A Brief Introduction To The MBTI Cognitive Functions by Cat Sawyer

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This is a guest post written by Cat Sawyer – I consider her one of the foremost experts in cognitive functions, as labeled by me.

In this Introduction to Cognitive Functions, my aim is to give you a basic understanding of the eight Functions, how they are ordered inside a personality type and how they manifest in the behavioural traits.

I won’t overload you with a breakdown of all the sixteen types. However, I will use a few, particularly the INFJ personality type, to illustrate how this system works. As an introduction to Cognitive Functions, I am assuming that most of the audience here has a basic understanding of the MBTI. In that most of you have identified as INFJ personality type and are familiar with the dichotomies of introversion vs extroversion, etc and the list of typical personality traits of the INFJ as well as some understanding of other types.

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Decisions May Be Hard For INFJs Because They Have A Tendency To See 8 Sides To Everything

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One of the main reasons my INTJ sister and I fight is because she doesn’t understand that I see the world in extreme shades of gray. Whereas for her the world is more a case of black and white, with a little bit of gray somewhere in there, sometimes. Decisions are easier for her, and not so much for me.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons why I despised myself for the longest time. I used to think that I am weak or I don’t really have a mind of my own, because I would flit from opinion to opinion, depending on the day, and my mood. Even now, I have a tendency to occasionally negate my awesome ability to see both sides of the situation, and mediate on the subject matter. 

Why are INFJs like this? Our ability to see all sides of the situation comes from our deep empathic capacity. We have a big heart, but we are also able to use said big heart, to peer into people’s minds and hearts, and see life from their perspective. Whenever I am in the middle of an argument between two people I love, I have an extremely difficult time siding with one person or the other, because truly I can see the world from both of their sides, and both of their sides are right in their own way. How could I possibly choose one more than the other? It seems an impossible task. 

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Why Is The INFJ I’m Dating Slowly Pulling Away From Me?

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One of the magnificent things about having a YouTube channel about INFJs is many non-INFJs message me asking questions about their beloved INFJs and about a potential doorslam. This really makes me ecstatic. I know how hard it can be for an INFJ, one of the introverted Myers-Briggs personality types, to be in a relationship, especially a romantic one. So, I take these questions as an opportunity to help my fellow INFJs find long-lasting love. 

Time after time, INTJs, INFPs, ENFPs, and others ask me the same question about their particular INFJ. “I finally told the INFJ that I like her/him, and at first things seemed fine. But now, it seems like they are slowly pulling away from me. I’m not sure if they are no longer interested in me in that way, or if they are just taking time to evaluate their feelings.”

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INFJs Need A Couple Of Hours Every Night To Detox, Process, And Let Go Of A Busy Day

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Mood swings suck, don’t they?? I am visiting my family at the moment in Toronto, Canada. Even though, I absolutely adore them to death, I have realized that if I spend too much time with them, without a break, I start feeling an immense amount of rage, and resentment towards them. It’s wholly without reason, and I know it is related to the lack of alone time, and not related to them at all. 

Nowadays, I am able to catch myself before I fall into that rage mode, and remind myself to take a break from family time, and move myself over to my bedroom, to let my mind wander or read a book or some Mangas. But sometimes I am tired, or PMSing, or I am not able to be conscious enough to be aware of my random mood swings, and I end up saying some terribly mean things to my family or my unsuspecting friends. 

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INFJs Have A Foot In Both Camps – That’s Why They Never Fit Anywhere Perfect

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Something people always say about me is that fitting in is my middle name. I have friends in the nerdy tech circle, and I have friends in the hippie sage-burning circle. I have friends in the digital nomad circle, and I have friends in the spiritual community. And it’s not like I fit in perfectly into either group. It’s not like I am a square peg in a round hole, but I fit in just enough so that people in that group consider me a good friend or close acquaintance. I guess that’s what makes things difficult.

There is no circle or group in which I fit in perfectly. I can play the game and fit in reasonably well with all of the people that I hang out with. And I guess, that’s what it’s all about – playing the game well. 

