What Is it Like to be an Intuitive-Feeling (NF) Man?

Intuitive-feelers personality types — those with NF as their middle letters on the Myers and Briggs 16 type test — share many defining characteristics. But divergent life experiences create plenty of variety within the type.

The differences may be observed at the individual level. But they may also be seen through the lens of gender. Intuitive-Feeling men may think, act, and react differently than Intuitive-Feeling women. Not in every instance, but at least in some.

Here are nine interesting facts about the typical Intuitive-Feeling man:

#1 They prefer to work through their emotions and conflicts in private—unless they’re asked about them

There are many times when NF men will seem distant or distracted. This can happen when they’re trying to think through a problem or are pondering an important question that has them confused or concerned. Their tendency to retreat into their own heads when an issue arises is a natural reaction, as they seek private time to work things out for themselves.

Despite this habit, Intuitive-Feeler men are usually willing to talk about their feelings and inner conflicts with people they trust. They just have to be asked to do so. Even extraverted NF men need to self-reflect when troubled or conflicted, but neither extraverted nor introverted NF men feel an urge to remain locked inside their privacy modes exclusively.

#2 They are more than willing to assume a leadership role, if they see others aren’t acting or producing results

Intuitive-Feelers will frequently encourage those they like and respect to take leadership roles. But NF men tend to lose patience rapidly if they see others are failing to get things done. Their impatience will motivate them to take the lead, once they’re convinced no progress is being made. They see time as too precious to continue to waste.

NF men can become impatient even with those they love at times. But their ultimate goal in taking charge is to make things work for everyone, especially those they care about the most. Intuitive-Feeling men are respected as leaders because they’re good listeners and they don’t always assume they’re right.

#3 In relationships, they want to be recognized but aren’t worried about balance or fairness

In their dealings with romantic partners, close friends, or beloved family members, Intuitive-Feeling men are incredibly generous and giving. They want to help the people they care about achieve their potential. They also want to make them happy and let them know they’re loved.

They don’t expect the people they care about to match their generosity step for step, however. They like to feel appreciated and acknowledged. They are easily hurt if they feel taken for granted. But, NF men don’t keep a running scorecard of who’s done what for whom. They give as much as they can without expecting anything in return because it brings them joy and satisfaction to do so.

#4 They can be insecure about their “manhood” at times, but it’s not a big issue overall

Intuitive-Feeling men are perfectly aware they don’t fit the traditional stereotype about how men should think or behave. If they feel they’re being judged harshly or unfairly, they can show signs of insecurity about how they’re perceived. They may become defensive if they’re extraverted or withdraw if they’re introverted.

While NF men can be self-critical and overly self-conscious at times, that doesn’t reveal their true self-image. Their bouts of insecurity over being too sensitive, or not being bold and aggressive enough, should be classified as the occasional bad moment. In reality, they see their compassionate and sensitive natures as a strength rather than a weakness. Their idealism is stronger than their self-critical tendencies, and they truly believe their way is the best way.

#5 They don’t believe anyone should be held back or judged according to stereotypes

It isn’t just traditional ideas about how men should behave that NF men reject. They are appalled by all stereotypes, including those that are sometimes applied to women. As a result, they are always highly supportive of the efforts of their partners, daughters, sisters, and mothers to live their dreams or accomplish something special.

Intuitive-Feeling men believe in individual potential. They see it in everyone, and rebel against the idea that anyone should be held back by artificial limits. NF men are really quite radical in this regard, and when the people in their lives have goals they will eagerly and enthusiastically support their efforts to achieve them.

#6 They can be surprisingly competitive

Intuitive-Feeling men are often quite competitive in many areas of their lives. Some may assume they wouldn’t be since they’re known for their empathy and sensitivity. But from the NF man’s perspective, competition encourages self-development. Consequently, they will push themselves to be the best they can be at all times, even when competing directly with others.

