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Discussion Starter #1
DISCLAIMER: I have no interest in discussing cognitive functions or enneagrams in this thread. My focus is strictly on the MBTI and Big 5 models, as well as any factors which might skewer preferences.

All clear on this? Good, let's get down to business.

I've settled on ENTP as a type for the past year or so, but with some reservation. Switching from the Harold Grant function model to the dichotomies has helped bring clarity to typology. Having taken the official MBTI test and a Big 5 test, I can quite confidently say I'm an NP. E and T are more questionable, though, and I acknowledge that I might lack a particularly strong preference either way. I think I'm more of an ambivert, and the T/F dichotomy is the fuzziest of the four MBTI dichotomies.

Anyway, I'll outline my reasons for typing as E, N, T, and P, and see where it goes from there.

Extraversion?: During the past few years, I've wrestled with depression, which would make me more withdrawn than I'd otherwise be in the best of times. As of now, I'm in a better mood, but I don't think my dopamine levels are very high to begin with. There isn't much that I get excited about, and I'm not one for expressivity.
But I think there's an argument to make for extraversion. When I think of the times I've been in my best mood, it's because I experienced something I'd never experienced before, or because I spent an afternoon with a friend. I need that stimulus in order to stay sane, to the point where I'd just throw myself out there and get lost in order to find something. Apart from that, I have a fairly regular habit of chatting with randoms out in public, am fairly assertive, and share opinions openly. By no means am I a shy person.

Intuition!: I fixate primarily on the idea of a thing more often than the thing itself. Through abstracting common ideas, I can catch onto comparisons between things. I'd look at a picture, and describe the underlying idea being conveyed through the picture rather than immerse myself in details. I have a penchant for creative, artsy interests, consistently test as an N, and I am high on Openness using the Big 5 model.

Thinking?: The last time I took a Big 5 test, my score on Agreeableness was 50%. So it's safe to say that my preference either way isn't going to be all that strong. Still, chances are I still lean at least slightly one way or another. I'm inclined to choose Thinking because of my pragmatic streak and willingness to argue, and because having hopes and ideals is not something specific to Feeling. Below are two arguments for each preference.
T1) I am morally utilitarian, to the point where I would let a thousand people die in order to save a million. T2) When I was discussing a hypothetical deterrent for suicide with a friend (simulating death, basically), I disagreed with the idea because of the lack of practicality; I argued that word would get out, and that the simulation itself would lack the sense of panic from jumping off a building.
F1) I'm a vegetarian because I question whether to bring something into this world just so it can be killed - it helps that I have antinatalist views. F2) Last year, I leant something to someone even though I suspected I shouldn't trust them, and was proven right; although since then, I've become hard nosed about lending things.

Perceiving: Any type is capable of procrastination and being late for appointments, but these have been chronic issues for me. In the main, I'm a free spirit content with not having all the answers, desiring a future with open options. I consider myself to be resourceful and good at taking initiative. The problem I have is follow through on projects, which can be difficult at times when I would really just rather do something else.
Sometimes I need to act more J-like in certain situations in order to thrive. That isn't my natural inclination, but if it's necessary, then I can force myself into those habits. Yet in imposing too much routine, I inevitably feel the need to rebel against my own impositions and live a little. I scored fairly low on Conscientiousness using the Big 5.
 

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When do you usually apologise to someone, and what do you expect in return?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
When do you usually apologise to someone, and what do you expect in return?
Good question. I guess it depends on the situation and what's expected from me. If I accidentally bumped into someone or some other minor inconvenience like that, it's easy enough to just say "oops, sorry", and move on.

If it was more serious than that, it would depend on what level of integrity I had at a given point in time. I didn't take apologies seriously in my youth, to the point where I'd just use cheap apologies to weasel my way out of trouble. As I've gotten older and more mature, I've come to realise not only the importance in integrity, but also that there are some things I cannot expect another person to forgive. I know if I seriously wronged someone in any way, it would be my responsibility not just to give an apology, but an expectation would also come with that not to inconvenience the other person in that way if I could help it, or even to make amends in some way. Even then, the other person may not necessarily accept the apology and just forgive and forget. But sometimes it's worth trying anyway just for my own peace of mind.

On the flip side, I have enough self-respect not to bend over backwards to apologise if I wasn't the one who was the most in the wrong, such as if there were serious debilitating factors I couldn't control, or if the other person was just as much to blame and wasn't taking responsibility for themselves. If I was an hour late for work because of a car crash at an intersection, and a boss was to fire me despite there being proof, then screw them. If someone spread nasty rumours about me because of some misunderstanding between us, then screw them.
 

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Good question. I guess it depends on the situation and what's expected from me. If I accidentally bumped into someone or some other minor inconvenience like that, it's easy enough to just say "oops, sorry", and move on.

If it was more serious than that, it would depend on what level of integrity I had at a given point in time. I didn't take apologies seriously in my youth, to the point where I'd just use cheap apologies to weasel my way out of trouble. As I've gotten older and more mature, I've come to realise not only the importance in integrity, but also that there are some things I cannot expect another person to forgive. I know if I seriously wronged someone in any way, it would be my responsibility not just to give an apology, but an expectation would also come with that not to inconvenience the other person in that way if I could help it, or even to make amends in some way. Even then, the other person may not necessarily accept the apology and just forgive and forget. But sometimes it's worth trying anyway just for my own peace of mind.

On the flip side, I have enough self-respect not to bend over backwards to apologise if I wasn't the one who was the most in the wrong, such as if there were serious debilitating factors I couldn't control, or if the other person was just as much to blame and wasn't taking responsibility for themselves. If I was an hour late for work because of a car crash at an intersection, and a boss was to fire me despite there being proof, then screw them. If someone spread nasty rumours about me because of some misunderstanding between us, then screw them.
I believe this leans more towards Thinking.

That question was taken from a post Linda Berens replied to on facebook (author of Dynamics of Personality Type amongst other well-known typology books), here's what she said - note the context, she said she uses that question to separate T from F in a group setting:

Virtually all Thinking types understand an apology as an admission of being wrong -- being wrong about facts, making an error in a process that screws things up, being mistaken about an assumption, or, as you say, bumping into someone unintentionally. So these types don't apologize if they don't believe they're wrong. High-scoring T types will often say they can't even remember the last time they apologized.

When they do apologize, they expect the other person to nod and move on, or to say "no problem."

..

F types come at this from a completely different standpoint. They say they apologize in order to repair a disconnect in a relationship, to express remorse for hurting someone, or to sympathize with another's sense of being wronged. The high-scoring F types say they apologize as easily as breathing, but more to strangers than to loved ones, in so far as they try to work on their close relationships so that potential problems get solved before anyone gets hurt and an apology is warranted. And they all say that they want the other person to respond by accepting the apology and assuring them that the relationship is intact.
Your response really leans more towards T, it's funny that you bring up the same situation as the person she was responding to did - bumping into someone - and you would apologise here, as it's an admission of a wrongdoing.

You don't lean more towards the F side, according to what she said there, do you?

I think you're accurately typed - I note you pulled the classic "N" trait and offered both sides of your argument, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your response really leans more towards T, it's funny that you bring up the same situation as the person she was responding to did - bumping into someone - and you would apologise here, as it's an admission of a wrongdoing.

You don't lean more towards the F side, according to what she said there, do you?

I think you're accurately typed - I note you pulled the classic "N" trait and offered both sides of your argument, lol.
Funny coincidence, huh? Hahahaha

The only thing I'd disagree with as far as the Thinking answer goes is that I don't expect the other person to move on. Some people can forgive easily, others don't, and there are just some people you cannot settle the score with. Otherwise I identify much more with the Thinking answer, due to a belief that apologies are used "as an admission of being wrong". It's not something I'd do simply to repair a relationship on the verge of collapse; especially if the person who expects the apology doesn't consider that responsibility to be a two way street.

Somehow I get the sense that the more I question being an ENTP, the more of an ENTP I prove myself being, and maybe I should just wave the white flag and stop fighting it. But where would the fun in that be?

For some reason, I get on unusually well with INFJs despite sharing only one letter with them, to the point of relating to them. You yourself have not only questioned your type, but gone as far as to change it three times in a week.
 

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It sounds like you're not questioning your N and P (so I'm not inclined to, either), and that those reflect not only test results, but a lot of looking into the MBTI on your part.

Just looking at your posts in this thread doesn't give me much of a lean on either E/I or T/F.

In case you're interested — and only if you're interested — in a boatload of type-me-related input from me, you'll find it in a 10-post series at Typology Central that starts here. Those posts include a separate section on each of the four MBTI dimensions, roundups of online profiles for each of the 16 types, and a brief intro to Neuroticism.

One of the issues discussed in the T/F posts is the fact that I think T/F is the messiest of the four MBTI dimensions, and that I'm forever noting, based on eight years of forum typing experience, that it's not uncommon for INFs to test as INTs, at least partly because many of the F choices on typical MBTI tests (including the official test) are choices that are more likely to appeal to SFs and EFs than INFs. And although I think the T-ward skew tends to be somewhat greater for INFJs than INFPs, the fact that you consider yourself middlish on T/F gives me a little bit of an F lean in the context of your IN (or xN). Emphasis on "little bit," tho.

And I also think that it's possible for someone to be sufficiently middlish on one or more of the MBTI dimensions that "x" is at least arguably the best designation for that dimension.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It sounds like you're not questioning your N and P (so I'm not inclined to, either), and that those reflect not only test results, but a lot of looking into the MBTI on your part.

Just looking at your posts in this thread doesn't give me much of a lean on either E/I or T/F.

