs are usually observing the world with a kind of detached irony. Their inner expectations are frequently contradicted by outer reality, and the incongruity would be exasperating if they took it too seriously. Made aloud, their observations are both pointed and funny, but they are also unexpected and sometimes have an “out in left field” quality. Most ISTJs don’t share their private considerations with others unless they feel at home and among friends. Experience usually teaches them that their reactions to a situation are not necessarily the ones that others are having.” (p.187)
“Indeed, ISTJs are not very well understood. Because they tend to be low-key sorts, responsible, and reluctant to make a change in an outward situation until they’ve considered all its ramifications, they can strike others as overly cautious and unyielding workaholics, without much color. ISTJs themselves are inclined to take their own skills for granted, as though they were doing no more than following through on their commitments. Oh, well, they say, a diamond is just a piece of coal that stuck to its job.” (p.188)
“It should be recognized, accordingly, that ISTJs are not just conservators and loyalists. They are masters of gradual, almost imperceptible modification. They tinker here, shore up there, solve problems and rectify ambiguities, all the while preserving the best of what exists, scarcely recognizing that in the process, they’ve adapted form quite brilliantly to function. They can accommodate the requirements of a job so perfectly to their own strengths that the systems they create are unique and difficult to pass on to their own successors.” (p.188)
“It should be noted that ISTJs are most decisive when they’re organizing things for other people. Such types can find it difficult to limit and organize the data of their own mental world without an external reference point to guide them. For example, they may over estimate others interest in a project. Given no specified limits, they can easily lose track of time. For this reason, such types may experience themselves as undirected or indecisive.” (p.188)
“This self-experience derives, in part, from the immediacy of the type’s dominant function. Introverted Sensation motivates ISTJs to acquire facts and to retain them, but it offers no way to discriminate among them rationally. These types may need to deliberately quell their desire for more information in order to develop stronger Extraverted Thinking skills.” (p.188)
“Without sufficient contribution form their secondary function, ISTJs feel that they never have enough information to make a good decision. They may be particularly cautious about decision that will require a sustained emotional investment over time. Thus, they may settle for situations that strike them as practical or appropriate rather than exciting or desirable, or they’ll defer to someone whose knowledge or investment in a project is greater than their own.” (p.189)
“Beneath their apparent detachment, ISTJs can be badly hurt by criticism or rejection. They have a strong need to feel useful, appreciated, and valued. They may feel quite insulted when someone appears to question their word, their expertise, their experience, or their honor. Their vulnerability in this regard can be surprising, and it’s usually in evidence only when the situation is already out of hand. An ISTJ whose pride has been hurt will become distant rather than argue, and it may not be at all clear what the type experienced as the final straw.” (p.189)
“ISTJs take no pleasure in losing control and they don’t like to be caught off guard by what they feel. They want to be able to master a situation by way of knowledge and practical expertise. Indeed, most ISTJs are inclined to guard their emotions—save, perhaps, for righteous anger—believing that feelings are private and can be overwhelming to the senses. Accordingly, they will sometimes engage in overly correct behavior, drawing from traditional forms of etiquette to keep a potentially volatile situation stable.” (p.189)
“Male ISTJs, who constitute about three-quarters of this type, often relate to women, for example, with a kind of gallantry that can strike one as a little patronizing. The type’s propriety in this regard can sometimes result in an impression of quaint virtue, but it can also suggest something coarse and instinctive just beneath the surface, held relentlessly at bay.” (p.189)
“Indeed, ISTJ males are likely to be quite different in the company of men than they are with women, and they enjoy the opportunity to be “themselves” in an all-male situation. Other types can be surprised by this aspect of the ISTJ, because they’ve mistaken the type’s interest in concrete facts for cool cerebralism rather than the Sensate investment it is. ISTJs, both male and female, nearly always maintain an interest in outdoor activities pursued alone or with others—handball, hiking, hunting, fishing, weaponry, camping, scouting, and so forth.” (p.189)
“It should be noted that, demeanor notwithstanding, an ISTJ’s impressions of a conversational exchange can be unexpectedly and intensely personal. A discussion that takes place around a subject of mutual interest may strike the type as a form of intimate revelation—to the extent that he or she will feel self-conscious afterward, as though the relationship had become prematurely close.” (p.190)
“When this kind of exchange occurs between two ISTJs, they tend to alternate between enthusiams and caution, cataloging mutual knowledge and experience, but also recognizing that acquired facts may be related to deeply private needs and feelings. Indeed, such conversations should not be mistaken for a dry game of one upmanship. The way a person talks about a common interest will tell most Introverted Sensates exactly who that individual is and whether a friendship should be pursued further.” (p.190)
“Of course, this entire style of conversation is typically Introverted. ISTJs do need to develop their Extraversion as well, in order to recognize and adjust to limits and interests that don’t have anything to do with their inner selves. Some ISTJs develop their Judgment just far enough to discriminate among their many perceptual impressions, without learning how to relate them to the needs and expectations of others.” (p.190)
“Such types can be exasperatingly inflexible, because they turn to Introverted Feeling, their tertiary function, when they’re trying to stand firm. They become quite sure that their ideas about what is important and unconditional, and they use external rules to confirm and authorize their impressions. In control, an extreme ISTJ can come across as a martinet. As a subordinate, the type may be restricted and fearful of acting without permission.” (p.190)
“ISTJs locate their own authority when they recognize that their way of seeing the world is unique to themselves and requires constant relationship to others’ logical expectations. When these types accept their genuine individuality, they work hard to adapt their strengths and ideas to social reality as it exists, and they can sometimes move mountains.” (p.190)
“Such ISTJs have no need to prove themselves, and they don’t insist that others live life the way they do. They don’t have to. People see them as models of responsible, caring, civilized behavior, and seek them out as advisors, teachers, and leaders.” (p.190)
“INFPs are the type of whom people say, ‘Still waters run deep.’ Oriented by Introverted Feeling and extraverted Intuition, they’re both highly idealistic and quietly tolerant of others’ ideas” (396).
“Although Feeling always determines a form of idealism, the values determine by Introverted Feeling are different from the Extraverted sort. Extraverted Feeling presides over social values – current ideas about how relationships in the communities are best conducted. Introverted Feeling determines subjective values – convictions about how life is best lived” (397).
“Such values are trained by direct experience of good and bad behaviors, and they claim us from within. But relationship gradually teaches us that some of them transcend our individual circumstances, linking us irrevocably with other human beings” (397).
“Found in only 1 percent of the population, the INFP’s understanding of reality is quite nearly like the one described by mystics, who believe spiritual energy descends to earth by way of eternal ideals – structural patterns that bring order out of material chaos. By aligning their behaviors with these ideals, mystics can, presumably, bring life into harmony with its divine potential” (397).
“INFPs may not describe their approach in metaphysical terms, but it’s a rare INFP who doesn’t see in nature’s underlying pattern intimations of a larger purpose. Whether they write, teach, nurture, conduct research, make art, or devote their lives to spiritual service, their work becomes the agency through which they can grasp those ‘distant deeps and skies’ in which ‘fearful symmetries’ are framed” (397).
“INFPs yearn to experience oneness with their circumstances, but Intuition prevents them from satisfying this longing as ISFPs do, by losing themselves in a physical activity. Intuition doesn’t push INFPs to act. It pushes to interpret: to see the potential of their thoughts and behaviors in terms of their ideals” (397).
“Because their ideals are wholistic, INFPs feel responsible not only for their actions but for their desire to take action, and they have a nearly karmic idea of balance. If they betray their ideals in either deed or feeling, they try to make restitution. When good things happen, they may worry about paying a price” (397).
“It’s instructive to compare these types to ENFPs, who share the same two functions but understand life very differently. ENFPs rely on Intuition to gauge the nature of an external context and Feeling to recognize the values of the people in it. The best illustration of how this works is President Clinton’s unrivaled ability to identify with an audience and sympathize with their aspirations. ENFPs generally believe that people will recognize their good intentions, even if their behavior falls short of them” (397).
“INFPs approach reality from the other way around. Introverted Feeling prompts them to hold unconditional human values, and they use Intuition to figure out what that means in terms of their existential context. Asked whether he had ever had an extramarital affair, President Carter said no but allowed that he had experienced ‘lust in his heart.’ This is quintessential INFP perspective. Such types feel responsible for their hidden intentions, even if their behaviors exceed people’s expectations” (398).
“Given their focus on what it is to be human, INFPs are not always easy to recognize as types. Their outward behaviors vary widely. Some are reserved and prefer one-to-one conversations, but a surprising number of INFPs enjoy performing and may be singers, actors and comedians. In all cases, however, INFPs need a fair amount of time to themselves” (398).
“Although they identify strongly with expressions of joy, sorrow, pain, and vulnerability in others and respond compassionately to people who need them, they’re accessible only up to a point. Once that point is reached, they’ve genuinely depleted their social capital and need to recoup” (398).
“It’s easy to misunderstand INFPs in this regard, because they relate to others in the same low-key, easygoing way that characterizes ISFPs. They’re often wry, and if they’re comfortable, they’ll contribute a running pattern of perceptive remarks and observations. Thus, it surprises people when the INFP abruptly winds down and wants to be alone” (398).
“Moreover, these types are sympathetic listeners, genuinely interested in what others do and believe, which encourages people to anticipate a more extensive relationship than the INFP may have bargained for. Until they recognize what’s happening, INFPs may be constantly obliged to extricate themselves from situations they got into simply by virtue of warmth and goodwill” (398).
“Along the same lines, these types have high romantic ideals, and express this aspect of their personality somewhat tentatively. This can lead people to believe they’re shy or not interested in physical intimacy. In actuality, INFPs long for communication of mind, body, and spirit, and they envision a partner who can appreciate the nature of their inner world and give them access to it in sexual terms” (398).
“However, like all P types, they don’t want to set goals for their relationships; they want good things to happen naturally, to grow out of the situation as it exists. Moreover, their finely tuned Intuitive skills lead them to believe that the right person would see through all the surface nonsense to the inchoate potential within, read it in their body language, their musical tastes, the images that move them, the underlying meaning of their words” (399).
“This ideal picture is also a consequence of their wholistic point of view. INFPs have a hard time articulating who they are inside, and they keep hoping the objective situation will give them enough reference points to express themselves in a way that feels true and right. Indeed, INFPs can have a hard time figuring out what they’re called to do in life” (399).
“Unlike Extraverts, whose primary self-image is tied up with their outward behaviors, INFPs may get at their self-experience only when it conflicts with their external choices. Even those INFPs who have plugged themselves into a career that allows them to do something meaningful and good may not feel sure they’re doing enough. They’re nagged by an impression that something else is supposed to happen, something that will tell them what they’re really meant to do” (399).
“Al Capp used to draw a syndicated cartoon called Long Sam, in which a grizzled, pipe-smoking mountain woman dispensed hard-won wisdom about life. When it came to human values, however, all she could say was, ‘Being nice is better – because it’s nicer.’ INFPs can find themselves in the position of saying something very much like that when they try to articulate what they believe and why. Their values have no predictable reference points in law and social convention. They cut through all that to the heart of the matter” (399).
“In order to actualize their certainties and ideals, INFPs generally find a place for themselves in the prevailing social system that allows them to focus on human potential. But given the fact that their values are more fundamental than institutional priorities, they’re constantly frustrated with the time and energy they spend on structural maintenance – society’s ‘edifice complex’” (399).
“So they’re in a quandary. Because, apart from jobs of this sort, they don’t have a clear idea of what it would mean to act on their values. The right-brain character of their Feeling goals suggest a life spent in pilgrimage, free from objective attachments – even a sense of home” (399).
