Like the last posts, this post will be about personal observations I have had concerning my INFP personality. This post will be a little different because these observations pertain to actual known aspects of the INFP. I decided to follow the trend of my own personal observations of my personality, and use it to show the different cognitive functions. This isn’t me trying to show what I, an INFP, experience aside from other INFPs, this me showing certain aspects of the INFP from personal observations. This is also from many other explanations of the cognitive functions. Usually cognitive functions are explained in rather abstract forms like, “‘Fi’ is concerned with emotions, values, and morals” and they aren’t always explained like, “INFPs with ‘Fi’ find themselves studying situations around them to see how it affects them emotionally.”
So here we go with “Ne”. Sorry that this is out of order; the only reason I do it out of sync with the INFP cognitive stack is because “Ne” is one of the most interesting cognitive “experiences” to me.
Those with “Ne”, or Extraverted Intuition are always looking for the possibilities. They are curious with what could happen. INFPs can easily use “Ne” to understand the external environment around them and then take that interpretation of the world and use it to figure out “what could happen”.
Now, “Ne” is the second cognitive function in the INFP’s cognitive stack. When the INFP is using “Fi”, for instant, they won’t notice. Because it’s “Fi” is their first function, they will use it so much that they will master it and won’t realize they’re using it. It’s an unconscious function. Other functions down the line will slowly be more noticed when they’re being used because INFPs don’t use “Si” or “Te” as often as “Fi” or “Ne”.
Because of this, INFPs will notice themselves using “Ne” more often than they will notice them using “Fi”. This doesn’t mean they use “Ne” more, it means that they haven’t “mastered” “Ne” and still have yet to use it more often. It will be more conscious to INFPs than “Fi”, but still unconscious as it is the second function.
So, onto Extraverted Intuition from an INFP’s perspective.
1. Making Connections
When I do use “Ne”, I will rarely notice. For one, it’s my second function, so it isn’t that conscious. Also, it’s extraverted in nature, and I will use it more often in extraverted settings, well, at least when I’m “feeling” extraverted.
So, it’s rare that I get a chance to or realize I can have the chance to quickly peek back into myself and see the inner workings of Extraverted Intuition when I’m using it.
Now, “Ne” works in par with “Si”, or Introverted Sensing. Introverted Sensing, among other things, will collect external and internal data, for instance, memories. “Ne” will use “Si” to make connections with the external world. So, the INFP will often see something in the external world and use “Ne” to search the “Si” database to find a memory that fits the current object or situation in the external world. Basically, “Ne” makes connections and finds the hidden patterns.
As an example, I will use a particular situation to describe unconscious “Ne” use and conscious “Ne” use.
Unconscious “Ne” Use:
If I’m in a comfortable, happy, friendly mood, I’ll feel a little extraverted, and “Ne” will kick in. If a friend says something, I’ll try to think of a funny comeback. Often times, a word or phrase will instantly pop into my head, and it’ll seem like the most perfect comeback to whatever was said previously. Usually if I decide to say the comeback, many of my friends burst out laughing. (Making me happy as well for contributing to the conversation and thinking of something funny to say).
Conscious “Ne” Use:
On rare occasion, I can “see” the inner workings of “Ne”. Again, on one particular occasion, I was feeling extraverted around my friends. One of my friends said something funny, and I tried to think of something funny to say back to him. For an instant, during this one occasion, I accidentally stumbled back into my introspective self and “watched” the “Ne” process happening before. Though I didn’t actually see anything, I could almost feel my brain rapidly flipping through images, memories, moments, experiences, working in part with “Si”. It was as if several thousand synapses were firing in my head, but for this one moment, I was conscious of all of these synapses. I could feel my brain “clicking” through the different memories, searching for the right phrase or word. All of this happened in a matter of seconds, and all of a sudden a phrase was dropped into my field of consciousness, and the phrase seemed like the perfect thing to say in reply.
Many times now, when using “Ne”, I can feel my brain searching through the “Si” databases until certain, perfect key phrases and memories are sent to my conscious thought. It’s very weird, very cool, and very interesting.
Most of the time, when I’m in the right mood or mental state, “Ne” will “turn on”, and I’ll find myself getting “sent” phrases and memories that fit my current state perfectly.
Not only does “Ne” work in par with “Si” to search for hidden patterns, but “Ne” can often work in par with the organizing “Te” to experiment and find the most efficient ways to do things.
“Ne” already gives the INFP a love for experimenting (as long as there is no potential for harm), and often times, I will find myself using “Te” with “Ne” in order to find a better way to do routine things.
Now, especially at my work, there are some restrictions on when and how tasks can be done, but there is a lot of free, open space for how I, personally, can go about certain tasks. My job demands that these tasks are done at a fast pace. Personally, when I first started going about a few of these tasks, I would remember in the back of my mind how other coworkers went about them. And so, I would copy them.
Now, I’m not the most physically astute person, so some fast-paced routines will work for some coworkers whereas it won’t work for me.
In such situations where I’m using “Ne” to experiment and find a new way of doing a routine, I feel as though my brain is reeling. It starts thinking at a very fast pace, and it takes in more sensory details than usual. My brain will send different ideas and images to my field of consciousness, showing me different ways a task could be done in very interesting but efficient ways.
In many ways, it feels like my brain is thinking aside from me thinking. Information and new ideas are dropped into my head without me even giving a single thought about something. Sure, I may be trying to come with new ideas, but most of the time, I don’t go through a certain thought process to actually get to those ideas. My brain, at this heightened level, will begin dropping ideas into my field of consciousness for me to experiment. It’s thinking without thinking.
Most of the time, if other people happen to see how I went about a certain puzzle, task, or exercise, they’ll say, “Huh. I never thought about doing it that way.”
And so, that concludes my first installment of “From an INFP’s Perspective”. Next week I’ll discuss Introverted Feeling from an INFP’s Perspective.