There is 7.4 billion of us in the world but why do we sometimes feel alone, out of place or different than others and to put it bluntly so misunderstood by friends or family. I am sure all of us have this innate desire to understand why we behave the way we do in certain situations, why we chose to rebel instead of conforming (which is a lot easier) or simply conform and why it makes you happier that way.
MBTI stands for Myers-Briggs Temperamental Index (Test). It is used widely when you are applying for jobs by Human Resources or Psychologists even, but in the mainstream this seemed to be not a common knowledge. Speaking as a Filipina from the Philippines, I have observed that the majority doesn’t really know what this is. I myself just luckily stumbled on it and it changed my life, makes me see the world in a new different perspective, why we do the things the way we do, why we can’t help it and why we can never change a person but can only understand them and deal with them better.
For those of you who have never heard of this personality test, I suggest to personally read more. There is a lot of information online to help you along. I’d like this post to be more centered to people who knows MBTI and especially targeting the ones who are caught up or confused between INFJ or INFP which is very much like myself and wanting a resolution: an end to this cycle once and for all.
I have been an MBTI enthusiast since 2 years ago, when I have stumbled on this test online… I knew I have struck gold. I know this is big that can help me understand the “why’s” of my personality. I was lost at that time, a little depressed and if there is something for me to do that can help myself… I know this would be it. I am right! It made me understand myself better, it’s like putting myself under a microscope and I’m also the scientist which is so cool.
The confusion happened when I started getting a different result… although, I mostly get INFJ but INFP comes up and it surprises me every time. It’s like hey where do I truly fit… it seems there is still this one missing piece. Naturally, we wanted to be a part of something… having this sense of belonging is so strong. I don’t like being in between. I am convince maybe I have to do more digging… more studying on the subject of MBTI especially between INFJ and INFP.
There are really a lot of episodes in my life that I felt, hmm.. maybe I am truly an INFP not INFJ because the traits of INFP also speaks to me. Then I would bug my husband and asked him many times if he thinks I am INFP not an INFJ. He keeps telling me if I am so confused why not study the MBTI again but this time really start from the root of it all because that’s truly where the “why’s” resides.
So operation: finding my true type started this week. I did some digging for 3 days until I finally came up with a resolution. There is a lot of truth in this: sometimes our complicated questions can have basic answers. When I was saying the root of all this, I was referring to Jungian Cognitive Functions. MBTI was created by mother and daughter Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers-Briggs inspired by Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types. It was them who made and popularized the 16 personality types.Of course, anything isn’t 100% accurate… most tests if not all are like that especially personality tests. We can always find holes in them. Understandably, the tests will never explain with 100 percent accuracy the complexity of human beings but I want to believe that at least we can come close. We cannot fault MBTI for being one especially it is using dichotomies and how about the in between’s? there goes the problem. So the mistyping is very common.
So here comes the basic answer. Both MBTI and Socionics are based in Jungian Cognitive Functions. So for you to know your true type: you should understand first the Jungian Cognitive Functions. It’s why Carl Jung himself didn’t even proceeded creating personality types because he knows categorizing us per se will only lead to more confusions and that our complexity just cannot be fully categorized and that variations or sub-types can also be endless.
Determining your first two cognitive functions is important: dominant function and the auxiliary (second) function will most likely guarantee you your true type. Although, knowing the whole order of your other cognitive functions will also give you a whole myriad of insights of who you are, where you acts best and why you don’t act your best sometimes. These first two functions comprises 90% of your personality.
The first things to know:
Dominant function is called the “hero or heroine function”. It’s the one that saves your day. It is well-developed by age 13-16. When you are with a group of strangers this is the first cognitive function you will most likely apply. It could be either perceiving function (sensing or intuiting) or judging function (thinking or feeling). It’s why in Socionics the equivalent of INFJ is INFp. The p means INF with a perceiving dominant function. On the other hand, INFP in Socionics is INFj… j stands for judging. (There is already a big difference.)
Auxiliary function is the second or “parent function” the cognitive function that you will most likely use to “help other people” or when you are concern of their well-being.
Let’s stop here. The INFJ and the INFP are so opposite with each other when it comes to first two cognitive functions.
INFJ: Ni – Fe
INFP: Fi – Ne
Opposite only when it comes to introversion and extroversion. I’d like to think that’s why its so easy to confuse the two because they are still using the same functions over all or through-out their whole thought process. Look at this.
