Podcast – Episode 0298 – Which Is More Selfish – Harmony or Authenticity?

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about which Myers-Briggs cognitive function is more selfish “Harmony” (Extraverted Feeling) or “Authenticity” (Introverted Feeling).

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Joel defines selfishness as taking more than you should.
  • Antonia defines selfishness as making sure you get yours first.
  • Extraverted Feeling “Harmony” Fe – All FJs and TPs
  • Introverted Feeling “Authenticity” Fi – All FPs and TJs
  • Fi is selfish for the individual.
  • Fe is selfish for the collective.
  • Fe may define selfishness as individuating away from the collective.
  • Fi thinks it’s selfish to make everyone assimilate.
  • Fe finds it rewarding when someone gets their needs met.
  • Fe also takes a hit if someone isn’t getting their needs met.
  • Fe uses other people’s emotions to calibrate if everyone’s needs have been met sufficiently.
  • To a Fe user, Fi does feel selfish because they are taking more energetic resource than they are allowed.
  • Why is it okay to sacrifice inner turmoil over group turmoil?
  • Fe allows everybody to have a bad day as long as everyone agrees that they take turns.
  • Fi sometimes forgets that other people have struggles too and need a turn in the bitch fest.
  • Fi sometimes wants everybody else to focus on their problems and solve them.
  • Fe can be a sickly sweet commandant who condescends to others and forces them to do things their way.
  • Fi can’t understand why anyone would suppress who they are for the group’s benefit.
  • Fe sacrifices themselves every day for the group’s benefit.
  • Fe creates a system where everybody gets their time/day to be special. And the rest of us acknowledge when it is our day and when it is not.
  • Fi doesn’t understand why they need to assimilate for the benefit of everyone.
  • We all have to take the hit on occasion.
  • Fe does more emotional labor than the other types, so they notice when things are imbalanced.
  • Sometimes we project selfishness on to people who have permitted themselves to do what we haven’t. So, it’s a sort of envy.
  • Fe: “I wish I had permission to take for myself.”
  • Fe can learn from Fi that they need to acknowledge their needs freely.
  • Individuals matter, and they need to acknowledge their needs eventually.
  • Fe users can become passive-aggressive, angry, and resentful against the people around them who seem to take, take, take.
  • What Fe fails to realize is they are the ones who created the situation.
  • It becomes a false virtue for Fe users to sacrifice to others while hiding feelings of anger and resentment.
  • Resentment’s root is in envy.
  • Fe hates feeling negative emotions about others, so instead of stacking resentment maybe they can learn from the actions of the Fi user.
  • “They’re giving themselves permission to have those feelings and be disruptive, and I need to give myself the permission to do the same thing on occasion.”
  • Less mature Fe wants us all to buy into the same reality.
  • Fe teaches us that even if we can’t find compassion for ourselves, we can still be compassionate to others.
  • Fi can feel emotionally cavalier to Fe because Fi assumes everybody can deal with their emotional experience.
  • Fe is more gentle with people’s emotions, but they tend to overdo the nurturing and over-protecting.
  • Over-protecting is selfish of Fe because they are protecting themselves from having to see someone else in pain.
  • Our egos are the manifestation of selfishness.
  • So, our way is always going to appear better to us than someone else’s way.
  • Selfishness is not the product of a cognitive function.
  • Selfishness is the product of the individual.
  • All of us are selfish.
  • We have thrived as a species because we are selfish and have a will to live and dominate.
  • We accuse each other of selfishness but rarely admit it to ourselves.
  • Fe has its finger on the pulse of how serving the group helps serve self.
  • The more seasoned Fe gets, the more it will bring in Ti and need less input from others.
  • It’s common for younger Fe users to conflate harmony with agreement.
  • When Fe is caught up in something symbiotic, it wants to share it.
  • Fi has to get good at knowing the sweet spot.
  • “Most of me is on board, so it’s good.”
  • Fe assumes everyone is going to be on board.
  • Fe feels good when everybody is experiencing the same emotion.
  • Fi wants to make sure it won’t regret doing something that runs contrary to its values.
  • Project positive intent on others.
  • Fi can learn from Fe and vice versa.

In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about which Myers-Briggs cognitive function is more selfish "Harmony" (Extraverted Feeling) or "Authenticity" (Introverted Feeling). #introvertedfeeling #Extravertedfeeling

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Showing 32 comments
  • Emmaline
    Reply

    Great episode! I’m interested if you were part of ATI – Antonia. I grew up in that religious organization, and some of your stories sound similar.

