MBTI: Cognitive Functions
INFJ vs. INFP: Comparing Fi and Fe (video)
INFJ or INFP? by Vicky Jo
Video: INFJ vs. INFP
Video: How to tell apart INFJ and INFP by DJ Arendee
Inferior Se (INFJ) vs. Inferior Te (INFP)
So you've determined you are an introverted intuitive with feeling judgment (INFx). How do you decide if you are INFJ or INFP?
Behavioral descriptions are apt to be confusing...and misleading. If I went by them, I'd be INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, and ENFP, all at once. Your type defines how you think, by default...not how you behave. We can choose to behave out of line with our natural impulses, and our experiences can modify how we innately operate, but our brains are wired to perceive and evaluate the world in certain ways.
INFPs and INFJs have different cognitive functions to accomplish this. INFPs perceive and evaluate things through Fi/Te, Ne/Si functional pairs while INFJs perceive everything through Fe/Ti, Ni/Se functions. All of their functions are thus turned the opposite directions. So, to figure out if you are INFJ or INFP, consider how you perceive the world (Ni or Ne) and how you evaluate that which you perceive (Fe or Fi). INFJs have dominant introverted intuition (Ni) and auxiliary extraverted feeling (Fe), while INFPs have dominant introverted feeling (Fi) and auxiliary extraverted intuition (Ne). Compare the way your brain naturally works, against the descriptions below, and see what sounds most (experientially) familiar.
Ni or Ne?
(Introverted Intuition or Extraverted Intuition)
Both Ni and Ne are focused on what is potential more than what is actual, and view everything in light of what it could be...so both are the mother of possibilities.
What type of possibilities? Ni generates potential interpretations and future outcomes, within the mind (as if the world were a metaphor to be decoded for internal understanding), and Ne produces potential interpretations and future feasibilities, within the external world (as if the world were a problem to be solved or a potential to be utilized/realized by creation or development).
Both Ni and Ne generate a lot of possibilities: but Ni attempts to narrow them down to one while Ne multiplies them. Ni works diligently towards ruling out and reconciling the multiple possibilities until it can land on a single correct interpretation; while Ne is not fond of such limitation nor of being trapped or tied down to one single option.
Both are future-inclined, tracing the present pattern to what it could lead to in the future.
What do they see when they look at the external world? Ideas - when they view the tangible, what their brains notice, and are most aware of, is the abstract. It's almost like their eyes bounce off what is and automatically veer to what could be, in light of what is...so the sensory may escape their notice but the possibilities suggested by it will not. (For instance, Ni might look at a face and not remember the color of the eyes but would be very aware of the emotion expressed in that face...that is, the meaning behind the sensory surface. Or Ne might physically see two isolated mechanisms but what it mentally "sees" is what could be built or accomplished if the two were used together or designed into a single machine.)
Ni looks through something concrete to the meaning behind it (what it symbolizes or represents), or through concepts to their core or root idea. Ne looks at something concrete as a launch point for ideas that could be brought to fruition, or as an effect of a cause.
Both Ni and Ne operate like connect-the-dots puzzles. They innately make connections and note the patterns created by those connections, and construct and visualize a full picture out of those random points they connected.
But they are different in how they connect these points. Think of Ni like a puzzle and of Ne like a constellation.
When Ni is operative, the external world hands the subconscious mind a bunch of puzzle pieces (concrete data). The subconscious mind takes these puzzle pieces and finds where they connect to other puzzle pieces and where they fit, noting the patterns and images they form, building them into a full picture of understanding. It may try out various slots where the puzzle piece might fit but has to reconcile all four sides of the puzzle piece with the rest of the puzzle. Then the subconscious mind takes the completed portions of the puzzle and delivers them in the form of metaphoric "lightbulbs above the head" (i.e. 'I just know' revelations or 'it all came together in my head without my really actively piecing it together or thinking it through') to the conscious mind.
'Just knowing' things without being able to explain why - via feelings, impressions, hunches, ESP, and even forms of psychic phenomena - can often be the product of being so constantly attuned to the subconscious mind, where information is gathered and processed 'behind the back of' the conscious mind. Therefore this 'just knowing' is not as mysterious as it seems; the Ni user simply finds it inexplicable that they know or understand something without having ever been aware of gathering the information anywhere or thinking it through (they were not aware of it since all the associated mental processing went on subconsciously).
When Ne is operative, the mind sees a star over here. And it sees another random star over here. It automatically puts the two together. It sees another star over on this side, and it connects the dots. Together those three stars could be this. Or they could form this picture. Or maybe this one. Ne is as imaginative in creating the potential full picture - of what may have happened to lead to this point, or of what could become reality in the future - as were the stargazers who put together complete pictures (constellations) out of a few random dots of light in the sky. Ne is creative and can see what it could be, possibilities such as inventions that could be built, or ideas/resources that could be applied towards a new purpose, or activities we could do, or what is connected to what else (in cause-effect sequences such as troubleshooting or repair).
Fe or Fi?
(Extraverted Feeling or Introverted Feeling)
Fi is like Fe in reverse - it is sensitivity to feeling, primarily directed toward self, with an innate responsiveness to that feeling. Both Fe and Fi are driven through life by reaction to sensed feelings; but the Fe user looks outside themself for the feelings to which to respond, and the Fi user looks within themself for the feelings to which to respond.
Fe looks outside itself for feeling indications in other people and makes decisions based on that.
Fi looks within itself for feeling indications and makes decisions based on that.
That's overly simplified and inaccurately sounds like emotional decision-making when it is not. Jung himself said that Feeling (which includes Fe and Fi) is rational rather than emotional. Feeling - whether extroverted (Fe) or introverted (Fi) - is fully capable of logical thought. It simply gives its values - rather than merely what makes logical sense - the highest priority in decision-making and uses those values as the standard by which it rationally evaluates everything.
An Fe user is attuned to feelings in the external environment and is programmed to maintain comfortable feelings in that environment. Any nonverbally-sensitive individual can sense vibes from other people, but not necessarily to the empathic degree that Fe users feel them, and not always with the response to those feelings that Fe naturally generates. If you're an Fe user, "vibes" of the feelings experienced by those physically adjacent to you invade and infiltrate you, so you are very aware of them...sometimes to a degree of vicariously experiencing the same sort of feeling ~ such as emotional pain or tension from conflict. (Depending on your enneatype, you may not be able to detach yourself from ambient feelings or separate/differentiate your own feelings from those of those around you.) The feelings of others around you evoke a reflexive response: like your leg naturally kicks out when the doctor strikes it with the reflex hammer, painful feelings in those around you strike pain in you and involuntarily invoke a response to relieve them (through taking whatever action will make the person/people feel better).
