INFJ vs INFP use of the Feeling Function
There are almost infinite uses for any supportive (auxiliary and tertiary) function in assisting the dominant. Every individual has a unique context in the world, through which they apply their preferred MBTI type functions.
Among the most diverse and variably applied functions is Feeling, which can be projected in either an introverted (Fi) manner, concerning oneself in an internalized perspective, or an extroverted (Fe) manner, concerning other people and groups in an externalized perspective.
Note: many people not familiar with MBTI theory and type nomenclature mistakenly attribute introverted-type names (i.e. INFJ and INFP) as being literally descriptive of the type traits. This is incorrect.
Introverted types are named based on the traits MOST OBSERVABLE to others – which are the extroverted (auxiliary) functions. The types are named to aid observers, not to describe the actual nature of the type.
As such, the final letter in each introverted type name is what people will observe, not what the type actually is – based on their dominant function.
INFJ are Introverted Intuition dominant, which is a PERCEIVING function. However, that’s an introverted (unseen) function, so they named as a JUDGING type based on their auxiliary function – Extroverted Feeling.
Likewise, INFP are Introverted Feeling dominant, which is a JUDGING function. However, that also is unseen, so they are named as a PERCEIVING type because people will most obviously observe their auxiliary function – Extroverted Intuition.
In short, when it comes to introverted types, what they LOOK like is different to what they FEEL like inside. It’s no wonder that so many people mis-type themselves when trying to conform to observable stereotypes!
For an INFJ, extroverted Feeling (Fe) is the auxiliary (co-pilot) function. It develops early in childhood and provides the INFJ with their most natural and fluent extroversion and judging aspects. Their Fe modulates the dominant Introverted iNtuition (Ni) perceiving function and shapes how the INFJ connects with and interprets other people; socially, culturally, politically etc.
The INFJ Fe-auxiliary also shapes and defines their decision-making, the formation of their individual value systems, how they understanding and prioritize everything they perceive about the outside world. As such, it is a fundamental and intrinsic part of the INFJ self-identity and persona: who they are, how they view ourselves and how they want others to view them.
However, as the auxiliary function, the INFJ’s extroverted Feeling is only ever a modulating factor for their intuitive perception. It is best regarded as either a ‘tool’ that they can employ and/or an intrinsic bias towards people (rather than facts, figures, logic and reason) when interpreting and interacting with the world.
Because this function is extroverted, it is most readily apparent to outside observers. People will literally see how an INFJ is very concerned with, or adept at understanding, the feelings and emotions of other people. This is why so many mistaken INFJ stereotypes portray them strongly as feeling-dominated type. They aren’t, of course, as Fe is only their auxiliary function.
As such, the INFJ is a perceiving intuition dominated type – although they most obviously appear to others as feeler-judgers.
For an INFP, introverted Feeling is the dominant (driver) function. As a judging function, it means that INFP types most strongly prefer to process their beliefs, judgments, opinions and decisions based on their internalized feelings. They are very in-touch with their feelings (which INFJ are not) and are adept at expressing them, when necessary.
Introverted Feeling is nick-named “valuing“. In the dominant position it will typically lead to the individual being very focused on their personal ethics and morals, even if these oppose social ‘norms’. INFP are usually very prone to demanding ‘fairness’, championing diversity, defending the underdog and the minority.
Introverted Feeling is also strongly connected to memories and the past. The INFP typically places a high value on memories and past-lessons, and these shape their decisions and preferences to a large degree. INFJ, on the other hand, are very future-focused and typically place low regard to the past. Many INFJ have bad, or easily distorted, memories and learn not to rely heavily upon them.
Because the dominant INFP Fi function is introverted, it is not readily apparent to outside observers. People will instead observe the INFP most strongly through their auxiliary Extroverted iNtuition (Ne) perceiving function. Other people will notice the tendency towards ‘big picture’ thinking and ‘connecting the dots’ using brainstorming. This externalized function may be readily observable in their work or study, through art or music, and in their way of conversing. This is why so many mistaken INFJ stereotypes portray them strongly as feeling-dominated, judging type. They aren’t, of course, as Fe is only their auxiliary function.
Nonetheless, the INFP remains very much a feeling-dominant, values driven and judging focused personality on the inside. They struggle to express that internalized truth – which is why so many INFP become creative to express themselves through writing fiction, art and music. From the outside, we can only see the feeling nature of an INFP when it is expressed through the medium of their Ne perceptions.
As such, the INFJ is a judging feeling dominated type – although they most obviously appear to others as perceiving intuitives.