So, we’ve been chatting a lot about MBTI types, Cognitive Function Stack-ups, and what those stack-ups mean for us, exactly (as well as how we apply them to everyday life and problems, or interactions with others). But one thing I’ve realized that we HAVEN’T discussed yet (don’t worry, we’ll get to shadow functions, eventually 😉 ) is the functions, themselves. There are four BASIC FUNCTIONS, Sensing, iNtuition (there’s a reason I wrote it like that), Feeling, and Thinking. Then each branches off into its more specific area of expertise– extraverted this or that, introverted this or that. Think of it in this light– If you go to college or uni, you have different departments, right? Well, in EACH department, there are SPECIFIC (but related!) majors you can be. In Engineering, for instance, you could be an Electrical Engineering Major, a Bio-Engineering Major, etc. In our English Department, you can be a regular English Major, an English Literature Major, an English Writing Major (Me!), and so on. Same application here: We have introverted functions, and we have extraverted functions– Se, Si, Ne, Ni, Fe, Fi, Te, and Ti. Following me so far? OK, good.
(Note: This post is going to be more of a summary post, but we’ll get into the major nitty-gritty differences later on! You guys already kind of know the difference between Se and Si; I’ve explained it before.)
As a refresher, and as previously stated, any function that is Extraverted is usually conscious/more apparent. You are normally aware you are using it. That is often why Dominant or Auxiliary Te users, for instance, can come off as know-it-alls, but really don’t mean to seem that way (think a certain character from a certain popular fictional franchise…), they’re just brilliant and honest about their brains, while being quieter (and somewhat humbler) about things like being compassionate and sweet (when they are, it’s usually more subtle and very endearing little moments). With Introverted functions, they are usually internal, subconscious, or “concealed”. No matter what your type, your first two functions will always be some sort of pairing between Extraverted and Introverted, but whether you are actually an Extravert or an Introvert yourself decides which function comes FIRST. For instance, one of my younger cousins is an ENFJ, an Extravert. She leads (Dominant) with Fe, co-piloted with Ni, balanced out somewhat with Se, and ending with Ti. As an Extravert, Fe is naturally Dominant. On the other, I myself am INFJ– an Introvert. The primary differences between my cousin and I is that our Dominant and Auxiliary functions are swapped, then our Tertiary and Inferior functions. (Note: My Ti is my Tertiary, and my Se is my Inferior) I lead with Ni, Introverted iNtuition, rather than Fe, because I am actually introverted! However, because Ni is unconscious and more underlying, more subtle, my Fe surfaces a LOT more, and, since it is an extraverted function, many assume me to be an Extravert, because I seem naturally warm, social, friendly, outgoing, etc (traits normally stereotyped with Extraverts, btw). This can cause what I like to call, “Ambivert Confusion”. There are introverted Extraverts, and there are extraverted Introverts, but no in between. It is, however, easy to confuse due to the functional stack-up. The key is to remember that Introverts always lead with an Introverted function, and Extraverts with Extraverted functions. It has nothing to do with how quiet or outgoing you are– I’ve met silent Extraverts who are great listeners, and talkative Introverts who can be loud (and, depending on the person, occasionally obnoxious 😉 ). It all boils down to HOW you get your energy (being around people, or being by yourself), how you perceive the world (big picture/intuition vs. details/sensory experiences), how you make decisions (heart/faith/emotions/beliefs vs. brain/intellect/facts/logic), and sometimes, how organized/plan-based vs. adaptable/spontaneous you are.
So, here’s the Low-Down on each function, specifically, and in which types it can be found in:
Extraverted Sensing (Se): Very “YOLO,” live in the moment kind of people. Rather perceptive to sensory details in the present, since it is solely a Perceiving function– its goal is to drink in sensory information, and observe (Ne takes it in, but simultaneously processes it/brainstorms what the info MEANS). Can behave in a childlike, impulsive manner at times. Types that have this attribute as an Inferior Function can be extremely sensitive to or bothered by outside stimuli, and prefer to be in their heads rather than in the world.
Types with Dominant Se: ESFP, ESTP
Types with Auxiliary Se: ISTP, ISFP
Types with Tertiary Se: ENTJ, ENFJ
Types with Inferior Se: INFJ, INTJ
Introverted Sensing (Si): While still focused on sensory details and quite observant, these users tend to focus on past experiences, and relay them to what’s going on in the present, or guess what will happen in the future purely with past data. These kinds of concrete patterns help them to figure out what to do next, if they get into a jam. However, if the jam is completely out of the ordinary, it may throw them off. Those with Inferior or Tertiary Si are usually innovative, daydream-y, occasionally entrepreneurial and sometimes “scattered”.
Types with Dominant Si: ISTJ, ISFJ
Types with Auxiliary Si: ESFJ, ESTJ
Types with Tertiary Si: INFP, INTP
Types with Inferior Si: ENTP, ENFP
Extraverted iNtuition (Ne): Essentially the future-focused version of Se, Ne is active perceiving, but brainstorming about said perceptions, all simultaneously. Ne outwardly brainstorms how all these little things fit into the big picture, instead of possessing Se’s simple, “They’re there, let’s enjoy them,” attitude. They are often innovative, resourceful, and inventive. Types that do not possess this as a Dominant or Aux function ordinarily use it more for things like recreational purposes, such as word puzzles or games, if they use it at all.
