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  1. #11
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenebrousReflection View Post
    For the other Fe users.
    When you vent about someone like that, do you generally feel like you are looking for support and validation, or are you just looking for someone to talk about your frustrations with and get different perspectives? It sounds like you (fidelia) do it as a way to talk things through, but my experience with others whom I suspect of being Fe users feel more like they want support and validation (when I offer my perspective, the responses can be of "you don't understand" variety which makes me think they are not looking for more than support), but it might be a misinterpretation on my part about their intent, so I'd like to know if thats consistent among other Fe Dom/Secondaries.
    I often feel that people don’t understand when I vent, but it isn’t because I’m looking for support. The reason for the venting- as fid described- is to get a handle on how the situation looks to another person, like trying something on in a mirror. Watching their reaction to what I’m saying helps me gauge whether I’m being unreasonable or not. If what the person is saying back to me is an indication they don’t understand what’s frustrating me- then I can’t really use their reaction to tell me much. It’s kind of like: if I ask someone “Do these pants make me look fat?”, then I need to know we’re referring to the same pair of pants- if we’re not, they’re response is useless to me. So the “you don’t understand” shtick is still very much about getting different perspectives. At least for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by TenebrousReflection View Post
    One thing I did not mention in my previous post is that I do often feel a strong desire to vent about the words or actions of others and how they have made me feel or how insensitive I think they are, but I generally keep them inside because I only feel comfortable doing so if I have confidence in the discretion of the person(s) I am venting to - that it will not get back to the person I'm being critical of and thus hurt their feelings (even if I think they do derve some emotional string for their words/actions, I feel like if I'm going to be critical of them, they deserve the decency of a direct dialog so they can articulate the reasoning for their actions and defend themselves). When I vent to others, its either to a very trusted friend, strangers that do not know the person, or in a more subtle passive/aggressive sort of way with an occasional biting observation here and there that makes light of their flaws.
    I only vent to a select group of people whose judgment I trust, and I’ve heard other Fe’ers emphasize this too when this discussion came up before in another thread (the ‘negative convo’ thread). It’s kind of funny how Fe’ers didn’t include it when ‘venting’ first came up because it seems like something that should go without saying- but because it wasn’t mentioned, a few Fi’ers assumed ‘Fe venting’ meant saying negative things about others with little or no regard for the audience we were saying it to (or in front of). But yeah, I am always incredibly careful about who I vent to because it really is like looking in a mirror (to gauge how reasonable something is) and venting to the wrong person can be like looking in a funhouse mirror- completely unhelpful and further confusing. And if I personally notice another person demonstrating a tendency to vent with little or not regard for who they’re venting to and/or in front of, I generally avoid the person like the plague; I’ll buy that venting (and being able to freely purge frustration which has built up- to another trusted individual) may be a Fe tendency, but I’m not convinced that kind of indiscretion is a Fe thing per se.

    [edit to add:]

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    On an unrelated note, something SF wrote, made me realize I should have clarified that I think I do take into account other people's intentions. They just don't seem to carry the same weight as they do for a lot of Fi users. I used to see their explanation of their intentions as excuse making, but I realize after a number of conversations on here, that they assign much different weight than I do to them. Another person's intentions can affect how I perceive the situation, but it doesn't completely excuse or overshadow behaviour that causes problems or hurt, even if it was not intended. I really noticed this a lot when I first became a mod. After someone brought something up that sounded accusatory, inflammatory and like a blanket statement about the mods' behind the scenes deception or sneakiness, many little fires would be started that we would spend days putting out. Meanwhile the original person felt they had gotten it all into the open, hadn't intended any harm, and hadn't meant anything personal towards the majority of the mods they weren't referring to (but didn't mention that they weren't) and went on their way. It made me even more upset when they said that they hadn't made any of those statements with the intention of bringing about a particular outcome, it was more a way of keeping things on the up and up and expressing their feelings at that time! This made it seem even more thoughtless or capricious to me than if they had been trying to enact change for something they felt was wrong. I would have preferred them privately to check the facts and then deal with it publicly only if it couldn't be dealt with privately because it wouldn't impact the rest of the forum to the same extent. Some of them felt that that would have seemed kind of shady and not on the up and up. Further talks have helped me at least to have some more understanding of their reasoning, even if I still feel frustrated in the moment by our very different approaches to problem solving.
    Yeah, intentions are important, but they’re never a ‘get out of jail free’ card where I’m concerned. The extent to which someone also takes responsibility for any mess they’ve (however inadvertently) created- or any inconvenience they’ve put another person through, or grievance they’ve caused another person to experience, etc- is just as important to me as having had good intentions in the first place.

