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Discussion Starter #1
This sticky post depicts Fi as very empathetic, saying...

Fi people are typically very good at picking up emotional vibes in the tone of voice and word choice of others. They often know what you're feeling even better than you do because they're aware of the subtle effects that different emotional states have on our behaviors and can pick up cues about how you're feeling that you didn't even intend to give off. For this reason strong Fi users are profoundly empathetic and tend to understand and identify with basic human needs on a profound level....
A mature Fi user is extremely in tune with the emotional needs of others and very supportive of and responsive to them.
Now I'm INFP (Fi dominant) and can definitely relate to that. INFPs are generally said to be empathetic, sometimes even to a ridiculous degree, for instance empathy towards inanimate objects (perhaps you have seen those INFP memes...).

Personally, I sometimes relate very intensely to fictional characters when reading a book or watching a movie. Like after watching A Walk To Remember a couple years ago I was very sad, depressed, kind of in a grieving process over the loss of his loved one, as if it happened to me personally.

Or no matter how emotionally inexpressive friends or family members may be, if something is wrong I just know it. I just pick it up.

So obviously there has to be a connection between Fi and empathy (the more crazy stuff like inanimate objects perhaps being specific to the INFP's Fi/Ne pairing?). But how so? Approaching this topic conceptually, I would expect empathy to be a Fe trait, but not so much Fi. With Fi being more introspective, I would think that people with that function would be much more prone to unawareness of the emotional needs and state of others. Watching Fe and Fi however I came to the conclusion that empathy is neither Fe- nor Fi-specific but a trait of feelers in general. Nevertheless they will show empathy differently: Fi's empathy being more internal and less expressive, strong in feeling what others feel and thus being able to understand them; Fe's empathy being more external, strong in empathizing through expressions, the face, words, etc. (the latter being the more desired kind of empathy in a tough season, and probably one of the reasons why INFJs are such valuable friends when you're in a crisis).

But still, over the months I have come across a couple of texts that emphasize the empathy of Fi-types. This gives me the impression that there has to be a distinct quality to it.
So basically my questions are:

1) How does Fi (being strongly in tune with one's personal value system) have any implications on empathy and the ability to pick up emotional vibes in others? I somehow can't see a connection between those two concepts, to me they don't seem to be essentially related (apart from empirical evidence of course).

2) Is strong (perhaps even "ridiculous") empathy as pictured above a result of a Fi/Ne pairing (I'd expect Ne to amplify the ability to realistically imagine yourself in the situation of another person or even thing) or is it a trait of Fi-doms in general (ISFPs, can you relate?) or Fi-aux as well?

3) What are the distinct qualities of Fi-empathy (compared with empathy in general or Fe-empathy)?
 

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I'm sorry I didn't read you questions, but let me tell you how Fi manifests for me.

Its like when I read/watch/hear/or see something I feel emotional in a personal way that may or may not have anything to do with the context of the situation or source of what I'm experiencing at that moment in time. Its like I have a personal feeling that isn't supposed to be conveyed through the source, but I still feel it.

Let me tell you one of my more embarrassing emotional moments, I only recently discovered this, but I've felt it for a while now. Sometimes I get jealous of the characters I see in an anime or other media and I don't mean like "Aw I wish that was me" jealousy, I mean straight up anxiety, burning in your belly kind of jealousy. The kind of jealousy that makes you cry a little and can even scare you kinda. IDKY....actually I do know why. Its because all those people on screen are free, and living these exceptionally happy little lives(or sometimes variably dramatic lives, but still exciting nonetheless) while I'm trapped in mundane, commonplace, gets a little better each day reality. I get frustrated about my life and feel bad by comparison.

Thats what I think Fi is an individual take on feelings to the point that you are more concerned and really more wrapped in your emotions than you are for anyone elses.
 

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1) How does Fi (being strongly in tune with one's personal value system) have any implications on empathy and the ability to pick up emotional vibes in others? I somehow can't see a connection between those two concepts, to me they don't seem to be essentially related (apart from empirical evidence of course).
Value judgements are heavily tied in with the possible effects on people. If you're interested in people, then you notice stuff about people. For example, if you don't like to offend others, then you're attuned to the emotional cues that others display when they're offended or not offended.

2) Is strong (perhaps even "ridiculous") empathy as pictured above a result of a Fi/Ne pairing (I'd expect Ne to amplify the ability to realistically imagine yourself in the situation of another person or even thing) or is it a trait of Fi-doms in general (ISFPs, can you relate?) or Fi-aux as well?
Not really, Ne and Se are placing importance on different aspects of the information as is coming in. To imagine yourself in someone else's place is imagination and empathy.

