Podcast – Episode 0278 – Why The World Needs Introverted Feeling
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In this episode, Joel and Antonia go on a journey of discovery where they showcase the need for positively expressed Introverted Feeling in today’s world.
In this podcast you’ll find:
- Introverted Feeling (Fi) – “Authenticity”
- Identity crisis – Fi struggles to know who they are
- Because of that, they recognize that people, in general, have the same struggle
- Fi sometimes resists the notion that it is okay to follow their core identity.
- Fi gets the message that it is selfish to pursue what feels right.
- Fi is very internal and subjective
- Not selfish so much as self-focused – the self is the guiding star for Fi
- A lot of the self is not acceptable to the outside world.
- “The more personal something is, the more universal it is.”
- The gift Fi gives is the ability to tune into core values and share the nuanced fidelity of human interactions and emotions.
- A coal miner for your heart
- Without Fi, you mistake one motivation for all motivations
- “This person voted for this candidate, which means they are this type of person.”
- No one ever has a single motivation.
- FPs end up in the arts because it explores the complexity of human motivations.
- People don’t know why they do what they do.
- Every public defender’s office is probably staffed with a lot of FPs because they see the need to defend the complexity of human emotion.
- No one is 100% pure evil like no one is 100% good.
- Good vs. bad is a social construct.
- Life-affirming things over life-negating things.
- “Doth Protest Too Much” when people are judgmental of other’s motivations.
- Every villain began as a victim.
- Civility is a thin veneer.
- The darkness is there, and it will come out eventually.
- What we resist persists.
- Fi uses emotions to find truths others would find offensive.
- It feels impossible to Fi to describe an incredibly complex emotion.
- Fi is better at demonstration than explanation, which is why they are usually artists in some way.
- Introverted Thinking (Ti) is better at explanation than demonstration
- Fi deals in narratives and stories and finds the truth inside the story.
- Motivations = gas in your car
- Core values = guard rails
- We are making up our reason for doing things all the time. We think they are legit, but they are arbitrary.
- Bullshit reasons = rationalizations
- We get what we want at the end of the day then we rationalize why it happened.
- Fi understands that we have stories for everything, but it doesn’t make them true.
- People don’t want to give up their victimhood.
- Something happens to us then we create stories to explain why it happened.
- Our stories are malleable. We can choose the more empowering one.
- Healthy Fi allows us to look at our narratives and ask ourselves if our stories are limiting us.
- When Fi isn’t healthy, it will take an event and paint it in an impenetrable, inarguable way.
- Because Fi is so good with stories, and it can’t make things happen in the outer world because Te is a weakness, so it tries to paint a picture to get the outcome it wants.
- Fi people often couch things in a way that isn’t completely accurate to get the result it wants.
- Stories/narratives are extremely powerful.
- Learn to spot the Disingenuous spin
- Spin your narratives in a way that makes you feel empowered.
- Narrative casting is a way to unlock a pathway forward to avoid getting stuck.
- Why do I care about this?
- What am I preserving?
- To what end?
- Drive down the motivation road. Keep asking why.
- Narrative casting is proactive.
- Diagnosis needs to come first.
- Fi is the most closely tied to ego/identity
- Every new way of experiencing things is an identity change.
- Narrative casting spins the story in an effort to protect the ego.
- “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Davy Crockett
- Gain mastery over yourself first.
- We are all going to die alone.
- Who you start life with will be different from who we finish our lives with.
- You are the origination point for the decisions you make.
- You are sovereign.
- I’m the only one who gets to determine what I want to be.
- “Why does your selfishness of how you want to be trump my selfishness to be who I want to be?”
- Fi can go within and be incredibly self-reflective.
- “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
- Shadow artist – no permission to be the artist you want to be so you hang around the edges of those who are doing what you won’t permit yourself to do.
- Roles are shadow artists to the true you.
- Your life is the character. You are the art.
- Don’t spin the narrative; become the narrative.
- People who are exceptional at Fi become the models that we all need.
- Fi sees the benefits of seeing people more kindly.
- Fi provides Kindness training – Kindness toward others and ourselves
- Fi can inspire others because it believes in people beyond reason or logic sometimes.
- Fi can create magic in the world because it can see the magic in the world.
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Showing 27 comments
Really great episode! Fi is a tricky one to understand, and even though I still can’t quite describe it in words, in my head I know what it is now. Thanks.
