In a recent livestream with Jack Aaron, who practices Socionics, I was questioned on my Extroverted Sensing. His remark was that I seemed fairly comfortable with Extroverted Sensing, without valuing it. After the discussion, I thought to myself that I would discuss my experiences with Extroverted Sensing and how I see it as an INFJ personality type. These are my eleven struggles with Extroverted Sensing.
1.I was addicted to being in the spotlight
In politics, I learnt that I had an unhealthy addiction to being in the spotlight. Being on stage was such a thrill for me and I sought it too much, and easily came to overshadow other people. After a while, I began to see this as an unhealthy tendency in myself. So I started backing down and letting other people go ahead.
But being away from the spotlight was also really hard for me, like, I didn’t know who I was without my political title and my lead role, so I felt lost and depressed for some years after that. It was healthy and necessary though, and it was like spiritual cleansing, it made me realise what was most important for me. It was not important to be on stage, but it was important to hear my message and my ideas come to life.
2. I always felt like an outsider
I never felt like I fit in anywhere. The way it is, I have always stood out from everyone else in school, politics, and most of my life, so I’ve been seen wherever I went, usually because I went my own way and always stood a bit away from the crowd. I think other people see me that way too, so it’s not just me. Some people accused me of trying intentionally to stand out. Maybe there’s a truth to that.
Most people see me as a bit odd or different, I don’t think the way most people do, I have strange beliefs and unusual ways of thinking about and approaching life. So because of that, I naturally stand out. Extroverted Sensing is so normal, and I’m not really normal at all.
3. I’ve been comfortable in long periods of isolation
I’ve been completely fine by myself for a long time. I had a tendency to isolate myself from friends and peers as a kid. Often, I just feel much more comfortable by myself, reading, thinking, and writing. My starting point was the conceptualisation of ideas. I spent most of my childhood drawing up theories and concepts and writing stories.
Later in life, I came to feel that I wanted to share and communicate this with other people. I begun to feel alone for having developed different philosophical ideas I couldn’t find represented by anyone. But somewhere on the way I started to lose touch with my ideas, and then I had to get back to the drawing board. Now, I spend about 75% of my time conceptualising ideas. The rest of the time, I focus on communicating my ideas. In my past, I would disappear from friends and family because I couldn’t set boundaries and communicate when I needed alone time.
4. I feel like my physical needs are a distraction from my mental needs
I’ve always been a bit of a glutton and a lover of all things food, touch, showers, windy, warm days, long baths. So over time, I’ve begun to feel that that side of myself, that passionate hedonistic tendency, is a distraction from my mental needs. Excess, spending much money on food, wasting time pursuing physical needs…
Lately, I’ve been telling myself no a lot more often. No, you’ll eat when you get home. No, you’ll grab a salad on the way home so you can make the livestream. I still really enjoy excess and good things, but there’s a time and place for everything.
5. I don’t like to feel misunderstood
I’ve always struggled to explain myself. I’ve also felt invisible a lot of the time. I know that’s a contradiction because I can be outgoing on YouTube and have quite the following, but I guess it’s never enough? Sometimes I can feel the most lonely after I’ve been out campaigning or talking to a bunch of people.
I also feel really tired and drained by social interaction. When it happens, I’m in a high, when I come home from it, I’m exhausted. And only once I recharge my batteries do I feel like I’m myself again. I guess what feels lonely is that, even though I can be with other people, I can’t explain myself to them or talk about things I’m interested in. Most of the time, it feels like things go over my head. I try too hard to make myself understood. It takes away from the message I want to share. I end up dumbing down ideas. But I also don’t like to feel misunderstood, so I don’t always know what to do about it.
Extroverted Sensing is an INFJ Weakness
To INFJs, Extroverted Sensing is one of our four core weaknesses. Extroverted Sensing should represent one of our key thematical struggles in life. Things we lack confidence in and things we find draining and overwhelming. INFJ myths around extroverted sensing are many.
We have the sheltered hermit, that lives far away from society, with all their eccentricities. We have the myth of the outsider or the extremist who has developed conspiratory belief systems far removed from reality. There’s also the dissociative person that has started to disconnect or ignore their physical surroundings.
