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  1. #11
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Being in nursing, the function of Fe has started to take on a whole new meaning for me. I think Fe people have the most genuine empathy towards people and also energy to help.

    I feel that I have a lot of empathy, (just being a feeler) personally. I'm rather selfish about it though. Like, I feel like people's energy affects me so much that I just withdraw, become selfish, and get tired and feel like I can't do as much as your average Fe. I'm better off acting from a distance, by talking and care planning, (Ne and Fi). We have one other Fi/ Ne who is the same way. We can talk and write about what the best things are all day but when it comes to the sick patient day to day, we get drained faster than our FJ cohorts.

    So yeah, healthy xxfj's all shine in this area.

    It's like, if you think about it, Fe tends to be all about other people which can be great when healthy, (or manipulative and such when not.) Fi is just about personal values,good and bad, so in this society, that can very often mean individualism, which can lead to selfishness and self absorption and lack of empathy in some cases. (I think that being all about personal values often leads to those things anyway, no matter what they are.)
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnsweet View Post
    Being in nursing, the function of Fe has started to take on a whole new meaning for me. I think Fe people have the most genuine empathy towards people and also energy to help.
    My girl (who I've pegged as ENFJ, whatever..), a nurse, has a tremendous ability to forget about herself and pretty much talking as if she were her patient, a full-fledged stream of consciousness from what is essentially her patient's point of view. I've been helping her to recognize that she does this, that that is why she's seen as so caring, and that that is what separates her from many of her coworkers, who often could not give a damn and are worried more about having to do actual work than about the fact that the person in front of you is in significant pain.

    If you're not invested in something, you're not going to do a good job--you will not give it your all. If your work involves other people, and if you're innately invested in other people, though, you'll do a good job. It's pretty simple.

  3. #13
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    you're going to have to define empathy, because it's obvious from your post that you're not defining it in the usual way.

    According to the real definition of empathy, obviously NFs don't have a monopoly on it.

    So what exactly are you asking here? Why NFs shout it to the rooftops more than other types, or what? "values empathy as a force to live" makes no sense to me, what do you mean by that? Makes "empathy" the focus of their life, or what?
    -end of thread-

  4. #14
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    My girl (who I've pegged as ENFJ, whatever..), a nurse, has a tremendous ability to forget about herself and pretty much talking as if she were her patient, a full-fledged stream of consciousness from what is essentially her patient's point of view. I've been helping her to recognize that she does this, that that is why she's seen as so caring, and that that is what separates her from many of her coworkers, who often could not give a damn and are worried more about having to do actual work than about the fact that the person in front of you is in significant pain.

    If you're not invested in something, you're not going to do a good job--you will not give it your all. If your work involves other people, and if you're innately invested in other people, though, you'll do a good job. It's pretty simple.
    Yes. You hit the nail on the head here. ESFJ's can often do the same, but may be less about the interviewing and talking as the ENFJ, more about the hands on care. NFP's and SFP's (Fi people) can do it too when we care. I can hold on to the "patient is myself" or "patient is like my mother" mentality for a little while. But I feel like people's pain and suffering can be just endless and horrific. Where a lot of people cringe in the face of this or just need to learn, it's an area where the FJ's just appear to shine naturally.

    (And of course I'm speaking blanket here, but they are just patterns that I noticed.)

    Edit: Also, not to be too "functiony" on the matter, but the Se in the ENFJ keeps them excellent on the follow through too.
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    06/13 10:51:55 shortnsweet: !!!!
    06/13 10:51:57 shortnsweet: (cries)
    06/13 10:52:19 RiftsWRX: You two are like furbies stuck in a shoe box

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  5. #15
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Empathy is a human ability, and I would suspect all of us have at least some degree of it, excepting the truly pathological. To use the OP's expression, I can indeed "feel happy for others" but often in different circumstances from what causes similar response in others. Weddings, awards, new car -- not on the radar. But when I see someone realize one of their dreams, reach a significant goal, learn something after persistent hard work, or overcome adversity, I will feel happy for them even if they are strangers. If I know them well, I will likely be ecstatic.

