It's so weird to read people telling you how you think, what's important to you, and how you evaluate the world. I'm sitting here smiling to myself. I have this thing about not speaking for other ENFJs or ESFJs so I'll make the usual disclaimer of saying this my rendition of Fe.
I guess the ability to get people to do things without banging them over the head or holding them at gunpoint automatically reeks of manipulation. There must be some kind of deceit involved! I'm just wishing apathy of how people conceive of Fe would completely take me over so I won't feel compelled to reply. But is it refreshing to know that my Fe is very much appreciated IRL. People seek me out to for advice or they say how comfortable they feel around me. I really pride myself in the fact that I can put people at ease. Shall I just chalk it up to envy? OK, that's just bragging so I won't!
Maybe I'll even acknowledge the manipulation part a little bit, inasmuch as I know exactly what I'm doing, how to do it, and when I'm doing it, so it's not particularly spontaneous. I think people like spontaneity because it's less planned and premeditated, but the motivation is usually pure. I want people to feel happy, relaxed, comfortable, at ease. "A good time was had by all." I like to lower defenses and no matter how long or brief our contact is, you'll feel a connection right then and there. Like we've known each other for a long time. So I do a lot of complementing because I genuinely think those earrings look nice on you, or because that presentation you gave was great, or because you have a wicked sense of humor, or I can tell you're really passionate about your work. I verbalize the good things and people remember that. When you're smiling the whole world smiles at you!
But it seems a highly complimentary person or someone who is genuinely interested in another person signals manipulation and ulterior motives are afoot. Sometimes so and sometimes no. I'm not going say that doesn't happen because it does. I'm not going to pretend that I my motives are always pure either. But the majority of the time they are.
The larger realization is knowing that I have the ability to arouse feeling in people. Which means that I know how to escalate and deescalate, make people happy or make them miserable. I have thrown a wet blanket on people with no regret and I've had people say that now the party can finally get started cause proteanmix has arrived.
Blackmail makes a good point when he says Fe is different depending on where it falls in your functions. As a dom-Fe, Fe is a very active and flexible function. Fe finds the common denominator (lowest or highest) and moves people towards commonalities. It's like when you set the thermostat at 75 degrees and you hear the AC or heat kick on and off because the temperature got too high or too low. Fe is constantly scanning the atmosphere and taking the temperature. It makes sure that it finds something mostly everyone can agree is reasonable and comfortable.
I have two different sets of feelings, group feelings and my own private ones. I would rather be reasonably accommodating and reach a solution that is palatable. There is some tamping down of my own feeling that occurs in order to gain this. Within the last few years I've realized how much disharmony and strife in my atmosphere can have adverse effects on me and I think when EFJs feel like this is when people start feeling the Fe hammer and cracking down because the EFJ may be struggling to regulate themselves via their environment. This is where the controlling part comes in. Sometimes EFJs need to get their external world in order sometimes to bring coherency to the internal one.
And I'd also like to differentiate between the various types of Fe. Did ya know Fe came in flavors?! I don't know any ENFJs that I've pinpointed as ENFJs so this is mostly based on ESFJs. There are some EFJs who are very cool, calm, and collected, always say the right thing, always polite, never go too hot or too cold. Kind of like game show hosts, everything is just perfect. Then you have the really exuberant EFJs who are bouncy and bubbly and involved in lots of activities and constantly organizing people into doing things. Then I think you have a type of EFJ who are the ones on the "disconnect" from people. I think they look like ITPs but aren't. They don't like people but they're always attracted to them. I don't really know how to explain this but I think I've observed this consistently in two of my coworkers. They express ambivalence in their interactions with people, but are always wanting to be around people. These are the most unpleasant EFJs because they are real pricks.
Fe to me is all about connecting with people. It's not about rules and manners, and thank yous and pleases and all that crap. If that's all it amounts to with some people then that's all you'll ever get out of it.