Introverted Feeling (Fi): 10 Common Signs & How to Develop Fi
by Lisa Sparrow
Introverted feeling (Fi) is a rather mystifying cognitive function. Some may suggest that even its name isn’t entirely accurate, as it deals much more with values than feelings!
Nonetheless, knowing what Fi is, how it works, and how you can develop it can bring you much more fulfillment in life. That’s because this cognitive function allows you to discover and embrace your authentic self!
So, if you’re looking to learn all about introverted feeling, read along and find out:
- What is Introverted Feeling (Fi)?
- 10 Common Signs of Introverted Feeling Personalities
- How Does Introverted Feeling Affect Your Personality Type?
- What Does an Unhealthy Fi Look Like?
- How Can Fi Users Strengthen Their Introverted Feeling?
What is Introverted Feeling (Fi)?
Introverted feeling (Fi) is an cognitive function that focuses on inner values and morals. As a judging function, it enables people to make decisions based on what aligns and resonates with their beliefs. Fi users have a strong sense of right and wrong that comes from their internal moral compass rather than a universal moral code.
Although introverted feeling personality types tend to be humble and reserved, they have strong moral values. Like all feeling types, they strive for peace and harmony. Yet, when something or someone goes against their beliefs, they’ll stand up for what they believe in.
For introverted feeling personalities, the most important principle in life is living in harmony with their values. As such, dominant Fi users can be quite contemplative. They enjoy learning about themselves and discovering what truly matters to them. Unlike most people, they want to uncover their authenticity and realize who they are aside from what society expects them to be.
Users of Introverted Feeling (Fi)
The main users of introverted feeling are FP personality types, so let’s see how Fi shapes their personalities.
ISFP and INFP: Dominant Fi Users
Out of all personality types, ISFP and INFP personalities use introverted feeling the most. It’s the first function they develop and the one that guides them throughout their lives. Thanks to Fi, ISFP and INFP people are sensitive, strong-minded, artistic, and genuine. They also typically have a melancholic temperament.
Interestingly enough, they often give off misleading first impressions. While they may come off as open-hearted people, they are usually private and don’t reveal themselves easily to strangers. Similarly, they can seem soft and easy-going, but they’ll fiercely defend their ideals.
As you may expect, IFPs have quite complex personalities. And, on top of that, they’d rather go against the flow than betray their values and authenticity. They don’t have much regard for social norms and values. In fact, they tend to frown upon people who try to conform to society’s expectations, as they regard such behavior as fake and pretentious.
ESFP and ENFP: Auxiliary Fi Users
Thanks to their dominant extraverted perceiving functions and auxiliary Fi, they are often considered the free spirits of the personality typology system. EFP personalities are highly independent and open-minded. They’re intrigued by different people, cultures, and opinions.
Moreover, ESPs often have a non-conformist attitude toward life. Many of them don’t believe in traditional social values, such as getting married or having children. Instead, they want to follow their own paths and find what resonates with them.
10 Common Signs of Introverted Feeling Personalities
Now that you know the nitty-gritty of introverted feeling, here are 10 distinct qualities that’ll help you spot Fi users:
First and foremost, people with strong introverted feeling are loyal to themselves. They strive for authenticity in whatever they do. They also don’t mind if others consider them odd as long as they remain true to themselves.
That said, Fi users can have a hard time adapting to different environments. For example, they may decline a great job offer just because it requires them to wear a specific uniform.
#2. Strong Values
Fi users have unshakable values, principles, and morals. However, their understanding of right and wrong isn’t related to cultural or societal values. Instead, they have their own set of morals, which they use to make decisions.
More than anyone else, introverted feeling personalities hold onto their internal values. No matter what, they won’t compromise on what they believe in—even if most people around them have different opinions.
#3. Private Nature
While introverted feeling personality types can be social, they set limits on how much of their personal lives they share with others. Most Fi users don’t want to get their feelings hurt, so they don’t open up easily.
On top of that, they’re rather independent when dealing with difficult situations. They prefer to tackle personal issues on their own instead of seeking emotional support from other people.
#4. Openness to Different Opinions
Although Fi users tend to stick to their opinions, they’re typically open to hearing different points of view. Appreciating authenticity enables them to value differences between people. As such, they don’t force others to agree with them and are more than happy to “agree to disagree.” That said, they can become defensive when people try to push their views on them.
