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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ene View Post
    Actually, I think communication style may be a very valid indicator. Like you, I'm from the south, but I almost always use the directing style. I have four close INFP friends [none of them like or hang out with each other, but they all like me] and ALL of them use the informative style most often.
    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    My personal impression of INFs is that you have to be careful about judging and categorizing them based on external behaviors. Perhaps this goes for all types. I do know that INFs can be very inward and complex. In my mind I like to focus on the inward processing for evaluating personality type. I think externally most anyone would consider me an INFP these days, except that I have an organizational streak in me. I have also wrestled over figuring out which type I am. I think that MBTI has identified some core aspects of personality, but I don't take a rigid approach with function order or genetically wired types based on its 16. That is a bit low-res. I probably am a Ni-dom, but I feel like my inner world is driven by Ni, but organizes information with a combination of Ti and Fi depending on the type of data involved. Externally Se is weak, but I do feel like it pours into me. I more feel a combination of Ne and Fe. The only two functions that feel alien to me are Si and Te.

    If a person has a really strong dominant function, I think there could be ways it pairs with its equivalent. For me I feel Ni so strongly that it reflects into Ne. I've seen Ti-doms who are so strong that their thinking spills over into Te. I think someone like Joan Baez who is typed as a Fi-dom (and her facial cues do strongly resonate with this), is so strong that she spills over into Fe. I've known some Ni-doms that spill over into Si as another type of close pairing. Also, there are Ti-doms that spill over into Fi because of their stronger need for a holistic, yet still logical reasoning. I would love to see many more shades of MBTI than just the 16. I think it would clear up a great deal of confusion and feelings or rigidity in trying to force people into categories.

    I think if I had to declare a different type, I would probably be an ENFP who is withdrawn. I have found that socially I identify strongly with both ENFPs and INFJs, and sometimes INFPs. I kind of think that the functions are like shape/color elements in a kaleidoscope.
    Well said.

    There is a danger with MBTI or any other personality/temperament identification system to pigeonhole people and ultimately to oversimplify the human mind. As I said earlier, I think I have a strong rationalist inside of me, as I tend to look at situations in a scientific manner, but that doesn't necessarily make me an INTP. Ultimately typology is a fun hobby for me, although I admit I would very much like to be able to type myself as one concrete type. Ultimately I think it depends on what mood I'm in on any given day of the week.

    The MBTI is a starting point for understanding humans, but it shouldn't be accepted as the be-all and end-all of understanding personality, but rather as an entry point into learning more about what makes people think and act a certain way.

    Also, you mention being a withdrawn ENFP. That wouldn't be at all unreasonable. I've read ENFPs are the most introverted of all the extroverted types, if that makes any sense. I'm pretty sure my sister is an ENFP. She feeds on her interactions with others and is often the life of a party, but there is a side to her that periodically needs to shut out the world and have solitude to "recharge her batteries"

    On the same token, I think INFP/J types, while very much introverted, can occasionally come off as extroverts. We just have to work a little harder at it, and it takes its toll on us much faster than it would on any of the Exxx types.
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  2. #22

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    Something else I've noticed is a general attitude toward xNFx types in general and INFP types in particular, is an attitude that they are soft, sensitive, non-confrontational and can't take any criticism whatsoever. This is only true to an extent. While the NF generally will avoid confrontation and hurting others' feelings, when they DO decide to attack, I think they can often cause more harm than other types, because their sudden level of hostility or bluntness comes so unexpectedly. I've only exploded on my father (an ESFJ, most likely) a few times in my life, but each time brought him to tears. This is a man not known for crying or readily showing signs of vulnerability.

    Also, yes I am overall a sensitive type, but I feel as I've grown up, I've learned to take criticism better and nowadays only the harshest of criticism from anyone other than close friends and family really gets to me
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  3. #23
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyedecker View Post
    Back to the INFP vs INFJ debate: I'm finding this site to be a useful resource. I'm sure you've all already seen it but it's probably the best sit I've yet found in helping me distinguish the two types. Particularly interesting is the section on communication styles of the two types.

