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The Nature of Introverted Feeling: A Sword Planted Firmly in the Ground

The introverted feeling function seems to be a collection of strong values and convictions rather than a soft, fluffy sort of function
The introverted feeling function seems to be a collection of strong values and convictions rather than a soft, fluffy sort of function

How does introverted feeling actually present itself?  Is it strong?  Fluffy and accommodating?  What do you think of when you imagine someone who prefers introverted feeling?

Last night, I was Skyping with my friend and colleague, Sue Blair,  about the nature of introverted feeling.  According to Jungian theory, individuals who are INFP and ISFP use introverted feeling as a dominant cognitive function and individuals who are ENFP and ESFP use it as an auxiliary function.  In all 4 of these types, introverted feeling is a big part of how they see the world and how they operate.

Sue Blair will be a keynote speaker at the 2013 Association for Psychological Type Conference in July.   One of her many contributions to the type community is creating visuals to represent the eight cognitive functions.  Recently she conducted a workshop in England that included creating these visuals.

In the workshop, one overall observation was that if the cognitive function was dominant or auxiliary for an individual, the visual representation tended to be positive.  If it was a non-preferred function, it tended to be a more negative visual.  I am not surprised by that because as an ENFP, contemplating introverted sensing reflexively brings up a picture of confusion for me, someone struggling with incomplete thoughts, almost like someone sitting in a care center at the twilight of life not being able to recall much of anything.  Since it’s a blind spot for me, my picture is one of deficiency.

Meanwhile, introverted feeling is my auxiliary function.  In the workshop, introverted feelers used the visual of a sword planted firmly in the ground.  To me, that was exactly IT.  Introverted feeling is definitely not pliable but a way to assess relevancy with conviction.  In fact, I harken back to when I was in coaching classes and someone made this remark about me:  “You are very easy going and playful until someone hits on something that really matters to you.  Your posture changes.  Your face changes.  It’s clear that you feel strongly about that issue.”

It will be interesting to see Sue’s presentation at the APTi conference in Miami on all of the type functions presented in visuals.  I suspect her presentation will spark some interesting discussion. Click  here if you want information about her talk or to access information about the conference in general.


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Another interesting post, Ann. It’s fascinating to observe 3rd and especially 4th functions operating in (aging) family members etc. I see Si growing in my ENTP husband. I wonder if you can relate. Certain foods and routines related to his youth have become hugely important. Only traditional bread from his childhood will do for breakfast now; the smell of Vicks (!) ointment sends him over the moon after his shower at the end of his work week, spaghetti western music by Ennio Morricone over and over again on his day off, etc. My ENFP daughter reports she can relate to this behavior. Both use the word “soothing” to describe the effect of following their favorite routines. But he’s got lots of other routines that he can’t explain–he just does them. I keep thinking he must be bored by them, but he claims he’s not.
    Although it’s an introverted function, Si seems to compound the effect of auxiliary Ti and help bring order to his outer life. It helps him decide what ‘to do’ everyday. He cannot relate to my (INFP) fussing over messy closets, unbalanced color schemes in the garden and other Te concerns and he has trouble believing I now find it fun to look for ways to impose order on such things. There’s a glimmer of understanding when I tell him that seeing the dishes organized in the cupboard soothes me just like his Vicks.
    Te has become coherent enough for me that at age 55 I believe I could draw a pleasing visual for it. But I’d be curious how it compared with one made by someone with dominant Te or by someone younger. I also wonder whether, as an extraverted and judging function,Te is inherently easier to visualize and articulate than Si. Or maybe it’s because my Te is complemented by dominant Fi—there’s something that feels crisper and more definable about those judging functions together compared to Ne and Si perception together. Or am I just revealing the biases of my type???! In any case, fun to think about.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Kim. You raise some really interesting points. Recently, I read a book called A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind by Robert A. Burton. He articulated an concept called the weighing of inputs. Basically, he said that behavior is multi-factorial and that at any given moment, certain factors have more weight or relevance than others and that the thought or behavior is a byproduct of this process. Interesting! So of course, I had to blog about it . Blogging helps me digest what I have learned. Anyway, I really do like to explore what factor(s) lead people to act in a certain way- and oftentimes, we don’t even know for sure!

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