Podcast – Episode 0390 – What Kind Of Thinking Can Be Trusted

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about how to trust other people’s thinking.


In this podcast you’ll find:

  • How do you know whether you can trust someone’s thinking or not? Antonia explains the rationale behind this question.
  • What are some metrics you can use to measure trustworthy thought?
    • Examining the quality of thoughts
    • When people don’t realize thoughts are contextual
  • Looking at thinking through a cause and effect versus a systems approach.
    • How the systems-thinking approach works over time
    • How this shows up for Antonia in her approach to business partnerships
  • What makes Antonia distrust someone’s thinking?
    • The idea that a “corrupt node” can follow a person around
  • Contextual trust: the distinction between trusting someone’s thinking versus holistically trusting them as an individual.
  • What are the areas where Antonia trusts Joel’s quality of thinking? Where doesn’t she trust his thinking and why?
  • What areas does Antonia trust her own thinking in, and what prevents her from always trusting her own thoughts?
  • Intellectual honesty and how this relates to ego work in the type community:
    • Examining the desire to call out people we believe are mistyped
    • How could we shift this towards a healthier, more growth focused direction?
    • Humility versus hubris – giving people the space they need to change their mind
  • A message to feelers listening to this conversation.
  • The effect of only “judging based on agreement” – using Black Jeopardy! as an illustration.


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Showing 11 comments
  • Teal

    INFJ and I don’t trust any of my thoughts.

    • Born

      INFJ i know we dont type but INFJ.

  • Danielle

    As an ENFP, I tend to agree that intent goes a long way to helping me trust someone’s information. However, I see intent as something extremely malleable. I can trust that someone has good intent usually, but if I sense something off in that general situation, I’m a lot more skeptical.

    To explain further, I find that if the intent behind information seems to be fear-mongering or unethically getting your point across without regard for the truth, I tend to instinctively distrust whatever is being said even if the person going along with the information doesn’t seem to have ill intent themselves. I see a lot of that in society. There are many people who adopt rhetoric and taking points from sources outside themselves that I find ill-intentioned, but I don’t have any evidence to ascribe those intentions to the people repeating what they heard. Second-hand information can be extremely tough to navigate due to the extra layer of bias and possibility of critical thinking being absent.

    I also tend to distrust information if it fundamentally doesn’t make sense with the patterns my Ne had observed in the world. There are always exceptions, but I’m prone to skepticism if something just seems off. I’m definitely not a Ti person, but years spent with my ISTP dad have definitely left an impression to the point where I will question information if it gives me the vibes of something he would question.

    I also inherently distrust information that just seems odd. A friend of mind, who I find usually has good intentions but lacks critical thinking skills, one posted some very suspicious statistics on Facebook. She had gotten them from someone else. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but the statistic purported to be the number of abortions in the US each year and it just seemed too high. So I did some rough calculations using census data, and determined that, for this number to be accurate, around 1/3 of American women over the age of 18 have an abortion in any given year. This portion is higher if you were count in women over a certain age who’ve gone through menopause or those who are infertile. Definitely an outlandish claim that doesn’t make much sense when you think about it.

    I send her a message about the post and basically said: “Hey, if you’re going to post pro-life messages on Facebook, that’s fine, but you should really make sure the data is correct. Here are my rough calculations and why the number is far too high.”

    The post was later deleted, though I don’t believe she ever responded to me. Normally, I don’t get involved in incidences of bad social media information (it’s not worth the psychotic fights and doxxing I’ve seen). But I did know that this individual would understand that I didn’t respond out of ill intent and would likely listen if I explained the points well. That really makes all of the difference sometimes.

  • Josette

    I’m INFP and I love this episode!! The reason why I love it is because as an Fi user it’s obvious to me that I struggle with persuading others with my thinking. And when I see people who have skill in this area, I wonder, what’s the magic bullet??