  • Magdalena
    Reply

    Some more thoughts… I see that there is a lot of emotions out there in the discussion and the battle of feelers. I am just analyzing simply “where that come from”
    INFJ here and during the path of discovering my personality I read a great book by Susan Storm “INFJ discovering the mystic” which I highly recommend.
    In one chapter she is talking about the shadow functions of INFJ where introverted feeling she call “the critical parent”
    I am not the expert of personality typology ( yet 😀 ) but if my deduction is correct INFJ and ISFJ has Fi as their second shadow function and ENFP, ESFP posses Fe on the critical parent shadow position as well.
    I am big explorer of shadow functions, digging there is like waking up the ghosts and I am also interested in the topic “ how our personality evolved” like why I am INFJ and for example not ESTJ or why she is that and not that.
    I am proud of being what I am it is just interesting how the mechanism works.
    I would agree that some of functions can be generated genetically but maybe we are the white pages on the beginning and the early days/ yers of life defines who we are.
    I would like to refer to this critical parent. So maybe in my early life my Mom teach me to share the playground with other children, and talked negatively about people who are not concerned about others needs meet, and for example the ENFPs Mom encouraged her to be authentic and not give up on her values. Maybe that’s why we see each other “selfish” because it refers to the inner child.
    Just my thoughts.

  • Magdalena
    Reply

    “sweet, sticky voice – we won’t have these problems, will we” 😀 I adore you guys!
    I have ISFJ in my very close family myself, and actually this is a person who I wish I could come with any problem. In time I came to the impression that she feels under attack of my problems and that she may not even knowing how to respond to someone feeling bad.
    I am extroverted feeling user myself and I know that we may make a pressure for everyone keeping smiling and not staring conflicts. I think it is the consequence of us keeping our feelings in unconsciousness so we don’t know how to deal with that.
    And yes it could be the credit of slice of pizza out there. Is like “yes I will listen to you but next time is me, right”?
    And to be honest I see not mature introverted feeling as “selfish”. I usually keep friends who are sharing the pizza and when I see someone concerned to much about themselves who take too much energy from me I am starting to keep myself away. You can call it INFJ door slam if you want:D
    I was watching some top TV series recently and I would say that main character is ESFP. I was shocked how this main character from the movie was desperate to keep her marriage happy with destroying other random people love life. I was saying to myself “why she thinks her love life is more important from the other person love life” I wouldn’t do something like that you know.
    Very interesting podcast!

  • C
    Reply

    We don’t have a “will to dominate”, only certain pathological beings have that, like psychopaths and dictators. Most of us want to be free to live and not have anyone interfering in our life experiences and choices, and live free of others attempting to control us (government, dictators, the central banking cartel, elites, meddling people, corporations).

    You need to be clear with your terms:

    Self-care and self-honouring and self-nurturing and self-love are beneficial qualities.

    Malignant narcissism / psychopathy is totally disregarding the safety and physical, emotional, and mental well-being of others, enjoying doing harm to others (robbing, deceiving, manipulating, humiliating,killing), and using other people as pawns to get what you want, then discarding them.

    Wanting harmony at the expense of suppressing your honest expression in the moment is self-betrayal and self-suppression.

    Authenticity is more important and self-honouring and self-loving than harmony in most situations. The only exceptions I can think of are: when someone is attempting to exert control over you and keeping something from them prevents them from doing that; job interviews where you are asked nonsensical questions; being confronted by crazy people, violent people, or psychopaths; when someone is going to do you physical harm but calming them eliminates that possibility.

  • Marge
    Reply

    [INTJ – Fi 10 year old] I have an anecdote that really sums up a fight between Fe and Fi, although it was an unhealthy level of Fe.

    Some years ago, I went to meet some of my boyfriend-at-the-time friends, and they wanted to play a board game, but they decided to turn it unto a drinking game (if you lost during your turn, you had to take a shot). Now the thing was that I don’t drink alcohol, so obviously I wasn’t up for a drinking game. Before starting the game I told them “I can play the game, but I don’t drink so I’ll just pass on taking the shot if I lose, ok?” Now my (ex) bf was SO angry at that, he’s an Fe user and his words were “Everyone’s doing it! Why do you have to go against the group’s decision?”. My reply was ” Just because everyone’s doing it, doesn’t mean I have to do it, too. I don’t drink, I’m not changing that for a game”.

    This argument went on for a couple of minutes until one of his friends interrupted saying that it really didn’t matter, it didn’t really disrupt the game and he thought it was great that I stood up for my own standards instead of doing what everyone wanted to do. That’s when my ex sort of backed off, probably because he saw he was the one disrupting harmony, not me.

    Lastly, Joel and Antonia, keep up the great work! I love your podcasts!