In case you're interested — and only if you're interested — in a boatload of type-me-related input from me, you'll find it in a 10-post series at Typology Central that starts here. Those posts include a separate section on each of the four MBTI dimensions, roundups of online profiles for each of the 16 types, and a brief intro to Neuroticism.

One of the issues discussed in the T/F posts is the fact that I think T/F is the messiest of the four MBTI dimensions, and that I'm forever noting, based on eight years of forum typing experience, that it's not uncommon for INFs to test as INTs, at least partly because many of the F choices on typical MBTI tests (including the official test) are choices that are more likely to appeal to SFs and EFs than INFs. And although I think the T-ward skew tends to be somewhat greater for INFJs than INFPs, the fact that you consider yourself middlish on T/F gives me a little bit of an F lean in the context of your IN (or xN). Emphasis on "little bit," tho.

And I also think that it's possible for someone to be sufficiently middlish on one or more of the MBTI dimensions that "x" is at least arguably the best designation for that dimension.
I had read through your "type yourself" kit before I started this thread. It's very useful, so thank you for sharing that. I'll admit to being Limbic, and although the list of adjectives used to describe my type was overly negative, I can see how it can skewer preferences in various ways.

That's interesting. So if I was to have any sort of E/I or T/F skewer at all, you're suggesting that it'd be just a little more likely to be in the IF direction than anything else.

The main reason I don't relate to IF types is because those types strike me as being too... phlegmatic, to borrow a Four Temperaments term (I don't put any stock in that ancient proto-typology, though). They're often not very competitive or assertive, and are also generally described as being too wishy washy in their sentiments. I don't feel any hang up about needing to justify any values I have on a rational basis through debate, and even relish the opportunity to take values to the battleground of ideas. It's very easy for me to challenge others.

I also don't feel as lost or in over my head with this type dilemma as a lot of the INFs who take to the forums. Many of them just don't even seem to know where to start on any of the dichotomies, and let themselves get pulled around by functionists who suggest they're not actually an N, among other things.

But I guess I could just be an NP after all, and I don't have to choose a preference for anything, which is fine.
 

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I had read through your "type yourself" kit before I started this thread. It's very useful, so thank you for sharing that. I'll admit to being Limbic, and although the list of adjectives used to describe my type was overly negative, I can see how it can skewer preferences in various ways.

That's interesting. So if I was to have any sort of E/I or T/F skewer at all, you're suggesting that it'd be just a little more likely to be in the IF direction than anything else.

The main reason I don't relate to IF types is because those types strike me as being too... phlegmatic, to borrow a Four Temperaments term (I don't put any stock in that ancient proto-typology, though). They're often not very competitive or assertive, and are also generally described as being too wishy washy in their sentiments. I don't feel any hang up about needing to justify any values I have on a rational basis through debate, and even relish the opportunity to take values to the battleground of ideas. It's very easy for me to challenge others.

I also don't feel as lost or in over my head with this type dilemma as a lot of the INFs who take to the forums. Many of them just don't even seem to know where to start on any of the dichotomies, and let themselves get pulled around by functionists who suggest they're not actually an N, among other things.

But I guess I could just be an NP after all, and I don't have to choose a preference for anything, which is fine.
I don't think "wishy washy in their sentiments" is a good characterization of either INF type.

And INFJs can be plenty competitive, not to mention assertive (when it comes to issues they care about) and not particularly shy about "challenging others." I'd say there's quite a big difference between ISFJs and INFJs in the self-assertive departments. But assuming you're an NP rather than an NJ, then IF would make you an INFP, obviously, and INFPs, all other things being equal, are notably less assertive/challenging than INFJs in contexts where that could mean rubbing someone else the wrong way (with INFJs in turn tending to be quite a bit more diplomatic than INTJs), and less "competitive" in contexts where that means winning at someone else's expense. (But INFPs and INFJs can both be "competitive" in the sense of being really jazzed — moreso than INTs — by getting the highest grade in the class, say, or being singled out for prizes or honors.)

But E/I can also be a big factor in the assertive/aggressive department, so if you're a mild E or an ambivert (or even a very mild I), then it's reasonable to expect you'd be more assertive/aggressive than an introvert who's a significant distance from you on the E/I spectrum.

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I wrote the above, and then I started reading some of your post history. I expect to be back by the weekend with some more follow-up, but I'll be surprised if I don't come down INF.

In the meantime, can you describe/explain why you consider yourself a definite P?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I wrote the above, and then I started reading some of your post history. I expect to be back by the weekend with some more follow-up, but I'll be surprised if I don't come down INF.

In the meantime, can you describe/explain why you consider yourself a definite P?
I don't have anything to say about being a P type that I haven't already said before, but maybe I might have a misconstrued sense of P and J.

So I could be an INFJ after all?
 

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I don't have anything to say about being a P type that I haven't already said before, but maybe I might have a misconstrued sense of P and J.

So I could be an INFJ after all?
I've just looked at a handful of your posts so far, and didn't end up with a J lean, really. Just somewhat mixed-signalsy on J/P. Buuut I hadn't focused on the J/P stuff at the end of this thread's OP because you said at the start that you were "quite confident" you're an NP. If I'd remembered you addressed all four dichotomies in the OP, I wouldn't have asked for the P reasoning.

Again, I'll be back after I've found the time to do some additional post-stalking.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've just looked at a handful of your posts so far, and didn't end up with a J lean, really. Just somewhat mixed-signalsy on J/P. Buuut I hadn't focused on the J/P stuff at the end of this thread's OP because you said at the start that you were "quite confident" you're an NP. If I'd remembered you addressed all four dichotomies in the OP, I wouldn't have asked for the P reasoning.

Again, I'll be back after I've found the time to do some additional post-stalking.
You're welcome to browse my post history, although I only ask that you take any opinions and insights about myself and others with a grain of salt. I've developed a lot as a person, and things that I've said or views that I've held may not reflect on where I am now.

Anyway, I await your reply with anticipation.
 

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Having thought about the T/F dichotomy more, I am - at this point in time - still convinced that I have a preference for T.

1. When I deconverted from Christianity, I didn't do so because I "felt betrayed", or because I "resented the church". In fact, my faith was actually quite good to me. Instead, I simply discovered an inconsistency in Biblical teachings one day, and it took off from there. I cannot in good reason put faith into teachings which are both contradictory and inconsistent with the facts. I saw how each religious person takes away whatever things from their religion they want to believe, and saw religion had no authority to claim for itself.
2. When I've weighed up my career options, I've thought largely about where the demand is, what sort of salary I could make, and what level of difficulty is involved in entering that field. That's not to say I disregard my own personal satisfaction, but I like to think I have a grounded approach towards such things. It would be unrealistic of me to expect a career satisfaction of 10, so as far as I'm concerned, a 6 or 7 would suffice. That's why I'm not just going to throw everything into the wind to try and make it as an artist.
3. Even though I do hold certain values, I can easily make compromises on them out of pragmatism. So I'm a vegetarian, but not a vegan because I want to save up on extra dough, so I still consume dairy milk and caged eggs. For me, values are a flexible thing that depend at least partly on circumstance.
4. I distrust knee jerk reactions towards issues and things. When I approach conflicts, I make it a point to be impartial, and not instinctually support someone because "they're the underdog" or "they've had a hard life" or stuff like that. When my views and values are challenged, I don't allow myself to go "how dare you disagree", but make it a point to listen to and weigh up the other's point of view dispassionately. There's this Oatmeal comic http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe that illustrates how I respond to things which challenge my views.
5. Again, I should reiterate that the further back you go in my post history, the less my posts would reflect on where I am now as a person. Since I was wrestling with depression on and off until recently, I believe that's another factor in why I might seem to be more of an F at the time, as I was wrestling with a lot of unresolved angst. As of now, I'm more "collected" as a person, and with a clearer focus in how I approach things through weighing them on a pair of figurative scales. I also don't believe preferences for each dichtotomy are fixed.
6. Perhaps it's possible for someone who is a "hardcore T" to consider me an F type out of bias? Maybe I simply happen to have a smaller T lean, and will seem like an F in comparison? A lot of self-identified F types who know me consider me a T.
 

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@Ocean Helm I've read your thoughts on MBTI across various discussions, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on my type if you're willing to type me.

I stand by most of the comments I've made in this thread, save for my preference for E. I now consider myself an introvert who had repressed their need to connect with the wider world.
 

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I'm ba-a-a-a-a-ck!

I think you're most likely an INFP, but I've already noted (earlier in the thread) that I think T/F is the messiest of the four MBTI dimensions.

And in fact, and in case you've never seen it, there's a long post that I often link to that I call my T/F's a mess post.

And since making that post, I've done a long supplement to it at another forum that I haven't posted at PerC, so Imma use you as an excuse to post it here. And the upshot of those two posts is that at the end of the day, and for quite a few people, I suspect it may not really make sense to do too much agonizing over the "am I a T or an F?" issue, because that question presupposes that T/F is appropriately viewed as a single spectrum on which a particular person occupies something like a single position which is either on the T side or on the F side.

On top of the middleness complication, and as you know, both the Big Five and the Step II MBTI incorporate the idea that their dimensions may in fact be made up of multiple facets, and that it may be possible for someone to be, e.g., a T with respect to some T/F facets and an F with respect to others. And as I note in that linked post, I don't know that either the Big Five or the MBTI have really done a bang-up job of identifying what the separable components of T/F may be, but I suspect they're right in terms of the general idea that there's some kind of multifaceted mix going on (at least in many cases).