3) What are the distinct qualities of Fi-empathy (compared with empathy in general or Fe-empathy)?
Empathy is the same for all, how much importance we place on empathy is more relevant to judging functions because of how it influences our decisions.
 

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I think it's definitely the pairing of Fi/Ne. First the INFP uses Ne to imagine being the other person then analyzes the feelings with Fi. Fi is internal so the use of it must come by pretending you are the other person. The INTP uses their Ne not to imagine themselves feeling like another person but to imagine themselves thinking like another person because they think Ti dominantly. Ne is powerful.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thats what I think Fi is an individual take on feelings to the point that you are more concerned and really more wrapped in your emotions than you are for anyone elses.
Yeah that was my initial reasoning about Fi as well, considering its basic orientation on self. But the opposite seems to be the case, namely, that Fi's can in fact be sincerely and strongly aware, concerned of and in tune with the emotions of others (which is empathy) and are known for being that.

Value judgements are heavily tied in with the possible effects on people. If you're interested in people, then you notice stuff about people. For example, if you don't like to offend others, then you're attuned to the emotional cues that others display when they're offended or not offended.
If I understand the first sentence rightly then this means that Fi (as well as the other judging functions?) sensitizes me for what effects situations, statements, events, words, etc. can have on people. That actually makes kind of sense and would explain why many Fi-users are so hesitant with sharing their values openly, given the fact that they appreciate authenticity and their values could interfere with the authenticity of others.

From the other 2 sentences I read: I'm empathetic if it's a value for me to be so, or I'm empathetic with people who are important to me (like a value to me), so because Fi makes me be attuned to my values I'll also be attuned to the people I value? I probably misunderstood that.

Not really, Ne and Se are placing importance on different aspects of the information as is coming in. To imagine yourself in someone else's place is imagination and empathy.
I think it's definitely the pairing of Fi/Ne. First the INFP uses Ne to imagine being the other person then analyzes the feelings with Fi. Fi is internal so the use of it must come by pretending you are the other person. The INTP uses their Ne not to imagine themselves feeling like another person but to imagine themselves thinking like another person because they think Ti dominantly. Ne is powerful.
That's actually very insightful and helps me understand the role Ne plays in the whole empathy thing. So I guess the quirky kind of empathy really evolves from the Ne ability to switch roles. When I think about some of my personal experiences with it I would think that to be the driving force behind the INFP empathy.

But I'm still wondering what's the Fi-part in empathy. Ne seems pretty clear to me now, but what does Fi contribute?

And then I'm also wondering how ISFPs experience empathy with their auxiliary Se. Can't quite imagine how this works.


On a side note: I just had a very nice INFP empathy situation. I was at McDonald's and overheard a guy 2 tables away from me complaining loudly that on Saturday he wanted to get ice cream at McDonalds but they'd run out of it (it was a really hot day and of course weekend). He then expressed that this was close to his tolerance limit. I immediately got angry at him for being rude at the staff. When reflecting on that I actually realized that I was in the same situation just a few weeks ago, wanted to buy a McSundae on the run but they were out of ice cream. But instead of connecting with my mutual experience (Si, tertiary) I empathized with the staff, took their place in my mind (Ne, auxiliary) and imagined myself being attacked for something I had no control over nor ever wanted (ice cream to run low). It actually took me a minute till I remembered that I was in the same situation weeks ago. It's interesting to notice how those functions work in order and Si had to wait its turn!
 

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I think your question is how value-based reasoning is linked to empathy. Now the thing is I think this might be a slightly different thing from asking how empathy relates to F, because F involves a lot of things I think which conceivably allow one to make a value-based conclusion.

I think the aspect of reasoning that has us relate to someone else is subtly enough arguably something one would place under the F umbrella. The reason it's subtle is that I don't think it's quite the same as noticing properties exist which are similar in the abstract, or intuiting a connection, but more along the lines of "how strongly do I feel I relate to you/what you're saying".

This doesn't have to be defined as F, but it seems sensible because it is definitely reasoning, and definitely seems to be closely linked to value-based reasoning (the value something has to you, and how you appreciate it, ultimately beg some degree of personal relation, even if very scarce ----- you'll notice T types who are gruff but make some determinations of value, may have a much lesser degree of comfort rationalizing that value, because they have no reference point of relatedness with which to do so --- you can say you value something without any relation to it whatsoever, but that could tend to be very unconsciously rationalized, and what many might even call a poorly rationalized and semi-meaningless determination).
 

