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I'm a noob with functions and all that, so if I say something wrong just correct me.
I heard that ENFPs can actually control their functions. In fact, there was a thread like this but it was 3 years old and inactive so I didn't want to post anything there.
Now to the question: can ENFPs actually control their functions to fit into a certain environment?
I'm asking this because I sometimes try to do it. (My percentages of E, F and P are quite low so this might have something to do with it.) I'm very good at working out people's MBTI so I use the information I have about them to work out the best way to interact with them.
Has anyone tried this? Is this unhealthy, or beneficial in that I may get along with people better?
 

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Well yeah I do use shadow functions to better deal with situations and/or because the task I am given demands it.
It doesn't last too long because using functions that aren't Ne/Fi/Te can get very irritating, draining, and demanding for me. It wouldn't say it is beneficial because after all, we ARE charged by Ne and not Se/Fe/Te/Ti or whatever.
 

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If you think of the functions as a set of skills, you can achieve improved performance in an area through practice.

For example, I have lived with so many introverts that I tend to spend more time alone than is reallt healthy for me. Another example is that I developed a belief that I needed to a strong T in order to recieve approval from the people in my life, and I have gotten completely alienated from my very strong F.

But even though we can manipulate different functions, I would ask why you would want to. You will never be able to perform at your best, and never be happiest, being anything else than what you are. I've been trying to be an INTJ, which I absolutely SUCK at, but all I've been is a miserable ENFP. Now I am trying to be nothin' but an ENFP, and my whole life is improving in ways I never would have dreamed of. :-D
 

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If you think of the functions as a set of skills, you can achieve improved performance in an area through practice.

For example, I have lived with so many introverts that I tend to spend more time alone than is reallt healthy for me. Another example is that I developed a belief that I needed to a strong T in order to recieve approval from the people in my life, and I have gotten completely alienated from my very strong F.

But even though we can manipulate different functions, I would ask why you would want to. You will never be able to perform at your best, and never be happiest, being anything else than what you are. I've been trying to be an INTJ, which I absolutely SUCK at, but all I've been is a miserable ENFP. Now I am trying to be nothin' but an ENFP, and my whole life is improving in ways I never would have dreamed of. :-D
Wow I'm happy you found that out... it benefitted you and me! We shouldn't be someone we're not, then! :)
 

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Now to the question: can ENFPs actually control their functions to fit into a certain environment?
Any type can control their behavior to fit in with a certain environment. True, one type may be more willing to change behavior than the other, but the point is, we often talk behavior, while cognition is about thoughts. The 'functions' describe a few forms of cognition, but just because you prefer a certain order of cognition (which is what MBTI is about), doesn't mean you necessarily behave like one would expect with a certain order.

Often, I find people are lazy (including myself) to honor the difference between behavior and cognition in how we write our posts. Certain preferences may translate to certain behavior, but this is isn't a 100% full proof relationship. Meaning, it isn't fully cause-effect like we assume it to be.

So when someone says "I've trained my Fe" as an ENFP, there are two (or more) possible interpretations of this. 1) This person really means to say to have developed 'use' of Fe, and 2) This person means to say she/he has learned to express behavior that one would expect from an Fe-user.

In MBTI, types are mostly defined through their first four preferences, this being Ne-Fi-Te-Si for ENFP. The theory says that the first function is consciously accessible, while the last one (the inferior) and the shadow functions (the other four functions) are hardly consciously accessible. Therefore I think it is more correct to say one has learned to mimic behavior that is expected with a certain function, rather than having learned to use a function.

As @jaurim and @Elizindrhythm have said, 'using' the functions that are not consciously available to you drain a lot of energy, and it is unlikely that you can excel in these functions as much as those types that actually have these functions as their first four preferences.

I do definitely think that it is beneficial to try to understand these functions, surely 'trying them out' is helpful in understanding others. But 'using' these functions, according to theory, will never feel natural to you.

