When I first discovered that I had extraverted intuition as a dominant cognitive function, I was thrilled - because the description fit like a glove.
In this post, I'll be discussing what exactly extraverted intuition is and how it affects the way an individual perceives the world.
In order to understand how extraverted intuition works, there a few things to know:
According to Myers Briggs, here are two main categories of cognitive functions, perceiving functions and judging functions.
This results in four main types of Perceiving functions: Extraverted Intuition, Introverted Intuition, Introverted Sensing, and Extroverted Sensing.
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) is a perceiving function that is reflected in one's ability to create lightning fast connections between concepts and engage in spontaneous, divergent thinking.
People who rely on extraverted intuition love to brainstorm and theorize, and they are very good at it.
Compared with Extraverted Sensing, which is concerned with what is, Extraverted Intuition places a focus on what could be?
Individuals who possess extroverted intuition as a dominant function continuously indulge in thoughts about future possibilities, so much so that they may occasionally lose sight of the present.
To truly unpack what extraverted intuition is, we must get a full grasp of what it means to be an extravert.
I love this description of extraversion as outlined in Carl Jung's book Psychological Types:
"Extraversion is characterized by interest in the external object, responsiveness, and a ready acceptance of external happenings, a desire to influence and be influenced by events, a need to join in…
...the capacity to endure bustle and noise of every kind, and actually find them enjoyable, constant attention to the surrounding world, the cultivation of friends and acquaintances… The psychic life of this type of person is enacted, as it were, outside himself, in the environment."
Combine this description of extraversion with the concept of intuition, which refers to how one finds patterns and underlying meanings - and voila - you have extraverted intuition.
Compared to Introverted Intuition, which causes a person to look inward to find meaning, Extraverted Intuition focuses on the external world to find relationships and patterns between people, things and events.
Extraverted Intuition is a Perceiving function that only extraverts can have as a dominant function.
Introverts will always have an Introverted dominant function while extraverts will always have an Extraverted dominant function.
However, not all extraverts will have Extraverted Intuition as a dominant perceiving function. As mentioned above, the other option for extraverts is Extraverted Sensing.
The two Myers Briggs types that have extraverted intuition as a dominant function are ENFP and ENTP.
The two Myers Briggs types that have extraverted intuition as an auxiliary or secondary cognitive function are INFP and INTP.
In this post, I'll frequently refer to types with extraverted intuition as NPs.
Now, with that dense theory out of the way, let's talk more about what extroverted intuition is actually like, personality-wise.
Here are some aspects of extraverted intuition that I see in myself as an ENFP:
As an ENFP who has extraverted intuition as a dominant function, my experience of life is a lot like being a kid at a candy store.
I am excited by the possibilities life has to offer and I'm always searching for connections between everything and anything.
Now, I know what you're thinking...
NPs (like myself) can sometimes seem to be all over the place.
However, extroverted intuition is also the reason that these types are usually able to see abstract relationships and associations between people, places, and events that other people miss.
I like the way the 16 Personalities website describes certain elements of extraverted intuition in the ENFP (campaigner) type :
Another defining characteristic of extraverted intuition is open-mindedness.
Extraverted intuition allows you to explore new perspectives and ways of doing things without wanting to change or control them.
That's why NPs tend to be good listeners, because they are willing and eager to hear other people's opinions, creating a safe and open environment.
Think of the process of extraverted intuition of being like a sponge: you want to soak in and understand the world, without necessarily feeling the need to insert your own opinions and judgement into the situation.
That's also why when faced with conflict or disagreement, Ne types aren't usually quick to take offense.
This is because they are usually too fascinated by the situation to take it personally.
It's almost like they are watching the situation from a bird's eye view instead of being in it. Rather than reacting, they find it more interesting to study the different perspectives and events that came into collision.
Because individuals with extroverted intuition are so open-minded, they can find it quite unsettling to be around those who jump to conclusions and make harsh judgements too quickly.
Extraverted intuition results in a witty and fast-paced sense of humour that may initially come across as random.
This is because those with extraverted intuition are able to connect ideas in a quick, yet abstract way - taking two or more seemingly unrelated topics and bringing them together.
Due to the obscure connections, it can sometimes take a few extra seconds for others to understand the premise of the joke.
Extraverted intuition humour is not always "laugh out loud" funny, rather it's laced with hidden meanings, inside jokes, and dry humour.
You'll either think we're really funny and smart, or you'll have absolutely no idea what we're talking about...
There are two types of people in the world - those who like to solve problems on their own and those who like to find solutions with others.
Guess which type extraverted intuition is?
That's right - the second type.
This is something that was brought to my attention recently while collaborating with a couple of INTJs who have Introverted Intuition as a dominant function.
I noticed that there was a major difference in collaboration styles.
As an ENFP, my natural inclination is to tackle the problem together through brainstorming out loud, whereas the INTJs felt more comfortable tackling the problem individually and then discussing the solution as a group afterwards.
It's super interesting to observe these differences - what's invigorating for one type may be draining for another!
That's why it's very useful to know about personality types, because you can use this knowledge to your advantage when it comes to interpersonal interactions.
Thanks for reading this post! If you're an NP, did you relate to any of the above points?
Extraverted Intuition is an interesting function because even though we're extroverts, we can become so wrapped up in our thoughts and theories that we might come across as introverts!
It's always a good time - whether we're brainstorming and gaining inspiration from those we love - or we're alone creating grand and elaborate plans for the future.
When you predominantly function on extraverted intuition, there's never a dull moment!
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