So in saying I think you're most likely an F, what I'm really saying is that, if forced to choose, I'm inclined to choose F over T, and that's basically because I type people using what it's fair to call a points system, and I ended up reading quite a bit more stuff in your posts that got you INFP>INTP points than stuff that got you INTP>INFP points. But that's not to say (1) that there weren't also some T-indicative things in your posts, or (maybe more importantly) (2) that it necessarily even makes sense (in your case) to view you as one or the other, rather than as some kind of messier mix.

In any case, and on top of the messiness issue, your posts exhibit a few personality characteristics that I associate with T/F issues, and where I've posted some stuff at other forums that I haven't posted here (or not in a long time), so again, Imma use you as an excuse to recycle some of that stuff as it relates to a few quoted posts of yours. And because it's possible that a woman or two or three may end up reading these posts at some point (including if I link to any of them in the future), I've left in (in a few cases) some T/F discussion that's arguably (at least) more relevant to female F's or T's than male F's or T's.

As a last introductory note, and as I'm often pointing out before waxing long-winded in type-me threads, I'm both an MBTI dweeb and a hardcore T, and I don't do type analyses as selfless, other-oriented "acts of service" — so please don't feel the slightest obligation to read any of my posts beyond what you're motivated to do for your own selfish reasons.

T/F's a mess, Part 2

Here's a mildly tweaked version of that long supplement to my (already linked) T/F's a mess post — which has some overlap (because I assumed some of the readers of the second post wouldn't have read the first), but both posts are mostly non-overlap.

 
The first section of my T/F's-a-mess post gives Jung a lot of credit for pointing, back in 1921, to many of the two-kinds-of-people-in-the-world aspects of personality that have ended up being more or less included in one or more of the MBTI (and corresponding Big Five) dimensions of personality — but it also notes that Jung did a far-from-perfect job of sorting those personality characteristics into type categories. Jung's original writings on type (starting a number of years before Psychological Types) were basically just about (his version of) the E/I duality, but as time passed, he came to see that the aspects of personality he was focusing on were more complicated than that.

But Jung still wanted the whole ball of wax to be a single, interconnected system. Rather than viewing (his versions of) E/I, S/N, T/F and J/P as four essentially separate dimensions of personality, he decided that a huge percentage of human "cognition" was divided into perceiving things, on the one hand, and coming to various kinds of judgments about things, on the other. And he further decided that there were two cognitive "functions" by which we "perceive" things, which he called sensing and intuition — although much of what the MBTI considers "intuition" (and the Big Five considers Openness to Experience) was really part of Jung's "introversion" — and two cognitive "functions" by which we "judge" things, which he called "thinking" and "feeling."

But as further discussed in the Decision-making function or people/relationship orientation? section of my "intro to T/F" post, it's a big mistake, IMO, to think about T and F simply (or even primarily) as "decision-making functions" (or S and N as "perceiving functions"). And if you read Jung's descriptions of the effect of S/N and T/F preferences on people's personalities, you'll find that not even Jung himself really limited the scope of S/N to "perception" and T/F to "making judgments."

"So what's T/F about?" you may wonder, and I think the appropriate perspective (for now, anyway) on that question is that T/F is going to turn out to be about whatever it turns out to be about — and that may well be a relatively untidy cluster of personality characteristics that are related to each other only in the sense that they're each things that can end up contributing to evolutionary success as part of one or more social niche strategies, rather than being a cluster of things that are related because they're all basically second-order effects of some one essential thing (i.e., a relatively discrete "cognitive function" that F's "use" to make decisions).

For Jung, as I've already noted (and even after he'd expanded his typology to include the "functions"), extraversion and introversion were the most important components behind the differences between his types, and he spent more of Psychological Types talking about the many things he thought extraverts had in common and introverts had in common than he spent talking about all eight of the functions put together. And as Myers discovered when she put his categories to the test, Jung was substantially overinclusive in terms of the attributes of personality that he thought belonged in the E and I clusters.

But on the other hand, one of the things that Jung probably got right — and that function-centric MBTI forumites (especially) have a tendency to lose sight of — is the notion that type differences are presumably a product of evolution, and that they evolved to cause people of different types to engage in different behavioral strategies.

I noted in my J/P sorter that J's are more likely than P's to be worrywarts, but I also think that's a good example of a personality characteristic (and there are many) that more than one of the MBTI dimensions can contribute to, each in its own way. I'd say how much of a risk-averse worrier someone tends to be is something that being Limbic — i.e., above-average in neuroticism (the Big Five dimension that lacks a corresponding MBTI dimension) — is likely to contribute to, and that introversion can also contribute to. A June 2011 OpEd piece by Susan Cain in the New York Times described an experiment involving impulsive and cautious fish ("rovers" and "sitters"), and here's a bit of it:

We even find "introverts" in the animal kingdom, where 15 percent to 20 percent of many species are watchful, slow-to-warm-up types who stick to the sidelines (sometimes called "sitters") while the other 80 percent are "rovers" who sally forth without paying much attention to their surroundings. Sitters and rovers favor different survival strategies, which could be summed up as the sitter's "Look before you leap" versus the rover's inclination to "Just do it!" ...

In an illustrative experiment, David Sloan Wilson, a Binghamton evolutionary biologist, dropped metal traps into a pond of pumpkinseed sunfish. The "rover" fish couldn't help but investigate — and were immediately caught. But the "sitter" fish stayed back, making it impossible for Professor Wilson to capture them. Had Professor Wilson's traps posed a real threat, only the sitters would have survived. ...

Next, Professor Wilson used fishing nets to catch both types of fish; when he carried them back to his lab, he noted that the rovers quickly acclimated to their new environment and started eating a full five days earlier than their sitter brethren. In this situation, the rovers were the likely survivors. "There is no single best ... [animal] personality," Professor Wilson concludes, ... "but rather a diversity of personalities maintained by natural selection."​

Cain, as you may know, is the author of the best-selling Quiet: The Power of Introverts, and I'd say she errs in framing the rover/sitter duality exclusively in E/I terms. The most well-established Big Five test (McCrae & Costa's NEO-PI-R) breaks Conscientiousness — i.e., J/P — down into six "facets," and one of those facets is called Deliberation. As McCrae and Costa explain: "Deliberation is the tendency to think carefully before acting. High scorers on this facet are cautious and deliberate. Low scorers are hasty and often speak or act without considering the consequences. At best, low scorers are spontaneous and able to make snap decisions when necessary." And decades of both MBTI and Big Five data have pretty clearly established that E/I and J/P are essentially independent dimensions of personality.

So again, I'm inclined to say that the J/P dimension and the neuroticism dimension (which includes anxiety-proneness) are also meaningful contributors to the rover/sitter duality — in people, at least — but I'd also say that viewing E/I as a contributor is consistent with most MBTI sources and, in any case, I think it's probably fair to say that the most impulsive, bold, plunge-right-in types are the Calm EPs and the most cautious, look-before-you-leap, think-before-you-speak, worry-prone types are the Limbic IJs (like me).

And the reason I've quoted the rover/sitter fish thing is to help make the point that, if evolution wants a fish to logically weigh the pros and cons of a given situation and do the balanced, sensible thing, it arguably doesn't need (and shouldn't want) that fish to have anything in the nature of a strong, hard-wired gut bias in any particular direction. Buuut if an important reason (if not the main, or sole, reason) behind the evolution of personality variation (in fish and people both) is so that, faced with the same set of circumstances, some of the fish will be substantially more likely to do one thing, and some of the fish will be substantially more likely to do the opposite thing, then it stands to reason that the personality types that result are going to involve underlying tugs that, to a significant degree, can fairly be characterized as irrational biases — or even, depending on the particular results, mild crazinesses. The rover fish somewhat recklessly swim into the trap (a shiny novelty) without giving enough thought (apparently) to potential dangers, and the sitter fish sit there starving in the strange, new environment rather than risk eating the unfamiliar food.

It's also worth noting — speaking of rovers and sitters — that Jung believed that the ultimate reason there were extraverts and introverts in the first place was that extraversion and introversion represented two competing evolutionary strategies, each successful in its own way. Here's how he described them:

There are in nature two fundamentally different modes of adaptation which ensure the continued existence of the living organism. The one consists of a high rate of fertility, with low powers of defense and short duration of life for the single individual; the other consists in equipping the individual with numerous means of self-preservation plus a low fertility rate. This biological difference, it seems to me, is not merely analogous to, but the actual foundation of, our two psychological modes of adaptation. I must content myself with this broad hint. It is sufficient to note that the peculiar nature of the extravert constantly urges him to expend and propagate himself in every way, while the tendency of the introvert is to defend himself against all demands from outside, to conserve his energy by withdrawing it from objects, thereby consolidating his own position. Blake's intuition did not err when he described the two classes of men as "prolific" and "devouring." Just as, biologically, the two modes of adaptation work equally well and are successful in their own way, so too with the typical attitudes. The one achieves its end by a multiplicity of relationships, the other by a monopoly.​

And the result of the corresponding genetic machinations was that, as Jung saw it, introverts tend to be "reserved, ... rather shy people," with "a hesitant, reflective, retiring nature that keeps itself to itself, shrinks from objects, is always slightly on the defensive and prefers to hide behind mistrustful scrutiny"; while extraverts tend to be "open" and "sociable," with "an outgoing, candid, and accommodating nature that adapts easily to a given situation, quickly forms attachments, and ... will often venture forth with careless confidence into unknown situations."

So... assuming you buy into the idea that the T/F dimension was somehow favored by evolution, and you understand that evolutionary forces can only select for personality characteristics to the extent that they somewhat reliably result in particular kinds of behaviors (that ultimately lead to reproductive success), then that suggests that the way lots of MBTI followers are led to think about the MBTI dimensions is arguably somewhat inside-out. Assume that the relevant clusters of personality characteristics that correspond to T/F involve eight T characteristics, on the one side, and ten F characteristics, on the other. If your way of thinking about T/F involves assuming that there's basically some single underlying psychological essence involved (or pair of essences) — and that's certainly a fair characterization of Jung's framing — then you're going to expect that those eight T characteristics and ten F characteristics are all in the nature of second-order effects of that essential defining pair of components.