    [another edit to add:] I should probably point out that I don't think intentions are totally a 'get out of jail free' card for all Fi'ers either. It's possible short-sighted Fi prematurely dismisses consequences as being unimportant, and short-sighted Fe prematurely dismisses intentions as being unimportant- but I think a mature person of either F preference is going to place importance on both.

    [final edit. *probably*, I mean.] I have to say, though, that- even among well rounded mature people- I have noticed Fi users generally have more patience for transgressions of 'appropriate' behavior.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    Here’s what I know for sure:

    Fe and Fi have different perspectives surrounding the giving and receiving of criticism, including

    • When it’s OK to complain about someone else to a third party.
    • When venting crosses the line and become a malicious attack.

    I got the idea for this thread from an old thread @Orobas started called “An Fe-Fi negative convo” in which it became readily apparent that there were very strong differences in how Fe users and Fi users interpreted a conversation outlined in her OP.* Her thread did a great job of showing how different Fe and Fi are.

    So let me give you an example to parse in this thread:
    Fi user: I talked to Doris today. She wasn’t in good form.
    Fe user: Doris is always in a bad mood. She is very blunt to the point of being rude on a regular basis.
    Fi user: Well I know she can be difficult to deal with but I think she’s just going through a tough time.
    Fe user: Don’t be a Doris apologist. She’s a royal pain in the arse and you know it.
    Observations from my Fi perspective
    To Fi users, Fe criticism can sound blunt and one-dimensional. I’m an Fi-user. When I read the above conversation, I’m very concerned that the Fe user has oversimplified a complex situation. Even if I agreed with the Fe-user’s assessment of Doris, I’m more concerned that the Fe user is whittling down a complicated situation and making blanket statements. This feels morally wrong to me.

    To Fi users, Fe criticism of sounds like an attack on that person’s character or identity… even if it is not intended in that way. I think that for Fe users, complaining about what someone did, doesn’t overlap with complaining about that person’s essence. In the example above, it feels to me like the Fe user is attacking Doris personally. I hear, “Doris is a bad person” even though that isn’t literally what was said. When I’ve asked my Fe user friends about this, they’ve been surprised that it would ever occur to me that they were “attacking Doris”.

    I’d like to know if my Fi observations ring true to other Fi users. I’d also like to hear from the Fe perspective. Here are some questions to get us started:

    1. Does Fe over-simplify, while Fi over-complicate? If so, then how can the communication gap be bridged?
    2. Is it possible to separate what someone does (their behavior) from who they are (their character)? If no, why not? If yes, then how would criticizing someone’s character be different than criticizing their behavior?

    Now let the antics ensue!


    *Orobas outlined a very interesting conversation between an Fe and Fi user in her original post. She later deleted that conversation from the OP so it might be hard to follow the first few posts in that thread since the OP was altered.
    Your Fe description sounded more like me. Somehow I am completely comfortable with that.

    What you're describing really only highlights the differences between those who "think outside the box" before judging people and those that judge the box itself. I'm willing to bet we all do both.

  3. #13
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
    I have seen none of what you've seen. Te is usually blunt, but Fe usually tries to promote social harmony. Fi doesn't apply to other people, it's an introverted function.

