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Perhaps one of the most misunderstood of all the dichotomies, Feelers and Thinkers are often on two sides of an issue, looking at each other from different places of judgment.

That makes sense, as that is what we use Thinking and Feeling for – to judge, or determine the worth and value of something.

All Thinkers feel, and all Feelers think. If you’re a Thinker, this does not mean you are any more reasonable than a Feeler, and if you are a Feeler this does not mean you have an automatic entrance into the high E.Q. club.

The distilled difference between Thinkers and Feelers is this: Thinkers use impersonal metrics to determine the value of an object, idea or situation. Feelers use personal, human-based considerations when determine the value of an object, idea or situation.

Both Thinkers and Feelers (when determining value) use analytical, cerebral processes to come to their conclusion. Thinkers do not have a monopoly on analysis. At the same time, both Thinkers and Feelers use emotion-based considerations when deciding what criteria they’ll be using as values to begin with.

For a Thinker, there is emotion behind the decision that impersonal metrics are what they hold dear. This made obvious by how frustrated, upset and sometimes downright irate they become when people ignore what is accurate, effective, true or real. If their metrics aren’t upheld it can take quite an emotional toll on the Thinker.

On the other hand, Feelers regularly ignore their own emotions in order to maintain what they believe is right. Social considerations usually rank high on their list of values, and it’s not uncommon for a Feeler to put aside their feelings in order to keep harmony in an awkward situation.

It makes sense, however, that Thinkers would have data and metric on their mind far more often, and therefore be more comfortable in careers, relationships and other situations where high emotion isn’t present. Feelers, by the same token, would have people and human interests on their radar, and so they will feel more at home with displays of emotion and other entirely human experiences.

There is an approximately 50/50 split in the population between Thinkers and Feelers. However, when gender is taken into consideration, women slightly favor Feeling, and men slightly favor Thinking.

Showing 9 comments
  • E
    Reply

    Thank you for spending some time on the thinking-feeling dichotomy. Somehow though I still find myself unsure as to whether I’m a thinker or feeler. For instance, I’m really interested in the field of mediation and am thinking of pursuing it as a career. But I find that when I’m mediating conflict with a group of people, I think about all of the different subjective viewpoints that people hold in the group in order to come up with the most logical solution for that group of people.

    So basically I come up with logical solutions based on the subjective beliefs of others, and not necessarily because I think that it’s more ‘pleasant’ for everyone to get along, but more because I think that systems simply work more effectively when there’s strong communication and compromise between people. Would this qualify as more of a thinking or feeling trait? Thanks for your insight!

  • MRahman
    Reply

    The article says: “Feelers, by the same token, would have people and human interests on their radar, and so they will feel more at home with displays of emotion and other entirely human experiences.” Is this also true for Fi dominant types? Would they also primarily concern themselves with people, and feel more at home when interacting with people? Isn’t that more of an Fe trait?

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      The focus will be on how things strike them personally on an emotional level, and then that principle will apply to others. The phrase “the more personal an experience the more universal” is one that encapsulates this for an Fi user.

      -A-

  • Yloom
    Reply

    Hello, Personality Hacker. Thank you for your work, interesting articles and strikingly true videos. (I’m not a native speaker, so sorry if I make grammar mistakes sometimes.)
    I’m struggling with the F/T difference. Here is my journey:
    – I’ve read somewhere else that the main difference was that T-doms judge the world and people according to a logic-based standpoint whereas F-doms judge them according to an ethics-based standpoint. Yet, It’s hard to me to swallow that as I do think that being “logic” isn’t a hindrance to care extremely about ethics (the only thing is that the system of ethics used must be a consistent whole, without contradictions, double standards, unfair exceptions, etc.), and using a pre-logic gut-feeling of what is good or bad looks much like the very definition of “prejudice” in my eyes: a judgment made *before* a proper analysis of the situation. Then, the dichotomy drawn isn’t very flattering for F-doms: they seem to be wired to be “the judgmental”, while T-doms appear as those who are mature and poised enough to take the time of pondering things as they really are. And as I take MBTI differences not as a hierarchy but as different but equal assets, it doesn’t satisfy me.
    – Then, I’ve read your article: the difference you make is that T-doms judge with an “impersonal”, non-human grid et F-doms with a “personal, human-based” grid. I’m struggling with this too: what does exactly mean “personal” and “impersonal”, ”human-based” and non-human? Is it “impersonal” because it is systemic (applying to everybody equally), and “personal” because it changes according to the people and situations involved? (And yet, a systemic grid can be subtle enough to apply in a flexible way to various, delicate, singular situations, so I’m really at a loss…) Or does that mean that judging T-doms say more or less “It’s the way I say it is because Such System (which is the best I’ve found for now) says it is” while F-doms are more like “It’s the way I say it is because *I* do feel it’s the way I say it is”? And again, I’m disturbed, because it seems to me that the second way of judging (F) is then pure solipsism and megalomania (truth being produced by oneself, with no effort of finding any confirmation in the outside world).