Buuut on the other hand, suppose your perspective on the MBTI dimensions is that each dimension is a collection of personality characteristics that evolved as a cluster because each characteristic in that cluster made a positive contribution from the standpoint of somebody who was pursuing a particular behavioral strategy — like a bold, devil-may-care, novelty-loving rover fish or an anxious, cautious, novelty-averse sitter fish, or like people pursuing alternative social-niche strategies during humanity's thousands of tribal hunter-gatherer years. In that case, there'd be little reason to expect that any particular cluster would necessarily end up boiling down to a set of, in effect, personality corollaries of a single underlying psychological postulate. Instead, to the extent that there was a unifying thread that tied the clustered characteristics together, it would arguably make more sense to look for it externally, and to expect that, from an internal nature standpoint, those characteristics might turn out be a somewhat disparate collection of tools (if you will) that were all appropriate for someone occupying whatever the relevant social niche was.

And at this point, just speaking for myself, I'm pretty much content to leave trying to figure out what those various niche strategies might have been — and the extent to which the relevant personality evolution took place as part of human history, or ape history, or fish history, or whatever — to future psychologists, and anthropologists, and biologists, and zoologists. So my point is not that people who want the "What's T/F about?" question answered in a pair of mental functions kind of way should switch over to wanting the question answered in a what's the niche strategy kind of way — but still wanting the question answered, please, dammit! — but rather that it probably makes more sense at this point to just be asking what kinds of things look like they're at least somewhat tied into the T/F/male/female tangle.

Buuut speaking of the T/F/male/female tangle, and as I said in my "T/F's a mess" post:

Given the asymmetry of male/female T/F percentages, and given the fact that the kinds of characteristics that seem to be the most respectably established as sex-typical personality differences often sound similar to T/F differences, it seems reasonable to suspect that it will turn out that T and maleness and F and femaleness are at least somewhat tied together in terms of their evolutionary roots — but perhaps that, just as it made sense for any given group to include both introverts and extraverts and so on, it also turned out that there were advantages to having a certain number of the men be F and a certain number of the women be T. And if your thinking runs along those lines, it seems to me there's no reason why anyone should assume either (1) that there would necessarily have to be any symmetry between the percentage of male F's that it was good to have around and the percentage of female T's that it was good to have around, or (2) that the T characteristics that it was advantageous for some of the women to have would necessarily be a full contingent of T characteristics by male-T standards (and likewise for the F males and F characteristics). So... it's not hard to see that, notwithstanding anybody's desire (Jung certainly included) to have the system be relatively tidy, there are any number of reasons why it might turn out to be pretty messy.

Just letting my own reckful-speculative apparatus run wild and ponder the possible roles of personality variation in the context of the human race's 50,000-year (or so) hunter-gatherer phase — when I'm inclined to think much of the evolution of the "types" probably took place — and the differing roles of men and women in a typical hunter-gatherer tribe, it sort of seems to me that it would be understandable if the useful niche (evolutionarily speaking) for men who were notably F-ish was a significantly larger niche than the useful niche for women who were notably T-ish. If so, that would be one possible explanation for the fact that ... the official MBTI folks are currently estimating that whereas 43% of men are F's, only 25% of women are T's.​

And if you're open to the possibility that at least part of the explanation behind what stuff ended up in the T/F cluster is that it's a collection of personality characteristics that were advantageous to people occupying the different niches that typical men and women occupied for much of human evolutionary history, and given the substantially different roles that it appears that men and women played through much of those years, and the multiplicity of ways that those roles differed, it's not hard to imagine that the T and F clusters (if you will) might have ended up being substantially varied collections of personality characteristics.

I suspect that, the more you think about it, the more silly it will come to seem to you that Mother Nature would have ended up differentially equipping men and women in the personality department by having men make their "judgments" using one kind of "cognitive function" in the brain (with lots of logic!), while women made their "judgments" with a very different kind of "cognitive function" (that tends to suppress logic to work properly!) — a-a-and, on top of that piece of silliness, that Mother Nature would have said, yeah, and I can't think of any other personality characteristics where there'd be any reason for men and women to be different.

And in any case, and as you already know, my previously-linked "intro to T/F" post talks about the fact that, notwithstanding quite a lot of continuing lip service to Jung, the majority of well-known MBTI sources (including the more function-centric ones) really reflect an evolved perspective on T/F that effectively views it as a more multifaceted collection of things — and a collection that, to the extent they it has anything in the way of a common thread, has a thread that revolves more around people/relationship-oriented values than a pair of opposite-ish decision-making "functions."

And in any case, and regardless of how any particular type-me target of mine might be inclined to frame the T/F tangle, they'll be misunderstanding my perspective if, as they read through my descriptions of what aspects of their posts earned them "F points" or "T points" with me, they end up reacting along the lines of (as one woman did when we were talking about "warmth" and F's), "I am having a difficult time seeing how my warmth when socializing would be relevant to my decision making process."

What puts something on reckful's list of "F points" items? Potentially nothing more or less than the fact that it seems to be something that's more characteristically found in MBTI F's (or NFs, or FJs, or INFs, or etc.) than MBTI T's (or NTs, TJs, or INTs, etc.). It doesn't need to be otherwise explainable in terms of any kind of common-F thread of either the internal or external variety — although that's not to say that, in many cases, characteristic "F things" don't at least arguably reflect some kind of more general, common-F-ish thread.

Another general T/F complication that I think is worth noting is that, if you assume that there's at least something to the notion that T/F and male/female are messily tangled, and if somebody was looking to set up a relatively simple bipolar T/F spectrum and have it "work" pretty well in terms of applying to a large percentage of the typed subjects, I think they'd be likely to get significantly better results if they based the characteristics in that artificially simple T/F spectrum on characteristics that typically differentiate male T's from female F's, and then limited their use of that spectrum to male T's and female F's.

And that's because I've come to suspect that, to some significant extent, male F's don't tend to be F-ish in all the same ways (and/or to the same extent) that female F's tend to be — but to an even greater degree (and maybe a much greater degree), that female T's don't tend to be T-ish in all the same ways (and/or to the same extent) that male T's tend to be.

And one reason I refer to T/F/male/female as a "tangle" is that I sure as hell don't claim to have made any substantial progress in untangling it, to the extent that that's even possible. I'd love to be able to sit here and tell you that what differentiates a typical female T from a typical male T is that, whereas male T's have a tendency to exhibit K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R and S characteristics, female T's have a tendency to just exhibit M, N, O, P and Q. Buuut what I've found, instead, is more along the lines of, well, some female T's seem to be KLMNO T's, and others are more like MNOPQ T's, and others are more like LNPRS T's, and so on. So, you know... wtf, Mother Nature?

And one place that leads me is to note that, in various cases where I give a female type-me subject "F points" (for example) for something that I understand to be more characteristic of F's than T's, if her reaction to one of those cases is, well, but I think that's more of a female/male thing than an F/T thing, then my reaction to her reaction might well be that I think she could be (at least partly) right — but it might also include the caveat that whatever purportedly "F-ish" thing I'm pointing to is something that, while it may not work all that well as a female T/F distinguisher, is something that, besides being a reasonably good male-T vs. female-F distinguisher, also tends to be significantly more characteristic of F males than T males.
 

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SFs vs. NFs

And here's a long discussion — again, recycled (with a few tweaks) from a post at another forum — of why NFs may be more likely to view themselves as T's than SFs with an equally strong (or mild) F preference.

 
Here's a piece of much-recycled reckful that's also in my previously-linked "intro to T/F" post:

I think it's not uncommon for INFs to test as INTs, at least partly because many of the F choices on typical MBTI tests (including the official test) are choices that are more likely to appeal to SFs and EFs than INFs — and I think that's probably more true of female INFs than male INFs. I think male F's are often aware that they differ from cultural male stereotypes in ways that make them more "F-ish" than average whereas, by contrast, I think INF women who compare themselves to cultural female stereotypes — not to mention the majority of actual women — are reasonably likely to think of themselves as more T-ish than those "feeler" women (EFs, SFs and, especially, ESFs).

I also think the T-ward skew tends to be somewhat greater for INFJs than INFPs. In any case, it's certainly been my experience that it's considerably more common for an INFJ (male or female) to mistype as INTJ (and later conclude they're really INFJ) than vice versa. I think that, in some ways, it's fair to say that INFJs are both the "least F" of the F's and the "least NF" of the NFs.

In my six years of participating in type-me exercises online, the situation where I've most often encountered what I'd call a messy mix on a dimension is the situation where an IN woman is puzzling over her T/F preference. I'd say I virtually always get "mixed signals" on T/F when I'm analyzing INT women. I think F males are a somewhat more recognizable creature. With female T's, there's usually some significant stuff there that, if it was a male subject, I'd think was a more significant F indicator. And in particular, I'd say a fairly typical male INT is likely to be independent/aloof — as far as the importance of other people in his life — to a degree that, besides distinguishing him from other males, is also likely to distinguish him from the majority of female INTs.​

But assuming there's something to that, why are INFJs effectively "less F" than many of the other F types? And in particular, what the heck does S/N have to do with whether somebody's "feely"?

Here's what I told one male INFJ a few years ago:

Another refrain that runs through a lot of your posts is that you often feel you don't match certain type-related descriptions (F, NFs, INFJs, etc.) because you're not sufficiently "touchy-feely."

