What’s an INFJ’s greatest opportunity for growth? Answer: Extroverted feeling (Fe).
In plain English, Fe is the ability to pick up on people’s emotions and promote group harmony. It zeroes in on pleasing others. And it’s the reason so many INFJs are excellent caretakers, listeners, and humanitarians.
Fe is also a function that INFJs develop over time. While it doesn’t come as quickly or naturally as introverted intuition (Ni), INFJs’ dominant cognitive function (or mindset), it’s still vital to personal growth.
In general, INFJs with a strong grasp of Fe enjoy…
- Better social skills and emotional intelligence
- More opportunities to influence others with their ideas, theories, and observations
- Healthier relationships with family, friends, and coworkers
- A greater long-term impact on the world
So if you really want to grow as an INFJ, you’d be wise to intentionally exercise this function. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at why Fe is an INFJ’s greatest opportunity for growth as well as explore several specific ways you can develop it.
Fe is not your greatest strength.
Of the 4 cognitive functions that make up your personality (Learn more about them in my free eBook.), introverted intuition (Ni) is the strongest. It’s the one you develop first. It’s also an introverted function, one that you use in your inner world of thoughts and ideas where you’re most comfortable.
Ni propels you toward theory and the future, makes you hungry for knowledge, and fuels your curiosity. This function will always be your greatest strength, a joy to use, and the source of your best work.
But Fe is an INFJ’s greatest opportunity for growth!
That said, you’ll never be happy if you fail to develop your Fe too. It’s your best vehicle for sharing your ideas, discoveries, and observations and helping others because it’s your second strongest cognitive function and strongest extroverted function.
While your personality includes 2 extroverted cognitive functions – extroverted feeling and extroverted sensing (Se) – Fe is far easier to access and develop than Se, as Joel Mark Witt points out.
Why not Se?
According to AJ Drenth of personalityjunkie.com, Se tends to be both a source of pleasure as well as an Achilles heel of sorts for INFJs. It’s a source of pleasure when it brings beauty to your life. For example, you probably enjoy exploring new tourist destinations, hiking through the woods, listening to soothing music, tasting exotic dishes, and taking the world in through your senses – at least to a certain extent. And these experiences all happen via Se.
But Se can also be a tremendous weakness too. You’d most likely end up frustrated, for instance, if you had to use it all the time as a professional athlete, mechanic, or chef. That’s because most of your energy is mental energy (Ni), in contrast with Se-dominant personality types, such as ESTPs and ESFPs, who have a ton of physical energy.
How do you leverage Fe?
So now, let’s explore several ways you can develop your Fe, starting with what’s most comfortable to what’s more challenging.
1. Strengthen your Fe via writing.
Writing may well be the best place to start to strengthen your Fe. It gives you…
- Time to process
- An opportunity to organize your ideas
- A chance to revise your thoughts
And all this sets you at ease. Before you share, you’ll know whether or not you’re ready to release your words into the world.
So type or scrawl your ideas on a page paper. The method doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you “put them out there” for others to see. Go ahead an hit “send” or “post” – or mail that letter. That’s where the real growth happens.
2. One-on-one and small group conversations help too.
Another natural way for you to exercise your Fe is to connect with people in one-on-one and small group conversations. These connections give you opportunities to listen, focus on what others are saying, and take the relationships deeper. Like writing, these interactions are safer ways to use your Fe because they don’t require you to manage or connect with too many people at once, and the risk of you being overtaxed or stressed out is minimal.
3. Try connecting with larger groups.
From time to time, it’s not a bad idea to step outside your comfort zone. Occasionally, stretch yourself and relate to or connect with a larger group of people.
A few places you may have to do this already are work parties and family reunions. People expect you to show up to these functions, and it’s often important that you save face and do so. Make the most of these opportunities and use them to intentionally work on your Fe.
Here are a few things to keep in mind that will make your large group experiences more tolerable:
- Focus on quality conversations with a few people. (You don’t have to talk to everyone!)
- Be mindful of your energy levels, and consider arriving early, leaving early, or taking breaks.
- Drive separately, as Jenn Granneman recommends, so that you can leave when you need to.
4. Speak to groups.
A final idea is to speak to groups. While many people hate public speaking, I personally enjoy it – and I know several other INFJs who do too.
Public speaking is a great way to employ your Fe because it gives you time to…
- Prepare your words
- Practice your message
- Perfect your speech
It’s also an interruption-free chance to share your personal research, insights, and discoveries. Perfect!
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the ways you can grow through strengthening your Fe. But hopefully these ideas get you started on the right track and you’re somewhat convinced that an INFJ’s greatest opportunity for growth is via his or her Fe.
Don’t miss this!
Most importantly, I urge to relax your perfectionism and take action. Put your ideas out there for the world to see (via your Fe). While you will most definitely run into trolls who will put you down and belittle you, you’ll also meet amazing people and serve others who desperately need to hear from you! It’ll be totally and completely worth it!