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I think we are all pretty good at analyzing situations and getting meaning behind them, so if you, as myself, enjoy classifying friends and random people, how do you name an S vs a N?

I can understand the others from things such as, "do they speak loudly or do they hang out with a lot of people (I vs E), do they have a lot of emotional strife or do they quickly identify with other's emotional problems (F vs T), or are they messy or disorganized (J vs P). But I have no such methods for determining that one critical type of personality (S vs N). I can't seem to classify people, and when I try to, I always end up guess N. Which is far too wrong. Can anyone help me out?
 

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Actually, I was wondering this myself. I do agree that it's the hardest one to tell.

I tend to think of iNtuitives as more mental, and Sensors as more physical. For instance, an N might appreciate reading more than a sensor, because it would keep the N mentally occupied. Whereas a sensor might prefer sports, because it keeps him or her physically occupied. Keep in mind, there are S's who like reading, and Ns who like sports. this is just an example.

Ns tend to look for mental entertainment, Ss look for physical entertainment. This of courses, isn't limited to entertainment, but may include other interests as well.
 

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The people who are N have a knack for putting things together, recognizing patterns, understanding systems (this influences that, which causes this, etc), and seeing how things connect. Abstract, theoretical, visionary, dreamer...

The S types are more comfortable with fact, the concrete, and sensual experiences. They might say "Well when I do this, it makes this happen" but have no idea exactly why that is. They're more prone to stand by "what is" rather than "what could be".

Does that help at all?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The people who are N have a knack for putting things together, recognizing patterns, understanding systems (this influences that, which causes this, etc), and seeing how things connect. Abstract, theoretical, visionary, dreamer...

The S types are more comfortable with fact, the concrete, and sensual experiences. They might say "Well when I do this, it makes this happen" but have no idea exactly why that is. They're more prone to stand by "what is" rather than "what could be".

Does that help at all?
Hahah honestly not really. Sorry, but I understand the stuff like that. More like the suggestions above which I found pretty helpful about the sports thing. (that S types like sports and physical entertainment). Unfortunately what was mentioned above isn't quite enough to classify S vs N. But it is getting me started in how to approach the thing generally.

Question: are S types more likely to get into drugs? Ns come to it for experimentation, but Ss probably just generally enjoy the experiences more. Or are there probably a lot of Sf types that are strongly against drugs?
 

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I agree that it's the toughest to identify. You need to get to know someone.

The most readily usable litmus test is, "What do they like to talk about for enjoyment?"

If you observe them tending to discuss abstract or theoretical things, and lighting up over the ideas that those "deep" conversations involve, then they're probably's N's.

If they're more into more concrete things of everyday life (kids; bills; work gossip and office politics; the new car they got or that they want; their next or last vacation; their physical fitness regimen) then they're probably S's. Another way of saying this is that S's tend to "small talk" better. I suck at it, but it's a skill you can develop and I have from necessity.

Also, don't think "N or S" so literally - MBTI just uses that binary designation x4 for convenience. Most people have traits of both, and the older and (hopefully) more mature you get the more balanced you'll become, though some will ultimately be more balanced than others.
 

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You could say that. For them, it's about enjoying their senses in the moment. My ESFP buddy (Se dominant)? Smoked pot for forever, loves drinking, pretty abusive to his body in general lol. Might be an Se thing, idk what necessarily indicates Si tho.

...and that really didn't help? Cause I can spot S vs N pretty easily. Helps to realize most people AREN'T N lol. But yeah, all the N's I know are big dreamers, future-oriented, can piece seemingly unrelated shit together, and read between the lines. Highly imaginative. Good at understanding complex things with alot of different variables. All the S's? Mostly about the here and now, experiences as they come, reality. I can talk theory with them, and they'll "get it", but you'll never really hear them speculate on the "how" or "why" of anything. It's more about "what" happened, not "how" or "why". And they generally don't do a whole lot of "what if?" It's not always clear-cut on the surface, but you can tell what most people leannnn towards most naturally.

...*shrug* oh well. Hopefully the first paragraph of this response at least did something for you lol
 

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You could say that. For them, it's about enjoying their senses in the moment. My ESFP buddy (Se dominant)? Smoked pot for forever, loves drinking, pretty abusive to his body in general lol. Might be an Se thing, idk what necessarily indicates Si tho.
I think you and I basically agree on this. I'd only caution you not to assume that "drug use = S". It doesn't.

There are a lot of rationals who are pot smokers. Maybe particular types of drugs are going to appeal more to S's, but a lot of NT's (particularly the NTP's in my experience) tend to like to make up their own minds about social norms such as drug use and don't give a shit about "Just Say No".
 

