Feeling vs. Thinking Preference: A Complete Analysis

Feeling vs. thinking is a dichotomy used in the 16 personalities framework to explain how different personality types make decisions. While feeling types prioritize their values and other people’s well-being when making decisions, thinking personalities primarily rely on logical reasoning.

Key Takeaways

  • Feeling vs. thinking is a personality dimension that determines your preferred decision-making process: value-based (feeling) or data-driven (thinking).
  • Feeling personalities are empathetic, diplomatic, and sensitive, whereas thinking types are analytical, impartial, and direct.
  • The greatest difference in feeling vs. thinking when it comes to work and relationships is that feelers are highly attuned to other people and their emotions, while thinkers prioritize objective data over subjective experiences.

Feeling vs. Thinking

Feeling vs. thinking refers to the third personality dimension in the 16 personalities framework. It reveals whether you value emotions (feeling) or logic (thinking) more when making decisions. The third letter of your personality type indicates which of the two you prefer, with F standing for feeling and T indicating thinking.

Essentially, the feeling vs. thinking dimension shapes your decision-making process by determining your primary judging cognitive function.

Feeling personality types have either introverted feeling (Fi) or extraverted feeling (Fe) as their dominant or auxiliary function. Fi users—or feeling-perceiving types—strive to make decisions that align with their personal values. They often see their decisions as a reflection of their true, authentic self.

Fe users, or feeling-perceiving types, meanwhile, tend to hold universal values. In particular, they value social harmony, which is why they put other people’s well-being above all else when making decisions.

Feeling vs. Thinking

By contrast, thinking personality types let either introverted thinking (Ti) or extraverted thinking (Te) guide their decision-making process.

Thinking-perceiving personalities use Ti, and their decision-making process is slow and inward-focused. They seek to make decisions that make sense to them logically; they carefully evaluate each option based on how it fits within their internal logical framework.

Meanwhile, thinking-judging types are Te users, so their decision-making process is quite quick. They rely on objective data, such as facts, statistics, and so forth, to help them make fair and sound decisions.

Regarding the prevalence of feeling vs. thinking in the general population, these types are distributed fairly evenly. However, women more commonly fall into feeling personality types, while men are more likely to identify as thinkers.

Feeling Personality Type: 6 Key Characteristics

The key characteristics of feeling personality types—such as empathy and sensitivity—stem from their tendency to prioritize emotions, values, and social harmony in their decision-making process.

Unsurprisingly, feelers are highly aware of the consequences of their actions. Since they want to positively impact other people’s lives, they refrain from hurting others, disappointing them, or taking advantage of them for personal gain.

The key characteristics of feeling personality types include:

  • Integrity. Feeling personalities tend to have a strong moral compass and strongly hold on to their values and ethics.
  • Altruism. Altruism is deeply ingrained in feeling types; they have a strong desire to help others and contribute to their lives in meaningful ways.
  • Empathy. Feelers have no trouble empathizing with others. On the contrary, it’s not unusual for them to feel other people’s pain as if it were their own.
  • Sensitivity. Feeling personalities are prone to taking things—especially criticism—personally. They are also sensitive to other people’s pain, which may even deter them from violent movies, video games, etc.
  • Tactfulness. Feelers tend to be polite, considerate, and thoughtful. They choose their words wisely so as not to hurt other people’s feelings and avoid conflict and confrontation. Thanks to their empathy and tact, they make phenomenal mediators.
  • Interpersonal focus. Feeling personalities are people-centric; even introverted ones invest a lot of effort into nurturing close relationships with others.
Feeling Personality Type

Being a feeler doesn’t necessarily make you highly emotional. In the 16 personalities framework, feeling denotes value-based decision-making, whether those values are personal or universal. In fact, a study by Ilona Jerabek and Deborah Muoio from PsychTests AIM Inc. found that those who follow their hearts and trust their intuition have better emotional control.