    I’ve had a similar experience with organizing my social activities. If I get an inkling to be social I’ll do it in an Ne way and find many things that interest me throughout the day and schedule them all. Then I notice that I can’t keep up with my schedule. So I asked an ISFJ friend how she has such a smooth schedule. I think because it’s her natural skill and she doesn’t give much thought to it or get asked about it she didn’t know how to answer. She seemed perplexed. When I said that I don’t know how to organize these 5 events, she said, I wouldn’t schedule more than two things in a day. That tiny bit of information was very revelatory for me. It just didn’t cross my mind to minimize the number of activity.

    Same with improving my thinking. I look for gurus. With my Fi I find it easy to make a judgment at any given point. I notice that rubs people the wrong way however for me it’s fleeting because feelings are fleeting and change. I know that the more information I have will change my judgment. Yet it’s impossible to have all the information. So I put out my judgments in real time and hope to get more information and make a new judgment. I think some people prefer to hold back until they have all info. But do we ever have all the information?

    For instance, if I read a news story about a man who killed someone, I might think that was a horrible thing for the man to do. Then when I hear the person he killed was an intruder, I may feel he was brave and was protecting himself and family. But then I could find out that the intruder broke into his house because the man had kidnapped his child and was holding him in the basement. Or perhaps the last bit of info is true but I don’t ever get that information. Or don’t get it for months. Then I may be stuck on a faulty judgment. I tend to think judgments are faulty anyway and don’t put much weight on my judgments. I mean I use them to make decisions because we have to make a decision at times with limited info. I just know that there’s a high chance I could look back and see improvements.

    I tend to trust my ENTP friends for helping me flesh out my thinking. Because while they may get frustrated with my Fi, they understand Ne and if they know I trust them to bounce things around with and change my thoughts, they tend to be open with that experience.

    I was also wondering for the Ti users out there, Ti in first or second place, when Joel gave the example of deciding what someone’s love language is based on patterns, would the thought process of an Ne (with Fi) come across better to Ti if we state, that ‘person did a, b, and c, therefore I wonder if acts of service is their love language’. Versus: ‘that person did a, b, and c, therefore their love language is acts of service’? Sometimes it seems to me that thinking out loud bothers others. Maybe it bothers Ni/Si types more so. But I’m curious if just a small rephrasing that expresses the thought is not craved in cement could gain the trust of a Ti user. Or T user in general.

    I think it’s difficult for NeFi or FiNe to be something we are not and remove our Fi influence. The thing with being Fi dominant, or any dominant cognitive function, is that it’s really loud. But we can be aware that the patterns we see and the thoughts that arise will have Fi influence therefore they are more malleable and present it as such. I used to take for granted that my judgments were malleable until I saw that people interpret them as set in stone. Now I try to qualify more.

  • IxTx?

    You touched on something very important, that many people don’t seem to understand – the different “levels” of “truth”. I think the language itself should be more differentiated in this, so as to not make this error so easy.

    I’d say at least three levels should have different words:

    Real truth: This is how it is. It doesn’t matter if _literally_ everyone thinks the opposite, it’s still like this. Not necessarily time independent though, because entropy etc.

    Perceived “truth”: What you, I, some people, most people, all people, etc. thinks the real truth is. For example, as Antonia mentioned, the general perceived truth _was_ that the Earth is in the center of the universe, but nowadays the general perceived truth is that it’s not. That’s most likely also the real truth, but we can’t know that perfectly certain. (For example if we are a simulation.)

    Moral or Social “truth”: “Truths” that are, as Antonia calls them, “soft”, they can change with time and/or circumstances under influences of abstract, people-related things, such as morals, ethics, emotions, maybe even laws should be included here. For example: “Anna and Chloe are friends”, “murder is wrong”, etc. (If you reading is such a person who almost jumps out of your skin reading that the “fact” that murder is wrong can change depending on context – you are probably also a person who would find it an extremely good deed to have killed Hitler, and have thereby proven my point for yourself…)


    I have personally met people who think that e.g. the anecdote of the changed perception of the Earth’s placement in the universe is a proof that there is no such thing as truth. Said people obviously equate “perceived “truth”” with “truth”, and have no concept of “real truth” (believe me, i _have_ tried to explain). I only equate “real truth” with “truth”, but we can have different levels of certainty that the perceived and real truths match, depending on subject, methods, data etc.

