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  1. #1
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    Default Which type is the best at reading people?

    I have multiple conflicting theories and thoughts bouncing around my head:
    • All feeling types are good at reading people. ISFJs, ISFPs, ESFJs, ESFPs, INFJs, INFPs, ENFJs, ENFPs.
    • NFs combination of intuition and feeling, coupled with a genuine interest in people makes them the best at reading people. ENFJs, INFJs, ENFPs, INFPs
    • Introverted Feeling types are the best at reading people do to Fi's ability to be a bullshit/lie-detector and sense people's motivations and sincerity. INFPs, ENFPs, ISFPs, ESFPs.
    • A Fi-Ne or Ne-Fi combination seems to be the most helpful at reading people. INFP, ENFP
    • Introverted Intuition with it's eery "six sense" like abilities must be brilliant in this area. INFJ, ENFJ
    • Are those Extraverted Feeling best at reading entire groups of people? INFJ, ENFP
    • Can I really just automatically assume that thinkers have no place on this list, and those with a preference for feeling "obviously" have a place on this list? ENTPs and ESTPs are known to be extremely good with reading people.
    • Each type mentioned above is extremely good at reading people, just only in certain situations or in a certain manner.


    Perhaps I need to clarify the definition; what constitutes being able to read someone?

    There are many, but I mean specifically that it would be meeting someone, or a group of people and being able to read them in real time, or read the dynamics within the group in real time.

    I think other definitions include being able to anticipate others needs, sense unspoken words/meaning/context or really understand the essence of a person.

    I would actually like to address the point I made above in red, coupled with the other definitions of "reading people" I mentioned, plus the many I forgot. I would like to hear:

    • How you read people in relation to your cognitive functions, (i.e., Ni-Fe). (Preferably I'd like an in depth discussion/posts about how each type -- not limited to NFs -- are able to read people).
    • How you define "reading people"
    • How the order of cognitive functions change how one reads people (i.e., Ni-Fe vs Fe-Ni)
    • Are there any types that automatically come to mind as being the best at reading people in general, or no?


    Can't wait to hear everyone's ideas!

  2. #2
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    ESTJs!

  3. #3
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    I think it really boils down to the second half of your post, in terms of how you want to define "reading" people.

    As Ne-Fi:

    I am very good at assessing people's emotional states and subtlety mimicking them so that I am better able to communicate on their emotional level. This typically allows me fast access to their information since they feel comfortable with me (and I genuinely want to use that information to help them - if I have a manipulative goal in mind, my reading is too thrown off by cognitive dissonance - it's hard to have a goal and openly collect information at the same time - and I can't do a very good job, so it's kind of a fail-safe against being intentionally manipulative). I am very good at making connections and generally have a rapid understanding of how I can impact their emotional state - I am fairly good at making unhappy people happy again, or at least content, even though it is a large energy drain on my part. I believe my best skill is in terms of quickly delving into someone's interests and values and getting to the "core" of their person, identifying their drive/passion/fire, and helping draw that out and connect that to whatever they are engaging with. Motivating, essentially. That path is the easiest for me to "read".

    As for other types, what I have experienced:

    - all FJ types are particularly gifted at reading groups as an organic whole.
    - NFJs are gifted at predicting behavior, identifying motives from afar, determining relationships and between-person energy, and moving a group towards an ideal (however, their downfall is they can push the group towards their personal interpretation, and not towards the original idea or what most individuals want).
    - SFJs are excellent group readers and leaders in terms of understanding group feelings and determining what the whole group wants (though not necessarily what is best for the group). SFJs also are very good at figuring out how to practically help a person.
    - IxFPs are gifted at counselling and helping people sit with their feelings. INFPs are good at being "lie detectors", being able to tell if a person is genuine or not. ISFPs seem best at giving people a "healing space".
    - ExTPs with their tert Fe are good at knowing how to interact with people, both individuals and groups, though they seem to feed off group energy. They are excellent at persuasion.
    - IxTPs have a (very reluctant) decent ability to "bind" groups - to be a harmonizing force - but it seems only to come out in moments of high stress or when they're pretty drained. They also understand how people "tick".
    - IxTJs are good at identify feelings and pacifying them when they are out of proportion. INTJs, along with INFJs, are very good at predicting behavior.
    - ExTJs are good at mobilizing people.
    - STJs seem to have a good understanding of how to deal with people quickly and easily. I don't really understand this at all, but it's just like a quick assessment and clear interchange.