“And some INFPs do, in fact, give their lives to missionary work or the priesthood or a spiritual community. But most INFPs, by the time they’re wrestling with this question, have established a home and family and/or a place for themselves in the community, and they’re not inclined to hurt the people they love for the sake of an ideal they can’t quite define” (400).
“So frustration gradually pushes INFPs into using their Intuition defensively, to protect what feels like their “true” self against the imperfect outer situation they’re living in. They feel guilty about this, too, because they think they ought to be satisfied with what is, after all, a perfectly decent life course” (400).
“INFPs who are relying on their Intuition this way usually take one of two directions. Either they become permanent seekers – good at many things but disinclined to stick with any for long – or they become somewhat passive, unable to articulate what they want but dissatisfied with what they they’re doing” (400).
“These latter types generally feel that they don’t have enough initiative, but they don’t get much accomplished apart from others’ routines and structural expectations. Left to their own devices, they tend to procrastinate or do unnecessary tasks to avoid more important ones” (400).
“When INFPs spend most of their energy protecting their inner realm from attachment to an imperfect outer situation, their least-developed functions, Extraverted Thinking, doesn’t get very conscious. Such types are often excellent at managing time and resources for others but have a harder time structuring and organizing their own lives. In fact, they may become romantically involved with a strong J type, who can anchor them to the objective world, but can’t provide what they actually crave: something to pull them to the surface of their own personality” (400).
“INFPs need to use their Intuition in a genuinely Extraverted way. They’re accustomed to using Intuition to figure out how to deal with an existing context; they need to apply it, instead, to the task of defining what an objectively good situation would be like” (400).
“This is by no means easy for INFPs to do. When they stop using Intuition to defend themselves, their first instinct is to assert the importance of their Feeling goals. They challenge people, question the aspects of the situation that strike them as problematic. This “feels” like Extraverted behavior, but it isn’t. Extraversion moves us to take the objective world for granted. It’s Introversion that strives to adapt the objective situation to itself” (400).
“Meanwhile, the Extraversion these types actually require goes underground. Extraverted Thinking becomes so profoundly unconscious that it floods them with impulses directly opposed to their Feeling aims” (401).
“Like all types, INFPs don’t recognize this internal pressure as an opportunity to grow. They feel the influence of their Thinking function, but they mistake it for an outward problem. They feel increasingly thwarted and boxed in, false to their real selves, and they’re sure the reason is their accommodating spirit. Thus, they go back to using Extraverted Intuition as a defense, but more aggressively, because the stakes are higher. They decide to fight some of the things that are hemming them in” (401).
“INFPs don’t like conflict, so their rebellion is often subtle and passive-aggressive in form. They drag their feet when someone pushes them to do something they don’t want to do, sometimes until the person gives up, or they “yes” people, then do as they like. None of this helps INFPs to find their own truth; it actually takes them away from the quest, concentrating their attention on all the wrong things” (401).
“One might consider, in this respect, the characters in the movie The Big Chill – friends from the sixties who come together, twenty years later, for the funeral of their compatriot, Harold. Harold had been a role model for them, a free spirit guided entirely by Introverted Feeling ideals. His suicide makes them realize how far afield subsequent choices have taken them from the values he inspired” (401).
“Thus, they each attempt to prove that they’re not locked into the social roles that appear to define them: the unmarried lawyer decides to get pregnant; the upscale franchise king gives his friends illegal stock information; the society matron has an extramarital affair” (401).
“INFPs under the influence of Extraverted Thinking are not unlike these characters. They’re self-conscious rather than idealistic. Their actions aren’t being guided by an inner code, leading them to positive action, but by a need to defend themselves against others’ priorities” (401).
“In fact, such types usually find that ignoring others’ expectations doesn’t give them enough protection, and they turn to Introverted Sensation, their tertiary function, to keep their Feeling values intact. They literally avoid situations that don’t accord with their primary self-experience, forfeiting relationships rather than experience inner conflict” (401).
“Ironically, the more unconscious Extraverted Thinking becomes, the more INFPs call attention to themselves in their attempt to keep their environment congenial to their values. Their objective preferences become idiosyncratic, forcing others into unusual accommodations in order to relate to them. Given the fact that they’ve projected their STJ impulses on to the impersonal structure of society, they feel morally vindicated. What can they do to change a whole system? What’s important is to be true to themselves; others have to take responsibility for their own choices” (402).
“It should be emphasized that INFPs aren’t wrong about this. They do need to be “true to themselves.” However, Introverted Sensation doesn’t help them do this. It keeps them locked into things as they are. It turns their ideals into an external value system that defines some situations as congenial to their needs and others not, leaving them no choice but to stay out of the ones that aren’t” (402).
“When INFPs develop sufficient Intuition, they stop focusing on things as they are and begin to see new possibilities for action. One might consider, again, the characters in The Big Chill. Among the mourners at the funeral is a young woman who was living with Harold when he committed suicide. She strikes the old friends as shallow, a silly adolescent, unable to appreciate who Harold really was” (402).
“When INFPs first make contact with the Extraverted character of their Intuition, they see it in the same terms – as a shallow approach to life, without meaning. It invites them to give up their expectations, live in perceptual harmony with anything that happens. This strikes them as irresponsible. As the song says, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” (402).
“The more they wrestle with this perspective, however, the more they see that their values have nothing to do with their comfort or discomfort in any situation. They constitute a way of seeing life, a way of relating to any situation. When INFPs use their Intuition to figure out how to make this relationship manifest, they see that they have many options to take positive action” (403).
“It may be noted that at the end of The Big Chill, one of the friends, the one who had been resisting a social definition, decides to help the young girl finish a house Harold has been building in the wilderness. This is the sort of thing that happens to INFPs who wake up to the wholistic nature of their inner life. They realize that being responsible to their values isn’t about fighting what exists; it’s about building, recognizing that they can do things, want to do things that might not even occur to others” (403).
“INFPs who reach this point don’t ignore the problems of society or betray commitments they’ve already made. They simply play from their strengths. For example, an INFP social worker of my acquaintance, after much reflection, left his position to design a unique company of his own, which helps corporations restructure their organizations in terms of human values. He no longer feels quite at home in the world, but he’s at peace with himself, working on things that truly drive him” (403).
“Sometimes INFPs simply need to make room in their lives to give their strengths a chance to grow. For example, they may take up creative pursuits – writing, composition, design art: something that allows them to give their ideals material form. Sometimes they volunteer their services to take care of homeless animals” (403).
“In general, however, well-developed INFPs live lives that don’t look much different from anyone else’s. What’s different is their perspective. They strike others as unassuming, even deferential, because they treat people with unconditional love and compassion. In consequence, their actions, their choices, their way of life can awaken others to human values the community has not acknowledged” (403).
“For example, a small Midwestern church has hired a pastor from the New York area, and there were many discussions on the church board about the difficult transition for the congregation. An INFP board member saw the situation from the other way around, empathizing with the minister and his family, uprooted from their home and friends in the East to make a new life for them” (403).
“When the family arrived, a day ahead of the moving truck, picturing themselves eating pizza on a bare floor, they walked into the parsonage and found a table set with flowers and good china, a refrigerator full of dinners and staples, and soap and towels in the bathrooms. Such actions see through external distinctions of role, background, and status to focus on our common human links” (404).
“INFPs sometimes underestimate their strengths because there are so many problems in the world that can’t be solved by changing people’s hearts. But they shouldn’t. The effects of their decisions are often incalculable, renewing people’s faith in human nature.” (404).
“Literature that advises us to found our inner child probably has in mind the fresh, uncomplicated vision that ISFPs bring to their world. Oriented by Introverted Feeling and Extraverted Sensation these types are very much in the here and now. Naturally spontaneous, they live as though each experience were newly discovered and their primary purpose were to be in harmony with it” (391).
“Such types understand outward reality by way of sensory skills so finely tuned that they’re likely to have a strong identification with nature. One might picture all those deceptively easygoing film heroes who make their statement by breaking into the psych lab and uncaging the chimps or by driving the horses out of the corral and watching them thunder back into the wild. Almost all ISFPs have a special gift for communicating with children and animals and they may have a green thumb as well” (392).
“The unconditional nature of this respect may be illustrated by an ISFP of my acquaintance who ‘adopted’ a computer-generated puppy. When a friend asked her to squirt the creature with virtual water from a spray bottle that came with the program, she was horrified. ‘How can I do that?’ she asked. ‘It’s playing so happily!’ (392).
“Whenever this sensitivity comes into play in the social arena, ISFPs have a sense of mission. They may, for example opt for a pacifist, vegetarian, or anticruelty lifestyle, or volunteer their services to movements like Greenpeace and Amnesty International” (392).
“Like other types who use Sensation to deal with the outer world, ISFPs learn by experience, and they need hands-on contact in order to know something well. Unlike Extraverted Sensates, however, they don’t require perceptual novelty to stay interested in something. While their Judgment is engaged, ISFPs are focused, contained, and nearly inexhaustible. Whether they’re athletes, artists, paramedics, or nurses, whether they make music or take care of stray animals, these types are likely to regard their work as a vocation rather than a profession” (392).
“Indeed, their engagement has nothing in common with the goal-oriented Judgment of ESJs. ISFPs don’t think in terms of objective limits and requirements. They think in terms of values—what’s right in the situation at hand. They lose sight of themselves as objects, rushing in where angels feat o tread” (392).
“I knew an ISFP who worked in community program locating resources for people who ordinarily lived in boxes and tunnels and under bridges. After work, he’d go out on his own trying to find program dropouts in an effort to persuade them to return. He’d often end up in dangerous situations, but it never made him more cautious. The vulnerability of those people struck him as more important than his emotional and physical security” (393).
“ISFPs are often like this in an activity that truly captures them. They’re not attempting to ‘go the extra mile.’ It’s who they are. In fact, their lack of objective boundaries usually keeps them from freelancing their skills the way their ISTP kindred do” (393).
“ISFP artist, for example, tend to seek ongoing support for their activities—in the way of grants, contribution, seed money, opportunities for performance, and so forth. These types don’t want to think too much about the objective conditions of their employment. They want space that allows them to do what they feel called to do” (393).
“It may be noted, in this respect, that as Fox Mulder, of The X-Files, has gradually metamorphosed (with the show’s success) from a rumpled INTJ obsessive into a peripatetic ISP folk hero, he spends nearly all his time outdoors, investing himself in cases as they come to hand, happy to avoid the confines of the institution that provides his objective means. Moreover, his partner, the hyperrational Scully, now serves him less as an analytical counterpart than as a frustrated protector, advising him of his bureaucratic options” (393).
“ISFPs tend to attract Extraverted Thinkers of this sort, whose anchorage in the world of established systems keeps the type aware of objective responsibilities. ISFPs don’t seek this kind of relationship so much as let it happen to them, granting another’s investment in material stability and welcoming the structural touchstones, without according them much larger importance” (393).
“Although ISFPs are warm, generous, and develop deep connections to people, they have a certain resistance to attachment for its own sake. One might consider Zoe, the twenty-something daughter on the comedy Cybill. Zoe is portrayed as an ISFP musical prodigy, romantically drawn to a young man much like herself. Recognizing the worth of the relationship, the two have agreed to keep the connection platonic, lest the social repercussions of sexual involvement rob them of immediacy and the natural rhythms of life as it happens” (393).
“All ISFPs aren’t like this, of course, but the image catches the flavor of the type’s caution with respect to ownership and material possession. Where ISTPs regard a tool, brush, or instrument as an extension of their body, ISFPs are like those rock musicians who break their instruments at the end of a performance. They want to see through the objects that serve their talents and ambitions, lose themselves in the creative act itself” (394).
