Extraverted Thinking (Te): 10 Tell-Tale Signs & How to Develop Te
by Lisa Sparrow
Extraverted thinking (Te) is arguably the most polarizing cognitive function.
Some people love Te for its focus on order, fairness, and efficiency. Others—especially feeling personality types—find it overwhelming, harsh, and oppressive.
Needless to say, extraverted thinking leaves no one indifferent. So, if you haven’t picked a side yet, chances are you don’t know Te well enough, and we’re here to fix that!
This article will teach you everything you need to know about extraverted thinking, including:
- What is Extraverted Thinking (Te)?
- 10 Tell-Tale Signs of Extraverted Thinking Personalities
- How Can Te Users Strengthen Their Extraverted Thinking?
And more! Let’s get started.
What is Extraverted Thinking (Te)?
Extraverted thinking (Te) is a judging cognitive function that enables people to make effective decisions based on logic, facts, and fairness.
As an extraverted cognitive function, Te is concerned with the external world. This typically manifests as a need to be in control of your environment. Te users organize their surroundings, lives, and even people to maximize efficiency—the key value of extraverted thinking. They also respect and follow rules. Unsurprisingly, chaos and disorganization can throw them off guard.
Thanks to its focus on efficiency, extraverted thinking allows people to make the most of their time and resources. By breaking down large projects into smaller steps, it enables people to stay motivated and avoid getting sidetracked. At its best, extraverted thinking gives people the confidence, drive, and direction to achieve goals and success.
Users of Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Out of all personality types, TJ personalities—ESTJs, ENTJs, ISTJs, and INTJs—use extraverted thinking most often. So, let’s see how this cognitive function shapes their characters!
ESTJ and ENTJ: Dominant Te Users
ESTJ and ENTJ personality types are the strongest Te users, as it is their dominant function.
Thanks to their extraverted thinking, they make exceptional leaders—there’s a reason why ESTJ and ENTJ personalities are known as Executives and Commanders! They typically have a powerful presence and strong communication skills. Moreover, they enjoy being productive, bringing people together, and helping others maximize their potential.
That said, ETJ personalities share a major blind spot—emotions. They value rationality more than feelings, which can make them act insensitively toward other people. It doesn’t help that introverted feeling (Fi) is the weakest link of the ENTJ and ESTJ cognitive function stacks. Nonetheless, if they commit to developing their Fi, ETJs can round out their personalities.
ISTJ and INTJ: Auxiliary Te Users
Extraverted thinking plays a no less important role in ISTJ and INTJ personalities. That’s because they lead with introverted dominant functions. Because of this, Te supports their dominant functions and helps them connect with the external world.
The dominant ISTJ cognitive function is introverted sensing (Si), which means that their past experiences affect their current perception of the world, situations, and people. Naturally, this can make them rather biased. However, since Te is highly concerned with objectivity and facts, developing it allows ISTJs to tame their preconceptions.
Meanwhile, INTJ cognitive function stack features dominant introverted intuition (Ni), which helps them gain intuitive insight into situations. Since extraverted thinking focuses on factual information, it can help them collect evidence to support their insights. This allows them not only understand where their intuitions are coming from but also explain them to others.
10 Tell-Tale Signs of Extraverted Thinking Personalities
Looking for a foolproof way to effectively recognize extraverted thinking in people? Check out these typical signs of Te users:
#1. Excellent Leadership Skills
Te users eagerly take charge of both personal and professional matters. They are great at prioritizing, organizing, and delegating tasks. They’re natural-born leaders who enjoy managing people and working toward common goals.
However, their assertive and confident attitude might make it challenging for them to follow other people’s commands, especially if these people appear less competent than Te users themselves.
#2. Efficiency-Focused Mindset
When it comes to extraverted thinking, efficiency is the name of the game. Te users are energetic and goal-oriented people. There’s hardly anything more satisfying to them than getting things done, as it makes them feel useful and successful. Needless to say, extraverted thinking personalities rarely, if ever, procrastinate—laziness is just not in their nature.
