MBTI explained

The following post has been copied and pasted from Tumblr due to increasing popularity.


Forget everything you know about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, because you’re probably wrong. Most people think it’s just about the four letters. A lot of bogus online tests have screwed up what people think about the MBTI. Enjoying solitary walks has nothing to do with being an introvert or an extravert (I’m an extravert; I love walking by myself.) Believing that a rational approach is best has nothing to do with having a T or F preference. There are many Feeling types incorrectly typed as Thinking types because they claim they’re not “mushy” and “melodramatic.” Being a Feeler has nothing to do with that at all. So, without further ado, I will try my best to convey my understanding of Jungian theory to you. 

There are eight cognitive functions: Extraverted sensing (Se), Introverted sensing (Si), Extraverted intuition (Ne), Introverted intuition (Ni), Extraverted feeling (Fe), Introverted feeling (Fi), Extraverted thinking (Te), and Introverted thinking (Ti). Your dominant function is the one you use most and are most comfortable with. Naturally, it’s going to match your energy preference—if you’re an introvert, your dominant function is going to be an introverted function. Next is the auxiliary function. This is the function used to balance out your dominant preference. If you’re an introvert, your auxiliary function is going to be extraverted. This is so because, in truth, nobody is entirely introvert or entirely extravert. Of course, we have preferences, but we cannot be 100 percent one or the other. You can’t take an introvert and shove her in a room for fifteen months with no human contact and expect her to come out feeling refreshed and energized. Furthermore, your auxiliary function is going to complement your dominant function. For instance, Thinking and Feeling functions are used to make decisions. Sensing and Intuition functions are used to collect information. You cannot have dominant Ne with auxiliary Si. If that were so, you’d always be observing and never making any decisions. If you had a Te-Fi combo, you’d always be making judgements and never stopping to take anything in. 
That was a lot to swallow at once, wasn’t it? Here, let me break it down into bullets for you. 

  • There are eight functions, introverted and extraverted sensing, intuition, feeling, and thinking.
  • Your dominant function is your favorite/most used function. Introverts will have an introverted dominant function. Extraverts will have an extraverted dominant function.
  • Your auxiliary function balances your dominant function. It must be introverted if your dominant is extraverted, and vice versa.
  • Auxiliary functions will feature the opposite type (judging or data-collecting) of your dominant. Thinking and Feeling functions are judging functions; Sensing and Intuition are data-collecting functions. You cannot have dominant Fe and auxiliary Ti.

If you’re still unsure of what we’ve just covered, feel free to shoot me an ask and I’ll try explaining it differently.

Now, let’s move on to the tertiary function. This is your third-used function, and tends to emerge later in life. It doesn’t appear in your four-letter type. (If you haven’t noticed already, your dominant and auxiliary functions determine your four letters). Your tertiary is going to be the opposite of your auxiliary. If you’re an INFJ, your tertiary function is going to be Introverted thinking (Ti) because your auxiliary is Extraverted feeling (Fe). I like to think of it this way—your tertiary and auxiliary functions cannot both appear in your four-letter type. You can’t be a T and an F at the same time. You can’t be an N and an S at the same time. So when finding out your tertiary function, remember that it’s going to be the same as your auxiliary in that it’s either a judging function or a data-collecting function, and it’s going to be opposite of your auxiliary in that it’s extraverted in an extravert. If you’re an extravert, your tertiary function will be extraverted, like your dominant. It’s quite simple when you get the hang of it. Introverts will have their functions stack like this: dominant introverted, auxiliary extraverted, tertiary introverted, inferior extraverted. Extraverts are just the reverse. 

  • If your auxiliary function is a judging function (T or F) your tertiary will also be T or F. 
  • If your dominant function is introverted, your tertiary will also be introverted. 

Lastly, your inferior function. This fourth function doesn’t usually develop until much later. Sometimes it can manifest itself in immature ways in younger individuals. It’s the function you’re not as comfortable with. If you have Intuition as an inferior, it can sometimes manifest itself not as coming up with creative possibilities (like healthy Intuition does), but generating lists and lists of horrible things that might go wrong. (Please note that dominant and auxiliary functions can also be used negatively quite often in less healthy individuals.) Your inferior function will be extraverted if your auxiliary is extraverted. Remember, all individuals have a Sensing, Intuition, Feeling, and Thinking function. Once you’ve figured out your dominant, auxiliary, and tertiary functions, you can find your inferior by looking at which of the four different function types you are missing in your functional stack. If your stack goes as Fe-Ni-Se (Extraverted feeling, Introverted intuition, Extraverted sensing) then your inferior is going to be a Thinking function, and introverted like your auxiliary, therefore being Ti (Introverted thinking). 

  • Everybody has a T, F, N, and S function, but the dominant and auxiliary appear in your four-letter type.
  • Your inferior function will be introverted if your auxiliary is introverted. 
  • Overall, you have two introverted functions and two extraverted functions. 

Alright, so we’ve gotten that straight. The problem is, what about the J and P letters in the MBTI type? How do you explain that? Well, it’s quite simple, actually. Just because you have a dominant Judging function doesn’t mean you are a Judging type. An INFP, for example, leads with Introverted feeling (Fi), which is a Judging function, but is a Perceiving type. The reason INFPs are Perceiving types is because they show their Perceiving function to the outside world, which is Extraverted Intuition (Ne). Ne is a Perceiving function. If the Extraverted function in your dominant-auxiliary combo is a Thinking or Feeling (J) function, you’re a Judging type and will have a J in your four letters. Why? Because J types will project their decision-making outwards, whereas Perceiving types prefer to bend and mold based on the current environment, not projecting their ways out into the external. If your Extraverted function in your dominant-auxiliary combo is an Intuition or Sensing (P) function, you’re a Perceiving type and will have a P in your four letters. 

  • If your Extraverted function in your dominant-auxiliary is Thinking or Feeling (Te or Fe) then you are a J type. T and F are both Judging functions.
  • If your Extraverted function in your dominant-auxiliary is a Sensing or Intuition (Se or Ne) then you are a P type. S and N are both Perceiving functions. 

Well, I’m gonna have to end this post here because it’s already quite lengthy. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! I love discussing MBTI and Jungian theory more than anything else. Even if you don’t really care much about it, or if you think it’s all BS (which it actually isn’t), it’s still a fun thing to talk about! 

P.S. I’m sorry if I’ve gotten anything wrong here, or if anything is unclear. I have discovered all this through weeks and weeks of exploring the depths of the Internet for all this info. 


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