I have been lurking here for a while, and since reading over the posts has not led me to any definitive conclusion as to what my own type is, I will post my problem for you all to read.
This will probably be long, so I'll break it down (and I apologize in advance):
Even after reading extensively over all of the type function descriptions, I still cannot seem to grasp the difference between the dominant "F" in INFP (Fi) and the "T" in INTP (Ti). I have tested INFP once, and INTP all other times. I have also read over the type descriptions by "Bluewing" that were suggested in a different thread. The statements "uses logic" and "bases decisions on values" seem to be impossible for me to conceptualize in terms of how I, myself, make decisions.
When I tested INFP, I was taking the test at university (for an internship class), and I sort-of raced through the answers choosing whichever choice sounded the "nicest" to me. In other words, I wasn't taking it to genuinely find out more about myself, which makes me think that these are probably the more trustworthy results as I didn't have any knowledge of MBTI to project onto the choice sets (and because I went with gut-feeling on the answers in order to get it over with quickly).
However, on every test taken thereafter I have scored INTP, and I also scored 5w4 on the Enneagram. The descriptions for each of these types seems to match somewhat with what I know of myself, but I think that (from what I have read of these types on this board) this may be due to the I,N & P functioning similarly in each one. The problem for me is that I can now tell what the questions on the quizzes are designed to indicate about you depending on the choice you make.
Now, a brief description of myself for those of you who would be willing (and probably bored) enough to try and type me over the internet (though I know this is a perilous method!). I am aware that I am almost always emotionally withdrawn (well, withdrawn in general), and that I do not have the talent for showing outward sympathy for people, though I may feel sympathetic on the inside.
Say, for instance, that my friend's grandmother died, and they were just torn apart about it emotionally. My normal reaction would be to at first feel a sort of shocked sinking feeling at the news of it, and then to ask "what happened" so that I could understand exactly how she died. This is my immediate response, but I also use it as a way of showing my level of concern for someone and their situation, because if I weren't interested, then I wouldn't want to know more about what happened, right? Understanding what happened to their grandma, too, would affect my emotional response since I would obviously be more horrified if she were murdered than if she died quietly in their sleep (not that that's any comfort to the grieving friend).
If I could perceive that the person didn't want to disclose how their grandma died at the time (I'm usually good at reading people), then I would probably put the issue aside for the moment out of sympathy for that person. In the meanwhile, it would be very difficult to offer any kind of outward sympathy as I generally feel extremely awkward offering hugs or other physical signs of affection. I have often felt more guilt and anxiety in these types of situations than anything else because I know that my lack of action and outward show of empathy is probably upsetting to the other person, and I would most of the time rather run away from it entirely. Often I feel that this is unfair because the situation is supposed to be about them and their problem, and not about me, yet I always become super-conscious about this sort of stuff, on top of whatever I may really be feeling about their situation (which usually is deep sympathy).
Also, I am fairly bad at math. I wasn't always- only in the 11th grade did I start to despise my pure math classes. I have no interest in this sort of thing. I guess it could be because I grew up in Ford-ville, so everything about the school was geared towards cranking out engineers for the auto industry (or so I thought). I despised this because I did not want to be produced by anyone else or for anyone else (values?). I realize now that this was immature, but that was just my highschool self being angsty. Other than that, the only thing that I was particularly outstanding at was foreign languages.
I will finish this off by stating what my main problem in deciding my type is:
Before I learned about MBTI, and before I took a formal logic course, I never really labeled my mental process as "logic". For me, it was more automatic, and I was (and am) usually completely unaware of the logical steps that take place before I come to a conclusion. Thus when I had to defend an argument in a paper, I would reason it all out in my head, come to a conclusion, write the conclusion down, and then go backwards from there and try to make all of those steps explicit, both for my own sake and for the purpose of making the paper coherent. But the mental process that did all this in the first place is definitely murky, and I often have some difficulty going back and identifying and labeling certain steps in linear fashion. This made me feel like what I was doing was not "logic" in the sense of p->q, p, therefore q, though if I went back I could probably fit the process into a long and complicated formal argument. This would only make it more difficult for me though, and it would require a lot of painstaking translation. So I have never really thought of "logic" as an isolated system- it has always just been there, something natural, not really something I decide to do.
I am aware that all types use reasoning in this sense, and that some types are (apparently) more predisposed to it than others, but where I am confused is with all of this "values" talk. I know what a logical decision looks like in action, but I cannot seem to understand what a decision made from values, or one that is people-oriented (and apparently isn't logical) would look like. Can someone come up with one concrete hypothetical situation in which an INTP would make a "logical" decision, and an INFP would make a values/people-based decision (one that is NOT logical) at the same time? Something that doesn't involve someone just saying "oh, I would decide using my values?" I don't know what that means, and I would like very much to see how the difference would play out in the exact same context and situation. When I see examples it always seems to be that people make purely logical or objective decisions in contexts where it is entirely called for, and that people cite making values-based decisions where such decisions are usually appropriate (namely, situations involving people and values). These are not helpful, and I would like to see a situation where values/people would be deliberately chosen over objective, logical solutions/decisions. In other words, where they would be in direct conflict.
BTW- one reason why I doubt that I am an INFP is because I don't know that I even have a system of values necessarily. If I do, then I do not know what they are consciously! I know that if I make a personal decision, like what I want to do as a career for instance, I will definitely consider how I feel as part of the equation. In fact, I am sure that in this particular instance I would give much more weight to what I "feel" is a more suitable career for myself than on "logical" factors such as money, benefits, long-term advancement options, etc..., though I do take these into consideration.
Anyway, If you have made it to this point in the post . Thanks for taking the time to read!