#3. High Expectations
Given that Te users are so ambitious and action-oriented, it isn’t hard to guess that they disdain people who come up with endless excuses. They usually have high standards and a no-excuses mentality. When people don’t live up to their expectations or—worse yet—make excuses, Te users quickly write them off as lazy, inadequate, and unworthy of respect.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that extraverted thinking personalities are heartless dictators. Far from it—they are eager to listen to and understand people but don’t tolerate incompetence and slackness.
#4. Preference For Structure
Te users love structure, planning, and organization—in their minds, these are the essentials of getting things done. For this reason, they often keep calendars, to-do lists, and other means of organizing their day-to-day activities. Unsurprisingly, they typically follow strict daily routines to ensure they don’t waste time and make the most out of their day.
Don’t let the structured nature of Te users fool you—even though they don’t enjoy dealing with a change of plans, they can effectively adjust to changes. However, their ability to adapt doesn’t come from flexibility or spontaneity.
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, Te users are able to tackle changes because of their impeccable planning skills. When they plan, they think of all the scenarios that could potentially happen. Preparing for the unexpected helps them remain level-headed and productive.
Unlike most people, extraverted thinking personalities rarely hesitate when making decisions, all thanks to their self-assuredness and strong-mindedness. Having clear goals enables them to immediately identify the best course of action, which is also one of the main reasons why indecisive people get on their nerves.
#7. Emotional Detachment
People with well-developed extraverted thinking often come off as cold and impersonal—some would even go as far as to say they’re robotic. Nonetheless, like all people, they do have feelings. They just don’t let them get in the way of achieving their goals. Still, most Te users regard emotions as a nuisance and avoid dealing with emotionally expressive people.
#8. Strong Attention Control
Unlike extraverted intuition (Ne), extraverted thinking enables people to focus their attention for long periods. Te users are single-minded and can easily maintain concentration even in distracting environments. This also enables them to multitask, as they can rapidly shift their focus from one task to another without letting their minds wander.
People with strong extraverted thinking generally rely on facts and logic rather than emotions. Although this can make them appear aloof, it helps them remain fair and objective. They dislike injustice and believe that people should be treated the way they deserve to be treated. As such, they can be kind and cruel at the same time to different people.
In short, Te users value facts over sentiments. They’re reasonable and care about getting their message across efficiently, even if it means hurting someone’s feelings. As such, their communication may be blunt and even harsh. They don’t sugarcoat things and expect others to be direct with them, too.
That said, feeling types—extraverted feeling (Fe) personalities in particular—may consider such bluntness a lack of manners and empathy.
Extraverted Thinking vs Introverted Thinking: What are the Differences?
Besides extraverted thinking, there’s another thinking function you should know about—introverted thinking (Ti). Although both functions help people make logical decisions based on factual information, they are very different by nature.
Extraverted thinking focuses on the external world. It is perhaps for this reason that Te users find it easiest to make decisions when they think out loud. They also have a clear vision of what the world should be like and can easily create a step-by-step plan to make their vision come to life.
By contrast, introverted thinking is concerned with the internal world. Ti users are known for having excellent research skills, as they like to analyze and get to the bottom of things. Ultimately, they look for mental clarity. When they make decisions, they want to hear their thoughts, which is why they may find the external world distracting.
In other words, extraverted thinking is externalized and strategic, whereas introverted thinking is internalized and analytical.
How Does Extraverted Thinking Affect Personality Types
Without any exception, extraverted thinking influences all personality types—even feelers. This chart can help you understand the location of Te in your cognitive function stack:
And here’s a quick breakdown of the connection between extraverted thinking and different personality types:
- Tertiary Te (ESFP, ENFP). EFP personalities have lots of ideas but not enough determination to make their dreams come to life. However, developing tertiary Te can help them become more goal-oriented and fulfill their wishes.
- Inferior Te (ISFP, INFP). Due to extraverted thinking being their inferior function, IFPs often lack organization. As such, developing Te can help them become more orderly.
- Opposing role Te (ISTP, INTP). Having Te as an opposing role function can make ITP personalities defensive when people try to tell them how they should do things.
- Critical parent Te (ESTP, ENTP). In the critical parent position, extraverted thinking can make ETPs frustrated with people (including themselves) who are inefficient, slow, and disorganized.