Think of Fe as an emotional thermostat. The default (and unchangeable) setpoint on the dial is the desired emotional temperature, which is: people feeling good rather than hurt, and people being comfortable/harmonious in their relationships with the Fe user and with one another.
The sensing element in the thermostat senses the emotional temperature around them - how people (in physical proximity to the Fe user) are feeling. Fe then takes action to adjust its own behavior in a way that will change that temperature back to the desired setting, when it senses that the temperature around them is no longer at the setpoint on the dial. Therefore, if an Fe user is kind, gregarious, or sociable, it is because that makes people feel loved, noticed, and included. If an Fe user tries to intervene in a conflict, it is because that will restore harmony and good feelings to the people involved. If an Fe user respects social norms or expectations, it is because of how that affects others' feelings and relational harmony. If an Fe user is polite, it is because that makes other people feel good and maintains peace with them. An Fe user's values - by which they evaluate everything as good or bad, and make decisions - prioritize how anything makes others feel, and preserving interpersonal harmony in the external environment. An Fe user is likely to feel strongly when those values are violated, and may react powerfully against those who violate them.
An Fi user is attuned to feelings in the internal environment and is programmed to maintain comfortable feelings in that environment. Any person with strong ethics or devout religious faith can feel guilt or internal discomfort over violation of their values, compare everything against those ethics or that faith, and be sensitive about this, but more as a developed style of living rather than in the default, inborn way that an Fi user enters the world already focused on this.
If you're an Fi user, everything you encounter in life strikes a feeling within you, and you rely on those internal feelings to navigate life. If it feels right, and makes you feel harmonious and at peace inside, it must be right; if it feels wrong, you have a powerful internal reaction against it. Therefore Fi operates a bit like a conscience - evaluating everything by the level of comfort or peace it feels in response to it, feeling extreme internal discomfort when its standards are violated.
An Fi user has strong internal values and everything is measured against them ~ this may be entirely subjective, or it may be a combination of an objective standard (a values system they embrace) and a subjective standard (what feels right or what feels wrong). Those values may include caring for others or being kind, tolerant, and compassionate to them, and as a result, Fi users may be very empathetic. Fi users are also likely to be tolerant and protective of others' individualism in the same way they cherish their own internal value systems, as long as you don't tread on their values. Fi feels deeply, and when one has felt something deeply they know how others with the same emotion feel; as such Fi often is aware to some degree what others are feeling and responds to it with an understanding "I've been there, I know how you feel" sympathy.
An Fi user's values - by which they evaluate everything as good or bad, and make decisions - prioritize how anything makes them feel internally - does it bring peace, or a sense of internal conflict or disharmony? An Fi user is likely to feel strongly when those values are violated, and may react powerfully against those who violate them.
There can be some confusion here between Fe and Fi, due to enneatype influence.
Enneatype 1s are always internally tuned to the radio station of their values and hear an internal critic on that radio shouting at them, making them very uneasy, if they violate their values. This can appear like Fi, but it is not ~ and can lead enneatype 1 INFJs to believe they are INFPs.
An Fe user may be partially focused on internal feelings, not due to default brain settings with which they were born (Jungian cognitive function Fi) but due to how their brain developed in response to their formative experiences (enneatype). Enneatype 4s are very attuned to their own emotions, and how things make them feel, such that they can make choices based on how they feel; and sometimes they can get so absorbed in what they are feeling that they are less aware of how they are affecting others around them, or of the emotional state of others; and this can interfere with Fe's expression in an INFJ, resulting in confusion. Enneatype 4 INFJs have a tendency to have difficulty expressing their complicated internal emotions however, and may need to discuss their convoluted feelings with a trusted friend in order to sort them out, whereas Fi users are innately more self-aware in this aspect. And it is important to note the difference between Fi and enneatype 4 individualism and feeling-based decision-making ~ unlike enneatype 4, Fi feelings by which they evaluate or make decisions are ethical in nature - it either feels right or it feels wrong - and authenticity to self is chosen because it "feels right."
An Fi user may be partially focused on external feelings, again not due to cognitive default but due to formative experiences. Enneatype 2s, 4s, and 9s can be - depending on psychiatric health - empathetic by nature and this can be difficult to distinguish from Fe. Enneatype 2s can sense others' emotions and naturally respond in a sympathetic, caring, loving way to them; enneatype 4s can have a deeply empathetic innate understanding of how others feel and experience life; and enneatype 9s are compassionate by nature and, due to their merging tendencies, may feel somewhat psychic about the internal state of others and not be able to distinguish their own emotions from the emotions of those around them. Enneatype 6s are highly intuitive and nonverbally sensitive, tuned in to possibilities in others and attempt to interpret what is really going on (by contrast with what appears to be the case), and are driven to "read" those around them...due to their empathy they may respond to what they see in others by defending or helping them. This is not the same as Fe, although Fe is perceptive of and protective towards others.
I think it's useful here to start by noting that INFP (Fi, Ne, Si, Te) and INFJ (Ni, Fe, Ti, Se) share zero function attitudes, so they orient all four functions in opposite directions from one another. INFPs and INFJs, when analyzed in depth, really have very little in common in terms of their personal philosophies and motivations.
This may seem counterintuitive, but I'm going to start with analysis of the auxiliary functions instead of the dominant ones, because they are the extroverted, and it's certainly easier to explain an introvert's externalized function than his hidden private dominant function.
Auxiliary: Ne vs. Fe
INFPs, because they show the outer world their flexible Ne side more readily, will appear much more open and accepting on the surface, and indeed they will remain that way as long as their interactions with you remain relaxed and enjoyable and do not require getting into serious ethical analysis or put them in any uncomfortable situations which might make them feel morally conflicted. They will appear flexible now (Ne), and steadfast later (Fi). They are generally open to all sorts of new experiences and drawing connections between different experiences -- they love to get at the heart of the people's true character by finding and comparing the ways in which different individuals have different unique "flavors", each offering its own special kind of meaning, and they love unearthing commonalities between different individuals in this regard. They may come off as rather reserved at first, but it doesn't take too long before they will at least open up Ne to you and relate to you on a surface level -- this usually happens in terms of discussion about some common interest, such as art, philosophy, music, etc. anything that will seem interesting and noteworthy to the collective of people the INFP deems worthy.
Inside, however, they are far more rigid and unyielding in terms of the extraordinarily high ethical standards they place on themselves and anyone they consider close enough to be a trusted friend. When you become close to an INFP, you are accepting a responsibility to hold to their personal standards, which define the INFP's self-image and existential philosophy. INFPs will offer only the very best ethical treatment of their friends and loved ones, and they expect no less in return--if you cannot fulfill this sacred bond to the same level they hold themselves to, you should not commit to such a close relationship in the first place.
