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Hi fellow INFPs and other type representatives if you read,

I am creating this thread as for some time now I've been actively looking for some kind of deeper input on what our main finction (Fi) is and how it works... what are the bright sides, what are the the dark sides...

I result I got a little bit depressed as - of course - I would like to think that my strongest function is a 'good' function, that it's wise in some way, that it can lead me to make wise decisions, that it can help me to understand myself and others better, that it can be a positive force in my life. I am guessing that some of you, INFPs can relate to this kind of wishful thinking...

In fact it seems that there are lots of positive sides to be Fi user (at least when this fincion is well developed and matured) like:

- being creative (I don't have the entire grasp on the creativity thing here yet, how it works ad why are Fi users suppose tobe more creative than Fe users... many some of you can give some of you feedback/insides on this?)

- having this great 'rushes of motivation' - by this I mean that I believe from my own experience that Fi users are really able to give a lot from themselves and apply themselves entirely when they feel affected by some cause. More than anyone would think they can. Maybe this is also why we are perceived as always on a quest for 'better world' in that way or another

- great inside into one's own emotions, feelings, values, even thoughts... this is like a bi chance INFPs have to actually not be so much lost in the chaos of ever changing outside world, hustle and bustle of everyday life etc. I see it somehow as open doors INFPs have inside, like this big imperative that demands from an INFP to seem personal developement and kind of shows the direction. Everyday I see so many people running around chasing one goal and another and forgetting really who they are, forgetting they needs, where they came from, when they are getting, what they really want, what is really important in life. I think Fi may be a shield kind of protecting from getting lost in the small goals and everyday life demands like that. Many INFPs may feel they don't know themselves well enough yet, but at least they are searching and keeping in mind that no shallow goals are the most important...

Said all this... I think there are also many negative sides to be Fi user... whenever I go and whenever I look for the answeres it seems everyone has so much negative things to say about Fi. Maybe it's because they don't always understand what Fi can give you, but... maybe there is also some truth in this. Let me run the most common concerns about Fi through you:

- Fi emotions are sudden, hard to understand, hard to understand where 'mood swings' are comming from, unpredictable, can blow up sometimes in the most unexpected moment,

- Fi can lead to passive-aggressive behaviour, when Fi user will not communicate their own emotions or wants openly, but will keep them to him-/herself, but in the same time will get frustrated and this frustration will make him/her sabotauge something they have already agreed to do

- Fi users are sympathetic, but not empathetic - they don't really feel what others feel, they rather imagine that that someone feels the same way as they would in the same situation. So, Fi users don't really understand others well. This is something I had quite hard time with. I was always thinking about myself as an empatheic person. From the other hand, frommy observation of my really good ENFP friend who is also a strong Fi user... I can kind of see that this may be true... and if it's true for her, it may be true for me as well. I mean, maybe it's better to accept that and undertand and tobe aware of this in the social situations and not always assume that I know and understand everyone around me so well... ;)

- Fi users may resign from their own wants and plans or just from open expression of them, not to hurt feelings of others. They are incredibly sensitive to others demands and cannot stand seeing someone hurt. As a result they may put themselves on a weak position in any social situation.

- Fi users cummulate emotions of other people inside and can't help it. They internalise not only emotions ofthers, but also their own strongly felt emotions toward the person in a difficult possition. As a result they ofthen have to deal with this enormous emotional package by themselves in silence, many times only by their own. They need a lot of time to re-charge and sometimes can kind of get 'infected' by others negative emotional patterns and internalise those verz much too.

Please share your thought and experiences, so maybe together we can understand ourselves better by being our own 'mirrors' and maybe we can also add to understanding of INFPs in general by others...
 

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The funny thing about Fi is that it's always there, silently (and sometimes not so silently) taking everything in.
The worst things for me about being Fi dom is that sometimes I have so much inside that it's numbing and overwhelming, like a robot about to explode with emotions. Then I have to do this thing I call "vegging out" where I do something brain numbing to let my subconscious sort its thoughts and so I can recharge. And eventually there's the giant emotional outburst that gets compared to an atomic bomb... Hopefully you guys know what I mean.
 

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The funny thing about Fi is that it's always there, silently (and sometimes not so silently) taking everything in.
The worst things for me about being Fi dom is that sometimes I have so much inside that it's numbing and overwhelming, like a robot about to explode with emotions. Then I have to do this thing I call "vegging out" where I do something brain numbing to let my subconscious sort its thoughts and so I can recharge. And eventually there's the giant emotional outburst that gets compared to an atomic bomb... Hopefully you guys know what I mean.
I regularly did this while reading Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche and various articles on anus.com (not what you think) that hit home in attacking my lifestyle.
 

