Each MBTI type has an inferior function, which is the fourth function in the set of cognitive functions. For most people, the fourth function tends to become developed later in life, once all the others have been developed. When each type experiences grip stress, they tend to live in their fourth, inferior function in an unhealthy way. By working on, and developing the fourth function now, it can help each type not to overlook information they may later wish they had paid attention to. Here is a list of the inferior functions for each type, and one reason why each type may want to pay attention to their inferior function when making a decision.
ESTJ/ENTJ: Introverted Feeling. An ESTJ or ENTJ may make a decision with their extroverted thinking function using facts and data, then later wish they had paid more attention to their own feelings and values while making their decision. They may pay more attention to facts acquired by external sources than they will about their own feelings about situations. For example, when making a decision about the best way to handle a mistake by a staff member at work, they may look only at the external facts and data and possibly make the person feel as if they overreacted negatively. They may forget to check in with how they feel about the situation internally themselves and how they would handle it if it were they themselves that had made the mistake.
ISFP/INFP: Extroverted Thinking. An ISFP or INFP may make a decision with their introverted feeling function using past values imparted them by their families and the way they were raised, then later wish they had paid more attention to their external process of taking data and facts from the external environment. They may spend too much time in their own thoughts and values, forgetting that there are others facts they may want to consider. For example, they may respond to their partner or friends in anger, thinking that they have violated some value of belief they have based on their own past experiences. However, they may wish they had used their process of taking in the external facts and environment before jumping to conclusions, and realizing that the person may not have meant ill will.
ESTP/ESFP: Introverted Intuition. An ESTP or ESFP may make a decision with their extroverted sensing function using sensory experiences and the present moment, then later wish they had paid more attention to their internal pattern collecting of information. They sometimes spend too much time in the present moment, without diving deep to pay attention to patterns that may help them make a decision. For example, they may decide it is a great idea to go sailing, and realizing later that they should have checked in with their internal intuition of pattern collecting, telling them that it was bit too windy for sailing that day.
INTJ/INFJ: Extroverted Sensing. An INTJ or INFJ may make a decision with their introverted intuition function using patterns and data they process internally, then later wish they had paid more attention to their external process of paying attention to sensory experience and the present moment. They sometimes get stuck in needing to know the full picture, where their introverted intuition wants to collect ALL the data before making a decision, and sometimes, they will wish they paid more attention to making a decision in the present moment using external sensory environment cues. For example, they may decide not to go on a rafting trip with their friends because they were invited last minute, but looking back on it, wish they had just gone and enjoyed the present moment.
ESFJ/ENFJ: Introverted Thinking. An ESFJ or ENFJ may make a decision with their extroverted feeling function paying attention to other people and their feelings, then later wish they had paid more attention to their internal fact collecting and data based on their experiences. They may spend a lot of time trying to figure out how their actions may make other people feel, and not enough time paying attention to data and facts they have collected themselves. For example, they may decide they will do a favor for a friend, only to realize later that they should have paid attention to their internal process of determining whether they had all the facts before agreeing because the task ended up being monotonous and boring for them.
ISTP/INTP: Extroverted Feeling. An ISTP or INTP may make a decision with their introverted thinking function using their internal process of determining the facts, then later wish they had paid more attention to their others feelings and values while making their decision. Using their introverted thinking, they may realize they are right and shut someone down, and later wish they had paid attention to the other person’s feelings. For example, they may have had an experience and learned that red cars fade in the sun based on the fact that their red bike had previously faded in the sun, and insist that the other person not get a red car. They may later realize when they hurt the other persons feelings, that they may not care about the fading, they just wanted a red car.
ENTP/ENFP: Introverted Sensing. An ENTP or ENFP may make a decision with their extroverted intuition function using data, patterns and theories (typically theories based in reality), then later wish they had paid more attention to sensory detail and their own past experiences. They may make a spontaneous conclusion based on someone else’s experience and assume details about it that may not actually be true based on their projection of reality. For example, if a person does not respond to a text right away, and the ENTP/ENFP would have responded quickly, they may assume the person is wishy washy and get angry. They may wish they had paid more attention to their internal fact collecting, and realize that maybe the person had something else going on. They may wish they had made sure to get all the facts before coming to a conclusion.
ISTJ/ISFJ: Extroverted Intuition. An ISTJ or ISFJ may make a decision with their introverted sensing function using past experiences and sensory detail, then later wish they had paid more attention to their external process of taking in patterns, theories and data from the external environment. They take data internally and absorb it, and use their past experiences to make their decisions. For example, they may buy a brand name dress for the party based on their past experiences and sensory data collection, failing to realize that external trends have moved on and changed in the last six months and it is no longer in style.
Feel free to comment below if you have other tips or thoughts!
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