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THE IRON GIANT
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I think we are all pretty good at analyzing situations and getting meaning behind them, so if you, as myself, enjoy classifying friends and random people, how do you name an S vs a N?

I can understand the others from things such as, "do they speak loudly or do they hang out with a lot of people (I vs E), do they have a lot of emotional strife or do they quickly identify with other's emotional problems (F vs T), or are they messy or disorganized (J vs P). But I have no such methods for determining that one critical type of personality (S vs N). I can't seem to classify people, and when I try to, I always end up guess N. Which is far too wrong. Can anyone help me out?
You're not going to be able to guess. The differences between N and S are invisible on the outside. They don't make someone smarter or better at abstract thinking like some people will try to tell you. These dichotomies are about preferences, not abilities.

I'll back up a little and say that your understanding of I/E, F/T, and P/J are incomplete as well.

Introversion and extraversion in this sense are not the same as the traditional meanings of these words, they're the directions of the personality's primary function. Shy quiet people can easily be an extraverted type and loud people introverts.

Being an F type does not mean someone's a nice person, or that they're in touch with their own feelings or the feelings of others. This preference is about decision making: when we make decisions, do we prefer to decide in a way that ensures the efficient completion of a task, or do we prefer to consider the impact it will have on the people involved? Of course we all do both, but which do we do more often?

J and P also have little to do with being messy or disorganized. My car is often a disaster, and parts of my home are as well. Along with I or E, these indicate the directions of the functions. It's been said that J types act upon the world, and P types are acted upon by the world. And of course, this is still only a preference... which do we do more often?

N and S are difficult, and it's not helped by stereotypes like "sensors like sports" (I don't), "sensors like drugs" (I avoid even ibuprofen when it's not necessary and never drink), "sensors are less cerebral/intellectual" (not in my experience), "sensors can't do theory" (guess what I'm doing right this second), and "sensors are good at small talk" (I hate talking to strangers and I think they can tell).

I let people learn about type and figure out their types for themselves, because I firmly believe that the differences in N and S in particular are as close to invisible from the outside as they need to be to make it futile. Maybe if I know someone very, very well, and they very clearly fit a specific type profile, I'll make an assumption, but even then... take any pair of types where the only difference is S and N, and it's mostly guessing.
 

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@redmanXNTP ...I agree. Maybe it's in the reasoning for the use in the first place? S's would be more prone to use simply cause of "how it makes (them) feel), while N's might do it for different reasons? I used to be real big on drinking, but it wasn't cause I enjoyed how it feels to be drunk. It was a) the hightened social prowess, b) the "exagerrated" version of myself was fun, and c) the comradery of drinking with your buddies.

Hmmm...
 

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The difference can sometimes be fairly obvious. Sensors are focused on reality and tangibility, intuitives on imagination and possibilities. Jung actually defines this sort of thing as the difference between an extrovert and an introvert though!

A sensor may (or may not in my case and many other cases) look at how things are at present and in the past (Se and Si, SI IS NOT ABOUT THE PRESENT, NE AND SE ARE) and place an importance on those. An intuitive will strip things to the bare and examine it from that point, forgetting what reality now says (Se) or what past experience says (Si).

This is an attitude, not an aptitude, it's impossible to say one is smarter or more capable than the other. Sensors aren't always "simple" either and intuitives can be "simple", too. Reality can be just as hard to understand and as complicated as theory, reality involves a lot of theorizing to understand it as well. How counterintuitive, right? ;P
 

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First of all, everyone's a sensor unless proven otherwise.

Second, rather than thinking in terms S vs N, I find it easier to detect the S vs N preference via CFs, ie are they overflowing with Si/Se or Ni/Ne? Does he show symptoms of Si/Se? Alternatively, does he show symptoms of Ni/Ne?

Though I agree that the S vs N preference is more subtle to detect. Nonetheless, it usually doesn't take me long to figure it out, and I can probably form a rather solid hypothesis just by a few conversations. Of course, such guesses are subject to margins of error, but if further evidence comes in that refutes my hypothesis, then simply adjust the position accordingly. Not a big deal.

As time goes by and as you continue to deal with that person, the overflowing evidence in favor of one side is going to continue to rush in that you have no choice but to be 100% certain.

The key thing to pay attention is really simply, is the person's style of conversing more abstract or concrete?

When in doubt, choose sensor.
 

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I think we are all pretty good at analyzing situations and getting meaning behind them, so if you, as myself, enjoy classifying friends and random people, how do you name an S vs a N?

