Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Si vs Se imitation

Once again, I have my ESFJ 1 to thank for bringing something to my mind. We were discussing some typings of fictional characters on various blogs, and she brought my attention to some frequently mistyped characters, and I remembered this old dilemma: Which is THE imitating function, Si or Se?

Well, one answer is, they both are. Just in different ways.

The other answer would be Se, in this context. Because it's pretty much always the Se kind that people mistake for Si kind. The Si kind might not even get recognized as imitation.

I understand this mistake is easy to make with all the vague function descriptions out there, but it's also pretty easy to correct if you look at the actual individuals of Se and Si types in real life.

I've had friends of both types who are gifted at imitating in their own ways, so I will use them as examples. Obviously the kind of imitation they do will depend on which are their strong learning channels, so I'll compare two of my friends who are both auditive types.

I had an ESFP friend at school who was really good at imitating voices. She could perfectly pretend to be a certain cartoon character, or a comedian, or the president. Everyone would recognize it right away. This is your ”classic” imitation, I'm sure anyone can recognize it.

My ESFJ roommate is also gifted in the same area, but it might not be as obvious at first glance. Her forte is learning languages fast. I think she made me fully realize the difference between Se and Si a few years ago, when she asked me to give her singing lessons and I gave her a few songs to listen and rehearse, so I could make out the basics of her voice material. Then listening to her, I realized she was able to change her singing technique dramatically according to the original singer of the song (without even realizing she was doing it, or knowing anything about singing). But she didn't imitate the voice of the singer, as my ESFP friend would have. She just sort of moved her own voice along exactly the same ”route” as the original singer, if that makes sense.

So in this case, Se imitates the voice itself, the sound, the colour, the texture. It completely becomes what it hears. Si on the other hand, just repeats exactly what the other voice does, but in it's own way, with its own voice.

It makes sense if you think about the functions: Se adapts according to the environment, Si adapts the environment according to itself. Or at least, that's their viewpoint.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

What I Love About Enneatypes: Type Two

I'm aware that all the things I'm going to mention have their natural downside. That's how it is for every type and every person. I just want this post to focus on the good things. This is all coming from my subjective INFJ 9 viewpoint. It's what I personally love about type Twos, so it's also tied to our interaction, and the Twos I've had in my life.

Some of my favourite fictional Twos:

1. Their smile

Twos smile the most, and they do it best. They always have stars in their eyes when they smile. Twos have the most radiant, friendly, gentle and sensitive smiles of all enneagram types. I've admired these smiles my whole life, long before I knew these people shared a personality type in any theory.

These smiles have an amazing power, that I, as a typical expressionless-to-gloomy Nine, could never have and can't stop being in awe of. People are drawn to these smiles, a smile from a Two can really save someone's day. Sometimes Twos don't have to do anything else, just smile, and people will love them for it. They have natural, soft, and cheerful charisma. It's like they're sprinkling fairy dust from their eyes when they smile. And I'm really saying that with zero sarcasm.

Obviously, I'm one of the people really drawn to Twos' smiles. I'm like the founder of the fan club.

2. Expressiveness

Twos are often really good at expressing their feelings, and talking about them. For me, it's such a relief, because I can be good at conversation but first I need something to work with. If the other person doesn't give something out, I'm as useful as an empty seat. Twos put a lot of their thoughts and feelings out, so our conversations are always smooth. There are no awkward silences, because silence is okay, when it's as natural as talking. Me and Twos just seem to be really comfortable with each other. They're more talkative and I'm more silent but it's still always okay for the conversation to reach either end of the spectrum. Actually, it's okay because of that, I think. Somehow our comfort zones really complement each other.

Also, their face might be the easiest for me to read in general, because they almost always react with expression, their face is alive all the time. It's easy to feel connected to them, because they really communicate with everything in them. Even though they might not like the sound of being like ”an open book”, to me it's all positive. It makes all communication so much easier, because I don't have to do anything to "set the mood" which I'm no good at.