  • Jamian
    Reply

    [INFJ] I had an Aha moment listening to this episode. During my training as a psychiatrist, a few of my attendings (supervising physicians) would go way beyond standard of care for their patients, or at least in certain cases (such as giving pts their cell phone number, returning what seemed to me to be frivolous or manipulative calls, etc.). This always twisted me up because I knew it isn’t psychologically feasible and sustainable for me to go above and beyond that way. Partly because it would set a precedent that wouldn’t be reasonable to follow consistently, it didn’t feel fair to me or to patients who didn’t get this special treatment, and mostly because I needed firm boundaries to delineate my self care time else I rapidly devolve into a resentful burnt out wreck.

    I realized that most of the attendings who could go out of their way on a case-by-case basis this way were Fi users but this podcast fleshed out something for me. I have just realized that one of the reasons I can’t go out of my way on a case by case basis is that pretty much every moment in life I am actively weighing my needs/preferences against others’ needs/preferences, and unless there is a strongly commonly accepted justification to put mine first, I put others’ preferences first, or put professional or social norms first. Everything from where I stand in a crowded room, to the temperature I keep the office, to which seat I choose in a lecture hall, to whether I speak at a meeting… always weighing whether I should assert my self-interest and how that might inconvenience others.

    When it comes to professional boundaries, it is like my “wedding day”. This is where there are professionally defined standards that protect my needs. And when someone asks me to go beyond that standard of care they are taking an extra slice of pizza. They don’t realize it. It is my responsibility to know and communicate the professional limits, but I still feel resentful having to constantly put energy into enforcing these boundaries when other professionals are undermining those standards.

    I think that Fi people can more easily go “out of their way” in these situations because they aren’t de-prioritizing their own interests as much moment to moment throughout every day. So when they go out of their way it is on their own terms, because they didn’t go out of their way the rest of the time. They also seem less twisted up when they say no to unreasonable expectations of others.

    I am always working on taking in the lesson of Fi to not take on full responsibility for other’s feelings, that they will feel whatever they need to feel and manage it fine in the end if I don’t put as much energy into second-guessing and de-prioritizing myself. Thanks for another great reminder of what the feeling functions have to learn from each other.

  • Lisa
    Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this podcast in particular, as well as reading the comments. As an ISFP Fi-dominant user surrounded by Fe-dominant users, I think I could write a book, if I were so inclined. I’m aware that there is some disagreement concerning the definitions of the terms selfish and self-centered. For years, I have considered myself to be somewhat self-centered because I spend large amounts of time thinking about myself, my life, my circumstances, my feelings, my motivations, my struggles, etc., etc…

    However, I don’t generally consider myself to be selfish because I am usually willing to put someone else’s needs and desires before my own, once I become aware of them.

    I care a lot about what others think of me (or more so how they FEEL about me), and I HATE conflict. This sounds to me like harmony, but the truth is that, as much as I care about pleasing other people and having them like me, I care WAY more about liking myself and being true to my beliefs. Besides, if I don’t even like myself, how can I effectively love someone else?

    As I said before, I care a lot about how other people feel. Yes, I spend a lot of time thinking about my own feelings, but it’s not wholly selfish because I use the things I discover about myself to inform me concerning the thoughts and feelings of others, so that I can show more understanding toward them.

    As has already been said, selfishness is not a trait belonging to a cognitive function. I have seen some Fe users be very thoughtful and generous, while others were extremely selfish. The same is true of Fi users.

    Again, thanks for a great podcast, and keep up the good work!

  • D.
    Reply

    I want to share a quick story that just happened this past weekend and is still working its way out, in an attempt to show how Fe and Fi can manifest themselves in particular situations. I’m an INFP and my wife is an ESFJ; I lead with Fi, she leads with Fe.

    We had a young lady (just turned 18) living with us for the past month, as she attended a nearby school. She was a friend of my eldest daughter from last year while she attended a different school, and her family is about 2 hours away. This past week, there were some things that happened and our guest was not honest about what happened (she had left a conference she was supposed to be attending because she was “sick” and was going to come back to the house; instead she didn’t return until the next morning). We had a long heart-to-heart discussion with her and found out that there was some abuse in her past that has led to the symptoms we’d seen and culminating with this weekend. We had known about 1 small issue, but apparently there was more and she needs more complete healing. Primarily because of the dishonesty, we decided that she couldn’t stay with us any longer.
    This was such a hard decision for me.

    My Fi just wants to care for her and help her through the healing that she needs. My head at least understands the issues and can agree that she can’t stay (because of the lying and because of the impacts to my family of her issues), but my heart doesn’t want her to feel rejected. I really feel torn to pieces about it but I know that we made the right decision. In this case, from the outside, my willingness to continue with her would seem more selfless because of willing to give up my own comfort and peace for this girl, but internally I am recognizing that part of it is just that I don’t want to experience the cognitive dissonance of making a decision that is completely against my Fi. The whole decision feels so alien and exterior to me and I don’t like it.