Types with Dominant Ne: ENFP, ENTP
Types with Auxiliary Ne: INFP, INTP
Types with Tertiary Ne: ESTJ, ESFJ
Types with Inferior Ne: ISFJ, ISTJ
Introverted iNtuition (Ni): Future focused and often abstract, this users are very in-their-own worlds, but are surprisingly perceptive and capable of subconsciously picking up on patterns– a reason they are good at learning things like foreign languages. They are innovative and passionate, often seeing things from many different angles at once. Sometimes labelled a bit “spooky” for being able to guess things so well. Those with Inferior Ni often are very “in the moment,” Se people; thinking about what the future holds for them often freaks them out. (These would be the type of people to HAVE “Mid-Life Crisis-es” DURING their mid-life– when Inferior Ni kicks in, and they get more philosophical about their lives. Me? I’ve had mine 10x’s that, starting in TEEN years. Lol.)
Types with Dominant Ni: INTJ, INFJ
Types with Auxiliary Ni: ENTJ, ENFJ
Types with Tertiary Ni: ISTP, ISFP
Types with Inferior Ni: ESTP, ESFP
Note: Statistically, society typically has a greater number of Sensors than it does Intuitives, and Intuitives are often looked at as oddities– yet these oddities somehow end up benefiting society and helping others. For instance, the Biblical Joseph was most likely an xNFJ (unclear whether he was INFJ or ENFJ, but he was definitely a Feeler and Intuitive, and God gave him the wisdom to help plan out a survival plan for His people and Egypt!). However, each type has a part to play in God’s design; we are all important.
Extraverted Feeling (Fe): Making decisions from the heart here, based on subjectivity, worldviews, beliefs, faith, and opinions rather than cold-hearted facts (this is not to say Fe-users cannot be logical– Look at ISTP and INTP, who possess Inferior Fe). Fe is a group-oriented function, and tends to put others before self, even if their own feelings get squashed in the process; in short, they are often people pleasers. However, it can also lead them to be a bit controlling, thinking they know what’s better for the whole than the whole does. People with Inferior or Tertiary Fe tend to be less organized, more logical and objective, and more spontaneous/impulsive.
Types with Dominant Fe: ENFJ, ESFJ
Types with Auxiliary Fe: INFJ, ISFJ
Types with Tertiary Fe: ENTP, ESTP
Types with Inferior Fe: INTP, ISTP
Introverted Feeling (Fi): While still quite emotion-and-beliefs-based, like Fe, Fi differs in that it makes strong personal judgements according to its own beliefs, ideas, and opinions– but often (though not always) will keep them to themselves due to fear of judgement or not wanting to seem “intolerant” of others’ ideals and beliefs. People with Inferior or Tertiary Fi are usually logical, fairly organized, stoic, justice-seekers, but with a “I do what I want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone physically, I’m good” kind of attitude–they are very firm about and solid on what they believe, and can be more obstinate about said beliefs. Tert and Inferior Fi users also often tend to rationalize their emotions, as a means of “making sense” of what they feel.
Types with Dominant Fi: INFP, ISFP
Types with Auxiliary Fi: ENFP, ESFP
Types with Tertiary Fi: INTJ, ISTJ
Types with Inferior Fi: ENTJ, ESTJ
Note: Those with a Tertiary or Inferior F function often playfully tease/pick on people they care about or are fond of. Statistically speaking, Most men are Thinking types taught to be tough and not show emotion in the usual way, as per society, whereas women tend to be unfairly stereotyped as “sensitive” and “emotional”– because the majority of us are FEELERS! But, I have met men who are Feelers and women who are Thinkers; it’s an odd but fascinating swap. (I’ve at least one male cousin Feeler, one of my younger brothers is a sensitive male Feeler, and several good female friend Thinkers 🙂 ) These people tend to buck the stereotypes of society, and can feel like “outsiders” as a result. So if a T type picks on you playfully, they’re probably fond of you!
Extraverted Thinking (Te): Concrete, solid, logical , efficient and direct thinkers, they tend to want the facts– and only just the facts (my Dad is definitely a Te user!), just like Holmes. Short, direct, and to the point is what they like– no red herrings, and definitely no sugar-coating. However, they are usually honest with those they care about, and this blunt honesty is often linked to a strong sense of fairness, a willingness to work hard, and integrity. Te-Doms or Auxes are often found in leadership roles (CEOs, military). Those with Inferior or Tertiary Te are normally more scattered, daydream-y, and often artistic and emotional people.
Types with Dominant Te: ENTJ, ESTJ
Types with Auxiliary Te: INTJ, ISTJ
Types with Tertiary Te: ENFP, ESFP
Types with Inferior Te: INFP, ISFP
Introverted Thinking (Ti): This part of the Thinking Avenue gets trickier to navigate, as it deals with more abstract thought– not just WHAT something is what it is (Te), but WHY it’s that way (Ti). Ti users can make excellent philosophers, scientists, psychologists, etc– but surprisingly, they can also make great mechanics, too (ESTP, ISTP). After all, they need to know WHY the car’s making that noise, not just the obvious fact THAT it’s making the rattle. They look beyond what is in front of them, but still retain the blunt, matter-of-fact manner similar to their Te cousins, which can seem insensitive at times. They can have a bit of a rebellious streak against authority and the status quo, which may also risk getting them in trouble, but to the Ti-user, the pursuit of truth makes it statistically 100% worth it. Those with Tertiary or Inferior Ti are more organized, more concerned about group welfare, and sometimes utilize it to seek truth and justice if needed.
Types with Dominant Ti: INTP, ISTP
Types with Auxiliary Ti: ENTP, ESTP
Types with Tertiary Ti: INFJ, ISFJ
Types with Inferior Ti: ENFJ, ESFJ