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This is quite interesting and I like the observations you've made, but I tend to look at it a little differently:
My knowledge of functions is pretty poor, and I don't subscribe religiously to it, or MBTI in general for that matter (much as I like it, evidently). But I almost always view the primary function in dichotomy with the secondary function, so for us INFPs, Fi+Ne. If my brain could keep up I'd probably like to consider all four.

For instance, and I'm just thinking aloud here not writing anything well-considered or definitive, but you mentioned Fi users lack empathy in comparison to sympathy. I've heard that too, but is that not more a characteristic of Fi by itself, which kind of assumes poorly developed other functions? Extraverted Intuition, to my understanding, is the driver of my empathy in that it works to broadly recognise emotions and whatnot in others, which then relates back to Introverted Feeling, which projects my own experience of the recognised feeling, in order to be empathetic.

I've always thought the extremes of any function (and if they are highly-developed they tend to work to extremes, if my understanding of Jung's early writings are correct, which it isn't) are moderated, even if complimented, by the secondary function working in dichotomy. This, for instance, is how I see the broad Kiersey temperament categories as working (NFs, SPs, etc.) - the functions exaggerated unto themselves may produce very different results but combination of functions produces similar results but in different ways; for instance the INFP's opposite in the NF category is the ENFJ. Opposite functions (although same order) but the primary dichotomy combine to produce a number of shared traits with us.
Er, that was vague and off-base. Okay, ignore that paragraph. Moving on.

That's just what popped into my head, I would just always consider Fi in combination with Ne. I think a lot of your points are accurate and easily observed nevertheless. Which derive exclusively from Fi or in combination with other functions is what I'm pondering now; ISFPs are said to be the other primary Fi users, but they have Fi+Se, are all the points equally applicable?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@ATLeow - no, no, nothing vague and off-base in your comment. I find it very interesting and smart.
Ne is a function that allows to pick up the little hints about someone else from the way they behave, their gestures, mimics, body language, from the tone of their voice etc. I agree and I must say I pretty happy that I have it in stead of Se - I do prefer my Ne ;)
But maybe when we pick up all those little hints and later refer to our own feelings to understand someone, maybe this is when we can make a projection in stead of really understanding. I learn that INFPs seem to be highly aware of their feelings as they are very self conscious. Maybe thanks to this we can sometimes help others to understand their feelings better, but maybe we can misunderstand them, because they don't really feel that strongly as we do? or kind of prefer not to be as aware of their feelings as we are?
Lots of "maybies' in my post, just thinking aloud here too :)
 

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I also must nit pick about the sympathy vs empathy. You mentioned that Fi users get bogged down in other people's feelings. So how does this happen without empathy? If you have a hard time knowing how other people feel, then how do you get caught up in their feelings? Just a question.

I don't know a lot about the functions but I think I have a lot of empathy, myself. I can cry with people. I worked at a crisis line and the main plan when you're on the phone is to empathize with that person. I have been told several times that I was very good at helping people figure out their feelings and getting right in there into their minds. I attribute this to empathy. What else could it be? Granted, I did take a functions test once and my functions aren't quite in line with what an INFP should have. My first function was Fi but my second function was Fe, however that works.

I guess I could see how Fi could be taken as not having empathy because you do sometimes get caught up in your own emotions and you don't realize the effect it is having on other people. I know sometimes I have a difficult time controlling my emotions and I notice that it makes everyone around me edgy and quiet if I am in a bad mood. I hate this, but I feel somewhat out of control when this happens. I feel bad that I am making others feel bad, but I don't have the strength to change my bad mood at the time. I don't see a way out immediately. Only time can heal a bad mood.

I have more to say but I gotta cut this short.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I also must nit pick about the sympathy vs empathy. You mentioned that Fi users get bogged down in other people's feelings. So how does this happen without empathy? If you have a hard time knowing how other people feel, then how do you get caught up in their feelings? Just a question.
mmm... good question... If I was to follow the empathy (Fe) - sympathy (Fi) theory further with this one I would say that Fi users don't actually get caught up in other peoples feelings as much as they get cought up in their own emotional responses to feelings of others or to their own reminiscence of feelings they had in somehow similar situation. This here is just following through with the theory, I don't know how true it is. See, I am trying tofigure it out myself :)

I also feel that split between empathy and sympathy is unreal to some point. Every healthy person has both in my opinion and the developmen of one of those can affiliate better functioning of the other... or am I wrong in this...?

