Introverts aren’t all the same. They have different strengths and weaknesses.
Last week, I talked about INFJs and ISFJs using their strength, extraverted feeling, to connect with the extroverted world. Today, I would be sharing what I know about the other six MBTI (Myers-Briggs) introvert types.
Just to recap, each introvert has one of the following extraverted gifts:
- Extraverted Feeling (INFJ and ISFJ)
- Extraverted Thinking (INTJ and ISTJ)
- Extraverted Intuition (INFP and INTP)
- Extraverted Sensing (ISFP and ISTP)
This extraverted gift is our auxiliary function, in other words, our second biggest strength. It is also our biggest area of growth because as introverts, we tend to be more comfortable with and rely more on our introverted functions than the extroverted ones.
Extraverted Thinking (Te)
People approach them for solutions and sound advice.
Introverts with extraverted thinking as their auxiliary function are intelligent. People come to me because I listen; people go to extraverted thinkers because they have the best solutions. My dad, whom I believe is an ISTJ, is someone I go to whenever I need help in investment, electronics and all the practical, hands-on kinds of stuff. For business strategy and advice, I usually approach my INTJ friend who is an entrepreneur.
And it’s not that the other introverts aren’t as intelligent. It’s just that extraverted thinkers express their judgment and opinions more fluently and think more rationally than most. They love to give advice and share their knowledge. People trust them because they are logical, knowledgeable and know what works in the extroverted world. They are able to see potential obstacles in the outside world and make plans to avoid them.
Extraverted thinkers base their decisions on what works.
They are direct, decisive, straightforward and blunt. If something doesn’t work, they are not afraid to point it out to you. They see being direct as sincere and honest. Like my INTJ friend, if you suggest a business idea that doesn’t work or if the business meeting has gone off tangent, he’s not afraid to cut you off. He’s also not afraid to let his employees go if they aren’t performing. It’s not that he’s impatient or unfeeling, it just that he doesn’t like to waste time on something (or someone) that doesn’t work.
I do admire their objectiveness. However, that’s also their biggest problem – their directness could easily rub people the wrong way. Their comments are usually too harsh and hurtful for the sensitive ones. And for some people, they may appear judgmental, arrogant and cold, even though they are just trying to be helpful.
But they can’t help it. Their decisions are based on logic and not emotions. Unlike extraverted feelers like me, they don’t let what the other party is feeling affects their decision.
How to Master Extraverted Thinking (Te)?
If you are an introvert with a gift in extraverted thinking, don’t downplay or hide your intelligence. When I asked my INTJ friend to be my business mentor, he looked so awkward to receive my compliment like he doesn’t deserve it. I know being smart may not be the most popular attribute among peers in school, but their knowledge and objectiveness actually make them a very good leader and manager at work. They should embrace and share their extraverted gift to the world.
Focus on building your projects instead of being right.
Having said that, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Extraverted thinkers are confident in their opinions and love intellectual debates. But they have to understand that people have different criteria when making their decisions. I find it difficult to communicate with my ISTJ’s dad because he doesn’t understand my need for harmony and vision, and the worst thing is he always wants to be right. Over time, I learn to walk away whenever he tries to start an argument.
Instead of focusing on winning an argument and being right, extraverted thinkers should put their gift to better use by focusing on the effectiveness of their projects and work. Accumulate your knowledge by testing what works in the extroverted world. Be more patient when explaining your point of view to others, and be okay if other people don’t share the same perspective as you.
Know when and who to give advice to.
Furthermore, the main reason why extraverted thinkers appear snobbish and cold to some people is not due to their intelligence. It’s because they give other people advice when they don’t need it. Not everyone is looking for an advice or a solution. Sometimes, people just want to complain, share their feelings and have someone acknowledge what they feel. They don’t need any help. Any advice from the extraverted thinkers would just be unappreciated. Instead, only give advice when people ask for it. Let friends who are extraverted feelers handle those sticky, emotional situations for you.
Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
Introverts with auxiliary function in extraverted intuition are curious, open-minded and imaginative. They interact with the extroverted world with a sense of wonder. They love making connections, finding patterns and coming up with new possibilities. They can see how things in the outer world relate to each other.