If anything, the best starting point considering understanding functions, is starting to understand the functions you have, and what it means when they're consciously or unconsciously accessible to you. For example, Fi is different to those who have it as their dominant function, compared to those who have it as their tertiairy or inferior. Know thyself, and thy shall know the other. :3
 

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Here's a long rambling by me on this subject. It contains minor violence:

INTJ and INFJ: Very little difference
ENTJ and ENFJ: Very large difference
INTJ and ENTJ, INFJ and ENFJ: Apples and oranges

The fact that in all cases they are "only a letter apart" is what is so agravating about the MBTI system when you try to use it simply as a label for various cognitive function orderings. You change one of the letters, it changes a moderate to mild preference. You change another, you get a huge divide. Change another, and you aren't even comparing the same things. And it's all very arbitrary. If you simply used labels like:

Ni T and Ni F: Very little difference
Te N and Fe N: Very large difference
Ni T and Te N, Ni F and Fe N: Apples and oranges

Now not only is the distinction made more clear, but it doesn't make assumptions about the orientation of the auxiliary. In MBTI, types who are Je (extroverted judgers) are labeled as J, while types with Ji (introverted judging) are P. And P types have extroverted perceiving and J types have introverted perceiving. So, by labeling INFJs, for example, as judgers, you are making the implict assumption that they have extroverted judging. This causes so much frustration with typing when you tend to lean towards the "wrong" orientation of your auxiliary and tertiary. These people say, "I know that I am dominant Ni, but I seem to have Fi. Am I mistyped? But I know I'm not a thinker." They will often have typing troubles and feel pigeonholed.

Simply acknowledging somebody as having F auxiliary, however, does not assume. The auxiliary can't be S in a N dominant because... well, it'd be easier to explain in my terms. Since the OP is an S and I'm one too, think of physical reality. The one you touch with your hands and you experience with your own eyes. You don't need to question that you actually really experienced that sensation of your hands on your keyboard, right? Now imagine someone who doesn't treat that as what really happened and does not treat their own sensation as valid evidence that they touched the keyboard. That is the gulf between dominant and inferior. There is no way those can coexist. Well, actually, there is, but it doesn't last very long and involves a lot of blood and one of them dead by the end.

Whereas F can hang out with Ni without much problem. They don't get in eachothers way and hey, Ni can back up its understanding with F when faced with opposing (like S) views on what something is. Why is it F in the auxiliary? Well, you probably have a preference for one over the other. But as you can see, you don't need to be as strong about it as you do with Ni. Change the orientation of Ni and you change where you find truth. Change the F and you can use it for a different situation.
 

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Any type can control their behavior to fit in with a certain environment. True, one type may be more willing to change behavior than the other, but the point is, we often talk behavior, while cognition is about thoughts. The 'functions' describe a few forms of cognition, but just because you prefer a certain order of cognition (which is what MBTI is about), doesn't mean you necessarily behave like one would expect with a certain order.

Often, I find people are lazy (including myself) to honor the difference between behavior and cognition in how we write our posts. Certain preferences may translate to certain behavior, but this is isn't a 100% full proof relationship. Meaning, it isn't fully cause-effect like we assume it to be.

So when someone says "I've trained my Fe" as an ENFP, there are two (or more) possible interpretations of this. 1) This person really means to say to have developed 'use' of Fe, and 2) This person means to say she/he has learned to express behavior that one would expect from an Fe-user.

In MBTI, types are mostly defined through their first four preferences, this being Ne-Fi-Te-Si for ENFP. The theory says that the first function is consciously accessible, while the last one (the inferior) and the shadow functions (the other four functions) are hardly consciously accessible. Therefore I think it is more correct to say one has learned to mimic behavior that is expected with a certain function, rather than having learned to use a function.

As @jaurim and @Elizindrhythm have said, 'using' the functions that are not consciously available to you drain a lot of energy, and it is unlikely that you can excel in these functions as much as those types that actually have these functions as their first four preferences.

I do definitely think that it is beneficial to try to understand these functions, surely 'trying them out' is helpful in understanding others. But 'using' these functions, according to theory, will never feel natural to you.

If anything, the best starting point considering understanding functions, is starting to understand the functions you have, and what it means when they're consciously or unconsciously accessible to you. For example, Fi is different to those who have it as their dominant function, compared to those who have it as their tertiairy or inferior. Know thyself, and thy shall know the other. :3
Agreed, nice posting. If only people could understand the part i highlighted here. Mimic is a word i often use when trying to explain the difference between Fi/Fe. Yes, Fi learns to mimic what is acceptable in social norms. This doesn't mean its natural, it only means that depending on the circumstances we can adapt and conform if we choose too. Notice i use the world chose. From my experience living with people who use Fe, they don't feel external participation of what is true as conforming, its how it should be, what is expected, right and true, everyone should feel this way. Fi will conform if it meshes well with how they feel about it internally for themselves without the need of external validation of right or wrong.

