Would it be possible to have a general discussion / get a rundown of your thoughts on Extroverted Thinking as a function? I thought it might be more interesting considering the new additions to the mod team, and there have been some conflicting posts and interpretations in the past.
Hi! Great question and I’m happy to get into the basics and not-so-basics of the function! Like I’ll address later in this post, Te is commonly associated with behaviors. I’ll even use some of these behaviors in this post but we have to be aware of why, which is the essence of Te.
What is Extroverted Thinking?
Extroverted Thinking will assess and organize externally. Te is very factual, objective and matter-of-fact. Especially when paired with Si, Te can be very black and white. Te is very much focused on accomplishing a goal or satisfying a need. With a focus on both efficiency and thoroughness, Te is going to be dutiful and responsible. When you think of Te, think of someone organizing a huge pile of junk into one of those cube organizer systems from Target. That is, everything has a place and everything has a purpose or it is considered extraneous and illogical. Everything can and will be organized and used in the most pragmatic fashion and as quickly as possible. Completing tasks is as important as identifying and strategically planning them out.
Precise. Concrete. Objective. Exact. Practical. Coordinated. Methodized. Systemized. Tangible. Direct.
Organization, efficiency, pragmatic decision making. A choice that may be hard for someone who absolutely requires harmony (such as an awkward work conversation) can be simpler for Te to approach.
Te can come off as cold and calculated to some. Of course, this depends on the person and the situation but often the blunt and driven nature of Te may be interpreted as abrasive or even uncaring. Te may need to slow down and analyze a bit more before acting – this depends on its strength in a stack. Might have a difficulty accessing emotions if they are regarded as impractical for too long.
It’s important to remember that Te is not a stand-alone function. Te reacts to the environment but it relies on other functions to really interact with its surroundings and situations. NOTE: The following are generalizations and of course do not represent a universal truth for everyone who identifies with each type!
Te-Si-Ne-Fi (ESTJ): Te dominates and directs. Te relies on Si to help systemize and familiarize tasks and circumstances. Te may tend to ignore or become frustrated with the possibilities Ne presents if this function is underdeveloped or not appreciated/realized for its strengths. Te utilizes Fi to (hopefully) achieve moral balance with the logical and systematic approach it takes.
Si-Te-Fi-Ne (ISTJ): Te works behind the scenes a bit more – it is less blunt and less outward. There is a serious shift in the level of compulsiveness in the ESTJ and ISTJ as an ESTJ is likely to react quickly and the ISTJ will likely think through a situation and reference past ideas and moments before acting. Te and Si typically reject Ne’s fantasies or daydreams as they are not practical or useful.
Te-Ni-Se-Fi (ENTJ): Te, again, is dominant and direct. Te is quick and strong, relying on instincts and in-the-moment prowess (Ni-Se) to navigate and control the environment. A natural leader, the Te-Ni user will read a scenario and efficiently organize and strategize at an alarming rate. Due to their singular, rational focus and drive, they may have a bit of difficulty tapping into their introverted feeling and may prefer to (attempt to) ignore their emotions as much as possible.
Ni-Te-Fi-Se (INTJ): Te advocates the goals and ideals of Ni. In this case, living in the moment is more difficult and Te really focuses on realizing the long-term ambitions of Ni. The INTJ is incredibly organized and precise as Te accurately enacts the vision. Think of Ni-Te as a dart flying toward a board. Ni aims and Te is the sharp landing on the bullseye.
The ENFP, ESFP, ISFP and INFP (all Xi-Xe-Xi-Te or Xe-Xi-Te-Xi) may experience bouts of Te in the form of a drive to organize or to adhere to a system. Though their dominant and secondary function may promote daydreaming or sensory living, Te may attempt to be the grounded voice in the back of their mind.
It’s a common misconception or stereotype in MBTI that higher Te users, especially, are really focused on perfection and “always” keep everything clean and organized and “always” score top marks and are high achievers. I would certainly say Te is good at these things in general, at least in myself and in those I know who use it. However, it’s so important to realize that nothing is ever “always” the case. I doubt anyone is “always” clean or “always” is the best at everything they do. Te does do its best in most scenarios to be efficient (are you tired of that word yet? It epitomizes the function to me) and Te does have a natural tendency to organize and segment. Still, we’re humans. Sometimes I’m prone to having my Ne throw me off and I won’t complete a task. Sometimes I can’t be pragmatic or logical about a decision because my morals or values get in the way in the way of my introverted feeling. That’s just us being human. It’s important to also remember that things that are behavioral aren’t defining of MBTI. Behaviors commonly associated with Te like organizing are common because of the cognitive processes that are behind those behaviors.
All of that to say – Te is not just a blind, machine-like proficient. Te is the way the environment is interpreted and then externally molded and formed by its interactions with the other functions present.
I hope this makes sense the way I’ve explained it. I’m certainly open to a discussion regarding personal experiences with Te. For me, as an ESTJ, I’m most familiar with the way Te-Si works. My parents are Si-Te and Te-Ni and I dated an Ni-Te so I think I understand those to a pretty decent extent as well and certainly can identify ways we differ. For instance, my ISTJ mother is much less interested in anything Ne-related whereas I believe (now, after some conditioning) it can be pretty beneficial when filtered.
Please do ask if anything is unclear or if there are specific Te-related questions you have!
- ESTJ Mod