Each personality type has four Cognitive Functions. Functions put language to the way they process information and make decisions, and their order is based on personal preferences. Thinking and Feeling are used to make decisions, while iNtuition and Sensing are used to process information. Each type is referred to by their top two functions. Internal functions are the ones you use in your head, and external functions are the ones you use to interact with the world around you.
The SeFi's functions are:
1. Se - extroverted Sensing
Se is the main way SeFi’s take in information. It means they use their senses to understand the world around them. They live in the moment and prefer dealing with things that are real and solid over the purely hypothetical. Se is the part of SeFi’s that makes them search out playful new sensory experiences.
2. Fi - introverted Feeling
Although it’s referred to as “Feeling”, Fi is not internal emotions, but rather values that come from within. SeFi’s might experience a deep well of emotions, but this is not the root of Fi. It is a decision making-process that makes them very interested in determining their own moral code and what the SeFi’s gut instinct tells them is right, which is often based on how they would like to be treated themselves. They tend to be very considerate of others, and may take a long time to mull over their own beliefs to make sure they seem right. The values-refining process can take quite a bit of time and requires mental solitude. Fi generally puts authenticity in high esteem and is repulsed by anything that seems fabricated or shallow.
3. Te - extroverted Thinking
Te is the SeFi’s third function. Te is a very logic-oriented way of problem solving. It is the side of them that naturally looks to find a better solution to a problem, improve the efficiency of a process, or critique and refine what is already in place. SeFi’s are pretty balanced between this quick, decisive efficient way of making decisions and the pondering, value-driven decision making process of their Fi.
4. Ni - introverted iNtuition
Ni is the SeFi’s last function and may be their achilles heel, and is inherently not as strong as their other functions because their highest priority and focus is on Se. Ni allows them to pull from every area in their brain to find valuable data, to look for patterns in the information they gather, or to skip ten steps ahead and predict what will happen in the future. Ni makes their internal world abstract and can involve jumping around on intuitive leaps. In the SeFi, Ni might give them the sense that it’s okay to not have everything figured out. Overuse of an inferior function can be very draining, and may be unhealthy when constantly given priority over other functions.
Dominant Function and Core of the External World:
SeFi’s are all about in-the-moment, tangible, concrete, real world experiences and perceptions, and how they can connect their physical surroundings to their shifting, mystical inner world. It’s possible that those with strong Se are the only people who truly live ‘in the moment’, in a sense. They view the world as a solid force, and prefer to take in information in a concrete, solid way. Because they do not experience solidity within themselves, they seek that stability in the world around them.
SeFi’s especially feel that every moment should be spend on something worthwhile and fun, and doing anything they view as ‘work’ is arduous and tedious, even if it’s work they enjoy. They are all about having fun and experiencing new things, so even enjoyable work is rarely a favorite activity for them. They want to be able to do exactly what they want to do, the moment they think of doing it. Anything that hinders that freedom is a frustrating block to their Se .
They need a certain level of impulsiveness in life to be happy. Being too tied to a schedule can feel like torture for them and planning too much can lead to a lot of stress. They might enjoy breaking rules from time to time, especially if they feel that others are trying to impose too much unwanted structure on them. They want to do what they want when they want, and crave fun and spontaneity in their life. Even if their work is very fulfilling and satisfying, if it is not engaging to them in a physical capacity, they are going to get bored quickly.
SeFi’s are the everyday comedians of the world. They are likely to have a very silly sense of humor, and enjoy pushing the bounds of humor to get people to laugh. They tend to have great spacial awareness and might use this skill as part of their joking around. They love to be around people they can have fun with, and if someone regularly puts down the their ideas for fun adventures, they might write that person off as “boring”.
While they can be great listeners, SeFi’s really enjoy doing things with people as a means of getting acquainted. They crave thrill and adventure and need to be engaged with the world around them. Exploring nature, getting involved in physical sports, or getting their hands dirty and doing things in the physical world is very cathartic for them. The Se side of an SeFi makes them value beauty very highly, and they seek out beautiful, serene surroundings, especially in nature. Their surroundings have a strong influence on them, and they are very aware of their physical environment. They are likely to be drawn to a specific aesthetic when it comes to clothes, decorating their homes, creating art, etc. Having beauty surrounding them is extremely important for their mental well being.