“ISFPs will even take up disciplines designed to free them from material dependence, but this is a bit like taking coals to Newcastle. They’re more likely to abdicate responsibility for their objective situations than they are to be trapped by what they own” (394).
“In fact, ISFPs are more likely to feel bogged down by possessions and material constraint when they’re too dependent on their dominant function. Their inferior function, Extraverted Thinking, is too far away from their conscious aims and goals. Whenever they encounter a situation that can’t be addressed with their dominant skills, Extraverted Thinking exerts a strong unconscious influence on them, and they lose touch with their accustomed sense of values” (394).
“This is the normal course for affairs when a primary function is too strong. The psyche pulls us away from our usual behaviors, giving us time to develop more of our potential. Like other types, however, ISFPs don’t recognize their Thinking impulses as part of themselves. They simply feel that they’re losing contact with their deepest self, and the only way the know how to solve the problem is to reject the claims of anything that doesn’t support that contact” (394).
“For example, ISFPs who join a spiritual organization to nurture a contemplative life can be shocked to discover that structural containment has no organic relationship to their aspirations. Their values are being standardized and directed rather than nourished. Once these types define the problem this way, however, they don’t know what to do. The right-brain character of their Feeling goals suggests a life lived in surrender to their craft or commitment, but they aren’t sure how to make that happen on their own” (394).
“So frustration gradually pushes ISFPs into using their secondary function defensively, to assert their existential freedom. Their devotion to a vocation becomes paralleled by an equally strong need to prove their objective self isn’t important. This need doesn’t necessarily result in a crash-and-burn lifestyle, although it can. Such types may simply do whatever it takes to stay aware of the creative force within—without much thought for the logical consequences. The image these ISFPs construct has quite a bit of resonance in the Sensate pop ethos, and such types can acquire what may be called a tragic sense of cool” (395).
“It’s ironic, therefore, that what they actually need is more contact with their Extraverted Sensate side—not to defend themselves against their inferior aims, but to balance their primary needs against their real circumstances. When ISFPs don’t get enough Sensate development, they end up using Introverted Intuition, their tertiary function, to kept their dominant self-image intact” (395).
“Under most circumstances, Introverted Intuition keeps ISFPs well-rounded. It helps them to recognize that their way of seeing reality is important and real—even when they can’t find a way to express it. Used as a defense against Thinking impulses, however, Introverted Intuition simply increases the ISFP’s resistance to others’ influence on them” (395).
“In one of the X-files episodes, for example, Scully asks Mulder, ‘Have you ever thought about dying?’ ‘Yeah,’ he says, ‘once when I was at the Ice Capades.’ ISFPs who are trying to resist others’ claims on them are almost always defensive in this flip way, believing that others will merely appropriate their deepest feeling for their own purposes” (395).
“Such types can end up feeling like Kevin McCarthy in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, faced with two bad choices: they can go to sleep, let the pods take over, and wake up happy to be programmed, or they can fight to stay awake and spend the rest of their lives resisting cooptation” (395).
“When ISFPs develop sufficient Extraverted Sensation, it takes them outside the terms of this either-or dilemma. They begin to see that their inner potential dictates outward responsibilities. An image given to me by Dr. Ann Ulanov, a Jungian analyst, addresses this situation in an interesting way” (395).
“She said that if you live in close contact with your inner world, it’s a lot like living by the sea. You can get flooded unless you can build a structure that suits your needs. Your first instinct, however, is to build the kind of house the towns people live in, because that’s the kind of shelter others will help you construct. This is precisely the kind of house that will be ruined when the tide rises. For a while you think, ‘I should have built a better townhouse.’ But gradually you reject others’ advice and you live without structure’ (396).
“Why not build the kind of house that will serve your actual needs? Build the kind of house the fishermen build, one the water can go through without knocking it down. And when visitors show up, warn them not to wear their good shoes, because their feet may get damp during dinner” (396).
“This is really the primary task for ISFPs: to recognize their need, as it were, to live by the sea of their inner world. Their secondary function helps them to construct a life for themselves that honors their genuine gifts and calling. It doesn’t impel them to reject everything they already have and know. It moves them to recognize their purpose for being alive and to find their own path” (396).
“Well-developed ISFPs live, as it were, between the sea and the town, doing what they need to do. In consequences, their creations, their choices, their way of being can remind people of important things the community has forgotten” (396).
Like ISTPs, INTPs depend on Introverted Thinking, a form of reasoning that operates on the basis of immediate perceptual information. They, too, are able to grasp, all at once, the structural logic of a system or process. ISTPs, however, relate to the outer world with Extraverted Sensation, so the perceptual nature of their reasoning is apparent. They obviously need visual and tactile contact with a process in order to understand it. INTPs relate to the outer world with Extraverted Intuition, so their need for direct experience is not as clear.
Such types are interested in the logical possibilities of structure: the way form and context interact and exert change on each other. Thus, they’re more at home than ISTPs with theoretical reasoning. INTPs do, however, require visual and tactile contact with a system in order to reason properly. Their primary method of exploring structural possibility is almost always a form of design or model making. Such types compose music, render blueprints, perform lab tests, work up magazine layouts, draft construction schemes, and so forth.
Because their focus of attention is on possibility, INTPs are likely to be more interested in the idea that animates a system and its impact on reality than they are with the system’s objective utility. In fact, there’s an old joke, intended to implicate economic theorists, that offers a bit of insight into the type’s approach.
A chemist, a physicist, and an economist are stranded together on a desert island with only a crate of canned tuna to keep them alive. The problem is how to get the cans open. The chemist suggests putting them in the ocean for a while, until the salt compromises the tin. The physicist says, “No, let’s point the cans in the sun until they explode.” They both turn to the economist, who says thoughtfully, “Let’s assume we have a can opener.”
Galvanized by Intuition, INTPs will strive for theoretical systems that include all possible variables, but such theories can fall short of application in the real world. Accordingly, these types can be frustrated by the need to defend their ideas in terms of Extraverted logic, which begins and ends with material application. Even when they develop high-level communication skills, INTPs aren’t really talking about the same things that concern left-brain Thinking types. Or they’re talking about them in a way that leaves too much room for speculation to suit an Extraverted analytical mind.
The biologist Rupert Sheldrake, for example, developed a revolutionary theory about recurring patterns in nature, which derived, he says, from an attempt on his part to picture God less as an embodiment of unchanging law than as an evolving organic process. This is the sort of metaphor an INTP might use to make clear that the underlying idea informing a project, but it has no means of evaluation in left-brain Thinking terms.
On the other hand, because INTPs see logical implications in terms of systemic change over time, they are often well ahead of the curve on issues of cultural evolution. They seem like ENTPs in this respect, but the two are actually mirror images.
Like all Extraverts, ENTPs take the outer world for granted. They use Extraverted Intuition to gauge a situation’s possibilities, then strategize with Introverted Thinking to bring them about. For example, the man who developed the Wal-Mart conglomerate might well have been an ENTP. He Intuited the venture’s commercial potential, then worked out the structural design for making it happen.
INTPs approach reality from the other way around. They use Introverted Thinking first, to get a sense of a situation’s structural pattern, then use Extraverted Intuition to recognize its impact on what actually exists. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright, for example, recognized how prefabrication could lead to superhighways, suburbs, and shopping malls long before Wal-Mart has even a gleam in an entrepreneur’s eye.
Clearly, most people recognize that color, space, light, and order have a great deal to do with their experience of a restaurant or a housing project or a government building, but most of us are not thinking about the internal logic of our technical creations. An INTP designer, however, might spend a lifetime exploring Western culture’s attachments to angled frames as opposed to ovals.
Because INTPs represent only 1 percent of the population, they’re not well understood, and their interests may be just rarefied enough to make them feel isolated. This sense of isolation is compounded by the Introverted nature of their thought process. All Intorverted P types run the risk of losing contact with objective reality apart from the areas of knowledge and experience that suit them.
Unlike the ISTPs, feelings are not usually visible in the type’s demeanor. In fact, these types may find it difficult to know what they’re feeling until they experience themselves as out of control. Their ability to sort out their emotions and recognize their meaning is not well developed.
For this reason, romantic attachment can pose a problem for INTPs. They usually develop enough Extraverted Sensation to engage in experiences that draw on their primary skills, but they don’t fully appreciate the objective image they display to others. And because Extraverted Feeling is their least-developed function, INTPs can be shy and awkward about affectional connections. At midlife, they may abruptly realize they haven’t given enough thought to issues of marriage, children, or domestic stability. They may not even be certain about what they require from a partner. Their sense of predictability involves matters of impersonal design; the personal realm strikes them as utterly without rational order.
Thus, such types tend to marry other INTP colleagues or find themselves blindsided by attraction to people who can make up their deficit in Extraverted Feeling. These latter attractions are not easy to sustain in the long run. INTPs require a great deal of time to be alone with their thoughts. They’re also likely to overlook, or disregard as unnecessary, the ritual signs of affection that Extraverted Feeling types depend on for a sense of well-being.
Most INTPs need more contact with the Extraverted nature of their secondary function. They’re accustomed to using their Intuition only to assess logical probability in a system. They have to make a deliberate effort to apply it to themselves – to see the effects they have on others in the larger picture, or to entertain possibilities outside their familiar framework of expectations.
Without the Extraverted ability, INTPs can get locked into their dominant function, and their least-conscious function, Extraverted Feeling, gets too far away from their will and aims. Such types are gradually flooded with unconscious desires for others’ approval and appreciation, which undermine their impersonal approach to life.
This internal drama is a healthy one. INTPs that are pushed away from their usual frame of mind can get some perspective on their accustomed behaviors. Like all types, however, they don’t experience unconscious pressure as a part of themselves. They experience as something that’s happening to them – a problem with their situation, caused by other people. They may believe, for example, that they aren’t getting the appreciation they deserve.
In response, INTPs sometimes seek reassurance – by turning to Extraverted Sensation and attempting to cultivate a better image. They’re more likely, however to reassert their familiar Thinking oriented sense of self, concluding that they’ve become too dependent on others’ views. They worry that their eneds are right on the surface, so they attempt to increase their self-sufficiency. As a result, they become more self-oriented, disinclined to accommodate others, or to do anything they dont want to do.
The more emotionally unavailable these types become, the more they experiences themselves as emotionally vulnerable, constantly open to heartache and rejection. They begin to isolate themselves from others, persuading themselves that most people are too pedestrian to grasp what they can see. This is the point at which INTPs tend to lose touch with their secondary function altogether and turn, instead, to their tertiary function, Introverted Sensation.
Well developed, Introverted Sensation helps us to recognize information that has consistent meaning for us, apart from prevailing social assumptions. Such information is crucial for ESJs. Extraverted Judgers are likely to ignore their own priorities for the sake of a job or a social role.
INTPs, however, whose Judgement is Introverted, don’t need more reasons to ignore social expectations for the sake of inner needs. Introverted Sensation makes such types highly critical of others’ expectations. Their Thinking becomes complicated speculative, less and less related to reality as it actually exists.
Introverted Sensation also focuses the type’s defenses on issues of material well-being. Such INTPs worry about the effects of others on their health, or about the harmful aspects of food or the environment, and they circle the wagons accordingly. Sometimes they strike others as hypochondriacs, but their physical states often mirror the emotional states they aren’t recognizing in themselves.