Thank you for these interesting insights!
People often misunderstand introverted feeling and say that it is selfish and self-centered. I’d like to add some the reasons why the world needs Fi.
● When it comes to making ethical judgments, Fi digs deeper than Fe does and wants to make sure their values are universally good. I’d say that we are more insighful and have better understanding of morality itself and want to be able to honestly say that we are good according to our own standards. Fi is the cognitive function for conscience itself.
● Fi types are excellent at understanding not only the motivations but also the emotions of people and are actually the best at reading people. We have the deepest empathy of all types (although they might struggle to express it). We genuinely want every individual in this world to be able to live an amazing, fulfilling life and to be able to realise their unique potential. We really want to make the world a better place for everyone, even those who do evil, as we still see them as human beings with a good heart somewhere inside there. We want to fight for everyone who is a victim of some kind of injustice. That’s why INFPs, who are Fi-doms, are called healers. The power of Fi, when channeled through Ne or Se, can be really beneficial for the world.
I feel like I need to actively practice people with cognitive functions I don’t have to be a better human being, so I’m going to write a list of things I envy about FPs as a TP. It’s not like I hate Fi users, I’m close to a few of them, it’s that I don’t particularly like or pay attention to their ideas either. I just tend to ignore them, unless we get close enough. My lower Fe feels this is unfair and thinks this is akin to “typism”, or type racism, so since I can’t get the thought out of my head, as well as all the advice for me seems to point to “following my heart” (groans), I’m just going to show my appreciation.
I know an FP who told me about the “Envy Conversation” activity, which is basically increasing each other’s confidence by telling each other what we envy about each other, and somehow this gives a list of strange essential insights I never noticed before. If I find a person working in personal development, often I seek to ask them to join this conversation. It’s also just a good honest way to deal with feelings of envy in general, rather than my Fe just telling me to keep quiet about these feelings to not offend people, but in reality, without being honest about it, it just gets locked in there in the short term. So here you go,
What I Envy About FPs as a TP :
1. FPs tend to be skilled in understanding the nuances and deeper reasons behind feelings, where I constantly struggle to understand what I’m feeling to find the root causes of my stress.
2. FPs seem to understand how emotions are not black and white. In logic, there are only two binaries. True or false. So while I can work to understand this with effort, the idea of a person having two or even more contradictory emotions gives me a heart attack. Especially if it’s me.
3. FPs seem to be good emotional storytellers. I personally have struggled to express what I’m feeling, because something about the lack of Fi makes me unable to put emotions well into words, and this has caused a lot of relationship problems growing up.
4. FPs seem to be good at holding space for others to listen. When I listen to other people’s emotions, it freaks me out, because I can’t process as well to understand how their feelings work. Especially if it’s contradictory, again. I usually have to make a habit of communicating in writing in close relationships, so I can read things over and over again to understand. And I can communicate slowly with responses to not say something stupid.
5. FPs seem to be able to understand their emotional needs best and know how to present self care. Sometimes when I’m tired, I struggle to understand what activity will emotionally help me to relax. I try an activity that helped make me relax before, but then I find out it doesn’t anymore, and vice versa. I just can’t seem to find the “pattern” of emotional triggers that allow me to choose activities that can allow me to choose what to feel at some level, so due to Fe, we’re more dependent on the feelings influenced over to us in relationships, or pieces of art — whether in films or novels.
What FPs Envy About Me as a TP :
(From my personal experiences having this conversation with them. Might not apply to some FPs.)
1. I took this for granted, but somehow they envy my ability to give long term logical advice to people for their problems. Some seem to express frustration that they can listen to friends over and over again, but they can’t find a long term solution, so they keep coming back to drain their emotional energy, especially as empaths. My presence with logic seems to prevent this. This seems to be the top thing in their mind when I ask them this. Interestingly, FPs seem to be more interested in more of my brutal honesty advice than many immature (not all) FJs, hence I know some. And I have enough Fe to make the advice as least offensive as possible.
2. FPs seem to envy that my career options from my talents often allow for more monetary security than them. TPs, on some level, are less respected than TJs in career culture today, but are still much more valued than FPs. I think, even compared to FJs. FPs seem to struggle with Te security around competence, while TPs seem to struggle with profound issues of emotional loneliness with Fe. FPs, in turn are not immune to problems of loneliness, but seem to have a better job of dealing with it than TPs, because due to less developed Fe, can lead to many friends, but rarely any close relationships. So there’s another.