I don't know a lot about the functions but I think I have a lot of empathy, myself. I can cry with people. I worked at a crisis line and the main plan when you're on the phone is to empathize with that person. I have been told several times that I was very good at helping people figure out their feelings and getting right in there into their minds. I attribute this to empathy. What else could it be? Granted, I did take a functions test once and my functions aren't quite in line with what an INFP should have. My first function was Fi but my second function was Fe, however that works.
mmm... this could be also knowing your own emotions and understanding them very well, so sort of being an 'emotional master' and through understanding of your own emotions being able to sort of lead others in their emotions. Sory for not being very specific, but if you had this kind of experience, you should understand what I mean... I do have it. I use my understanding of my own emotions to help others understand their. I am never directive or pushy in this, I prefer to give some hints or to ask a person questions that come from my own understanding of my emotions.

I guess I could see how Fi could be taken as not having empathy because you do sometimes get caught up in your own emotions and you don't realize the effect it is having on other people. I know sometimes I have a difficult time controlling my emotions and I notice that it makes everyone around me edgy and quiet if I am in a bad mood. I hate this, but I feel somewhat out of control when this happens. I feel bad that I am making others feel bad, but I don't have the strength to change my bad mood at the time. I don't see a way out immediately. Only time can heal a bad mood.
I've never noticed such a big influence of my emotions on others. For me it's rather something that I deal with alone...

I have more to say but I gotta cut this short.
I am curious, I really like your comments :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Off topic, but I really wish you titled your topic: "Life of Fi." Would have made my day. xD
...and this is when I've just fallen of my sofa laughing and rolling! :D :D :D let me see if I can edit the title, I am not that familiar with all the functions of this forum yet! :D
 

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...and this is when I've just fallen of my sofa laughing and rolling! :D :D :D let me see if I can edit the title, I am not that familiar with all the functions of this forum yet! :D
Nah, you can't change it--but it was the first thing I thought of. :3
 

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One thing, creativity is something not a lot of people have. Saying Fi is associated with it would be something of a bastardization. People who have it are usually written off as weird, unworthy, impractical, undisciplined, or insane and you don't see many of those. Creative drive isn't the same as having actual creativity, a rarity. Most people are uninteresting.
 

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Nah, you can't change it--but it was the first thing I thought of. :3
so let us hope it will be an inspiration for the next book or something... 'life with pi' - sounds good enough for me! ;)
 
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One thing, creativity is something not a lot of people have. Saying Fi is associated with it would be something of a bastardization. People who have it are usually written off as weird, unworthy, impractical, undisciplined, or insane and you don't see many of those. Creative drive isn't the same as having actual creativity, a rarity. Most people are uninteresting.
...and yet all children seem to have it...
 

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One thing, creativity is something not a lot of people have. Saying Fi is associated with it would be something of a bastardization. People who have it are usually written off as weird, unworthy, impractical, undisciplined, or insane and you don't see many of those. Creative drive isn't the same as having actual creativity, a rarity. Most people are uninteresting.
but yes... my believe is that Fi may serve as a drive for artistic creativity as much as Ti may serve as a drive for scientific creativity. I would risk and say that both those functions should be strong like in INFP, ISFP or INTP, ISTP personalities.
I think all of thoe personality types are very rare in general population.

can you explain a bit more on how you see the differencce between having a cretive drive and creativity?
 

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but yes... my believe is that Fi may serve as a drive for artistic creativity as much as Ti may serve as a drive for scientific creativity. I would risk and say that both those functions should be strong like in INFP, ISFP or INTP, ISTP personalities.
I think all of thoe personality types are very rare in general population.

can you explain a bit more on how you see the differencce between having a cretive drive and creativity?
I think they could be switched too, an IxFP with scientific drive and an IxTP with artistic drive. I don't see creativity as being limited like that. The difference would be core drive, but both explorations ultimately being vehicles by which to come to new understandings and at the very very core, become aligned with external structures through their highly and hopelessly individualized paths. the drive for INFPs is there because it can be used to understand themselves.
I have my own definition of art, though

As for the last one, that's just a very subjective thing for me. Many people do creative things like drawing or writing, but they don't strike me as remarkably creative. Creative hobbies are very popular. I like writing and music myself and dabble in other things

I really hope yet another intj doesn't come in, because he'd have a fucking field day
 

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- Fi users are sympathetic, but not empathetic - they don't really feel what others feel, they rather imagine that that someone feels the same way as they would in the same situation. So, Fi users don't really understand others well. This is something I had quite hard time with. I was always thinking about myself as an empatheic person. From the other hand, frommy observation of my really good ENFP friend who is also a strong Fi user... I can kind of see that this may be true... and if it's true for her, it may be true for me as well. I mean, maybe it's better to accept that and undertand and tobe aware of this in the social situations and not always assume that I know and understand everyone around me so well... ;)

- Fi users may resign from their own wants and plans or just from open expression of them, not to hurt feelings of others. They are incredibly sensitive to others demands and cannot stand seeing someone hurt. As a result they may put themselves on a weak position in any social situation.

