Every personality type has its own particular strengths and weaknesses. For ISFJs and INFJs, their favorite strengths have to do with an internally focused way of learning new information and conceptualizing the world. But introverting isn’t the only thing these types are good at. They also have an extroverted “co-pilot” that goes by the name Extroverted Feeling. It’s a judging function that we use for making decisions and interacting with the world around us.
While Extroverted Feeling isn’t as strong as our dominant functions of Introverted Sensing (for ISFJs) or Introverted Intuition (for INFJs), we can learn to use our co-pilot function very well. It just takes a little extra work. Personality Hacker calls the co-pilot our growth position because developing it can jump-start our personal growth and give us fuller access to the strengths of our personality type. This sort of development isn’t easy, but when INFJs and ISFJs start to grow their Extroverted Feeling they often find that they have an easier time making decisions, feel less pressure from others, and are overall happier with their lives.
What is Extroverted Feeling?
Before jumping into personal growth tips, let’s take a moment to define Extroverted Feeling. If you’re not familiar with functions in Myers-Briggs® theory, click here to read “The Simplest Guide to Myers-Briggs® Functions Ever.”
Extroverted Feeling (Fe) is a rational, decisions making process. Like the other Thinking and Feeling functions, Fe prompts “us to note how things usually happen and to organize our behaviors accordingly.” It’s called a rational function because “Rational behavior is always based on predictability — things we know to be true because they happen regularly in the same way” (Lenore Thomson, Personality Types, p.39).
When making decisions, Extroverted Feeling types tend to focus on specific, personal criteria such as shared beliefs, values, and moral sensibilities when weighing their options. They also identify with others, readily pick up on unspoken social cues, and prioritize maintain social harmony. Fe types’ primary concern when making decisions is with meeting everyone’s needs and keep relationships working well. That’s why Personality Hacker gives this function the nickname “Harmony.”
Tip 1) Process Your Feelings Through Journaling
FJ types aren’t all that great at processing their own feelings or arriving at decisions in an internal way. We are external processors who need to get our thoughts and emotions outside us in some way before using our Extroverted Feeling to make sense of them. For me personally, there are times I’m not sure what I’m feeling, let alone how to process it, until I’ve extroverted my emotions in some way.
Many INFJs do this by keeping a journal. It’s probably the safest way to start working on processing your emotions externally because no one else has to hear about it. It’s also the easiest, since if you need to work through a decision you can just start jotting down notes instead of tracking down someone to talk with.
Tip 2) Talk With People
Journaling is great, but it can only take you so far. Discussing your thoughts and feeling with people you trust not only lets you process them externally, but it also strengthens the interpersonal aspect of your Extroverted Feeling function. Plus, since Extroverted Feeling uses interactions with others as much of it’s a basis for decision-making, talking with other people can be a big help in clarifying what steps you want to take when facing a decision.
You should also make it a point to get out and talk with new people. Harmony is a process that’s very much in-tune with unspoken social contracts, people’s cultures, and building relationships. The more people you meet, the more you’ll be able to develop this side of your personality.Your Harmony process isn’t something you can strengthen while staying inside your own head. It’s an extroverted function and to work on it you have to get our of your introvert comfort zone. You need to interact with real people, preferably in-person.
Tip 3) Do Some Research, Then Act On It
When we’re not using Harmony comfortably, INFJs and ISFJs default to our tertiary function of Introverted Thinking (nicknamed “Accuracy”). That function is really good at research, so let’s put it to use researching Harmony-related things. Try reading books like How To Win Friends and Influence People or track down articles on conflict resolution and boundaries.
Once you’ve done this research, make sure you go back to Tip 2 and put it to use in real conversations. We can use our introverted strengths as a starting point for understanding Extroverted Feeling, but in order to strengthen it we need to put our research and theories to work in the outer world. This can take time, though, and ISFJs and INFJ who struggle to get comfortable with their Extroverted Feeling side can benefit from using their other functions to pick up on interpersonal patterns and make sense of the way social groups function.
Tip 4) Define Your Boundaries
For many INFJs and ISFJs, developing Extroverted Feeling isn’t so much about figuring out what to do with it as it is about learning to put boundaries around it. Many FJ types have spent their whole live so immersed in Extroverted Feeling that they don’t know how to back off from it enough to use it in a way that’s good for them. They struggle with find a balance between taking care of themselves and taking care of others. There’s a real temptation to say “yes” every time someone asks for help and to put your own needs aside in order to meet the needs of others.
In Personality Hacker’s article “Developing the ‘Harmony’ process as an INFJ,” they say developing our co-pilot skill teaches an INFJ three things: 1) you are part of “everyone” when you’re working to get everyone’s needs met, 2) boundaries are necessary and you need to learn how to establish them, and 3) you give as well as receive approval/disapproval. All of these lessons are related to putting healthy boundaries around your use of Extroverted Feeling. With good boundaries in place, you can get your needs met as well as the needs of others and free yourself from getting lost in seeking approval.
5) Tune-In To Social Groups
As an INFJ or ISFJ, there’s a good chance you already have social groups that you are an active part of. Most FJ types place a high value on interpersonal relationships and are invested in their family, church, work place activities, or other social groups. These groups are a great place to develop your Extroverted Feeling side, and if you don’t yet have such a group I would encourage you to take some classes, join local clubs, or reach-out to some of your friends and start building these types of relationships.
Extroverted Feeling develops when we pick up on signs of pleasure and displeasure in others and learn to fit-in with our social groups. It’s the part of our personality that considers what effect behavior has on the group as a whole (Lenore Thomson, Personality Types, p.333). We can’t strengthen it by isolating ourselves from other people.
What are your tips for developing the Extroverted Feeling side of your personality?
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