SeFi’s are typically very creative. They like very tangible, 5-senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, sound) experiences, so creating art with their hands (i.e. playing an instrument, painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, etc.) is very gratifying to them. They love beauty and often find it satisfying to know they’re capturing some of the beauty in the world with things like film and photography. In creating tangible art, they get to put Fi and Se to use by expressing meaning in all kinds of real-world ways that other people can experience.
When an SeFi does something to engage their senses, it drives them and gives them energy. Even better if they are able to engage their sense along with a group of fun friends to enhance the experience. Without beautiful, ‘5 senses’ types of experiences, their energy and creativity flatlines and they may turn to unhealthy vices like binging on food, alcohol, television, or video games to try to fill this need for physical engagement. This need is better filled with exercise, exploration, and play. SeFi’s are the people who are likely to be down for an adventure any time of the day or night.
SeFi’s are excited about the here and now of what is going on around them. They are very present, and might find it difficult to plan far into the future. They are so fully present in the moment that the current situation they find themselves in feels like it’s their whole world. If you were to ask an SeFi what their life is like, they would probably tell you about their current circumstances rather than the big picture.
Second Function and the Core of the Internal World:
Strong Fi types are very warm and caring to those they are close to, as they might subconsciously believe that everyone has an inner world of depth similar to theirs. However, they take a while to open up to people, and aren’t likely to approach someone unless that person strikes their interest in some way. Once an SeFi has let someone into their inner circle, they are likely to keep that connection open as long as harmony remains between the two-- i.e. if the other person shows themselves to be inauthentic or living out a strong opposition to a value the SeFi holds, the SeFi may retreat from the relationship, or try to keep things on superficial terms. As long as the those close to them remain true to their presentation of themselves and aren’t offensive to their morals, an SeFi will likely be very attached to that person, whether or not they see them regularly.
At their best, SeFi’s are masters of self-care and great at putting healthy boundaries in place. They are empathetic people, so they see the needs of others and want to take care of them when they can. However, healthy SeFi’s know that they cannot effectively care for others unless they first care for themselves. They know their limits and aren’t usually afraid of saying ‘no’ when they aren’t able to do something or fit something into their lives.
Fi differs from Fe (extroverted Feeling) in that Fe is focused externally and is constantly asking, “How does the group feel about this?”, whereas Fi is focused internally and is constantly asking, “How do I feel about this?” SeFi’s are protective of their ‘inner circle’, feeling that those they share the intimate details of their persona with are in some ways part of themselves. They will not hesitate to defend themselves or those they are close to when they feel attacked or threatened.
For SeFi’s who have developed their inner world, spending time on self-reflection, they are great at knowing themselves. They are concerned with the depth and nuances of their values; they spend a fair amount of their mental space clarifying, sifting, and refining their beliefs. This process can be very connected to deep emotions, and they might find themselves laughing or crying at the beauty of a seemingly random object that has meaning to them, while bystanders who notice their reaction might be quite confused at their sudden outburst. For some people with strong Fi, their emotions run so deep that for them to burst forth, there has to have been a lot of feelings building under the surface for quite some time. They tend to seek out things (movies, books, etc.) that will engage their emotions, because following characters they care about through an emotional journey can be very rewarding.
It’s worth noting that when we talk about Feeling (Fi or Fe) as a cognitive function, we are not specifically referring to emotions. Emotional experiences or expressions can be related to Feeling (Fe or Fi), but they are not the root of “Feeling”. The root of Fi or Fe boils down to a person’s values (i.e. what a person thinks is important based on their own conscience and why), and the choices they make accordingly. An Fi user’s moral code is derived from what their conscience or "gut instinct" tells them is right, generally treating others the way they themselves want to be treated. This Fi value is not based in emotions, but neither does it need to be 100% logical. It is not overly concerned with the REASON behind treating others fairly… It simply ‘feels’ like the good and right thing to do because they themselves want to be treated fairly.
