Fi or Ni as the Favorite Function

I asked some experts for help sorting out whether Fi or Ni is someone's favorite function.  I mean, how can you tell the difference inside yourself?  Here's one idea that was offered by an INFP expert (using Fi as a decision tool no doubt):

This is a quick and dirty for the individual to answer, it's pretty hit and miss (50/50?), but when it works it's usually an "aha".

Ask the person which of the two -- intuition or feeling -- would they first agree to give up or lose, if such a thing were possible.

Sometimes, the value of one over the other appears very clearly to the individual. My supposition of course is that one would 'let go' of the auxiliary before the dominant.

It seems to work when people answer spontaneously, not when it is pondered to any great extent.


Hmm, interesting viewpoint she offers.  I take it she assumes an individual would know immediately which of these processes is more "important" to them -- a characteristic of introverted Feeling.  But what about those of us who don't operate that way?

Of course, I can't describe Dominant introverted Feeling from firsthand experience, but I think much of the Type literature that describes Feeling actually describes extraverted Feeling not introverted Feeling.  

Here is how Type Expert Danielle Poirier (INFP) describes Fi:

There is something inherent to introverted feeling that makes it difficult to define, it is true. 

Culture: When I first came into contact with North American Aboriginal culture, it was my first experience of having INFP *culturally* acknowledged. It wasn't in the words, but in the silences that I found my cultural "home" or match. The indirectness of the contacts, the understated but unmistakable warmth, the sensitivity around subtle aspects of life and living, the knowing of inter-relatedness with all sentient beings... these were all things I 'knew' but found no echo in my everyday life. With my Western European heritage, I felt very insensitive and rather like a bull in a china shop. Everything is relative. I always wonder what it must be like to be a Native ENTJ. 

Individuality: Something about INFP is adamant about not being like anyone else, so being lumped into a category with others itself creates anathema. I was always surprised, when I first did type workshops, that INFP's were often the ones who had as many type 'portraits' as there were individuals in that particular type group. 

In the interviews I have done requesting that people describe what the function "feels" like, or to provide images, the feeling function is more grounded, deeply rooted, stable than the introverted intuitive function. Images for Fi are about soil, roots, and covenants. For introverted intuition, it is more free floating, moving - layers of beautifully coloured water floating on top of each other, colourful eels or spaghetti strands all intermingled, Lenore [Thomson]'s image of an open loft concept with moving furniture. Perhaps by guiding people to describe what their inner life / world is like, it could provide an image of whether it is a rational world that provides continuity (Katharine Myers' image was similar to tightrope walking, a function that let her know whether or not she was "in tune", in or out of balance) or a world based on discontinuity. 

But of course, it may not be possible to help the person unless you gather lots of responses to compare with. And if you do, oh please... send them my way!!!  :)

Reproduced with permission from Danielle Poirier

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