3. Agression

This is related to the previous one, but it's special from my point of view. Twos can lash out at people, they can ran from the room with doors slamming, they can give you silent treatment for days... and expect everything to be okay right after. It's totally normal for them, they do it all the time, and for some reason it looks refreshing to me. Well, obviously because I can't do any of that. I struggle getting in touch with my agression in the first place. But it comes so naturally to Twos, and I guess it gives me a feeling of security, seeing how freely they can express their anger without fearing losing anyone. (Not saying they never fear it, of course.)

On the contrary, actually. They can do it, because they expect people to come running after them. They want them to. I guess I see that as an expression of a sense of self, and I admire that. I know people also think this is petty and childish, because it hurts their pride, but this is how I see it.

4. Considerateness

Other types may be aware of people's needs and be good at responding to them, but Twos are more than that. They are always ahead. When they think you might be thirsty, they've already prepared something for when you'll want something salty. I don't want to reinforce the image of Twos as housewives but that came to my mind first. Think of it analogically if you want.

I know some people can find Twos pushy, but I admire how they're always actively seeking ways to make people's days brighter. They bring so much colour around them, because they aren't about bare necessities. They don't just try to help. They try to make people happy. They don't just help people with what's on the table. They always bring something more.

They don't spare compliments either, but even so they usually do honestly mean what they say. They acknowledge that people need friendly words, reaffirmation, thanking, and everything that other types might easily leave unsaid.

5. The epitome of the Golden Rule

I don't just mean to say that Twos generally treat others well. I also mean that they put a lot of effort into treating others pretty much exactly the way they would want to be treated, whether they do it consciously or not.

Not that they don't feel good about helping others without receiving anything in return. Just that their ideal would be that they'd get the same treatment as they give. I think this is really great about Twos, once you realize it: They're putting their wishes out there in a way that hurts no one. (Unless it's about disintegration of course.)

I guess this is coming from the typical Nine inablity to put anything of oneself out there. So, as the reoccuring theme in this post seems to be, the way Twos put themselves out there, resonates with me. Because it's non-confrontational, gentle, other people benefit from it, and yet it's nontheless an expression of the Two's own self, needs, and personality. All in the same package. Brilliant.

So please, my lovable Twos, be proud of yourselves, and don't worry so much about what other people think of you. The ones that count, do love you.

Friday, 20 May 2016

What I Love About Enneatypes: Type One

Something like this was requested by my very awesome enneagram One roommate, so I'm probably going to do this about every other enneagram type in the future as well. One seems like the logical place to start anyway.

I'm aware that all the things I'm going to mention have their natural downside. That's how it is for every type and every person. I just want this post to focus on the good things. This is all coming from my subjective INFJ 9 viewpoint. It's what I personally love about type Ones, so it's also tied to our interaction, and the Ones I've had in my life.

Let's feature some of my favourite fictional Ones in all their oneness:

1. Follow-through

You asked an enneagram One to do something and they agreed? Consider it done. About five minutes ago.

No, but seriously, once Ones set out to do something they are generally very effective at finishing, and rather fast as well. I guess that's because they are so decisive. They don't just know their goal, they seem to know every step like each one of them was a goal itself. Not all of them notice this at all, because it's so natural for them to know which option out of many is the best one. It's their natural outlook on life.

I'm a social variant with a One-wing (stereotypically the most likely Nine to be a workaholic), so I'm actually on the ”work first” side as well, but Ones are obviously better with fast results than I am. That's why I generally love working with them, especially when not every member of a group can be trusted to do their part. The Ones will definitely do their part, most likely finish it first, and probably help others to finish theirs after that.

I relate to that slightly, but to a much lesser degree, because (as expected of an SO 9) most of my attention goes to improving things like group dynamics and interaction, finding compromises and making sure that nobody is left out etc. So whenever a functioning One is around in a situation like that, everything feels so much easier! They make me feel that things are going to work out. They are just so good at making them work out.

