Of course we can't type based solely on behavior, which is why 90% of the celebrity typing I've seen is wrong. Freddie Mercury an ESTP? Seriously?I think judging by outward actions is tough. Why I would be unlikely to say "Oh, yeah, I guess it's not that good" I would be likely to say "I can see that" or "That's true enough" or some such, while usually not changing my opinion internally (especially not right in the moment).
Still, I have Fi-ish (well INFP-ish) motivations for doing so. I feel that everyone is entitled to their own opinion (about subjective things, anyway), and that many things are a matter of personal taste or grow out of personal experience. If someone says they like X (even if I don't like it), who am I to argue? In the moment I can usually understand why they would think such a thing, and see the merits of their perspective. That approach means I often soften my tone, and make it clear that my opinion is just that, and other's don't have to hold the same opinion.
Conversely, if I know someone hates Y, and I like Y, I'm probably not going to bring it up around them, because why should I have to defend my opinion? (Arguing about things that are objective is a different matter, even if I'm not a great fan of arguing.)
If I haven't already made up my mind on a subject, I'll often try to enter as deeply into the perspective of the other person as possible, to understand why they feel as they do, and how their opinion makes sense in their eyes.
There is a way in which Fe feels a bit more evangelizing to me, and that it's more reinforcing for valuations to be shared for Fe than it is for Fi. Fe seems to want feelings to be contagious and reflected, where Fi is doesn't expect this, but is happy when it finds a resonance with someone else.
So, I engage in a lot of the same external behaviors but I think Fi (plus a little e5) means my internal opinion hard to shift. When I feel pushed I tend to dig in internally, even though this doesn't show much externally.
I think I can relate to the bolded bit, by the way. I think this was partly why I mistyped before. I misinterpreted my own "evangelizing" Fe for Fi.
Yeah, I tend to want to deliberate a lot in my own head before addressing a conflict with someone, at which point I will deliberate more aloud with them as I search for common ground/compromise/etc.Hello,
Apologies if this has been mentioned already. INFJ's "tend" to want to go process before they are ready/willing to discuss, with the intention of resolving, a conflict with you. Most INFPs I've spoken to find this annoying. "We" want to get the conflict out in front and then out of the way asap.
That's not why I began to question Fe over Fi. Outward behavioral characteristics might help to accentuate those differences for me, but I don't accept them as concrete, written-in-stone evidence. It goes much deeper than that. It's hard for me to really articulate in words.Well, I hate to be the monkey-wrench, but I do this all the time too. imo, however, it does not provide evidence of being Ni - Fe. It's a behaviour. Behaviours can be attributed to multiple cause.
I type IEI in socionics too. But I am not an INFJ. I think the most definitive thing that helped me figure out the difference between the two types was the concept of J vs P. After all, I was caught up in the same trap you and @brainheart are falling into, namely that Fe is all about being nice to others and that Fi doms don't accommodate the preferences of other people. This is simplistic and not universal in any way.
So, let's look at J vs P. This is an excerpt from a page on Vicky-Jo's site, infjorinfp.com. There's a variety of stuff on that site, some of which I think it good, some is bupkis, but this I think hits enough of the mark on the communication preferences of INFJ vs INFP. See where you fall after reading this MASSIVE WALL OF TEXT:
To sort out whether your preferences are for INFJ or INFP, investigate whether you possess the directing or informing style of communication.
"What's that?" you are probably asking. Well, it's a concept that's nearly impossible to explain via the internet, but I'm going to try. According to Dr. Linda Berens, the founder of Interstrength Associates (formerly Temperament Research Institute), each of us is hard-wired to utilize one communication style over the other. That means you're just plain born that way -- it's innate! And it's not only about the words we use; it's how we communicate our intent (though some of us have been conditioned to soften or amplify our natural style, depending on our environments and how we were nurtured).
David Keirsey titles these styles of communication "role-informing" and "role-directing" -- which is the same concept with longer labels. And let me make it clear: directing and informing are on a continuum, and everyone is capable of doing either one at any given time
The question is, which style are you more comfortable with? (And nobody gets to live on the mid-point.)
The directing style of communication is easiest to spot. The extreme form is the style used by traffic cops, stressed parents, and military commanders. It includes communications that would be classified as a "direct order." Examples include:
"Put it over there."
"Clean your room."
The message is delivered in an authoritative tone of voice. The reason Keirsey calls this "role-directing" is because the person speaking the words assigns what roles are to be played in the interaction. In the examples above, the speaker adopts the "in charge" role, while the recipient is automatically subordinated. The listener is expected to cooperate and play the role the speaker has determined.
The informing style of communication is harder to detect. Sometimes those with the directing style are simply oblivious to it, not recognizing that a defining interaction just transpired. Extreme forms of this communication include messages that might be classified as "victim talk." Examples include:
"I don't have any money."
"That music is so loud."
I'm not feeling good."
These communications are delivered in a non-authoritative tone of voice. The reason Keirsey calls them "role-informing" is because the person speaking the words is deliberately not defining what roles are assigned in the interaction. In these examples, the listener gets to choose what roles are to be played -- meaning they have been granted authority whether to ignore the remark or act upon it. The critical factor is that the recipient of the message gets to determine what part they choose to play. They can act on the information, or not -- the decision is freely theirs.
