As an INFJ, I use Extraverted Feeling (Fe) as my auxiliary function. But what does Extraverted Feeling even mean? And what’s the difference in having it as a primary or secondary function? Before we get into it, let’s recap the eight cognitive functions, and how each personality type interacts with them.
In his book, Psychological Types, Carl Jung identified four cognitive functions: Sensation (S), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), and Feeling (F). In Jungian theory, each person has both a primary and auxiliary function, and they manifest in how you make decisions and process information.
Later, Isabel Briggs Myers, included not four, but eight cognitive functions in her personality type model, adding ‘extraverted’ and ‘introverted’ alternatives to Jung’s original four functions.
This means that an ESFJ, for example, would have dominant Extraverted Feeling (Fe) and auxiliary Introverted Sensing (Si), whereas an ISFP would use dominant Introverted Feeling (Fi) and have Extraverted Sensing (Se) as an auxiliary function.
Extraverted Feeling in a nutshell
Overall, types who lead with their Feeling function are more comfortable tapping into their emotions, than Thinking dominant personalities. When it comes to Extraverted Feelers in particular, they usually make decisions by weighting on how their actions may affect those around them.
Extraverted Feeling is generally concerned with:
- Keeping group harmony
- Bringing people together
- Reading other people’s emotions
- Following social norms
- Fitting into something larger than oneself
This means that someone who has developed their Extraverted Feeling function is typically capable of empathizing with other people’s issues and demonstrates traits of compassion, kindness and forgiveness.
Conversely, when you haven’t yet fully developed Extraverted Feeling, you may get too emotionally invested in other people’s problems. You might also find it difficult to set boundaries or recognize which feelings are your own, and which were absorbed from others.
Now, let’s take a look at how Extraverted Feeling manifests itself when used as a dominant, auxiliary or tertiary/inferior function.
Dominant Extraverted Feeling: ESFJ, ENFJ
As an EXFJ, Extraverted Feeling is your dominant function. This means that it is the first mental tool you rely on to process information and make sense of the world. It’s almost second-nature, and you may not even realize you’re using it.
Extraverted Feeling is a cognitive function that encourages you to interact with the world. So, it’s no surprise that Fe dominant types are usually drawn to careers that allow them to get involved in helping others feel included or cared for. Both ESFJs and ENFJs are sensitive to other people’s needs and generally thrive in jobs that promote a sense of cooperation and work towards positive change.
When it comes to interpersonal relationships, Fe dominant users will try to maintain a harmonious environment. Not only do you follow the rules, but you also use social norms and values to make decisions, and set priorities. In short, you’re most comfortable when everyone gets along and is treated fairly.
When at their best, dominant Extraverted Feelers can inspire and unite a group in times of division. However, EXFJs may also develop a habit of people pleasing, failing to realize that you can’t satisfy and accommodate everyone at all times.
For ENFJs, Fe shines through in their sense of leadership and community, whereas for ESFJs their dominant Extraverted Feeling is visible in their commitment to fulfill their duties and provide assistance.
Auxiliary Extraverted Feeling: ISFJ, INFJ
For ISFJs, who lead with Introverted Sensing (Si), Extraverted Feeling (Fe) may guide them in welcoming different points of view. As traditionalists, ISFJs can be too close-minded and judgmental towards anything new. Therefore, when combined with your dominant function, Extraverted Feeling may help you gain perspective.
When it comes to INFJs, your Fe function is helpful to get you out of your head. As an INFJ myself, I know all too well what it’s like to be so enthralled in my thoughts and ideas that I forget there’s a world outside my mind.
In addition, Fe can assist INFJs in challenging their beliefs. As Ni users, INFJs often hold onto their intuitions so strongly that they refuse to question them and immediately reject other viewpoints. Hence, why we can also struggle to manage conflict productively.
Yet, like their Fe dominant cousins, both INFJs and ISFJs can be too selfless for their own good. While being compassionately supportive of others will always be important to you, remember to take care of yourself, and know when it’s time to recharge from draining social interactions (you’re an Introvert, after all!).
Tertiary and Inferior Extraverted Feeling: ESTP, ISTP, ENTP, INTP
Finally, we have those who use Extraverted Feeling (Fe) as either a tertiary, or an inferior function. Many EXTPs, and IXTPs haven’t really developed their Fe, but it can be positive to tune into it more so you can balance your primary, and auxiliary cognitive functions.
When it comes to EXTPs, you can actually be misusing Extraverted Feeling without noticing. For you, an unhealthy Extraverted Feeling can mean using your perceptive abilities to make hasty judgments, instead of building connections. In fact, you may be losing an opportunity to develop an interesting relationship based upon a negative first impression.
XNTPs might also be overly stubborn and defensive whenever someone questions their expertise or expects them to follow social norms. These types would do good to realize that utilizing their Extraverted Feeling may assist them in the ability to empathize, and connect with others.
Additionally, both ISTPs and ESTPs can come across as insensitive, or judgmental. Though often unintentional, Extraverted Feeling may aid you in developing your emotional intelligence and understand whether you may be prejudging people and situations too quickly.
The upshot? When you put concerted effort into developing your Fe, you may find yourself valuing the ability of being warm and considerate, bringing kindness into your daily interactions.
Extraverted Feeling (Fe) is a cognitive function present in eight of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. Types who are Fe dominant include ESFJ, and ENFJ, whereas INFJs and ISFJs use Extraverted Feeling as an auxiliary function. Knowing where Extraverted Feeling stands in your function stack can help you understand why you make decisions and interact with others the way you do.
In addition, even if Extraverted Feeling is only an inferior function for you, it can be beneficial to develop the less dominant traits of your personality. If typology taught me anything, it is that there’s always something we can learn from other types; and cognitive stacking may be what bridges the gap.