    I'm an Fe user (albeit inferior position) and would never criticize a person non-constructively. I'd be more likely to say what you had the Fi user say.
    I understand what you are saying...but for the record...one of the most 'socially destructive' people I have ever known was an ESFJ 3w2 sp (and to a lessor degree an ENFJ 2w3 so - I knew). I mean...I do believe somewhere deep-down inside this ESFJ wanted to create social harmony...but no 'image' of what this 'social harmony' should look like - other than her own - would do...and she damn-well better get ALL of the credit for it. And her entire day consisted of destroying people's reputations and credibility <--- and what will never cease to amaze me...is that this behavior was positively reinforced (in her - by others)!!!

    I sat right next to her for 3 years...and people would stop by her desk...and she would 'vent' to them about someone...and then the person that she was just 'venting' about would show-up...and she would 'vent' to them about someone else. It was so ugly to witness...but people (yes...I'll be honest...usually other Fe 'users')...would eat it up! I thought it was horrible and so painful to experience...but people loved her. And I would always wonder...don't these people know of the 'If they will do it with you...they will do it to you' rule??? But NO! I believe all of these 'venters' thought they were establishing some sort of 'intimacy' with each other. But in the end (before she quit)...she had created so much unrest...and so much hostility...and so much ugliness... Nothing that even remotely bordered on 'social harmony'.

    Anyway...my point is that the short convo presented in the OP is pretty familiar to me. And I can certainly see Fe in it.

  4. #14
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Oh yeah - what Z Buck said about the person's awareness of the effects of their actions and their willingness to take responsibility can really change how I react as well.

  5. #15
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubtleFighter View Post
    I can't speak for all Fe-users, but I care a lot about intentions too in addition to what emotions it causes in the other person. To me it's about 50/50 in importance.
    Perhaps, you could say it has to do with the level development of the Pi function in the person (or at least how much they attempted to use it in the situation)?

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    re Your perspective being felt by other Fe users as unsupportive - I think I get that way too. I've decided that it usually happens when I feel that the other person has not taken time to completely understand the situation and are trying to rush to the problem-solving too fast, or when they try to play the devil's advocate, not understanding that what may look like frustration or anger can be hurt or unsureness.
    Oh, I totally understand the annoyance with problem solving rather than empathy. It's like when you tell someone that you feel unwell and they say, "Have you taken a paracetamol?" instead of, "Oh, that's no good! What sort of unwell?".

    With someone venting, I usually try to listen all the way through or at least a decent amount of time that I can see what they're getting at. This is mostly so I can try to take in and process the information they are providing, and not so much consciously thinking, "I should be supportive and listen, instead of leaping in and giving my opinion" (but the end result isn't much different ). I only start defending the other person when I think they've completely lost touch with reality or if it gets overly harsh.

    And the thing is Fe venting can sometimes sound incredibly harsh and final - like Te. It's hard sometimes to think of it as voicing uncertain feelings in an attempt to work through them, when the person is practically calling for blood. It just sounds like they've made up their mind and that's it, the only explanation is that the other person is evil.

    Don't get me wrong I do understand the way it works to a degree, because I have a rant-y ISFJ mother. I get that she need to be heard and I do appreciate that when I offer other explanations she listens and does try see the other side.