I can understand the others from things such as, "do they speak loudly or do they hang out with a lot of people (I vs E), do they have a lot of emotional strife or do they quickly identify with other's emotional problems (F vs T), or are they messy or disorganized (J vs P). But I have no such methods for determining that one critical type of personality (S vs N). I can't seem to classify people, and when I try to, I always end up guess N. Which is far too wrong. Can anyone help me out?
Just... talk to them. Learn about what they like and dislike discussing beyond small talk or office/classroom topics. S and N types have certain advantages over the other, and usually enjoy employing them on a day-to-day basis. It's not impossible to tell, especially with a thorough understanding of MBTI typology and the cognitive functions.

And as strange as this sounds: Understand yourself. This is very important when it comes to recognizing similarities and differences in how others operate. My closest friends are ENTJ, ESFJ, and ISTP respectively, and while they're all amazing in their own ways, we have some very huge differences in how we perceive and make judgements. I have an INTP brother, and we don't get along at all, but the very few times we've had civil discussions they've been very, very different from what I've experienced with my sensor friends. With them, it's more like review, but with a fellow NT with Ne in their two strongest functions, it felt like we were making breakthroughs. He says I'm the only one in the house that gives him a challenge in debates, heh.

Personally, I hate discussions that center around what someone experienced in a day. I don't care what happened at work, school, the store, or wherever, not unless it leads to some greater idea like self-serving bias or psychological reward, but of course, not many people in my life enjoy discussing these and look at me like I'm crazy. *Shrugs* That's why we INxx types use the internet most, I suppose. I can ask things like, "What would you do if you could go into the future?" without everyone shrugging and saying, "I don't know," or, "That's impossible, so no use thinking about it."
 

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But I have no such methods for determining that one critical type of personality (S vs N). I can't seem to classify people, and when I try to, I always end up guess N. Which is far too wrong. Can anyone help me out?
This might help...


Sensing/Intuition Clues

Sensing:
-Clear, straightforward speech pattern
-sequential thoughts--one follows the next
-More literal; use facts and real examples
-Use language as a tool
-Are more aware of their bodies
-More attracted to jobs that require practicality
-less likely to have graduate degrees
-Often prefer nonfiction reading
-Are direct and to the point
-Include details and facts
-Remember the past accurately
-Tend to listen until others complete their whole thought

Intuition Clues
-Have complex speech patter, use lots of compound sentences
-Have roundabout thoughts--leap from one to the next
-Are more figurative; use more analogies and metaphors
-Use language to express selves
-Are more in their heads
-Are more attracted to jobs that require creativity
-Are more likely to have graduate degrees
-Often prefer fiction reading
-Repeat themselves, recap, then rephrase
-Talk about global issues, the big picture
-Envision the future
-Tend to finish others' sentences

Sensors tend to believe tax dollars would be better spent on "more police, tougher sentencing, and more prisons" whereas Intuitives tend to believe tax dollars would be better spent on "more social programs for disadvantaged youth."

"Sensors favored established actions designed to have an immediate effect (such as adding more police or building additional prisons), and whose effect could be somehow measured."

"Intuitives are often more interested in theoretical studies like philosophy, psychology, sociology, and literature, while Sensors are often interested in more tangible subjects with practical applications, such as engineering, science, and business."

"Sensors who are Extraverts tend to wear bolder colors and patterns than Introverted Sensors. Intuitives may generally dress according to their own personal identity rather from any fashion demand...Sensors are more likely to wear the right clothing item for the activity--whether it's hiking boots are an evening gown--than are Intuitives..."

Sensors tend to do better in school during elementary and middle school (due to the emphasis on memorization and facts) and Intuitives tend to do better during high school and college (due to emphasis on interpretation and meaning).

Sensors tend to have precise body movements. They are generally aware of how their body looks and feels. They are not typically known to be clumsy or oblivious.

Jobs that include a high number of Sensing personnel are: manager, banker, police officer, administrator, farmer, tradesperson, elementary school teacher, nurse or other health care provider, bookkeeper, accountant, military person, real estate agent, secretary, retail salesperson.

Sensors use words that will be most likely to get their point across. They are less likely to use words as embellishment, or use words that are unusual or obscure. They are not as likely to enjoy double entendres or puns as Intuitives are.​

Taken from The Art of Speedreading People: How to Size People Up and Speak Their Language by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger (1998).
 

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Everyone uses all functions, but it's what comes naturally, how they instinctively think about things, that determined what they actually are. My little brother is an ISTP, but we often talk about "deeper" and hypothetical things that might be considered more N. it's just more often than not, sensors tend to take a little more thought to sort through intuitive type things, just the same as it takes me more of a conscious effort to watch where I'm walking (Se is my eighth function lol) or observe what is right in front of me.

Just my two cents.
 