- Fi users cummulate emotions of other people inside and can't help it. They internalise not only emotions ofthers, but also their own strongly felt emotions toward the person in a difficult possition. As a result they ofthen have to deal with this enormous emotional package by themselves in silence, many times only by their own. They need a lot of time to re-charge and sometimes can kind of get 'infected' by others negative emotional patterns and internalise those verz much too.

Please share your thought and experiences, so maybe together we can understand ourselves better by being our own 'mirrors' and maybe we can also add to understanding of INFPs in general by others...
I hope that, as an ISFP, I can speak up. :)

In contrast to others, I have to say that I quite agree with what you said about empathy vs sympathy. I think that, for the first time, I begin to understand why what I always thought was empathy is really sympathy.

It's not that I actually feel their emotions, but my own interpretation of them, or maybe I could say, my projection of my own onto them. That actually explains how I frequently "get it wrong." I've watched myself in social interactions compared my ISFJ coworker, and he always seemed to know what to say and do, while I would be standing there, speechless. I could certainly "feel" for somebody, but honestly, I couldn't "relate" in a more direct sense. I think that the fact that we "take on board" others' emotional states is not the same thing as empathy, as, again, it's internal and internalized--our personal perspective, if you will. I also suspect that empathy is the extroversion of these things--and I don't do extroversion very well. ;-)

I do think, however, that empathy is, or can be, a social skill that can be learned, but that's not really the same as true Fe.

As to how I deal with Fi, as an ISFP, I use Se. This is the reason that so many ISFPs are artists--it's the expression of their Fi. I suspect this is also why ISFPs prefer to be in the beautiful outdoors, vs. around people, and also around children and animals. These "critters" tend to be genuine, and non-demanding as opposed to adults. Simply put, they allow an environment of harmony or peacefulness that allows the Fi to let off steam. But physical activity--using my Se is how I reestablish balance when things get out of balance, and if I can't do that--well, you won't like me when that happens... ;-)
 

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I think they could be switched too, an IxFP with scientific drive and an IxTP with artistic drive. I don't see creativity as being limited like that. The difference would be core drive, but both explorations ultimately being vehicles by which to come to new understandings and at the very very core, become aligned with external structures through their highly and hopelessly individualized paths. the drive for INFPs is there because it can be used to understand themselves.
I have my own definition of art, though

As for the last one, that's just a very subjective thing for me. Many people do creative things like drawing or writing, but they don't strike me as remarkably creative. Creative hobbies are very popular. I like writing and music myself and dabble in other things

I really hope yet another intj doesn't come in, because he'd have a fucking field day
Correct me if I am wrong, but I get the feeling that you see creativity more as a way of living than as separate creative acts that requires some sort of ability or lets say drive or talent and a lot of willpower?
 

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@ferroequinologist Yes, everyone is welcome and ISFPs very much so, you guys are as much experts in Fi as INFP are :)

I get the feeling that you explained the difference between empathy vs. sympathy much clearer than I did before :D

As to dealing with Fi - I deal with mine by using lots of Ne. It's very different than Se, but helps too. For me it's actually a way to read better my social environment, but not through 'feeling others feelings', but through picking up little hints from the body language etc. This can also help me to sometimes correct my judgements based purely on Fi, kind of compare them with the 'real life out there' ;) so Ne is also a way for me to reestablish my balance, but it's so very different than Se.
 

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Correct me if I am wrong, but I get the feeling that you see creativity more as a way of living than as separate creative acts that requires some sort of ability or lets say drive or talent and a lot of willpower?
Separate from drive, talent, and willpower, yes, because those you can learn. Not really separate from individual creative acts, because you can definitely see it in some acts... but in those people, I do think it comes out as a mindset, a state, and a way of living...The latter especially applying to artists or theoretical scientists. I like your question because it made me see it a different way...the acts being an extension of their living and life
 

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@ferroequinologist Yes, everyone is welcome and ISFPs very much so, you guys are as much experts in Fi as INFP are :)

I get the feeling that you explained the difference between empathy vs. sympathy much clearer than I did before :D
I dunno about how well I did. I'm still not 100% sure of myself on this. :) Thanks for the welcome, btw. :)

As to dealing with Fi - I deal with mine by using lots of Ne. It's very different than Se, but helps too. For me it's actually a way to read better my social environment, but not through 'feeling others feelings', but through picking up little hints from the body language etc. This can also help me to sometimes correct my judgements based purely on Fi, kind of compare them with the 'real life out there' ;) so Ne is also a way for me to reestablish my balance, but it's so very different than Se.
Se kind of works like this--we are good at picking up cues from posture, expression, etc. but it tends to drive immediately to our Fi, and impact it completely unfiltered--sometimes causing rather awkward situations. oops. :)
 
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