    For my wife, her Fe was much more able to see the impacts that continuing to host this girl would have on our own daughters, as well as on her ability to be at peace and sleep well at night, so the decision for her was much easier. But my wife is normally the one that sacrifices herself day in and day out for those around her. In this case, she is seeing the needs of the group and is minimizing the impacts on the group by making the decision to let our guest go. At the same time, she has so much love and compassion for this girl and she does communicates it well. From the outside, and maybe from the perspective of the girl in question, she could appear selfish, but I know that that is not where this decision is coming from.
    For me, going through this was such a clear example of the differences in Fi and Fe and how they show up differently depending on the circumstances.

    In the end, we are working with her parents to help find another place for her to stay and to find a good person to provide counseling, because we genuinely love her and want the best for her. Unfortunately, she currently feels rejected and I hope and pray that this changes. Ideally, she’ll come back to use in 6 months and thank us for the hard decision.

    I hope someone is able to get something useful out of this…

  • Justine G
    Reply

    Thank you guys again for another interesting podcast.

    Forgive me for going slightly off-topic, but I’m starting to think I experience some confusion over Fe vs Fi due to my enneagram type being ‘phobic’ sp 6 (based on the Beatrice Chestnut/Naranjo model) that seems to carry a quasi-Fe ‘flavor’, which isn’t ‘proper’ Fe (in and of itself) but can bear a superficial resemblance to it. The mindset is something like ‘the world is very hostile with loads of booby traps and I need to be like-able or I’ll be cast out on my own into a dark pit of doom’.

    I also think that when you try to compare Fe and Fi it is difficult to avoid biasing Fi towards enneagram 4 or maybe sx6, in making Fi sound more ‘edgy’ or ‘difficult’. Certainly I am often internally very edgy, but I am restrained in expressing this as I hate being in ‘open’ conflict with people, unless perhaps I don’t have to see them again.

    I can also be relieved to find out that I wasn’t the only person to have a particular opinion, and I think again this is more down to e-type as well as a personal history of feeling invalidated, but this has improved with age.

  • Nation
    Reply

    What if you broke the single word into two parts:

    Selfish – a natural state of desire to take care of one self
    Self-Centered – only considering yourself and not others.

    This division could make it easier to have the discussion you had. There were times when Joel would qualify his use of the word Selfish with “self-focused” (and probably others) … there was a moment where Antonia basically said all of us are selfish.

  • Seely
    Reply

    How about that one person that refuses to share during margaritas because they’re so busy listening to and being there for everyone else? You just know those connections are going to end in resentment, but you can’t force that person to talk if they don’t want to. *Sigh*

    I don’t pay too much attention to what is said about men and women as MBTI is a great example of how people can be so different from the stereotypes that get bandied about, but I can see a similarity between what this podcast says about how the feeling types (judging functions) differ and John Gottman’s claim that men who don’t share decision making with their wives are more likely to get divorced. (Speaking from a premise that women are more often socialized to decide things jointly whereas men are socialized to be more independent– Like Fe versus Fi?) Not saying that either type would be more likely to get divorced! Please don’t misunderstand.

    • Seely
      Reply

      I might end up with a double comment, but I’ll try again:
      For those interested in the Gottman research- Look up ‘accepting influence’ and ’emotional bids/bids for connection.’ Apparently although same sex couples may struggle with influence as well, it can be less than opposite sex partners. Their numbers 🙂

  • Ty
    Reply

    Antonia briefly mentioned that an extroverted Fe user probably struggles more with the whole “forcing everyone to agree” dynamic than an introverted Fe user. This has definitely been my experience as an INFJ. My idealized harmony world is exactly what Joel described- “Why can’t we all just accept each other, even though we believe/think/act differently?” Though I guess that’s my Ni showing, my drive to understand is stronger than my desire to harmonize.

    I do want to say that I think that behavior that Joel kept coming back to of how certain Fe users will try to force everyone to conform to the group just because it’s “the group” is less about Fe and more about just being dogmatic. I have seen Fi users be equally as dogmatic when they take up a personal cause. I’m thinking of that incredibly annoying vegan girl we all know. Yeah… her. What being dogmatic looks like is different between Fi and Fe users but both can be equally as controlling and completely disallowing of “otherness”.

    Other thoughts on the INFJ’s specific relationship to Fi/Fe.

    I’ve always deeply appreciated Fi users for a few reasons.

    1) I’m not very in touch with my feelings so seeing Fi in action often makes me have epiphany moments of “Ohhh maybe that’s what’s going on for me too.” Like I think Joel said “What’s most personal is most universal.” I don’t know if all Fe users realize that the principal also works in reverse! Fi users use the self to learn about others, and Fe can use others to learn about the self.