I think it's not that uncommon for INFJs to mis-type themselves as INTJs based on an inappropriate conception of what an F preference involves (what "feelers" are like). If you're looking for the ultimate emotionally expressive, accommodating, sympathetic, people-loving types, I'd say ESFPs probably deserve the prize — and the point is that E, S and P can each contribute, in different ways, to enhancing one or more of the characteristics associated with an F preference. E's are more emotionally expressive than I's — as Jung said, "What fills the extravert's heart flows out of her mouth, but the enthusiasm of the introvert is the very thing that seals his lips" — and tend to be more focused on interacting (socially and otherwise) with other people. As discussed below, I think that, all other things being equal, a P is more likely to be what you might call a sympathetic appreciator of other people, where a J is more likely to be judgmental (including negatively judgmental, where appropriate) about the jerks, douchebags and asshats he has to deal with (sound familiar? :p); and P's, on average, tend to be more easygoing (hence potentially accommodating) than the more strong-willed J's. And as for why SFs tend to be more feely than NFs, I think that's harder to pinpoint/explain, but the MBTI Manual, in describing what various of the preferences produce in combination with each other, calls SFs the "sympathetic and friendly" types. I think maybe an N preference, for one thing, can tend to contribute to a certain degree of what you might call emotional detachment.​

I think the fact that Isabel Myers considered "the sympathetic and friendly types" an especially apt epithet for SFs is potentially a pretty big issue, so I'm going to take a few paragraphs to explain why.

The first thing to emphasize is that, as you may know, I admire the hell out of Isabel Myers. As I said in my "Why I'm a dichotomies guy" post:

The more I reread Psychological Types, the more I appreciate the extent to which getting from Jung to the Myers-Briggs typology involved substantial adjustments and additions. I think the formidable job Briggs and Myers did in separating the Jungian wheat from the chaff and modifying and supplementing Jung's theory is grotesquely underappreciated by many internet forumites. Myers may not have been as smart as Jung, and she may not have had a psychology degree, but she and her mother had the benefit of standing on Jung's shoulders, and Myers then spent many years, as a labor of love, designing and refining her test instrument and gathering data from thousands of subjects, leading her to conclude — among other things — that the four dichotomies (as she conceived them), and not the functions, were the main event. I think Myers' conceptions of the dichotomies and the types still leave plenty of room for further improvement but, fifty years later, the results of many more studies — and, in particular, the correlation of the MBTI dichotomies with the Big Five — suggest that, in terms of the basics, Myers pretty much got it right. If Jung were still around, I think he'd mostly approve.​

There are things in Gifts Differing that make me wince, but Myers was a smart woman (first in her class at Swarthmore) and spent a huge chunk of her life paying attention to type and seeing how it played out in people. And on top of her spectacular achievement at the theoretical level (i.e., the typology itself), it seems to me that she ended up with a good feel for a lot of the characteristics that the various types tended to exhibit — and including characteristics that went beyond what the theoretical categories might lead you to expect. Again, not saying she got it all right by any means, but her observations are worth somebody's serious consideration.

And one of the things she felt pretty strongly about was that, if you're going to subdivide the 16 types into four groups of four types who have a lot in common, the most meaningful way to do that is to use the four S/N and T/F combinations — so: NF/NT/SF/ST. And this was not a passing observation. She devoted a little section of Gifts Differing to it. And when they were putting the 1985 Manual together, they had a database of MBTI test results where they knew the occupation of the subject, and they devoted 49 pages (of a 300-page manual) to presenting those type/career correlations sliced and diced in the following ways: (1) a list for each of the 16 types, (2) a list for each dichotomy, and (3) a list for each of the STs, SFs, NFs and NTs. (And maybe needless to add, there were no lists that reflected a function-based carve-up of the types — e.g., a list that showed the occupations favored by supposed "Te-doms," or "T-doms.")

And in case you haven't seen it, I once posted a Keirsey vs. Myers OP that provides some significant data-food for thought (also re occupational choices, but from a much larger data sample), and suggests that Myers' foursome might actually make more sense than Keirsey's. (But note that Myers was more sensible than Keirsey in the sense that she didn't claim there was anything truly fundamental about her foursome, and unlike Keirsey, wrote about characteristics associated with most of the 24 two-letter combinations.)

In any case, whether anyone thinks SF/ST is a more meaningful pair than SJ/SP or not, I think the fact that Myers saw it as a very significant pair is worth some weight, and the fact that my little "study" supported her so dramatically is maybe reason to give it a tad more heft.

But that's not my real point for purposes of this post. That's just somewhat pertinent background. Here's the thing: When Myers looked at the SF subgroup, and she thought about what the most appropriate short phrase was to encapsulate what those SFs were like — as compared to the STs, NFs and NTs — she said they were the "sympathetic and friendly" types. And I think that may point to a pretty huge thing that is not often remarked upon in MBTI discussions.

And you may be sitting there wondering, wait, why is that anything huge? They're freaking F's, they're sympathetic and friendly, no surprises there.

But there's actually (maybe) a potentially large surprise there if you focus on the fact that the relevant four groups also included the NFs. It may be "no surprise" that "sympathetic" and "friendly" get associated with an F preference, true, but why are the SFs any more the "sympathetic and friendly" types than the NFs? What the hell does S/N have to do with sympathetic and friendly?

And again, this was not a toss-off observation. This was Isabel Myers, after her many years of work, describing what she thought of as the most appropriate short way to characterize one of those four very significant (as she saw it) type subgroups.

And I would suggest to you that, in thinking about whether you're T or F, and in thinking about various ways in which it may seem to you that F's tend to be more emotions-R-them, or more connected to their emotions, or less alienated from their emotions, you might want to ponder the possibility that your N preference might account for some not-insubstantial part of those differences.

I don't think NFs are unsympathetic types, or unfriendly types. What is it about S/N that caused Myers to think that "sympathetic and friendly" was significantly more of a defining SF thing than a defining NF thing?

As I told that INFJ guy, I think part of the answer (at least) may be that an N preference tends to be associated with a significant degree of what you might call emotional detachment. I think an NF (and especially an INF) is more characteristically (relative to an SF) going to be someone who experiences a split sense of self in terms of there being this person doing things and saying things and experiencing emotions and a separate (psychologically-oriented, you might say) observer person who's watching the first person and analyzing the situation at the same time, with the result that the NF is likely to feel (as compared to an SF) more of a sense that there's something at least somewhat fake/unreal/unnatural about what's happening and/or a sense of being somehow disconnected from what's happening at the first level. As I told another forumite when she pointed to her detached/analytical stance toward her emotions: that's not your T analyzing your F, that's your IN analyzing your F.

And I'd argue that that analytical detachment from their emotions that an NF is more likely to bring to bear than an SF is probably related to the fact that, statistically speaking, the average NF is much more likely than the average SF to become a psychologist.

And I'd also argue that significant further support for the N-makes-NFs-less-warmfuzzy-than-SFs perspective can be found in Keirsey.

It's often noted that Keirsey's foursome divides the 16 MBTI types in an odd way, since it uses J/P to subdivide the S's and T/F to subdivide the N's — whereas Myers's favored foursome uses the same two dichotomies to create each subtype.

But whatever anybody may think about whether SPs are a more significant group than SFs, I feel pretty confident that Keirsey was out to lunch in taking the view that SPs (for example) were a group with a lot of major things in common, but that the people on the opposite side of those same two dimensions — the NJs — were a group that, meh, there wasn't too much to be said about. Instead, I think reality lines up with Myers' view that if it's a big deal to have any particular two-letter preference combination, then it stands to reason that it's pretty much an equally big deal to have the opposite pair.

Buuut the fact that Keirsey may have gotten that wrong doesn't change the fact that, when it came to the aspects of personality that his four groups tend to have in common, he also (notwithstanding some significant misfires) got quite a lot right. And as a result, I've long thought that there's essentially a hidden text buried in Keirsey. If you take the characteristics that he attributed to any of his four groups (and ideally, weed out as many of the misfires as possible), and create what you might call a shadow portrait made up of the opposite characteristics, you'll end up with a decent portrait of the people who have the opposite two preferences.

And I think one of the things that Keirsey got right about NTs is the notion that NTs are the most aloof types in the people/relationships area. And that clearly implies that, as Keirsey saw it, NTs lacked warmfuzziness to a greater degree than STs — which further implies that, at least as far as the T's were concerned, Keirsey thought an N preference involved some kind of tug in the direction of emotional detachment.

Keirsey said that NTs had multiple issues with "freely and openly" expressing their emotions (including "control" issues), and said NTs "try to govern their impulses ... by consciously evaluating them and analyzing them, which effectively kills them in the process." "Even with their closest loved ones," Keirsey said, "NTs prefer to restrain and hide their emotions behind an immobile facial stance, with only their eyes transmitting depth of reaction. A public display of emotion or affection is particularly repugnant to most NTs ... because it shows a lack of self-control — a lack of autonomy — and this attitude contributes to the image of the [NT] as the cold automaton."

And if you buy into my "shadow Keirsey" notion — which really only means buying into the idea that, if two preferences combine to produce a certain personality characteristic, then the two opposing preferences will combine to produce the opposite of that characteristic — and you also buy Keirsey's observation that the NTs were the champs when it came to emotional aloofness/detachment, then it follows from that that the SFs would tend to be, as Myers said, the least emotionally aloof types.

So... I think it's probably fair to say that an NF — and especially if the N is reasonably strong and the F is mild — will tend to be an in-betweener in the sympathetic and friendly department. Less sympathetic and friendly than the average SF, but more sympathetic and friendly than the average NT.