3. FPs seem to envy TPs ability to know who to trust. Us TPs tend to make good lie detectors in everyday life, but it’s a struggle to have logical security in knowing whose advice to listen to more during everyday life. Can you trust this study? Is this guy scamming me? Something I tend to do at ease, and why sometimes I attract some FPs around me. You might want to look up informationisbeautiful’s website article on logical fallacies if you’re curious.
4. FPs seem to envy how we don’t take things as personally as they do. I can take things personally, sure, especially when I’m tired and cranky, but generally I tend not to. They ask, “How do you do that?” I notice FPs tend to filter things on a value oriented lens, and see a lot of arguments as an attack on your character or morality, than just your ignorance or less experience like I do. I don’t see my logical beliefs as personal values, but just. . . just an object of my curiosity. On the other hand, I seem to struggle judging complex moral situations in turn by my own, and use Fe to study several opinions on it until I can choose the most reliable one with Ti. I noticed, my choice of moral options tend to come from FPs.
5. Lastly, FPs I know tend to envy that I have a lot more security on just knowing the logical truth when it comes to my own personal development. FPs, particularly the unhealthy ones, tend to be more likely to use their Te to find someone else as a source of trust on logical opinions, and can be attracted to some kind of cult attitude. Not just religious cults, mind you, but business, self help, and political cults. See Ted-Ed video on Youtube, “What is a cult?” and you see what I mean. This is something most TPs don’t admit, but due to our inability to read people’s deeper motivations, we tend to be more easily manipulated in closer personal relationships, namely romantic relationships. So FPs need TPs, and TPs need FPs for this.
Thank you for reading.
What was troubling to hear for me as an Fi dominant was how it is one of the functions most associated with ego. I’ve been meditating for the past few years and I couldn’t help but notice most of the teachers I’ve been listening to are Ni and Fe users. This scares me as I create a sort of victim narrative that says “enlightenment” is only reserved for the some types, the ones that use the mind-body connection of Ni and Se or types that lead with a perceiving rather than judging function.
This wasn’t meant to be a reply but a seperate comment lol
Loved this so much. Thank you. I’m definitely an ENFP but only now starting to dig into Enneagram and I think I might very well be a 6w7, just like you, Joel.
I thought it was interesting, and sad, that your Christian upbringing made you feel at odds with your Fi for such a long time. I was raised in and still practice the faith, and that’s never been my experience. Instead, I was — and to a lesser extent still am — in battle with my Fi because, as an ENFP of course I long for connection, community and closeness but my my internal compass often puts me at odds with the prevailing mores and values of those around me. I’m always torn between wanting acceptance but knowing in my heart that I have to follow my own drummer even though it makes me suspect to many: a person of faith in an atheist metropolis, a libertarian in a socialist country, a childless singleton by choice in a sea of couples with 1.6 kids, a human who recognizes the humanity in even the most odious of individuals…
I’m new to your podcasts and have enjoyed all I’ve listened to. One request I have for you is to please define some of the language you use, or try to also use other terms for the same concept so it’s easier to understand what’s meant when you say certain words. For example, in this podcast, Joel used, “Fidelity” quite frequently in one section and I had no clue of what he meant by it. Also, “Holding space for…” what does that actually mean, please?
Keep up the great work!
Thanks for all the great podcasts you put out there! I’m listening all the way from Denmark, by the way. Now you know you have reach 😉
I bought your book just yesterday and I am so happy to know it had multiple functions. My first, (and only) preparation for a zombie apocalypse…
Honestly, this was one of those podcasts that I’ll have to get back to. I’ve followed your podcast on/off almost since the beginning, and sometimes it strikes me how difficult it is to follow your line of thinking when you dig deep. Don’t get me wrong – it is not meant as a critique. Rather, it just shows me that “I’m not there yet”, and that is what motivated me to finally comment here; I’m not sure how developed my driver is, and the fact that I am not sure tells me that there is probably something there.
I am sure I’ll find something in your book when I read a bit further, but I was wondering if you would consider doing a podcast on how to engage with your driver when you’re off track? Or something like that.