The examples I've posed are those of extremes -- bossy on the one side, victim on the other. But please don't think I'm painting INFPs as victims and INFJs as persecutors -- I'm using extreme examples and descriptions to make my point! In real life, most normal communications fall somewhere closer toward the mid-point. Perhaps the best example is the simplest one:
Informing communication: The light is green.
Directing communication: Go.
Chances are you've spoken phrases of both these kinds during various episodes in your life. Which reinforces the point I made earlier -- everyone is capable of doing both styles of communication. And one episode of directing does not define you as having the directing style; nor does one episode of informing define you as having the informing style. The appropriate question to ask yourself is, which style are you more comfortable with?
In this special situation we are investigating -- meaning our attempt to distinguish a preference for INFJ or INFP -- it can be tricky to discern which communication style one prefers (compounded by how this is nearly impossible to explain through the internet). In a nutshell, INFJs are more comfortable telling other people what to do than INFPs are, despite both being introverts. INFPs are more comfortable just providing information.
I'll provide a couple more examples:
Directing: "Ask Jerry for specific instructions on balancing the budget." "Marion, would you find a restaurant to host fifty people at a banquet in September?"
Informing: "Jerry has some information that might help you balance the budget." "Marion, do we have information on any restaurants that could host a banquet in September for fifty people?"
See how both request the same outcome, but in entirely different ways?
And here's a domestic example. Let's imagine we have run out of milk. A spectrum of remarks to a family member might include
We're out of milk.
We need milk.
Would you be able to get us some milk?
We're out of milk and I was wondering if you could get us some?
We're out of milk. Would you please get us some?
Would you please get us some milk?
Please get us some milk.
Get some milk.
Can you find which phrase you're most likely to say?
Asking someone to get milk might seem like a pretty simple thing, and yet, with all the uniqueness in the world, can still cause a communication gap! Within this small range of possible choices, a whole lot of misunderstandings can still occur. (It doesn't take an extraordinary situation to create extraordinary conflict.) Depending on one's style and how they ask, one may think the requestor is being rude or even being manipulative, or not asking for what they really want. And the way people cope with these communication mismatches is by labeling behaviors "passive-aggressive" or "bossy."
According to Linda Berens in "Understanding Yourself and Others: An Introduction to Interaction Styles," the directing style of communication has a task/time focus, while the informing style has a process/motivation focus. The intent of directing is to give structure; direct. The intent of informing is to evoke, draw forth, inspire, seek input.
Certain work roles emphasize one style of communication over the other -- for instance, therapists are taught to be informing in their communication. It is considered undesirable to tell patients what to do. However, the military emphasizes directing -- giving orders is an expected behavior. (One of my clients served in the military, and all these years thought she had INFJ preferences. It was an awakening for her to discover her true preference for Informing!)
The ticket is to look for the thing you prefer, the thing you do naturally -- not the thing you believe you are supposed to do or have been trained to do. I have seen plenty of INFPs employ directing, but they have usually ratcheted themselves up and are using extraverted Thinking, and it looks stressed and is not graceful to witness. (I look for how relaxed and natural the style is in order to uncover the true preference. Sometimes an INFP will inform and inform and inform, and then they get "triggered" and the directing bursts out.)
The directing/informing dimension is often linked to the J/P dimension on the MBTI. People believe that "J's" have the directing style, while "P's" have the informing style. But this is not the rule, although it is true in the case of INFJ vs. INFP. (Examples where it's not true include how ISFJs prefer the informing style, while ISTPs prefer the directing style.)
According to Dr. Linda Berens, for people with informing preferences (like INFPs), it's as if people are just a leetle bit more important than Task. And for people with directing preferences (like INFJ), it's as if Task is a leetle bit more important than people. It's as if one concern is operating in the foreground, and the other is operating in the background. So NFJs -- who do care very much about people -- sometimes may seem insensitive when Task is looming and they feel pressured to accomplish a goal. And NFPs may not care enough about Task to suit NFJs. (It is impossible to have equal concern about both at once -- one must take primacy.)
INFPs feel uncomfortable "intruding" on other people's choices -- they want people to decide for themselves to do things. INFJs may inform up until things aren't getting done -- and then they direct (and may even take charge). This may come across as harsh or out-of-character to others, but it really isn't unnatural. I found my directing style most clearly when piling my nieces and nephews into the car, and it was a big contrast to my brother-in-law's informing style as he gave them information that would make them want to get into the car. (Unless he gets stressed out, of course, in which case he manifests a mean and ugly directing style.)THIS (bolded)
THIS (bolded) is very much my style. It often surprises people as they are normally accustomed to me having a more laid-back, "do it however you feel is best" approach to leading others and/or working in groups.
THIS (bolded)I'll never forget the day my sister put her wine glass on the floor and a child went stumbling toward it. My brother-in-law called out, "The wine glass is in the path of the oncoming child!" I called out "Move your glass!" Not that it mattered -- wine was spilled. But how obvious a contrast between the two communication styles.
