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What your Car says about you


What your Car says about you

Pic found on Twitter
Pic found on Twitter

Mid-life crisis = red corvette? No comment!

Yesterday we talked about lunch and culture, today it's cars and personality type.

American manufacturer Ford is currently holding their conference in Detroit, and have teamed up with CPP (license-holder of all MBTI® products) to show which Type would prefer which Ford model.

I've gone through an exercise before where we talked about our decision-making for car purchases. I remember someone with extraverted Feeling (Fe) preferences saying they simply "fell in love" as soon as they saw their car.

Someone with introverted Feeling (Fi) preferences said they went by recommendation and experience.

Someone with INTP preferences (dominant introverted Thinking Ti = analyzing) compared statistics, security results, mileage, and many other objective factors.

For me, it's not very extraverted Feeling at all - I just need my car to function, and I certainly don't have the patience to compare all those numbers. German engineering, anyone?

Here are some of the comments left on the MBTI facebook page about how to choose a car.

INTJ - Nissan Centra (quiet, practical, low maintenance, logical choice)

ENFJ - sporty & fun

INFJ - technology features

INFJ - Scion xA

INFP - not flashy but very reliable

INFP - biodiesel bug = easy on the environment & holds dogs well

ESTJ - 1960 Morris Minor. No technology = less to go wrong; everything can be fixed with a spanner

ENTP - Jeep Wrangler - go anywhere, do anything

ISTP - Jeep Wrangler - flexible to make (it) anywhere in silence

INTP - love the technology

What's your Type, and what (if any) do you drive?


Image by Jon Rawlinson, Flickr, Creative Commons.



ENFJ and Graphology

ENFJENFJs are often described as gracious, imaginative, congenial, energetic, idealistic, supportive, and curious. Their dominant function is extraverted Feeling Fe (aka harmonizing) supported by introverted Intuiting Ni (knowing). We had two ENFJs in the room, both Gemini (!), and I was one of them.

Apparently, many ENFJs enjoy writing with a pencil or a light ballpoint. The writing instrument will give you information about the person as well, and in this case ENFJs like to apply only little pressure. Full lower loops in the g's and j's indicate a sociability. If letters are connected and the writing is fluid, that's an indication for making connections with other people.

My sample showed a slightly larger letter size and a script that was not overly right-slanting. In fact, my slant and writing in general was very variable, indicating changeability and chameleon-like qualities. This really resonated because I tend to be who I think the person / client / situation needs me to be. At the same time, the sample showed original thought, creativity, and healthy word spacing.

Many of my letters have straight lower lines instead of lower loops. The straight line, e.g. in the y's indicate that it's ok to be alone, and in fact I enjoy being alone. That resonated, too.

Both our samples showed clear communication in that our capital letters don't have much of a preamble or lead-in stroke. We basically start our conversations like we start our letters: jumping right in.

I hope you've enjoyed the little excursion into graphology this week! I had a great time at the meeting, and if you're open to programs that examine Jung's Type and the MBTI(r) and all their correlations and applications, I invite you to check out your local Association for Psychological Type Chapter. Some of us advertise in meetup groups as well. Either way - join the conversation!


Schadenfreude and Extraverted Feeling


Schadenfreude and Extraverted Feeling

Schadenfreude is one of those German words that doesn't have a direct translation. It means "joy in another's misfortune". Whole branches of comedy (slapstick) and TV shows (all of Reality TV in my opinion, but definitely "candid camera" and "funny home videos") are built on this concept.

I watched this video of a kitten going beserk on facebook recently, and you'll have to see for yourself how high it jumps and how many times it contorts itself in horror. While the people taking the video were laughing, my first thought was - hope it didn't hurt itself.

And that got me wondering about my sense of humor (or lack thereof), my sense of Schadenfreude, my preferences for Extraverted Feeling, and how they may be connected.

Sense of Humor

I'm German, I have none.


Sense of Schadenfreude

It's no surprise that studies have shown people with lower self-esteem are more likely to feel better about themselves when they see others are worse off. There've also been studies about how Schadenfreude relates to empathy - do specific centers in the brain get activated when you think someone deserves to be punished? Apparently, they do.

I've laughed at people falling down before, and at clowns in the circus getting water squirted in their faces.

Not sure how good I felt about myself afterwards though.

Extraverted Feeling

People who have this preference in their first two functions often report being able to empathize with others, desiring harmony, and having an ability to fulfilling other people's wishes. Be who others want them to be, not necessarily who they want to be themselves. These gifts are tremendously helpful when it comes to establishing rapport, being a servant leader, or taking care of others, but they can also be debilitating.