INFJs, on the other hand, show the world their meticulously organized Fe side more readily, and thus will almost invariably come off as more serious, focused, and directive by nature. Remember that INFJs are, in truth, more similar to their INTJ cousins than they are to INFPs. Don't be fooled by the F in their types; it's often said that INFJs are as close as one can get to being an NT without actually being one. Because they relate to the external world primarily in terms of collectively upheld, objectively verified (by widely accepted cultural and social standards) ethical perspectives, they will often find themselves more readily capable of immediately generating rapport with others (assuming they are not NiTi loops, in which case they will be absolutely horrible at it), but short-term Fe rapport often lacks the depth of deeply personal connection upon which Fi dominants thrive (and provides the basis for the primary Fi criticism of Fe philosophy.)
Example: An INFP and an INFJ show common Fi vs. Fe methods of relating to people.
INFP: "I know just how you feel--I've felt just the same way when that happened to me, and it really hurt. You should be able to say how you feel even if others don't always necessarily think it's appropriate--as long as it's truly from the heart. You should never go against what your personal moral compass says, even if that goes against the commonly accepted morality of all of your close family and friends and anyone you respect. I don't want to know what you should feel--I want to know what you do feel."
INFJ: "I can sympathize with where you're coming from--allow me to emphasize some sort of cultural bond or familial connection that relates us in an objectively observable way and suggests that we have some degree of responsibility toward each other. Only through committed responsibility to these objective relationships can we form the social hierarchy by which we will decide--together through collective experience--what constitutes moral and ethical behavior within the communal bonds of our lives together. Morality is simply too important to be decided by any individual without any input from the consensus of the people he trusts, loves and respects."
**It's worth noting that Fe doesn't mean automatically conforming to whatever the people who happen to be physically surrounding you right now are doing. That's a big misconception about Fe. It simply means drawing on the moral opinions of the people who are genuinely important to you--your friends, family, any group or "tribe" to whom you feel an emotional obligation--in order to consider a wide variety of relevant information in order to make moral decisions in a way that can be collectively understood and upheld by a large group of people. Note that Fe's focus--providing a collective framework by which groups can judge morality objectively across many contexts--is more practical and utilitarian, while Fi's--providing a personal sense of how to judge the inherent value or worth of the essence of people and ideas--is much more idealistic and individualized. Je creates external sense of communal structure; Ji creates internal sense of personal value.
On a cute side note, you can see an hilarious example of inferior Fe (working unconsciously and behind the scenes) on INTP Central, where the overtly clannish, "in crowd vs. out crowd" Ti pride parade mentality provides fantastically ironic contrast to the generally anti-E, anti-S, anti-F, anti-J attitude (note the dichotomy-oriented obliviousness to the significance of functional orientation, lulz) displayed by the 85% Ti-Si loop population ("BOOHOO MY PARENTS WANT ME TO BE A TYPICAL ESFJ WOMAN WITH ALL THEIR STUPID CONFORMITY--NO WAY MAN, I'M INTP, WE ARE TOO GOOD FOR THAT SHIT, THOSE FUCKERS ARE ILLOGICAL THEY CAN BURN IN HELL!!"), who typically know nothing of Jung or his work beyond the fact that an internet quiz has conveniently and in 20 minutes or less given them a sense of collective identity all their own: an excuse to remain socially inept, suicidally depressed full-time WoW players who have it all figured out but can't seem to make it do anything useful.
HINT FOR INTPCENTRAL: The solution is in that, you know, Fe thing you waste your entire lives railing angrily against, despite the fact that it's the very attitude you yourselves are fulfilling a subconscious need for awareness of with your INTP-supremacist clan.
But I'm sorry. I digress. (I adore most INTPs, by the way, so don't start the hate mail that I'm anti-your type. I've been called anti-every type at some point; just save it.)
Dominant: Fi vs. Ni
The INFP's dominant Fi is an introverted judgment (Ji) function, meaning the top priority for INFPs is full, deep, robust, profound definition of precisely what values the user finds instrumental to the essence of his personal identity and that which he finds to be fundamentally "good" or "bad" at its root core. But it's more than just good or bad; on a grander scale, the INFP is concerned with the very essence of Good and Evil, Meaningful and Not Meaningful, Sacred and Not Sacred. This duality becomes central to the moral philosophy of many Fi dominant types.
Fi users believe there is a definite moral order to the universe (meaning that it is inescapably true that some things and some ideas are inherently more valuable, more virtuous, and more worthy of positive evaluation than others), and that the only way we may catch a glimpse of this sacred ideal is by allowing ourselves complete and total connection and understanding with our emotional responses and the way they reflect that which upholds the internal "essence" of moral goodness as we understand it subjectively and individually. One INFP friend calls it "The uh oh feeling" when his Fi (bolstered by Si) somehow "senses" almost immediately that a new person is up to no good.
For Fi, standardizing ethics collectively misses the point by blunting the individual's unique identity and influence so much that the real significance is lost.
Morality for Fi is not something that anyone else can tell you how to approach: it's something you just have to look inside and feel for yourself. Morality is too complex and nuanced, reasons Fi, to be marginalized by approaching it from a collective standpoint. It's too dependent upon the essence of the individual and his personal impressions, too subject to that individual's experiences and understanding to even be approached (or worse, insisted upon) by anyone else. As soon as you try to design moral philosophy that works the same way for more than one person, you've ruined its inherently individualistic nature.
INFPs often have a distinct habit of letting resentment and negativity build up toward someone until they're so incredibly upset that they can't help exploding into a Te-rundown of precisely everything you are doing wrong and why it's simply not acceptable in moral terms they can justify (Fi.) At least two INFP friends have told me that when they focus on explaining and resolving their grievances routinely and calmly before they have time to bottle up and fester into huge issues, they find themselves much more able to maintain the deep one-on-one connections they invariably must form with others, and to reach even greater personal understanding and empathy as a result.
On the other hand, the INFJ's Ni is an introverted perception function, meaning it's not making any kind of value judgments. It's only taking in impressions--as many different possible interpretations of the significance of any given idea or event as possible. That may sound similar to Ne on the surface, but it's not--Ne is picking up a lot of different events and ideas at once and looking for common threads between them; Ni is picking one idea or event at a time and examining ("from a clean slate", as Yukawa says) every angle of every component of that one thing in order to find any as-of-yet untried interpretations that might cause us to view the whole issue in an entirely new light.
It's often very difficult to convince an Ni dominant on a mission to stop and reconsider what you have to say. Typically, INJs have already given substantial consideration to the future implications of their actions, and thus once Je has made up its mind and begun executing the plan, it's really going to throw a wrench in the INJ's day to stop and listen to your critiques. Ni has thought through each angle individually and in depth, and now Fe (or Te, for INTJs) is carrying out the plan.