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l believe that l have Fi higher in my function stack than most ENTP's, but for me the process is different than Fe, empathy wise.

Unless l'm using a different function like Ti (and perhaps a combination) l mostly see Fi manifesting as something to discern the truth about a person. This means l may feel no empathy for them personally, during that process.

l think it's more effective to be able to forgo feeling what another person is if you really want to be able to analyze some inconsistencies (but l could also seen an effective argument for Fe being made to discern things about a person based on exactly what they feel). l sometimes notice things about people that Fe might neglect, in an effort to maintain harmony.

What l see as Fe related behavior in myself, is the desire to relate with someone rather than doing what l described above. The Fi process is secondary to Fe, but, still very intact for me.
 
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I think the Fi is all about the judgment whereas the Ne is all about gathering the information for the judgment. I think the S gathers the information by everything they see, hear, smell, taste, feel around them whereas the N gathers the information using imagination. Both can come to the same conclusion, just differently. When an S uses empathy their N is absent so it's basically like choosing to help out or whatever. I'm using my Ne to imagine myself being an S lol. It's trippy.
 

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How I made sense of it: Fi will find empathy by relating the emotions of other person to the inner value set. Emotions of other match with internal value system ('I would feel the same way about it if it happened to me') = Fi-empathy.

I doubt a Fi user can show genuine empathy if he/she fails to relate the other's emotions to the inner value system.

Fe (Fe users, do correct me if I'm wrong please.. ) seems to empathize in order to be able to establish emotional harmony with the other person.

In my head this makes sense.. ..
 

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I can relate to others if I have experience with the issue or close experience with others going through the issue.

It isn't fancy, but it is better than nothing. Experience suggests it probably has as many limitations as the alternative, not that people like to admit such things. But that is one of the perks of not being alone on earth, you can sometimes call on a different perspective to help nut out what is really going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How I made sense of it: Fi will find empathy by relating the emotions of other person to the inner value set. Emotions of other match with internal value system ('I would feel the same way about it if it happened to me') = Fi-empathy.


I doubt a Fi user can show genuine empathy if he/she fails to relate the other's emotions to the inner value system.


Fe (Fe users, do correct me if I'm wrong please.. ) seems to empathize in order to be able to establish emotional harmony with the other person.

Simple, concise insight, exactly what I needed, thanks! I can see that it does fit together. Thinking about some situations where I strongly empathized with another person probably all of them had to do with stuff that's important to me as well. And the more it touches values that I have as well, the stronger I empathize with another.

With this framework I assume INFP empathy with its Fi/Ne pairing to work like this:
Ne defines how you empathize with others, mainly through using your imagination to picture yourself in the situation of another and utilizing the emotions it creates to empathize with the other person. Ne therefore defines the "how" of INFP empathy.

Fi acts like a filter and decides what you empathize with. Meaning, stuff that doesn't relate to one's value system will resonate less within you, making you less empathetic. If it doesn't affect your value system, then even Ne's role switching won't make you feel anything that could create empathy. Fi would therefore define the "what" of INFP empathy.
I can definitely see this scheme in my life.

Not sure, though, which way around it normally happens. First the Fi-filter and if found something that touches my values then Ne sets in to understand the situation from the other's point of view. Or: Ne permanently role-playing till finding something that affects you values. Probably the first though.



l mostly see Fi manifesting as something to discern the truth about a person. This means l may feel no empathy for them personally, during that process. ... What l see as Fe related behavior in myself, is the desire to relate with someone rather than doing what l described above.

I guess you're right here. Ugh.. it's all about values and yourself again... (dang it! I almost hoped/believed we Fi-doms could really feel something for human beings... xD). Haha, just kidding! But I think I get what you mean.

With Fi you are basically relating to yourself again rather than relating to the other person. It seems to be less "what does the other person feel" than "what would I feel if I was in this situation". So it doesn't relate as much to others and their feelings at first. Even though you're looking through the eyes of someone else (Ne) it will still be clouded by your own emotions towards that situation rather than how the person ACTUALLY thinks and feels (perhaps the Fi/Se pairing would be much more aware of others). But although it's based on your own perception of it, I do think it's sincere empathy (as in understanding and sharing the other person's emotions) and can be utilized to help people who are in a tough situation.


I can relate to others if I have experience with the issue or close experience with others going through the issue.