In fact, one of the major complaints that I receive from INFJs who send me emails and messages everyday is this – I feel like I don’t belong anywhere. 

This disconnection from the people around them is one of the main reasons why INFJs feel so much gratitude, almost to the point of tears, when they discover the INFJ communities online. Comment after comment on my YouTube channel focused on INFJs says this – “Thank you for making me feel less alone, less like a freak. Thank you for giving me a space to completely and totally belong.”

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Why Do So Many INFJs Ignore Their Intuition, When It’s Truly One Important Superpower

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If I had to tell people one thing about myself that I absolutely despise, it’s this – I hate that I ignore the signs and messages that my Introverted Intuition (Ni) sends me on a daily basis. Even when it has lined the messages with neon red LED lights and flashed them in front of my face, I still manage to disbelieve its importance, or veracity. 

It’s not just me, though. Lots of INFJs message or email me on a weekly basis with stories of how they ignored their intuition to their own detriment, and that still didn’t teach them to stop doing that foolishness. It irks us to no end. We are like Spiderman who knows he has the capacity to save the world, but spends all of his city chasing after Lois Lane instead. I mean, lust aside, how many people in the world have such a powerful intuition at their fingertips? Not many. 

Why can’t we just appreciate the messages coming to us from our intuition? Can’t we just believe what it says? Why do we doubt its accuracy, time and time again? Why do we falter and disbelieve and end up needing more proof?

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INFJs Get Chatty Around Certain People And It Leaves Them Feeling Uncomfortable And Embarrassed

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Recently, I shared a meme with my YouTube community which consists mostly of INFJs, but also of other types. It said something like, “INFJ – I don’t like how chatty I get when I feel at ease with someone.” A day later, I had 23 comments most of which were at least a paragraph long, with people describing how they felt after they had had one of these chatty sessions themselves.

It was fascinating to me to witness this because it further reinforced the idea for me that I am not alone, and even when I think I am weird because I behave one way or another, I find out that a bunch of other INFJs or people on this planet behave in exactly the same way. The loneliness that tends to creep into me, dissipates very rapidly at such a knowing. 

Thus, I decided to share this post with you and with it certain ideas on how to avoid this extra-chatty nature of yours, or even better, embrace it wholly, so it can become part of your repertoire. 

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INFJs Don’t Know How To Alleviate Their Anxiety Sometimes, So They End Up Organizing Life Instead

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INFJs usually have no idea how they are feeling. What are feelings and how do they show up in the body? For a person with a poor mind-body connection, INFJs usually don’t know how they feel and end up emulating others around them who are feeling something. But this usually ends up in them picking up on the anxious and neurotic feelings of the people around them. 

It’s a Catch 22. We don’t know how to feel so we open up ourselves to other people’s feelings. Then we chameleon-ize ourselves. And that causes us to pick up unwanted energies from other people. Eep. 

Either way, an INFJ’s reaction to all of this anxiety or unwanted emotion is usually to clean house. Literally. They will start going into a frenzy of cleaning and organizing everything that they own, and everything that they can. 

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For The INFJ, It Was Never Ever About Being Right, But About Doing What’s Right

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This is a big thing for an INFJ, so if you are interested in learning more about us, please pay attention. This will actually happen a lot in real life, where humans will inordinate amounts of time arguing with some other human online or offline, because they have this weird desire to be proven right. 

As an INFJ, I look at most arguments and wonder why people are wasting so much time and energy arguing about something that doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or who’s right. 

For example, in the argument between people who believe in global warming, and those who don’t, it doesn’t actually matter who’s right. Does it really? The whole point is that either way, humanity is killing off and endangering species and hectares of forest, left right and centre. And that can’t be good for the environment, no matter which way you look at it. You might not believe that the Earth is getting warmer, although anyone who’s living on the planet right now can sense that the days are definitely hotter… but you can see that overpopulation and overconsumption isn’t good for the planet in any case.

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