- Trickster Te (ISFJ, INFJ). Trickster Te can cause IFJ personalities to misinterpret Te users’ attempts at helping them as controlling behavior.
- Demon Te (ESFJ, ENFJ). As a demon function, Te can induce feelings of inadequacy in EFJ personalities. They may project their insecurities onto other people, which can make them appear harsh and domineering.
What Does an Unhealthy Te Look Like?
Extraverted thinking is a paradoxical cognitive function—although it helps people stay in control of their lives, it’s not uncommon for it to spiral out of control.
So, here are some signs that’ll help you recognize unhealthy Te:
- Ruthlessness. Unhealthy extraverted thinking can cause people to become critical, judgmental, and unforgiving. They may shame and berate people for making mistakes, showing emotion, being unsuccessful, or not following rules.
- Egoism. Unhealthy Te users are prone to becoming so focused on their goals that they don’t care about other people. They may even take advantage of others to advance in life.
- Inability to take accountability. When Te becomes unhealthy, it takes away people’s sense of accountability. They may deny their actions and use blame-shifting to minimize their part in a situation.
- Excessive control. Unhealthy extraverted feeling often results in controlling and domineering behavior. Not to mention, unhealthy Te users become extremely upset—even angry—when people refuse to obey them.
Extraverted Thinking During Personality Development Phases
The personality development phases refer to the three main stages in which you develop your cognitive functions. Depending on your personality type, you may or may not naturally develop extraverted thinking in your lifetime.
So, let’s see how Te affects certain personality types throughout different personality development phases!
Te During the First Personality Development Phase
As expected of dominant Te users, ETJ personality types begin developing their extraverted thinking in childhood.
ETJs typically show an interest in leadership even as children and teenagers. They often become class presidents and team leaders in school projects. Unlike most children, they don’t usually hate going to school. Quite the contrary—ETJ children tend to be ambitious and regard education as a stepping stone to future success.
Te During the Second Personality Development Phase
Introverted TJ personality types usually begin to develop their extraverted thinking during the second personality development phase. While they may be as young as in their 20s, Te typically fully develops later in their lives.
Developing Te allows ITJ personalities to define and realize their goals. They spend less time in their heads and more time aligning their reality with their vision. Moreover, Te helps them become more self-confident and outspoken, which enables them to build closer connections with others.
Te During the Third Personality Development Phase
The third personality development phase provides tertiary and inferior Te users with the opportunity—or challenge—to develop their extraverted thinking. As such, this phase is important for all FP personality types.
Developing Te allows FP personalities to become more balanced, as it helps them to tap into their logical side. This makes it easier for them to learn how to take things less personally, prioritize tasks, and evaluate options.
Still, even if they manage to fully develop their Te, FP personalities shouldn’t fight their true selves. For best results, they should consult their thinking function but still follow their feeling function when making decisions.
How Can Te Users Strengthen Their Extraverted Thinking?
If you lack motivation, assertiveness, or organization, you’ll definitely benefit from improving your extraverted thinking!
So, here are some foolproof ways to strengthen your Te:
- Set goals. Write down your goals on a piece of paper. If you aren’t used to planning, start small—a single daily objective might be more than enough. Also, make sure your goals are attainable. Celebrating your victories, no matter how small, can help you gain self-confidence and drive.
- Organize your life. Extraverted thinking thrives on structure. So, consider cleaning up your desktop, organizing your workspace, making your bed every day, or creating a daily routine that works for you. In other words, take control of your life and environment.
- Express your opinions. Even if you’re an introvert, do your best to voice your thoughts to become more assertive. Extraverted thinking personalities often think aloud, which makes this a great way to exercise your Te.
- Don’t be biased. Fairness is one of the defining traits of Te users. So, try to spot when your emotions and subjective opinions get in the way of logic and objectivity.
There you go—now you should know all there is to extraverted thinking.
Although Te isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it’s impossible to deny its importance to people and society at large. Besides enabling people to efficiently use their time, skills, and other resources, it also helps organize society and ensure justice. In other words, without extraverted thinking, the world would be a chaotic mess!