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  1. #1
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Default Empathy versus sympathy and how they relate to F and T

    Maybe this is obvious, but it seems to me that for Fs the primary mode of relating to the emotions of others is via empathy, and for Ts it's sympathy. The difference being that empathetic people instinctively "take on" the emotions of others and cannot help but be affected by them (without conscious effort to prevent this), whereas Ts naturally recognize the emotions of others, but don't take them on in the same way.

    I've noticed this seems to be what drives the divide between Fs and Ts. Fs get upset with Ts for what they perceive as a lack of emotion, when the fact is that Ts recognize emotions and are sympathetic to them, but don't have the same capacity for empathy. Meanwhile, Ts get frustrated that Fs are unable to simply be sympathetic but objective in their observations.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member pinkgraffiti's Avatar
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    F and T do not exist. What are you talking about? MBTI is based on 8 cognitive functions, including extroverted thinking and feeling and introverted thinking and feeling.
    That said, there is no divide between Fs and Ts. People that are Fe are also Ti and people that are Fi are also Te. That is the divide: Fe/Ti versus Fi/Te.

    (this is me being an ENFP and showing zero empathy towards your cause here. cause I'm using Te, not Fe)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    Maybe this is obvious, but it seems to me that for Fs the primary mode of relating to the emotions of others is via empathy, and for Ts it's sympathy. The difference being that empathetic people instinctively "take on" the emotions of others and cannot help but be affected by them (without conscious effort to prevent this), whereas Ts naturally recognize the emotions of others, but don't take them on in the same way.

    I've noticed this seems to be what drives the divide between Fs and Ts. Fs get upset with Ts for what they perceive as a lack of emotion, when the fact is that Ts recognize emotions and are sympathetic to them, but don't have the same capacity for empathy. Meanwhile, Ts get frustrated that Fs are unable to simply be sympathetic but objective in their observations.
    I have to disagree with this. Empathy for F's is more understanding the needs and values of others, not emotions. I'm Fi-dom and whilst I can empathise with those who suffer (its more "I imagine what you're going through" despite it being speculative in regards to issues I have no experience with) I don't have as much for emotional displays. I usually tell those who whine and complain to shut up (if I am irritated with them and not laughing at their expense.)
    In the strictest sense F has nothing to do with empathy, the definitions are that Fi determines what the individual values or believes in whilst Fe adopts the more prominent moral and ethical values of their immediate surroundings. Empathy may be the sum of a number of factors, many of which may lie outside MBTI and are facilities strong Te and Ti users would have access to.

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    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I don't know who made this entry (it's not in Thomson's book, but it's on the Thomson wiki), but I thought it was a spot on example of the kind of sympathy I experience. http://greenlightwiki.com/lenore-exe...erted_thinking

    Take, for example, this anecdote from an interview with Vince Vaughan, who played "Trent" in the movie Swingers.

    Vaughn: The teachers thought I was crazy. I was sort of a wild kid. But I always felt like, if a kid is getting up to give a speech and he's starting to cry, he's gotta go to school with us for the rest of the year, and your f***in' with him, making him stand up there. I'd tell the kid to sit down. And they'd say, "You can't tell him that, it's my class." And I'd say, “Give him a break on the speech, he just f***in’ cried in front of you." What do you want? He's gotta go and hang out, he's gotta go to school for the rest of the day. You want him to sit up there the whole period and cry? And then when high school comes around he's the guy who cried forever? So I would get in a lot of trouble for that kind of stuff. I was always confident enough to say, "This is f***in' crazy."

    Vaughan is probably motivated by introverted feeling also, but his justification of his actions clearly demonstrates introverted thinking. It makes no sense that someone should have to give a speech when they are crying. Vaughan doesn't only employ pathos, but he appeals to the long-term consequences that the teacher's arbitrary use of power would cause on the kid, such being made fun of. In doing so, he violates the rules of extraverted judgement that students should not question teachers. From his standpoint, there is nothing wrong with doing so, because he is appealing to principles that are much larger than arbitrary classroom rules and transcend the social roles of "student" and "teacher."