But if you can break through that Je shell and really get the INJ to stop and reconsider what he's doing, he'll come to be more open to different interpretations and approaches to the idea than will the INFP, because he isn't as bound by rigid personal Ji value judgments of morality or consistency. A substantial strength (and also potentially a weakness--as Ni should be the first to point out!) of Ni is that it can simultaneously make use of two mindsets that Ji would almost certainly consider incompatible, because it's good at finding unique interpretations that would allow both positions to (potentially) be true.
Ni on its own doesn't really care whether either position or both or neither is "true"; it's merely a perceptive function, and thus not in the business of declaring such value judgments as truth or falsehood. It merely condenses different interpretations of how things might be understood into elegantly simple conclusions that borrow the useful elements of each, while eliminating those which conflict with each other in order to generate uniquely subjective and personalized conceptual paradigms. Ni, left to its own devices, can potentially justify anything.
And so, to continue the earlier pattern, INFJs will appear steadfast now (Fe), and flexible later (Ni.) It all just depends on where they are in the planning stages/how close they feel to achieving the singular vision of the future they are constantly developing, and whether or not they know you well enough to trust you with seeing their raw, exposed Ni without the Fe side smoothing things over. They are keenly aware that this is not something a great many people can be trusted with seeing.
Tertiary: Si vs. Ti
For INFPs, the tertiary relief function Si is consulted in order to provide them quick reference to the real feelings and experiences that have affected them profoundly in their past experiences. Fi+Si doesn't consciously say, "Ok, the last time this happened it caused a negative emotional reaction for me; therefore I will avoid it now"; Fi simply instinctively begins to experience the terrible emotional state Si has associated with whatever negative experience, and panic and dread take over, forcing the INFP to escape this situation at all costs, for fear of being forced into that state again. Fool me once, shame on you--fool me twice, shame on me.
I have seen INFPs who, once they begin to develop Si, start to pay very close attention to possible contaminants which could taint the purity of their physical bodies in the environment around them. They'll become extra careful to check food to make sure it hasn't gone bad, has the right nutritional content, etc. Some of them either insist on seeing a doctor more often than necessary, or become distrustful of doctors in general and avoid the experience, if they've had some negative past experience with doctors or medication (as, unfortunately, a fair number of INFPs have.) When applied positively though, it gives them a grounding into something real, something they can hold on to that they know will always be there for them because it always has been--this can be instrumental in leading the INFP into the spiritually aware and comfortable state she desires.
For the INFJ, tertiary Ti provides a sense of balance when Ni has determined that Fe's objective social standards are an inappropriate interpretation for this situation, but Ni has become tired of running around in circles justifying every angle it can possibly think of and not coming to any real conclusions about which is subjectively most important to the INFJ herself.
Ti comes along and provides a clearly defined, uniquely simple and thankfully (for the brain-fried INFJ who's been thinking all day) complete solution that he can apply to all of his own personal evaluations because it's clearly consistent and rational, and it appeals to a subjective sense of the total logical causality of all ideas, in that it seems obviously correct and consistent. When an INFJ gets overloaded with too many possibilities and can't find any useful objective guidance, he turns to Ti to decide what's ultimately reasonable and important to him. From this he can derive personal convictions and find a way to make personal value judgments without feeling he is neglecting the vital opinions of his community.
Ti can have a negative impact when it's poorly developed or when it blocks out Fe to an unhealthy degree--the NiTi loop INFJ is brutally anti-social and absolutely clueless as to how to relate to the rest of humanity. One INFJ friend told me that Ni is a very deep hole that it's very easy to get lost in and never come back. =/
Inferior: Te vs. Se
The inferior function is, of course, the Achilles' heel of every type, and the INFs are no exception. The inferior function is expressed most often when the user is forced out of his comfort zone and into a stressful situation which directly threatens him by forcing out the unconscious desires of his animus, the parts of himself he is not yet ready to reconcile with. This can be a very beautiful or very ugly thing, depending on the individual and his degree of personal development.
For INFPs, Te ideally provides an objective counterpart to Fi's value judgments by allowing them to consider the importance of accomplishing real goals through real functional external world systems. This is very difficult for many INFPs to process because forcing any sort of cooperation on others for the good of a larger system (Te) is often seen as tantamount to destroying the right to express one's personal individuality at all costs (Fi.) This moral dilemma plagues many INFPs.
Te will, on occasion, pop out and result in the INFP blowing up and telling everyone in painstakingly objective detail how poorly they are living up the expected standards of their responsibilities. It kills the INFP to do this, because she wants so badly to respect others' right to personal individuality and self-expression, but ultimately she must recognize that some people will not voluntarily cooperate and must be forced to change for the good of society as a whole--nay, for the Good of Good itself!
As far as I can tell the line of reasoning goes something like this: "You are not performing your moral duty to me as a friend (Fi) in a way that creates results others will find novel or valuable (Ne), and every time I have been in a positive working relationship in the past (Si) it has followed certain standards (Te), and while I hate to do this, you are threatening my right to personal identity here (Fi) and thus I must explain to you objectively and very, very bluntly how your behavior cannot be tolerated (Te)."
For the INFJ, inferior Se has a similar slow building process over time, and is arguably much nastier and more difficult to deal with. The first thing I always think of in reference to inferior Se is Black Flag singer Henry Rollins (obvious INFJ), and the stories of him beating the living snot out of kids who spit on him on stage, back stage after the shows.
Another example might be Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, with his amusing explanation for how he deals with the guilt and pressure of fame: "I masturbate a lot. That's how I deal with it."
One INFJ friend describes inferior Se thusly: "Man, when I was a kid, I always hated and resented jocks for their superficial outlook...but some part of me still thought, 'But oh man, aren't they SO COOL?'" That same friend, I have noticed, has learned the hard way to remove himself forcibly from conflicts before he gets truly upset--because he knows how brutally aggressive and insensitive he can become if he is pushed to the breaking point.
Se represents the raw, animalistic, aggressive, spontaneous hunger for the reality of pure, literal sensory input which Ni dominants take so much care to lock away and hide from others as much as they can. As a tertiary function for ENJs, Se has a much more helpful use, because it's under their control enough that they can use it to show others they care about appearances and trends (for Te- or Fe-oriented business goals), and, if necessary, to subtly imply threats of brute force if the adversary cannot muster up the discipline to respect the ENJ's polite requests for obedience.
But as an inferior function, few INJs learn to command Se to a degree that it becomes a substantial part of their regular healthy cognition. Its literal focus on precisely what is immediately obvious is something many INJs spend their entire lives working hard to eliminate in themselves, insistent that such shallow focus is beneath the sophistication of their constant work to see all the less obvious, hidden interpretations where Ni feels at home. But Se is still there...lurking under the surface, waiting to boil over. You don't want to be around an INFJ when it does.