2. Justice

Ones judge people by their actions. When they're healthy, it's a really good thing in prejudiced environments. They couldn't care less about were you come from, or what other people think of you, or anything else about your ”status”. It's only what you do that matters to them. They generally have the same rules for everyone (even though they are the hardest on themselves) and rarely play favourites. They are ready to forgive and give second chances once you change your actions for the better. Healthy Ones won't shame you forever because you made mistakes once.

Again, Ones seem to balance me out in things like these. I'm easily too understanding, too forgiving, and want to have different rules for everyone, based on individuality, their wants, needs, strenghts, weaknesses, preferences and worldview, to a degree that simply no one has the resources for. Luckily, I've learned to call out my One-wing in these situations often enough over the past few years, and get the Nine idealism in check to identify a more solid agenda for myself when it's needed. I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't had so many enneagram Ones around.

3. Opinionated

”Very few things are ”whatever” to me.”

This is what my roommate says to me about once a week at least, because she has trouble comprehending my ”neutrality” sometimes.

I'm drawn to people with strong personality. Can't help it, it's just facinating to me, how some people can express themselves so clearly. Ones are definitely in that group of people. They're not explosive or all-over-the-place, on the contrary, they often seem tense or even rigid but even so, they have really strong personalities. And that's because they are so opinionated.

It's my comfort zone to interact with people like this. Ones are generally sure about everything, and they take pride in it. For some reason it kind of warms me up. I know some people feel quite threatened by it actually, but I'm a listener by nature and enjoy taking their viewpoint exactly because it's so solid, so clearly defined which I'm not. Somehow, even when they're unsure, they're able to make it seem like they're sure.

Also, talking with an accepting, healthy One for long enough, always makes me remember that I'm a lot less neutral about things than I generally appear to be. They inspire confidence in me, they make me feel like it's not just okay to be outwardly opinionated: it's important, so people actually know the real you.

They are also great critique partners/editors for a Nine, because their viewpoint is so clear. They can make me see it if I'm trying to accomodate too many viewpoints at once. My danger is being too accepting and theirs is being too stuck in their views so exchanging them always helps to get things into perspective, at least for me.

4. Energy

Not like duracel-bunny-jump-to-the-roof-and-roll-across-the-floor-can't-sit-still kind of energy. One's energy just is a constant, strong stream that never seems to run out. I guess you could say their ”active recovery” is beyond comprehension.

I've seen Ones having burn-outs that compare to no one of any other type, and yet they need exactly five minutes to rise from them. Especially when they've been down an unhealthy path, and then suddenly figure out where the right path is. It's like they're completely reborn in a second. It never stops amazing me.

Healthy Ones are very good at consistency, and balancing out work and play. Average Ones are mostly only good at work, and I know it's no good on logn term, but I can't help but admire some aspects of it, because they seem to pull it off so efforlessly. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's natural for them.

I'm quilty of workaholicism myself, but it's different. I work in energy spikes. I'm an absolute wreck everytime I finish something big and I need pretty much an equal amount of time to recover. Sometimes more. I can do nothing but school work one week, but then I'm most likely not going to do anything but read (fiction) books the next week.

I'm also easily overwhelmed if I have to do a lot of projects at the same time. I can't just do a portion of this and a portion of that one day, and another next day, without becoming very stressed out, like Ones can. I have to dive really deep and preferably do everything there is to do for one project at once (I know, rarely possible) before I can really even think about the next.

I know the way Ones work is more logical and more practical. So, to me, it seems like they can make their brains work in the way they find the most logical. I guess this is why Ones are so good all-rounders. While, for me, it seems everything I do is away from something else. To be really good at one thing, I have to absolutely suck at something else. Ones have an amazing ability to make no compromises, and I'm not sure how they do it. I'm not saying that Ones are always good at everything, but they do seem to have a really great ability to be good enough outside their comfort zone. Because work kind of is their comfort zone... They often get similar results, whether they hate or love what they're doing.

I guess work is work for them. I basically have to love what I do to be any good at it.