    2) My Ni means that I don’t want to just meet the needs of others, I want to meet the needs of Humanity. In order to do that, I need to really understand the system that is Humanity. NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY, is more in touch with all the intricacies and dark corners of Humanity than Fi users. So I love them for that too. I love that they are willing to go to emotional places that a lot of other types aren’t willing to go. Because the reality is that those dark shadows are a big player in the system. I think of Fi users as the divers who are willing to go deep into the ocean and bring back interesting new data for me that I can then sort and analyze on the (much comfier for me) dry land and use to make life easier for everyone else. Fi are emotional explorers. Without Fi we would just be suppressing all that darkness and being passive aggressive and exploding at random times in murderous rages with no understanding of why.

    3) My introverted self really empathizes with their desire to remain an individual and not be forced to merge with groups “just because”. I don’t believe in harmony for it’s own sake. If literally everyone in the world decided that it was time to go back to human sacrifices to appease the old world gods my Ti would have a definite problem with that. I don’t just want whatever everyone else wants. I want what’s good for humankind, for something like The Ultimate Good, as much as I can conceive of that with my limited capacity. That investigation has to start at the individual human level and include as many individual human perspectives as possible and treat them all as containing valuable information.

    Also, I see a lot of Fi users above saying that Fi _is_ more selfish than Fe. Simply because they spend less time thinking about others or think about their own desires first.

    I think this is a simplification. Fe is 100% just as selfish.

    First of all, most of the time, I want to create harmony because _I_ feel uncomfortable around negative emotions. It’s just as selfish for me to not want to be uncomfortable and to try to change that outcome as it is for you to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable.

    People think I’m super nice, for instance, because I do a lot of work and plan and prepare things. The reality is that I don’t want to deal with negative emotions so I plan ahead for all potentials for negative emotions to arise and eliminate as many of those possibilities as I can.

    Or they think I’m nice because I do nice things for them because I like them. But people feeling positively towards you is just as self-gratifying as having someone do something nice for you.

    I think of Fi as the desire to survive as an individual, and Fe as the desire to survive as a species. They are both ultimately rooted in selfishness. I think perhaps the only differentiation I could make is that Fi is more “short-term” (what feels good to me personally in this moment?) and Fe is more “long-term” (what promotes good dynamics and ensures lots of good moments?).

    Both perspectives are in my opinion 1) selfish and 2) completely necessary.

  • Ali
    Reply

    Hey guys! I want to respectfully disagree with your definition of selfishness in regards to Fe vs Fi. I am an INFP and I do feel like I am more selfish than my Fe friends. When I compare myself to my ESFJ roommate she is definitely more people-centric than me. When I have free time I use it for myself. I watch what I want to watch, do activities that I like, and just do my own thing. When my ESFJ roommate has free time she plays words with friends, Facebooks people, and video chats others. Her free time is all about people, people, people. When my free time is me, me, me lol. She is much more others focused than I am.

    But I think the selfishness you guys described (taking the pizza) is how Fe people accuse Fi types of acting online, but I think it is unfair to say that only FP types are obnoxious and an emotional drain. I know plenty of FJs that will bull dose the conversation, want to go out to eat where they want to, and they definitely can be dramatic if they dont get their way.

    I think Fe types act like they were perfectly well behaved with each other AND THEN and ENFP showed up like a tornado and all is ruined. lol
    It’s like they always bring up THAT ONE TIME I invited an ESFP to the party…..gasped…life ruined forever!!!!! lol

    When I know an ISFJ that pouts and whines when she doesnt get her way. I know an ENFJ that will change restaurant plans when the whole group already decided elsewhere. And I know and ESFJ that will talk and talk and won’t let anyone get a word in edge wise (there is no ok, now it is your turn to talk).

    Anyways, I do think yes, FP types care about themselves before others, I recognize this in myself. But FJ types are just as likely to act out in the bad ways you mentioned in this podcast. I think this is why Fi types get so triggered online. Because the selfishness described is hypocritical. When the true difference is FJs put more TIME into people. (At least that is my two cents on the matter).

    • Ash
      Reply

      Fi type here. I think the time comment is on point, but at least for me that’s still not the whole story. I am less proactive in seeking out opportunities to put time into others, but when I do I make sure I give them my full attention, and make sure they feel comfortable, respected and understood. So less quantity of time, but certainly not less quality. I have observed similar traits from other mature Fi users I know too.