    On an unrelated note, something SF wrote, made me realize I should have clarified that I think I do take into account other people's intentions. They just don't seem to carry the same weight as they do for a lot of Fi users. I used to see their explanation of their intentions as excuse making, but I realize after a number of conversations on here, that they assign much different weight than I do to them. Another person's intentions can affect how I perceive the situation, but it doesn't completely excuse or overshadow behaviour that causes problems or hurt, even if it was not intended. I really noticed this a lot when I first became a mod. After someone brought something up that sounded accusatory, inflammatory and like a blanket statement about the mods' behind the scenes deception or sneakiness, many little fires would be started that we would spend days putting out.
    This is a good example. And in such circumstances I can see intentions don't always matter as much as what was said/done. There are plenty of people that throw around inflammatory language or simply behave like a jerk and then believe the should be absolved of responsibility because they lacked the social skills to be aware of the effects of such behaviour. This is incredibly frustrating. My Mum sometimes has to work with a woman who makes disparaging comments prefaced with, "No offense but.." or follow them with "...I'm just saying". The latter phrase has become a family in-joke where we faceciously make really harsh criticisms of one another and then add it at the end, as if it makes it all better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I only vent to a select group of people whose judgment I trust, and I’ve heard other Fe’ers emphasize this too when this discussion came up before in another thread (the ‘negative convo’ thread). It’s kind of funny how Fe’ers didn’t include it when ‘venting’ first came up because it seems like something that should go without saying- but because it wasn’t mentioned, a few Fi’ers assumed ‘Fe venting’ meant saying negative things about others with little or no regard for the audience we were saying it to (or in front of).
    It is bizarre the degree with which people can read the same thing in completely different ways, with both sides assuming it's blindingly obvious.

    But yeah, I am always incredibly careful about who I vent to because it really is like looking in a mirror (to gauge how reasonable something is) and venting to the wrong person can be like looking in a funhouse mirror- completely unhelpful and further confusing.
    Interesting point. I see this sort of unhealthy mirroring sometimes. Like when you have two people ranting about someone or something, and the both only enhance one another's view until it becomes distorted beyond all reason. It can be very dangerous.

    On the other hand it's inevitable, to some degree. My family have been having some arguments (I will spare you the details) with my uncle and aunties' family. The auntie has been plainly unreasonable and my Mum was upset that the daughter of the auntie (whom the argument was about) failed to speak up against her mother and tacitly took her side. I tried to explain to my Mum the affect of a family discourse on the situation. Your immediate family all talk together and agree about their position (and the wrongness of the other position), and can only see one side of the story; without imagining that the other family is doing the exact same thing. This isn't a bad thing but it's just something to be careful about.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

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    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  6. #16
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Excellent point, SK. I remember being very surprised to finally understand that my ESTJ's seemingly final statements about what he was planning to do or what he thought of something were actually requests for discussion. It seemed so obvious to him that he finally overflowed in frustration that I was giving him nothing to work with when he was trying to decide how to invest his inheritance (rental properties managed from a distance or investments and who should oversee those investments). I figured that he sounded like he had it cased and was just telling me. It took me much longer to realize that Fe does precisely the same thing in other situations and it is perceived as just as final!

    This site and particularly conversations like this have been invaluable in piecing that sort of information together. Probably the biggest point it's driven home is that a lot of our basic starting points are so much a given to us, that we don't remember to verbalize that they are there, because we assume that everyone else sees things as starting from that same place too.

    It really came to me as a shock when I started realizing that what was in my mind an obvious fact, was very much not to Fi users and vice versa. Umlauu drew a lot of comparisons between Fe and Te as well as Fi and Ti and really helped me to try to put myself into the other "side's" shoes. I still don't think I do it well in the moment, but at least it offers some clues to understanding mindset and behaviour that seems foreign to me because it is approached from exactly the opposite end of the question.

    A couple of these conversations have helped me to stop and consider how final my Fe statements sound. I think it really helps explain why the ESTJs around me sometimes assume that I am much more stubborn or irrationally upset than I really feel. (Which in turn makes me feel upset).

    It had never occurred to me before coming here that Fi people close to me wouldn't recognize my venting for what it was necessarily and that verbalizing my appreciation for them listening could greatly affect how supported I felt and also help them interpret me correctly as well as help them understand what a valuable service they were performing for me.

