Understanding Sympathetic INTJs – Fi vs Fe

Understanding Sympathetic INTJs - Fi vs Fe |The Book Addict's Guide to MBTI

Foreword: this post applies equally to ISTJs, in regards to the Fi function)

All the INTJ stereotypes say that we’re cold and don’t care about other people. Yet, many of us defy this stereotype.

When I care about someone, I filter my words to avoid offense and understand people on a deeper level than they often understand themselves (which is another reason to filter my thoughts, because otherwise people freak out at how much I know about them).

Naturally, I started to wonder if my ability to understand people so well stemmed from an Fe function, but eventually I determined that I’m an INTJ with an extremely well developed Fi, and here’s why.

While I understand people on an extreme level, I don’t feel their emotions the way an Fe user would. My Ni lets me know intuitively what’s going on behind the lines and then I’m able to logically put together what someone is feeling by using Te. I can understand, but I cannot empathize unless I have shared experience.

I understand my own emotions on a level that allows me to both put a name to them and to pin point exactly what I’m feeling, whereas an Fe user doesn’t always recognize immediately what they are feeling (or why they are feeling it).

When watching a movie I rarely cry (I can name one movie that I’ve cried in), and if I do, it’s only out of shared experience. An Fe user is more likely to cry in a movie due to their connection with universal ethics and emotions, rather than because they can directly relate to something that happens in the movie.

The second question you have to ask yourself when determining whether you use Fi or Fe is: “how much of my moral code and world-view internally based vs. externally based?”

I’m constantly building and refining and extensive worldview inside my head, and for a long time I questioned this, thinking that it was Ti. Gradually, however, I came to realize that this was just me, using Fi to determine what I think is true/false/right/wrong. Fi typically relies on internal principles that are adopted by the individual because he/she feels that it is right or wrong, rather than because it is what they have been taught.

Fe users tend to be more accepting of societal morality. When they want to know if something is right or wrong, they might consult a friend, while Fi users typically ask themselves what is right or wrong. My parents have always taught me to do certain things, but I always questioned it in my mind. Just because my mother/society says this is the right thing to do never made anything seem authentically right to me.

An Fi is always less comfortable expressing his/her emotions than an Fe. An Fi caught crying will want to hide, while an Fe will want someone to confide in. Fi users usually like to work through their emotional struggles alone, but Fe users need to talk through them with others. Fe need to connect with people on an emotional level, while Fi want to connect with people on a thought based level.

Fe users are also more accepting of society’s norms and traditions than Fi users. In the INTJ this typically transforms to having an obsession with non-conformity and individualism. Fe users are more in tune with what is deemed “appropriate” in their society, while tertiary Fi has a more difficult time recognizing this. In an INFJ, this would translate to wanting to help people and make sure everyone is comfortable, while not necessarily worrying about staying true to the self.

So in answer to the question specifically, an INTJ with a well developed Fi will –yes– care deeply about how his/her actions and words affect other people (which doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be able to prevent their Te from offending others). They will have a strong awareness of their own emotions, but will need to determine what other people are feeling through a more logic-based approach.


INTJ with a well developed Fi: Ender Wiggin, Bruce Wayne

INTJ with poorly developed Fi: Coriolanus, Sherlock

Obviously there are more, but two’s good for now…


40 thoughts on “Understanding Sympathetic INTJs – Fi vs Fe

  1. INTJ empath here and this is a very true and accurate analysis. Thank you for the insights.


  2. So, how would you suggest an INTP to grow their inferior function of Fe? Talk to people about their feelings? Yikes.


  3. All do I agree with everything you say about intjs and fi, I do find some problems with your understanding of Fe wich is quite common, fe is not accepting of social norms but plays by them when needed, and yes it does look outside to understand what is right or wrong but not by society standars, it looks outside to see the way something will impact others emotionally.


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