INTPs of this sort are attempting to limit their perceptual intake to the familiar, but the result is the increasing influence of Extraverted Feeling. As Extraverted Feeling gets less conscious and more powerful, it begins to actively oppose the INTP’s dominant approach. INTPs in this position are likely to draw attention to themselves. They’re hyperaware of people’s reactions to them, and they respond with vehemence. Extreme INTPs are frequently embroiled in disputes with people, and they spend a great deal of time and energy defending their thoughts in journals or on the op-ed pages of local newspapers.
INTPs who make a deliberate attempt to apply Extraverted Intuition to themselves feel an immediate sense of conflict. Like Extraverted Thinkers, these types confuse their ability to be impersonal with the ability to be objective, and Intuition is usually their first recognition that objectivity has nothing to do with removing oneself from the situation. It offers them an image of themselves as apart of the larger picture, with effects on others that can’t be entirely calculated and a dependence on others that is not entirely under their control. INTPs ultimately get in touch with their Feeling function this way – through their Intuitive objectivity.
The late Corita Kent, an American artist noted for her silk-screen prints, offers a nice illustration of this perspective in her description of her work:
A painting [is] a symbol for the universe. Inside it, each piece relates to the other. Each piece is…answerable to the rest of the little world. So, probably in the total universe, there is that kind of total harmony, but we get only little tastes of it….That’s why people listen to music or look at paintings. To get in touch with the wholeness.
INTPs who come to terms with relationship by way of Intuition recognize their responsibility to others in the way Kent describes. They feel answerable to the people who share their situation. Such types have a strong sense of purpose, but they don’t feel the need to calculate their behaviors in terms of logical probability alone. They recognize the existence of the unpredictable and the improbable: those aspects of life that require a leap of faith, or the ability to trust someone besides themselves.
ISTPs relate to the world by way of Ti, a form of logic that's tied to their direct perceptual experience. It works in the background of awareness, guiding their actions, facilitated by visual and tactile cues in an unfolding situation.
Because Ti works like this, as a means of negotiating immediate experience, ISTPs have to be active in order to use it. They need hands-on involvement so they can feel a situation's impact and gauge the effects of their behaviors on it.
Unless they experience this kind of contact, they're likely to be bored and restless. They can't get enough perceptual feedback to sustain their attention. Even their language may reflect their hands-on preference--in phrases such as, "I get it," "Can you handle that?" "Stop pushing me around," "That is really hot!" "Cool!" and so forth.
For this reason, ISTPs can be misunderstood as impulsive or hyperactive. They don't reason conceptually, like Te users. They reason with their bodies as a situation is happening. For J types, who see the world in terms of general rules and predictable structural relationships, ISTPs appear to be out of control, unable to delay gratification, insistent on doing whatever they want.
But Thinking is always discriminating and logical, whether it's Extraverted or Introverted. Te is objective. It operates by way of signs that represent what is generally true about experience. Ti is subjective. It operates by way of participation and a grasp of what's structurally possible in an immediate situation.
The difference is very clear when it comes to styles of learning. For example, the classic approach to learning to play the piano is a Te one. We start with the objective tasks of reading music and practicing the scales. ISTPs don't learn this way. Indeed, these types may have a difficult time understanding the point of conceptual systems. They usually learn to play by ear, because they need to recognize the underlying structure of music, the way it takes shape as an unfolding pattern.
This kind of perceptual learning ultimately trains the ability to improvise. Once ISTP musicians grasp the internal structure of a song, they're free to experiment with its possibilities, depending on their mood, their audience, and their immediate context. Such improvisation is far from doing "whatever they want." Their skill is to find a reasoned balance between structure and freedom.
ISTPs live for that kind of balance--in everything they do. It makes every situation one of a kind. Indeed, it was probably an ISTP who invented the phrase "You hadda be there." The point of life for ISTPs is to be fully present to it, so that their direction becomes clear in the process of living it.
One can see this perspective very clearly in the tendency of such types to freelance their services. These are not the sorts who opt for a fast track to a career and the American dream. They prefer to remain independent, to get paid for their time and skills, and not for their loyalty to a particular institution.
ISTPs may be photographers or painters, mechanics, welders, construction workers, visual effects mavens, chefs, surgeons, musicians, and so forth, but the jobs they do always involve hands-on involvement and the opportunity to improvise. ISTP arc welders are constantly anticipating the results of their actions and adjusting the intensity and angle of the current accordingly. ISTP film actors immerse themselves in a role, harmonizing themselves with their character's internal structural pattern, allowing it to take them into areas of psychological risk.
ISTPs tend to "freelance" their relationships as well. Part of the pleasure of being with friends is that structure is an immediate phenomenon. It doesn't exist before the situation unfolds, so the element of surprise is always a factor. When too many expectations dictate an ISTP's behavior, the type may be disruptive, attempting to get in touch with the real world of immediate data. In this regard, ISTPs resemble ESTPs.
This resemblance is only superficial, however. Average ESPs are somewhat indiscriminate. They depend on their past experience to understand reality, but they need novelty to stay interested, so they're excited by new situations that require familiar skills.
ISTPs are not like this. ISTPs are utterly present oriented, so they don't require novel perceptual experiences to stay interested. Once they're using familiar skills, every situation is new. Such types may leave school for lack of Extraverted discipline but spend hours every day perfecting the same Introverted Judging skills--in a sport, the martial arts, the playing of an instrument, technological construction or repair--and every day the experience is completely different for them.
Moreover, ISTPs are not indiscriminate. ESPs try to enjoy whatever is happening. If they don't want to be in a situation, they'll "play along" until they can find a way to escape. If they can't escape, they'll create a humorous diversion to keep things alive.
ISTPs are either "with" a situation or they're not. If they're not, they will make no effort to pretend they are. They won't exhibit initial interest, explain, or apologize for their inattention or lack of compliance. When these types are disruptive, they aren't being playful. They feel trapped, isolated from the information they need to feel alive and aware.
ISTPs may do something they don't want to do for someone they respect, but they will not fake goodwill in the process. The commitments these types make are based on shared experience, not shared thoughts or feelings, and they have no reason to trust people who haven't proved themselves in areas they consider important.
The image created by this kind of behavior has a certain resonance in the Se pop ethos, manifested by the many film heroes whose perceptual logic, sensory skills, and laconic unpredictability manage to extract civilization from the jaws of corporate hypocrisy and greed. In real life, however, ISTPs may narrow their world to the extent that they have no idea what's going on outside their own environment.
Many ISTPs find a niche where their reliance on direct experience is necessary and rewarded. For example, such types can be excellent tacticians and, given the interest, have the potential to lead and inspire others. They know what individuals are likely to contribute to a team, and they have a "feel" for the synergy of a group in action.
This skill is evident whether they're coaching a sport, rehearsing a band, or working out a military strategy. Because they work with a situation's logical implications and not in terms of principles or hierarchy, they have an egalitarian attitude and can usually manage others without making them feel like subordinates.
Such types have also benefited from the advent of computers and interactive video games, which has shifted some of the emphasis in a school curriculum to individual sensory skills. The visual effects crews on films always seem to be composed of these types, who enjoy exercising their skills in the creation of realistic explosions, disasters, outer space scenarios, monsters, and computer-generated stunts for movies.
It should be granted, however, that ISTPs are still the most likely of the types to drop out of school or to graduate without acquiring much in the way of Extraverted reasoning skills. Ironically, given the highly Se-like nature of society, these types actually need more contact with the Se world than they usually get.
As state earlier, ITPs are not generally interested in novelty. They're interested in hands-on activity, and the Se world provides a great deal of opportunity to satisfy this interest. ISTPs may race cars, pilot small planes, snowmobile, play sports, or join a band to get the kind of action they need, and they're often credited with being in tough with their feelings because these pursuits so completely and passionately absorb them.
In general, however, these types experience their feelings only in the course of using their subjective logic. Their ability to sort them out and recognize their meaning is not usually well developed. Somewhat like ISTJs, ISTPs tend to acquire things that will give form to their inner lives. They establish collections and tend to display them in a somewhat ritualized way. The structural and aesthetic integrity of the arrangement may be highly important to them.
For example, many rock performers acquire extensive collections of guitars, which no one is permitted to touch. The many stores that have arisen devoted to comic book and trading card collectors may appeal to ISPs in general.
However, this Introverted manner of expressing their inner life doesn't give ISTPs any experience with the social vocabulary that tells people they're cared about and mean something to them. An ISTP's Fe function tends to be undeveloped to the point of being unconscious.
Verbal assurances mean very little to them, and they don't tend to offer them. If someone asks too much of them, they will simply walk away and seek the company of like minded companions. These types are not motivated to be unfaithful, but they're liable to lose interest when a partner changes direction in life or the connection seems to have run its course.
Extreme ISTPs, who rely exclusively on Ti, may attempt to avoid any situation that will require them to do something that doesn't come naturally to them. And they may be quite angry about the ways in which others are trying to control them and make them fit into a particular social niche. They may believe that people who have not had their background and experience have no right to judge them or expect anything from them.
These types need to get in touch with the Extraverted nature of their Se function. They need to make an actual effort to adapt to contexts they can't negotiate in their usual way. Extreme ISTPs think this will compromise their freedom or force them into a social straitjacket, but they're wrong about this. Such types need to get enough experience to keep their perceptual logic sharp. If they don't, they aren't taking in enough information, and they begin to feel alienated.
When ISTPs have developed Se well enough to recognize the validity of experiences unlike their own, they are likely to use their teriary function, Ni, to great advantage. It prompts them to improvise in a way that is highly original and makes a contribution to their field.
However, when they use Ni defensively, to keep their dominant function intact, these types identify very strongly with ideas that call the present structures of society into question. They attract to themselves not only the disenfranchised and the iconoclast but the psychotic and the troubled, without being able to offer anything beyond the common experience of feeling disrespected.
In general, these types are pushed by life to recognize that some experiences are the same for everyone, regardless of what they know or have to do. Human need and aspiration aren't variables that can be ignored; they're part of a situation's structural pattern, and logic itself dictates an alignment with them.
ITPs who learn how to do this realize a great deal of personal power. They don't withdraw from expectations that strike them as alien; they align themselves with the common human experience in a situation and improvise in the best sense of the word.
“ENTPs are aggressive, expansive, and opportunistic in the best sense of the word. They have no doubt about the importance of what they're doing, and they're at their best when they feel challenged and have to improvise. They want to be inspired, are rarely content with things as they are, and tend to have many projects going at the same time. Others are excited by, even propelled by, the relentless tide of their drive and enthusiasm” (209).
“In their self-motivation and hunger for experience, ENTPs are not unlike the ESTPs. Both are competitive and derive energy from playing the game very close to the edge. They know more than they can verbalize about how well they are getting across, and they use this knowledge pragmatically—with an eye toward winning. These similarities are largely the result of supporting their Extraverted Intuition with the impersonal wholistic logic of Introverted Thinking” (210).
“Unlike Extraverted Thinking, which is conceptual and generalized, Introverted Thinking motivates strategic action in a specific situation. When ENTPs use it, they don't start with abstract rules and apply them, step by step, to bring about a goal. They recognize themselves as part of an ongoing process, and they keep adjusting their behaviors in terms of the whole picture” (210).
“When combined with Extraverted Intuition, Introverted Thinking can be highly cerebral, and it usually involves a complex imaginary pattern of relationships. For example, an ENTP might enjoy playing chess, because such types can usually anticipate the results of many potential combinations of moves. An ENTP salesperson might pull together a host of small details and recognize in one mental image how a customer is likely to respond to a product. An ENTP cultural historian might see how a seemingly insignificant detail in a popular movie actually defines the underlying ethos of a culture” (210).
“Such types are so alert to systemic logic that they often see relationships among elements that no one has ever considered before. In this respect, their intelligence is more fluid than an Extraverted Thinker’s, unpredictable, and given to idealism” (210).
