According to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), one of the most popular personality tests available, there are broadly 2 kinds of people in this world – i.e. the FEELERS and the THINKERS.
The feelers (who outnumber thinkers in the general population by roughly 20%) are those people who make most decisions based on emotional reasoning – as opposed to the thinkers who make most decisions based on rational reasoning. As a result, the thinkers often come across as cold, distant and not very emotional. They might often be accused of ‘not caring’, and while sometimes this might actually be the case, most of the time the problem is simply that they cannot express their feelings as well as their peers. Being that they are a minority in the human population, however, their reactions are often misinterpreted by the majority of feelers as being cold and indifferent.
Here are a few things you’re probably used to hearing if you are a ‘Thinker’:
- Stop thinking so much! You can’t think about everything in life.
Umm, that’s the problem though. We literally can’t! We can’t stop thinking because we think as instinctively as a feeler feels. It’s our primary mode of processing the world. In any situation, good or bad, that is how we understand and process the things happening around us, and how to react to them. You’d have better luck asking us to stop breathing.
- You just don’t care about other people’s feelings!
Umm, we do. Or at least as much as we care about our own feelings. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we don’t understand the entire emotional range of a feeler, and why they react the way they react to a particular situation. This is probably because all people see the world from their own point of view, and thinkers have a hard time understanding emotions they’ve probably never felt, or felt as strongly as their more emotional counterparts. In these cases we need to have some things explained to us. After all, it makes logical sense to say that there can be no understanding without an explanation.
- The world doesn’t run on logic!
Perhaps not, but since that’s the only way we can understand the world, it’s not very logical to expect us not to use it in our worldly affairs. After all, it’s pointless to expect a car to run on water, or a tree to grow on petrol. We all need our sustenance just the way we were built to consume it – and for thinkers, that sustenance comes from logical and rational explanations.
- You are not ‘genuine’.
Not the way a feeler would understand genuineness, I suppose. Thinkers aren’t genuine if your definition of genuineness is having spontaneous emotional reactions to things and situations. This harks back to the previous problem: we can’t not think about the things that happen to us! So if in a fight your instinctive response is to react with anger, our instinct immediately tells us to sum up all the points of the disagreement and react in a measured way so as not to worsen the situation. We do this not because we are being fake or manipulative, but simply because we can’t feel emotions like anger or sadness before we’ve thought the whole thing through, so our first response would always be a well-considered one. The same thing can be said when someone tells us something nice – like say, ‘I love you’. Our first reaction would not be to jump with happiness, even when we are genuinely happy. Our initial response would still be to take stock of the situation and think of an appropriate response. This is not because our reactions are faked or that we’re lying. Everything we say is the truth – just the considered truth. Because we can’t help but consider all aspects of the situation (and of our reaction to it) before presenting a response with all honesty. Because it may not be your kind of honesty, but it’s the only way we know how to be honest about our feelings. We need some time to figure out what those feelings are in the first place!
This is not to say that I can speak for all thinkers (or all members of any group, for that matter). Each individual is unique, and sees the world in his or her own unique way. But if you do have a friend who happens to be a thinker, or does not feel things the same way as you do, perhaps this post will help you understand them just a little bit better.