How Thinkers Can Communicate With The Feelers in Their Lives

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on June 09, 2020

Relationships between Thinkers and Feelers, the “T” and the “F” of the Myers and Briggs personality system, are often well-balanced. Between them, these two personality types bring the right combination of logical thinking and emotional thinking to the table. 

Sometimes, though, it can be challenging to communicate certain ideas or to bridge the gap between the two different approaches to work at home and in professional settings. Here are a few ways for Thinkers to understand the needs of the Feelers in their lives, so you can quickly resolve conflict and achieve long-lasting compromise, collaboration and happiness.

Show positivity (Feelers pick up on the unspoken)

Feelers, by definition, follow their emotional instinct. This means they often communicate silently and will pick up on your non-verbal cues as well as your spoken ones. It’s important to approach difficult conversations while calm and at ease, otherwise your Feeler will be on edge no matter what you say. This can be challenging, so consider taking long, deep breaths beforehand.

You’ll also want to pay close attention to your body language—your Feeler certainly will be! Watch where you put your arms, how you stand, and the tightness in your shoulders, all of which can express anger and distance in an unspoken way. The calmer and more relaxed you appear to be, the more open and approachable your Feeler will be as well.

Be patient and respectful

Feelers are driven by their emotions, but they’re also focused on keeping others happy. This may make it difficult for them to be straightforward and honest about how they feel. Feeling personalities often sacrifice themselves for the sake of tact. When they need to express honest emotion, it can be both challenging and frustrating for them.

For your part, it’s important to give a Feeler plenty of time to get to the point they’re trying to make, even if it does include some wandering thoughts and false starts. Your logical and rational-thinking skills are incredible and beneficial in many facets of life, but it’s important to remember that others reach their conclusions in different ways than you.

Encourage honesty

Because Feelers so often think of others first, they don’t like rocking the boat or creating discord in the group or at home. If you sense that an honest conversation is needed, whether it’s about expectations in the workplace or collaborations at home, you may need to be the one to create the space for that engagement. 

Start by giving Feelers a platform where they feel safe and comfortable and encourage honest communication, rather than tactful compromise. It can be challenging to help the Feeler in your life say what they really mean, so reassure them that being open and having real discussions about your shared interests or needs is ultimately better for the group in the long term.

Approach with emotion over logic

Thinkers like to find rational, logical answers to questions and to solve problems as soon as they appear. This approach is both efficient and helpful in many facets of life. Feelers, on the other hand, focus on emotion over logic. This means that if you, as a Thinker, are responding to the way a Feeler feels with cold, hard facts, they may see it as impersonal and distant. You’re essentially setting the conversation up to fail.

It’s important to meet the Feeler in your life halfway, or at least try to see the emotion behind the words even if you don’t necessarily feel it yourself. Seeing their perspective will give you more patience in the situation and make it easier for your Feeler to feel comfortable and willing to be honest and collaborative.

Find the right communication platform

We all have our preferred form of communication, and it’s important to both know your own and determine that communication preference for the Feeler in your life. While you may see a quick text message as an effective method of sharing information, your Feeler may think it’s impersonal and reductive -- they may even think that they’ve done something wrong because you didn’t call. 

Openness is key here. Explain to your Feeler how you like to communicate, and try to meet them on their terms as well. Where’s the common ground? Finding that platform—whether it’s via email, over the phone, or in person, can help to reduce miscommunications and make it easier to find solutions and answers.

Do not logic them out of their feelings

You should be proud of your ability to think logically and find solutions to issues big and small. It’s an incredible skill and it will serve you well in life. Still, there’s a time and place to go for the hard evidence and it’s not always going to be in a conversation with the Feeler you love. While your instinct may be to solve their problem and move on, remember that Feelers can solve the problem on their own. Often, they just need to go through the process.

Watching a Feeler weigh their pros and cons and work through different scenarios may feel frustrating to you, but it’s not dissimilar from how you gather evidence for your arguments—theirs are merely emotion-based. But if they feel like their methods are being judged or that you’re impatient with the process, they may shut down completely. So maybe skip the quick answers and help them find the deeper understanding they’re looking for.