“Indeed, an ENTP's curiosity, drive, and force of will are highly charismatic. These types are innovative, imaginative, and exciting to be around. They often attract people who rely on their energy and initiative to galvanize their own ambitions. However, ENTPs are not necessarily aware of others' needs or weaknesses. Their focus is usually on systems and how they shape reality” (210).
“Once engaged, ENTPs are completely invested in their work— eating, sleeping, and dreaming their particular vision. A quote attributed to comedian Jim Carrey accurately conveys the viewpoint of many ENTPs: ‘It's hard for anybody who's with me not to feel starved for affection when I'm making love to my ideas’” (210).
“For this reason, others can experience the ENTP as alternately seductive, impatient, and indifferent, and such types are not above intimidating people with the mercurial nature of their mind. ENTPs assume that everyone is as strong and self-assertive as they are and as capable of defending their own interests. They may even feel manipulated and exploited by people who need too much from them” (211).
“ENTPs are easily bored, and their attention span can be ruthlessly short. Unless they are discovering something new, pursuing a hunch, or acquiring another angle on a persistent question, they are likely to be restless and agitated” (211).
“On the other hand, the type's disinterest in hierarchy and displays of status can result in a disarmingly direct and unpretentious style of relating. A shipping clerk who had been talking to a famous ENTP scientist in the hall of a major research center was amazed to find out who his conversational partner had been. ‘He didn't talk like he was important; he seemed like the kind of guy you'd go bowling with’” (211).
“This is one reason such types often have broad public influence. They combine a grassroots appeal with a highly systemic view of reality. For example, ENTP politicians generally outline ‘wholistic' plans that paradoxically promise more localized control” (211).
“The full maturation of an ENTP usually depends on the type's willingness to use Introverted Thinking for perspective on—as well as support for—the aims of f dominant Intuition. All Extraverted Perceivers emphasize the value of personal freedom, and ENTPs are inclined to draw from their tertiary function, Extraverted Feeling, to disarm people before they're able to exert control” (211).
“When they learn to apply Introverted Thinking to their own behaviors, they being to work their will on the inner rather than the outer world. They develop more self-discipline, and they recognize their responsibility to others in the larger scheme of things. ENTPs who manage to do this are natural leaders, humanitarians, whose efforts may extend beyond their own lifetime to change the way we understand reality” (211).
“In this respect, well-developed ENTPs are like mature ESTPs. They have an effect on us, and we regard them as larger than life. ENTPs, however, are a different sort of hero. One might consider the difference between an ESTP Olympic athlete, who represents American ideals of mastery and discipline, and Steve Jobs, a probable ENTP, whose ideas for marketing the personal computer changed the way Americans understand everyday life” (212).
“Extraverted Sensates embody, in their actions and personhood, a way of being that we admire and want to imitate. Extraverted Intuitives foreshadow a new way of looking at things—a paradigm that reveals unsuspected connections and permits us to see the world differently” (212).
“ENTPs tend to be high-scoring Extraverts who want to exert an external effect on a grand scale. They have real vitality, enjoy life, like to laugh, and relish socialization that involves a freewheeling exchange of views and ideas. Like all Intuitives, they can be playful, but their sense of play is generally confrontational, and they may have a tendency to ‘test’ people with a barrage of puns or bantering remarks” (212)
“Because they depend on being challenged to stay interested, they’re likely to challenge others, and they enjoy being one up on almost anything that interests them—even if it’s just knowing the latest gossip about mutual friends. Accordingly, they may not realize that others can be exhausted by their relentless pursuit of reactions and contest” (212).
“In fact, the thrill of being tested beyond their own resources is so pleasurable to ENTPs that they may take unnecessary chances simply for the opportunity to improvise and beat the odds. Sometimes this involves physical risk, particularly if the enterprise also involves the promise of discovery: deep-sea diving, white-water rafting. For the most part, however, ENTPs take chances by being mavericks. They will abandon a successful career for something unknown, challenge an authority, antagonize supporters, or try to get away with something just because they can” (212).
“Inevitably, they make some enemies. This happens, in part, because they enjoy a good skirmish. But they can be puzzled and irritated by people’s expectations of them, especially if circumstances have dictated a change of heart or mind. They may even regard a person’s anger or disappointment as a tactical maneuver that they need to counter or escape from. Like all ENPs, they will anticipate disaster or entrapment on the basis of one or two negative cues” (213).
“Because they depend so much on their dominant function, ENTPs may be somewhat deficient in the Feeling and Sensate aspects of life. This may not be apparent right away, because ENTPs can relate with great charm in the pursuit of a goal that interests them. Moreover, their expansive nature and appetite for life can make them seem more Sensate than they really are” (213).
“ENTPs can easily forget about their physical needs. They can get so caught up in a project or idea that they will work until they get run down and sick. They may forget to eat or subsist on junk food because it's quick and easy and gets them back to the drawing board right away. They need to pay attention to signals of fatigue and stress-related illness” (213).
“Introverted Sensation is the ENTP's inferior function, and the type's behaviors generally bear this out. Introverted Sensation encourages the maintenance of consistent inner priorities. ENTPs want the freedom to change their direction at any given moment. They find rules and regulations frustrating and confining--an affront to their individuality--and they have a tendency to flout them simply to prove their point” (213).
“It's a rare ENTP who hasn't thrown out the baby with the bath-water somewhere along the line. Extreme types can seem downright hypomanic—unable to contain their own energy, intolerant, impulsive, full of passionate conviction, certain that ordinary rules don't apply to their own behaviors” (213).
“These types often choose mates who can provide them with stable reference points and are willing to take responsibility for the maintenance of social relationships and the day-to-day chores of life. They tend, however, to regard these things as touchstones. They want the freedom to use them and disregard them as desired” (214).
“ENTPs need to turn deliberately to their secondary function in order to realize their full potential. Introverted Thinking gives ENTPs a sense of the ties that bind in the complex weave of life relationships. It tempers the type's need to resist control by taking it or disarming others. Instead, ENTPs recognize their responsibility to the situations they've created and to the people who care about them” (214).
“A self-disciplined ENTP is extremely attractive to others, because people sense the kind of power that has been harnessed to the task. Once Introverted Thinking is helping to balance Extraverted Intuition, ENTPs begin to draw from their less-developed functions more consciously—to recognize the value of others beyond their immediate utility and to stick with something until it is fully realized” (214).
“ENFPs are the most optimistic of types—not because they’re determined to see the positive, but because they focus on hopeful possibilities. Like ENTPs, they grasp patterns very quickly, but their interest in them is decidedly personal. They see people’s potential for loving, for learning, for making a difference, and they look for ways to nurture and encourage it” (215).
“Whether they’re running a halfway house, teaching a class, mobilizing a task force, or waiting in line at a grocery store, ENFPs have a warm, empathetic approach to others, and they establish immediate affective connections. They have implicit faith in their ability to identify with people, and are often sought out by cowokers and acquaintances who have a problem to solve or need to confide in someone” (215).
“Even if they’re tired or have other plans, ENFPs are receptive to these interactions, and they’re unfailingly generous with their time and advice. Such types can find, however, that their deep personal engagement is sometimes misread. Although they’re capable of identifying with another so completely that they anticipate sentences and take on the person’s speech inflections, their exclusive attention is no indication of affective priority” (215).
“Like all Extraverted Perceivers, ENFPs are in the moment. They focus with equal intensity on whatever or whoever catches their attention. Indeed, because their experience of commitment is fateful and immediate, these types can easily burn themselves out. With each potential contact, the world becomes new again, and they’re reluctant to hold anything in reserve” (215).
“ENFPs are so alert to circumstantial potential that they can adapt themselves to almost any job that interests them. However, they’re usually drawn to professions that favor their immediacy, their social conscience, and their ability to forge common bonds—politics, sales, journalism, promotions, teaching, group therapy, the ministry, and so forth. Persuasive and charismatic, they’re at their best in all-or-nothing situations, where they can invest everything they have in making the sale, ensuring the vote, or motivating people toward a specific goal” (215).
“Whatever career they choose, ENFPs have little patience for administrative detail. They prefer to think on their feet, as a situation is happening. Moreover, they have a hard time sacrificing their options to an organized routine. A pundit once suggested that if Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Clinton were doing yard work together, Dole would be telling other people how to mow their laws, Gingrich would be exploring a plan for mowing laws on Mars, and Clinton wouldn’t be able to decide whether to mow the front or the back” (216).
“If Dole illustrates the ISTJ’s inclination to manage life for others, and Gingrich the ENTP’s willingness to entertain the speculative, Clinton suggests the ENFP’s steadfast refusal to make absolute judgments. These types simply won’t declare that one option is inherently better than another.
“This is one reason ENFPs are so keenly aware of systemic injustice. They’re inclusivists of the first order, deeply concerned by standards or institutions that categorize people or limit their natural potential. If they have to make a decision, they want feedback from as broad a range of people as possible” (216).
“Although ENFPs can seem hesitant in this regard, unwilling to act until they’ve tested public opinion, it should not be supposed that they’re yielding to popular consensus. As dominant Intuitives, these types are looking to the future. They see how a change of circumstances will make life better for people, but they’re not sure yet about the means to realize their vision. ENFPs use their secondary function, Introverted Feeling, to make choices and to determine their agenda” (216).
“As a right-brain function, Introverted Feeling works differently from the Extraverted sort. Extraverted Feeling prompts us to reason in terms of prevailing social values. For example, when we say ‘You’ve been like a mother to me,’ we’re presuming shared standards about what mothers do” (216).
“Introverted Feeling, by contrast, prompts us to reason in terms of fundamental human values, whose meaning and importance are conditioned by our experience. We may believe, for example, that life is unconditionally sacred even though society sanctions military action. If we make choices in life of that value, we’re calling prevailing social beliefs in question and may anger or disappoint others” (216).
“Introverted Feeling helps ENFPs to take responsibility for the decisions they make, to accept the social consequences of their choices. It allows them to distinguish between an expedient choice, which circumvents others’ expectations, and an honorable one, which transcends them” (217).
“Although ENFPs usually develop Introverted Feeling quite well, it takes them a while to recognize what it asks of them in the way of personal accountability. The better their Intuition works, the more likely they are to use Introverted Feeling analytically to measure the prevailing structures of society against fundamental human values and to discern their potential for change. This is in an infinitely fertile field for speculation, and ENFPs generate many ideas about improving the institutions that determine people’s opportunities and experience” (217).
“When they seek feedback from others, these types are tying to gauge the relationship of their ideas to their immediate social resources. As they exchange information, they’re limiting their options in terms of the people around them—what’s important to them, what they bring to the task, what they know how to do” (217).
“This entire process is an important component of the ENFP’s power to inspire and mobilize large groups. As they link their vision to other’s hopes and aspirations, people feel that they’re collaborating with a driving archetypal imperative—a force of nature that will change everything in its path—and they’re led to accomplish extraordinary things” (217).
“Ultimately, however, the ENFP’s outward focus takes its toll. For one thing, these types spend a great deal of their time trying to cover all the bases. Without enough Introversion, they’re dependent on others’ stake in their ideas, so they devote their energies to wining people’s approval. Given their awareness that circumstances are likely to change, they try to make their case broad enough to incorporate all possibilities. In consequence, ENFPs can end up talking a better game than they’re prepared to play” (217).
“Indeed, because ENFPs have done so much work in selling their idea to others, they tend to overlook problems of implementation until they actually occur. They’re shocked and disillusioned when things don’t work out as anticipated. It strikes them that doing the right thing should work because it’s the right thing, so they have no recourse but to believe they’ve been thwarted by people with the wrong values” (217).