INFJ: Ni – Fe – Ti – Se
INFP: Fi- Ne- Si – Te
So it’s important to delve into each of the cognitive functions and know which ones you dominantly use and be sure to study the differences between each of cognitive functions with their corresponding introversion and extroversion. That’s when it will you truly occur to you your true type.
Personally, I had a hard time knowing my first two because I have a strong Fi as well. It doesn’t mean that you have this two cognitive functions as your preference/dominance you will not use your other functions. It doesn’t work like that. One way or another, you might have developed your other functions too in my case Fi or introverted feeling because of my upbringing, cultural and environmental factors. This could be a strong reason why I get inconsistent results. Questions can be misleading in the tests and if you aren’t careful, you are only one or two questions away from getting your closest or most accurate result.
Good thing, I have a very strong Ni and there is just no way I can have a Ne as my dominant function. Like I said, although they are opposite… it is also easy to confuse the two. John Beebe’s model is very helpful with this.
You should not have a reason to confuse your dominant function. It is called dominant for a reason. It comes natural to you. It is your niche or your forte. It’s something you are naturally very good at.
John Beebe’s Model:
|1||Dominant (Hero / Heroine)||
|2||Auxiliary (Supporting, Good Parent)||
|3||Tertiary (Relief, Eternal Child)||
|4||Inferior (Aspirational, Soul/Spirit)||
|7||Deceiving / Trickster||
|8||Demonic / Angelic||
If you have no problems determining between introversion and extroversion in each of cognitive functions it would be a whole lot easier for you.
I have both strong Fe and Fi so it took me longer to determine which I favor more. John Beebe’s model helped me with this conflict because the auxiliary or parent function should be the cognitive function that you naturally favor or use when you are trying to help the people around you. In my case, I am now sure it is Fe.
So with Ni as my dominant and Fe as my auxiliary function that makes me go with INFJ as my personality type based on MBTI and as INFp on Socionics by default because both are using the principles of Carl Jung theory or Jungian Cognitive Functions.
The rule of thumb here is that there are holes in every theory of tests. It’s just funny because applying the Ni and Ne here: INFJ (who are confused with INFP) will be most likely the ones who will look for more astounding or supporting data or information to back up they are really INFJs. Ni is like “choose only one then doubt it later” that makes INFJs with strong Ni look for more claims and because the MBTI has a lot of holes… then good luck.
Most people with strong Ne however are not comfortable with the idea of just having one option or one possibility. Conclusion or resolution is a strong or dreaded word for them. They are more inclined to be open-minded and the more possibilities or options the better.Think of it this way:
Intuition is a perceiving function.
Ni is a “nebula” in a picture form.
Ni like to focus on one idea, they like to narrow things and to see one big picture. These people are dreamers, seers, artists, visionaries, quick to understand the abstract concepts and sees patterns easily but having a hard time explaining “what they know or see” or what’s on their mind to other people although they have organized their thoughts very well inside their mind. Very imaginative and doesn’t very much like to live in the present instead sees the future clearly.
Ne is a “supernova” in a picture form.
They like to branch out to many possibilities from one idea. Can even connect the idea from one subject to many subjects. They are comfortable having open and many options. They love “what ifs” or “what could be’s” and brainstorms. They always like generating new ideas. They see the minor details more than one big picture.
Feeling is a judging function.
Fi: It is more self-directed than people-oriented. They will ask themselves first, assess what they are feeling or their personal values before they can connect or deal with people or their environment. INFPs always stand and fight for what they believe in. They value their personal values and beliefs very strongly. It is a judging function because it makes them decide: if they like this person they just met or if this individual is a good person or not. Fi users are very self-aware that they have no problems knowing how they feel, they can express themselves very well. Fi works internally. Fi is ” I ” while Fe is “them”.
Fe: It is more people-oriented than self-directed. It makes the user sense and understand the feelings of the people and the mood of the environment. They are like sponges that absorbs the energy of the people or the place and usually makes them feel drained. This function makes the user somewhat a “people pleaser” likes to clean the house or dress up appropriately because of “them”. They also consciously modify their statements to make the other person feel more comfortable, at ease and especially not get offended. Fe users have this presence that they are very good in dealing with people although it doesn’t mean they are extroverts. They would also love to volunteer for a good cause. Fe comes out on a surface for INFJs because it is their auxiliary function. They naturally use this if they want to help other people. Fe works externally. Fe is “them” while Fi is “I”.
