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Thread: INFJ or ENFJ

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    Question INFJ or ENFJ

    I know a fair bit about Personality Typology and the 16 types. I know a fair bit about the functions, the MBTI letters. I know which functions I use and which are the stronger ones. But when it comes back to that basic question of "introvert or extrovert?" I'm still at a crossroads.

    So I have Fe and Ti as my two judgement functions. My expressionism tends to be aimed at others, whereas my conceptualism tends to be down in the background. I know I'm FJ not TP, despite perhaps seeming very poker-face, and effected in my own way by the whole "females are emotional, males are not" stereotype sexist racist homophobix bullshit, so I can come across as very Thinker like. But when it comes down to it, I operate more on a basis of Feeling, and I just need to be able to open and up more and trust my radar as to who I can or cannot trust with what.

    I have Ni and Se as my perception functions. My intuition tends to come from within, and inner vision of change, of personal transformation, symbolism. I can move into the present, pay attention to the details around me, the action of the present. It seems very Buddhist to me and I respect that. I know I'm Ni over Se, due to my open mindedness to ideas, my strangeness, my separation from the majority. I'm NJ not SP.

    So that narrows it down pretty well, but dangnabbit am I an introvert or an extrovert? I always took for granted that I was an introvert. I'm an observer, I'm quiet, I don't let much show. But gosh, if I'm ENFJ it makes sense that I would be like that. A dominant Fe would make one very prone to social anxiety, overly concerned with what others think that they just decide that maybe they are better off staying in the background, out of people's way. And with the peculiarities of Ni shining through everything the Fe does, you're going to run into awkward situations all the damn time, and prolonged exposure to negative social circumstances is going to wear someone down.

    So, any advice or thoughts as to finding out which I am? Am I really an introvert, or am I a shy extrovert?

    Btw, I'm a Highly Sensitive Person, if y'all know what that is.

  2. #2
    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Concur_Withall View Post
    I always took for granted that I was an introvert. I'm an observer, I'm quiet, I don't let much show. But gosh, if I'm ENFJ it makes sense that I would be like that. A dominant Fe would make one very prone to social anxiety, overly concerned with what others think that they just decide that maybe they are better off staying in the background, out of people's way.
    Yep. Those ENFJs tend to be quiet little mice.

    Look, it's not your fault that you're so confused. The Cognitive Functions Kids who rule the Great Internet Forum Echo Chamber have grabbed you and spun you around to the point that you've totally lost sight of the dichotomies.

    FYI, Jung spent more of Psychological Types talking about the things he thought all extraverts and all introverts had in common than he spent talking about all eight of the functions put together, and I've put a little bit of what he had to say about introverts and extraverts in the first spoiler.


    The MBTI dichotomies, which substantially line up with four of the Big Five dimensions, now have decades of studies in support of their validity and reliability, while the "cognitive functions" — which James Reynierse (in the 2009 article linked below) refers to as a "category mistake" — have barely been studied. And the reason they've barely been studied is that, unlike the dichotomies, they've never been taken seriously by any significant number of academic psychologists. Going all the way back to 1985, the MBTI Manual described or referred to somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 MBTI studies and, as I understand it, not one of the many study-based correlations reported in the manual were framed in terms of the functions. And many more dichotomy-based studies have been done in the years since. The third edition of the MBTI Manual was published in 1998 and, as Reynierse notes in the linked article, it cited a grand total of eight studies involving "type dynamics" (i.e., the functions model) — which Reynierse summarizes as "six studies that failed, one with a questionable interpretation, and one where contradictory evidence was offered as support."

    If you're interested, you can find out quite a bit more about the place of the functions (or lack thereof) in the MBTI's history — and the tremendous gap between the dichotomies and the functions in terms of scientific respectability — in this long INTJforum post.

    Links in INTJforum posts don't work if you're not a member, so here are replacements for the two links in that post:


    Assuming you have reasonably well-defined preferences, I think you're more likely to correctly type yourself using dichotomy-based tests than tests (or analysis) based on the "cognitive functions." And if you've got one or more preferences that are in or near the middle, I think dichotomy-based tests are more likely to correctly indicate that situation as well. Even cognitive function aficionados generally don't claim that there's any test they can point you to that's particularly likely to give you results that place your dominant function in first place and your auxiliary function in second place — never mind ID-ing your tertiary and inferior functions in any easy-to-spot way.

    If you want to see how you come out on the official "Step I" MBTI, it's here.

    Whatever your MBTI type might be, it sounds to me like you may also be Limbic on the Big Five temperament dimension that isn't included in the Myers-Briggs typology and is often referred to as "neuroticism" (although it isn't a psychological disorder). The Big Five/SLOAN typology labels it Emotional Stability and refers to the two poles as Calm and Limbic. Being Limbic on that dimension tends to be associated with, among other things, anxiety/worry-proneness; emotional sensitivity/volatility; proneness to annoyance/irritation; self-consciousness; and (sometimes) depression. I'm Limbic, and it makes me less of a cucumber than some of my fellow INTJs.

    If you're interested, the Big Five test I generally point people to is this similarminds Big Five/SLOAN test, which will (purport to) type you on the Emotional Stability dimension (in addition to the four Big Five dimensions with substantial MBTI correlations). And I've put some more information about the Big Five and that similarminds test in the next spoiler.



    Finally, in case they're of any use to you, I've put profile roundups for the four IN types — plus ENFJ, just for lulz — in the next spoiler.