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    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    i dont agree with this and your definition for empathy is quite weird. its not about automatically taking on emotions of others and not being able to not be affected by them.

    empathy is when you feel what the other person feel, are mirroring their responses and if their responses are negative, you get the same negative response(or actually your interpretation of it). sympathy is when you feel bad because the other person feels bad, without mirroring the exact emotion. its about putting yourself on the shoes of the other person and thus being affected vs being affected because of the shoes the other person is wearing.

    when it comes to T's not being able to be empathetic, well, i am pretty empathetic(like not doing that easily, but when i do its really strong), but most of the time i react with sympathy instead.

    for empathy Ne is a big helper, because it perceives the possibilities of what the the person is going through and not having the need of being there before yourself because its a mental simulation, while Ni more often needs to have that personal experience before he can relate to it enough and put himself in the shoes of the other person.

    if Ne is coupled with dom or aux Fi, it makes the empathy even stronger, because while Ti would try to define all the things that are contributing and analyze from more detached point of view, Fi relates to it via personal complexes instead by analyzing what defines the emotional state of the other person.

    all types are capable of doing both empathy and sympathy, but that doesent mean that all individuals would be able to do both properly. also, because for example in my case with Ti and Ne, Ne doing the simulation and Ti detaching myself from it, is my automatic response most the times, but i can relate to it with Fe aswell, but because Fe is my inferior, it kinda needs stronger stimulation in order to activate, but when it does the activation is very strong. i should also mention that when i started to develop my Fe, my empathy became much stronger and at times it can be pretty disturbing, luckily not as disturbing as it used to be a while ago.
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
    — C.G. Jung

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  6. #6
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post
    i dont agree with this and your definition for empathy is quite weird. its not about automatically taking on emotions of others and not being able to not be affected by them.

    empathy is when you feel what the other person feel, are mirroring their responses and if their responses are negative, you get the same negative response(or actually your interpretation of it). sympathy is when you feel bad because the other person feels bad, without mirroring the exact emotion. its about putting yourself on the shoes of the other person and thus being affected vs being affected because of the shoes the other person is wearing.
    Just to expand on that and be explicit on definitions (since that's where the empathy/sympathy debates often get hung up) the sympathy definition from wikipedia:

    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia
    Sympathy is a feeling and concern. Or the perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another human being.[1] This empathic concern is driven by a switch in viewpoint, from a personal perspective to the perspective of another group or individual who is in need. Empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably. Sympathy is a feeling, but the two terms have distinct origins and meanings.[2] Empathy refers to the understanding and sharing of a specific emotional state with another person. Sympathy does not require the sharing of the same emotional state. Instead, sympathy is a concern for the well-being of another. Although sympathy may begin with empathizing with the same emotion another person is feeling, sympathy can be extended to other emotional states.
    I think one of the hardest part of the sympathy/empathy discussions is getting terms straight. According to the above, sympathy is more about a concern for the other, where empathy is more about sharing the emotional state and/or perspective of the other person. Sympathy implies a motivation to help (even if it isn't followed by action), since it involves the wish to see the other better off. Empathy implies more shared state and a level of identification with the other.

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    Oh boy, now folks are getting lost in maze of definitions.

    Let's keep it simple. Feelers care about emotions, so they like relying on sympathy and empathy. Thinkers care about logic and reason, which is not dependent on sympathy and empathy. Each side can do the other, but it's just where your primary focus is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    Oh boy, now folks are getting lost in maze of definitions.

    Let's keep it simple. Feelers care about emotions, so they like relying on sympathy and empathy. Thinkers care about logic and reason, which is not dependent on sympathy and empathy. Each side can do the other, but it's just where your primary focus is.
    This is a case of simple but incorrect. Feeling =/= emotions, it's about judging something based on perceived value. Likewise, empathy and sympathy falls outside of the F function. What happens if the Feeler does not value empathy or sympathy? You know I distinctly remember explaining all this to you previously. It would appear that it was a waste of time.

  9. #9
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    empathetic people instinctively "take on" the emotions of others and cannot help but be affected by them (without conscious effort to prevent this), whereas Ts naturally recognize the emotions of others, but don't take them on in the same way.
    Actually it is the other way round - sympathy means feeling the same as another, while empathy means knowing what the other is feeling but not feeling it oneself.

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