Ne/Ni Jungian Cognitive Function Interaction
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
I decided it was time to introduce something that hasn't been discussed on depth in any of the major mbti type forums that I've frequented over the past year. It's one of my particular pet topics which people often come to ask me about in various guises. I've talked about it in some depth before but I thought it may be time to document it for posterity.
One of the great complications on this type of interaction is that people often have their own definition of what Ne and Ni are; therefore it is best to start by letting you know how I have come to define and understand these cognitive functions.
Ne Preference and Interpersonal Interaction
Ne is the easier to understand of the two; Ne has the attitude of preferring to extrapolate ideas from external stimulus. As the dominant Ne types you will see in ENTPs and ENFPs have a tendency to seek out stimulating ideas from interaction with others.
These types often lament that they feel like 'knowledge thieves' taking others ideas and seeing alternate uses for them; of course what they may not realise is that they have a greater ability to spontaneously modify this idea (sometimes wildly) and find a new idea that few others may have brought to fruition before.
This therefore teaches dominant Ne users that interpersonal reaction and stimulus giving is a 'good thing'. Thus if they feel they wish to improve their interactions with another person (shower them with love/make friends etc.) they will have a natural reaction of delivering large amounts of stimulus to that person and expect the same in return.
Ni Preference and Interpersonal Interaction
Ni has a more complex definition that I have failed to see anyone accurately define at all. Ni has the attitude of preferring to interpolate optimum systems from ideas based upon internal stimulus. This gives the dominant Ni types, the INTJ and INFJ's a focus on 'key symbolic ideas' which can be brought forward and optimized to build structure. Because Ni reacts to internal stimulus, these types will be external stimulus avoidant (sic. human interaction) as they would prefer space to help them solve whatever symbolic problem is running in their head.
In human interaction these types often appear acutely observant; although they may have phased out to deal with some lingering internal conundrum. The support function adds considerably more definition to interaction as it is the external aspect. INTJs when they flip from Ni to Te will appear critical, viewing ideas as systems to be interpolated and optimized to solve any outstanding problems or to develop their understanding of ideas, with Ni providing a symbolic focus on the key aspects. INFJs will appear giving, with Fe actualising a need to empathically share what they view are the iconic themes that are driving them; expect lots of subtle but powerful emotional gestures based upon others needs.
Therefore, dominant Ni users view intrapersonal thinking and blocking out external stimulus as the preferred opportunity available to them. If they they feel they wish to make friends or express love to another they will do so by interacting via. their secondary external aspect while dotting it with key iconic themes that their Ni prefers. They will then retreat to allow the other time to digest the concept as they would do themselves, regardless of the partner’s preference. As they wish significant space and time to flex their Ni, they expect others also to wish it as a consequence.
Opposing Interpersonal Interaction
To summarise where we are at this point it is important to note that:
Ne types will prefer to receive and give stimulus as is their preference
Ni types will prefer to have and give space as is their preference.
These two functional attitudes to interpersonal interaction are directly opposed which can lead to communication confusion between Ni and Ne users.
I have often stressed that as a dominant Ni user I often feel that any interaction with an Ne user is immediately a loss. Because my preference is to sit and ponder and introvert to have a lengthy conversation with an ENxP I lose a large portion of my ability to do so while I feed their Ne. In effect, they love it, but I lose doing what I prefer to some degree.
The side effect of such positive interaction for the Ne dominant is that they may choose to like the Ni dominant so much that they shower them with attention, without realising that this makes the Ni dominant feel at even greater of a loss as opposed to allowing time for the Ni dominant to recover and ponder. They may then become offended because if the Ni user wishes to be friendly with them they may receed into their shell because that is the Ni preference.
As a result it is very important to find some kind of type interaction balance between Ne and Ni users and an understanding of how the other shows affection is the flip side of what may be naturally expected.
I have always had significant difficulty doing so in my own life; often having at least one ENFP around bombarding me with what I would view as mild dramas that I wish they would go away and solve themselves (and yes, they definitely have a lot more energy than I have to solve it!); of course this is my misunderstanding their ultimate sign of affection 'Look at this problem! Stimulus' without realising that it is a sign of belligerence to the Ni user. Also note that the Ni user shows love in a way the Ne does not necessarily reconcile 'I love you now I give you space!' they will say 'where is the interaction'.
Of course, we know from a development perspective that it would be foolish to ignore the interaction of this type as Ni users require this external stimulus to develop their supporting functions, therefore Ni users should seek out this type of interaction in a way they find manageable and Ne users should appreciate that the Ni user will require to retreat and introvert much more than they may be happy with.