Thinking vs. Feeling: A Deep Dive into the Differences

Judging vs. Perceiving blog cover

If you’ve ever taken a 16 personalities test, chances are you’ve come across the terms “thinking” vs. “feeling.” But what exactly do these terms mean? And more importantly, what implications do they have for your everyday life? Let’s take a deep dive into the world of thinking vs. feeling to find out.

Thinking and feeling are different ways of assessing situations and making decisions. As their names suggest, thinkers prefer to use logic and objective criteria when making decisions, while feelers place more emphasis on emotions and personal values.

We will explore the differences in greater detail, but to summarize, thinkers focus on facts and data, while feelers are more comfortable letting feelings guide them.  

Thinking vs. feeling distribution

It’s estimated that around 50% of the population are thinkers, and around 50% are feelers. Both have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. 

Understanding thinking vs. feeling can help you in your everyday life. For example, if you know that your boss is a thinker, you can present your ideas in a logical and direct manner to increase the chances of them being accepted. Alternatively, if you know that your boss is a feeler, you might want to be more mindful of your tone of voice and maintaining harmony.

Of course, it’s not always that simple. People aren’t 100% thinkers or 100% feelers. We all use both thinking and feeling at different times and in different situations. The key is to understand which preference is our strength and when each approach is most effective.

So, now that we’ve explored the basics, let’s take a closer look at the key differences between thinking vs. feeling.

8 signs that you’re a thinker

Thinkers value logic and objective criteria. They are more likely to make decisions based on what makes sense based on data and metrics rather than how those decisions will impact other people emotionally. Thinkers often have the ability to empathize with others, but this isn’t what drives their decisions. They excel at making logically sound choices.

Thinking personality types are depicted by a ‘T’ that represents ‘thinker’ as their third dichotomy. The following personality types are thinkers: INTP, ENTP, INTJ, ENTJ, ISTJ, ESTJ, ISTP, and ESTP.

8 signs you’re a thinker

Thinkers approach decision-making with rationale and logic. With a tendency to be analytical, they focus on objective data and facts. Thinkers often take a step back from the situation and evaluate it to make sure that their decisions are well-informed. They strive to remain impartial and often try to remove biases and subjective values from the equation.

Thinkers can view emotions as a hindrance, as feelings can cloud their judgment and lead to irrational conclusions. While they often have the ability to empathize, it’s not what drives their decision-making process. Thinkers feel most comfortable when there is clear reasoning behind a decision.

Thinking personality types are depicted by the letter ‘T,’ which represents ‘thinker’ as their third dichotomy. The following personality types are sensors: INTP, ENTP, INTJ, ENTJ, ISTJ, ESTJ, ISTP, and ESTP.

Here are eight signs that you’re a thinker.

1. You seek out data and facts.

Thinkers have an innate curiosity and a desire to understand the world around them in a systematic manner. This drive often leads them to seek out data and facts, as these provide the most objective and reliable sources of information. By gathering and analyzing data, they are able to form rational conclusions and make informed decisions based on impartial criteria. Intellectual honesty and critical thinking are important to thinkers, and they try to avoid their judgment being clouded by feelings.

2. You notice logical inconsistencies.

Thinkers notice when things don’t add up or when there are inconsistencies in what someone is saying. This stems from their need for everything to make sense. They feel most comfortable when there is clear evidence and reasoning behind everything. Using their mental framework of how things work, thinkers have a talent for picking apart arguments and spotting illogical assumptions.

Introverted Thinking cognitive function

3. You make decisions with your head. 

Thinkers use their heads more than their hearts when making decisions. They weigh the pros and cons and think about what the most logical choice is rather than how the people involved will feel about it. This isn’t to say they don’t have emotions; they certainly do. It’s just that, for the most part, they are able to put them to the side. Thinkers are often able to make decisions that others find difficult because they aren’t as influenced by their emotions.

4. You are direct when giving feedback. 

Thinkers generally value honesty over tact. They believe that it’s more important to tell the truth, even if it isn’t what people want to hear. This means they can come across as insensitive, but they generally don’t mean any harm. In fact, most of the time, they want to help people by giving honest, constructive feedback that can help them improve. For thinkers, sugarcoating words is often a waste of time and energy.

5. You can be out of touch with emotions. 

Thinkers can struggle to process intense emotions because their analytical minds are used to being able to explain things logically. They may feel overwhelmed and confused when they are confronted with strong feelings, such as love or intense anger. It’s not uncommon for thinkers to try to intellectualize their feelings rather than understanding each emotion’s origin and accepting that they don’t always need a rational explanation.

Physics system

6. You like to understand how systems work.

Thinkers are naturally analytical people who are drawn to understanding and improving systems, as it allows them to exercise their innate curiosity and problem-solving skills. Discovering how things fit together and unraveling webs that connect various components of a system comes naturally to thinkers. They can find it difficult to stay interested in tasks that don’t require critical thinking or problem-solving skills or, at least, have an element of complexity.

7. You’re drawn to technical fields. 

Thinkers are often drawn to technical fields such as science, engineering, and mathematics. This is because these disciplines require a high degree of logic and reasoning. Additionally, these fields give thinkers an environment to exercise their intellectual skills and ability to troubleshoot complex problems. It’s certainly possible to be a feeler who works in a technical field, but generally, thinkers are more drawn to these careers.

8. You don’t always factor in other people’s emotions.

Thinkers sometimes forget or fail to pick up on the emotions of those around them. They can be so focused on the logical outcome that they may not take into account how someone else will be affected by it. This is because they just don’t value emotions as highly. Thinkers can sometimes see emotions as a hindrance or a distraction from efficiently reaching their goals.