- Aside from comparing between Ni vs Ne and Fi vs Fe. You should also compare and contrast the Fi (dominant function of INFP) to Ni (dominant function of INFJ) and the same thing with Fe (auxiliary function of INFJ ) to Ne (auxiliary function of INFP). Dominant vs Dominant then Auxiliary vs Auxiliary. Ni vs Fi and Fe vs Ne
- If INFJ has a cousin in all of the personality types that would be the INTJ. They are the only two types that has the same dominant function which is Ni. They have started in the same cognitive function only that the outcome or their actions are different. INFJ (Ni – Fe) while INTJ (Ni – Te). They act differently on the surface but actually their mind works on the same level.
- Both INFJ and INFP are natural psychologists. They get and understand people easily only that they have a different approach or cognitive function that they use to help people hence the confusion.
- Using the Beebe’s Model, Fe is a natural function for INFJs and if she uses Fi (which is subconscious/not natural) it works as more of a self-critical function (sixth function) and it’s not good. On the other hand, INFPs works best with Ne for them to help people. It is their auxiliary function. Their Fi as a dominant function is used to assess their surroundings or the people around them. It acts as a “judging function”. Fe is their opposing function (5th function) so whenever they use this, it must mean they are stressed becomes it doesn’t comes natural to them. Fi is naturally good for INFPs and for INFJs it is not. Fe is naturally good for INFJs and for INFPs it is not. This is explained by the Beebe’s model.
- INFJs should use both Ni + Fe to better handle situations and Ti to balance the two. INFPs should use both Fi + Ne to handle their emotions and Te to balance the two.
- It is very possible to have more than two strong functions. You can both have strong Ni and Ne or Fi and Fe. It is only a matter of what comes first (dominance) that determines your type.
- You only have one type and it will never change even if you have life changing tragedies. You still have the same order of cognitive functions. It’s why John Beebe’s model is very helpful. Based on the model, if you are depressed, self-critical, unstable emotionally, destructive: you might have been functioning on your “shadow functions” (last 4 functions) these are your weakest functions and generally will not do you any good and very self-destructive. I highly suggest to read more about John Beebe’s model.
- Know which cognitive functions are your strengths and weaknesses and use them in understanding yourself better, which areas to improve to reach your fullest potential.
- MBTI and Socionics are both based on Jungian Cognitive Functions. So if you are Ni + Fe in Jungian that makes you INFJ in MBTI and INFp in Socionics. For Fi + Ne in Jungian that makes you INFP in MBTI and INFj in Socionics by default. There is no way you can be INFJ in MBTI then INFj in Socionics because it shows you have Ni + Fe in MBTI then Fi + Ne in Socionics. Like I always said, it doesn’t work like that. You only have one dominant and one auxiliary function so make up your mind. You’re the only one who knows yourself best.
- Lastly, there are 8 Jungian cognitive functions over-all. I highly suggest to know each of them very well and how their corresponding combinations work especially on your specific type. Why the first four can help you improve yourself and the last four which are the mirror or shadow functions should be at least managed well or prevented.
So there you go.
I think I pretty much sum it up. I am so comfortable with finding my one and true type. Now that I understand the “why’s” or the building blocks of my personality because of Jungian cognitive functions. Understanding the harmony of Ni-Fe and them working it out together. I can see clearly now where I was coming from. Why I do things the way I did. Why I don’t have good reflexes or cannot remember the color of the shirt of the person I just talked to. Same thing with the details of my surroundings and suck greatly with directions. Small things that you don’t necessarily notice before but now all the pieces just fits together or makes sense.
Each of us is still unique no matter how these tests try to categorize us or box us. However, I believe that self awareness will help us tremendously in trudging each of our own individual journey. We are still molded with so many different factors which are endless, but sometimes feeling like we aren’t alone and there is someone who can understand us just makes all the difference in the world. I know this much because me and my husband are both INFJs by MBTI standards lol.
So that’s it… Folks! We might not be so “special snowflake” but still each of us is a beautiful snowflake by our own right lol.
For more INFJ or INFP related links:
If you want a shortcut, you can try this test because it uses Jungian cognitive functions as its basis.
If you want to read more or delve in yourself. I have collected the links of sites where I’ve been so you can see it for yourself.
For understanding every cognitive function:
Finally, understanding the tandem or the workings of:
Ni + Fe for Mbti INFJs or Socionics INFps.
Fi + Ne for Mbti INFP or Socionics INFjs:
For more questions and clarifications just feel free to leave comments below.
See you on my next post.
–A no longer confused INFJ… Anna