Fi’s driving instinct is to achieve inner harmony by remaining true to themselves and their values while minimizing the influence that external factors (societal expectations, and maybe even the opinions of friends and family) have on their values. SeFi’s may love discussing or even debating their values with others, as long as they are able to remain true to themselves while doing so. But after a lengthy discussion, they will need time by themselves to evaluate the conversation and consider what the other person said and how they might fit it into their value system. They find their own principles to be trustworthy and valuable, and are inherently skeptical of others who try to impose on them, If something does not line up to their own beliefs, they cannot act in accordance with it. To go against their own values is to cause inner discord, which very difficult for them to endure.
Because of the always-shifting nature of their internal world, it can them take a few days or even weeks to sort their emotions out. They might have an argument with their friend and know they are upset in the moment, but they have to spend time afterward untangling the various emotions they felt and the reasons behind them. Because they experience their inner world quite deeply, their emotions run very deep and might be very overwhelming and difficult to deal with at times.
If an SeFi slows down from their usual mode of action, they may get lost in their own inner world. Perhaps they’ll try to figure out what a stranger, who is sitting 200 feet away from them in a coffee shop, is thinking, how their day is going, what their life must be like, etc. They tend to love people-watching, but also aren’t afraid to get up close and personal with most people. They feel pretty comfortable daydreaming about a stranger, but if the mood strikes them, they might also strike up a friendly conversation with people they don’t know yet.
SeFi’s may have an active imagination well into adulthood. Strong Fi people are very concerned with “The Story” of/behind various things. For example, they might see a large, sturdy tree and wonder how long it’s been there, trying to imagine the events it’s been around for, or who else sat in its shade, what wisdom might be attached to or inside of that tree, etc. They automatically look for meaning everywhere—in books, movies, a passing remark from a friend, a special cup they like to use, or even why that tree was planted in a particular place. Fi assigns meaning to everything.
Because they can be so interested in the depth and nuance of the meaning of everything, and how the meaning of something relates to everything else, they can become incredibly captivated by the right idea or story. When something sparks their imagination, or taps into an aspect of meaning that carries a lot of weight with them, they become entranced by the story or idea. Even just the process of a story unfolding might be more meaningful to an them than the sum of the story’s parts.
Third Function and Supporting Role in the External World:
Te is the third function and the supporting role in the SeFi’s external world, which is their main focus as extroverts. Te is a process that allows them to take in information from the real world, make quick decisions on what the most effective solution is, and put that solution into play right away. Because of their awareness of the external world and their 5-senses, they can pull out their troubleshooting skills when necessary to get a job done effectively.
Because this side of them makes them value excellence and efficiency, they may have trouble getting started with new hobbies, career paths or other big life changes. Although they know it’s not really possible, they want to be masters of whatever they try when they do it the first time.
While they prefer to take their time on decision making, it isn’t always possible or practical. In these situations, it’s useful to have Te so that they can make a quick, in-the-moment decision. Because they are able to rely on their Fi internal compass (more on that below) in the background to let them know when something feels off, they can feel comfortable with their decision even if they can’t articulate a solid reason for it at the time as long as it passes their “gut check”. For example, if they have the sense that someone they see walking down the street could be harmful to them in some way, they don’t have time to untangle why they have that feeling. They just know they don’t feel safe next to this person, and the best solution is the cross the street or take a detour in order to avoid them.
In a lot of cases, Te is the protector function of the SeFi. When one of their values comes under attack, they rely on a direct, matter-of-fact Te communication style to defend it. When they feel so strongly about a subject that they know they must take action on it, they tap into this part of themselves that is powerful and commanding to take a stand for that what they believe is right. Te can also be the part of them that tells them to just pick something (a career, a hobby, an outfit, etc) and stick with it, at least for a short period of time. It’s the part of them that pushes them to come to a conclusion and be decisive. They know they can’t contemplate how they feel about everything forever, so this quick decisive process helps them make choices when quick action is necessary.
In general, SeFi’s dislike being harsh and judgmental. They are aware that other people have their own thoughts and emotions, and try to approach people from a place of understanding. Although they might find themselves being overly critical without meaning to be, they are likely to regret any time they come across in a way that they don’t feel reflects their true character.