Here's some of what I told a female NF type-me subject at another forum:

I'd say all the INs (INFs and INTs both) share at least some significant potential to be the kind of people who will more often feel deeply and meaningfully stirred by aesthetic experiences than by their day-to-day interactions with others. And I think it's reasonably characteristic of an INFP for their F preference to be more prone to take the form of a drive to somehow "serve humanity" or "make the world a better place" than a service-to-others streak directed at the people they're interacting with on a day-to-day basis. I'd say passionate involvement in, e.g., environmental or other progressive causes is pretty characteristic of INFPs. And an INFP artist's desire for self-expression is reasonably likely to include at least some sense that the people who read her novels or poetry or whatever and are exposed to her perspective will be enlightened or otherwise have their lives improved. ...

And I'd also say that there's no question that an INFP — and especially an INFP with no family responsibilities — can end up being a fairly self-absorbed person (and you've described yourself as "more self-absorbed than sacrificing"). Not selfish in the sense of being unfair to others or wanting more than her share or otherwise violating the golden rule, but self-absorbed in the sense that, consistent with some of the NF descriptions in my last post, her goals of self-discovery, self-improvement, self-expansion, experiencing life "in the full," etc. are her central focus, rather than any kind of service-to-others drive.

It's also not uncommon to find INFs questioning their F (as you have) because they see themselves as more logical and analytical than they think "feelers" tend to be. (You said, " I am too ... rational to be a feeling type.") But the notion that F's are people who just let their emotions (or some non-logical "feeling function") make their decisions for them is one that doesn't even apply that well to ESFs, and certainly doesn't fit INFs well. All four of the IN types (INTs and INFs both) tend to be notably analytical (including a significant degree of analytical detachment from their emotions), and to bring logic into play when they're making important decisions. All other things being equal, an INF is more likely than an INT to feel like her emotions are significant and may have something important to tell her, but the devoted scrutiny an INF gives to her emotions is likely to include a healthy dose of critical analysis, rather than just blind acceptance.​
 

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Altruism

One theme that runs through a number of your posts is a noteworthy orientation toward helping or serving others — from framing the writing that you'd like to do as a gift to your readers, to doing volunteer work to help make the world a better place — and on the other side, a focus on "greed" as an unfortunate aspect of human nature that, as you see it, probably means that humanity is not destined to survive. So the rest of this post is several pieces of recycled reckful — again, mostly (at least) from other forums — on that aspect of the T/F cluster.

 
I've already talked about the MBTI dimensions presumably being products of evolution, and T/F seeming to be at least somewhat entangled with typical male/female differences, and involving a focus on other people, and relationships. The NEO-PI-R characterizes the Big Five equivalent of an F preference with various characteristics that it would arguably make sense for a mother to have to an above-average degree — including, notably, an altruistic drive to serve others. McCrae & Costa explain that "Agreeableness is primarily a dimension of interpersonal tendencies. The agreeable person is fundamentally altruistic. He or she is sympathetic to others and eager to help them."

Altruism is also one of the six NEO-PI-R "facets" of Agreeableness, and here's how McCrae & Costa describe that facet:

Altruism: High scorers on this facet have an active concern for others' welfare as shown in generosity, consideration of others, and a willingness to assist others in need of help. Low scorers on this scale are somewhat more self-centered and are reluctant to get involved in the problems of others.​

But wait! According to official MBTI statistics, around 60% of people (43% of men and 75% of women) are F's. And 60% of the population is nothing like Mother Teresa, right? (Not that MT was necessarily all rainbows and butterflies.) I've been doing back-and-forths with people pondering their T/F status for eight years now, and I'm here to tell you that it's incredibly common for people to read MBTI and/or Big Five characterizations of F (or above-average Agreeableness) and conjure an image in their minds of a nice/warm/generous/self-sacrificing person that any fool can see doesn't correspond to anything like 60% of the population. A typical F is more driven to help others than a typical T, but that doesn't mean a typical F is anything like a saint, and it doesn't even mean that notably unselfish or self-sacrificing impulses dominate their overall personalities — or the way they deal with most of the people in their lives. And for many F's, and depending on what kind of careers they choose, the primary if not exclusive outlet for the majority of their service/help drive will end up being their families — and especially their children. Nothing like 60% of the population is significantly involved in charity or humanitarian work, right?

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One theme I've pointed to in past posts as a possible [type differentiator] is what you might call interactive vs. non-interactive love.

Marie-Louise von Franz was apparently one of Jung's prize pupils, and here's a little passage about the poet Rilke that made me chuckle from her book, The Inferior Function:

Introverted feeling, even if it is the main function, is very difficult to understand. A very good example of it is the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. He once wrote: "Ich liebe dich, was geht's dich an." ("I love you, but it's none of your business.") That is love for love's sake! Feeling is very strong, but it does not flow toward the object. ... Naturally, this kind of feeling is very much misunderstood, and such people are considered very cold. But they are not at all; the feeling is all within them.​

And when I say it made me chuckle, I mean a big part of the reason it made me chuckle is that I relate to that quite a lot. I mostly don't experience love primarily in terms of a desire to be actively doing things for the other party; I'm not an "I love you" guy (in terms of saying it out loud, and there are several reasons for that); and I have somewhat of a temperamental dislike of big sentimental/romantic gestures.

More generally, to me, doing things for each other is not an essential part of a romantic relationship or friendship. Ideally, it's based simply on love or fondness for who the other person is, not what the other person does for me (and vice versa). I've done several posts at another forum discussing the core drive INFJs (especially) seem to have to make "noble sacrifices" or otherwise engage in significant acts of service for the people they care most about. And in that context, and as an example of more of an opposite orientation toward love, I've quoted C.S. Lewis. In The Four Loves, he noted that, "to the Ancients, Friendship [— by which he meant the kind of kindred-spirit best-friendship that a person has with, at most, a select few —] seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves," and Lewis concurred with that assessment, and went on to note that the idea of one person doing something for the benefit of another played no essential part in — and was in fact somewhat "alien" to — this highest form of human love. Here's what Lewis said:

A Friend will, to be sure, prove himself to be also an ally when alliance becomes necessary; will lend or give when we are in need, nurse us in sickness, stand up for us among our enemies, do what he can for our widows and orphans. But such good offices are not the stuff of Friendship. The occasions for them are almost interruptions. They are in one way relevant to it, in another not. Relevant, because you would be a false friend if you would not do them when the need arose; irrelevant, because the role of benefactor always remains accidental, even a little alien, to that of Friend. It is almost embarrassing. For Friendship is utterly free from Affection's need to be needed. We are sorry that any gift or loan or night-watching should have been necessary — and now, for heaven's sake, let us forget all about it and go back to the things we really want to do or talk of together. Even gratitude is no enrichment to this love. The stereotyped "Don't mention it" here expresses what we really feel. The mark of perfect Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all. It was a distraction, an anomaly. It was a horrible waste of the time, always too short, that we had together.​

That strongly resonates with me, and I think my T preference is a significant contributor to that. And by contrast, I_FJs (for example) are often said to have somewhat of a martyr streak, and to seek opportunities to play benefactor, in contrast to Lewis's experience of the benefactor role as "almost embarrassing," and an anomalous irrelevancy in the context of "the happiest and most fully human of all loves."

And I really don't view my attitude as selfish in any pejorative sense of that word. As I said in another "type me" thread:

If I tell you that I consider myself a strong T, and that I'm not driven to "look out for others" or "serve others," do I mean that I'm selfish? Not if by selfish you mean breaking the golden rule. I'm actually kind of a fervent golden rule guy, I'd say.

And now, what about if a friend I care a lot about gets herself in a mess — maybe even a largely self-inflicted mess — and I'm in a position to give her assistance with respect to various things she's not in as good a position to do for herself? Since I'm not driven to "serve others," am I likely to stand back? Not at all. I've actually been a concerned, sleep-losing servant to an arguably ridiculous degree on a few occasions. And I'd say I pretty much felt compelled to offer the help, too (hence the "arguably ridiculous degree").

But here's the thing. If this friend of mine was not mess-prone and never needed my assistance, nor did anyone else in my life, would there be a hole in my life? No, ma'am! Would I have any inclination to go out and seek out people who could use my help? No, I would not. I serve others if the need arises and I then feel that the circumstances really call for my assistance for one reason or another.

But to me, an ideal relationship would be one where circumstances worked out so that neither party ever really needed any major sacrifice or assistance from the other. And an ideal life for me would be lived in a world where nobody else ever needed anybody else's assistance. And that's really what makes me a T in that respect, as I see it — rather than any more blameworthy degree of selfishness. Helping others feels to me like a necessary evil that's likely to require just about everybody to step up and do their parts from time to time (and hopefully as seldom as possible), rather than an essential part of what life (or love) is about.​

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Switching back to non-recycled reckful, here are a few Soul Kitchen posts that got you F points in this department.

Here's the second paragraph you wrote in response to the "What are some of your most important values?" question in your initial (type me) PerC post:

* While self-empowerment and self-improvement are noble things to pursue, I find that life isn't fulfilling for me unless I'm contributing something of worth to the wider world. Almost any job is important in one way or another so long as you do that job well, and so I argue that janitors are almost as important as doctors; we just only appreciate janitors when there's a big stinking mess that hasn't been cleaned up from the shopping mall floor for days. I don't mind working a simple job for that reason, especially when it gives me extra time to develop my creative writing.
Multiple NF points there, right? At least for someone who's on the same page as me with respect to several of the F and NF issues I've already discussed.

"Self-empowerment and self-improvement."