Trying to please everyone you often end up pleasing no one, and worst case scenario, you might lose your self in the process.

Setting your own well-being aside to make sure others are served and well taken care of can be dangerous, especially when you're using your self-sacrifice as emotional blackmail bargaining chips.

Also, sometimes a joke is just a joke. Not everything has to be taken seriously; not everything has to be taken personally. I'm married to a Spaniard who thinks he's funny, so I have to remind myself of this particular point very consciously, and on a daily basis.

Any of this resonate with you?

*in case you don't know me and sarcasm doesn't translate well off the page, I'd like to think I have a bit of wit inside me. I laugh at Billy Connolly and experiences. I can laugh at misfortunes - but feel much better when I know the person is going to be alright in the end. :-)

Image by felixtsao, Flickr, Creative Commons License.



Step 3 - Stop Judging, Start Loving (again)

Picture Credit Ananth Narayan My favorite Jung quote has to be

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

I know from my own experience that when you tick me off, it's probably because you're doing something a) I was always told not to do, or b) I want to do, but am too chicken. Either way, my knee-jerk reaction is going to be petty, begrudging, and resentful. I'm going to want to put you down so I don't have to feel so bad about myself. You're triggering something in me that still needs work to be integrated.

Type knowledge is really helping me understand the so-called Shadow functions, those that are unconscious, active below the surface, mostly bubbling up when I'm sick, tired, or stressed. You know those moments, when words are leaving your mouth as soon as you hear them you're aghast and wonder, "did I really just say that?" I've had plenty of those. They are great learning moments. Tough, but easy to remember, thanks to the strong emotions connected with them.

Let's take a moment to clarify that people with a "J" in their type code are not necessarily judgmental. Yes, J is short for Judging, but what that means in MBTI® theory is the function expressed in the extraverted attitude, what you're letting others see, is either Thinking (Te) or Feeling (Fe). When you have a P in your type code, it doesn't mean you're necessarily more perceptive, but that you're showing your perceiving function, Sensing (Se) or Intuiting (Ne), to the outside world.

How prejudiced are you, really?

Our cultural upbringing is going to play a big role in what is important to us; shaping our values. Someone violating those values will also trigger a judgmental response. Since our limbic brains are still conditioned to operate with a "Be Like Me" program, it's much easier to call someone "lazy" or "incompetent" if they do things differently. Believe me, when you're moving to another country or start working with an international team, that's going to happen a lot.

To appreciate the validity of the different approaches, we have to activate our neocortex and start considering the context that the other person is operating in. This is a conscious exercise, and our brains generally don't want to do a lot of work, so the judgmental or stereotypical response is easier to stick with. My opinion is that a stereotype in and of itself isn't bad, only insisting on it without examining the circumstances or accepting evidence of the contrary is.

Project ImplicitHere's a free online quiz you can take to see how much your unconscious is influencing your judgments:

You'll be asked to associate descriptions (good / bad) with e.g. race (black / white), self (you / others), size (big / small), and other items, depending on which assessments you choose to try out. It's truly insightful, so I hope you can take some time and perhaps even share your results with us.


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Step 1 - Get to know myself (again)

Pic Credit teachernz I first wrote about Getting to know myself back in 2008. Here's what I'd like to add: Personality Type and cultural preferences provide a nice framework to begin thinking about where some of my behaviors might come from. My cultural background explains some of what's important to me, and Type is a unique personal and professional development tool, helping me appreciate my own strengths and opportunities for growth, as well as appreciate those points in others.

I best identify with ENFJ preferences. I may not look like an ENFJ all the time, because in my job I'm often dealing with groups and paying attention to details, seeming like an ESFP. When I work from home, I'm quite comfortable spending hours alone, reading and writing online. But the pattern is there:

"mentoring, leading people to achieve their potential and become more of who they are." (Berens, Nardi, 2004)

The first thing I want to do when meeting old and new friends is connect. Holding a space for others is important to me, although I might get too excited and just start blabbering. Staying with myself without getting absorbed into other people's drama or take on their feelings as my own is a continuous conscious exercise. Dipping into a sea of knowing what's going to happen and how someone will react to a certain situation happens unconsciously. Yet when I try to pay attention to the vibe it may disappear. I love going for walks and doing Yoga or Zumba relaxes me; my body may be tired but my mind is usually alert after exercise.

I'm not sure how my extraverted Feeling and introverted Intuiting preferences were nurtured growing up. I remember lots of feeling bad for others and wanting to please everyone and fit in, often without success. At any given time I had maybe one or two "best" friends. Lots of acquaintances, but not many friends, at least by my definition. Still, I remember lending an ear and giving advice on many matters to many people. I remember making mistakes and seeking approval in many wrong places. I know I read a lot; my parents are still sorting out boxes upon boxes of books I left behind.