“ENFPs need enough contact with their Introverts side to appreciate the genuine diversity of people’s experience and beliefs. Unless they recognize the subjective nature of their own value system, they have no way of understanding people whose values are legitimately different from their own” (218).
“Moreover, an exclusive reliance on Extraverted Intuition ensures that its opposite, Introverted Sensation, plays no part in the ENFP’s self-experience, and it eventually works against the type’s acceptance of material imperfection. Under the unconscious influence of this function, ENFPs yearn for a lasting investment, invulnerable to chance or circumstance, and they begin to wonder if they’re tilting at windmills” (218).
“Like other types, ENFPs don’t recognize their inferior aims as part of themselves. They simply feel dissatisfied with what they’ve accomplished. If these Sensate impulses surface around midlife, ENFP become abruptly aware of the progression of time. They haven’t done what they were meant to do—maybe they haven’t even found themselves yet—but they’re also hemmed in by the many obligations of an established job or household” (218).
“In point of fact, by midlife ENFPs have usually accomplished a great deal, which is why their psyche is pushing them to grow beyond their dominant perspective. Their first instinct, however, is to reinforce their Intuitive frame of mind—that is, to change their present circumstances: to quit their job, go back to school, start a new project, have a baby, take a vacation, sell the house. One might recall the hitchhiker in the classic film Five Easy Pieces, whose dream was to reach Alaska. Having seen a picture of it once, she perceives it to be the perfect place to start over—white, clean, uncorrupted. ‘Yeah, well,’ says the hero, ‘I think that was before the Big Thaw’ (218).
“Sometimes ENFPs do need to start over and try something new; sometimes they need a quite place for thought and reflection. But it’s difficult for them to address this question until they get some psychological distance form their environment. They need to figure out how to honor their values into the everyday choices they’re currently making” (218).
“There is a most interesting episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which Worf, a Klingon officer raised by human parents, declines to defend his Klingon name—all that he possesses of his blood heritage—when his biological father is accused of treason. He endures the disgrace because unmasking the real traitor would plunge the empire into war. This is the kind of judgment that Introverted Feeling promotes in an ENFP: a recognition that some things are more important than Intuition can discern” (219).
“It should be emphasized that Introverted Feeling does not oppose Extraverted Intuition in this respect. It equips ENFPs to deal with questions that can’t be addressed with their dominant skills. For example, if Worf had used Intuition to understand his dilemma, it would have counseled him that his best option was not be in it” (219).
“Introverted Feeling told him, rather, how to be responsible to his situation—not because it was fair or his fault, but because it was happening to him, and its larger outcome depended on his hierarchy of values. Ultimately, he subordinated what was good for him (the name that connected him to his blood family) to what was good for his people as a whole” (219).
“ENFPs tend to make contact with their inner selves largely in their creative pursuits (in the music they love, the art they make, the poetry they write); their faith practice; or meaningful projects with like-minded colleagues. They make time for solitary walks in a natural setting or other sentient activities that foster communion with the larger fabric of life. When the psyche is pushing them to grow, however, wholistic experiences can take them only so far. ENFPs need to make a more deliberate effort to figure out how their values are influencing their life’s direction” (219).
“For example, ENFPs are often eloquent in their arguments for social institutions that recognize the dignity of all people. Introverted Feeling asks them to come at this question differently. It asks them to locate, in their individual relationships, their responsibility to acknowledge human dignity, even when circumstances dictate anger of self-defense” (219).
“ENFPs resist this Judging point of view because it seems so implacable. To see life that way would be impractical; it would keep them from responding directly to experience. Besides, living out their values one person at a time is all very nice, but it has no effect on the systemic problems that need to be solved’ (219).
“When ENFPs wrestle with this conflict long enough, they realize the enormous power Introverted Feeling actually confers. It gives them a way to embody their highest aspirations every day, in the world that really exists. And it offers self-awareness, helping them to set their own limits” (220).
“Types who resist their Introverted side eventually reach a point where they feel tired and overwhelmed, unable to flow through on much of anything. Too much seems to be coming at them, and they just can’t manage all the details. Every situation they’re in seems to require every bit of their energy, and no one seems to appreciate the pressure they’re under” (220).
“ENFPs are not mistaken about these perceptions. If they’ve resisted self-reflection, they are overinvested and overwhelmed. However, their ideas about why this is happening are misplaced. They aren’t overwhelmed because there’s too much to do or because people expect too much. They’re overwhelmed because they’re constantly changing in response to their circumstances” (220).
“When ENFPs develop Introverted Feeling, they short-circuit this receptive mode and come to terms with who they really are. If they don’t, Introverted Sensation gets so far from their conscious self-experience that they’re sure people are working against them, fighting their attempts to improve life for others. Under such conditions, the only defense they can muster is their tertiary function, Extraverted Thinking” (220).
“Given an adequate Introverted perspective, ENFPs use Extraverted Thinking very well. It helps them to set logical priorities and to respect the priorities of others. Marshaled to protect an Intuitive function under siege, however, Extraverted Thinking is egocentric. It convinces ENFPs that others should respect their priorities. From an Extraverted Intuitive standpoint, of course, a priority is whatever the ENFP is responding to right now” (220).
“The defensive utility of this strategy is clear. It allows ENFPs to maintain their immediate approach to life, but it also gives them the idea that people who want something different from them are being unreasonable and depriving them of respect. The important thing is to do what’s right for themselves” (220).
“In point of fact, ENFPs who are defending their Intuition against all limitations have no idea what’s right for themselves. They only know what’s immediately possible to them, and they want the freedom to respond as they life, without social consequences” (221).
“For example, if they miss an appointment or forget a promise, they have a hard time apologizing. They’ll point out how overwhelmed they are by their many obligations, how much they’re doing that isn’t expected of them. Before the other person knows it, the question at hand is not the broken promise or missed appointment, but the ENFP’s rights or well-being, or the absurdity of dismissing a relationship over one small issue” (221).
“Ultimately ENFPs need more than freedom and opportunity. They long for intimacy, relationships they can count on, people who will stand by them no matter what the circumstances. When they recognize that they’re responsible for creating the kind of life that makes these things possible, they came to terms with their Introverted side. If their secondary function limits some of their options, it also offers new ones—for example, the opportunity to change people’s hearts by being true to their own” (221).
“Once ENFPs are in touch with Introverted Feeling, they don’t lose their charisma and persuasive gifts. They become more aware of their own needs, less vulnerable to the approval and disapproval of others. Such types often find that they’re skilled at helping others to discover and cultivate their own values, and they make a consistent and positive contribution to society at large” (221).
“Like ESFJs, ENFJs reason in terms of relationship, but their motives and ambitions are somewhat different. On the great highway of life, ESFJs are car-poolers, making sure that everyone has a ride, wears a seat belt, and gets where they’re going, safe and sound. ENFJs are more like road rangers, patrolling life’s detours and alternate routes, rescuing lost drivers, giving them decent maps. They have a psychological turn of mind, an interest in the journeys people take and how they’re negotiated” (357).
“Although ENFJs are sometimes drawn to the health, sales and services careers that appeal to ESFJs, they’re more often found in the professons we loosely describe as ‘the care of soul’—counseling, psychiatry, the ministry, education. Both types tend toward supportive advocacy, but ENFJs are usually in the business of social redemption. They have a strong need to improve the systems that determine human relationship and to help people find meaning in their lives” (358).
“ENFJs are almost always good writers and editors, and the combination of Feeling and Intuition can give them an interest in the linguistic translation. But they enjoy face-to-face communication, and they’re usually good with an audience. Indeed, their charismatic interaction with a group, and their focus on systemic improvement, can put one in mind of ENFPs” (358).
“It should be emphasized, however, that ENFJs don't inspire world-changing visions so much as life-changing decisions. Like INFJs, these types are interested in the way people see things, and the possibility of seeing things from another, better perspective. In fact, it’s worth comparing the ENFJs and INFJs, because they’re oriented by the same two functions” (358).
“INFJs, who rely on Introverted Intuition for their approach to life, emphasize perspective itself, particularly the effects that an accepted social pattern can have on individual self-experience. For example, last generation’s INFJs pointed out that traditional gestures of social respect, such as holding a door for a woman, could encurage women to experience themselves as dependent and in need of protection” (358).
“ENFJs, who are dominant Feeling types, see the situation from the other way around. As far as these types are concerned, people’s self-experience can deform their social relationships, encouraging irrational expectations and assumptions about others. For example, the popular psychologist John Gray says that men and women have inaccurate ideas about each other, derived from the perspective of their own gender. ENFJs want to make people more aware of their inner scripts so they can get past them and develop more realistic ways of acting in the world” (358).
“Such types, accordingly, tend to counsel and motivate others in whatever career they happen to choose, whether they’re directing a play, coaching a team, advising an author, or preaching a sermon. Because Introverted Intuition gives them the ability to acknowledge a person’s viewpoint as subjectively valid without requiring its logical justification or factual accuracy, they’re highly receptive listeners who may find themselves the recipient of people’s problems whether they intend to be or not” (359).
“These types can be exceptionally inventive and insightful as group leaders. They seem to have a sixth sense about how a group can operate as a crucible for individual growth and development. They genuinely believe that, deep down, people want to contribute to the system that supports them, and they’re certain that communication, understanding, and identification will ultimately bring anyone under the judgment of collective values” (359).
“The type’s idealism in this respect is so well developed that ENFJs can have a difficult timee saying no, even when their time and energy are in short supply. Because they see the potential good in anyone’s point of view, they feel guilty if they don’t nourish it and bring it into being” (359).
“For example, the late John Denver regularly did benefits and donated his time and money on behalf of many social causes. Yet in his autobiography, Take Me Home, he admitted that his commitment to these project wasn’t nearly as strong as his empathy with the people who requested his time. He thought that their commitment was good and honorable, and he didn’t want to let them down” (359).
“This is often the danger for ENFJs. Their ability to see the positive aspects of anyone’s position can make them feel indecisive, as though they had no firm position of their own, or inadequate, because their standards for themselves are so high. In consequence, they rely on Extraverted Feeling for grounding, gravitating to people who need them, so they can take their stand on collective values. One can see this very clearly in the way these types drive toward social harmony, a tendency they share with their ESFJ kindred” (359).
“Say, for example, that someone in a group accuses another of hypocrisy. Both ESFJ and ENFJs will head off conflict by steering the conversation in a more positive direction. ESFJs, who understand statements as Sensate facts, have no choice but to circumvent a disagreeable one—by changing the subject or registering polite disapproval. ENFJs, however, handle the situation differently. They use their Intuition to see the potential good in the accusation—to see where they person’s perspective can be shifted. ‘Let’s look at hypocrisy,’ the type might suggest. ‘Don’t our high standards always fall a little short in the arena of real-life choices?” What the ENFJ has done is restate the person’s position from an Extraverted Feeling viewpoint, thus ‘remodeling’ a more empathic way of looking at the situation” (360).
“The type’s ability to bring subjective perceptions into the collective framework, where they can be managed with Feeling, is an inestimable gift, and ENFJs almot invariably use it well. The point, however, is that these types gradually develop the habit of brining alternate views into harmony with their own. They need to recognize that they themselves aren’t grounded until they accept the aspects of experience that can’t be harmonized with their Feeling assumptions” (360).
“Indeed, the psychological bend of these types pushes them to understand life’s irrational aspects, as though immediate existence were a perspective that could be reformulated, like any other perspective, and into their rational framework. As Feeling types, ENFJs seek consensus on their problems, but they’re inclined to do so in the academic forum. Thus, although they constitute only 5 percent of the population, their ideas have an abiding influence on our collective understanding of the issues at stake” (360).