I've posted elsewhere about (but will just quickly mention here) the idea that "noble" is a word that an NF is more likely to use/cherish than other types, and certainly moreso than a typical NT. In the Altruism section, I suggested that an NT's "values" are more likely to be limited (mostly) to the golden-rulish, "do no evil" variety, and that an NF — while perhaps being willing to acknowledge that not going out of your way to do things for others (or "contribute" to the world) doesn't exactly make someone a bad person — is more likely to feel driven to engage in the kinds of above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty activities that occupy what you might call the positive values districts of the spectrum where the participant doesn't just avoid wrongdoing, but is ennobled.

And you not only said you had a drive to "contribute something of worth to the wider world," but that it was a sufficiently core value for you that life couldn't be "fulfilling" without it. And you've made similar references to the "volunteer work" you do in multiple posts.

And the flip side of that same coin (to some extent) is reflected in the fourth paragraph you wrote in response to the "What are some of your most important values?" question:

* I hesitate to call myself a misanthropist because of my deep concern for humanity's future that comes from caring about humanity. The problem is that I don't see how humanity has a future, because I don't see how human nature can change, and I don't see how humanity can sustain civilisation in the long term because of its unsustainable consumption and overpopulation. I think an attachment to material things is inevitable, same with the greed that usually follows through from an attachment to material things, and a lot of injustice and destruction in this world ultimately stems from greed in one way or another.
You've made essentially this same point about feeling like humanity is probably doomed because "greed" and "materialism" are such a strong component of "human nature" in multiple posts. And it reflects a sense on your part that you're different from the average person in those respects. I'm not saying you see yourself as anything like a saint, but your self-descriptions (including about your "most important values") make it clear that you have a misanthropist streak — not in the sense of not "caring about humanity" (as you note), but in the sense of thinking that much of humanity is made up of people for whom greed and materialisim make up an unfortunately (and perhaps fatally, in terms of humanity's future) large portion of their nature.

And from my perspective, this suggests a recognition on your part that you're in some kind of minority of the population for whom greed and materialism are a smaller-than-average streak, and concern for others (and humanity) is larger-than-average. And both MBTI characterizations of the T/F dimension and Big Five characterizations of Agreeableness suggest that that's the dimension that would be likely to have the largest influence on someone's values/drives/etc. along those lines. And 43% of men are F's, per official MBTI stats, so if you're on board with the idea that those "values" descriptions of yours have a significant F flavor, you'd only need to think that you're in the upper 43% of the male population in that respect to think of F as a good fit for you, at least when it came to that stuff.

a) Even though I enjoy a conversation here and there with a stranger or a close friend, I generally prefer my own company. I aspire to write short stories in a similar vein of Anton Chekhov, whose stories framed existential searching within a concise and effective tale driven by an interesting premise. I'd like to publish my writings online for free on a blog or something like that. I make enough money in a simple day job to support myself, but what matters is being able to offer something of value as a gift to whoever reads and enjoys what I wrote.
This was the first paragraph of your response to the "What activities energize you most?" question in your initial type-me OP, and I think the fact that you frame your aspiration to be a writer in terms of a primary drive ("what matters") to "offer something of value as a gift" to the reader is worth an F point or two. And you might react to that by saying, well, but reckful, come on, why is any writer bothering to write if not to be read, eh? And to that I'd respond that, whatever truth there may be to that, my perspective when I'm writing (including posts like this) really doesn't include much of a feel that I'm making a "gift" to the reader, or that it's the reader that matters. Declaring that "what matters is being able to offer something of value as a gift" is just not something I'd say, and doesn't really resonate for me, and I think the impersonal take on my drives/activities/etc. that's (partly) a product of my T preference has something to do with that.

And harking back to that C.S. Lewis quote, I'd say I have a midly aversive response to "gifts" in general, from both the giving and receiving side.

In December 2016 (seven months after your initial type-me OP), you answered the same questionnaire a second time, and this time your response to the "What are some of your most important values?" question included this paragraph:

On the whole, I would say humanity is doomed because I don't see any signs that humanity will change its course before it's too late to avoid catastrophe, but humans can still do good things for other humans, whether's it producing evocative works of art or doing acts of kindness for other people. That's reason enough for me to care, and that's why I strive for in my own life. In my personal life, I define a worthwhile deed in terms of how it benefits others, and that's why I take the time to do whatever volunteer work I can. I also love literature, and want to be able to get my writing to a point where I can share it with others, and reach people on a subtle level through the way each person responds to what I write.
Again, the greedier aspects of human nature may mean "humanity is doomed," but in the meantime... what makes life worthwhile for you (provides "reason enough for you to care") is the fact that "humans can still do good things for other humans, whether it's producing evocative works of art or doing acts of kindness for other people" — which is why you "take the time to do whatever volunteer work I can."

You "define a worthwhile deed in terms of how it benefits others."

And honestly, Soul Kitchen, I think it would be hard for me to overstate how much more typical of a male (especially) INF those expressed attitudes/sentiments are than a male INT. Especially the "acts of kindness" part. Producing works of art is an INFP>INTP thing, statistically speaking (more here and here), but "acts of kindness" — and "defining" the "worth" of a deed "in terms of how it benefits others" is a strongly INFP>INTP thing, IMHO.

Not an impossible thing for an INTP to say because, to probably beat a dead horse, type isn't about impossibilities, it's about probabilities. (And T/F's a mess, and on and on.) But from my points system perspective, paragraphs like the just-quoted one get you some bigtime F points.


Tactfulness

 
You've said you consider yourself above-average in Big Five neuroticism, and that sounds right to me. One of the six NEO-PI-R facets of Neuroticism is Angry Hostility, and here's some of McCrae & Costa's summary of that facet:

Angry hostility represents the tendency to experience anger and related states such as frustration and bitterness. This scale measures the individual's readiness to experience anger; whether the anger is expressed depends on the individual's level of Agreeableness.​

And your posts have given me a pretty strong impression that, whatever proneness to annoyance/anger you may have — (in terms of what you internally experience — in the face of statements or conduct by others that you consider wrongful, you're also someone who's above-average in the extent to which whatever impulses you have to bitch at someone are typically suppressed in favor of more tactful/constructive approaches.

I, by anecdotal contrast, am what I understand to be a fairly typical TJ with above-average neuroticism in terms of my proneness, when somebody's doing something that I disapprove of, to vent my disapproval in a way that doesn't register particularly high on the tactful/diplomatic scale.

Here's you, in posts that got you some F points at Casa Reckful:

When presenting my analysis as criticism, I focus solely on the belief under scrutiny itself instead of trying to make the criticism personal. One shouldn't insult or degrade the person with criticism since doing so wouldn't make them change their mind, not to mention that it's important to maintain a standard of dignity no matter what situation one is in.
As you probably know, the history of debating as an organized activity reflects the fact that there are lots of people who not only don't avoid, but actually relish, moments when a point is delivered in a way that includes an element of stinging ridicule/contempt/etc., and I'd say that NTJs are quite possibly the type most likely to find that kind of debating temperamentally comfortable. Bill Gates was somewhat infamous (in his youth anyway) for telling people, "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard." And I think that's something an NT guy is considerably more likely to make a habit of saying than an NF guy.

That quote of yours came from one of the answers in your first PerC type-me questionnaire, and I'd say the importance you place on avoiding "insults" or "degrading" language out of a concern for "dignity" when you're addressing someone who's said something that "clashes with your current beliefs" is worth an F point.

Any by contrast, I'd say NT guys are the classic "sticks and stones" guys, and the most prone to feel guiltless if somebody gets hurt by a caustically-expressed criticism — because it was their addressee who erred, by taking the barb too personally.

10. What do you repress about your outward behavior or internal thought process when around others? Why?

It matters to me when people maintain a standard of dignity around others, because there's just nothing to gain from being rude to people or needlessly losing your temper, or complaining about every little thing you see. I'm certainly not afraid to disagree with people or speak up when things are unfair or don't make sense, but you can speak up in such a way where you don't intentionally rub other people the wrong way. Besides, a little niceness can go a long way towards both making that person feel good, which makes you feel good as well.
And so I'm not misunderstood, I'm not saying my T preference makes me mostly disagree with this post, assuming it's interpreted as a description of what is arguably a better manner of relating to others — at least in many situations — than the manner that (often, not always) seems to come more naturally to me.

But if I was talking about myself in relation to this issue in a type-me thread, I'd make it clear that, like typical (methinks) NTJs — and especially above-average-neuroticism NTJs — this is an interpersonal area where I have something of a temperamental tendency to be less nice than average, more blunt than average, less capable of biting my tongue than average, etc.

And as for "a little niceness can go a long way towards both making that person feel good, which makes you feel good as well"... well, on the one hand, who can disagree with that, right? But it's not something I'd be likely to say, and certainly not in a paragraph where the point of the post was to give the readers a portrait of what I'm like.

And for what it's worth, I see "dignity" as a term that's considerably more likely to have resonance for an NF than an NT. It's never been a word I use. And when it's used in the context of how to talk to someone you're clashing with (and you used it in both of the last two quotes in that context), it seems to me to be a fairly typical example of the often-remarked-on aspect of T/F that involves viewing interpersonal clashes in personal terms (in terms of at least taking impacts on the other person and the relationship into significant account) vs. impersonal terms (i.e., a temperamental tendency to be oblivious to personal/relationship impacts, and/or to view it as a mistake to take anything the T says "personally").

And if you're on board with the idea that T/F tends to play a substantial role in how much concern for the other person's dignity/feelings come into play, and how much "niceness" is likely to come into play, and if you focus, again, on the fact that around 43% of men allegedly belong in the F category, wouldn't you say that your attitudes/concerns in this department put you in the more nice/considerate/tactful 43% of men?
 