    Perhaps what distinguishes the NT reaction, however, is that this feeling is simply a by-product of the situation. It is neither a goal to be reached, nor a motivation to any action. If there was anything for me to do (e.g. help someone reach that goal), I have probably done it already.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    I find empathy to be an essential part of socialization. People who lack it are often engage in abusive and criminal behavior, as I've seen a lot in younger crowds. The kids simply don't care.. (OMG Stop right there you! You know who you are! Mr. "OMG YOU JUST SAID IM A CRIMINAL JUST BC I DONT HAVE EMPATHYWAAHHH"... ) When you care about the status of others, it affects your actions and decisions. I suppose no, it isn't really necessary for you yourself, nor is it necessary to function in society for SOME.. but I believe it to be a characteristic that keeps people safe when living in groups and communities.
    I can see how empathy functions in society as you describe. I also agree that it is not always necessary. I do not personally feel much for most people, but I am neither abusive nor criminal, and in fact tend to be very courteous and helpful. This is because I KNOW behaving this way makes things work more smoothly for everyone, and I have a basic respect for everyone on a human level, and their right to self-determination. I don't have to feel someone's pain to understand their need and, if I am able, to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    Good point. It also turns out that Baren-Cohen also sort of addresses this. His thoughts (well, my jumbled paraphrase of them) are that empathy is about both recognizing and responding appropriately. A truly empathetic person, to him, not only recognizes the emotional state of another, but also acts upon it in a constructive way. I agree that enabling wouldn't be constructive.
    As stated above, it is not necessary to understand someone's emotional state in order to act constructively on their need. What I am talking about is essentially what Skylights describes below as "cognitive empathy".

    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    but there is cognitive empathy, too, where you see someone and understand their plight and want to help fix things for them because they are a fellow being in trouble and it ultimately benefits both of us. my INTP dad is definitely empathetic - he's a doctor and chose his specialty despite less pay and worse conditions because he wanted to help the worst-off people. he's not super warm and fuzzy, but he has a strong ethical sense and clearly cares about their well-being, as well as the condition of society as a whole, and has dedicated his life to it. i don't think there would be any rationality behind his chosen path short of assuming he has a strong sense of empathy.
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  6. #16
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Empathy is actually pretty efficient -- it's basically an incentive to put good will in the bank (it pays off later). It's not always obvious moment to moment why you should help or care for other people, but over time, you tend to lose social standing if you don't. So empathy is essentially a reminder to keep up the good stuff -- you don't even have to plan for your future social standing or anything; it just works. That being said, the marginal utility of empathy decreases after a certain point, eventually going below zero.

    I know a lot of empathetic NTs (I can actually only think of NTPs right now). For example, my ENTP ex used to well up with tears sometimes while watching South Park if Butters was being particularly naive or something. She'd immediately start making fun of herself in typical ENTP fashion, but she just couldn't escape the empathetic response. Another example is my INTP dad -- we were in this big group therapy thing once and were listening to this addict guy talk to his wife, asking her why she even put up with him at all. The dude was really sincere. Anyway, I looked over at my dad and he was crying. Strange how sensitive people can be!

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    As stated above, it is not necessary to understand someone's emotional state in order to act constructively on their need. What I am talking about is essentially what Skylights describes below as "cognitive empathy".
    Yeah, definitely. I don't think acting constructively necessarily requires an understanding of another's emotional state (though it certainly, certainly helps). The point is that what Baren-Cohen describes as "true" empathy extends beyond recognizing this state and acting upon it.

    My initial thought is that one can act (or think that they are acting) constructively for another individual without recognizing their emotional state, but that that in and of itself is not what we'd he'd call 'empathy.'

    It seems to me, too, that truly shining a spotlight on another person requires an understanding that person. In the end, another person's emotional state is just more information for our actions and decisions, and we're probably more apt to make better decisions for people if we have more information, which includes knowing how they're currently feeling.

    I lean on Baren-Cohen's definition primarily because defining 'empathy' is at least somewhat relatively murky in the first place. What is the difference between (and proper terms for) "truly seeing yourself in another person's shoes," "truly seeing yourself in another person's shoes and doing something about their plights," and "trying to do something about another's plights without really seeing yourself in that person's shoes"? Are these different classes of empathy? Perhaps the third of these is the sort of cognitive empathy that skylights describes.

  8. #18
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    Yeah, definitely. I don't think acting constructively necessarily requires an understanding of another's emotional state (though it certainly, certainly helps). The point is that what Baren-Cohen describes as "true" empathy extends beyond recognizing this state and acting upon it.
    I see this more as compassion.

    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    It seems to me, too, that truly shining a spotlight on another person requires an understanding that person. In the end, another person's emotional state is just more information for our actions and decisions, and we're probably more apt to make better decisions for people if we have more information, which includes knowing how they're currently feeling.
    How does understanding someone's emotional state enable us to help them more effectively? It seems that understanding the specifics of their need or trouble would be more to the point. This is something I have never understood. If my neighbor lost his job, I might be able to help him network into another one, but I would have to know his skills and experience, not his feelings.

