I'm a sometime lurker here. I've had some trouble with my type (INFP), which seems to fit me well generally. I have been working up the courage to post, but am always afraid I will type the wrong thing. I also feel bad asking for feedback when I haven't really contributed anything to the board. Sometimes I look at threads and think of commenting, but I never know how to jump in without seeming awkward. The problem is, I'm not sure I possess or relate to many of the positive traits of my type, but have nearly all of the negative traits (and how). I guess I'll kind of throw some info out there and maybe some posters could let me know a) if I should reevaluate my type (sometimes I think I might be ISFP) b) how to develop maybe one positive trait of IXFP (or any positive trait in general) c) how to deal with Ti when I encounter it or d) how to view or develop Fi or Ne as assets.
a,b) I test INFP, but have obviously not been professionally evaluated. My Fi is extremely strong and, while I sometimes act more ISFJ when caring for people (I can never verbalize it well; I always do caring), I really cannot see any other function as my dominant one. However, I lack curiosity and a broader view of humanity; I have lost interest in wondering or exploring anything without a practical application. I have done very well in philosophy classes, but treat philosophy as a mental exercise rather than as a tool to use to find truth or understand existence. I have a defeatist view about my ability to know anything (about human nature and destiny, God, truth, etc.) certainly and do not trust myself to weigh the merits of any opinions regarding these issues. Frankly, it would take a lifetime to explore them all and I still would not have certainty. As a default, I don't have any real beliefs whatsoever. I don't feel a connection to any god or belief system per se if I did, I might be willing to accept my gut belief as truth. Neither feeling a connection to faith nor having the intelligence or time to develop a philosophical perspective, I have come to no conclusion about life. This is very painful for me as everything, including suffering, individual growth, and human progress, seems meaningless. This is a pain I cannot manage well. /Feeling/ I freeze up when I hear sirens and tear up watching Christian Children's Fund commercials. I even pray (yes PRAY) for others including when I hear sirens, etc. for no logical reason. It's not that it makes me feel better (I don't actually think Fi gets any relief from it just more discomfort). It's probably a superstition that I carry from childhood. My family was never really religious, but we went to church and I was always convinced that I needed to concentrate on the masses of people we ritually prayed for in order for the prayers to affect their lives. Empty prayers produced no relief for the suffering, but if I focused on their needs, then they would get the help they needed. I still feel obligated to pray, despite being an agnostic or atheist of 6 years. /Feeling/ (In case there was any doubt that feeling was my dominant function). :redface:
I also lack creativity of any sort intuitive or sensing. I cannot imagine alternative worlds or existences easily. I cannot write creatively or cleverly. I can't hear new songs or see new images (other than composites of things I know I have seen) when I close my eyes. I'm not well coordinated or dexterous and do not play an instrument, sculpt or dance. I may have an ear for music (and I certainly enjoy listening to it), but it's nothing amazing. I agree with the classification INFP mostly because I can retrieve an abstract or general idea more quickly than an image or concrete detail. Also, I am a complete klutz.
What should I work on and how should I go about developing it? I can't imagine where to begin because these things don't come 'naturally' to me. More than just developing IXFP strengths, I would like to develop a backbone, as I say yes way too much and end up in an ISFJ cycle sometimes. Sometimes I hope a dutiful and subservient ISFJ (which I can sometimes muster up) will be more appreciated than an INFP with no wonder or substance or an ISFP with no charm or grace.
c) Very strong Ti, even when tempered with some Fe, seems threatening to me. Even though I know it is (by definition) reasonable, it often *feels* confrontational and pedantic and it often hurts me deeply to be corrected. My inferior thinking makes me very defensive and Fi just punishes me when I fail to use it effectively. I don't know why INTPs or ISTPs bother talking to, much less befriending, me. INTPs often seem open to friendship, but I withdraw. I avoid them because I don't know what either of us would have to gain from a friendship they certainly need more intellectually curious and rational friends. Frankly, they could do better and I could do without being just a sympathetic ear or a person off whom to bounce ideas. Most often, I have no way of giving the INTP (or less frequently ISTP) any real feedback about their ideas as I lack their knowledge base and ability to reason. However, I feel awkward just being talked *at* and end up (unwisely) entering discussions for which I am not prepared. This is a consequence of not fully shutting down contact, which *feels* like the better choice most of the time. I would much rather avoid Ti if I can but I don't want to hurt Ti-users whom I generally like. Somehow I am exposed to extremely few feelers on a regular basis though this is likely because I limit my contact with anyone, period. There is not one INTP (or person of any other type) that I know who is as reclusive as I am and I know some pretty reclusive people.
d) Whether I'm INFP or ISFP, I eat, sleep, drink and breathe Fi. I don't know how to manage it or how to exploit its strengths. I don't know how much I use Ne, but I certainly don't use enough to balance out the Fi. How should I deal with this? Are there exercises for Ne? Skills for Fi?
Thanks for your patience reading this post. Any feedback would be great, especially from other IXFPs, ISTPs and INTPs.