Growing up in my parents' house, realistic pragmatism (is there any other kind?) definitely dominated the everyday environment. On Hofstede's cultural dimensions, Germany scores high in the Uncertainty Avoidance Index. That means Germans like to know what happens and be prepared, avoiding uncertainty wherever we can. A big part of me wants to know what the future holds, but there are also examples in my past where I jumped in without knowing what was going to happen. None of my international moves were thoroughly planned in any way - that's why I like to share what I learned to save other expats the time and tears.

Flaggen_Still, I'm very German in my approach to communication - direct and straightforward, little to no beating around the bush. Swearwords? Not a problem. I appreciate a good rational argument, but may not be able to follow your logic. On Trompenaars' dimensions, I fall on the Universalist (the same rules apply to everyone) and Achievement (respect for what you've done, not who you are) sides. Competence and expertise are important to me. I couldn't stand it if anyone thought I was an impostor. Over time, my opinion of punctuality has been taken over by a slight mediterranean influence - but I'll still let you know when I'm running late. Keeping people waiting without even the courtesy of a call or text message would be disrespectful.

Unfortunately, self-examination is not always a helpful tool when you really want to get to know yourself. I've recently asked former and current colleagues and friends to choose some adjectives (based on Linda Berens' Interaction Styles) to describe me, and it's interesting and challenging to recognize I may not appear to others as I do to myself. I still think it's a great exercise to engage in from time to time - getting to know yourself all over again.


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Loving your Heart

Today's exercise is LAUGHING! Out loud and hard! I think babies are pretty funny, so here's one with babies:

Or maybe Billy? He swears, and talks about hearts in this one. :-)

The recipe for today is going to be a mixed salad. Any green leafy vegetables you like (kale, arugula, iceberg), add peppers, cucumbers, saladtomatos, carrots, hearts of palm. Avocado for healthy fats, perhaps some sunflower seeds sprinkled on top, some baked or boiled potatoes* for starch, and steamed edamame in its shell for good measure.


How can you love your heart?

For someone with extraverted Feeling preferences, it's sometimes easier to love someone else's heart. Making excuses for them, forgiving them, understanding them, trying to please and appease them. Putting your own needs aside to keep the peace. Well, your feelings matter. Your heart's desire matters. The world needs you happy, sending good vibes to the universe. If you don't know what your heart's desire is, take a moment to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and feel into it. With a little practice listening, the little voice inside you will speak to you.


*these are actually "papas arrugadas", a specialty from my hubby's native Canary Islands. Boil the potatoes in a little water, drain it out when they're cooked, sprinkle generously with salt and cover with a towel until they get all wrinkly. The accompanying dip is called "mojo", and there are green (cilantro/parsley/herbs) and red (paprika) versions, both with lots of garlic and olive oil. Did I say Yum? Yum.


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Happy Valentine's Day! Extraverted Feeling Fe

Hello! Thanks for visiting and please enjoy the free info below! 

Just fyi, you can find me over at from now on, where I'm making custom lettering and calligraphy. 

This archive will be discontinued next month. 

Fe doodle
Fe doodle

You'reusing extraverted Feeling or Fe when you're tuning into the people around you. When you're picking up their vibe. When you're validating them, empathizing emotionally, knowing how they feel and what they're going through. When you're creating harmony where there is none.


People with a dominant Fe function cannot not engage, connect, and feel with other people. They are quick to praise and reassure, knowing what to say to make people feel better, and taking care of others.

Expats using Fe to decide on an assignment are likely to take family members feelings into account. Since international relocation is a complex process, it may be challenging to please everybody, which may cause stress. To reduce conflict, dominant Fe may tend to set their own needs lower on the list of priorities. It is helpful here to recognize that every opinion counts, and that taking care of others is easiest when it comes from a place of abundance.

If Fe is in a different positions in your type dynamics, below is an overview pieced together with only a few items taken from Understanding Yourself and Others, An Introduction to the Personality Type Code, by Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi. Let me say this again to be very clear: the description of how Fe can be expressed in the different positions is not exhaustive and only meant to give you an overview. I would love to have you comment below how it shows up for you.

Extraverted Feeling Fe
Extraverted Feeling Fe

If you'd like to practice your Fe skills, observe the people around you. Is anyone looking lost where you could offer to give directions? Can you find valid arguments in opposing points of view and help mediate between e.g. colleagues or friends? Who's been feeling down lately that you could cheer up with some personal attention, listening to their woes, and providing encouraging feedback?