Ideally, inferior Se should eventually help the INFJ to stop looking for deeper meaning in places where it's neither intended nor useful, to appreciate the more immediate value in that which is tangible and real to others (even though she herself may see it as trivially insubstantial), and to maintain a degree of spontaneity in terms of ability to pay attention to and imitate what others around her see as current and worthy of attention. Sometimes this is the only way the INFJ can get anyone to pay enough attention to what he's saying to make any real noticeable impact or difference in the world--and that's something most INFJs struggle their whole lives to feel like they are doing.
Anyway I think that about covers it for now. Feel free to leave questions and I will try to get to them.
INFPs first introvert feelings and then extrovert theories and multiple intuitive ideas with the world around them. We feel the need to tell everyone or at least someone about our ideas. If we can't talk about our ideas with people we won't feel that they are worth much. INFPs develop their ideas while communicating with others, but will first get an inner feeling about things. We keep quiet most of the time about the feelings and we are moody. We also get criticized for our crazy intuitive ideas most of the time because we talk about them before we fully form them. Sort of learn through interaction.
Since INFP is perceiving type, our dominant extroverted function is the way we gather information. In this case Intuition (N) so : Ne - N(intuition) e(extroversion).
This makes us seem like we are changing our core values about things as we gather more and more information. What is really happening is that we are developing our ideas about something and talk about it during the development cycle, but the core value remains unchanged until the ideas are finalized. We then change the core value the ideas were related to, if the new information suggests we should.
INFJs however express their core value about something and since Ni works differently they rarely change it or are reluctant to. This is why and INFJ will be seen as consistent and an INFP, aimless, unable to decide till he or she talks it out with someone else.
INFJs first introvert intuitive ideas and then extrovert their feelings about people and themselves. It's the opposite of what an INFP does. INFJs will have a complex inner system which derives conclusions but keeps quiet about things it is unsure of. They rarely talk about their intuitive ideas and have to be sure they are accurate about things. The ideas INFJs come up with can be very detached from the world and personal, since Ni is not an extroverted function.
They will then extrovert their feelings about others, situations and themselves. This is because INFJ is a judging type. So their main extroverted function is feeling (Fe). This means that they will comfort people, talk about group values, give gifts and show their appreciation as well as their anger, distrust and everything related to feeling.
INFJs basically judge and express their feelings about stuff, groups and people, while INFPs do the same, but they feel it inside and don't express it to a degree which INFJs do.
INFJs hold their intuitive ideas mostly to themselves and are more detached from the world in this sense, while INFPs like to explore their ideas with other people.
They both react differently when the need for extroversion arrives:
INFP will use intuition to gather more information and communicate ideas.
INFJ will express feelings, explore group values, other people's feelings and so forth.
INFP sais: "more information plz" before it can confirm the inner feeling while INFJ withholds the information it has unless it seems accurate from an internal perspective, but will judge feeling wise and a manifestation of that feeling will be formed in action/words.
INFJs will seem sure of themselves while INFPs unsure until the information is conclusive.
This can also be applied to ENFJ and ENFP, basically all 4 "Idealist" types.
ENFJ and INFP are dominant feeling function types, the difference is that ENFJ will form an opinion first and then internalize the ideas intuitively, so they are more likely to stay rooted to the initial feeling. INFPs will form an internal feeling about things and then brainstorm the ideas related to the feelings, then change the value if Ne suggests otherwise.
ENFP and INFJ are dominant intuitive types. ENFP will first explore all the ideas and come up with new ones, get into things and then develop a feeling about these. INFJ will first internalize ideas and subject them to the internal intuitive structure mechanism then form and express feelings about things/people/situations/groups. ENFPs will seem scatterbrained and chaotic while INFJs quiet, contemplative and sure of themselves.
INFP: internal feeling first ---> exploring and expanding the ideas related to this intuitively with others (brainstorm) --->then changing the inner value if the information suggests so
INFJ:internally analyses ideas and filters them through intuition, arriving at conclusions ---> forming a feeling based on the precise inner conclusions and expressing it (externalizing feelings, interacting on a feeling based level with the world "if feel" "you need" "tucks you into bed" "does things for others, gives gifts")
I have come to notice a trend. A lot of people on this forum and others really abhor this label: INFP. Somehow telling someone they are INFP is equivalent to insulting them outright. This saddens me because not only is that never my intended purpose, but all I crave for is efficient organization and for people to recognize that we have different cognitive wiring, therefore, we will react differently to things. However, the idea is so wildly resisted by these individuals which makes me wonder if either, 1) they do not entirely understand what I mean, or 2) they understand it, but somehow need to dissociate with said qualities due to the social implications.
So let me elaborate on this and what being Fi>Ne, rather than Ni>Fe, means.
Fi>Ne vs. Ni>Fe
Fi in the dominant position is a very real-time function, it exists in the present and doesn't necessarily recall previous information in order to make a judgment. Fi-dominants go into a situation and with the aid of their Ne, they decide whether or not they agree with it. In a sense, they are unconcerned with conversations before that point and only consider the present worth importance. This is different from Ni-dominants who often plan ahead and need a much longer time to digest new information.
Here's an example. An INFP friend asked me if I fretted about what I said in social situations, and say things after analyzing them. I agreed with her, because I do. However, where we differed was that, I plan ahead. I will often make very elaborate plans about what I would say in a social situation and I stack up on different responses that could possibly come up, so I wouldn't be in an unfamiliar territory, whereas she decides on the spot. She takes each statement and analyzes it with her Ne and Fi, and responds appropriately. If I tried that, not only would I find it extremely uncomfortable (inferior Pe), but get agitated at being thrown into an unfamiliar situation that I cannot predict, and consequently, control.
Si>Te vs. Ti>Se
[This is where I veer away slightly from the Lenore Thomson model. The tertiary function is often understood to be a replacement for when the auxiliary fails to cope. I agree, but there is more to it: the tertiary function is our aspiration function. It is what we aim to get better at with experience and are ever-so-fascinated by displays of in other people. For INFJs, it is Ti. For INFPs, it is Si.]
INFJs are often fascinated by displays of Ti. They find it incredible and inspiring, and often seek out INTPs and ISTPs to befriend so they can learn more about it. The tertiary function, however, is also their weak spot: in an argument against an INTP, for example, where an INTP writes a long, detailed, argument that is secured by Ti, the INFJ quickly deflates and backs down. [This is the easiest way to defeat an INFJ. Take notes.]
This is equivalent to how INTJs react to Fi, and often seek INFPs and ISFPs to befriend.