    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    What is the difference between (and proper terms for) "truly seeing yourself in another person's shoes," "truly seeing yourself in another person's shoes and doing something about their plights," and "trying to do something about another's plights without really seeing yourself in that person's shoes"? Are these different classes of empathy? Perhaps the third of these is the sort of cognitive empathy that skylights describes.
    I would call (1) empathy, (2) compassion, and (3) responsibility. Yes, (3) is most like cognitive empathy.
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    How does understanding someone's emotional state enable us to help them more effectively? It seems that understanding the specifics of their need or trouble would be more to the point. This is something I have never understood. If my neighbor lost his job, I might be able to help him network into another one, but I would have to know his skills and experience, not his feelings.
    Bear with me, because my answer isn't structured at all, and they're all just some initial thoughts.

    In general, information is key, as is its relevance, as is an ability to act on this information in a way that isn't completely dumb.

    The more you know about your neighbor's situation, in general, the more you'll be able to help him. Some information will be more relevant at some points in the process, and other information will be more relevant at other points. At a given point, sometimes the emotional stuff is relevant, and sometimes it isn't.

    Typically, when one is completely guiding another person through something like loss in an attempt to help them move forward, it helps to communicate with them on their level initially, then "guide" them to helping find a workable solution.

    When your neighbor first loses his job, he might (might!) be absolutely, absolutely devastated. The last thing he would want to hear is, say, a "Well, you should have done x," which is something that a completely non-empathetic person might tell him. It'll crush him further to hear this, and he might not trust you later on. Rather, at that moment, he may be looking for someone to vent to about how much of a prick his boss was, or how unfair it was, how stupid he thinks he now is, so on and so forth. Part of an empathetic response, I'd argue, is recognizing that this is his current need and that that's what he needs help with at the moment--not the problem of "not having a job," but of dealing with the loss.

    Once he's somewhat emotionally stable, has processed his situation, and is looking to move forward, his emotional state isn't so important; here, helping him network to find another job will have a great impact.


    It's quite alright to be the person who just wants to help him find a job--there's nothing wrong with that at all if it's handled carefully. Who knows, though? It might be nonproductive at best, counterproductive at worst.

    If your neighbor has lost his job but you know enough about him that that was just a side gig of his, he doesn't particularly need it, and so on, then going off and networking for him wouldn't be necessary. You might realize that your neighbor might consider it an intrusion if you suddenly ring up a bunch of your employer friends, give them his number, and have them call him (which, of course, is not the only way to help someone network). So on and so forth.


    Similarly.. my friend can't trust her parents with her problems anymore because, anytime she'd tell them a problem of hers, they'd get so, so worked up about it and continually call her, bugging her incessantly until she'd reassured them that she solved it. They cared about her, but they were too dumb (sorry, but..) to realize that she didn't just need them to be worried about her.

    Caring is great. Doing for others is great. Without some information, and some sense of rationality, the heart and sense of responsibility is in the right place, but it's misguided.

    I see this more as compassion.
    ...
    I would call (1) empathy, (2) compassion, and (3) responsibility. Yes, (3) is most like cognitive empathy.
    Still not sure myself on (1) and (2); those terms are probably 'good enough,' though. "Responsibility" is a great term for (3). It doesn't imply any touchy-feely stuff, but it also connotes a sense of (almost Kantian) duty even on the part of someone who doesn't innately recognize the emotional states of others.

  10. #20
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I can see how empathy functions in society as you describe. I also agree that it is not always necessary. I do not personally feel much for most people, but I am neither abusive nor criminal, and in fact tend to be very courteous and helpful. This is because I KNOW behaving this way makes things work more smoothly for everyone, and I have a basic respect for everyone on a human level, and their right to self-determination. I don't have to feel someone's pain to understand their need and, if I am able, to help.
    I knew there would be one. Oh well.

    You are utilizing empathy when you know that something is going to work for everyone. It is easy to say that this isn't empathy because people always throw it at the extreme end of the spectrum. "Empathy is when you genuinely feel an emotion based on someone else!" It doesn't always get used in that extreme sense. When you do something that has no immediate impact on yourself, but works out better, I'd argue that you're using empathy. It's why people throw trash away in it's proper place when in an area they don't normally frequent. It drives the smaller mechanisms. "We dont yell in libraries." "We don't litter." all of those small things parents teach their kids is to establish a sense of social empathy. "This isn't good for the group."
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