#5. Individualistic Mindset
People with well-developed introverted feeling don’t follow the crowd. Above everything else, they want to stay true to themselves. They know exactly what they like in fashion, movies, music, and other areas. Naturally, they tend to make decisions based on their personal preferences rather than going with the most popular option.
Contrary to popular belief, introverted feeling personalities aren’t cold and indifferent to other people’s feelings. While it’s true that they’re mostly concerned with their emotions, they’re also sensitive to those around them. Fi users are especially sympathetic to other people’s pain and suffering. As such, they deeply feel for people with disabilities, homeless people, and so on.
#7. Powerful Gut Feeling
Intuitive and sensory introverted feeling personality types are highly in tune with their intuition. They can immediately tell if something feels off, wrong, or goes against their values. What’s more, Fi users have a great authenticity radar—they can easily tell if someone is being honest or not. This ability to sense people’s motives helps them make better decisions.
#8. Freedom-Loving Attitude
People with strong introverted feeling are highly independent. Even in their closest intimate relationships, they still want—and need—lots of personal space. They aren’t controlling and don’t like being controlled.
It goes without saying that Fi users avoid people who want to mold them into something they aren’t. Instead, they love to surround themselves with other free-thinking individuals (as opposed to extraverted thinking) who aren’t concerned with social norms and expectations.
#9. Craving for Intimacy
Introverted feeling personalities aren’t shallow, although extroverted ones may seem like that at first glance. In reality, they want to build deeply intimate relationships—ideally based on authentic self-expression. Needless to say, they’d easily choose one person who truly sees them for who they are over ten acquaintances.
#10. Avoiding Labels
While most people let their profession, marital status, fashion, nationality, and similar define them, Fi users can’t stand being labeled or labeling others. They believe that no single word is complex enough to encompass someone’s essence. They also don’t have a need to belong to a specific social group or identify with it, as they fear this might strip away their individuality.
Introverted Feeling vs Extraverted Feeling Compared
Now that you know how to spot introverted feeling in people, you may be wondering how to tell it apart from extraverted feeling (Fe). While both functions lead people to make value-based decisions, their values are completely different.
Simply put, introverted feeling is subjective and concerned with inner harmony, so the values of Fi users vary from one person to another. Nonetheless, all people who use introverted feeling place a high value on authenticity. They evaluate their options to see what aligns best with their core values.
Meanwhile, extraverted feeling is more objective and focused on collective harmony. This means that all Fe users share more or less the same values, such as helpfulness and social etiquette. Unlike introverted feeling personalities, Fe users turn outwards to assess their options. To them, the best decision is the one that makes everyone happy.
Generally, Fe users value social decency significantly more than Fi users. For example, they may apologize even if they believe they haven’t done anything wrong. They also frequently remind other people to be polite, say “thank you,” etc. Fi users, on the other hand, only apologize or express gratitude when they truly mean it.
Unsurprisingly, Fi users might mistakenly consider Fe users ingenuine for prioritizing social—and not personal—values. However, this isn’t the case, as focusing on the collective is an authentic expression of extraverted feeling.
How Does Introverted Feeling Affect Your Personality Type?
Besides FP personalities, introverted feeling also affects other personality types, albeit to a lesser extent. Before we explore how Fi impacts your personality, it’s important that you find out where this function resides in your cognitive function stack.
If you don’t know your cognitive function stack well, this chart can help you determine the position of Fi based on your personality type:
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s a quick overview of how introverted feeling influences your personality:
- Tertiary Fi ( ISTJ, INTJ). If Fi is your tertiary function, developing it can help you identify your personal values and make decisions that align with your authentic self.
- Inferior Fi ( ESTJ, ENTJ). Inferior introverted feeling might lead you to dismiss other people’s or your own feelings.
- Opposing role Fi ( ESFJ, ENFJ). As an opposing role function, Fi can lead you to perceive introverted feeling personalities as selfish and complicated.
- Critical parent Fi ( ISFJ, INFJ). With Fi in the critical parent role, you might judge yourself for thinking too much about other people and abandoning your values.
- Trickster Fi ( ESTP, ENTP). Trickster Fi can cause you to become fascinated with getting others to question their values, opinions, and beliefs. You may participate in discussions just to mess around with people.