    Also, I would have loved the high Te and high Fe takes in this episode, why do you so rarely have guests?

  • Lauren Losson

    I found this a marvelous conversation. Your mutual honesty, humility, and vulnerability was so refreshing. I learned a great deal. Thank you.

  • Nancy

    I have a question about something Antonia said about not holding grudges. I’m the same way; my mother used to chide me for being a “puppy dog.” I’m an INFJ, and I notice the functional stacking of an INFJ has a couple of things in common with an ENTP. The Ti and Fe are simply switched in position. So, I’m curious about the connection between that tendency to forgive/not hold grudges and Fe. I’m such a newbie to MBTI, so is that an obvious connection? 🙂 Thanks!

    By the way, regarding the thought processes: I’m all about the logic. I’m not a thinker, but I think my logic is pretty strong. I trust the logic of people’s thoughts, not the conclusions. Even when we’re talking about intuitive hunches! My best friend uses Ne, while I use Ni. She’ll announce some far gone conclusion, and I’ll press her to explain her thinking processes. She has literally replied, “I don’t know why! It’s a hunch!” I don’t get wild, illogical hunches. When I intuit something, it’s because all the pieces suddenly fit together based on information I’ve taken in.

    Enjoyed this podcast. Thanks!

  • Brock

    This podcast brought up a memory from high school math class. One teacher I had did something that describes best how I appreciate and trust thoughts. Each math problem was worth 2 points. 1 point for showing your work and 1 point for getting the right answer. I absolutely loved this. He put equal value to the process and answer. He would even share some of the different ways students would arrive to the correct answer. Which really put more value to the process than the answer.

    I often evaluate information on the internet and from people this way, I will give one point for right answer, but if they don’t ever show the work/process, then the most trust they get from me is 50% which is not a passing grade. They are just a mouthpiece at that point.

    • Anonymous

      “but if they don’t ever show the work/process, then the most trust they get from me is 50% which is not a passing grade. They are just a mouthpiece at that point.”

      With intuition, sometimes they cannot show the process. If they are correct (which intuition ALWAYS is), and you dismiss what they have to say, you are missing important insights. Life and intuition do not flow in a linear fashion. You sound like someone with thinking high and valued in your cognitive function stack and intuition low and devalued in your function stack. Direct cognition, a function of intuition, available to everyone, gives you the answer immediately.

      The truth and accuracy should matter more than “showing your work”.

      • Brock


    • Brock

      My anecdotal analogy sprung in agreement to Antonia. I personally value how people think. When someone just tosses around statements without reason, I don’t trust it. For the most part, people repeat something they’ve heard or read usually by someone they trust, respect and/or love. That is all well and good but it doesn’t work for me.

      What are reliable sources except those created by another human being with the same logic organ? So, I even question reliable sources. What was once reliable can be no longer, or it needs updating, refining, etc.

      I do this with my own thoughts. I will have many ah-ha moments throughout the day. But I feel it needs to be tested and if there is a lack of new epiphanies then I look at current beliefs, thoughts, truths, posits, conclusions, whatever flavor of word you like from the massive menu of Webster’s.

      Truth is a funny thing though, I like truth to be absurd or seemingly impossible because then it is always strived for. Once truth becomes fact or concrete…kinda boring. That really is the quickest way to siphon gas from life. Innovation happens in the pursuit of the impossible. The possible or verifiable is not inherently motivating, unless you question it. (Is that re-inventing the wheel?) Perhaps that is why I question even my own conclusions regardless of how long they have stood the test of rigorous scrutiny.

      Being wrong in that way is kind of more exciting or invigorating than being right because it means the path to being right is still there. When we talk to other human beings and they spill out those thoughts can result in a philosopher’s stone effect on a “truth”. Hahaha we are alchemists of conclusions and statements. That is the refining process. That never happens if things are accepted or proposed as fact or truth without discussion or reason.

      So, uh….yeah, I trust thoughts that have solid reasoning regardless of whether or not I agree.

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