    Directing vs. Informing.

    Directing comes more naturally to INTJs, Informing more naturally to INFPs. (Not to say both types aren't capable of of both styles.)

    example of directing: "Please get us some milk."

    example of informing: "We're out of milk."

    I tend to use the informing style more, which would suggest INFP. Where this gets confusing, however, is determining if someone is using one of the styles more because they are naturally prone to it, or because they've learned and made a concerted effort to use one style over the other. At work, for instance, I tend to "inform" if I am asking a coworker or someone "under" me to do something, yet I am far more likely to "direct" if I am asking a supervisor for something. So I'm having difficulty determining which style comes more naturally to me. Cultural upbringing can also play a role, as people from the Southern United States (like myself) tend to be more conditioned to use the informing style, as it is perceived to be more polite, whereas someone from New York City may be more conditioned to direct.

    What I feel is that when I "inform" people to do something at work, it often feels more forced. I feel I have to work up to asking them to do something so as not to seem bossy. Perhaps when I "direct" supervisors to do something for me, it's more natural, since I believe they are there to serve the needs of their "underlings." More of a sidenote: does the fact that I tend to view managers and supervisors more as equals than as superiors already give me away as an INFP?

    It's not that I think one can easily peg one as an INFP or INFJ based solely on their communication styes, but could I be an INFJ who has been conditioned to force myself to use a communication style that is less natural to me for the sake of being more polite? Does my concern for others' feelings over my own suggest INFJ (not that INFPs are less concerned with others' feelings than their own)?

    I wonder how many INFPs use a directing style more, particularly when in a position of authority, to seem less passive; likewise, I wonder how many INFJs in positions of authority have made a point of informing more so as to not seem bossy or overbearing.
    It seems to me that you are confusing informing with directing, at least in this later part. I don't know, because it looks like they are mixed together in your examples.

    Anyway, INTP's also use the informing style.

    I'm pretty sure I'm INFJ, and I use the informing style a lot. This is a particularly INFP quality I have, but I have a problem with the directive style on principle, at least how it is literally described. I just don't think most people have the right to tell others what to do most of the time. Even a superior should use the informing style a good amount of the time, because it is respecting the ability of the employees to use their good judgment as to how to respond to the situation. I feel like if you have to tell your employees what to do all the time, then you don't trust them to be able to make the right decision; in which case you shouldn't have hired them. In a non-work situation, I think there's just no place for it unless you are an adult talking to a very small child. The gray area is if you are planning things and working out who is going to do what, and one person is put in charge of organizing things. But I think the context should be made explicit. That's just me. @Ene, am I misunderstanding communication styles? What exactly do you mean when you say you nearly always use a directive communication style? Do you tell people what to do all the time, and if so in what context?

    I use a modified directive style much of the time. This might be more what it really means: I will say "Let's do such and such," or "I think it would be a good idea to do x." I say this is modified because I am including the other person in the decision making process, and implying that it is a team effort.

    Also @Lyedecker, I believe it is a myth that NF types are less able than other types to take criticism. I've seen plenty of NT's react very badly to it. I think it's more to do with the sort of criticism and the motives behind it. Different types react in different ways. Also of course the psychological health of the individual and maturity level has a lot to do with it. On the whole Thinking types may be more comfortable with it more of the time, because they are comfortable with impersonal and objective analysis and can usually separate that from personal judgment. They are also more comfortable giving it than receiving it from what I've noticed. Feeling types are likely to seek to give and receive personal affirmation and look for collective solutions to problems, but they can be perfectly happy giving personal criticism based on subjective value. They may even be comfortable receiving it, depending on the tone in which it is expressed. Conflict avoidant types and Feelers tend to overlap, but you can't classify people based on this. Feelers may express it as passive aggression and people pleasing, but Thinkers may express it as shutting down others' emotional expression as well as their own. (My IXTJ dad and INTP uncle have been guilty of this a lot in the past.) And of course, each type may do the other's typical behavior.