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Sociability

 
Here's a little recycled reckful from an old PerC type-me thread:

As you undoubtedly know, both I/E and T/F have roles to play in how sociable someone's inclined to be. An EF is the most quintessential "people person," and an IT is the best candidate for hermithood, and IFs and ETs are the in-betweeners.

And guess which types are the most likely to feel tormented by what seems to be an internal war between a deep desire to relate to their fellow human beings and a host of misgivings and avoidance propensities (with an accompanying love of solitude)? That's right: the IFs. And especially the INFs. And most especially the Limbic INFs.

And what's more, while I'm rolling, as between Limbic INFJs and Limbic INFPs, the Limbic INFPs.​

Your posts make you sound like one of those in-betweener types to me, and I think IF, not ET, is the likely candidate.

In your first 5 things post, you said:

2. I live most of my life in solitude, but I'm stimulated by interesting people and conversations. However, I tend to be a social outcast through choice because of my esoteric interests, and lack of interest in social activities such as sports, religion, or clubbing,
And in your original type-me OP, you said:

Even though I enjoy a conversation here and there with a stranger or a close friend, I generally prefer my own company.
But you've also said:

I often catch myself feeling lonely and wanting company, but I remind myself that I don't partake in the things people often do to meet other people, such as going to church, playing sports, or going clubbing.
And:

4. Loneliness and boredom are not too easily separable for me.
And:

I think there's an argument to make for extraversion. When I think of the times I've been in my best mood, it's because I experienced something I'd never experienced before, or because I spent an afternoon with a friend. ... Apart from that, I have a fairly regular habit of chatting with randoms out in public. ... By no means am I a shy person.
Looking at that last quote, I'd say you were right to think that the stuff described is somewhat more characteristic of ENTs than INTs, but that it's also more characteristic of INFs than INTs, and in your case, and as between those two possible type-related explanations, I think INF is the likelier one.


NFs & the "self"; people as meaningful wholes

 
Long, long ago (2009!) in an MBTI forum far... well, not that far away, actually, this being the internet... somebody created a type-me thread and I ended up waxing so long-winded on T/F issues that one of the mods told me that my post lengths put me in a class by myself. This was not necessarily intended as a compliment.

And the T/F issue that I may have spent the most time talking about (in two endless posts) was the notion that F's (and NFs especially) were more prone than T's to view individuals as meaningful wholes. And I'm going to take this as an opportunity to very briefly revisit that issue, starting with this piece of much-recycled reckful:

I think of NFs as the "self"-oriented types. By that I don't mean selfish, or even self-centered. What I mean is that an NF, more than the other types, is likely to cherish the view that each person is a unique individual who adds up (or, ideally, can come to add up) to some kind of meaningful whole, and whose life ideally consists of a kind of journey of self-discovery and self-improvement in which each passing year will find you wiser about yourself, and also a better and/or expanded person, than you were the year before.​

Here's some Keirsey on NFs:

Although [NFs] make up only about 12 percent of the general population, ... their influence on the minds of the populace is massive, for most writers come from this group. Novelists, dramatists, television writers, playwrights, journalists, poets, and biographers are almost exclusively NFs. ... The theme of people in restless search of self runs through novel after novel, is voiced by protagonist after protagonist, and is the source of agony in drama after drama.

The search for meaning as a necessary pilgrimage for all people is advanced by the NFs in their writings. Very often the other types ... are troubled by the thought that they ought to be pursuing these values, even if, somehow, the search for meaning and integrity does not beckon to them. This reluctance of 88 percent of the world to join the search for self-actualization is a great source of mystification to the NFs.​

By contrast, I think a typical NT is more naturally inclined to think of a person as a mixed-up collection of traits, tastes, knowledge, interests, etc. that doesn't really add up to a "self" that somehow represents a meaningful unit in the same way that it does for a typical NF.

And I'm not going to quote any of your posts at this point, but I'll be referring back to this general notion in at least a couple more specific contexts in what follows.


Languages

The strength of your desire to learn foreign languages puts you in a very small minority, as you undoubtedly know, and that's a subject I've posted on before, so here's another chunk of recycled reckful from another forum.

 
Since it was several posts back, I'm going to remind you of a point I made in the introductory part of this T/F series on the subject of what puts a personality characteristic on my F (or NF) list:

reckful said:
What puts something on reckful's list of "F points" items? Potentially nothing more or less than the fact that it seems to be something that's more characteristically found in MBTI F's (or NFs, or FJs, or INFs, or etc.) than MBTI T's (or NTs, TJs, or INTs, etc.). It doesn't need to be otherwise explainable in terms of any kind of common-F thread of either the internal or external variety — although that's not to say that, in many cases, characteristic "F things" don't at least arguably reflect some kind of more general, common-F-ish thread.
And here's some some much-recycled reckful on the subject of people out near the far end of the spectrum in terms of type-relevant personality characteristics:

I've noted in past posts that the effect of probabilities is often substantially more dramatic at the ends of the scale than near the middle. As one example, as I understand it, the chess-playing ability of the average woman is not dramatically different than the chess-playing ability of the average man — but if you look at the end-of-the-spectrum subgroup of chess grand masters, it's a group that's very heavily male-dominated. ...

So... anytime somebody not only exhibits a personality current that's more characteristically associated with, say, NFs than other types, but also exhibits that current to a degree that puts them in the top 5% or 1% of the population, it arguably makes sense to assign that unusually strong streak more "NF points" than a milder version of the same streak that doesn't put the person in a particularly small minority.​

And one of the things that's often pointed to as more characteristic of NFs than any of the other types is a strong interest in language. NFs, as you'll recall, were one of the groups that made up Myers' favored foursome, and Myers noted that NFs "often ... have a marked gift of language," and she explained that the NFs' above-average "command" in this area "derives from the combination of intuition and feeling. Intuition supplies imagination and insight, feeling supplies the urge to communicate and share, and the command of language is apparently a joint product of intuition's facility with symbols and feeling's artistic discrimination and taste." (And note that you don't have to buy into Myers' explanation to accept the fact that her data-gathering and interaction with the types had led her to conclude that NFs, for whatever reason, tended to be the language buffs.)

NFs were also part of Keirsey's foursome, as you know, and Keirsey agreed with Myers, noting that all four NF types tend to "demonstrate ... a remarkable facility with language."

And when it comes to the people who at least arguably inhabit something like the far end of the love-of-language spectrum, it's long seemed to me that a passion for learning foreign languages made for a pretty good indicator.

And my N preference is pretty damn strong, it seems to me, but foreign languages? The Biblical story of the Tower of Babel explains that everybody spoke the same language once upon a time, and that the multi-language "confusion" (to quote the King James version) was inflicted on humanity by God as a punishment after people tried to build a tower to the sky.

And I say Amen to that perspective, because I'm here to tell you that this NT views the fact that everybody on Earth doesn't speak the same language as pretty much just a sorry mess of a situation.

As part of my "people as meaningful wholes" discussion, I said I thought it was more typical of NFs to be interested in the aspects of someone's personality that made them more of a unique individual. And I think one of the main things that people with a passion for foreign languages are apt to point to to explain their passion is the psychological angle that says that a language isn't just a passive tool for describing an objective reality but embodies a rich and multifarious set of perspectives on things, and that the perspectives embodied in each language include perspectives that are missing from the NF's native language, and have a special fascination for that reason.

In other words, it seems to me that some of the factors that make an NF more likely than an NT to have a passion to get to know other individuals as a way of being exposed to a rich cornucopia of somewhat idiosyncratic perspectives on the world are the same factors that make an NF characteristically more interested in learning about other cultures and those cultures' idiosyncratic perspectives on the world.

And to give the dead horse another whack, noooooooo, I'm not saying this is anything like a definitive indicator in the NF department. I'm just saying that given that this particular streak is strong enough in you to put you in a very small minority of the population, and given that it's a streak that I think is particularly NF-characteristic, it caused me to award you another INFJ>INTJ point or two or three.


That concludes the recycled portion of this post. And here are a few Soul Kitchen posts in this department.

Here's the second paragraph you wrote in response to the "What activities energize you most?" question in your initial type-me OP:

I have a passion for foreign languages, because language and culture are inseparable from each other. It's just not the same to take the usual tourist experience of taking a whole lot of pretty photos of major tourist attractions, spending a fortune on packaged tours, 5-star restaurants and hotels, and speaking only English. I want to know what it means to live like a local in that country.
I dabbled in Esperanto for a while
"Esperanto!" exclaimed reckful.

I spent the past year trying out different languages to see which one was for me. Mandarin Chinese was a tough nut for me to try and crack because of its writing system and tones, as well as its unfamiliar vocabulary, and so I lost interest in it after a while.
"Manadarin Chinese!" exclaimed reckful.

And so I'm not misunderstood, Soul Kitchen, I'm not saying you're certifiably crazy or anything. Just emphasizing that you're in a small minority in the love-of-language department. Right? A very, very, very small minority.

In the What Are Your Thoughts on Traveling thread, you said:

I'd be interested in becoming a digital nomad for a while at some point in the future. Basically I'd spend extended periods of time in a few different locations so I can immerse myself in other cultures, while cutting down on living costs compared to what tourists would usually pay in their travels. If I can make freelance developing work out for me, I could basically work for anyone from any corner of the world so long as I have a laptop and an internet connection.

I would make it a point to learn the language of the place I wanted to stay at first before staying there, which isn't a chore for me since I love languages.
It's not hard for me to imagine somebody conceding that, notwithstanding their love of languages, learning a foreign language can still be something of a chore. For someone to love languages so much that learning a new one "isn't a chore," I assume it helps to love languages to an extent that puts that someone in, at the risk of being repetitive, a very, very, very small minority.
 
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