A good situation to investigate which style you naturally prefer is seeing how you deal with customer service people. When you have a complaint to make, do you prefer to direct or inform? (Unless you are angry, of course, in which case you may be inclined to do directing, regardless of preference.)
The directing types are inclined to "tell, ask, urge." They are "moving forward" and they sound "definite." The informing types, on the other hand, tend to "inform, inquire, explain, describe." They are "flowing, open, eliciting." INFPs sound patient while INFJs sound impatient. INFPs tend to perpetuate conversations; INFJs often kill them. INFJs focus on time and task, while INFPs focus on the emergent process. INFPs can sometimes be longwinded; INFJs can sometimes be short-winded (both to their own detriments!).
THIS (bolded)INFJs fool themselves into believing they only use the informing style of communication because they dilute their requests with "please," and "would you mind," and "could we maybe..." They think this dimension is really about how polite people should be. (It's not!) By "softening" their orders this way, INFJs delude themselves into believing they utilize only the informing communication style, because their self-image often prevents them from identifying with a communication style that might be perceived as "bossy" or "harsh." (I know one INFJ who concedes that she is "refreshingly direct.") INFJs bristle at being called "directing," especially when they "only want to help" or "offer some advice." Their directing tends to include other-centered remarks, such as, "You should quit smoking," or, "Why don't you take a vacation?" The question they must ask themselves is whether or not they make clear what results they want. If it's clear -- that's directing, no matter who's the focus or how many hesitant "would-you-mind's" and "do-you-suppose's" are slathered onto their remark. And take a good look at what communication looks like when a task is "at risk"!
THIS (bolded)Directing types are sometimes shocked to discover that informing communications could even be classified as instruction or contain requests! To them, it just sounds like unproductive "noise." I myself provide an excellent example of this. I would have gone to my death insisting I had the "nicer" informing style of communication until I took a live workshop with Dr. Berens. During this workshop, I encountered my own directing style -- to the extent that they used my interaction with an INFP as an example of what extreme directing looks like! Yikes! But what a wonderful gift of self-discovery -- to identify and own my innate "bossiness." (You get to witness my directing style in action all throughout these articles -- I make no bones about telling readers what to do!)
INFPs, on the other hand, sometimes believe they have the directing communication style because they can be tyrannical with some others, such as family members or close friends -- but tyranny in itself is not directing! It's often useful to investigate how an individual operates in the workplace or at school to see whether it's different than how they relate to people they are intimate with. For instance, if an INFP invites someone to visit their home, do they tend to be directing or informing with that someone...?
Sometimes INFPs are in situations where they are required to give orders, such as to children or students. These directing episodes are sometimes painfully memorable, so they assume they display the directing style. In point of fact, they did -- just not gracefully. Because it isn't natural, it isn't really their preference.
Also, some INFPs believe saying, "Shoes don't belong on the bed" is interchangeable with saying, "Don't put shoes on the bed." But it's not! Here lies the rub -- that's exactly the sort of difference we're looking for. Can you determine which style is which in those examples?
Without practice, INFPs don't appear graceful when they adopt the directing style, and INFJs don't appear graceful when they adopt the informing style -- both need lots of practice.
INFJs like to think they communicate in the manner of INFPs-- flowing, open, eliciting. INFPs like to think they communicate in the manner of INFJs -- assertive and self-confident. Both types often delude themselves around this point, and it can be a challenge to separate out the truth from idealized self-image. Dr. Berens also says: "My experience has been that INFJs and ENFJs tend to see themselves as having an informing style, but when you get down to it, they are rather unhappy if the person [they are relating to] isn't taking some kind of responsibility and action toward achieving their potential. In this case, living up to or developing potential is the task! And they often don't realize that there is a one-up kind of quality to this having a vision for someone else."
Ironically, INFJs are wont to label informing communication as "passive-aggressive" (and it can be), while INFPs are wont to label directing communication as "bossy" (and it can be). Neither completely comprehends why the other communicates the way they do -- but INFPs are perhaps handicapped more, because INFJs (and others) are often downright oblivious to their style of communication. (Thus many INFPs complain about feeling invisible.) Sometimes it takes another informer to recognize when a request has been tendered. It's like a dog whistle -- some people can't even hear it!
In public circumstances (like school and work), one's communication style becomes painfully apparent, and discrepancy between these styles can create serious problems. INFPs often get overlooked at work and are sometimes not considered "leaders" due to their informing communication style, while INFJs sometimes find themselves in leadership positions they didn't intend, due to speaking up with a directing "voice" and discovering themselves suddenly "in charge." I've boasted to my husband that I can inadvertently "direct" with my little finger, while my INFP friend can yell "fire!" in a crowded room and be utterly ignored. That's what Linda means when she talks about the communication style being "hard-wired" -- it's not only the words we use, it's how clearly we telegraph our wishes. Don't get hung up on specific content -- ask yourself whether you're a person who naturally causes people to jump into action (or cease action instantly), or whether you normally eschew that kind of delivery.