So for instance, as an ESFP, I can look at my letters and work out that my dominant function is the perceiving function, Extraverted Sensing (Se), and that my auxiliary function is the judging function, Introverted Feeling (Fi). This means that the judging function Fi is the tool that I use to make judgments on the information that I take in with my dominant function, Se. The theory states that we all use both a dominant judging function and a dominant perceiving function in conjunction with each other most of the time. One of these will be introverted and the other will be extraverted. Your 16 Personalities letters will help you decide which of these two functions you are using.
So you can see that to categorize people based on the letters in and of themselves can be quite problematic because for instance, to just take the letters “E” and “I” and claim that someone is either “Extraverted” or “Introverted” doesn’t touch on the nuance of all the different ways in which an extraverted dominant function can present itself. That first letter determines whether our dominant function is extraverted or introverted. But having an “E” at the beginning of your personality type means that your first function is either Extraverted Sensing, Extraverted Intuition, Extraverted Thinking, or Extraverted Feeling, all of which manifest in hugely different ways, especially given that each of these is also supported by one of 4 different introverted functions (hence, there are 16 combinations and therefore 16 types).
The way that I like to think of all the extraverted functions is that they are presenting in a person’s external world, whereas the introverted functions are presenting in a person’s internal world. It makes sense that if a type is leading with an extraverted function because it’s the function that they’re using most of the time, the person presents as more “extraverted”. And it makes sense that if a person is leading with an introverted function, which is based on the person’s internal world because it’s the function that they are using most of the time, the person will present as more “introverted”.
But to sum up 8 of the 16 personalities as simply “extroverts” and the other 8 as “introverts” really quiet, unfortunately, skims over so much information that distinguishes the real meat of a person’s natural cognitive mode and therefore their behavior, their world view, and their personality. MBTI helps us to understand what a person’s natural cognitive functions are, where their blindspots are – because obviously if they’re using 2 functions most of the time, this means that there are 6 functions that they won’t be using most of the time – and therefore to extend grace and patience to others based on what we know about where they get their energy, what they value and what they need in relationships.
You’re probably starting to see why the MBTI online tests are not the best way to determine your actual personality type, given that the different cognitive functions that we’re using mean that we’re perceiving the test questions differently in the first place.
With all this taken into consideration, I’m going to recommend that you visit my YouTube channel “dear Kristin” and take a look at one of my most recent uploads, titled “Explaining All 8 Cognitive Functions”, wherein I give a brief explanation of each of the cognitive functions in the Jungian 8 function model. This will help you to understand the explanation that I’m about to give about each of the 16 personality types. Please also know that if you want more information on this stuff, there is so much on the internet, especially on YouTube, so go and explore a deep dive into the cognitive function rabbit hole and enjoy life never being the same again.
So I’ll begin by explaining the Sensor types, specifically the SJs (xSxJs), who all use the cognitive function Introverted Sensing (Si) in their dominant or auxiliary slot. This is a function that uses internalized systems based on past traditions in order to maintain order in the physical environment.
1. ISTJ or “The Logistician”:
Our first personality type is the ISTJ, or “The Logistician” in the 16 personalities model. This type runs with the dominant function of Introverted Sensing (Si) and the auxiliary function of Extroverted Thinking (Te). This means that they typically have ingrained care for interior systems that can be actualized to maintain order in their physical environment.
ISTJs are great with memory, very good at communicating simply, and have a natural respect for tradition and how things have been proven to work in the past. You will notice their order in their own physical environment and their interior care for maintaining this order before you will notice them trying to project this order onto others.
2. ESTJ or “The Executive”:
Our second type is our ESTJ, or “The Executive.” This type runs with the dominant function of Extraverted Thinking (Te) and the auxiliary function of Introverted Sensing (Si). The ESTJ uses the same functions as the ISTJ but flipped.
So, they also value tradition and systems for maintaining order, but you will see them much more obviously trying to implement those systems in their external environment and onto other people’s lives. They make great bosses and managers because they are great at visualizing the most effective way to get things done in their immediate environment, and they are good at communicating this clearly without feeling the need to insert emotional padding.