5. Integration

Ones integrate to Seven! Which means that at their best they're spiced up with exactly the right amount of spontaniety. They become fun-loving and silly, but I don't have to worry that it's going to get out of hand, or that I won't be able to keep up with it, like with so many other types (Actual Sevens!). Ones rarely need anyone to slow them down. Nor do I. When we get spontaneous together, it's still perfectly harmonious for my taste.

It's taking random moonlit walks, or going to a grill in the middle of the night.

It's watching, eating, or drinking something really bad and then having so much fun reviewing how bad it was.

It's staying up all night marathoning an anime series.

It's visiting a random town you've never been to, just for the heck of it.

It's coming up with random challenges, like ”let's make it a point to try every cake this cafĂ© has, so we can't just order what we always order the next 20 times we come here.”

It's having a lot of fun in subtle ways.

So what if you both have small comfort zones, when you can be happy in the bubble together?

These are my feelings for enneagram Ones at the moment. Stay awesome, don't be too hard on yourselves, and embrace that inner Seven!

Saturday, 30 April 2016


I feel like people often look at some art and go like ”Wow. I don't get this. Must be Ni.” I also feel like it often is ISFP art people confuse for INFJ art. (Also sometimes vice versa.)

I think it's mostly because Ni has this weird reputation of being so difficult to understand. There seems to be a weird notion going around that if something is all-over-the-place-weird it must be Ni. Or that Ni is so subjective that the only person who can understand an INFJ's art is them.

Uh, no. And here's why.

INFJ: Ni: I have a neat idea. Fe: How do I express this in a way people are most likely to understand?
ISFP: Fi: My reality is like this. Se: What are the means that do it the most justice?

INFJs are auxiliary Fe users. The inspiration for their art is in Ni but they express it most of all through Fe. So, what they care about is finding the most effective way to convey their message. They use objective values to appeal to people's feelings in a way the idea gets across.

ISFPs express their Fi values through Se. So they're looking for the most authentic match for their inner experience from the outside, sensing world.

You could almost say ISFPs sculp, or bend the reality to take the shape of their inner world. INFJs just sort of navigate their inner world through the reality.

That's why it's actually more likely that the outer expression of ISFP art is harder to the masses to understand than INFJ art. INFJ art is generally going to look more ”conventional” because they use objective criteria in their expression. ISFPs use whatever means they can in their expression. All that matters is that it comes as close to their actual subjective reality as possible.

I think if there ever was one time I doubted if I'm an INFJ it was when I saw art or listened to music that was supposedly by INFJs. Now I'm pretty sure most of it was by ISFPs. It was very Se-heavy, very impressionistic. As an Fe-aux, Se-inferior, that stuff often seems too all-over-the-place for me, like they're trying to express too much at once without enough cohesion. It's in my nature not to be able to take in that much without a common thread.

Cohesion is a key word for INFJs. It seems to me that most people don't understand this. INFJs are labeled as ”thinking out of the box” way too much and I think the way INFJs think out of the box is widely misunderstood in the first place. People seem to think it's generally ”wild” and ”random” almost like Ne but with an eerie touch or something.

A lot like this:

Now, that's Fi+Se, that's ISFP. (And being a sensor still doesn't mean you don't think out of the box.)

In fact the INFJ ”thinking out of the box” generally looks way more ”modest” in some sense. That's because their expression is so grounded in objective values. When there's something ”unorthodox” about it, it's usually subtle, because it's still reflective of Fe values. It's like a twist in a common trope if you think of fiction.

Here's an example from my gallery:

I picked a simple one to illustrate my point. Here the thing is basically just this: Candles don't usually float and a flame is usually not heart shaped. The theme of this picture was ”love”. Love is often portrayed as a candle, so I wanted to draw a candle that describes love not only by being a candle but by what kind of candle it is. The rest of the interpretation is up to you, the point is how clearly it uses common values to its advantage in the expression.

Also, I drew this after seeing how many people portrayed the theme love (in the 100 theme challenge, which this is part of) as something that makes you lose your mind and sleep, and is just overall chaotic. I wanted to draw it as something that brings light and warmth and makes you see more clearly. My point is: Even when I went against the common opinion I still used common opinions to express my idea of love. This is what you should generally look for in INFJ art.