  3. #3
    Senior Member pmj85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reckful View Post
    Yep. Those ENFJs tend to be quiet little mice.
    Ha! Certainly not mine - she's a ray of sunshine

    I enjoyed reading through your post; you're obviously knowledgeable on the subject. However, I thought Dario Nardi had gone some way to giving further credibility to the existence of cognitive functions?

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    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Even Dario Nardi doesn't claim that his study was anything more than a tentative, exploratory one. It involved 60 people and didn't come close to providing sufficient data to respectably validate any of the functions. And it's also been criticized on the grounds that EEGs are too crude a tool for this kind of stuff. Here's most of Wikipedia's list of "disadvantages" of EEG-based research:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Relative disadvantages
    • Low spatial resolution on the scalp. fMRI, for example, can directly display areas of the brain that are active, while EEG requires intense interpretation just to hypothesize what areas are activated by a particular response.
    • EEG determines neural activity that occurs below the upper layers of the brain (the cortex) poorly.
    • Unlike PET and MRS, cannot identify specific locations in the brain at which various neurotransmitters, drugs, etc. can be found.
    • Signal-to-noise ratio is poor, so sophisticated data analysis and relatively large numbers of subjects are needed to extract useful information from EEG.
    If there's been a single review of Neuroscience of Personality in any reasonably well-known psychology periodical, I haven't been able to find it.

    As discussed in my post (and the long INTJforum post it links to), I think he's working with a flawed framework.

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    Senior Member pmj85's Avatar
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    Well, shit.

    Back to the drawing board it is. Bloody INTJs!

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    Welp, a lot of your OP resonates with me. I've been hung up on the I/E in the past as well, too.

    If I had to choose one of the 16 cognitive function stackings, it'd be FeNi. .. reluctantly. Others peg me that way, too.

    In dichotomy tests such as the official MBTI and Big Five, I score only slightly on the extraverted side, and I see myself as such. (Like @reckful, I'm more of a fan of the dichotomy model. He covered exactly why.)

    Despite the typical perception of extraversion, I don't unconsciously but constantly show my cards to everyone I meet. I tend to be more calculating, picking and choosing when to play them. That gives off an introverted vibe quite often, even when I'm consciously attuned to the outside world and to people-situations.

    I'm also lost in my own head quite a bit. When I am, I also think a lot about people, especially in the abstract--psychology, sociology, lessons-learned from others' relationships as well as my owned, and so on.

    I don't exactly send off Christmas cards or get pissed off when people don't open doors for me. Fe descriptions

    I used to have a 'love/hate' relationship with people in general, too. It's still a relationship with them, though--a thing that was quite often on my mind. (Now I have a more positive attitude toward them.)

    Always open to questions

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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    Welp, a lot of your OP resonates with me. I've been hung up on the I/E in the past as well, too.

    If I had to choose one of the 16 cognitive function stackings, it'd be FeNi. .. reluctantly. Others peg me that way, too.

    In dichotomy tests such as the official MBTI and Big Five, I score only slightly on the extraverted side, and I see myself as such. (Like @reckful, I'm more of a fan of the dichotomy model. He covered exactly why.)

    Despite the typical perception of extraversion, I don't unconsciously but constantly show my cards to everyone I meet. I tend to be more calculating, picking and choosing when to play them. That gives off an introverted vibe quite often, even when I'm consciously attuned to the outside world and to people-situations.

    I'm also lost in my own head quite a bit. When I am, I also think a lot about people, especially in the abstract--psychology, sociology, lessons-learned from others' relationships as well as my owned, and so on.

    I don't exactly send off Christmas cards or get pissed off when people don't open doors for me. Fe descriptions

    I used to have a 'love/hate' relationship with people in general, too. It's still a relationship with them, though--a thing that was quite often on my mind. (Now I have a more positive attitude toward them.)

    Always open to questions
    I can relate 100%. I get more enraged by a lack of follow-through on what I deem as "important" (meeting a big deadline, doing something that has an impact on what others are going to do), unfairness, or incompetency.

    Dude, in many ways, you're like the male version of me. I think it's the ENFJ 3w4-ness. 3w2s seem a bit foreign to me. lol

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    Don't play around.

    This is the Goethe dilemma.

    Tough to solve.

    But I can help.

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    It seems I am an introvert. And an intuitive, maybe I'm a feeler or maybe not. I'm probably a J. The more I learn about each pair of a given function, the more I think only one of the two exists anyway, and the other one is just made up for people who are confused. I was spun around a lot, but probably not in the usual way. Trolls turn to stalkers turn to sociopaths and their lackies. I will say though, this whole introverted-perception/extroverted-perception thing does take my fancy.

    Big 5, I score reserved, open, and balanced on the rest. Sometimes I show a more marked preference for one or the other. I tend not to score as egocentric even though I score as a Thinker. Peronsally I would put my big 5 as Reserved, Open, Conscientious, Agreeable, Limbic. From the profiles, INTP and INFJ sound more accurate than the other two. INTJs are too hard, INFPs are too soft.

    I'm playing around with some other theories. I think Big 5, like MBTI, is not really a valid way to measure a person as it is all based in language, and depends on the language structure and dimensionality we happen to be operating in. We could probably change our language and change the number of types. I personally think a more neurological/biological approach is needed if we're to get any where. Choose your own adventure option A or option B.

    Really, I barely question my introvertedness. But then again, it is:

    the Goethe dilemma.

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