“As ENFJs take classes, conduct research, read self-help books, and share their ideas with others, their secondary conflicts help to shape the larger societal dialogue: Why is life the way it is? Why do bad things happen to nice people? Why do we make foolish choices? This is Extraverted Feling write large, in contention with the random, unmerciful nature of life as it occurs” (360).
“Such questions are not answerable in rational terms, and ENFJs who wrestle with them ultimately find themselves contending with the limits of their Feeling skills. But sometimes these types aren’t wrestling with the questions such much as holding the irrational at bay, and Introverted Thinking, the ENFJ’s inferior function, begins to get out of their control” (360).
“As a right-brain Judgment function, Introverted Thinking is directly opposed to the human concerns of Extraverted Feeling. It directs our attention to the logical variables in an immediate situation, and it dictates a dispassionate interest in their potential, without reference to people’s needs or values” (360).
“When ENFJs are resisting their Introverted side, they don’t see this viewpoint as part of their psychological makeup. It’s alien to their self-image and accustomed goals. But each time they encounter a problem that can’t be addressed with Feeling skills, they’re flooded with impulses from this inferior function that undermine their accustomed way of looking at life” (361).
“Like all types, ENFJs don’t recognize this internal pressure as part of themselves. When they can’t handle a situation in their usual way, they project their inferior impulses outward and see them as part of the external world. They focus their attention on the aspects of life that seem alien to human variables. That is, they try to see the good in them so they can be harmonized with their Feeling outlook, or they try to eliminate them from the picture” (361).
“Extraverted Feeling encompasses what is averagely attainable in a particular social system. The goals it encourages are not transcendently fulfilling; they’re collectively appropriate. ENFJs need more contact with Introverted Intuition to recognize that pursuing rational ends doesn't, by a long shot, take the whole self into account. Without sufficient Intuition, they’re prone to mistake the elimination of conflict for intimacy and good relationship, so they inevitably find new variables that threaten the ideal picture” (361).
“Ironically, the more ENFJs focus in ideal relationships, the less they recognize people as individuals. They generalize about human behavior, unable to appreciate the uniqe nature of another’s experience. Introverted Thinking, meanwhile, becomes so powerful that these types begin to draw from their tertiary function, Extraverted Sensation, to keep their Feeling standpoint intact” (361).
“In a well-developed ENFJ, Extraverted Sensation is a source of balance; it encourages such types to engage in pleasurable pursuits, to make art and music, to enjoy the effect they have on others. ENFJ actors, for example, use their Introverted Intuitive skills to understand the perspective of the character they’re playing and their Extraverted Sensate skills for the performance” (362).
“When ENFJs use Extraverted Sensation defensively, however, they focus all their attention on others’ painful experiences, attempting to preserve their position as advocates and counselors. Such types are overwhelmed by the difficulties people have, but they try to keep their reactions under control. It’s important for them to maintain a positive, calm, and reassuring manner. Believing that they should be able to handle anything that arises with reason and understanding, they may have a particular problem with displays of anger” (362).
“Although they’re trying to model the values they hold—to be perfect examples of a decent, compassionate, insightful person—they can strike others as unable to tolerant negative information, particularly about the group or social system they represent. One can see how this Sensate defense working simply by looking at the controversies that erupt in psychological literature” (362).
“When an unusual number of female patients told Freud they had been seduced by their father in childhood, he had a hard time accepting the stories as memories. He ultimately determined that they were infantile fantasies, common to all women. As Freud’s change of mind became apparent to the psychiatric community, people naturally wondered if Freud had simply psychologized a disagreeable social fact he didn’t want to believe” (362).
“My point is not to address this question but to note how well this controversy preserves the Extraverted Feeling stance of the therapists. Even if it were proved that the stories were memories, they would still be regarded as a holdover from the past—a subjective experience that’s interfering with relationships in the here and now. The therapist remains the advocate of a better way” (362).
“ENFJs need Introverted Intuition to recognize that perceptual experiences are not just part of the past. They’re part of every situation we’re in. They tell us about aspects of life that don’t fit into our conceptual frame. For example, Freud’s female patients knew rationally that the therapeutic relationship was a professional one, but they perceived the interaction as it really happened. Freud’s own reports make clear his intimate manner, his seductive questions, his suspension of personal boundaries” (363).
“Such behaviors had implications beyond the reach of the women’s rational expectations. But they existed nonetheless, working their way into persistent claims of inappropriate sexual relationship, until Freud was obliged to admit that some boundaries should be unconditional. Little wonder that he concluded the images were fantasies and had no implications for living, breathing paternal figures” (363).
“ENFJs are accustomed to using Intuition largely for purposes of empathy—to put themselves into someone’s else’s shoes. It’s harder for them to train it on their own self-experience. It raises too many questions, suggests that every point of view is valid in its own way” (363).
“But ENFJs who depend too much on Feeling to set their course are ultimately robbed of life’s immediacy. One can see this in the difficulty such types have with unsocialized STPs, who challenge their value system and resist their attempts at empathy. ENFJs want to bring out the potential of STPs in a socially acceptable way, by they also envy the type’s spontaneity, appetite for life, and ability to live in the moment” (363).
“Indeed, the Sensate nature of popular culture can encourage extreme ENFJs to feel trapped by the very accomplishements they’ve worked hard to achieve. Their relationships may strike them as good enough but not exciting, not capable of inspiring the passion and joy they’re looking for; and they feel guilty about harboring that kind of dissatisfaction. They feel out of touch with themselves and the people they care about, uncertain of what they really want or who they really are” (363).
“These feelings, it should be noted, are not unjustified. ENFJs who resist the aspects of life they can’t control usually trap themselves in a position where they’re always the person who takes care of others. They’re highly dependent on social admiration and approval, but they aren’t sharing their real selves with anyone. Under the influence of their tertiary function, however, they can be persuaded that the answer to this problem is to liberate their pent-up emotions—to escape their current context or to shed what they see as irrational guilt and inhibitions” (363).
“These efforts are rarely successful beyond initial feelings of relief. Because the behaviors are defensive, they aren’t truly liberating. In point of fact, they serve to reinforce the type’s dominant perspective, convincing ENFJs, for a while at least, that they’ve found a more ‘authentic’ relationship or a more caring community thatn the one they’ve left behind” (364).
“ENFJs who cultivate their secondary function don’t experiences impulses that ‘free’ them from their Feeling standpoint. They become aware of subjective experience that can’t be addressed by meeting Feeling goals, experience they haven’t yet tapped or taken into account. This other part of themselves requires a different kind of nourishment—kinesthetic, artistic, contemplative: a way to take shape apart from questions of a collective nature” (364).
“Recognizing this part of themselves grounds ENFJs; they begin to feel at home in the world in a new way. They become more honest about their feelings, able to tolerate disagreement with others and the effects of radically different life experiences. Moreover, the see people’s genuine possibilities, and they have the drive and energy to bring them out in a way the benefits society as well” (364).
“ESFJs are the people we usually describe as ‘wearing many hats.’ Popular magazines are filled with articles advising them to take time for themselves, but ESFJs know who they are, quite literally, by way of their relationships, and they thrive on their multiple roles and responsibilities” (349).
“It’s not that ESFJs spend all their time looking for clubs and organizations to belong to. They’re not necessarily ‘joiners.’ These types have a natural sense of community, and it informs everything they do. Whether they’re part of a household, a religious group, a place, a term, or a car pool, they’re quick to assume the responsibilites that marks them as supportive and contributing members” (350).
“For this reason, EFJs are the quintessential volunteers. They may have wall-to-wall commitments and a calendar full of Post-it Notes, but when people need their help, they show up and pitch in. If they’re not helping a brother-in-law paint his den, they’re organizing someone’s shower and retirement party, making costumes for a community play, taking magazines to a friend in the hospital—all the while striving to keep their professional life, houses, property, family, and pets in order” (350).
“In their sense of responsibility and need for organization, these types resemble ESTJs; however, their process of reasoning is very different from a Thinking type’s. ESTJs reason impersonally, with logic, which operates despite the nature of their relationships. Accordingly, their primary source of identity is usually their accomplishments—what they know how to do well” (350).
“ESFJs reason personally, in terms of their relationships, so their identity derives form the roles they play in people’s lives. Where Thinking types about things of general interest, ESFJs are concerned with social time and space, their questions centering around common values and connections in the community: Are you married? Do you live in the neighborhood? Do you have children? Do you know so and so?” (350).
ESFJs are not only conscious of their place in an organized network of relationships; they live by the values associated with the roles they’ve taken on. They want their behaviors to stand as evidence of right relationship to others: as a good parent, a good neighbor, a good friend, a good brother or sister, a good employee, a good coworker, and so on” (350).
“These values are also the ESFJ’s primary criterion for appraising other’s behaviors. Such types may, for this reason, have a strong sense of how things ‘ought’ to be. They’re deeply invested in the activities and holidays that bring people together in shared celebration, triumph, and sorrow. Conversely, the absence of behaviors they associate with a particular role or social occasion can hurt or offend them. They may conclude, for example, that there’s something wrong if families don’t eat dinner together at the same time every night, or if children don’t send cards on Mother’s Day” (351).
“It should be emphasized that the ESFJ’s values are not a matter of individual preference. These types won’t act on their subjective observations and reactions until they’ve measured them against the prevailaing social current. If ESFJs run into a problem, for example, they don't withdraw and work it out logically, the way Thinking types do. Feeling types use logic to asses their options, but they solve a problem by seeking consensus—talking to friends, asking colleagues for advice, getting a partner’s input” (351).
“Indeed, the ESFJ’s inclination to talk things out with others can make these types outstanding networkers, consummately skilled in gaining others’ cooperation for plans and new ideas. By the time they’ve interacted with everyone involved, the information has been integrated into the larger social pattern and people accept it as a given. All well-developed ESFJs demonstrate this gift in one way or another—the ability to listen sympathetically, to interpret problems, to brainstorm solutions, and to gain people’s trust within the context of a supportive social framework” (351).
“ESFJs are able to offer this kind of support because they have an innate understanding of people as members of a larger community. Like ESTJs, they’re often in a position of advocacy, helping others to negotiate their relationships and to get their lives in order. These types need more, however, than praise for a job well done, which usually satisfies a Thinking type. ESFJs need to know that people like and appreciate them” (351).
“Dr. John Carter, the young emergency room intern on the medical drama ER, is a nice illustration of an ESFJ in this situation. Initially on surgical rotation, Carter had good skills, but he felt inadequate, torn between his natural talent for patient advocacy and the impersonal standards of his supervisor, who misread his values as lack of professionalism. Until Carter met other physicians who shared his viewpoint and encouraged him to be who was, he felt demoralized and without direction” (351).
“Just as Thinking types need sufficient distance from personal bias for their logic to work as well, ESFJs must have sufficient support from the people in their lives for their values to find expressions. Without this support, ESFJs may squelch their best skills in an attempt to meet others’ expectations. Sometimes, for example, when an ESFJ is partnered romantically with a strong TJ, the type will get nearly even scores in all test categories, being unwilling to declare any preferences that might undermine the relationship” (352).
“One can see the same phenomenon in the ESFJ’s concern with how people in their social role are ‘supposed’ to present themselves—not only in terms of social behavioral standards, but in terms of style, grooming, fashion, and so forth. ESFJs can, in this respect, resemble ESFPs, because their grasp of social images is nearly instinctive. However, their motives are very different” (352).