It seems to me that INFPs are all supposed to be creative; playing music, painting, drawing, acting, you name it. And it is just not me. Honestly, it leaves me confused as whether I am a good at being an INFP – I don’t belong in the artistic world, but my god it is difficult to carve my own way being an economist.
I personally think my driver is underdeveloped because I am surrounded by people (norms within my country and my social circle) who do not value anything off the beaten path. It constantly leaves me confused about who I am because it is so difficult to separate from who I think I should be.
Anyhow. Long story short: will you please do a podcast on how to engage your driver when it is underdeveloped?
Personality-love from Copenhagen, Denmark.
I am a infp dating a isfp the podcast was really inspiring and i could relate to a lot of it as a infp
Thank you for using words like “intention/motivation” in your descriptions of Fi. It was something I had pattern recognized as important to Fi-Te users, but the confirmation is very helpful!
Thanks guys, this is (for me) as good a podcast as I’ve heard at PH.
I only really have one criticism, which is the apparent allusion towards the end that Fi-dominants are invariably ‘wonderful’ people that teach others, through deed more than words, to be kinder to themselves or to think more kindly of others. Now I don’t believe this is what you really think as this would suggest that you believe all Fi-dominants are ‘healthy’. That said though, I think descriptions of less-healthy Fi-dominants can be just as stereotype-heavy as those that sugar-coat them.
I think the heart of the problem is that it is assumed that all Fi-dominants are strongly in-touch with their feelings all or most of the time. Thus, ‘healthy’ Fi-dominants are invariably empathic and compassionate (which I would imagine is true), while ‘unhealthy’ Fi-dominants are invariably in some sort of emotional maelstrom and acting all stroppy.
Yet I recently saw video footage of yourselves (Joel and Antonia) at a conference giving examples of why people mis-type in the dichotomies. One of the reasons you give for ‘feeling’ types not recognising themselves as such is because they are heavily disassociated from their feelings due to upbringing or trauma.
I think such a person (which might include myself) would be in a situation whereby they find it extremely difficult to identify as any type, and there is a distinct possibility that this typology system is ultimately unhelpful in this regards for those people, especially if you are using it (rightly or wrongly) to find something to hang your identity around.
That said I don’t regret the time I have spent here as I have learnt a lot of insights about psychology, even with my skepticism around typology and without identifying as anything. I know I have benefitted from developing Fi since getting therapy (without actually labelling it as that), even with the fairly limited access I have had to my repressed feelings, it just would have been quicker (I presume) if they were less repressed. I have also somehow managed to do this with less-than adequate development of any extraverted function, not that I don’t see the value in that, I just don’t know which one I am supposed to be developing.
It would be a mistake to assume Fi is always awesome. It can actually be one of the most destructive functions when unhealthy.
But we took some liberties painting it in a good light since we were talking about why the world needs it (with the assumption we mean “healthy Fi”). If you listen to the Ti podcast, we don’t talk much about how awful Ti can be. :p
Thank you both so much for such a deep and engaging conversation. I’ve never felt the need to comment on a podcast before but I wanted to thank you both for being so open and honest in your discussion, and fearless in digging into the ‘deep, dirty’ side of this function. I’m currently doing a lot of internal work with a psychologist and your call out on selfishness vs self focused is something we’ve been exploring. Also the discussion around how Fi holds space for others rang so true, and I’ve always been challenged when other can’t or don’t return the favour. I think that’s the reason some of your final remarks about how we believe so much in others and inspire them, while doubting and criticising ourselves almost brought me to tears. I genuinely think walking the Fi path is a hard fought, emotional and reflective journey but offer so much value to those around us it can’t be ignored. So much great stuff in this one to think over, thank you again. 🙏🏼
INFP here. I loved what Joel said about you ARE the art. I play piano for audiences. When I play, people come up to me and tell me how moved they were. Some tell me they were moved to tears. I love playing the piano, because music allows me to express all of those fine nuances of emotion. I will play a phrase over and over again to suck all of the emotion out of the music. When I play, I am expressing all sorts of fine nuances of emotion. Like, there is not just one kind of sadness, joy, anger. If sadness were the color blue, joy the color yellow and anger the color red – there would be 100 shades of blue, yellow and red that could be felt and expressed. When I play I AM the art. So true. I’ve felt that for a long time. Nicely expressed.