They are willing to measure themselves against their fellow human beings, in their career pursuits, sports, academics, and any other field of endeavor. But NF men are primarily competing against themselves and don’t take any satisfaction from seeing anyone else fail. It is self-improvement they seek, not a sense of superiority. Competitive NF men are both gracious winners and gracious losers; they appreciate and respect the efforts of others, just as they hope others will respect theirs.

#7 They prize honesty, but not at the expense of hurting someone else’s feelings

Character matters a lot to Intuitive-Feeling men. They believe in honesty, recognizing it as one of the most important virtues. But more than anything, their ideas about being virtuous are centered on how their actions will affect other people. Consequently, they will sacrifice honesty in some cases, if they know the impact of the truth will be negative.

This is not to suggest that Intuitive-Feeling men will be dishonest. If they feel the truth will hurt someone they will try to be diplomatic, choosing their words carefully. They may ignore certain topics altogether, or quickly change the subject if those topics come up. They respect their loved ones too much to lie openly to them, and when they decide to hold back it is only with the best of intentions.

#8 They are extremely idealistic but never rigid or fixed, which means they aren’t afraid to evolve

Men in the Intuitive-Feeler category register highly on the idealism scale. Their philosophies are inclusive and big-picture-oriented. They don’t want to compromise on their principles, even in small ways. They are uncomfortable being asked to choose between “the lesser of two evils” or “make the best of a bad situation.” They prefer to use their creativity and individuality to find a different way, and will insist on following their chosen path even if others accuse them of being impractical or unrealistic.

Underlying their commitment to their ideals, however, is a deep humility and openness to change. NF men are willing to adjust their belief systems, as long as their new beliefs are more inclusive and comprehensive than their older ones. Consistent with their humility, they respect the intellectual and ethical growth processes of others. NF men are very supportive of loved ones who are passionate about their convictions, even if those convictions aren’t the same as theirs.

#9 Their core ideas and philosophies grow out of their emotional connection with the world

As idealistic as the NF man can be, their principles are not based on abstract thought or logic primarily. Instead, their values emerge naturally from their deep compassion, from their sensitivity to the feelings of others. Intuitive-Feeling men develop their beliefs based on their emotional reactions to suffering and injustice. Despite their focus on the big picture, they are firmly and fundamentally grounded in the real world.

People are sometimes fooled about this aspect of NF men, because they often seem quite comfortable discussing or debating abstract concepts. What they do is connect logic and rational thought to their feelings, producing a dynamic mix that can make them quite persuasive.

In Appreciation of the Intuitive-Feeling Man

If you know an Intuitive-Feeling man well, you know their orbit of caring sweeps a broad arc. It circles around and embraces everyone who is fortunate enough to call them co-worker, employer, neighbor, friend, family member, parent, or cherished life partner.

If you’re an NF man yourself, you may have frequently felt misjudged or misunderstood. But it's highly unlikely you’ve felt unappreciated. The people who know you the best will have noticed your selflessness and deep empathy, and will treasure having you in their lives.

Nathan Falde

Nathan Falde has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years. His ghostwritten work and bylined articles have appeared in numerous online outlets, and in 2014-2015 he acted as co-creator for a series of eBooks on the personality types. An INFJ and a native of Wisconsin, Nathan currently lives in Bogota, Colombia with his wife Martha and their son Nicholas.

Comments

Brad W (not verified) says...

Dang, I needed to read that. 
I've been struggling lately trying to figure out if I need to make a career change to feel fulfilled.  As an ENFP, reflection helps me to figure out the best path.  This article put so much into words about me that I often find difficult to say.  This was great for my confidence and sums me up very well.

Thank you.

J Carver (not verified) says...

I am in a similar boat, Brad. I only recently started digging in to the MBTI resources, but they have been quite validating and eye-opening. I test as a (I/E*)NFP-T, a model that resonates well as I learn more about it. I appreciate the time others have spent to document things I always thought were just my own oddities.

Here's hoping we both find the motivation to take the next step on our rambling NF journey, be it in our current jobs or something more in line with the precepts outlined here. Buena suerte!

* - I have tested dead on the 50% line twice, once as I, once as E. Seems like I'm introverted personally, but extroverted in my work.

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