You may well have come across the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test in the past, but do you really understand it?
The test was developed as a way of making C. G. Jung’s personality types accessible and understandable for the average person, like you and me!
This test is an amazing way of gaining a better insight into the subtleties of your personality, and understanding why you behave in certain ways and how you respond to certain situations.
The dichotomy we’re going to look at in more detail today is that between thinking and feeling personality types. This looks at how a person makes decisions in their day-to-day life.
That’s pretty vital in shaping your whole personality, as our lives are essentially made up of a continuous chain of tiny decisions, interspersed with some big ones.
Whether we’re simply deciding what to have for lunch or choosing our words, or facing something a bit bigger, like choosing where to live or whether to accept a job, taking these decisions in a thinking way or feeling way can really affect the path our lives take.
So, what’s the difference between the two personality types, and which one are you? Read on to find out.
T Is For Thinking
Essentially, if you’re a thinker, then you tend to place more importance on objective principles and facts that aren’t personal when you’re trying to decide something.
Someone that has more of a thinking personality likes a basic principle to apply to all situations, whatever the subtleties of the situation in hand.
They try to be impersonal about things, meaning they don’t like to let their own feelings get in the way of a decision they have to make.
They don’t like to let anyone else’s subjective opinion play a role in a decision either.
Are you a pros and cons list person? When you’ve made the list, do you then actually make your decision based on the things you’ve written down?
Or, do you just go through the motions of making a list as a bit of a formality, and then go off and do your own thing regardless?
Thinkers make structured and realistic lists, analyze them, and then make a logical decision based on their analysis, and consistent with other decisions they’ve made in the past.
Thinkers are all about fairness and telling the truth. They make decisions with their head rather than their heart, and generally aren’t afraid to do something that might be seen as tactless if it means that the truth will come out.
Truth above all else is a thinker’s motto.
Do you notice inconsistencies, and easily detect gaps and holes in things or stories? That’s a definite sign of a thinker.
Logic is essentially the basis of a thinker’s thought processes, and whenever they can, a thinker will look for a logical explanation or solution to any situation they face.
This often means they enjoy technical and scientific tasks and end up working in these areas, where a logical mind is a huge asset.
Is There A Downside To Being A Thinker?
You could say so.
Thinkers can sometimes be seen as a bit too task-oriented, and people can consider them to be uncaring or indifferent when faced with decisions.
They can also miss out the emotional and ‘people’ factors in any given situation, which can make them seem a bit cold and detached.
People that identify as having feeling personalities can struggle to understand the thought processes of a thinker.
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F Is For Feeling
If none of the above sounded like you, you might be leaning more toward a feeling personality type.
If you tend to make decisions based more on personal concerns and the people involved in that decision, then this could be you.
Feeling people believe that decisions should be made based on what people care about and look at the point-of-view of the people involved in said decision.
Whilst they do place value on their own feelings about something, they will also think carefully about how other people feel when making decisions.
The term ‘people-pleasers,’ which some people see as being a good thing and some people see as being a bad thing, is often used to describe them. Does ‘people-pleaser’ sound like a compliment to you?
They’re all about values rather than logic, and like to do what they think is best for people. A feeling person likes to keep things balanced and harmonious, and is normally happy when everyone else is happy.
When things are out of joint, they can feel uncomfortable.
In any relationship, a feeling person is seen as caring, warm, and tactful. They tend to put other people’s feelings first, and are always concerned about keeping others happy above all else.
Whereas a thinker will make decisions with their head, a feeler will generally let their heart be their guide.
Similarly, whereas a thinker values telling the truth above all else, a feeler will sometimes prioritize tact and placating people over always being truthful.
Is There A Downside To Being A Feeler?
Although on the surface of it this might seem like the more appealing personality type, feelers are definitely not without fault.
There are situations in life where we just have to face up to the cold hard truth, and feelers will often refuse to do this if someone could be upset by it, even if turning a blind eye could do more harm in the long run.
Other people, particularly those who have strong thinking personality types, might see them as too idealistic or as soft, and will have little patience with their often indirect behavior.
Feelers will avoid confrontation if they can, even when the best course of action would be to tackle a situation head-on.
Be careful not to confuse feeling with emotion.
We all, obviously, have emotions about all our decisions, no matter how impersonal they may seem.
In the same way, thinking shouldn’t be confused with intelligence. You can make decisions in a thinking way without necessarily thinking about them intelligently.
Can You Be Both?
No one is entirely one or the other, and we all use different factors to help us make our decisions depending on the situation at hand.
For example, if a decision is super impersonal, people will tend to slip into thinking mode, but for decisions about whether or not to marry someone, most of us will feel our way toward the answer, rather than think our way.
Some people will, however, make thinking decisions a lot more than feeling decisions, and vice versa.
Some people will even write a pros and cons list before they decide whether to get engaged!
Think of it like a spectrum, you might be dead center, or closer to one end than the other.
Either way, now that you know about the thinking versus feeling dichotomy, you might begin to see it in the decisions you take.