When I do have a feeling, especially a sad or negative one, I do always question, why. I would think that everyone does that, because who wants to be sad or have some other unpleasant feeling? You want to get rid of it, right? So, you question and try to get to the bottom of it to end your suffering. Or you could take the Buddha approach and just sit with the suffering. But if you are happy and joyful, you don’t often ask yourself, why am I happy?
I think one reason the world needs Fi is that we think about these things. We are the worlds psychologists, therapists, those who help ourselves figure ourselves out, create theories and then help others. Of course, INFJs and other types are good at this, too, but from a different perspective. Carl Jung, an INFJ, IMO, looked at how the mind worked in a very Ni way. Carl Rogers took a more Fi approach, a client-centered approach, how “I” the client react to the world.
Of course, we are more than therapists. But in whatever field we Fi people go into, we bring that personal, subjective, “why am I feeling this way”, approach to the job. Then once we figure that out we can help others figure out “why are you feeling this way”. Is it the narrative you are using? Is it something from your past? Are you transferring, associating? It’s Fi and Ni, I think that have come up with answers to the questions of the humanities. That includes psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, etc. The Fi is important for that deep feeling, subjective, qualitative approach in understanding the human species.
We are also good at inspiration. Find a great inspirational speaker, writer, etc., you have likely found an Fi user. We figure out things for ourselves and then we go and inspire others. My piano playing is one of my inspiration devices. I play to inspire. And I love it when I do.
I loved what Joel said about digging deeper and deeper into the why. I believe that that is one of the greatest strengths of Fi, knowing why and who you are at the core, and then everything you say or do flows out of that. As an INFP, and only recently getting deep with M-B Typology, and cognitive functions, I am still amazed at how much we’re influenced by it, yet there are still so few people who are aware and get it. It’s like being a car and not being aware that you drive on gasoline, or that the octane of the gasoline you drink makes a difference. “you are the art, or the expression” – I loved that.
Also, Joel almost sounded like a different person, as he was in the Fi flow, it was actually quite comical and I chuckled a few times. My wife talks about how I enter a time warp sometimes, as I’m just sitting in my Fi, and time just floats by. Or I’m in my car pondering something, and then snap to and for a brief second wonder if I’m in the right place or not. The Fi flow is a real thing!
Lastly, I feel like Fi is so deep and broad and rich, that even an hour and twenty minutes can’t begin to cover what it is really like. You guys scratched the surface and dug in a few places, but I think there’s still so much more that could have been touched. Alas, you can’t talk about it forever….
Thanks again Antonia and Joel, you’ve helped me understand myself and others, and I listen to several of your podcasts each week. Take care.
“What I’ve learned from you is kindness toward myself…you see me better than I see me.” Antonia, as an ENFP I couldn’t imagine a better compliment as a partner. And so much of Joel’s points ring true, that Fi users struggle with believing in others more than ourselves.
i *loved* this podcast. (INFP here.) i think Fi is often misunderstood and i think joel did a great job of describing how it is experienced in great detail. when you were talking about the idea of sovereignty, i was saying YES out loud to myself and nodding my head like a big ‘ol nerd.
and also the thing about the shadow artist…i loved that SO much. i’ve been hard on myself for not always going for the creative things i want to be doing but as i get older i’ve recently been thinking that the way you live your life can be an art. your personal expression, your values, the way you connect with others, etc. though i do need to get back to doing more creative expression like i did when i was young, cultivating the self as an art form in a way really spoke to me on a profound level. i look forward to listening to the other podcasts in this series as well!
Thanks for presenting this discussion. I can tentatively agree with Joel’s comment that we’re all making up our motivations, even when we feel they are justified by objective factors, such as consensus (everyone else agrees with them) or logical thought (it makes rational sense to us).
It seems like Introverted Feeling here in this talk is contrasted against Introverted Thinking. I wonder if it can also be contrasted against Extroverted Feeling? This contrast can perhaps also suggest some concepts for why the world needs Introverted Feeling.
I notice, for example, that Extroverted Feeling seems very adept at noticing when someone’s needs are going unmet, and more importantly, identifying what actions can be taken to get those needs met. I wonder if, as another human-focused (Feeling) function, Introverted Feeling can also be used to provide for others, but in a different way? I can think of the analogy of giving a man a fish vs. teaching a man to fish. This analogy is typically used to suggest that teaching is better than giving, but I don’t think that’s true in this case – both are equally useful. Extroverted Feeling is good at determining that “this person needs a fish, let me get him/her one” – this sounds like a simple conclusion that we should all be capable of, but not everyone is adept at drawing that conclusion (I am not, for example, very good at noticing the external needs of others). This act provides immediate assistance to someone without requiring much on their part. In short, if you’re starving, you don’t need to learn how to fish. You need a fish.