  • H
    Reply

    I’ve always thought of Fi as self important. This has always annoyed me. This podcast has shown me that it’s not always bad thing 🙂

  • James
    Reply

    For me in my experience as an INTJ Fe is more selfish. Fe in my opinion is manipulative and doesn’t take into account autonomy and allow for each individual to have their own feelings and perspective.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      …but then you listened to the podcast and realized that neither function is inherently more or less selfish, but rather it is more commonly a projection of how we believe a function should be used and those values coloring our experience of it, right? 😛

      -A-

      • James
        Reply

        I had listened, maybe selfish is the wrong word. I’m thinking in line with what Joel was saying about self absorption. What bothers me and yes I agree that I have a narrow view filtered through my values about how Fe is like, and when it doesn’t match my view point I get pain. For me Fe is more in line with altruism or giving, it’s inclusive in my mind.

        However when it could be combined with Ni or Ti, then that’s where I’m getting confused because it comes off like horse trading or give to get. You mentioned in the summary that Fe comes off sickly sweet to try and get people to come around to do things their way and I find this to be manipulative.

        I purchased the Enneagram Road map because I wanted to understand 2’s more. From what I understand is that seduction is at the core of their motivation to get their needs met.

        I was going to call in to the new show with this information, but I had to work since I’m on travel on the West coast.

        I do have a question but I’ll write in with it, to see if I can get it answered. It will be about Enneagram 2’s and their use of Fe and how they tend to use compulsive lying to get their needs met, versus telling the truth.

        One of the common themes of being an INTJ is truth and honesty. I was very hard lined about things like that however I’ve made room for white lies since it seems to be more socially accepted. Even then though, I don’t tell somebody they look amazing in an outfit if I don’t think so I’ll tell them that’s not the right style for them and let’s look at something else, instead of saying they look horrible in those jeans, which isn’t necessarily a fact just an opinion anyway.

        I did appreciate you being silly about my comment, the whole Fe thing does bother maybe due to values, or could be a loop issue, a grip issue or just an unhealthy use of it.

    • Lisa
      Reply

      Fi dominant ISFP speaking… I absolutely and positively 100% agree with you regarding quality versus quantity of time invested in other people. Truthfully, I MUST invest large amounts of time in myself in order to invest meaningful time in others.

  • Kristi
    Reply

    Great discussion! I’m an ENTP mom and definitely related to using my weak FE to prioritize the needs of the collective, without concern for my own. In my case, that means ESFJ daughter, INFP daughter, ENFP daughter, (and a few more grown & married children) plus, my INFP husband.
    I have found that my FI users can start trying to use the group to deal with their feelings if they have not done enough processing in their alone time. Being alone isn’t sufficient; they also must actually use their time to “feel the feels.”
    And I do have a sickly sweet commandant child who is learning how to respect boundaries, which is also challenging me to learn to have better boundaries and teach them.
    One thing we do in our group that helps us stay on the same team: while I’m prioritizing the group’s needs (FE), including my FI husband, he has my back and includes my needs as part of his FI – as if we are one person – so that I do get my needs met now, too. This kind of ensures I will have resources for his needs later, so it is a virtuous cycle. Otherwise, he has learned I will run out of energy and there won’t be any fun for him.
    Despite trying to sense this happening, I’m completely unaware of it until after the fact, seeming to render me with no monitor for my energy while I’m concerned with the group’s needs.
    His willingness to do this depends on how much of his own FI he has processed, but he has realized thanks to the car model, that my 3 yr old SI will be a problem I need help with as long as we have kids at home.
    It works for the most part! Thanks again for the light you’re bringing!

    • Stephanie
      Reply

      Hey Kristi,

      Just curious (as an INFP), how do the Fi users in your family try to use the group to deal with their unprocessed feelings? What do they do? Just looking for examples to see if maybe I do that too!!

  • Abbie
    Reply

    I loved the exploration here but I was disappointed that for much of the conversation, Fe was boiled down to trying to persuade or convince people to adopt your point of view. In many of your other discussions about Harmony, it’s been described as wanting to get other peoples’ individual needs met to harmonise the group dynamic. I think there’s a distinction between the two, and that instead of Fe being ‘selfish’ because it wants people to adopt its point of view, Fe is selfish because it wants social situations to be harmonious which is both socially and personally advantageous.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      That was the point of the discussion – the elements of both functions that can be viewed and experienced as selfish by others. As a fellow Fe user, it’s important for us to remember that many of the things we promote and orchestrate are easy to be rationalized as selfless and in behalf of others, but they ultimately reflect our personal beliefs on how life should be which which others may strongly disagree. Fe isn’t always experienced by others as selfless.