I partly agree with that. Think that, how @Zoof put it, the measure of my empathy will depend on the measure someone else's situation impacts my personal values (Fi). And I find that I don't actually need similar experiences in order to relate (that would be Si, tertiary for INFPs). I can show great empathy towards someone who goes through a divorce even though I haven't experienced one myself, simply because I can relate to his desire (or call it value if you must) to spend all of his life with the woman he loves.

Having gone through similar experiences doesn't necessarily increase my empathy but it certainly helps me be more proactive in such a situation, facilitate my Si to give guidance and practical help.

Cause what I often find when I can relate value-wise but not experience-wise is that when people tell me their problems I'm just sitting there, feeling the pain as well, thinking "Oh My God, that's so messed up!" but often not knowing what to do, how to help, even what to say. So while the general Fi/Ne-empathy to me seems primarily internal, adding Si to it (drawing on similar personal experiences) actually helps me express my empathy more, helps me externalize it (rather than it being merely an internal, emotional sympathizing).




I think the Fi is all about the judgment whereas the Ne is all about gathering the information for the judgment. I think the S gathers the information by everything they see, hear, smell, taste, feel around them whereas the N gathers the information using imagination. Both can come to the same conclusion, just differently. When an S uses empathy their N is absent so it's basically like choosing to help out or whatever. I'm using my Ne to imagine myself being an S lol. It's trippy.

Se is perhaps more based on the actual output of the person you are empathizing with (emotions, descriptions they give of the situation, their words, etc.). I imagine it to have a stronger and simpler focus (you can only see and relate to the things they tell you). It might also be much closer to what the other person actually feels and lives through. But there is also the tendency to only get a fragment of the real situation and more or less just a distorted view (not seeing all points to it).

On the contrary, Ne will probably see the situation from different angles, get a more holistic understanding of the situation and with that perhaps a more complete impression of how it affects them (the whole interplay of all the details), also noticing that there are more sides to it than the person shares. But there might be a tendency to interpret too much into a situation, assuming things that aren't there.



I might be completely off with this understanding of Fi/Se empathy, but just like you I'm just trying to imagine being Se-aux.. xD


Wow, thank you all for all your help and for sharing pieces of your insight with me. It has really helped me a lot already. Keep posting if you notice anything else. And if you know an ISFP with Fi/Se, call them over here. Someone needs to solve the Fi/Se riddle! :D

PS: In case I put emphasize instead of empathize somewhere, please overlook it, you know what I mean. :)

PPS: @Neverontime I thanked you but I do wear undies...
 

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Yeah I've always felt that when I help people it's a selfish desire.
 

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Yeah I've always felt that when I help people it's a selfish desire.

I help people that I care about if it seems meaningful. Sometimes that care extends to strangers.

If I am doing something purely for anothers sake on something that holds no significance for me, it would probably be because I regard their efforts as too alien or an exercise in idiocy. Hardly a moral issue.
 

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I help people that I care about if it seems meaningful. Sometimes that care extends to strangers.

If I am doing something purely for anothers sake on something that holds no significance for me, it would probably be because I regard their efforts as too alien or an exercise in idiocy. Hardly a moral issue.
I don't really care about anybody more than any one else. :/ I care about everybody equally. That is, until I meet somebody whom I can care extra about as a partner, which may or may not happen.
 

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I have some childhood memories of observing another person (usually but not always another kid) do... something or another... and I would know exactly why they did that "something". Like maybe I could even tell they were lying about something but I would know WHY they were lying and I would go along with it. Or a younger kid would do something for attention or to be cute, and I would totally understand why they were doing it so I'd go along with that too. And I specifically remember thinking to myself "I know why they do that, because I do that too".

Then with empathy. I feel things intensely and have very rich memories and inner experiences. I sometimes feel the emotions of others, deeply, as if it is my own pain. I really can't understand why, except... my intrapersonal intelligence is so strong, and I navigate my whole world in terms of what I feel, so I recognize those feelings in others and understand them on a deep and personal level. I can't help but want it to stop. I've built walls over the years because it's too overwhelming but there are all sorts of weak spots in my walls.

When a friend of mine, whom I was somewhat romantically interested in for awhile, told me about his first love and heartbreak, how much it messed with him that it was on again and off again. blablabla. I just felt so upset and wanted to cry. My stomach still feels sick when I think about him going through, that even though I'm not interested in him now any don't even really like him much as a person (but I still care about him regardless and know him better than he thinks). I thought maybe I was just jealous of not having that kind of impact on people, but that doesn't make sense (except maybe in terms of my Enneagram Fourness), because I've definitely hurt people and put them through hell. In fact what I hate most about breaking up with people is hurting them. HATE HATE HATE.