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You're not going to be able to guess. The differences between N and S are invisible on the outside.
While the basic premise that definitively determining another person's MBTI type is very difficult is certainly true, as is the fact that this has nothing to do with intelligence (meaning raw brain power or capacity), and that these are simply the two sides of a spectrum with people filling every point in that spectrum. Still, I don't agree with your bottom line assertion as you get to know people over time.

My sister and mother and ex-wife are S's through and through. All are/were intelligent and successful professionals with post-graduate degrees, with the former two being school teachers and the latter an attorney.

They don't like talking much theory, and are much more interested in the practical applications of their professional fields. Sure, you could talk with them about eductation or legal theories as intelligent and educated professionals, but they typically wouldn't initiate the conversation and they'd inevitably rely upon citations of hard evidence which they'd never develop by combining concepts into new theoretical thoughts, speculations, questions or possibilities. In other words, they learned the tools of their trade overwhelmingly so that they could apply them rather than because of a particular fascination in the concepts that they'd learn (and new concepts they might foresee as a result).

OTOH, my ENTP brother and I simply can't have conversations without our Ne's virtually exploding into amazing and abstract conversations.

The contrasts are pretty marked.
 

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From what I know, Ss tend to be based more about the world that is and that has already come to pass. I think that they are prone to look more at the matter at hand, rather than underlying aspects of it or of the future problems correlated with it. They probably tend to be more "real" in the way that they see things and concern themselves more with the means rather than the ends.

I will be able to give a better answer for Ns, based far less on what I can guess. Ns tend to base themselves more about the future, not current events. We look for the underlying reasons and see the big picture; tending to miss details, unlike Ss. We tend to focus more on how we got to where we are, other than where we actually are.

I think Ss tend to live more in moments, while Ns tend to live more in streams of time.

That's my take anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You're not going to be able to guess. The differences between N and S are invisible on the outside. They don't make someone smarter or better at abstract thinking like some people will try to tell you. These dichotomies are about preferences, not abilities.

I'll back up a little and say that your understanding of I/E, F/T, and P/J are incomplete as well.

Introversion and extraversion in this sense are not the same as the traditional meanings of these words, they're the directions of the personality's primary function. Shy quiet people can easily be an extraverted type and loud people introverts.

Being an F type does not mean someone's a nice person, or that they're in touch with their own feelings or the feelings of others. This preference is about decision making: when we make decisions, do we prefer to decide in a way that ensures the efficient completion of a task, or do we prefer to consider the impact it will have on the people involved? Of course we all do both, but which do we do more often?

J and P also have little to do with being messy or disorganized. My car is often a disaster, and parts of my home are as well. Along with I or E, these indicate the directions of the functions. It's been said that J types act upon the world, and P types are acted upon by the world. And of course, this is still only a preference... which do we do more often?

N and S are difficult, and it's not helped by stereotypes like "sensors like sports" (I don't), "sensors like drugs" (I avoid even ibuprofen when it's not necessary and never drink), "sensors are less cerebral/intellectual" (not in my experience), "sensors can't do theory" (guess what I'm doing right this second), and "sensors are good at small talk" (I hate talking to strangers and I think they can tell).

I let people learn about type and figure out their types for themselves, because I firmly believe that the differences in N and S in particular are as close to invisible from the outside as they need to be to make it futile. Maybe if I know someone very, very well, and they very clearly fit a specific type profile, I'll make an assumption, but even then... take any pair of types where the only difference is S and N, and it's mostly guessing.
You didn't understand my point. I wasn't saying that these are the things that all of these types will do, just things they CAN do. Little hints that give away the bigger picture. While you may not have an extremely organized system for cleaning things up, you are organized in other ways, THAT is what your J dictates.

Feelers act upon a more subjective basis, Thinkers do not. I understand this as well, but they will show PREFERENCES, as mentioned above.

Don't even get me started on introverts/extroverts.

The fact is this, if you are to tell me I cannot predict what personality type someone is based on my criteria, you are flat wrong. Other than Sensing and iNtuition, I have a correct rate of prediction of about 80%, and I am getting better all of the time. Even with the S&N functions, I still get it right about 70% of the time. I understand what you say in your post that these things don't define a person, but they are characteristics that can help one understand who they are.

So thank you, but no thank you.
 

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THE IRON GIANT
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While the basic premise that definitively determining another person's MBTI type is very difficult is certainly true, as is the fact that this has nothing to do with intelligence (meaning raw brain power or capacity), and that these are simply the two sides of a spectrum with people filling every point in that spectrum. Still, I don't agree with your bottom line assertion as you get to know people over time.
That's absolutely fair, and I agree. I was thinking of things in terms of the OP's question about spotting whether people are S/N immediately.
 
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