  4. #24

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    Maybe you're just doing a better job of articulating what I was trying to say. :p

    Anyway, I'm far from an expert on any of this and anything I am typing is merely speculative rambling.
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  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenfairy View Post
    Also @Lyedecker, I believe it is a myth that NF types are less able than other types to take criticism. I've seen plenty of NT's react very badly to it. I think it's more to do with the sort of criticism and the motives behind it. Different types react in different ways. Also of course the psychological health of the individual and maturity level has a lot to do with it. On the whole Thinking types may be more comfortable with it more of the time, because they are comfortable with impersonal and objective analysis and can usually separate that from personal judgment. They are also more comfortable giving it than receiving it from what I've noticed. Feeling types are likely to seek to give and receive personal affirmation and look for collective solutions to problems, but they can be perfectly happy giving personal criticism based on subjective value. They may even be comfortable receiving it, depending on the tone in which it is expressed. Conflict avoidant types and Feelers tend to overlap, but you can't classify people based on this. Feelers may express it as passive aggression and people pleasing, but Thinkers may express it as shutting down others' emotional expression as well as their own. (My IXTJ dad and INTP uncle have been guilty of this a lot in the past.) And of course, each type may do the other's typical behavior.
    I've definitely gotten to a point where I'm fazed by far less. Now, in my teens and early 20's, it didn't take much to hurt my feelings, but I think NFs get used to it (maybe?) and learn to grow thicker skin. Maybe they're still super-sensitive, but like you said, it really depends on the sort of criticism. Once you've been criticized enough about a particular thing, you just sort of stop giving a shit and develop a "meh" reaction.
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  6. #26
    girl with a pretty smile Honor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyedecker View Post
    One time I was out with my wife and some friends. She said something that hurt my feelings and embarrassed me. I suddenly became very quiet and sulked the rest of the night. Our friends obviously knew something was wrong and the whole mood was basically soured because I was butthurt over some stupid comment.

    Would that reaction be more typical for INFP or INFJ?

    Or does the fact that I was so sensitive to begin with indicate one or the other?
    I think INFP but the INFPs and INFJs on this site can weigh in on that. I know a handful of INFJs, and I doubt any of them would handle that quite the same way.
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  7. #27
    Senior Member Ene's Avatar
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    Hey greenfairy,

    I don't mean bossy. I just mean more direct.

    Let my use one of my female friends for an example. We'll just call her Sue for simplicity's sake [or in the event that she visits this forum!]

    Sue will says something like, "I'm getting off work early today. They have good coffee at that new shop in town."

    She is actually trying to tell me that she wants to go get coffee with me, but she wants to just inform me that she's getting off early, that they have good coffee at the new shop and then leave it to me to suggest we go get coffee.

    My communication style would be more like, "Do you wanna go to that new shop in town and get coffee after work?" Or "If you want,after work, we could get coffee at that new shop in town."

    That's polite, but it's still more direct.

    All of my real life INFP friends communicate in that informative way, for the most part. I mean nobody communicates the same way all of the time.

    Another example,

    a male INFP friend wants to eat out so he asks, "Where do you want to eat?"

    I say, "Chinese sounds good. I'd love to eat Chinese. Yeah, let's eat Chinese." [direct]

    He replies, "They have really good catfish over at Huck Finn's." [informative, but the ultimate goal is that I will figure out his intentions without making him look like a "bad guy" for disagreeing with me.]

    He just told me in his INFP way..."I don't like Chinese. Let's eat catfish." But far be it from him to be direct. He must be indirect and let me figure out that he wants to eat catfish.

