Extroversion vs Introversion (Ocean Analogy)

Recently I came to the realization that Extroversion and Introversion of each Jungian dichotomy (Sensing, Intuition, Thinking/Logic, Feeling/Ethics) can be illustrated more simply and poignantly with what I’ll call the Ocean Analogy.

In previous posts I emphasized how the Cognitive Functions or Information Elements in Jungian Typology are either coming from an internal, subjective, abstract viewpoint (introverted), or from an external, objective, concrete angle (extroverted).

Let’s see what it’s like when I combine all this with the Ocean…

Ocean Analogy

Imagine you are looking at the Ocean. There are two primary ways you can look at it.

From the Extroverted perspective, you oversee the Open Sea. The vastness of the ocean. The better your sight, the further you see. You try to see as far as you can. There’s lots of breadth in your vision. However, you can lose yourself in the vastness. Your eyes do not find any “edge” or “ground”. And you only remain on the surface with this view.

Extroversion: Open Sea

That’s how each Jungian dichotomy operates from the Extroverted perspective. Extroverted functions get the big overview of what is “happening” or “the case” for that particular dichotomy.

Extroverted Thinking (Te) gets all the objectively relevant and externally found logical information.

Extroverted Feeling (Fe) gets all the objectively relevant and externally found ethical/emotional information.

Extroverted Intuition (Ne) gets all the objectively relevant and externally found intuitive/conceptual information.

Extroverted Sensing (Se) gets all the objectively relevant and externally found sensorial/energetic information.

The stronger someone’s Extroversion, the more they tend to get “stuck” in this mode, so they can lose their own subjectivity.

Introversion: Underwater

From the Introverted perspective, you are Underwater, in the Deep Sea. Opposed to the former, where you are trying to see as far as you can, you are diving deeper, trying to get to the bottom of the ocean. The deeper you go, the more details or aspects unknown to the “world above” you will find. But also, the further you go, the more your vision will be obscured, you will be cut off from the world above, and possibly find the strangest sights, as if they didn’t even belong to this earth.

That’s how each Jungian dichotomy operates from the Introverted perspective. Introverted functions “go to the bottom” and (personal) core of each particular dichotomy.

Introverted Thinking (Ti) dives into the subjectively relevant and internal logic within information.

Introverted Feeling (Fi) dives into the subjectively relevant and internal ethics/emotions within information.

Introverted Intuition (Ni) dives into the subjectively relevant and internal intuitive/conceptual within information.

Introverted Sensing (Si) dives into the subjectively relevant and internal senses/energy within information.

The stronger someone’s Introversion, the more they tend to get “stuck” in this mode, so they can lose the connection to the outside world and objectivity.

Functional Flows (Going from one to the Other)

Both perspectives and sources of information are valuable! We need both extroversion and introversion to get the full picture of the world, or in this case, the Ocean.

In practice, everyone has moments of either swimming on top of the water’s surface or diving, depending on the occasion.

However, the Extrovert’s natural mode is being on top of the water and attuned to the external world, whereas the Introvert’s natural mode is being below and disengaged from the external, turned towards the internal.

Loops

In MBTI, so-called “loops” are another way of saying that during certain periods (also influenced by your subtype, if you know Socionics – certain subtypes are more prone to certain loops), people will get stuck either on top or below the waters.

“Loops” are not “bad” by default – they only become an issue if they persist for too long, extended amounts of time (weeks, months, years at a time).

Extroversion loops: Lost At Sea

… aka swimming for too long, will make you feel like you are “missing” something “deeper” or more personally relevant, you are “losing yourself”, getting lost.

Introversion loops: Drowning

… aka diving for too long, will make you feel like you are losing any connection to the world around you, becoming “disconnected” and “falling down the rabbit hole”, drowning.

To escape those traps, you will have to engage with the function in your first two, that you have been neglecting.

For example, ENTP(-Ne) stuck in the Ne-Fe loop will have to dive into their Ti to get back to balance. ENTP(-Ti) stuck in the Ti-Si loop will have to use their Ne again to get back to balance.

No matter what your personality type is, we are not meant to only stay in one mode. Like your breath, you need to inhale and exhale. There is ebb and flow. And there is going from your Extroverted functions to your Introverted functions or vice versa. So from the personal development perspective, recognize when you get stuck in one mode for too long and make sure you move to the other side, as necessary.

Cognitive Compatibility

When it comes to compatibility of the Cognitive Functions, I find this analogy also shows the truly beneficial dynamics, which Socionics seems to get right and most MBTI sources seem to get wrong.

Let’s take a common MBTI pairing suggestion like ESFP (Se-Fi-Te-Ni) with ISFJ (Si-Fe-Ti-Ne).

Each dichotomy is different. Each person will attempt to pull the dichotomy into the opposite direction. When it comes to sensorial/energetic information (Sensing), the ESFP will mostly swim on top and find that the best approach towards that dichotomy (Se). Whereas the ISFJ will mostly dive into it (Si). The same dynamic is reversed for every other function.

So in a relationship, the ESFP and ISFJ will basically fight about opposite approaches. It’s like one person wants to surf and the other person wants to scuba dive to see the dolphins. They cannot agree which approach is “better” or “cooler” to interact with the dolphins (or anything else for that matter)! In a friendship, that can be fine, but the closer they are and the more they want to merge their lives, the more troublesome this will be.

The ESFP will not have that issue with a (suitable) person that is either ESFP, ISFP, ENTJ or INTJ, because all the same functions and approaches are valued the same. Depending on the individuals involved, they might not agree on every detail, but they will overall agree it’s best to surf to see the dolphins. (By the way, of course this is just a random analogous example, please do not take it literally and think that all xSFP and xNTJs want to surf to see dolphins, haha. 😛 )

This kind of dynamic gets even more interesting once you compare different dichotomies interacting with each other.

For example, types that use Ti as their first or second function (in MBTI, xxTP) will primarily focus on “subjectively relevant and internal logic within information”. For them, they are naturally missing the complement, which would be “the objectively relevant and externally found ethical/emotional information“, especially if Ti is their first function. Or put more simply, they will mostly focus on their own logical theory and forget to see how others emotionally act or respond to the theory (or anything else for that matter), of which the Fe person will remind them: “Interesting theory, but think of the people too! How you are gonna tell them the theory. Here, this is how you can present it to make it emotionally engaging…” This is where the Yin-Yang synergy between Ti and Fe would occur.

So people with the same functions (in MBTI) and same valued information elements (in Socionics) will naturally agree on whether a dichotomy is preferably dealt with above or underneath the sea level, so to speak. And from then on, there are complementary dynamics in the manner of Yin and Yang.

Recommended Reads:

Extroverted vs Introverted Cognitive Functions

Jung’s Cognitive Functions Explained

Extroversion: The Basics of Energy

MBTI Compatibility Master Post

MBTI vs Socionics – The Conversion Dilemma

MBTI vs Big 5: Myths and Stereotypes

Extroversion vs Sociability


You want to know your Jungian Type?: Get•Typed or Speed•Typing.

You want to be coached on your functional use in your own life?: Type•Coaching.

You want to ask for more insider knowledge about this subject?: Type•Consulting.

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