INFPs, on the other hand, have an identical attitude towards Si. As such, they will often keep memorabilia such as diaries, scrap-books, photographs, and such so they can feel the past over and over again, and often seek out Si-dominants who have a similar tendency to store their experiences into objects.
[Note: INFJs also keep reusing old things for long periods of time, but often because they are afraid of unfamiliarity, not because they see the past as something that needs to be preserved.]
INFJs with a Ti fetish will often obsess over things such as personality theories and any way in which they get the opportunity to categorize their experiences into efficient, non-hierarchical categories.
[Note: INFPs often do the same, but for different reasons. See Dual Nature of Inferior below.]
Lastly, the inferior function: the dreaded Anima/Animus. The effect varies from person to person. Some people have better integrated their inferior function into their lives, and some have managed to reject it entirely. Most of the INFP and INFJ descriptions on the internet are exaggerated to the point where the effect of the inferior function is nullified. However, practically, this is often not the case. The inferior function can be described as the the part of us that we chose to reject in favor of the dominant - however, it is also our biggest weakness, and our fixation with it never really ends.
Inferior Se shows up in INFJs as an obsession with the external world, while simultaneously rejecting it. As an example, see Daria.
INFPs on the other hand, have a similar attitude towards Te, which shows up as rejection of organized external structure, a rejection of authority figures, a rejection of the government, all the while having an unholy obsession with all things authoritative. They often get deeply involved in conspiracy theories because in their Te-inferior eyes, no authority figure or organization is to be trusted.
The Dual Nature of the Inferior:
They often abhor labels and being put into a box, no matter how correct it may be, and strive to be understood as individuals and understand everyone else with the same mentality. However, they often end up putting people into boxes much more restrictive than they intended, such as "People with lower IQ obviously cannot understand me."
In the case of INFJs, they reject material needs and demands and reject trends, fashions, because they see them as fleeting and temporary, and yet, end up judging others who are not current with the latest trends, fashions, technology, etc.
I didn't focus much on the individual personality types as much as the differences between them. That was my intention. There may be more nuances and I might update this in near future with extended descriptions.
INFP and INFJ have no common functions. So while on the surface their temperaments and behaviors may seem similar when you peel back the cloth they are very different. INFJ can come across more like an empathic NT (some of them often type themselves as NTs by accidents). INFJ can also mistype as an extravert because of aux-Fe's needs to interact with the external world (Fe is literally energized by interaction with people so this sometimes causes confusion for INFJ's on tests).
The biggest differences are going to be INFP's FI vs INFJ's Fe. Generally speaking, are you someone who identifies with the values of those around you or someone who marches to your own beat? Are you someone who's internal constitution is consistent regardless of whether or not anyone is watching or if you have anyone to answer to, or are you more willing to mold yourself to the group you're in? One of my xNFJ friends complains about being trapped by other's expectations of who she should be - she has a hyperawareness and feels pushed around from group to group like a toy but can't find a way to express her individuality. (I've seen quite a few heavy-Fe-influenced types say stuff like this. Like they don't have any power of individuality and it's a constant battle for them to both be there for people but also express themselves.)
Ni in INFJ might manifest itself as an ability to 'see' the bigger picture (this is a gross simplification) or to have an instinct about how a situation is going to turn out without having empirical data to back up your claim. Ni takes in everything, even things that seem paradoxical or antithetical and tries to make sense and draw conclusions. Problem is Ni can be very stubborn at first with its conclusions (it thinks its examined all the evidence and therefore must be right in its conclusions -- not taking into consideration that it may being drawing conclusions from incomplete or subjective evidence). So Ni-preferenced people might come across as pretentious know-it-all's (or worse possessing some sort of metaphysical or spiritual ability) if they're not self-aware enough to know that their conclusions are based more off their intuitions than actual empirical data. In contrast Ne in INFP is ever expanding, discovering new possibilities, peering around corners, like a puppy sniffing out ideas. Using Ne is kinda like spending hours on wikipedia, starting with one topic and then branching out all over the place to see what you can find with no real agenda other than exploration.
Inferior Se in NJ's makes them be resentful and dejecting of materialistic, superficial aspects of reality. Periodically, however, they may crave to be around people who are more in tune with the physical world and truly enjoy it, something that the INFJ him/herself has a lot of trouble with. They may crave physical experiences that their higher order functions may not approve of. For instance if Se wants to branch out and see the physical world (much like Ne), but your Ni-values don't approve of this seeing it as pointless waste of time. This can be a cause of a lot of stress and contradiction. A lot of people who have inferior Se often say things like "sometimes I wish I could just let my experiential side come out", or when they get pushed over the edge they might react in very physically expressive ways. (ISFJ's might conclude a similar thing but for vastly different reasons). In contrast, an INFP with inferior might have episodes when they become extremely negative and judgmental, lashing out at their friends with biting specificity.
Things to keep in mind:
The dominant function is the main focus of the mindset.
The auxiliary function supports the aims of the dominant, aiding a person in self-growth.
The tertiary is a relief-function, used when under stress to "escape", but can lead to unhealthy thinking patterns.
The inferior function is an uncomfortable, unnatural thinking that triggers use of the aux function to fall back into a healthy thought pattern.
To explain that last bit....using INFPs as examples:
Lenore Thompson's function ordering has a person preferring functions in the same brain hemisphere, which means an INFP would have a better handle on Ti than Te, because it is introverted judging and a right-brained form of thinking. I know many are thinking, wait, isn't Te a natural balance for Fi? Yes, it still would be in this theory. Here's how: Te is the most inferior thought process for INFPs, as its the true opposite of Fi, and using it sort of triggers Fi-doms to turn to their far better developed extroverted function out of frustration - that function being Ne, the auxiliary function for an INFP. So in a sense, Te does work in tandem with Fi, as its opposite, not so much providing balance as triggering a healthy FiNe thought pattern. This makes its role more pivotal for an INFP than Ti, which at most will support Fi valuations with a logical "backup" line of reasoning (comfortable, but not very accurate much of the time). Te usage means growth becomes it kicks Ne into gear, so to speak.
Fi in the dominant position - evaluates to determine significance/meaning based on an internal measure. This internal measure is an imagined ideal. Basically, the Fi-dom hones these concepts of the ideal by imagining scenarios & using their response to them to gauge their significance. The ideals formed are basically fundamental concepts of the human condition & what is good/necessary in relation to it. Fi reasoning is focused on perfecting concepts of what is harmonious, ethical, aesthetically valuable, perfect, etc. This means feeling is turned inward, and even emotion is internalized as a part of a process of refining what is ideal. There is little interest to affect others with their feelings. Attempts to relate feelings to the world are done by perceiving....in the case of the INFP, that's Ne.