Here are the eight feeling personality types in the 16 personality system:

Thinking Personality Type: 6 Key Characteristics

The key characteristics of thinking personality types are honesty, fairness, objectivity, rationality, independence, and analytical nature. Thinking types strive to make logical, fair decisions, so they keep their feelings at bay when assessing their options. In their eyes, emotions are fleeting; logic and objective truths are everlasting and, therefore, reliable.

Let’s look into the key characteristics of thinking types in greater depth:

  • Fairness. Thinking types are more concerned with being just than being merciful. They are also likely to speak out when they witness or experience unfair situations.
  • Objectivity. Thinking personalities are anything but biased. They focus on facts and verifiable evidence, showing little concern for personal or emotional factors.
  • Rationality. Rather than following their intuition or listening to their hearts, thinkers rely primarily on logic and reason.
  • Directness. People with a preference for thinking communicate directly and express their thoughts without thinking too much about how their words could affect others.
  • Independence. Thinking personalities tend to trust their judgment and value their autonomy. They also often prefer working independently over collaborating with others.
  • Analytical nature. Thinkers don’t take things at face value; they tend to have strong critical and analytical thinking skills that help them spot logical inconsistencies. Intuitive thinkers, in particular, tend to question assumptions and challenge other people’s beliefs.
Thinking Personality Type

Even though thinking personalities favor logic over emotions, make no mistake—they also have feelings and can be influenced by them, especially in situations that affect them personally. Still, their logical approach toward life doesn’t allow them to get carried away by emotions. That said, it’s not unusual for thinkers to feel out of touch with their feelings.

The following eight personality types are classified as thinkers:

Next, let’s compare feeling vs. thinking types at work.

Feeling vs. Thinking Types at Work

At work, feeling vs. thinking types differ in quite many regards, with the most significant difference between them being their preferred career paths.

Feeling types are acutely attuned to other people’s feelings and have a desire to help others that is innate to their personality. As such, they usually gravitate toward careers that allow them to work with people and improve their lives, such as human resource management, social work, teaching, and counseling.

Thinkers, on the other hand, are uncomfortable with emotionally intense situations. They prefer dealing with data over people, and their career choices usually reflect this; they tend to be drawn to careers in engineering, finance, information technology, and so forth.

Feeling vs. Thinking Types

Moreover, there’s a difference in how feeling vs. thinking types approach teamwork and leadership. While feeling types enjoy collaborating with others and seek to create a harmonious work environment, thinking personalities prioritize efficiency and results. They are also far more direct in expressing their opinions than feelers.

When it comes to leadership inclination, feeling types make encouraging, warm, and personable leaders. They seek to create a positive work environment and foster an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable, heard, and appreciated. However, they may struggle to express negative feedback and make difficult decisions in fear of disappointing their reports.

Meanwhile, thinkers make logical and objective leaders. They are most concerned with results; TJ types can be particularly demanding, whereas TP personalities typically have a more relaxed approach. Though they make effective leaders and have no difficulty making tough decisions, their impersonal attitude can make it difficult for them to build rapport with others.

Feeling vs. Thinking Types Interacting With Others

There’s a big difference in the communication style of feeling vs. thinking personalities, which affects their interactions with others and can make it tricky for them to get along.

Feeling types are warm, supportive, and compassionate when interacting with others. They eagerly listen to other people’s problems but may not always express their own (unless that goes against their values; feelers can be surprisingly principled!). They care about other people and do their best to accommodate them.

Meanwhile, thinking personality types have a direct, assertive communication style, though strong Ti users may not be as outspoken as Te types. They are more focused on being truthful than gentle; it’s not uncommon for them to unintentionally hurt other people’s feelings, especially earlier in life.

Naturally, feelers and thinkers may run into misunderstandings when interacting with each other. What feeling types perceive as politeness, empathy, and tact, thinkers might perceive as weakness, hypersensitivity, or a lack of confidence. Likewise, the bluntness of thinking types often comes across as rudeness, arrogance, and a lack of consideration for feelers.

On that note, let’s learn more about feeling vs. thinking types in romantic relationships.