Another example:

This is probably the most typical kind of picture for me, since it's one of my characters and the picture represents a certain point in her story.

Let's analyze why this is typical INFJ art. It's tied together with a really clear theme: The colour red. You don't even have to be aware that it represents blood, it's a clear enough theme anyway. And here's what it does: It blurs the details in the Moon, the sky, the water and the cape and brings out their similar qualities in a way that makes them blend together to make a background for what is the focus in this picture: the girl, the most clearly outlined element in it. That's typical Ni+Ti. Ni sees the similar patterns and Ti helps to articulate their expression by compromizing details.

Then my Fe ways: I draw big eyes and facial features because that way the expression has the most weight, and that's what I'm most often trying to convey: emotion. Unlike Fi, my focus is not on expressing how it feels, or what it essentially ”is”. I try to express what it looks like and what it does. In short, I draw in a way that favours the clarity of facial expression over actual human anatomy, because the point of my art is to make people understand how the characters are feeling. That's how Fe works for me.

ISFPs are more likely to be experimental in their ways of making art. They're also more likely to challenge what art is, by their own expression. INFJs might totally stand up for an unappreciated art form or something like that, but they're more likely to express their own ideas in a way they think majority can already understand.

I guess I could conclude by saying that the general impression of INFJ art is that it manipulates details to draw attention where it wants it and the general impression of ISFP art is that the principles it works according to are not detectable in the outside world.

At least that's how it seems to me.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Typical 9 quality (is the lack of one?)

It doesn't apply to all 9s of course but there's definitely a correlation. It's not that it's like this in every area of their life either, but I'm sure a lot of 9s have to come to terms with their ”nothingness”, in some significant area at some point in their life.

I really like how my dad, who is an ISFJ 9, put his share of this cake when I was little:

”My one talent is that I'm not bad at anything. I'm not good at anything either, but I know a little bit about everything. So I never shine, but I never suck either.”

He really is a ”jack of all trades but a master of none”. I've noticed ISFJ 9's seem to be prone to this, probably because Si is generally good at learning existing systems and the ”know how” but 9s at average levels often lack focus and/or ambition.

I'm also a 9, but an INFJ, which is probably a part of why I'm different from my dad in this. For me it's more of a people thing: I merge with others to the point I sort of nullify myself.

What this leads to is pretty unavoidable: At some point in his youth my dad started thinking he wasn't good at anything. And at some point I started thinking I basically had no personality, nothing to draw anyone toward me.

Whatever way this appears in you, there's only one way to conquer it: start treating it as a trait, not a lack of one.

It took me forever to realize this, but it has been one of the most beneficial things I've learned in the past few years.

The first step is just to look at yourself differently: For my dad to realize he wasn't untalented: his talent was not being bad at anything. And for me to realize I did have personality, that I didn't just dissapear into others: it is a personality trait to be adaptive.

Once you realize something is a trait, and not a lack of one, you can find a way to be active. 9s are always going to be passive by nature, but I guess the best thing we can do is to start being active about that passiveness, if that makes sense. To make it so that it's not something that just happens to you: It's something that you control. It's just as valid strategy as anything else.

If you're like my dad, then take everything out of your skills. If you're not bad at anything, you're already pretty good at things. But I think it's still important to strive to be better. You're not stuck. Even if you're already an all-rounder, you can always become even better at that. Or you could still strive for something you care about more than some other things.

If you're like me, then you have to be the one to control when, where, how, and why you merge with others. Even if you already see the benefits of being passive, your goal shouldn't be just peace and harmony. Keep your own agenda in check, and you can become really effective at things like solving conflict and improving people's communication. You shouldn't supress your active side so give it a chance to act on its own too.

I also know 9s who think their one gift to the world is basically that they don't bother anyone, that they don't do anything wrong. If you're like this, then treat it as a great foundation to do actual good. Sometimes you have to bother people a little to be able to help them on a larger scale but if you get something from not bothering people, then you'll definitely get more from actually helping them.