Ne in the aux position - perceives how Fi ideals relate to real world & vice versa, but in terms of general concepts, not specific, concrete ways (that's more Se). It also helps Fi ideals become refined by seeing new possibilities, or what I call "imagination fodder"; the core concepts of what is ideal become less specific as the Fi-dom imagines more ways they can be met in reality. So Ne takes Fi ideals & presents numerous possible ways to fulfill them (which is great, because Fi is damn picky). The more ways one sees to fulfill a value/ideal, the more open, flexible, and novelty-seeking they may become. This is reflected in INFPs' demeanor. They don't want to be boxed into some rigid structure or they might miss a possible way to fulfill an ideal. They seem on an endless quest for finding some semblance of this ideal in reality, and that quest requires flexibility and spontaneity to pursue ideas as they emerge.
The tertiary function is a stress-relief function, which means for INFPs, Si use may be a matter of preferring the familiar as an emotional comfort (when otherwise they'd prefer novelty), and focusing on detailed, sensory, almost reflexive hobbies to relax (such as creating detailed drawings or playing an instrument). They get lost in comforting, familiar, sensory activity or information reviewing, basically. This can go bad when they get stuck on reviewing negative past experience. Since Si is very idiosyncratic in nature, it can add a level of eccentricity also, the very opposite of the "earthy, grounded SJ" when appearing in an INP.
Inferior Te in an INFP can mean trying to make objective, logical sense of something when they hit a road block, then becoming frustrated as that road block & line of reasoning tears down their Fi ideals, and so they chuck it & turn to Ne to find an innovative solution to get around the road block & meet their Fi ideals. Te combined with stress-relief Si can mean making something (often related to a Fi ideal) more efficient by organizing or categorizing it based on a routine method, down to the nitty gritty details, and of course, criticizing other people's non-standard methods (this is when we clean our rooms! ). This is the perfectionism of Fi gone ugly, when we become demanding & critical. However, you can see how it can lead back around to Ne brainstorming - how can I do this better, what other options are there, etc. Then, a positive thought pattern is restored.
Ni in the dom position - In order to grasp it, grasp this first: Si forms impressions of the tangible, literal world & focuses on those subjective impressions over the literal objects, whereas Se focuses on the literal objects themselves. With that in mind, Ni forms subjective impressions of existing concepts and focuses on these impressions over the actual objective concepts, which is what Ne focuses on (the concepts behind what is real & how these connect & what they could lead to). So Ni perceptions are sort of the individual perception of the background of the background of the world, honing in on the core concept of many concepts by focusing on their impressions of these concepts (these impressions can amount to imagined connections which highlight the core concept). It's why partially why Ni seems more like a confluence & Ne like tree branches in their perception forming. It is also why it seems mystical, abstract and generally removed from reality. It often produces someone more focused, composed, zeroing in a goal or idea & using structure to accomplish it.
Fe in the aux position - evaluates Ni internal perceptions according to an external measure to choose which perception is most accurate or valuable, and then those perceptions or "visions" are used to see how to accomplish a Fe objective. As mentioned above, this creates a more "composed" effect in the individual; options are narrowed down instead of branched out. The external measure mentioned is real world significance & what things mean in relation to a consensus. What produces harmony between people, & between them & the environment, and what is a common standard we can use to ease communication/interaction? Fe reasoning is based on these measures, using externally visible results, and it spurs one to create structure of some kind to maintain these good results (ie. harmonious relations via cultural standards of politeness). Fe reasons according to a scale that is set according to common needs of some group that person identifies with (and that group can simply be "human"). The perceptions of the INFJ are often used to see how to create these structures, which is why they are more likely to go against the norm than, say, an ISFJ, because their perceptions are focused on concepts over literal impressions. They may see a better, new way to meet the same Fe objective by discarding the common view & honing it on its core meaning.
Stress-relief Ti for INFJs can mean focusing on concepts of what is logical in order to ease being overwhelmed emotionally or pursuing leisure activities which involve some kind of strategy. They "detach" basically.
Inferior Se in INFJs can mean having the literal world, as it is, thrust on them, and being disturbed when this conflicts with their perceptions of what the world is conceptually, as the literal meaning feels confining & stagnant. Then they turn to Fe to manipulate these literal aspects to something more closely resembling their perceptions (ie. influence others to further a concept of what reality must become, so the world is no longer static with one literal meaning). This Se use combined with Ti stress relief can also produce an interest in physical activities that involve some kind of logical framework/strategy that they can manipulate (see how symbolic that becomes? ). This is when INFJs become evil masterminds or con-artists . However, once again, you see how Fe thinking can restore the healthy thought pattern by personalizing situations & the people in them instead of just viewing people as abstract pawns in a strategic game to fulfill a vision. What is good, important & meaningful as a common ground between people is used as the deciding factor.
Some people cannot decide if they are INFP or INFJ. Both types are idealists and seem similar on a superficial level, so it is common for INFPs to mistype as INFJs and vice versa.
Common reason for indecision: low J or P scores
The official MBTI score report presents a continuum between the four dichotomies.
I/E – Introversion – Extraversion
N/S – Intuition – Sensing
F/T – Feeling – Thinking
P/T – Perceiving – Judging
In addition to showing your preferences (INFP or INFJ), it displays a numeric value that indicates the strength of the preference. 100% showing definite preference, 0% showing no clear preference. This leads to the common misconception that the dichotomies are traits, meaning a person with a high F has a low T or a person with a high J has a low P. The numbers do not indicate how much of a judger or a perceiver you are but measure the likelihood of this preference. Therefore, if you are an INFJ with low P or an INFP with low J, the accuracy of the fourth letter should not affect your type decision.
What do P and J mean?
P and J have different meanings for each type. It is difficult to explain this dichotomy without using cognitive functions (which I will introduce in the next section). But first let us dispel some of the common myths about this dichotomy:
Js are organized and Ps are messy
Js are closed minded and Ps are open minded
Js are planned and Ps are improvisational
Js work hard and Ps slack off
However, on most online tests, the test questions that determine the J/P scores are based on these faulty stereotypes.
INFJs are Dominant Perceivers (Pi) while INFPs are Dominant Judgers (Ji). So why is there a J in INFJ and a P in INFP?
As mentioned in the previous article, J and P are determined by the presence of an Extraverted Judging (Je) function as a dominant or auxiliary.
INFP uses Fi Ne Si Te (Ji Dominant)
INFJ uses Ni Fe Ti Se (Pi Dominant)
The two types do not share any cognitive functions. Based on the brief descriptions here, you may be able to pinpoint which function you use more than others. The functions are arranged in descending order of strength.