  7. #17
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    1. I don't think this is even the central issue. Fe-users seem to see the source of the problem as being external (ie. "that behaviour is incredibly frustrating!"); Fi-users seem to see the source of the problem as internal (ie. "I find that behaviour incredibly frustrating!"). I think that often Fi-users blame themselves for being annoyed because they see it as a failure to achieve the right perspective; and even if annoyance is justified (after all, we rant too), on some level the Fi-user still sees it as an unreasonable reaction. Lenore Thomson has a good description of this:

    But from what I can gather, the Fe-users aren't as interested in the explanation for the person's behaviour, as they are in the emotions the situation provokes. In other words, what bothers Fe-users is the signals that person is sending out, and what that signifies to them about their attitude. What that person actually intends isn't as much of a factor, because that wasn't what they conveyed. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about this, Fe-users. )
    It seems to me that Fe is similar in some ways to Te. All that matters is the end result. It's the behavior that counts and the impact on others. Fi is different. You tend to try to walk in the other person's shoes. You work to understand explanations for this negative behavior and why they are acting that way.

    It is a rare situation that I will not forgive a person. There are rare situations where I have and do hold lifelong grudges but typically it is because I have had no interaction with that person after the transgression. It takes a lot for me to get this way and the person has to inflict significant perceived damage, often based on an unformed and superficial perspective, for me to feel that way.

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  8. #18
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    It seems to me that Fe is similar in some ways to Te. All that matters is the end result. It's the behavior that counts and the impact on others. Fi is different. You tend to try to walk in the other person's shoes. You work to understand explanations for this negative behavior and why they are acting that way.
    While I agree with the analogy between Fe and Te, there's a couple things I would add to it. Fe-users are very capable of trying hard to understand the other person's perspective. I spend a lot of my time and energy doing that, and I know there are other Fe-users who do the same. But I think the distinction is that Fe is about results--so an Fe-user would normally spend whatever time, energy, and learning it takes in order to have a better relationship with the other person, including trying hard to understand their point of view. But, based on my understanding of Fi, an Fi-user would normally spend the time and energy into trying to understand the other side--just for the sake of understanding. Not that they wouldn't use this info to try to improve their relationships, but the original motive would be slightly different.

    So to put what I'm thinking more succinctly, both Fe-users and Fi-users can work hard to understand the other point of view and want to improve their relationships, but Fe understands in order to get better results while Fi understands for its own sake, going beyond the point of what could help them get results.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."--Ambrose Redmoon

    . . . metamorphosing . . .

  9. #19
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I agree with this! Usually I am consumed with figuring out why people act as they do, figuring out their point of view, perspectives, experiences etc, so that I have context for their behaviour. Part of it is that I like being able to predict how people will act and react and what to expect from them (I seem to need this to build a sense of safety and security to work from). Part is that if we are going to work together in any situation, whether personal or professional, I need to make the effort to understand them as well as I can.

  10. #20
    Senior Member TenebrousReflection's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I liked Subtle Fighter's elaboration on what I said, as it reflects well how I feel. I think your last statements, Tenebrous don't seem bad at all, but context will matter. You may need to ensure that they have completely emptied themselves of what's bothering them and have initiated shifting the energy to problem solving before offering something. Otherwise it may still be felt as unwanted advice or lack of supportiveness even if it what you are saying isn't at all bad.

    You do a huge service by asking questions about what we've said (which in Fi land would be rude because you'd offer that information if you wanted to talk about it and appreciate people not going there if you didn't.). Sometimes to process things, Fe users really need to know that it is safe and that you are interested. Stuff like, "So what happened then?" "Why do you think he was doing that?" etc will help you to be sure you understand the situation completely and also relieve the Fe users agitated emotions. They will be deeply grateful for you being willing to perform that service and not rush them through the initial stage of talking things through.
    Most of the time, I think I'm reasonably good at telling when someoen is willing to listen to a different perspective and/or wants solutions vs an understanding ear to listen, but I know I'm not always right about making that assessment, so I I think I try to find a way to acknowledge their concerns and offer my perspectives at the same time. I like your idea of responding with more questions, but as you mentioned, by my natural thought process, it feels like being prying, so I usually only did so when I felt it was nescessary rather than looking it as a way to help the other person think (whcih is strange since I use that question asking approach in conversations where emotion is not involved) - the even stranger thing about that is that in a case like that, questions from another person are what I would want from them (I'm not naturaly good at opening up, but all it takes is a little prodding and questions once I trust someone, but by the time someoen has gotten to know me well enough for trust to be established, they think I don't want to answer questions, so they dont ask them).