I don't remember who said it, but I really like the thought that being a 3 is the best thing a 9 can do.

Monday, 11 April 2016

How Se-doms sit

I know this is probably a bit weird, but I'm totally facinated by the way Se-doms sit. (Yes, sit.) Today, I was reminded about it at a cafe by an ESFJ who also thinks it's very recognizable. It's a bit hard to put into words but I'll try my best:

When Se-doms sit on a chair it's like they're completely unaware of its ”chairness”. It looks like it would make no difference to them if it was a rock, or a pile of paper. Like they would be completely unaware of those concepts, because while they're sitting on it, it's just something you can use to do the act of sitting.

This is more pronounced in some individuals who make it look even more like what they're sitting on is somehow completely ”temporary”. (Could have a correlation with sx instinctual variant? Not sure yet.) They often lean forward, lean their arms on their legs, and sit on the edge of the chair but they seem to lean more on their feet than the chair, like they might get up at any moment and do a frontflip. Not necessarily like they're in a hurry, or can't concentrate, it's just that they're so in tune with their surroundings that it seems like it's as good a possibility as it is to keep sitting.

I guess it's in Se's nature to be at home in any environment, and that's where this is coming from. Of course, it applies to everything, not just sitting, but for some reason that's when I see it so clearly it amazes me.

The reason this is so facinating to me is probably that I'm an Se-inferior, so I'm not surprised if others are not as impressed by this. To, let's say an INFP this might be just totally irritating and the meantioned ESFJ's reaction to it is mostly just a sarcastic 'lol'. To me it's both funny and enviable.

Kind of reminds me of some of my interaction with Se-doms, that continue to amuse me. Along the lines of this example:

I'm walking in a forest with an ESTP and he suddenly jumps against a tree, bounces off back to the ground, and keeps on walking like nothing ever happened. When I ask: ”So, why did you do that?”, the ESTP looks at me totally baffled, like it's the dumbest question ever, and says: ”It was there.”

I guess this kind of things, and for some reason their sitting style in particular, remind me that I always kind of need more Se in my life, with the bittersweet notion that I'll never do it as effortlessly as they do. Oh well. It goes the other way around with Ni too, of course.

For contrast, here's a picture I drew of an Si-dom sitting. I don't know if it's actually informative at all, but anyway. (And I don't have any good sketches of Se-doms...) Ignore my random additions (it's probably easy to guess which objects weren't actually in the room).

Sunday, 10 April 2016

What to expect here

Actually, I don't have a specific answer to that, so I'm just going to start with something as random as the following posts are most likely going to be.

I have a habit of coming up with random analogies to describe the Jungian cognitive funtions but I also have a habit of not writing any of them down so I forget them as quickly as I think of them, unless I happen to talk about something related to it in personality forums or something, which is why I still remember this one:

Ne vs. Ni

Ne is like lifting and turning an object to all possible positions, without changing your own vantage point.

Ni is like looking at an object from all possible angles, without touching the object itself or changing its position.

The result is the same: You get to see the object from all sides but the approach is different. Ne understands through what-ifs and its ideas move further and further away from where they started, while Ni undestands by sort of circling around the idea to get to its core.

The other end of the perceiving access seems to come into the picture here as well, because Ne's pair, Si, kind of makes the environment part of itself while Ni's pair, Se, is more like becoming one with the environment.

Anyway, this actually came back to me because I had another analogy come to me just in the morning:

Ni: Synonymous
Si: Homonymous

By this, I mean to refer to both their similarity and their differences. Both compare information to past experience but for Si it's sensory data and for Ni it's underlying patterns. So Si's focus is on information similar to homonyms: they appear the same. Ni's focus is on information similar to synonyms: they mean the same. For example, looking at people's faces, an Si user might be more inclined to note who are relatives, and an Ni user might be more inclined to note who have similar personalities. (Obviously, this is simplified because you can come to the same conclusions in multiple ways but it's to illustrate what kind of information they pay attention to.)

I guess that's it for today. This blog will probably live up to its name.