I think Introverted Feeling may be better equipped to teach someone how to fish – or, by analogy, teach someone how to identify their own needs. Why? Because those who heavily rely on Introverted Feeling will naturally parse out their own motivations and emotional needs with detail and accuracy. It seems natural, then, for Introverted Feelers to help others not by getting their needs met, but rather by helping people to understand their own needs and motivations. This is an important difference because Extroverted Feeling often knows what others need, and Introverted Feeling may not. However, Introverted Feeling can perhaps help others to identify their own false motivations and come to deeper conclusions about how they really feel. The Introverted Feeler may not know what someone’s deepest motivations are, but they may be able to identify whether or not someone’s narrative reflects their own deepest motivation.
As an example, my wife likely uses Extroverted Feeling in the back seat in her car model (and she is very good at identifying when someone’s needs are not being met), and I likely use Introverted Feeling in my back seat. My wife will sometimes discuss problems she experiences at work or in life (often related to getting someone’s needs met) and ask me for advice on how to solve such a problem. I will hear her out and sometimes I conclude that the problem she posed to me is not the real problem, often because the reasons she gave for her frustrations do not seem genuine to me (the frustration is genuine, but the cause implicated may not be). So I don’t know what her solution should be, but helping to re-frame her problem to better address her motivations can nonetheless be helpful.
What does everyone else think? Can Introverted Feeling be compared to Extroverted Feeling in such a way that both are useful, in different ways, for getting the needs of others met?
I’m an INFP. Antonia’s answer of how Introverted Feeling has been useful for her brought me to tears because it was nicely said and something I resonated with.
I had a past relationship with an INTP, and at the time they gave me a few compliments along the lines of “thanks for believing in me”. Honestly, those were some of the best compliments I’ve ever received.
I’ve taken that and in conjunction thought about my ‘life purpose’. It might seem like I need or want to do a ‘big thing’ (I suppose that might be a generational influence, as I’m a millennial) but then I think, “isn’t it just as valuable to give another person the gift of encouragement/self-trust?”
(Also, the book plug at the end was fantastic.)
Oops sorry, meant this as a separate comment, not as a reply.
Nevertheless, I’d also be interested in Joel and Antonia talking more about Fi vs Fe
INTP married to an INFP here. Antonia, I totally understood what you were saying about Fi users seeing the best in us and thereby making us rise to fulfill their beliefs. I was raised by an ISTP mother and an INTJ father and there was ::ahem:: not a lot of affirmation happening. The thing is, my husband always feels like he fails because he doesn’t *verbally* affirm me as often as he thinks he should, but as I’ve told him, he *shows* that he affirms me in so many ways I don’t really need the verbal affirmation (although that is still my primary love language). I found myself nodding in agreement many times listening!
As a funny side note, having Ti as my primary cognitive function, I am extremely conscious of speaking precisely. My husband commented recently that on those rare occasions that I am sloppy in my speech, it REALLY bothers him, almost like he feels as if he’s having a conversation with someone other than me. I said, “that’s interesting because that describes exactly how I feel on the rare occasions you are insensitive.” It is funny how much we rely on the other’s driver process in our communication!
ISTJ married to an ISTJ (why, yes we are a BARREL of fun… ha ha) 2 sons ISTJ, ESTJ… and one daughter, the youngest at 20 an INFP. In my quest to better understand her I listened and thoroughly enjoyed! Since I have Fi in my stack of course I saw some of this in myself, but I totally see how this manifests so differently in her! She opens up for the rest of us things we’d NEVER EVER see! Great podcast 🙂
Thank you for using this convo as a way to understand your daughter and family better. <3
I absolutely love the analogy of core values as a guard rail to reign in the motivations. There have been times that I have literally had to step back and essentially reel my brain back into alignment with my values before my dominant Ne and tertiary Te paired up and kicked my values out the window.