    It may seem ridiculous, but I really need that sort of thing to sort out what I think and feel. Otherwise it feels overwhelmingly difficult to deal with, and yet I can't will resent someone coming in uninvited to take over solving the problem for me or telling me that I am incorrect in my perception.
    Not ridiculous at all - even tho I do a lot of sorting out of my emotions internally, I still usually want to talk about things to get the thoughts and opinions of others (something which places like here are very helpful for when I don't feel comfortable talking to those involved) - we all use all the functions, its just how comfortable we are using them and how naturaly thay come to us that differs. In my case, I want to have those conversations like that too, but I'm fairly reluctant to be the one to initiate them even when I think it might help a lot to talk about it with someone else (thats one of those "openness" things I've been trying to improve in myself recently). Abrupt anduninvited advice is something I don't think anyone wants - to me, giving advice is something that should be done as tactfully as possible (one of the venting experiences that has the most meanign to me is actualy from case #2 (of my examples) where there is a person who frequently gives unwanted advice that would be apropriate for someoen like him but completely inapropriate for an NF
    and manages to do it in a way that sounds more like a command than genuine advice (a well meaning authoritarian that does not understand that other people are not like him))

    re Your perspective being felt by other Fe users as unsupportive - I think I get that way too. I've decided that it usually happens when I feel that the other person has not taken time to completely understand the situation and are trying to rush to the problem-solving too fast, or when they try to play the devil's advocate, not understanding that what may look like frustration or anger can be hurt or unsureness. Waiting for the non-verbal invitation to offer other perspectives seems to work much better. You can usually tell when it's time because the person will start thinking about how their ranting may be perceived or they may add qualifiers that show they are beginning to modify the strength of feeling in their initial outburst.
    Although I do look for the signs you mentioned, I think it may be a case as you described above of not asking more questions before offering insights that could be seen as "devil's advocate" - it is a ver conflicting situation for me to be in. I want to be supportive, but at the same time, i don't want someone to be hated when I can understand why they did what they did (the ignorance vs malice factor). I feel like if I'm supportive without defending the third party, I'm encouraging anger and hate that is undeserved. This is where I think your previous comment about it being about hating what they did and not actually about the person as a whole that is very important, but thats a difficult shift in thinking to empathize with (I can understand it on a logical or theoretical level, but it feels very unnatural to me).

    On an unrelated note, something SF wrote, made me realize I should have clarified that I think I do take into account other people's intentions. They just don't seem to carry the same weight as they do for a lot of Fi users. I used to see their explanation of their intentions as excuse making, but I realize after a number of conversations on here, that they assign much different weight than I do to them. Another person's intentions can affect how I perceive the situation, but it doesn't completely excuse or overshadow behaviour that causes problems or hurt, even if it was not intended.

    For me, people's intent goes into the pot with other information like their background, age, experience, usual way of interacting and so on to provide context. To me there are occasions where the right behaviours need to take precedence over one's feelings and as long as they are not morally reprehensible/require one to go against their values, I don't think that it is being asked to behave inauthentically just because it isn't one's first inclination.
    I do also value the notion of accountability even when the damage was unintentional or from good intention gone bad. Where motive is a factor of great importance to me is in how much anger I feel is justified - it is normal and justified to feel anger for the wrongs that were done, but the key to me is that understanding the why of the situation can extinguish a lot of that anger (yes, they hurt me, but they did'nt mean to, so I shouldn't stay angry with them over this, but that does not change the fact that they did something wrong). Once again I think we are getting back to the idea of being able to separate the individual from the action - Fe seems to do that naturaly, Fi seems to do that by looking at the intention behind it (at least in my case).
    (keys2cognition) Fi (47.6), Ne (36.8), Fe (36.8), Si (31.6), Ti (29.7), Ni (27.4), Te (17.2) Se (12.5) - subject to change - last updated 11JAN2012
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