Extraverted Intuition (Ne) can be defined as seeing possibilities, making connections and seeking to understand the external world in a symbolic, abstract way. For INFPs, developing our auxiliary function of Ne can be a key for greater freedom, creative expression and meaningful personal development. By complementing our sophisticated, internal value system with a well-rounded intuitive way of perceiving the world (Ne), INFPs can be a powerful force for social change. Our strong values and intense empathy for the disadvantaged, coupled with a deeply insightful method of understanding the external world, creates the ability to make a difference.
It’s important to understand that Extraverted Intuition is an information gathering process. However, INFPs can often get stuck in a place of only taking in information that supports our internal value system. I’ve been there! This can lead to an acute sensitivity to criticism and unrealistic expectations of others. It is when we take in information for the sake of understanding the external world, rather than just to support our own values, that we can develop a more grounded, objective understanding of society. This enables us to have more realistic expectations of others.
While broadening our perspective to include a more accurate picture of the world, INFPs need to remember that this new information does not threaten our deeply held value system. We also need to be aware of our motives for taking in new information – is it just to support a personal idea or value, or is it to open our mind and understand a new concept (that we may not personally value). This involves learning to perceive information objectively, and not immediately fit it into our value system. It enables us to see things from different perspectives, and gain a deeper understanding of other people and the world.
How INFPs can develop Extraverted Intuition (Ne):
While there isn’t necessarily a certain set of steps to ‘develop’ Ne, here are some ideas that may encourage it to manifest:
- Think of how different people would behave in the same situation. Try to understand how they would see the situation differently. Try to understand their perspective without passing judgement or comparing it to your own.
- Ask questions! Try to understand where other people are coming from. I particularly enjoy talking to people of different cultures and/or backgrounds, because they offer different perspectives that fuel my Ne!
- Remember that everyone is living in their own world. Tell yourself that every person has their own life going on, and try to imagine what is going on in their world. Try not to pass judgement or compare their situation to yours.
- Brainstorm. Whether that be ideas for a future career, or where to travel next, explore different options and open yourself up to different possibilities.
- Find a creative outlet. Ne is often a powerful force when channeled into a creative outlet, whether that be writing, visual art, film making etc. Give yourself time to create!
Overall, Extraverted Intuition is an important tool that can be used to expand the INFPs understandings, enable creative expression and incite change in the world. Healthy use of Ne can be a freeing, enlightening experience, and is necessary for the personal development of the INFP.
References / further reading:
INFP Cognitive Functions Series:
- Introverted Feeling (Fi) in INFPs
- Introverted Sensing (Si) in INFPs
- Extroverted Thinking (Te) in INFPs
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