  4. #4
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    INTP

    Someone needs to start a thread about if INTP or INTJ are better at reading people

  5. #5
    Whisky Old & Women Young Speed Gavroche's Avatar
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    ESTP and ENTP.
    EsTP 6w7 Sx/Sp

    Chaotic Neutral

    E=60% S=55% T=70% P=80%

    "I don't believe in guilt, I only believe in living on impulses"

    "Stereotypes about personality and gender turn out to be fairly accurate: ... On the binary Myers-Briggs measure, the thinking-feeling breakdown is about 30/70 for women versus 60/40 for men." ~ Bryan Caplan

  6. #6
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    While I certainly don't speak for INTJs as a consolidated unit, 'people reading' has always come pretty naturally. It's often simply a matter of connecting recognized behavioral patterns and logically extending characteristics based on personal and learned observation. So, really - anyone can do it. Just takes patience and experimentation.

    We are all pretty similar at our core.

  7. #7
    Riva
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    Reading people (people's characteristics) or reading the intentions of people?

    The different areas that crosses my mind when it comes to reading people are -

    (1) Reading characteristics of people
    (2) Reading intentions of people
    (3) Reading body language of people to bond and understand a person
    (4) Reading body language of people to explore other possibilities

    (1) and (2) When it comes to the 'reading factor' Ni doms probably are really good at it.

    They arrive at conclusions without having to rely on sequential logic. This is Ni. Ni interprets what is fed to it by Se. And this conclusion doesn't hold any subjective values. Read this.

    Logic is always overestimated. One needs all the factors to arrive at a logical conclusion. Well sometimes one doesn't need all the facts but to arrive at a conclusion there is a sequence that one must take. And logic gives more weight to some facts than others. One has to weight the facts and no matter how logical one is one does (and would) have to depend on one's own subjective valuations to weigh the facts. Due to this arriving at a logical conclusion is almost always (even if the conclusion is correct) is open to the risk of personal value judgments.

    So I would say when reading people INJ are on top of the game. When reading intentions of people INTJs (theoretically) would be good and when reading character of people INFJs (theoretically) would be good (especially since they are more inclined to be interested in people).

    (3) and (4) When it comes to reading the flow of people (body language/silent language/unspoken words) ENxPs would definitely take the top.

    Ne deals with the environment imaginatively whether it is people or simply the environment. And when an ENxP deals with another (interacts) the ENP could see a hundred if not a thousand possibilities. This is why ENPs are known to be interesting/exiting. They are reading you (your body language/your unspoken words/moods) and they imaginatively show you other possibilities which gets you excited.

    So theoretically when it comes to reading your body language and emotionally connecting to you (relating or whatever) ENFP (due to their Fi would be good) and when it comes to reading body language of people to explore other possibilities/manipulate ENTPs (due to their Ti which is always closer to their internal needs) would be good.

  8. #8
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I'm pretty good with one on one and not as good with a group because I can only pay attention to one thing at a time. So, if I'm with a person, based on what they say, how they say it and most importantly subtle nuances in body language, I can get a pretty good idea as to there reaction on whatever is going on. I've seen ESFPs that are remarkable at this. They can read each of the individuals in a whole room whereas I can only pluck off the one or two I'm primarily focusing on. Some are harder to read than others - like Enneagram 9s for instance.

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  9. #9
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riva View Post
    Reading people (people's characteristics) or reading the intentions of people?
    By characteristics, I meant the essential 'cluster' of their personality traits witnessed over time, then placing what I've seen alongside what I anticipate. Probably a pretty typical approach.

    As far as intentions go, it's very situational - at least for me. People are complex and unless you're intimately familiar (friends; family; coworkers), it's unwieldy to think one's innate perceptual intuition can realistically capture -- and map -- the motives of folks outside of your experience.

  10. #10
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Some are harder to read than others - like Enneagram 9s for instance.
    Amen to that - sometimes they can't even read themselves.

    Silly Harry Potter reference: they're like the ulitimate Occlumens.

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