I guess this is a little off track now though. But I definitely think it's the Fi/Ne combination to some extent. At least how I apply it and how intensely I experience it.
 

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Personally, I sometimes relate very intensely to fictional characters when reading a book or watching a movie. Like after watching A Walk To Remember a couple years ago I was very sad, depressed, kind of in a grieving process over the loss of his loved one, as if it happened to me personally.
This can happen to me with fictional characters as well. It has to be pretty well done, though, as superficial drama doesn't really cut it for me. But like. I was recently re-reading a book that I read in fifth grade. It's about a kid who goes swimming out somewhere he's not supposed to, with his friend, and his friend drowns. And it's about the process he goes through just that day and night, struggling with his friend's death all on his own, not telling anyone right away, seeing his friend's family worry. Smelling the salt water on himself, like he just couldn't get it off no matter what he tried... going through the turmoil and guilt and obsession. I was fucking sobbing. Why? I've never even experienced the death of someone close to me. But I have OCD and a lot of the intense, dark thoughts he was battling... the heart-wrenching, excruciating, isolating, gutting, secret shame and guilt... resonated with me so well. Not only as an adult, but I also had OCD and went through this alone as a child. And it reminded me of that.

And it's like, selfish in a way right? Like to lose someone to death, is one of the most difficult things one can go through, and I don't know what that itself is like. But I still related to the undercurrents and somehow "made" it about me (not a conscious decision, just automatic resonance...)

I dunno... But that wasn't so much empathy as it was just being reminded.

When I recently watched a movie with someone, and there was a death scene... where the doctor had to go out and tell the family. I know my that person has had a very close family member die (and not particularly long ago, but I know they're still in the grieving process) and I don't even know the person that well and I couldn't even look over to see how they were reacting, without feeling invasive etc. But my heart was going so fast, imagining what they might be going through, and I just... god I felt sick and wished I could make it better....

Bahhhhhhhh.
 

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I can definitely relate, but not to the over-the-top empathy. Even though Fi is my aux, I'm pretty good at sensing when there's something emotionally "off" about someone or a group of people.

I don't think it has to do with Ne for me, though, because my Ne kinda sucks. I think my Se picks up details about the person (subtle facial expressions, tone of voice, subtle changes in how the person is acting), which translates into Fi reactions. It's important to me for people around me to be happy and okay - so Fi directs Se to pick clues up.
 

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Hmm... The function difference that has probably confused me the most is Fe vs. Fi. I've always heard that Fe has something to do with conformity and Fi with internal values. But what really confuses me is which one is more empathetic? I would have through Fi was inherently more selfish, because it all seems to be about, uh, internal feelings, less about the feelings of everyone else. And yet it seems more "authentic," while Fe often seems more like manufactured feelings used to go along with the flow as opposed to genuine emotion. Also, isn't Fi sort of like believing stuff because it's what one values/likes to believe, even if the logic doesn't always add up and verify it? And Fe is more outwardly expressed, more concerned with how something will affect others? I really don't get it. Feelers, help me out here.
 

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Hmm... The function difference that has probably confused me the most is Fe vs. Fi. I've always heard that Fe has something to do with conformity and Fi with internal values. But what really confuses me is which one is more empathetic? I would have through Fi was inherently more selfish, because it all seems to be about, uh, internal feelings, less about the feelings of everyone else. And yet it seems more "authentic," while Fe often seems more like manufactured feelings used to go along with the flow as opposed to genuine emotion. Also, isn't Fi sort of like believing stuff because it's what one values/likes to believe, even if the logic doesn't always add up and verify it? And Fe is more outwardly expressed, more concerned with how something will affect others? I really don't get it. Feelers, help me out here.
If you are person A and have Fi, and person B feels they need to do something stupid while the need to do something smart, their feelings may take back seat to their needs for person A.

Feelings sometimes be stupid.

This doesn't mean I will take control of their life or force them to do something.

But it may mean I facepalm and think they are an idiot with poor self control.

I'll help them with their needs if they ask and if I think I can help, but I don't support their feelings if it doesn't correspond with needs or something sensible.

If their feelings are actual needs, as in real emotional needs of the genuine variety rather than stupidity induced drama, then sure. Friend in need, why not right?
 

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Introverted feelings is like concentrated power. We can be MORE empathetic to FEWER people. Extraverted feelings aren't as powerful but can be spread to more people. Obviously this isn't 100% of the time because there are cases where extraverted feelers can feel more empathy but this is it basically.

Maybe not FEWER people but CERTAIN people, which is more often FEWER.
 
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