I can think of one example from when I was a senior in high school. In high school, my survival strategy was to fly under the radar socially. I figured that my peers wouldn’t be mean to me and would leave me alone if I just went more or less incognito. So, a friend and I were walking outside to our cars in the parking lot after school one day. On our way out the door, something to the effect of my friend accidentally bumping into another guy happens. The other student proceeds to begin to cuss him out. I have a tendency to be very protective of my friends, so I cut him off and essentially call him an “unlikeable asshlole” when he implied that he thought his actions were correct.
This individual frequently hung out with the “popular crowd” and he was convinced they really were his friends. But you could tell they really weren’t. And from having classes with a few of these people, I had names of people who trashed him behind his back. I like to metaphorically imagine Ne and Te in this case sort of plotting all the ways I could really dig into this person’s skin. But something stopped me and I held my tongue. It was sort of as if Fi jumped in and asked if how I acted was in accordance with my values. And no, it absolutely was not. And this could have ended up causing problems with the individuals I would have essentially utilized as ammunition. I think they might have been more inclined to react as in “Wow, he’s finally gone. Thanks!” But I had no problems with these people and as far as I am concerned they had no reasons to have problems with me. I didn’t want to spend the last few months before graduation in gigantic drama that was caused by actions that didn’t feel authentic or correct to me in the first place. So, I was able to reign in the really intense burst of anger I felt. I later jokingly recounted this to my best friend as acting worth an Academy Award, an Oscar, and an Emmy.
As an ENFP though, the think I often find that I love about my fellow FPs is the ability to have conversations about motivation and to be able to communicate with people who can see the good and bad motivations common to us all like I can. I see so many people who want to point fingers and declare things “completely good” or “completely bad.” But there’s really so much nuance to be had. Albeit, I do think that some truly heinous actions can override the good. But most people don’t come anywhere near levels of atrocities like becoming a mass shooter.
I also think the understanding of motivations is what makes the FP types often very accepting of other people. Not to say they can’t be judge mental or that that other types are not accepting. Obviously, there’s other factors and there are always going to be places where Fi will draw the line (usually this deals with another person directly acting against a core value held by the FP) But because Fi can hold that space, I feel that it allows them to picture themselves in another’s shoes more easily.
I also find that as an Fi user, I find stories to be extremely valuable in getting my message across. It might seem like I’m trying to sway the conversation to myself. But really I’m exploring whatever the other person brought up, often in tandem with Ne, to find a connection between our experiences. To show, “Hey you’re not alone as you might think.” Then again, I’ve always loved stories. I go around telling myself stories in my head while mentally playing in an Ne sandbox. And as a child into my teen years, I seldom left the house without a book.
Though this can all be a double edged sword and trick the Fi user into thinking that they have a darkness and are alone in it. I personally will look at my more selfish motivations and think of how, if these come through (which they might), I can be seen as cold and uncaring. Although I know this really isn’t the truth at all. I’ve received much more feedback indicating that I’m a genuinely friendly and sincere person. But I can still see how my own internal desires to protect myself and my own willingness to ruthlessly cut out toxic individuals from my life (even if they’re family) could possibly appear to outsiders or people that don’t know as much about how universal motivations are. Of course, when I’ve adopted these thought patterns and behaviors, I’ve been compelled to do so. I don’t let these motivations take the reins lightly. And I’ve also seen these motivations manifest in others, which is also comforting.
As a fellow ENFP, hi!, I have to say, I don’t know how I feel about this episode. It’s very complex 😛
I do believe in y’all and the work that you’re doing <3
Thank you for helping me believe in myself!
Yes, having IF in my 3 yr old spot, I do get push back. Family members say “Why do you always have to play devil’s advocate?”. It’s because I want to understand what is really going on with others. So yes I am accused of excusing people even though I am not excusing behaviors. Yes, changes change identity constantly for my IF as an ENTJ. I have to keep allowing my identity to change, in career, relationships etc. A new job isn’t just a new job. Yes, people always tell me I am inspiring to them. Thank you for saying that that inspiration can be brought in-house to myself. Downside of IF is being brutally honest about what is going on for self and others — I find that relieving but not everyone around me always does. They often do later after the fact.
I’ve been helping people see the good things in themselves for a long time. It’s never bullshit. If I see it, I say it. I am still working on doing this for myself. I cracked up when Joel said, at the end, that he’d keep thinking of things he wished he said but he was in the flow at the time. I completely identify with that. Thanks for this one.