6. I enjoy sensory deprivation
I will often turn off all the lights and all sounds around me and just close my eyes and tune out of everything. That’s when I experience my imagination the strongest, and my mind feels so fresh, so alive, when I do. It’s also something I do to calm myself down after a long or busy day or after being in a crowded place or environment. Most people find me weird for doing this.
7. I struggle in crowds and in busy and active environments
My friends and family members have mentioned multiple times that I can get very jumpy in busy streets and when there’s a lot of people around. I get visibly overwhelmed and anxious in these settings and constantly scan my surroundings and move back and forth, never feeling comfortable anywhere. So I typically prefer quiet places, like parks, cafe’s, and so on. I feel much more comfortable by myself.
8. I took on the characteristics of anyone I would meet
When I meet and interact with others, I would naturally mimic their behaviour and actions. I noticed my Extroverted Sensing friends would always be naturally interested in anyone they met. I do too, but I’m honestly trying to stop doing it, because it exhausts me.
Suddenly, hanging out with me, they got really enthusiastic about philosophy, and with another friend of ours, they’d be all over beer, and then the next day when they met a painter, suddenly they wanted to paint. Extroverted Sensing seems to naturally blend in anywhere. I’m getting really drained just thinking about doing this. So I have had to learn to be weird and to stop doing this, to avoid exhausting myself.
9. Extroverted Sensing As The Everyperson
I’ve come to call Extroverted Sensing “The Everyperson” and to think of it as the definition of normal. I always thought I was an oddity, a black sheep, a lone wolf. As a kid, I would spend a lot of time thinking about why I was just so different.
Then later on in life, I came to think that I exaggerated my differences. I was different, but why should it matter? I don’t know why I was so fixated on it as a teenager. Maybe we all want to think we’re special or the chosen one. Now I like to think that everyone has something special to offer.
10. I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable with my body and physical aspects
Honestly, I’ve always struggled a bit with physical timidness. When it came to sex and other physical matters, I’ve always felt a bit shy. I’ve never really felt open talking about my body or sex, and it’s always been something private to me. I resonate with taking a long time to open myself to someone on that level. Beyond that, I don’t do well with one-night-stands though I did try.
I like the sensual aspects of it all, but I struggle with the rawness of it. The way I see it, I draw a fine line between sensory aspects like the sensation of rain or the feeling of water against my skin or touching someone I care about. That, and the sensation of an explosion, a hot fire, the sound of an explosion, the smell of fire, someone slapping you hard on the back to say hello, somebody suddenly jumping on me. I’m okay with the first, and I really struggle with the second. It can make me really uncomfortable. I think we want can appreciate our weakest functions when they are more mild.
11. I struggle with superficial things
Make-up, dressing up, taking care of your appearance, and dealing with our physical circumstance and how we appear. I’ve always struggled with this. I’ve often felt blind to it, like, other people have asked me “How do I look?” and I’d be like ‘Yeah, I have no idea.’ I just don’t often think about it or how things appear. It was worse when I was younger, I couldn’t even tell if girls had make up on or not.
I don’t think I care much for other people’s appearance, besides my girlfriends. And honestly, my mental perception of another person, their vibe, our connection, makes me feel the other person looks a lot more beautiful. So it’s easier for me to see them as beautiful because we are connected and because I’m in love with their mind and their spirit, and I can’t tell the other aspects are there.
But things do have an appearance and physical aspects do matter! It’s just a weakness to me, I just can’t see it. Certain things I can see, like the eyes, the smile, but a lot of things, I just miss.
12. I tend to struggle to pay attention for a longer time.
I think because I get so focused and intuitive judging about things, I miss out on a lot that happens around me. Beyond that, I physically can’t take in a lot of physical information, I can’t pay attention for a longer time to what someone is telling me, and I start tuning out or ignoring things very easily. But that’s Sensing Perceiving. There’s a difference between Extroverted Sensing and Sensing Perceiving.
What are your experiences with extroverted sensing as an INFJ or INTJ? How do you notice its influence in your mind? And what have you done to develop and better manage extroverted sensing in yourself? Feel free to watch my video on the INFJ Ghost Mode where I talk about extroverted sensing and why INFJs are prone to detach and disappear from others.