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.Observations from my Fi perspective
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.
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:
- Does Fe over-simplify, while Fi over-complicate? If so, then how can the communication gap be bridged?
- 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.