The Eight Function-Attitudes In Depth

Extraverted Feeling (Feeling Executive)

Extraverted Feeling is primary for ESFJ and ENFJ types. It is secondary for ISFJ and INFJ types.   


It asks, “How can I create social harmony?”

As an Extraverted Deciding function it focuses on:

  1. The external world.
  2. Breadth of application.
  3. Standards & rules.
  4. Organizing.
  5. Action - getting things done.
  6. Verbal expression.
  7. Emphasizing quicker implementation over accuracy in the name of efficiency.

As a feeling function, it is personal, references emotions, and is empathetic in nature.

It is focused most keenly on the nature of social interactions. It emphasizes treating each other well over personal authenticity and it ultimately emphasizes the group well being over individual needs. It is systemic in focus. The way individuals are honored often ties back into ideas of social etiquette, social justice, and beneficial group functioning rather than just individual benefit. It focuses on social systems on every level: family, organizations, and culture.

Harmony is achieved for Extraverted Feeling when others' needs are cared for. One’s own needs might come last. It aims to be selfless. Since the needs of others are the primary focus, Extraverted Feeling most often shows up in helping actions.

In order to help, it might:

  1. Observe, understand,and conform to social norms - the mostly unwritten rules about how to treat others in any given scenario. It sees social norms as an important way to create harmony among people.
  2. Provide rules of conduct for individuals, so they can better operate in the group context, and for whole groups regarding how to operate most smoothly together. If it sees a more harmonious way than current social norms, it may organize to instill a new, improved set of norms.
  3. Provide affirmation for others. People who lead with Extraverted Feeling often know just the right thing to say or do to alleviate any discomfort. It instinctively reaches out to sense what others are feeling and how they might be supported.
  4. Share things about oneself in ways that help others feel included.
  5. Organize interactions that will uplift the group.
  6. Relate for the sake of relating. This is seen as an important way to strengthen group bonds.
  7. Do whatever task is needed to help others be more at ease or more comfortable. For example, this could mean getting a glass of water for someone who is thirsty.

Additional characteristics

People who lead with Extraverted Feeling often possess an exuberant warmth. Their feeling seems to flow out of them towards others in a naturally appreciative and caring way.

Extraverted Feeling is the part of us that says things like:

  1. “This is how we treat each other.” Meaning, if you don’t follow suit, your behavior will be frowned upon by everyone else. Others are encouraged to follow group norms. While enforcement is not the favored tool, Extraverted Feelers can project a very strong sense of moral duty upon others.
  2. “Hi, how are you?” Extraverted Feeling appreciates small talk because it helps people feel included and honored without probing deeply. Most of the time, the expected answer to such a question is, “Good, how are you?” It’s worth noting that, for people who lead with Extraverted Feeling, they often wholeheartedly mean these perfunctory greetings. It’s not an empty routine at all because the honoring and acknowledging itself is a profound thing.
  3. “How can I help you?” Extraverted Feeling is action oriented with an emphasis on social action and social activity.
  4. “That’s so nice of you!” or “You shouldn’t have!” People who lead with Extraverted Feeling are often so “other” focused that it can come as a wonderful, and sometimes even overwhelming, surprise when others honor them.   

Strengths of Extraverted Feeling

  1. Social director. It will take up the director’s role to meet group needs.
  2. Uplift. It tends to create an uplifting atmosphere for everyone in the group just by the effect of its presence.
  3. Inclusion. It wants others to feel included if possible.
  4. Graciousness. Appropriateness. It knows the right thing to say to keep up morale and to save others from any embarrassment. It is the ideal mental function for hosting groups and bringing people together.
  5. Judge of Character. It will quickly read how others may or may not benefit the group.
  6. Need Radar. It will quickly assess others' needs and act to address them, even if it is not requested; This can include giving remarkably on-target gifts.
  7. Cooperation. It emphasizes doing things together in a way that is kind and mutually supportive. For Extraverted Feeling, cooperation could be as important, or even more important, than achieving the goal itself.
  8. Empathy. When empathy is extraverted, it tends to be more of an outpouring toward the other person that is combined with an act of service.

Working with Extraverted Feeling

  1. Know that people who lead with Extraverted Feeling really mean it when they are observing the social niceties such as commenting on the weather and asking how you are. They most likely really care about you and how you are doing.
  2. Being included in any social exchange is very meaningful.
  3. Consistent praise, recognition, and affirmation are important. Don’t just use praise as a setup for criticism. Big mistake.
  4. Respect their social intelligence. They usually have the keenest eye on the collective well being.
  5. Don’t assume you know their motives. While this might be true for everyone, it is especially true for those who lead with Extraverted Feeling.
  6. Allow time to discuss relationships with people.

Brain insights from Dario Nardi

People who lead with Extraverted Feeling tend to show a lot of activity in region Fp1 (top right), particularly when they are communicating and explaining their decisions. Fp1 is the part of our brain that emphasizes decision making and screens out distracting information so we can focus on more sophisticated cognitive responses.

They also show a lot of activity in region T3 (the precise speaker by right ear) and T5 (the sensitive mediator behind right ear).

T5 is especially sensitive to emotional input from others. It prompts us to adjust our behavior based on this input via feelings of embarrassment, guilt, or shame. This region contains special cells called mirror neurons that help us imagine what others might be thinking or feeling and then respond in ways that are socially appropriate.

F7 (in front of the right ear), the imaginative mimic, especially active in ESFJ types, also contains mirror neurons which help us put ourselves in another person’s shoes. It helps us mimic other people in order to learn tasks and also activates when we imagine ourselves doing something or playing out a what-if scenario without actually doing it. Dario Nardi calls it our brain’s Star Trek holodeck and goes on to say, “People who use this region with skill are able to quickly build rapport with others and make insightful guesses about people without having any particular reason or theory in mind. Their mental simulations simply “reveal” what they need to know.”


“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” - Martin Luther King

“For most of my life, I instinctively didn’t talk about things that went well for me. ... The reason I kept my success quiet was that it would have made me less likable.” - Cheryl Sandberg (Facebook CEO)

“There is nothing in which I habitually find greater satisfaction than in the consciousness of serving my friends.” - Cicero (Roman Statesman)

“The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.” - Maya Angelou

“[Intelligent people have a] sensitivity to others’ concerns and the ability to act on that knowledge.” - Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence)

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn the life around.” - Leo Buscaglia

Try Extraverted Feeling

  1. Do something nice for someone: Hold the door for them, let them in front of you in the grocery line, give food to someone who’s hungry. Spend time with someone, just to let them know you care.
  2. Write down a list of 10 unwritten rules of behavior at your workplace, in your social group, or in your family.
  3. List 10 reasons group harmony is more important than individual needs.
  4. Sacrifice your own needs for the good of the group.