They generate a lot of ideas fast.
My elder brother is an INFP and I always go to him if I need someone to brainstorm ideas with. Not all of his ideas work, but he has plenty of ideas and he always comes up with something that I have never thought of before. And what’s amazing is he is able to generate a lot of ideas fast and spontaneously on the spot.
They love to explore new possibilities.
Introverts with extraverted intuition gift love to ask “what if”? What if this combines with that? What do I get? They love to explore new things because they can make new connections with these new things. However, once they are done with making the connections, they tend to get bored with it and move on to other new things.
They are highly creative and independent. They don’t like routines, rules, and regulations because they don’t like to be constrained. They need a lot of freedom at work.
How to Master Extraverted Intuition (Ne)?
Their biggest problem is that they find it difficult to commit to anything. As they are always so open to new things and new ideas, that makes them more divergent than convergent. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of ideas and being a polymath, but if they don’t focus on one idea to work with at a time, they might end up not get anything done or completed.
Use extraverted intuition as a means of gathering new ideas.
Instead of brainstorming what you can do, use your gift in extraverted intuition as a means of gathering new ideas for the project you have committed to. Don’t start new projects yet. Exhaust all your ideas on your current project first, improve it, then move on to new projects. If you don’t know which project to commit to, just pick any one or run your ideas with extraverted thinkers like INTJs. They will know what works and what doesn’t.
Have new experiences. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Even though introverts with extraverted intuition gift loves to explore new things in the outer world, they could get too comfortable with their introverted strength and rely too much on their past experiences. If they stop exploring the extroverted world, they wouldn’t be able to see new perspectives and feeds their mind with new information and interpretations. They might even get too stubborn and fixated on their own ideas. So it’s crucial for them to have new experiences regularly even if they prefer to stay at home.
Extraverted Sensing (Se)
Introverts with auxiliary function in extraverted sensing live in the moment. They are all about the NOW. I have extraverted sensing as my 4th function, so it’s rather weak. Unlike ISFPs and ISTPs, I’m more forward-thinking and not very aware of what’s happening around me. They, on the other hand, are very adaptable and aware of the physical world.
They are great with their five senses.
Extraverted sensors are great with their five senses – touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste. They are good with details and great at making and producing things – either the arts or the mechanics, depending if you are ISFP or ISTP. My younger brother is an ISFP. We both appreciate music, but he’s way better at recalling the melody and the lyrics than me, and he always corrects my mistakes!
They learn by being hands-on and kinesthetic. So that also makes them the most active and athletic group of introverts, but also the quietest group of introverts. They have a clear and direct communication style. But unlike extraverted thinkers, they are more factual than blunt. They don’t add their own interpretations when they speak. They tell it like it is. You seldom hear them use metaphors and analogy. And because extraverted sensing isn’t a verbal function, you don’t hear them talk much.
They don’t like long-term commitments and plans.
Similar to introverts with extraverted intuition gifts, they don’t like long-term commitments and plans too. Why? Because they live by the day. My younger brother would out of the blue, just apply leaves at work, buy an airplane ticket and go for holiday by himself without much planning.
How to Master Extraverted Sensing (Se)?
The biggest problem that extraverted sensors have is they are too relaxed. Even though extraverted sensing supposes to help them take action, they usually don’t take action until the situation becomes urgent. As they live so much in the present, they don’t see a need to act immediately.
Don’t wait for things to happen to you.
But because their focus is so short-term, they tend to be more reactive than active. They find themselves fire-fighting unnecessarily and rushing to get things done at the last minute. Instead of waiting for things to happen passively, it’s better to take a more active role and act on the things that are truly important to you.
Identify opportunities in the extroverted world.
Being observant of their surrounding, extraverted sensors can easily identify opportunities available in the outer world. However, if they just focus on their introverted strength and use it to judge the outer world, they are shutting themselves off from valuable, incoming information. Instead, use your strength to increase your market awareness and open up your perspective. Identify what is possible or not possible in the outer world and compare it with what you have in mind.
Featured Photo Credit: Freedom / Josef Grunig