- Demon Fi ( ISTP, INTP). Demon Fi might make it difficult for you to define your values. You might also find that your attempts at introspection often result in an existential crisis.
What Does an Unhealthy Fi Look Like?
Introverted feeling is a great cognitive function that can help you increase your life satisfaction by enabling you to align your decisions with your values. However, like all cognitive functions, Fi can spiral out of balance, especially when you’re stressed out.
Here are some signs of an unhealthy Fi user you should look out for:
- Selfishness. Unhealthy introverted feeling personalities usually have little, if any, regard for other people. They don’t care if their actions harm others and always find ways to justify them.
- Playing the victim. People with unhealthy Fi are prone to self-pity. Ironically, they especially feel pity for themselves after hurting others. They may feel misunderstood and lonely, which can cause them to try and manipulate others into feeling sorry for them.
- Hypersensitivity. Unhealthy introverted feeling can make people take everything personally. They can easily get offended and judge or berate people who disagree with them.
- Holding grudges. At worst, unhealthy Fi users may feel as if the world was out to get them, which can induce hostility. They might hold grudges instead of accepting apologies and even destroy relationships out of spite.
Introverted Feeling During Personality Development Phases
Introverted feeling is no different than any other cognitive function in that it develops throughout your life. So, let’s see how it affects different personality types during the main personality development stages!
Fi During the First Personality Development Phase
As mentioned above, IFP personality types are the first to develop Fi. This stage starts in childhood and lasts throughout their adolescence.
Thanks to Fi, IFP children are usually quiet and sensitive. They react strongly to praise and positive reinforcement but may take criticism too personally. Given their heightened sensitivity, it’s important that their home environment is safe and harmonious. Otherwise, they can become withdrawn and, later in life, rebellious.
Fi During the Second Personality Development Phase
Once EFP personalities master their dominant functions, they begin developing introverted feeling. This shifts their focus inwards and away from the external world and experiences.
They often become fascinated with self-exploration, which can make them appear more introverted than they are. During this time, EFPs seek to discover who they truly are. They become introspective, which helps them reinvent themselves and lead authentic lives.
Not to mention, developing their auxiliary Fi often gives EFPs a stronger sense of purpose. As they discover their values, they also find out their deepest wishes. This greatly assists them in becoming more goal-oriented and down-to-earth.
Fi During the Third Personality Development Phase
The third personality development phase entails developing tertiary and inferior functions, which is a challenge in and of itself. However, this is even more challenging in the case of introverted feeling. That’s because this phase concerns TJ personality types, who are notorious for their emotional detachment and insensitivity.
While TJ personalities may be the least willing to work on their introverted feeling, they’re also the ones who might benefit from it the most.
Besides helping them become more considerate of other people, Fi can also assist them in identifying their core values and finding ways to contribute to society. In fact, many TJs who work on their Fi become invested in volunteering, charities, and social movements!
How Can Fi Users Strengthen Their Introverted Feeling?
If you feel like your introverted feeling function hasn’t reached its full potential, take advantage of these tried-and-tested tips to improve your Fi:
- Define your principal values. Introverted feeling is largely concerned with having strong core values, so try and determine what matters to you. Then, see whether your choices, lifestyle, and personality reflect your values.
- Declutter your life. When it comes to introverted feeling, decluttering your life doesn’t refer to cleaning your house. Instead, you want to distance yourself from habits, people, and other elements of your life that don’t align with your beliefs and who you want to be.
- Identify your emotions. Fi users are great at recognizing emotions in themselves and others. So, to boost your emotional intelligence, analyze your feelings. Try to avoid basic emotions (happy, sad, angry, etc.) and work on learning to spot differences between nuanced feelings (e.g., contentment vs. peacefulness).
- Embrace your uniqueness. Instead of worrying about what other people think, accept yourself the way you are and allow yourself to be unique. Make it a point to express your authenticity through your words, actions, and even appearance.
And that wraps up our in-depth guide to introverted feeling!
More than any other cognitive function, introverted feeling enables people to celebrate their individuality. So, whether you’re a Fi user or not, there’s no doubt that developing this function is highly beneficial. Besides inspiring you to express yourself and break social norms, it can also help you appreciate diversity in people, cultures, and more!