Thinker versus Feeler

19 May

I stole this from a page describing the different traits in Meyers-Briggs:

Thinker (T) versus Feeler (F)
In the Myers Briggs personality theory, this describes the way we judge information, so it´s about the way we make decisions. The main theory is that feelers accept from themselves that they make decisions based on emotions. A thinker will always need a logical argument to back up a decision, even though they are often blinded by emotions they will always tell themselves a logical reason for a decision, even if it´s an excuse. Feelers are tender, sensitive and feel way more empathy. Thinkers are a little cold, when somebody starts telling them about an emotional problem they will give you a logical solution. While when you tell an emotional problem to a feeler they will try to understand how you are feeling.

Feelers often try to avoid conflict at any costs while thinkers sometimes don´t even notice that they are getting into conflict with their tactless social skills. Some thinkers start to notice the importance of emotions and might train themselves to behave like a feeler, because they know that brings them social success

While I believe fully in understanding more about yourself and how you interact with the world around you, I think this is sometimes used as an excuse to act in a certain way. I’m a thinker through and through. I will always look for the logical solution to a situation. The fact that I process as a thinker does not mean that I get to “be” a thinker. I don’t think I get to define myself that way and excuse my behaviors because of it. It’s not fair for me to say “I’m a thinker,” and then never be sensitive to the emotions of other people, nor am I excused to operate only on rational thought at all times because that’s what’s easy for me. Sometimes I need to make the decision to act as a feeler would. It’s not that I can’t feel emotion. It’s that most of the time I choose not to utilize it to make decisions, and I choose not to allow emotion to impact how I act. I’m that thinker who doesn’t even realize I’m in a conflict or I’ve said sometime that could be construed because I just say what’s logical. Often times it’s only later that I realize that I was harsh or unfeeling in my statements. It’s important for me to be cognizant of this, be a mature adult, be sensitive to other’s emotions when appropriate, and make the right decision….wow…that statement is very thinker-like.

Feelers reading this might be thinking it’s obvious I think this way. I’m being logical about the fact that sometimes it’s necessary for me to act as a feeler, to be sensitive to emotions, and to just be emotional with people. My logic tells me this, and so I act that way. Thus, it’s all part of the neat little box that is thinkers. However, I believe the converse is true as well. Some people interact with the world as a feeler, but they should not be completely defined by being a feeler. I don’t think that being a feeler excuses someone from using logic and rational thought to make decisions when necessary, and I don’t accept “I’m a feeler” as a reason for not being able to act in a certain way. I think instead making those logical choices are definitely more difficult for the feeler, but just like sometimes us thinkers need to find emotion when interacting with the world, sometimes feelers need to find logic when interacting with the world. Neither thinker nor feeler is an excuse to act in a certain way. They are merely labels that help us understand how our default interactions will likely occur. It is still the responsibility of each to seek out the right and best action whether it’s contrary to our nature or not.

Husband and I have been musing over this recently. We’re both thinkers, so perhaps that’s how we came to this conclusion. Anyone want to weigh in with their opinion? I’m open to logical counterarguments 😉


Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Team Alzen!


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3 responses to “Thinker versus Feeler

  1. Erin

    May 19, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Just some food for thought here: Recent neuroscience data suggests that the brain doesn’t have “thinking” and a “feeling” areas, but rather they are completely conflated. This is wholly consistent with the philosophical perspective of David Hume, who argued that humans are governed by desire, rather than reason. In fact, his argument (and that of newer moral philosophers like Jon Haidt, and the new neuroscience data) might suggest that what we think is logic is just emotion camouflaged by human illusion. As someone who would, colloquially, describe myself very similar to your description of yourself, I think this is interesting food for thought…

    • jalzen

      May 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

      INTERESTING! Thanks for sharing!

    • Josh Morgan

      May 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      Erin makes a very good point. As a therapist, I can say that it’s important to have a balance of both, although it’s very hard to do so.

      I’m in a strange position that I do tend to be more of a thinker, but I’m in a feeler profession.

      Ultimately, I think the way we present thoughts and feelings has almost more to do with behavior than anything else. We become trained to be attuned to the rational process or our physiological emotional reactions. I’ve seen plenty of people who have tried to suppress one or the other (usually suppressing the feelings).


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