PS: I swear I didn't plan it this way, but having Fe show up on Valentine's... come on! Talk about serendipity. :-) Here's to loving yourself, and the one you're with. xx

hearts and butterfly doodle
hearts and butterfly doodle

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Function Attitudes 101

8 functions flower doodleJung used the term "function" to explain ways we use our brain to gather information and make decisions. Sensing and Intuiting are his "irrational", perceiving, information-gathering functions; Thinking and Feeling are his "rational", judging, decision-making functions. Jung described our direction and source of mental energy ("libido") as an Extraversion or Introversion "attitude". Since all functions can occur in both attitudes, we end up with eight function-attitudes (a term probably first coined by Henry L. Thompson).

They are:

Extraverted Sensing Se; Introverted Sensing Si; Extraverted Intuiting Ne; Introverted Intuiting Ni; Extraverted Thinking Te; Introverted Thinking Ti; Extraverted Feeling Fe; and Introverted Feeling Fi.

Over the next 8 days, we'll go into a little more detail about each of these.

You have access to and use all eight function-attitudes, but they show up differently according to where they are in the hierarchy of your personality preferences.

I got four letters on this test, but I don't remember what they are...

If you have taken the MBTI(r) or another personality type indicator, you probably received a four-letter code. Your type code is short-hand for the type dynamics and patterns that lie within. For example, someone with ESFJ preferences has Fe as their lead, dominant, first function; someone with INTP preferences has Fe as their inferior, aspirational, fourth function; someone with ENTJ preferences has Fe as their demonic, eighth function.

Type describes the patterns that those mental preferences bring to who you are and how you behave. Don't break the code into its segments (e.g. to describe someone as a "Sensor" or a "Feeler"), because it's only the context of the whole type that accurately reflects your personality and mental processes.

I can do all functions equally well

Congratulations! Sadly, you're probably kidding yourself.

The function you develop first as your dominant is usually the one you are most comfortable with and most skilled at. It is also the one that is most under your conscious control. The further we go down the list, the less ability we generally have, right down to the eighth function that we probably use with least effectiveness. Until we become aware of the processes and work at improving them, of course.

Dr. John Beebe, noted Jungian analyst, developed a model where he charted the eight function-attitudes to archetypes. Archetypes are universal images that represent the human experience. He calls the first four function-attitudes ego-syntonic, or experienced as part of the self, and the last four ego-dystonic, or experienced as foreign to the self. In other words, those are behaviors and attributes we may project onto something or someone else without recognizing that they are part of us, inside us.

My favorite Jung quote:

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.


Here's an overview of the terminology, and how the functions show up(1).

Function Attitudes Overview

Understanding what these functions mean for your particular type can have tremendous impact on your personal development, how you deal with stress, with change, your leadership and communication style, and it can certainly improve personal relationships as well. I have found them most helpful in my own analysis of how I dealt with expatriation challenges, and I've successfully used it with some clients as well.

What's the difference between conscious and unconscious functions?

You have the most conscious access to your first two functions. Your preferred functions are what comes most naturally to you. This is you in flow, at your best, on a perfect day, when things come easy. These two functions give you strengths and abilities that you probably take for granted and can't believe others don't have the same. These first two functions are the ones that you will have developed during childhood and adolescence, and - in an ideal environment that nurtured your gifts - got to practice the most.

The third function comes into play in or around mid-life, and the fourth function after that, if at all. This is why we have so many people in "mid-life crisis". It's their third and fourth function demanding attention - a completely normal and healthy process on the road to "individuation", becoming your whole self. Again - once you're aware of your type dynamics, you can start consciously working on developing all functions so you get comfortable using them eventually. With some you may never attain a level of grace, but at least you'll notice when they're working you.

functions conscious energy doodle

Because guess what: you're not in control of all the functions all the time, some take control of you. Particularly those that are more unconscious. Especially at times when you are sick, or tired, or stressed, or all of the above.

When those unconscious functions take over, and even when you try to consciously use them more effectively, it takes mental effort. When you're stressed, you may feel quite literally beside yourself. "Was that really me?" is a title of a book dealing with type and stress, that's how common that question is.

When you're unhappy with who you are and think you have to change for some reason, you will have to overcome your natural preferences and force yourself. It's not easy pretending to be someone else, and it's certainly tiresome.

Thankfully, type awareness helps. Or as Linda puts it:

"When you know who you are, you are freer to be who you're not."

(1) Understanding Yourself and Others - An Introduction to the Personality Type Code, Linda V. Berens, Dario Nardi