    I know these aren't the best examples, but there is definitely a difference and it's hard to explain it on here. It's one of those things that you can observe in real life and I think that in real life, if a person carefully watches an INFP and an INFJ interact, they can often SEE the differences in the type in a way that's difficult to do online.
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  8. #28
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  9. #29
    Senior Member iNtrovert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenfairy View Post
    Also @Lyedecker, I believe it is a myth that NF types are less able than other types to take criticism. I've seen plenty of NT's react very badly to it. I think it's more to do with the sort of criticism and the motives behind it. Different types react in different ways. Also of course the psychological health of the individual and maturity level has a lot to do with it. On the whole Thinking types may be more comfortable with it more of the time, because they are comfortable with impersonal and objective analysis and can usually separate that from personal judgment. They are also more comfortable giving it than receiving it from what I've noticed. Feeling types are likely to seek to give and receive personal affirmation and look for collective solutions to problems, but they can be perfectly happy giving personal criticism based on subjective value. They may even be comfortable receiving it, depending on the tone in which it is expressed. Conflict avoidant types and Feelers tend to overlap, but you can't classify people based on this. Feelers may express it as passive aggression and people pleasing, but Thinkers may express it as shutting down others' emotional expression as well as their own. (My IXTJ dad and INTP uncle have been guilty of this a lot in the past.) And of course, each type may do the other's typical behavior.
    Agree with this 100%. The ideal that NF's are so completely confrontation/criticism adverse was a huge problem for me. I love to debate but I hate personal confrontation. In an educational setting where I’m presented with facts and told to connect the dots and come up with an argument I’m all for that. It gets the juices flowing. The flip side to that is I am most uncomfortable personal confrontation. I’m just not the kind of person to stick my finger in someone’s face and tell them they suck unless they really deserve it (multiple offenses). At that time they are presented with a list of all past and present transgressions. Anyway....

    A lot of material on Fi types seem to suggest an immediate responses to negative personal criticism. I have also read Fe types tend to absorb the negative situation causing them to try to diffuse it or withdrawal from it. I think Fe NF types are more comfortable with "safe zone" conflict than NF Fi types would be. Fe is more in tune to the feelings, emotional states and motives of others. This would enable a Fe user to identify what emotional state the criticism is coming from. With that information Fe decides how to respond. A Fi user however, so in tune to personal feeling is more prone to misinterpret/miss that information. Fi makes the decision not on the emotional state of the person but how what was said made them feel directly. Thus reacting negatively to criticism that comes from a good place and bad place at times.For example someone says in passing "green shoes are ugly". Your favorite pair of shoes are green.
    Fi: "I have a pair of green shoes. I think that person was trying to insult my fashion sense. That jerk just said I have no style"
    Fe: "Psh, what's this kid’s problem. I have a pair of green shoes and they look smashing. That person has no style"

    Fe doesn’t always gets it right either. When Fe is wrong I think it's a lot harder for the Fe user to realize that they misread a signal and escalated the situation. You would have to prove motive. Needless to say if they feel you were trying to wrong them initially they're less than receptive to that. Regardless, all types can react negatively given the situation.
    Personally I hate having to accept responsibility for how what I say makes people feel despite my motive. If I am doing everything in my Fe power not to hurt your feelings and you manage to somehow still get you feeling hurt that's your fault not mine. YOU have a problem not me. Your feelings are broken go fix them. I am learning that's not the correct way to handle things but I kind of think that the nature of Fe( in addition to my own lack of immaturity). This may seem like an apathetic sentiment but I know I get this way only because I don't like how knowing I've hurt someone makes me feel. So to avoid adding yet another thing to my mental list of self-grievances (which will be relived in agonizing detail inside my mind till I die) I avoid responsibility for it. I acknowledge this wrong but I find myself doing it on occasion. I could be off I will be the first to say I still have much to learn about functions and type. This is merely my understanding of it. For what it’s worth test aside I have had more people tell me I seem INFJ vs INFP. I have only been told I am an INFP by a handful of people and have only tested INFP once that I can remember
    "Re-examine all that you have been told... dismiss that which insults your soul."_Walt Whitman

  10. #30

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    I honestly don't even know anymore. My inability to decide is enough to give me away as an INFP.

    But for an NF, I feel very out-of-tune with other people's feelings and needs. Maybe I'm just a lousy NF.

    Forgive me, I'm very self-deprecating today.
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