You’ve probably heard of the Myers-Briggs personality types—the 16 distinct profiles made up of four letters: introverted (I) or extroverted (E), intuitive (N) or sensing (S), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J) or perceiving (P). But those letters also make up the eight cognitive functions, which tell a deeper story that’s critical to understanding how you operate in the world. For instance, if you’ve ever struggled to relate to how your partner, friend, or colleague feels on a given subject—whether it’s politics, friends, or anything else—checking out that person’s Myers-Briggs feeling function could be telling: A lot of disagreements are rooted in the difference between introverted feeling (Fi) and extroverted feeling (Fe).
The feeling function determines how you relate to your emotions and the emotions of others, and since we live in such a social world, the tension between different feeling functions can be tricky to navigate. In fact, whether consciously or not, many people feel very passionately that by honoring their feeling function, they’re doing the “right” thing.
A lot of disagreements are rooted in the difference between introverted feeling (Fi) and extroverted feeling (Fe).
So to constructively come together in the face of disagreement, it’s critical to learn the other person’s POV, namely their feeling function, and respect these differences. Below, learn which MBTI personalities are Fe versus Fi, what separates those two camps, and, most importantly, how they can come together after disagreeing.
Extroverted feelers (Fe)
Types using Fe: ENFJ, INFJ, ENTP, INTP, ESFJ, ISFJ, ESTP, ISTP
Extroverted feelers generally like to be around people, even if they’re shy (like ISFJs). They ask a lot of questions, know how to make others feel good about themselves, and are deeply considerate.
Fe users are all about maintaining peace in their relationships, and they are happy to give a little for the greater good. They are typically assuring, and like to care for others. They know how to squash arguments and avoid conflict to bring people together. Extroverted feelers excel at empathy, understanding, and connecting teams.
But when interacting with introverted feelers, Fe users can come across as if they are just placating or biting their tongue. This can sometimes lead to problems with boundaries, or staying too long in bad jobs or relationships.
Introverted feelers (Fi)
Types who use Fi: INFP, ENFP, INTJ, ENTJ, ISFP, ESFP, ISTJ, ESTJ
People with an introverted feeling function are typically reserved. Even if they’re social or joking, they usually stick to light banter and avoid wading out into emotional language (until they really know you). They keep their feelings close to the chest, and often convey their thoughts directly.
Fi users are all about authenticity and won’t simply pretend to like someone or fake excitement. They advocate for causes of their choosing and are loyal by default, knowing who they are and what they want. A strong sense of self powers everything they do; they know their own minds and hearts.
Especially when they’re interacting with an extroverted feeler, Fi users can often come across as mysterious or aloof. In close relationships, introverted feelers may seem and cutting because they know what they feel, and see themselves as truth-tellers. Sometimes, they hurt those they love because they don’t know how to filter themselves in heated moments.
Bringing Fi and Fe users together
Maybe your Fe husband fronts the whole bill for an Airbnb for a group of friends, knowing some people didn’t pay him the last time he did it; as an Fi user, you might think he’s being irresponsible with his money, or a pushover. Or perhaps an Fi user on your team at work speaks out to management about someone who isn’t pulling their weight; as an Fe user, you might have felt it wiser to handle internally, as a group, rather than involve senior leadership. Or maybe your Fi friend always thinks she knows best, and really asserts her parenting opinions to you, an Fe user, which irritates you even though you know she honestly doesn’t see anything wrong with it.
It’s important to understand that neither Fi or Fe is wrong, per se, and that each person is just trying to honor their value system. That said, sometimes it’s best to honor individualism and authenticity, and other times it’s best to set aside differences and come together.
How extroverted and introverted feeling people can interact effectively—even when they disagree
What Fi people should know about Fe people
Introverted feelers should understand that extroverted feelers really want what’s best for others and derive self-worth from making others happy. They will work tirelessly to please, and if they don’t, they’ll become defeatist.
Fe users often give love via acts of service, words of affirmation, or gifts, but they definitely receive with words of affirmation. They need to know they are doing well by you. Make sure you are reassuring them verbally as much as you can, so they feel seen for their efforts.
The best way to present a problem to an Fe user is to bring it up, and then give them time to think before you actually hash it out. If you put them on the spot and demand to talk, they might stay quiet because they might not yet know how they feel. They might nod in agreement with you or defer to your feelings because they can often see anyone’s perspective, but their real feelings may not materialize until later on.
Consistent conflict will make them feel like the relationship is broken and they can’t make you happy, so try to keep your passion in check when you solve problems, so it doesn’t become anger. Also, while you may get over a fight quickly, Fe users often require more time.
what Fe people should know about Fi people
Those who are introverted feeling often feel insecure about their emotional worlds. They sense that vulnerability very profoundly, and may have trouble articulating their feelings if they’ve been hurt. If they are unusually withdrawn, feel free to ask if something is wrong to create that space for them to come forward.
Many Fi users show their love through quality time and acts of service. Words of affirmation or touch (especially PDA) may be slightly less natural for them. But know if they are showing up for you, that’s huge. They would not be in any relationship if they didn’t want to be.
Introverted feelers need to release tension in order to feel better, otherwise they’ll stew in their emotions. They need emotional honesty. To them, bringing up an issue does not mean they are unhappy with you, but rather that they feel there is an opportunity to improve the relationship and grow. This is actually a big sign of love. Introverted feelers express themselves in a very direct way, which can often come across as harsh or tactless. So try to look at what they are saying, not how they say it.
Fi users may seem passionate when they argue and fight, but they are not grudge-holders. Once they work through what they’re feeling, especially when they can finally give voice to it, they’re over it.
Introverted feelers and extroverted feelers sometimes struggle relating to each other, but they absolutely have so much to learn from each other. Fi users can learn the power of coming together and working to find middle ground from Fe users, and Fe users can learn how to access their real emotions and find long-term solutions for recurring problems from Fi users. These are powerful lessons that can make anyone a better partner, employee, parent, or person in general.
It’s easy to think that the other person is coming at an issue from the wrong place, when really we’re all just all wired differently—that’s actually a beautiful thing. Take the opportunity to grow.