And to answer the question , forcing ourselves to function in a way we're not wired too is not practical, or even logical. That would be like saying i've been right handed all my life, but today and from this day forward i will use my left hand. It wouldn't be natural so therefore the probability wouldn't be satisfactory. ( meaning its not likely you would be very good at it, comfortable or at ease )
 

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@MuChApArAdOx -

YES! That is exactly how it feels like sometimes with Fi. I can provide another example with Se; Se doesn't technically register on the ENFP scale (though since I'm a believer we use all 8 functions I know it exists somewhere!). I am not always in tune with my surroundings and frankly don't care most of the time. However, when I'm driving, I know I need to be very alert and careful... I honestly don't know how people can talk/look at other people while driving, text, or do anything remotely distracting. My eyes are always on the road; trained myself to be that way. I could allow myself to get distracted, but I have no desire to waste money on fixing my car through accidents or getting tickets. To this day, I have had neither and hope to keep it that way!
 

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Wow - lots of great commentary!

Just one more word about strengths/weaknesses. I've read a lot about strengths-based performance based on the work of Tom Rath and Marcus Buckingham, and they are adamant that putting effort into areas of weakness is a complete waste of time, whereas any effort placed into areas of strength finds exponential returns.

However, what we consider strengths/weaknesses is the problem. A weakness is NOT a skill you fail at, but an area that DRAINS you. So, for example, as an ENFP, Sensing skills are an area of weakness. No matter how many years I worked as a secretary, I was never able to become as skilled as my ISFJ mother. Does this mean that I should just ignore Sensing, period? No, because Introverted Sensing is where I end up when I am stressed to the max! Therefore, I could either strive to increase my skills at Sensing, or use my iNtuition to develop a system that makes handling Sensing easier when I am freaking out from stress. (For example: review past episodes of stress and learn some of my 'warning signs', such as sorting and re-organizing my stuff. If I am sorting my book collection by topic, then I know I need an intervention. :grin:)

I've been doing the former, trying to make myself stronger. Now I want to try the latter, and build a system to better handle areas of weakness. Has anyone had any success in taking on their areas of weakness (defined as: energy draining)? Is there another way to deal with this issue?
 
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if I were to type my various personas, it would probably go something like this
at work: ISTJ 3w4 Sp/Sx
with parents: I?TJ 8w9 Sp/Sx
with children: INFP 7w6/9w1 Sx/Sp
with friends: ENFP 7w8 Sp/Sx
 

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Discussion Starter #11
if I were to type my various personas, it would probably go something like this
at work: ISTJ 3w4 Sp/Sx
with parents: I?TJ 8w9 Sp/Sx
with children: INFP 7w6/9w1 Sx/Sp
with friends: ENFP 7w8 Sp/Sx
OMG I also think of myself as the mimic of another personality type depending on who I'm with!
Yeah... while we're at it, do you think the MBTI is correct? Do people fit perfectly into functions? If they act in way opposing their type, does it mean they're acting 'unnaturally'? Because ENFPs are supposed to want to please everyone, and so tend to be more giving with compliments, right? I'm not like that. I'm blunt in a diplomatic way but definitely won't butter things up if I don't think people deserve it. Would that count for anything?
 

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OMG I also think of myself as the mimic of another personality type depending on who I'm with!
Yeah... while we're at it, do you think the MBTI is correct? Do people fit perfectly into functions? If they act in way opposing their type, does it mean they're acting 'unnaturally'? Because ENFPs are supposed to want to please everyone, and so tend to be more giving with compliments, right? I'm not like that. I'm blunt in a diplomatic way but definitely won't butter things up if I don't think people deserve it. Would that count for anything?
- ENFPs want to please people we care about, not everyone. it's friendship driven as opposed to approval driven
- I wouldn't say I "mimic" them so to speak, just that different cognitive functions and different sides of my personality come out more in different situations.
- distressed NFPs will exhibit negative forms of STJ traits, but they can also appear naturally through growth and repeated use (I've been getting a lot more comfortable with Te for the last 2 years or so)
 
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