Here is a brief summary of how the dominant/auxilliary functions manifest in these two types:
INFJs are dominant Introverted Intuitives. Introverted Intuition is the least common dominant or auxiliary function so it is difficult for many people to imagine what the experience is like. As an INFJ myself, I can only give you my subjective experience of Ni and the anecdotes I have experienced. In the INFJ, Ni is complemented by Fe to create an uncommon depth of feeling and compassion so it is difficult to compartmentalize the experience into feeling and thought. They are the most intuitive type because they have an unfiltered access to unconscious content. Unlike INTJs, who share the same dominant function, the intuition of the INFJ does not need external validation which makes it appear out of nowhere and gives them a “psychic” or “mystical” appearance.
Ni searches for depth, meaning and significance in the world. It can be thought of an elastic web of insights that is constantly being refined and expanded. The goal of the function is to filter out biases and refine perception to arrive at the “one truth”. Monism, the notion that there is one truth is at the core of Ni. For this reason, it may be mistaken for Ti, especially in INTJs and INFJs with under-developed Fe. However, Ti can be conceptualized like a solid grid of principles and rules that serve as a filter function to determine if the provided data is true/valid or false/invalid. The difference here lies in the fact that Ti works similar to a mathematical function, an input is given, Ti processes the logic and returns an output. Ni, on the other hand works similar to a fine tuning radio or a camera lens that is constantly readjusted to get the right data. When it is not active in the external world, it enriches the INFJs internal world with imagination, philosophical insight, fantasy, poetic ideas and a never-ending curiosity about why things are the way they are.
Ni-Fe makes INFJs natural psychologists because it helps them model how minds work. They are not naturally introspective about their feelings but have a great deal of insight into their minds and thought processes. The psyche’s ego-defense mechanisms and self-deception are weakened by the constant filtering of Ni, therefore they can be highly sensitive and are known to have fragile egos. This obsession with truth results in the INFJ being seen as naive and innocently honest about their own motives and that of others. The auxiliary Fe absorbs the emotions and mood of the social environment. It is extremely good at interpreting facial expressions to quickly spot out insincerity or malevolent intent in other people. It also results in a natural desire to like people and be liked by them, which provides Ni with an intersting topic to study (humans). The default orientation of feeling is extroverted so INFJs constantly look for the perfectly trustworthy person to whom they can share their internal world or true selves. Feeling is usually expressed when it is experienced, otherwise it is translated into action or rationalized by Ti. As Fe users, they tend to process their feelings through self-disclosure or direct action, so they are not prone to passive aggressive behavior or emotional suppression. The INFJ does not have constant awareness of their internal feelings and reactions, so the stress they experience daily may accumulate and manifest in a somatic form in sickness or a physical feeling of malaise. This lack of awareness in mood can be seen in their facial expressions, as they do not try to (or are not good at) displaying facades. Other people may get the wrong impression that an INFJ is feeling sad or gloomy when the person actually feels neutral because the INFJ is focused in his/her internal world. Fe also provides the INFJ with a “higher purpose” to strive towards, this is usually something external such as a political/social movement, liberating the oppressed, feeding the poor. Their concern for others makes them great social leaders and humanitarians.
INFPs are natural feelers. They have a rich emotional life that they greatly prize and have a strong understanding of their inner workings and sense of self. Fi is an ever-present evaluator that places things on a spectrum of good and evil. In the moral sense, it results in strong commitment to ideas and values as well as a yearning for spirituality and religious experience. Attraction and Repulsion are emotions that are frequently experienced by INFPs, this gives them a strong appreciation of beauty in all its forms. They are naturally attracted to the beautiful and good things in life. Fi gives the INFP an internal ideal to strive towards, they constantly seek internal perfection. They have an ideal self with ideal qualities that drives them to improve themselves. Given the breadth and depth of feeling they experience, they can easily see things from others’ perspectives. This makes it difficult for INFPs to pick sides during conflicts because they can imagine themselves in the “other’s shoes”. Fi also provides them with a constant radar of their internal emotional states, as a result they have great intrapersonal intelligence and can usually deal with disappointments and unpleasant circumstances in a graceful manner.
Fi is a very complex process that is hard to define in words. Even INFPs have a difficult time explaining it because it is quite intangible and happens in the viscera instead of the head. Trust your heart above all else is the motto of the INFP. It is a very complex reasoning process that remains mysterious to neuroscientists and artificial intelligence researchers. It has to do with assigning meaning, value, worth and emotions to ideas, objects, and feelings themselves. It is very subjective and every INFP has their own individual version of the function that has been shaped by their life experiences and innate tendencies. It makes INFPs strong moralists and gives them a sense of absolute right and wrong. This process is very different from that of the INTPs because it is not concerned with creating universal ethical principles but weighing ideas by the quality of their subjective feeling tones. Fi deals with abstract ideals so it is never satisfied with particular “imperfect” instances in the real world. INFPs are just as likely to judge themselves as they judge others. This may result in unrealistic grandiosity or chronic low self-esteem depending on the distance between their ideal self and actual self. Emotions are experienced as states of the self and can be internalized into the person’s self-image. They believe feelings are at their essence so they are more likely to think “I am mad” instead of “I have anger I need to deal with”.
Fi and Ne work together to give INFPs a sense of optimism and a fresh enthusiasm for life. For INFPs, the world is created as much as it is perceived, and as a result they come across as dreamy and having their “head in the clouds”. This quality gives them unusual strength to persevere through difficult circumstances and “bounce back” from life’s disappointments. Their life force is reinforced by a curiosity and enthusiasm for life that is constantly renewed by their imagination. Fi-Ne makes them extremely creative and good with words. In combination, these two functions work to help them find just the right word or the right chord in their creative pursuits. It also makes them gifted fiction writers due to their rich imagination that is fueled by personal values. They have an emotional life that seeks expression in some form of creative outlet, and some INFPs recover from life-long depression by engaging in creative activities for the first time. Truth for the INFP is felt instead of intellectualized, therefore they are likely to practice spirituality that allows for free-exploration and feeling connections. They can be inflexible when it comes to their values and strongly held beliefs because there is usually a strong emotional charge behind their values. INFPs make great counselors because they have the keen ability to see potential in others using their Fi-Ne. But it also makes them naive and can lead to unrealistic idealism. This can be harmful to the INFPs because they have a tendency to idealize new people they meet by assigning positive qualities that person may not necessarily possess. It can also blind them from the negative aspects of reality, which may result in a dissapointment with the “real world” when life circumstances demand a reality check on “cold truths”. Fi-Ne gives INFPs a unique ability to detect sincerity and honesty in others. This gift is related to their ability to detect subtle variations in intonation and pitch when others’ voices. Along with their natural aptitude for language, they can make excellent speech therapists, linguists, writers and translators. Ne gives them an advantage in almost any academic field they pursue due to their capacity to easily grasp ideas and thus can be found in a wide variety of careers.