I was thinking on some of the misunderstandings surrounding Fe and Fi when I saw the perfect example: the typing of Mother Teresa.
I have seen her held up as an almost prototypical ISFJ. But from my understanding of the functions, everything she did came from her own personal values interpreted through her faith, as opposed to collective consideration of the feeling environment she was already in.
I'll give an example and explain my reasoning:
Source: Mother Teresa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaIn 1952 Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying in space made available by the city of Calcutta (Kolkata). With the help of Indian officials she converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat Home for the Dying, a free hospice for the poor. She renamed it Kalighat, the Home of the Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday). Those brought to the home received medical attention and were afforded the opportunity to die with dignity, according to the rituals of their faith; Muslims were read the Quran, Hindus received water from the Ganges, and Catholics received the Last Rites. "A beautiful death," she said, "is for people who lived like animals to die like angels—loved and wanted."
Now Fe is not about building a community of people by gathering those least loved, or about collective considerations. It is about obligations, obligations to it's particular environment of feeling, in this way Fe is actually more environmentally variable than Fi because Fi does the opposite, it feels no obligation except to it's own personal values and it brings those with it as an internal rigidity which it will not dispense with. The values might be intensely individual but the method has a consistent pattern. The above quote is entirely this way of valuing.
Fe would be more likely to assert that those of different faiths should all receive the last rites, as opposed to the different methods of each faith, after all that is the feeling obligation of that environment. Mother Teresa on the other hand goes outside this obligation and instead her faith is second to her drive to help others and empathise with them.
I recall reading Lenore Thompson's book on typology and she uses an anecdote about Mother Teresa to reinforce this point. In the except, Mother Teresa is giving a speech to a congregation, it is a hot day and quite dry weather. A man from the congregation gets up from his seat, fills a glass of water and takes it to her. She waves it away and directs him to give it to a lady in the first row, he does so and then goes back to fetch another glass for her. Each time she waves it away until most of the small group has a glass of water. The point is that the Fe obligation in that environment was to her as an important figure of consideration, who was giving a speech and so she was the person it was correct, or rather appropriate to give a glass of water to.
But she disappointed this obligation and instead gave the water to everyone else, because it was her value to help others before herself. This is not necessarily an Fe consideration, which is more about appropriateness and obligation, based on the feeling environment they are in. It's why Fe can sometimes appear false to Fi, as they often change to suit their feeling environment, whereas Fi is more apt to keep their own personal environment.
Another example of this divide, again posited by Lenore Thompson, is in the play The Fiddler On The Roof. At one point Tevye comes into conflict with his wife Golde over the marriage of their daughter Tzeitel to a wealthy butcher. But Tzeitel finds this unappealing and is actually in love with her childhood friend. Now Golde the Fe dominant, is not the person to whom Tzeitel takes her issue as Golde is obligated to the feeling environment that considers appropriateness and it is appropriate that Tzeitel is married to a rich man for both the family and her own future.
Instead she goes to Tevye, (whom Lenore types as a Te user of some kind although I'd have to see the play myself or read it.), and he reasons that while the wealth could be useful, if she does not love the man then it can only cause conflict and issues later on which would ruin both the flow of money and his daughters well being. In this instance Fi offered a consideration outside the feeling appropriateness of the environment that Golde could not see or would not adhere to.