In a post I made a long time ago, I discussed the INFP Shadow Functions briefly. So far, I have discussed all of the primary INFP functions in depth via the “From An INFP’s Perspective” series, and now I feel it necessary to cover the INFP shadow functions in depth as well.
So I will be discussing the 5th INFP function, Extraverted Feeling, in depth.
The 5th function of the INFP is Extraverted Feeling, and the 5th function takes on the Opposing Role. The Cognitive Processes website says this about the Opposing Role: “The opposing role is often how we get stubborn and argumentative—refusing to “play” and join in whatever is going on at the time.”
In relation to “Fe”, the INFP enters the Opposing Role when they are currently concerned with the feelings, morals, and values of the group, instead of being concerned about the feelings, morals, and values of the individual whenever the INFP is using their 1st function, Introverted Feeling.
I’ve noticed, however, that it isn’t just when I’m “stubborn and argumentative” that I become hyper-aware of the group’s feelings. Any time there is any conflict going on between members of a group or when there is potential for conflict, I quickly notice the state the group is in, whether the group is family, friends, acquaintances, etc. I can easily analyze everyone’s feelings and how those feelings might affect current issues and future outcomes.
I discussed in the last post why I care a lot about the experiences other people have. I don’t want other people to suffer from a bad experience, but to add to that, I don’t want to prevent people from missing out on good experiences. So when my friends want to go off to see a movie but one of the friends can’t see the movie because they need to work, I’ll enter the Opposing Role and say, “Let’s not, I don’t want them to feel left out.”
INFPs are masters at emotions, especially of their own emotions. They can easily understand why they’re feeling a certain way, and they can also imagine what emotions they might feel when forced into specific situations. Because of this, when the INFP delves in “Fe”, they’ll project their already discovered emotions onto the group, deciphering how exactly members of the group can and will feel under certain situations.
Sometimes though, when there is conflict between members of the group, the INFP may distance themselves. Conflict, even if it isn’t specifically directed on them, will cause the INFP to feel discomfort. The INFP will either seek to help resolve the conflict so that they can feel harmony again, or they may distance themselves until the storms pass so that they don’t feel discomfort.
Of course, this isn’t to say that INFPs are egocentric and only act altruistic in situations that will can guarantee them positive emotions. This is definitely not the case for INFPs. INFPs care deeply about anyone and everyone they come in contact with to the point that they may be over-idealistic about certain family members and friends.
INFPs love people. Even if an INFP feels slightly vengeful towards some family or friends who caused the INFP harm, the INFP will feel absolutely terrible if they try to make those family or friends feel guilty or upset for what they’ve done. And, if the INFP causes other people harm, even if it’s the smallest thing ever, the INFP will again feel terrible for days on end.
“Fe” can hurt the INFP directly, as well. If the INFP feels that the group’s current status is smooth and no conflict is arising, then the INFP will try their best to be loyal to the group and not cause any harm or discomfort to any members. However, if the group equally feels okay with doing things that go against the INFP’s beliefs, values, or just current mood and emotions (like “I really don’t feel like going out right now”), the INFP will feel torn. For instance, if they have to choose between staying home and resting from social stigma versus going with the group to an event, “Fi” will tell the INFP that they’ll feel more comfortable at home, resting. However, “Fe” will tell the INFP that they should go with the group whether or not they feel like it, that way there’s no conflict between the INFP and the group. Also, this way, the INFP will not create any discomfort within any members of the group because of the INFP’s absence (of course, that discomfort is only imagined, the INFP doesn’t know if he or she will cause discomfort by staying home). And, like many introverts complain, the INFP will feel terrible for not going if they stayed home, but if the INFP did go, they’ll feel out of place and tired.
“Fe”, however, can be a great companion to the INFP’s primary, “Fi” function. The INFP spends pretty much their entire life in self-discovery via “Fi”, deciphering his or her emotions, trying to figure why and when they have such emotions and how he or she should act on them. By the time they’re in more complicated social situations like keeping up with coworkers, family, and friends during the teenage and adult years of life, the INFP will have mapped out much of their common and uncommon emotions. They understand how a situation can be felt. When the INFP takes this emotional knowledge to a social event, “Fi” will help the INFP’s underdeveloped “Fe” by applying the INFP’s preconceived emotions to certain social stigma. INFPs understand their own emotions, and they can apply those emotions to the group. Via this combination of “Fi” and “Fe”, the INFP can correctly interpret and analyze the emotions of the group. If there is conflict, the INFP is especially good at being a peace-keeper, untangling the issues of the group so that everyone is happy with each other again.
And so, this is the INFP when in use of Extraverted Feeling. In the next post I’ll discuss the INFP’s next shadow function, Introverted Intuition, in depth.