      -A-

  • Trisha
    Reply

    What really resonated with me in this episode is how Fe can present itself as trying to force one’s opinions on others in order to achieve harmony (which could be viewed as authentic) while Fi can present itself as a stronger acceptance of individuality or even pushing the idea of “agree to disagree” (which could be viewed as harmonious). This was part of a struggle for me in determining if loved ones and I primarily used Harmony or Authenticity. My mother is an ENFJ and I’m an ISTJ. While she’s incredibly friendly, bubbly, warm and fuzzy, we’ve struggled to understand how her opinionated mindset fits with her Fe dominant function. She has trouble accepting if others don’t agree with her strong opinions. On the other hand, I grow incredibly uncomfortable when there isn’t harmony, but it comes from a place of not wanting anyone’s opinions or emotions to feel discredited. I’ll often find myself saying or thinking “we’re just not going to agree on that, and why isn’t that okay?”. So in a sense I feel like with my Fi I can be promoting a more harmonious nature while my mother’s Fe can create more discord, which has been confusing. Hearing this episode with both the Fe and Fi perspective was very interesting.

  • Keith
    Reply

    Half way through the podcast, with some thoughts – I think that without a doubt, Fi is more selfish then Fe. Identifying as an INFP, I know that introverted feeling is heavily focused on self. I wouldn’t knowingly snatch an extra slice of pizza if I was aware that someone else would then go without, but I am less aware of the needs of others then those using more Fe. I liked Antonia’s breakdown of the differences of the two, in pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of both. Fe seems to be much more aware of and focused on the needs of others than Fi, and that is undoubtedly a more selfless way of being.

  • Erica
    Reply

    Is using the word selfish, being selfish in its own right? Doesn’t it display the selfishness of a person or a group of people if they are using the word selfish to describe or solicit feedback from another person or group by using this term to identify how “they” ,individually or as a group, are experiencing some sort of lack due to what they are labeling as “selfish” behavior. They are concerned with their own lack(individually or as an individual as part of a group), The need to label arises from them seeing the lack they are experiencing.
    As Joel mentioned, I believe this type of labeling is a form of bullying by the person or group using the label. Even if they never openly share the label with the other person or group of people, they are essentially justifying their own negative thoughts/beliefs around themselves, and/or the group and the “lack” they think they are experiencing. This I believe is selfish to themselves and others. They are not being open minded and are putting the blame on someone else for why they are experiencing lack. Instead of trying to gain an understanding to realize a bigger picture. I believe that we are all responsible for our own experience and the act of pointing out someone else’s “selfishness” is an act in futility and unnecessary. Use this determination to guide who you want in your life but leave it at that and maybe if you really want to challenge yourself try to understand the other point of view, with an honest interest to understand. I believe if we all do that the “selfishness” is wiped away as people are able to learn from each other and see the value in all perspectives including their own. I don’t know if this makes sense, but I feel that the word selfish is very judgmental, and I am sure I am not seeing all sides here…but I feel this way of thinking has been positive for me and a way to keep an open mind. I am an ENFP and I have a lot of growth ahead of me…so I hope this comes across as just another perspective and one that is not absolute but thought provoking.
    I am so grateful for the work that Personality Hacker makes available and for who Joel and Antonia are! You guys are truly making a difference in my life! Thank you so much

  • Erik Bland
    Reply

    Great talk – I was really looking forward to listening to this one. I use Fi in my 10 year-old position in my car model, and I do occasionally get criticism for being selfish (though generally only by people close to me). I think about the concept of selfishness a lot, so it was good to hear the perspective on it from both Fi and Fe.

    In short, I will agree with Antonia’s comment at the end of the podcast that we are all selfish. Fe may seem selfless, but this philosophical argument (basically that altruism isn’t real) is that Fe helps itself by helping others. But I don’t even think we need to go that far in comparing selfishness in Fe vs Fi. And I’d also rather focus on positive aspects than negative. So in that regard, how do Fi and Fe try to help?

    First, I don’t view helping or even agape as the domain of Fe (vs Fi). I like to think of the analogy of giving a man a fish vs. teaching a man to fish. *As a disclaimer, in this analogy, teaching is thought to be superior to giving, but in reality, I don’t think that’s true. A starving man 500 miles from a lake doesn’t need to know how to fish. He needs a fish. Different scenarios will be preferentially treated by giving or teaching.* end disclaimer

    I think of Fe is being very good at figuring out when someone needs a fish, and getting one for them. I view Fi as being very good at figuring out when someone needs to learn how to fish. They may or may not be equipped to teach them, but they can help them find the space and find the internal drive to learn. That internal drive is crucial to Fi – someone who doesn’t want to learn never will.

    And this brings me to what I really think separates Fe and Fi. Fe preferentially solves problems externally. If someone is depressed because their boss is a jerk, or can’t afford to buy food, they may confront the boss or help the person get food. Fi preferentially solves problems internally. Instead, they may help the person to find a new way to look at their boss so that they don’t feel beaten down (or build up the courage to quit), or may encourage someone to find the resolve to change their lifestyle so they can afford food.