Feeling vs. Thinking Types in Romantic Relationships

Feeling vs. Thinking Types in Romantic Relationships

Feeling and thinking personalities have a somewhat different approach to romantic relationships. While feelers prioritize emotional connection, thinkers may have trouble expressing their emotions and care more about intellectual intimacy.

For feeling types, nothing matters in romantic relationships quite as much as creating a deep emotional bond, and they expect their partners to respond with a similar level of emotional closeness. However, thinking types often prefer to keep their feelings to themselves, which can make it tough for them to meet their partners’ emotional needs and empathize with them.

That said, thinkers are more likely to express their needs and concerns in romantic relationships openly. If they aren’t careful, however, this can pose problems in a feeling-thinking relationship, as feelers tend to be highly sensitive to criticism. They may also neglect their needs just to avoid conflict, which can become a source of frustration for both parties.

Though it may be easier for thinkers to get along with and build romantic connections with other thinkers, and vice versa, the truth is that feeling and thinking types can build incredibly rewarding relationships—but it may take some time, effort, and a lot of understanding.

3 Valuable Tips for Interacting With Feelers if You’re a Thinker

If you’re a thinker, consider following these tips to improve your interactions with feelers:

  • Cultivate empathy. Developing empathy is key to communicating effectively with feeling types, but it can also improve your relationships with others. Duncan Cramer and Sophia Jowett from Loughborough University found that feeling perceived empathy—or feeling understood—is linked to higher relationship satisfaction and lower conflict rates.
  • Practice active listening. More often than not, feeling types seek understanding rather than solutions. So, if they are telling you about their problems, don’t rush to fix them; this isn’t necessarily what they want. Sometimes, it’s enough to simply sit still, listen to them, and let them know they can confide in you.
  • Soften your communication. To make your interactions with feeling types more pleasant and foster effective communication, pay more attention to both the content and the form of the message you’re trying to send. Chances are, you can get your point across without being “brutally honest.”

3 Great Tips for Interacting With Thinkers if You’re a Feeler

If you’re a feeler, here are some useful tips you can follow to enhance your interactions with thinkers:

  • Be concise. Thinking personality types appreciate when others get straight to the point instead of beating around the bush. So, make sure to communicate your ideas succinctly to find common ground with them.
  • Learn to accept criticism. Learning to recognize and take constructive criticism can help you have more productive conversations with thinkers, as these types don’t hold themselves back from expressing feedback—even when it’s negative. Besides, not all criticism is inherently bad; done correctly, it can fuel your growth.
  • Emphasize logic over emotions. The last thing you want to do when interacting with thinkers is to focus on your feelings and emotions; these things simply aren’t that important to them. Instead, use reason and logical arguments to get your point across. Also, make sure to avoid logical fallacies—otherwise, thinkers might not take you seriously.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have made it to the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of the psychology of feeling vs. thinking types.

Needless to say, these two decision-making approaches are vastly different, but it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. Both logic and emotions are crucial to balanced decision-making. So, whether you’re a feeler or a thinker, the best thing you can do for yourself is to become more comfortable with the approach that comes less naturally to you.

Feeling vs. Thinking FAQ

#1. Which one is better, feeling or thinking?

Neither feeling nor thinking is better than the other. Both of these approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Feeling types, for example, could learn how to handle criticism from thinkers. These, on the other hand, could use some tact and empathy, both of which feeling types have in heaps.

#2. How to know if you’re thinking or feeling?

If you want to know if you’re a thinking or feeling type, consider taking our personality test. Not only is it free and takes minutes to complete, but it can also reveal much more about you than your preference for feeling vs. thinking, including your strengths and weaknesses, career matches, and more.

#3. Can you become more of a thinker if you’re a feeling person, or vice versa?

You can become more of a thinker if you’re a feeling person, and vice versa. However, even though you can improve your weaker cognitive functions, a feeler isn’t likely to become a thinker, just like a thinker isn’t likely to develop their Fi or Fe to the point of it becoming their dominant function.

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