“ESFPs are cultural surfers, riding the waves of emerging paradigms long before they break on the shores of mass acceptance. ESFJs are cultural swimmers. Waves of social change, if anything, are a problem. These types pride themselves not on their trendiness but on their ability to stay with the current—to know what to do, wear, or say to make their statement within the context of others’s expectations. If their own perspective is broader than an existing context, they may feel bored or trapped, but they’ll generally respect community standards as they happen to be” (352).
“An ESFJ’s home usually reflects the same kind of awareness, expressing the type’s interests and tastes, but in a way that others will recognize and admire as emblematic of his or her social role or position. These types often have a flair for color and pattern, and they may coordinate their home furnishings and art around a theme that reflects a romantic ideal. They notice the atmosphere of other people’s homes, and they assume that others are doing the same” (352).
“Of all the types, ESFJs are likely to surround themselves with people who share their approach to life, which ensures them from the support and approval they need. However, this strategy also keeps them dependent on their dominant skills. ESFJs are so alert to people’s reactions and spend so much time exchanging observations and opinions with others that it’s easy for them to believe they’re in touch with how they really ‘feel’ about things. In truth, however, these types may not know how they stand on an issue until they find out how others do. Ironic as it sounds, the greater their reliance on Extraverted Feeling, the less in touch with their own feelings these types are likely to be” (353).
“Although Extraverted Feeling motivates a strong interest in social interaction, it doesn’t necessarily promote intimacy. It focuses the ESFJ’s attention on standards of outward predictablitity—that is, on right and wrong behaviors. Despite their strong emotional investment in the behaviors that reflect their values, ESFJs who don’t get sufficient contact with Introverted Sensation, their secondary Perceiving function, are like theoreticians without a real-life laboratory. The gap between their rational ideas and their actual nature strikes them as a weakness, something to be overcome” (353).
“For example, surprised by a spare half hour before guests arrive, ESFJs may feel guilty about taking the time to relax; they’ll find something else that needs going—or re-doing. They subordinate their immediate needs to their rational ideals. But without some acceptance of their experiential side, ESFJs literally can’t perceive the unpredictable, uncontrollable aspects of life in general—except in negative terms: as something to be eliminated, ignored, or held at bay” (353).
“At letter appeared in a recent advice column from a man whose father had remarried, adopted his new wife’s children, and subsequently had two more. The writer said that his own wife was the problem. She sent birthday gifts only to the second two children, claiming that the adopted one’s weren’t ‘really’ related to him” (353).
“This is the way Extraverted Feeling operates when ESFJs don’t pay enough attention to Introverted Sensation. The unpredictable side of life begins to incorporate any experience that isn’t accounted for by prevailing categories of relationship. Without enough Sensate development, these types end up using their Feeling strengths defensively, to avoid information that doesn’t fit inside their rational framework” (353).
“One can see this most clearly in the difficulty such types have in accepting negative feedback. ESFJs need Introverted Sensate skills to accept a disagreeable statement of fact without interpreting it as a statement of disapproval. If they can’t make this distinction, they have no way to experience criticism except as a threat, an invalidation of relationship, and they use their Feeling skills to defend themselves from it” (354).
“They mount this defense not by addressing the point at hand, which would require a focus outside their rational ideals, but by listing all the good things they’ve done and deserve credit for, all the behaviors that make the relationship a valid one. If all else fails, they’ll discount the person’s qualifications to make the judgment. In the movie In and Out, there’s a wedding preparation scene in which the groom’s niece says to the groom’s mother, ‘My Mommy says the marriage won’t last.’ The mother smiles sweetly and says, ‘Your Mommy is an alcoholic, dear’” (354).
“ESFJs who won’t deal with facts and possibilities that lie outside their rational ideals have a particular problem facing the messy, irrational side of the social groups to which they belong—their families, their political organizations, their churches. They don’t believe it’s right to ‘air dirty laundry.’ Even an attempt to talk about a bad situation can strike these types as a mark of disloyalty to the group” (354).
“Ultimately, ESFJs who rely too heavily on their Feeling skills invite compensation from their own psyche, because their least-developed function, Introverted Thinking, gets too far away from their conscious aims and goals. When this happens, their accustomed strategies don’t work as well to defend them against disagreeable information. Every time they make the effort, Introverted Thinking floods them with impulses that oppose their Feeling strengths” (354).
“As a right-brain Judgment function, Introverted Thinking makes us aware of immediate logical variables, without regard to others’ expectations. ESFJs who don’t tolerate facts at variance with their Feeling standards have no way to recognize Introverted Thinking as part of themselves. It’s too alien to their accustomed perspective” (354).
“Under its unconscious influence, they feel a sense of conflict, but it’s an external one. They’re unable to focus on the ideal, because too many things are going (or could go) wrong. They attribute the problem to people’s weaknesses or their refusal to do what they ‘should’ be doing, and they spend a great deal of time advising, counseling, and correcting others, trying to eliminate the negative variables or get them under control” (354).
“Ultimately, because their external focus is defensive—an attempt to avoid inner conflict—the variables these types are concerned with seem a little petty, like the aforementioned distinction between ‘real’ and adopted siblings. As an instrument of reason, Extraverted Feeling easily determines that adopted children are related to a family by marriage, liable to the same standards of treatment as children related by blood. The letter writer’s wife was focusing on the uncontrollable outward variable in the relationship because she was unwilling to resolve the more serious conflict within—her resentment of social obligations irrelevant to her own priorities” (355).
“ESFJs who resist their own feelings inevitably become involved in an unwitting sleight of hand, focusing on variables that can’t be changed under any circumstances, or are so inconsequential as to illustrate the Biblical injunction against ‘straining at gnats while swallowing camels.’ The further the type’s attention is diverted from issues that really need to be taken into account, the more powerful Introverted Thinking becomes, until these ESFJs have no recourse but Extraverted Intuition, their tertiary fuction, to keep internal conflict at bay” (355).
“Ordinarily, Extraverted Intuition is the source of an ESFJ’s wellroundedness. Adolescent ESFJs tend to experiment with its Perceptual immediacy while they’re still forming their identity—enjoying their power to play hard, stay late; daring people to draw the line. In a well-developed ESFJ, its prompts the entertainment of new possiblities, the ability to see that traditional values look different in different life contexts” (355).
“When it’s wielded defensively, however, Extraverted Intuition simply convinces ESFJs that the problem not only is outside them but needs to be straightened out right now, at any cost. Such types are overwhelmed by the need to change things: to get ride of the perceived problem once and for all, no matter who gets hurt; to take over and get things under control, not only for others, but behind their backs if necessary; or to shut it out of awareness in whatever way they can manage” (355).
“Ironically, the external conflicts these types generated by turning to Extraverted Intuition are far more dramatic than that inner conflict they’re trying to resist. When ESFJs cultivate Introverted Sensation, they arent assailed by impulses to tear down everything they’ve worked to build. The conflict Introverted Sensation brings to awareness is psychological—the breach between willing spirit and mortal flesh” (356).
“ESFJs resist this awareness because they have the idea that good people don’t experience such conflicts, and if they do they keep it to themselves lest they discourage others. However, when ESFJs wrestle with their needs, fears, and doubts long enough, they become like Jacob wrestling with the angel. That is, they lose the battle, but the encounter changes them forever” (356).
“The film just mentioned, In and Out, is about a well-regarded high school teacher who realizes, at the very point of taking his wedding vows, that he’s gay. The teacher had never thought through his own subjective experience, because his self-image was integrated with the way his family, community, and fiancée saw him. He felt responsible to the people who loved him and counted on him. The film is a comedy, but it’s also an interesting exploration of how people come to terms with questions they can’t solve with Extraveted Feeling” (356).
“In one scene, the groom’s mother is sitting in the empty church reception hall, in the company of several friends, trying to salvage what’s left of her dreams. One by one, with self-consciousness and difficulty, these friends offer their support—by recounting events from their own experience that don’t match up with the images they’ve presented to the world. By the time they’ve all taken a turn, they’re laughing at themselves and recognizing the nature of true friendship” (356).
“In another scene, the townspeople, gathered for the high school graduation, recognize that the teacher’s sexual preference—his subjective impressions of relationship—doesn’t change the way they’ve experienced him all their lives: as a decent, caring, gifted man with roots in the commuity and a will for its survival” (356).
“These scences are a good illustration of what happens when ESFJs accept the gap between their ideals and human nature. They become more honest with people and, in the process, find out who their real friends are. Moreover, they find, to their surprise and pleasure, that unpredictability and circumstance unite them with others just as surely as predictable social behaviors” (356).
“When ESFJs discover the pleasure of being received as they are and not simply for what they do, they also find that they can sepearate themselves from people’s opinions of their outward behaviors; they aren’t so wounded by criticism. They’re able to risk more of themselves, to be vulnerable, to take new directions. In turn, they become more accepting of others’ way of looking at life, recognizing that unfamiliar behaviors can be related to their own values” (357).
“These well-developed ESFJs are the people we turn to when we need both empathy and clear-eyed realism. They have a genuine love of life that others recognize and want to be around. They know how to listen, how to laugh, how to forgive, and they have a gift for bringing out the best in others” (357).
ETJs represent about 18 percent of Americans. Toss in the Introverted TJs, who use Te as a secondary function, and the number rises to one-quarter of the population. All but 6 percent of these TJs and STJs, which is one reason we tend to associate Te with an investment in what already exists.
All ETJs have a strong sense of responsibility. They are not fuzzy about the principles they hold. They can articulate them, and they regard them as a basis for the kind of life they actually live. Knowledge, they might say, with Isaac Bashevis Singer, is a small island in a sea of nonknowledge. The integrity of that island strikes such types as a matter of personal obligation.
One might recall the "living books" in Farenheit 451--people who "became" the classics the government had burned by memorizing them and reciting them to others. As their memory failed, they trained others to take their place. ETJs are something like these "living books." They try to live up to the roles they play in society. They are faithful to the categories of knowledge they've received, and they're proud of their ability to fit themselves into a larger system and succeed on the terms specified. Such types have a great deal of momentum and direction in this respect.
ESTJs, prompted by Si, enjoy contributing to an existing organization, particularly when their ability to meet specified goals is recognized as superior. Such types depend on reason and analysis to deal with life, and they are careful about getting the facts they need in their area of expertise. In general, they support a "measure twice, cut once" philosophy of life.
ENTJs, by virtual of Ni, are more likely to see around the corners of an existing structure. They are usually motivated to streamline goals or tactics, and they may be gifted in their ability to solve problems that require imagination. They are something like INTJs in this respect, but their sense of possibility doesn't take them as far afield of structural priorities. ENTJs want to create a better mousetrap; they don't question whether mice should, in fact, be caught.
Both ESTJs and ENTJs require the confirmation of hard evidence before they'll deal with a situation. To paraphrase Aristotle (perhaps the quintessential Te type), if you can't measure something, you can't predict it's behavior, and hence it isn't real. This, admittedly, is a very loose paraphrase, but it's close enough. Aristotle's belief is echoed in the words of every ETJ physician who finds no measurable basis for a patient's chronic pain.
The bottom line is that reason can't be used to analyze the unknown. Unless one can determine the sequence in which one thing follows another or the functional contribution of a part to a whole, a situation is not a logical one and, to the Te type's mind, probably doesn't exist.
ETJs reason quite literally in a step-by-step manner. Asked to explain one aspect of a problem, they will begin at the beginning and explain the entire linear process. Such types tend to plan and set goals even when they're doing something "for fun." And they are just as interested in "retrodiction" as they are in prediction. That is, they will analyze their actions after the fact, attempting to prepare for similar situations in the future.