8 signs you’re a feeler

Feelers are guided by emotions. They value harmony and often have high levels of empathy. When making decisions, they consider how their choices will impact people on an emotional level. With a warm and nurturing disposition, they naturally read social cues and consider how their words or actions will affect those around them.

Feelers are often highly sensitive to the emotions of others. When making decisions, they consider what will bring the most peace or joy to a situation rather than looking at it from a purely logical perspective. They are naturally attuned to the needs of others, and they can often pick up on subtle cues in their environment that may not be obvious to others. In addition, they are able to tune into their own internal emotional state, so they understand how their emotions affect their behavior and decisions.

Feeling personality types are depicted by the letter ‘F’ that represents ‘feeler’ as their third dichotomy. The following personality types are feelers: INFP, ENFP, INFJ, ENFJ, ISFJ, ESFJ, ISFP, and ESFP.

1. You naturally consider how people will be impacted emotionally.

Feelers possess an innate ability to empathize deeply with others and intuitively understand their emotional states. This is one of the reasons why they carefully consider other people’s emotions when making decisions, as they can easily put themselves in other people’s shoes and imagine how a particular choice might impact them. Feelers strive to make decisions that foster harmonious relationships and minimize emotional distress. 

2. You are people-oriented.

Feelers are naturally people-oriented, and their lives revolve around human connection. They are often good at reading people and can pick up on subtle social cues. This doesn’t mean they want to be around people all the time, especially the feelers who are also introverts. However, they understand the importance of relationships, and meaningful connections are the foundation of their lives.

Extraverted Feeling cognitive function

3. You strongly value harmony.

Feelers generally value harmony, and they are often the peacemakers of a group. This is partly because they are sensitive to the emotional atmosphere, which means it’s important for them to create an atmosphere free of tension and hostility. They tend to find conflict uncomfortable, but self-aware feelers know it’s necessary at times. With an ability to see both sides and step into other people’s shoes, feelers are often very good at mediating disagreements.

4. You make decisions with your heart.

Feelers tend to make decisions with their heart instead of their head. While thinkers might see this as being “irrational,” feelers believe that emotions are an important part of a decision-making process. While logic and reasoning are certainly important, feelers believe that emotions can provide valuable insight into a situation and should be taken into consideration. They like to clearly understand how something will bring positivity and happiness to people’s lives.

5. You sugarcoat your words.

Feelers know that sometimes the truth can hurt people’s feelings. For this reason, they often value tact and diplomacy in conversations. They often feel a deep discomfort when they hurt someone’s feelings, so they sometimes sugarcoat their words or avoid saying something if it might cause someone distress. This doesn’t mean that feelers are dishonest people, though. They are often able to find a balance between being truthful and avoiding hurting people’s feelings.

Introverted Feeling cognitive function

6. You are idealistic.

Feelers often have high ideals and are able to inspire others with their vision of the future and how things should be. However, feelers can be disappointed when the world doesn’t meet these ideals. The same goes for people. This tends to be because feelers prefer to focus on the positive aspects of people and situations.

7. You are drawn to helping professions. 

Feelers are often drawn to helping professions such as teaching, social work, and counseling. This is because they have a natural desire to help people and animals. They often excel in these professions because of their people skills and ability to empathize with others. Feelers often have an innate motivation to make the world a better place, which explains why they are often drawn to charitable causes and humanitarian efforts.

8. You are in touch with your emotions.

Feelers tend to be in tune with their own emotions and understand them in a nuanced way. They often feel emotions deeply, and they understand the importance of taking time to process and express their feelings. They don’t tend to rationalize their emotions. Instead, they accept them and understand these emotions are valid and important. In addition, feelers tend to know what is causing each emotion.

Five real-life examples of thinking vs. feeling

Since we’ve looked at some of the key differences between thinkers vs. feelers, let’s now explore how these two types think differently by looking at five real-life examples.

1. You are deciding whether to take another job…

  • Thinker: Considers the difference in salaries and the future career opportunities available for each role.
  • Feeler: Takes into account the current dynamic with their colleagues and considers how harmonious their new team would likely be.

2. You are choosing a new car…

  • Thinker: Weighs up the cost vs. the benefits of the specific features of each car and concentrates on the practicality.  
  • Feeler: Considers whether the brand of the car manufacturer resonates with their personal values and how it makes them feel.

3. You are deciding whether to turn vegetarian…

  • Thinker: Focuses on whether it makes sense to them from a cost, environmental, and health perspective.
  • Feeler: Concentrates on how the decision is impacted by causes that they feel strongly about, such as animal welfare.

4. You are deciding which business idea to pursue…

  • Thinker: Thoroughly analyzes all the aspects of the potential markets and business models.
  • Feeler: Considers how personally motivated they feel about each idea.

5. You are deciding what to do with a family heirloom…

  • Thinker: Considers how much it would sell for and how the proceeds could be used.  
  • Feeler: Thinks about how much it means to them on a personal level.

Thinking vs. feeling in a nutshell

At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether you’re a thinker or a feeler. Both thinkers and feelers bring something valuable to the table. Thinkers provide logic and pragmatism, while feelers provide compassion and empathy. You need a balance between thinkers vs. feelers for societies to function.

The key is also to find a balance between the two approaches within yourself. No one is purely a thinker or a feeler, and you can develop the different aspects of your personality that come less naturally to you with time and effort.

Ultimately, understanding whether you are a thinker vs. a feeler can help you gain insights into your strengths and weaknesses. It can also help you understand why other people may make decisions based on criteria different from yours. So whether you’re a thinker or a feeler, embrace your unique perspective and use it to your advantage!

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