Acknowledge the value of gut instinct

In the same vein, it’s important to have faith in your Feeler. They may offer up logic that looks like it has come from thin air, but because Feelers are so tuned into their emotions, they are excellent judges of characters and often have very good instincts about people and situations. 

If you want to communicate on an even level with your Feeler, it’s important that you don’t dismiss this gut instinct. It has served them well in life and is an integral factor in how they make decisions. Dismiss it, and you’ll find your Feeler is no longer as open or willing to collaborate. Give it the value its due, and you’ll reach those answers with more ease and your Feeler will trust you more the next time around.

Help guide them to their destination

Every great relationship is about balance, and that’s why you don’t want to close off your rational side completely when talking to the Feeler in your life. (Or ever, it’s what makes you you and that’s excellent!) 

Because Feelers make their decisions based on instinct and emotion and because they often wander to their destination, it can be helpful to have the guidance of someone accustomed to following the roadmap. Use your skills to prompt them with relevant questions, help them find the information for their pros and cons columns, and gently bring them back on topic when they seem to stray too far away. 

It may not work every time, but the right balance of your critical thinking and organizational skills and their instinct and emotional intelligence can honestly change the world.

Bottom line: It all comes down to being open

You don’t have to hide your best traits to communicate with the Feeler in your life. In fact, the more open and willing you are simply to be yourself, the more you will be able to connect and communicate with your Feeler and to resolve challenges or overcome difficult situations. 

This may require expressing a little more emotion than you’re accustomed to, but with a Feeler, you’re in good hands. They’ll see your emotional vulnerability as the gift it is and respond in kind and, because these personality traits balance each other so well, they may even take that step back to allow you to be emotional where they are rational. When you’re open with your Feeler, you can collaborate and discuss issues together—and you’ll both come out better for it. 


Ruby Scalera recently graduated Emerson College and has since reported on a wide variety of topics from the Equal Rights Amendment to the history of the romance novel. In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. She currently resides in Nashville.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Tshelly05 (not verified) says...

This is a fantastic article!! This comprehensive look at the various ways communication difficulties can come up between a thinker and feeler is spot on based on my personal experience as a feeler communicating with a thinker partner, as well as for the experiences of some of my friends. My Thinker partner has done very well aiming to meet me in many of these areas, it's been a learning process for both of us over the course of our relationship. We still can be challenged by these when we are both tired and depleted, however if we put a pause on things until we're in a better place it helps a lot!

Jme (not verified) says...

Thanks for a very insightful article!

I'm somewhat curious to know if when describing feelers with descriptions such as gut instincts that are usually correct, are we not describing an NF?

And we we talk about them "wandering" to their decisions are we not really describing FP or in this article NFP?

While it's very spot on when describing an NFP, it can be very different when describing an SFJ or SFP. 

The SFJ doesn't necessarily wander when making decisions and the SFP doesn't necessarily have good gut instincts.


Your thoughts?



Imogen (not verified) says...

Why is it that it's always Thinkers who have to adapt to what makes Feelers happy rather than Feelers learning not to get offended by Thinkers and their logical approach.  We are not trying to offend and in my experience they read into body language emotions that are not there. 

JAY R (not verified) says...

Agreed.  This article is just begging for it's own companion article:

How Feelers Can Communicate With The Thinkers in Their Lives

Ong (not verified) says...

Completely agreed. I was a Feelings person until I realised that does not serve me well & I learnt to take a logical approach to life, which served me so much better. Now I can't comprehend why I need to accommodate to a partner's irrationality in being feelingd-driven. It's a mystery to me. 

Ms. Feeler - MBTI Certified Practicioner (not verified) says...

If you changed to being a Thinker than you were never a Feeler in the first place.  The MBTI is based on inborn traits.  Not choices.  We all use both dichotomies on the MBTI (i.e., introverts can "flex" into extroverts at a party etc.), but inherently our true nature will always be the same. If you were a feeler you ARE a feeler and you're doing yourself a disservice, because feelers were born with certain gifts (as are thinkers) that they give to the world.  Additionally, it would be exhausting to constantly "flex" into "thinking mode."  Based on the science of the actual MBTI instrument, you would probably test as a thinker.  But this is just my two cents based on my certification.


Nessa (not verified) says...

This is spot on! Great article!

Share your thoughts


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