July 3, 2012

The "Flavors" of Extraversion

I've often tried to explain what it means to be extraverted. I've generally failed miserably. But I'm gonna give it another shot because I've learned some stuff. And it makes sense to me. And I think it could be helpful to others who still equate extraversion with being a "people person."

Not all extraverts are people persons. Stick that in your brain and let it marinate awhile. In common parlance, that's how we've used the word, but in personality chit chat, that's not what it means... at least not for all extraverts. You can be a very extraverted person and yet appear somewhat cold or distant to people. And you can be a strong introvert and yet make people feel warm and loved when you're around. It really all comes down to your functions. And in this post, I just want to focus on the extraverted functions: Ne, Se, Te and Fe. I'm still learning some of these myself. Te is my secondary function and Se is how I get when I've been pushed to the brink and then some. So I sorta have an experiential sense of what they mean. But when it comes to Ne and Fe, I'll be relying a lot on what others have said about those functions. And if anything I say doesn't seem quite right, or it does seem right on, or you have examples, please pipe up. You're probably more of an expert on your first function, and possibly your second function, than you may even realize. Speak from your experience and we'll all end up learning more.  :-)

In personality nomenclature, the first letter - N, S, T or F - refers to the four preferences - iNtuition, Sensing, Thinking and Feeling. The second letter (usually written in lower case) refers to the direction (or attitude) of preference - is it inward (introverted) or outward (extraverted) focused? So Ne is another way of saying "extraverted intuition," Se is extraverted sensing, etc. I'm going to try to describe each of the flavors of extraversion. Hopefully you'll see yourself in one of these (even if you're an introvert). Either your first or your second function is extraverted. We all have to deal with the outside world at some point (whether it's at work, while shopping, school, dealing with the tv repairman,....) so we all have a preferred method of dealing with the world.

***   Perceiving Functions - How do we take in information?   ***

Ne: Extraverted Intuition
My impression of an extraverted intuitive is that they love having a bunch of ideas thrown at them (such as in a brainstorming session). They soak up ideas, thoughts, beliefs and meanings and find themes among them, weaving concepts together to develop strategies or larger concepts. Even when they see basic, ordinary, run of the mill stuff that anyone else might pass over, they can look at that person or object or event and see all sorts of possibilities in it. 

Here's some quotes I found in a conversation comparing Ne's to Ni's. 

"Ne focuses on parallel possbilities that may not link one after the other but exist side by side and may all be true. On top of this they may have other possibilities that branch off the initial possibilities identified." -- thor odinson

"Ne  primarily  diverges from one idea, concept or even word to multiple meanings." -- Tenacity

"Ne is interested in open-ended exploration of theories and possibilities." -- Magic Mirror

And I thought this quote was helpful (especially when you jump down to Se and compare the forest quote describing them): "Extraverted iNtuiting  thinks of the fractal patterns, the wide range of possibilities in the forest, how this forest is part of the ecosystem and is affected by polllution from the city..." -- InterStrength

Se: Extraverted Sensing
Extraverted sensors want to take in the world (and perhaps even take on the world). They want to touch, taste, smell, see, hear, roll in, ride on, climb over, crawl under, and/or slide through the world around them. They want to suck up physical experiences like sponges. They will actively seek input until there are no more inputs to receive or until, in their boredom, they find something else to move on to. 

Here's some quotes from other folks on being Se:

"Extraverted sensing experiences the world in all its vibrancy. It sifts through sensory data and identifies what is most relevant and most critical in the current situation. It seizes opportunities as they present themselves. It troubleshoots and seeks a tactical advantage. It wants immediate gratification." -- Andrea Wenger

"Extraverted Sensing notices the rich detail in the whole forest - the trees, their color and texture, their sounds, their smells, the pattern of light and dark..." -- InterStrength

***   Judging Functions - How do we make decisions?   ***

Te: Extraverted Thinking
Being a "thinker" doesn't mean that other people don't think, it's just the term that Jung came up with to describe those who make decisions based on logic. Thinkers are not usually considered people persons (even when they're extraverts). 

Extraverted thinkers are the people you want to call when you want something done and you want it done sooner rather than later. An extraverted thinker is energized when they've made a list and managed to do everything on it. Accomplishment is golden. In fact, not doing something that you know is going to have to be done sooner or later seems to actually be painful for extraverted thinkers. They just want it finished. They want it checked off their list NOW. They tend to have very clean homes (since a speck of dirt is a check list item waiting to be crossed off).

Here are some quotes from other folks on what it means to be an extraverted thinker:

Te's "strive to rationally structure, order, and control the outside world.  They are systematic, methodical, deliberate, and strategic in their approach. They proceed carefully and slowly, looking ahead to avoid potential obstacles and to prepare for contingencies. Extraverted Thinking (Te) involves Thinking-based judgments that incorporate facts, data, or other objective considerations. Through the impersonal and objectifying lens of Te, the world becomes a giant machine, a system of interrelated parts that predictably functions according to the laws of cause and effect." -- Personality Junkie
"What Te does is seek organization and efficiency in the outer world." -- Grey

"In social situations Te displays the qualities of leadership and strength because they're able to make decisions about external things in a manner that doesn't pander them to subjectivity. -- Diphenhydramine

Fe: Extraverted Feeling
An extraverted feeler is going to invite you to stuff. Their goal in life is for everybody to get along. (Unless you upset them somehow. Then extraverted feelers are really good at hurting your feelings.) If an extraverted feeler gets even a sense that you need something that they think they can provide (whether they actually can or not) they'll get all excited about helping and start behaving as if it's a done deal when they haven't even begun step one of planning. They seem to feel first and work out the details later. 

Here are some quotes from others on Fe's:

"An extroverted feeler is always talking about how they FEEL about things.  They care how people feel!  This type never forgets to have the birthday cards, bake the cake for a party, plan the potlucks — you know the type!  They “emote” — all the time, and everyone knows how they feel!" -- Valentine Bonnaire

"If we dive deeper, we find that we are excellent at reading situations, expressions, and people’s actions.  Feelers can pick up on tone and change it.  Naturally, we encourage people to use their strengths, do what they enjoy and follow their dreams.  It is true that the extroverted feeler feels a feeling of euphoria when seeing their partner or another person happy.  They do in fact, recharge and revitalize their minds by creating harmony." -- Young Life Perception

(This is a repost from my old blog on Multiply.com and is backdated accordingly.)