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mbti-tf

Excerpted from Please Understand Me II, by David Keirsey 

Copyrighted © 1998, all rights reserved

Everybody has thoughts (T) and feelings (F) but some pay more attention to their thoughts than to their feelings while others pay more attention to their feelings than to their thoughts. Those who attend mainly to their thoughts are said to govern themselves with their head, their concepts and percepts being their guides to action. In contrast, those who pay more attention to their feelings are said to follow their heart, which means that much of what they do is based on emotion or desire. If we use a distinction made by the great pragmatist William James, some people are more "tough-minded" and others more "tender-minded." But if we note the words Myers used in her type portraits, we see that her distinction is between those who can be called "tough-minded" and those who can be called "friendly."

There is some criticism exchanged between these types. The Tough-minded are often accused of being "inhuman," "heartless," "stony-hearted," "remote," of having 'ice in their veins," and of living "without the milk of human kindness." In the same way, the Friendly are chided for being "too soft-hearted," "too emotional," "bleeding-hearts," "muddleheaded," "fuzzy-thinkers," and for "wearing their heart on their sleeve."

Such accusations can be vehement and damaging, particularly in marriages and other family relationships, when two people of different orientation are in conflict over an important decision. An ENFP wife, for example, might want her INTP husband to open up emotionally and "let his feelings show," while he might wish she "would be logical for once." Or an ESTJ father might want his ISFP son to straighten up and "use his head" for a change, while the son might wish his father could "lighten up" and be more understanding of what he really is and can do.

Another polarizing (and inaccurate) stereotype is that the Friendly types have more and deeper emotions than the Tough-minded types -- one side is seen as sensitive and warm-hearted, and the other seen as insensitive and cold-hearted. Here again, however, the truth is that both react emotionally with similar frequency and intensity, the difference being a matter of display. The Friendly tend to make their emotions and wishes quite visible and audible, so others see them as capable of deep feelings. To be sure, when they show their feelings, others cannot help being affected, their own emotions even aroused by the display. The Tough-minded, in contrast, are embarrassed by an exhibition of intense feeling, and will hide their feelings rather than be seen as losing self-control. Because of this, they are often described as "cold" and "indifferent," when in fact they are feeling something quite strongly -- only working hard to contain themselves.

When they can get past the stereotypes, these two orientations usually find they can complement each other quite well, whether in business or in marriage, with the Tough-minded partner providing a source of clarity and toughness, and the Friendly partner providing a source of compassion and personal consideration.