    At this point you might have guessed, because in each dichotomy the F-dom appears to me in such a negative light, that I’m definitely a T-dom. To be more specific, I’m an INTP. Yet, I consider (or at least I want to consider…) F as a an equally valid function as T and I don’t want to be dismissive of it. Nevertheless when I really try to understand how F works and when I analyze the judging process of the people around me I know for being F-doms (from 20 to 55 years-old), especially in conflict, I’m unceasingly disappointed.
    When I observe F-doms while expressing judgments, I’m impressed by their confidence and charm. I’m drawn to them because in a way, they’re so confident with their convictions that I automatically *feel* “if they are so assertive, it must be true”. And then, when I analyze the situation, I’m appalled by the amount of data they have overlooked, their use of ready-made double standards, or even worse, the main drive I see in them which is their own interest and how things make them feel without considering other people’s needs, real intentions, or even the basic logic of how the different elements play together to produce the situation, however simple it is. I’m even often appalled by what I perceive as a terrible unfairness and harshness in their judgments of other people, and their inability to identify/emphatize with people who are distinctly different from them (with horrible assumptions like “If they don’t *show* feelings, they *have* no feeling, so we can say whatever the hell we want against them, let’s kick them out of humanity since robots don’t get hurt” → and I don’t see real ‘human-based’ judgment in that).

    But it looks like a dead-end to me. It’s like me analyzing F-doms I know in conflict and saying “Oh my, your logic is so selfish and ego-driven I’m stunned by all this harrowing solipsism and aggresiveness.” And them answering me: “Oh my, how can you be so arrogant to think you’re in any way more ‘objective’ than us? Objectivity doesn’t even exist! We shouldn’t even try to be so.” And I find this all stuff disappointing, exhausting and depressing.

    The only true good points I see in being an F (when I ‘wish to be like them’) is confidence and charm (charm coming from confidence). I’d like to have the same sense of ‘absolute truth’ that they often hold, but no, I’m doomed to be an endless analyst before coming to any conclusion, and ready to say sorry and change my mind if you prove me wrong or provide new data. But I’d loathe myself if I gained confidence and charm from believing I’m right because I’ve an innate sense of being right coming from ‘me, myself and I’ and not because a meticulous analysis of the situation made me think it was the best conclusion I could reach at that particular moment.

    Does that only mean that if we try to dive too deeply in other people’s cognitive functions (especially those of very different types), we’re bound to see how much it’s abhorrent to us to use the opposite functions of our type?
    Well, I’m also wondering if having Fe for weakest function as an INTP makes me just too alien to the legitimacy of emotional drives that I just can’t grasp how often it can be something else than just pure selfishness spreading dangerously on others… Am I too selfless to understand?

    Well, I’m quite an INTP vulverable teddy bear, and I feel quite hurt about this. I don’t want to be arrogant, I just want to be fair and understanding in order to judge without obvious unjust partiality. And that’s what F-doms often push in my face each time, ‘arrogance’. When I try to analyze where the reproach comes from, I have the impression that when I tell them “In my opinion, you’re unfair and biased, why don’t you consider this and that?” and their best answer is “Yes but *I*_” and I highlight that “‘I’ isn’t an argument”, they feel that their ego is shattered so they strive to shatter mine, and since I strive to be fair and unbiased, the best tool they have to hurt my sense of self and guilt-trip me is to suggest I’m bound to be a total failure in my attempt of jugding fairly by calling me “arrogant”. Then the discussion is reduced to ad hominem attacks and there’s no point continuing to argue about the original problem and trying to find a solution…

    I feel trapped in a loop, like the snake biting its tail, and when that happens I just want to retreat out of the world since I’m losing more and more energy and my formerly profound faith in humanity’s benevolence and perfectibility…

    (And sorry if my message offends F-doms’ feelings, but I don’t see how anybody can help me shed some light unto this if I don’t allow myself to state my thinking process as it really is…)

    • McAfee
      Reply

      Spot on, you. I’d also point out that the two often presuppose the dominance of EQ over IQ and vice versa. The theory is flawed and is by and large dismissed by psychologists despite being a corporate favourite. Addictive as buck, though.

      • Yloom
        Reply

        Thank you, McAfee, for your answer while waiting for Antonia’s or another Personality Hacker’s!
        Well, I do agree with you that the theory may well be flawed and I don’t take it as Gospel truth. But I think it has put a finger on real tendancies in the structures of personalities, even if the categories are not yet perfect, or especially if the definitions and understanding of the categories which have been delineated are not yet perfect. That’s why I’m looking for clarification on the dichotomy between T and F, because everywhere I find them quite inaccurate, WHEREAS I do observe a substantial difference in behaviour between the people who type T or F. To be even more specific, I also do observe more subtle differences between Fi and Fe users, and Ti and Te users. So I do think “there is” something… but is it really understood and expressed as it should?)
        If you make the parallel with “hard” science, Newton’s theories weren’t “pure nonsense” because Einstein’s came after them. It’s a gradual progression of knowledge and theorizations according to what was perceptible and understandable at such or such time. I’ve no doubt the systems of the MBTI and Socionics will be improved and the “old” versions become outdated sooner or later… but not necessarily worthless.

        Right now, when I think about F users, what strikes me the most is NOT that they are “morally” driven or that they judge according to more “human” criteria, but it’s the energetic power of their emotions. I say “energetic” for want of a better word (the word “energy” has always been quite mysterious to me), but that’s the best way I can put how I feel around them almost on a physical level. When they are all happy, warm and enthusiastic, they can be the most invigorating people ever (as T-dom never can be); but when they are stressed, depressed or anxious, they draaaain me of my energy, and when they’re angry, I feel their agressive expression of emotion nearly as a physical attack, and I’m knocked down.
        Therefore, I feel much more confortable navigating conflicts with T-doms, because we can debate the issue and explain to each other rather calmly our different points of view and arguments, instead of engaging in a trial of strength with one another and see which one will “win” by throwing the most horrific temper tantrum he can (needless to say, I lose from the very beginning of it =P). T-doms can be “intense”… but on a cerebral level, and I can handle that (as I can be very intense this way too).

        I’d like to know what our dear Personality Hackers think of that reading of the Feeling functions as sheer emotional power, if they have time to answer my question! Thank you!

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