SeFi’s best use their Te when there is already a system in place, as it is easiest for them to use the simplest version of Te - critiquing and refining. When something is already in place and needs improvement, it can be easier to analyze it and see the solution. When starting from scratch, they might have lots of ideas, but the act of putting systems and and structures of efficiency into place is harder for them.
Last Function and the Supporting Role of the Internal World:
Ni is the least strong process an SeFi uses. They are so focused on the here-and-now of what is going on around them, that their intuition doesn’t always occur to them in blatant or obvious ways. SeFi’s do experience their inner world in a vaguely intuitive way. In their search for meaning, they are always evolving and shifting internally. Their inner world is open and fluid, though they see the outer world as very solid and unchangeable. When they consider various concepts or ideas, they tend to see them from multiple angles and points of view.
While SeFi’s can plan and make future-oriented goals, it’s not something they want to spend a great deal of time doing. They might even enjoy thinking about the future in a vague way, but they also have the sense that focusing too much on ‘what might be’ is pointless. SeFi’s feel that if they focus on what is going on currently, and know how to adapt to things as they come up, the future is automatically going to be taken care of. If they do what they need to do now in a certain way (good or bad), they know their future is going to reflect those actions. An SeFi’s intuition is subconscious, so although they are always calculating for the future, it might not always be obvious, even to them. But because their ‘right here, right now’ actions are always focused on setting themselves up for the next step, they are aware of what the future will bring in a vague sense.
They explore their feelings and emotions intuitively, and they have the sense that everything is connected to everything else. The mind of an SeFi is like a constellation of values, emotions, and sometimes even premonitions. Everything in their inner world is linked through constantly shifting and evolving webs. They might have a gut instinct that something is going to happen, often right before that scenario plays out in front of them. It’s a bit like feeling psychic, because their introverted iNtuition (Ni) is subconsciously trying to figure out what comes next. They subconsciously calculate several possibilities based on what is happening around them in the moment. When their intuition comes to the past, most of what they recall is the overall feeling of their experiences, rather than vivid details. Throughout their experience (whether of life in general, the story of a book or movie, etc), their mind naturally highlights themes, and sees patterns of meaning within the overarching story.
SeFi’s may be very spiritual people. Even if they don’t subscribe to a particular religious doctrine, they tend to have the sense that other realms and powers exist beyond what most people would take at face value. They marvel at skeptics of spirituality, because it is a part of themselves that they feel is fairly obvious. They are comfortable with the unknown, and they feel that they can never be 100% certain or reach absolute truth about most things in life, although they are likely to have a handful of things which they consistently feel are true and real to them. They will reevaluating things, or think about certain questions from different angles. Their Ni side is like a comforting friend who pats their shoulder and says, “It’s okay. You don’t have to have everything figured out.”
SeFi’s may subconsciously see patterns and make connections in things. For example, they when read a complex theory, it might not immediately make sense, but after moving on to a new activity, their subconscious connects the dots. Everything will synthesize in their mind and they will have an ‘aha!’ moment where everything becomes clear. Although these moments of clarity via intuition is nice for the SeFi, relying too much on it can be very draining for them. While SeFi’s should learn to trust their instincts, over-reliance on their intuitive premonitions is going to make them more paranoid than anything.
While SeFi’s can handle abstract ideas, concepts, and conversations, they can tire of this type of thought quickly if they can see no practical, real world value for it. While endless speculation about every possibility under the sun will tire them, if you give them one abstract concept, they can often run with it—building on it, and feeling out how to make it a tangible reality. Jumping from one abstract idea to another in rapid succession is going to make them lose interest in the conversation quickly.
When SeFi’s are in a crisis mode, they feel like they need to prepare for what might come next (“What should I expect at work tomorrow based on what happened today?”), and especially how they might feel about what they could encounter. Because they are very in-the-moment, they probably won’t be thinking about every possibility 5 years in the future. Their intuition reaches into the immediate future so they know what to deal with next. If their current situation feels turbulent, stressful, or overwhelming, they have the sense that their life in general is now out of their control. If the way out is not immediately obvious, they might feel completely hopeless. To them it feels like their circumstances are never going to change, and that their current reality will be their reality forever. SeFi’s in the midst of a crises may need to enlist someone else who can help them out of their difficult situation and remember that right now doesn’t last forever.