    But this isn’t just about how we help others solve problems. It’s how we solve our own problems. I think if I use Fe, I want external solutions. If my boss is a jerk, I want my boss’s behavior corrected. If I use Fi, I want internal solutions. If my boss is a jerk, I want to either quit or learn to accept my boss. The problem is that if I use Fe and someone offers me internal solutions, I view them as not solving the problem. Feeling right with oneself doesn’t cure hunger or disease, for example. So I think of them as selfish. Conversely, if I use Fi and someone offers me external solutions, it can feel like a band-aid that attempts to hide the problem without solving it. Having someone else correct the behavior of my current jerk boss doesn’t help me learn how to deal with other people in my life who are jerks, for example.

    The difficulty is recognizing that what works for Fe may not work for Fi and vice versa. This is hard to do, and I struggle with it a lot. If someone asks me for advice, it’s easy for me to say “here’s what I would do”, without recognizing that they are not me. Similarly, when Fe says “if we were all in agreement, we’d all feel better because I know I would”, this is incorrect. When Fi says “if we can all make sure that we act in a way that resonates with who we are individually, we’ll all be better off, because I know I will”, this is also incorrect. We’re not just disagreeing on how to solve the problem, we’re disagreeing on what the problem is. And when we can’t understand others, it’s easy to label them as selfish (Fi) or bossy (Fe).

    In the end, understanding others is great, but it’s not always possible. I think if we can learn to accept others, even if we can’t understand them, we’ll atleast give others permission to not be just like us. Through your work on personality type and personal growth, I can see that PH is trying to help us understand, or atleast accept, our differences – so thanks again for your work!

    • Ash
      Reply

      I agree with you on this. I think the one thing that bothered me in the episode is that only Fe is interested in getting people’s needs met, when in reality, both do, just in different ways.

      I would also add this to your positive interpretations of how each function solves social problems(I apologize that this is long). Often times the systems we have designed to get everyone’s needs met, have worked as intended when they were designed, but as times and the people in the system change, the system no longer achieves its goals. The importance of respecting the system from Fe is valuable, but it’s also necessary for Fi to exist to look at when the system isn’t working and challenge the norm. Using the pizza model, its rare that the number of slices matches up to the number of people, and in my experience, the compromises Fe ends up proposing ends up being that one person should go hungry so that everyone who is used to getting a full slice doesn’t have to give up anything. I’m not saying that Fe isn’t willing to change the system for the better, but there is more of a reluctance to in it’s less mature forms. When all parties agree that change is needed, you need both Fe and Fi as well to make that change. A lot of the civil rights activists(Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, more recently Kapaernick) are all using Fi to make a change, but there is also a place for people who “play the game” and change the system from the inside(Booker T Washington, Joe Louis)

    • Lisa
      Reply

      The jerk boss scenario a very good analogy. For an Fi user, the external solution of simply correcting the bad behavior seems to skirt the real issue, which would be the attitude that’s causing the behavior, while for an Fe user, the primary problem seems to be the behavior itself.

  • Drew
    Reply

    Many, many thoughts on this episode, but as an INFJ, my major breakthrough was the realization that Introverted Feeling users don’t necessarily need me to adopt all of their opinions!!! It had NEVER occurred to me. I’ve always perceived FPs as the authoritarian types. This will be so helpful going forward, as I’ve often felt as though FPs are actively trying to beat me down into their way of seeing the world, when really they’re usually just expressing their own truth. On the other hand, I do find it hard to discuss issues with FPs, especially those that they’re passionate about. This probably has a lot to do with my Ni-Fe in particular, as my dominant function is by definition unattached to any specific values. I can actually feel assaulted by hardline positions in the moment, and need to be removed from the conversation to work out my thoughts.

    I do think that balancing out polarities is helpful to find harmony between Fe users and Fi users. Joel talked a lot about his gripes with certain social norms that some Fe users may insist upon. However I get just as annoyed with those same norms because my tertiary Ti kicks in to point out how arbitrary it all is, and that nobody is actually enjoying themselves. I’d imagine that Fi users can find balance with their Te by looking around and realizing when their Fi isn’t serving their external goals.

    Super episode! I feel like I have some really actionable strategies to integrate!

  • Andrew
    Reply

    This was a great episode! When Joel poses the question of how many people are required to make your cause unselfish, and my neuroscience brain lit up! I am sure Antonia and Joel are familiar with the Dunbar number, and maybe they have actually referenced it in previous episodes, but I think it can be of use in this situation. With regards to an individuals network of affective connections, humans have the neo-cortex capacity to emotionally interact (be influence and influence) with approximately 150 people. This being within the frame of real-life personal interactions, excluding social media and extreme circumstances like the island scenario that Joel calls upon. I would be curious to know what your thoughts are on this evolutionary concept and how it relates to the topic at hand.

    Love your work, keep it up!

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