Friday, January 11, 2013

Introverted Feeling, Extraverted Feeling and Inferior Feeling

(From here.)

I'm sick currently, so I'm going to try to keep this short.

Today, Thinkgeek shared some retro posters on smart phone etiquette. I personally enjoyed them immensely (and wouldn't mind getting my own copies of them) but I noticed on Thinkgeek, that the posters were somewhat controversial. One person in particular seemed to take offense to it, and after having posted four prior comments, quoted:

"Nothing more rapidly inclines a person to go into a monastery than reading a book on etiquette. There are so many trivial ways in which it is possible to commit some social sin."

I thought that providing this quote in response to the posters was a marvelous example of inferior Extraverted Feeling. Not surprising, since I would imagine that Thinkgeek, as a site, attracts a lot of NTS (as NTs are over-represented among "geeky" professions). Although I'm no stranger to anxiety about making a social faux pas, for me it's on a much more refined scale. This, to me, seemed like really obvious stuff. I think that to find reading such a thing to be so excruciating as to generate the "I have no idea what's acceptable, I give up" response indicates not just inferior Extraverted Feeling (which it most certainly does) but also just how out of step the inferior function can be. When something is your inferior function, it's like you have this one area that everyone else seems to have "down." You seem to be at a child-like level, in the sense that in this one area, be it thinking, feeling, sensing or intuition, you still stumble with it to the point where those who have it more developed in their personality can't quite wrap their mind around why this is so hard for you.

So, I thought with Extraverted Feeling, the following could make for a good "cheat sheet":

Dominant Extraverted Feeling: The most classic manifestation of Extraverted Feeling. One has an awareness of and conformity to social norms, and they generally expect the same from others. A dominant Extraverted Feeling type probably wouldn't need a guide to etiquette and might find it hard to understand why others do as well. There is a smoothness here that facilitates the creating of bonds with others and harmonious social situations

Auxiliary Extraverted Feeling: The intensity with which one sees social norms as binding may be the same, but they may be less accurate than dominant Extraverted Feeling types. For example, a lot of auxiliary Extraverted Feeling types (and I've seen this in both ISFJ and INFJ)will have an idea about what ought to be a social value and then act as if it already is a social value. This is one reason why they might be confused with Introverted Feeling types, but Introverted Feeling types are less forceful about their beliefs and they also don't try to universalize it the way auxiliary Extraverted Feeling types do. Also, auxiliary Extraverted Feeling types may be concerned with behaving appropriately (which they may not always succeed at, especially when they confuse their values for societal values) but that doesn't mean that they conform or try to be "normal." They can have all sorts of unconventional interests, styles, means of expression, etc. Rather, they seek to commit themselves to groups that reflect their values, which they then work hard to impress upon the world.

Dominant Introverted Feeling: They may march to the beat of their own drummer, but they are still concerned with others' feelings and values. They won't sacrifice their own values to do so, but also won't devalue social norms (unless said norms directly conflict with their own values) the way IxTP types do. Rather, they may consider values something personal and individual and, for that reason, tend to express their values to others less than IxFJ types do. Something I have noticed in Introverted Feeling types: many go through phases of suddenly standing up for their values. IxFPs are often described as accommodating and then taking a sudden hard line with one specific value. What I've seen more often is IxFPs being quiet and self-contained, to the point where most people don't really know what they value, until something triggers it, and then they're suddenly vocal about it for a short period of time. However, even when aligning themselves with a group, they will never take on the group's values to the extent that FJs will. At the end of the day it's personal values, not group norms, that matter to FP. In this sense, their approach to social norms could be seen somewhere in-between IxFJs and IxTPs.

Inferior Extraverted Feeling: The person is fairly oblivious to social norms, but unlike IxFPs who may sometimes seem eccentric while at the same time being concerned about offending others, the person with inferior Extraverted Feeling more actively resents it. To them, most Extraverted Feeling stuff seems like perfunctory and pointless rules that others are just foisting upon them. Of all the types, these two struggle with even noticing social norms the most which may explain the resentment.

You could probably take the general principles laid out here and translate them to any function.

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