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The Missing Link

The Missing Link

By Donna Dunning

Personality Type and Interactions

Sometimes conversations are disjointed and perplexing. Having a dominant function of Extraverted Intuition (Ne: ENTP and ENFP), I know I can be the source of some of this confusion.

Quantum leaps

My mind has a tendency to jump between ideas. I can be talking about one thing and then make a comment or ask a question about a totally different topic. Of course, in my mind, I have linked the two topics through a series of thoughts, but unfortunately the listener has not been privy to this seemingly random thought process. I may get a “where did that come from?” response.

I’m sure my preference for Extraversion also plays into my conversational habits.

Perhaps those who have a dominant function of Introverted Intuition (Ni: INTJ and INFJ) have this habit too. I have heard many of them say that they find it tedious to explain all of the concepts and ideas behind their decisions and plans for action. The missing link in their communication may be the unexpressed information they have gathered when inwardly processing a topic in-depth.

Train of Thought – All Aboard

What can I do to improve my communication?

Here are three strategies that I find helpful.

I try to become more aware of my habits and remember to let people know when I change topics by using a statement like “On another note…” or “ I was also thinking about…”.

I also try to connect ideas together out loud to show my train of thought.

Another strategy I have learned is to say, “I am thinking out loud here,” in case others interpret one my many ideas as well-thought-out decisions or courses of action.

Off the Rails

I shouldn’t even start talking about how I sometimes don’t provide enough data or background when expressing my ideas. This is a whole other topic. Oops… there is an example of my random mind at work.

Staying on Track

Do any others out there with a preference for Intuition fall into this pattern? What do you do to get around this tendency?

If you prefer Sensing how do these conversational habits affect you?

If you are looking for ideas on how to communicate more effectively, Introduction to Type and Communication helps you understand communication preferences.

If you live in the USA, Introduction to Type and Communication is now available on Kindle.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 9:30 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “The Missing Link”

  1. I am a dominant T with S as my Auxiliary (ESTJ). When I’m communicating with a dominant Ne, I find myself pulling them back on topic a lot. My experience, if I let them control the conversation my eyeballs begin to roll around in my head! I lose them completely. I need them to finish a train of thought. But then again, I’ve come to realize there is no end to their train of thought. The Ne is actually clarifying to themselves as they speak.
    When Ni is dominant they are usually a little more disciplined in their train of thought. They too can ramble but not at the same rate as the Ne.
    My Achilles heal in communication is making it sound like the conclusions I’ve come to and share are written in stone. I’ve learned to preface what I am about to say, like, “some of the things I’ve learned (or recognized) about _________ are”, or I might say “can I throw out a couple of thoughts on the subject”.
    Good communication is the key to conflict resolution, so understanding the differences in the way types communicate is essential for good, healthy communication.
    Thanks for the Blog Donna, Great Stuff.

  2. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi Michael, There is indeed, quite a gap in communication preferences between dominant Te and Ne. Sounds like you are very aware of and accepting of these differences. Other Te’s may learn from reading your strategy for prefacing your conclusions. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Patti Sato says:

    I am an ENFP and this concept of the leap/jump to another subject is something I know well. In order to help present ideas to my SJ boss, I have learned to prepare in advance of meetings and use an agenda. This helps me stay on task and limits the frustration of my boss.

  4. Paul Reinerfelt says:

    I’d say that it fits us with auxiliary Ne as well. I’m an INTP and I’m pretty sure that if anyone were to tally phrases I use, “That reminds me of…” would probably top the list.
    I have a good friend who is also a confirmed INTP and when we meet, people occasionally stop and stare and wonder how we even can understand what we say ourselves! Because we, halfway through the other’s sentence, have figured out where it is going and get reminded of something and comment on that instead! (and the best part is that we almost never need to explain those jumps to each other, we make the same connections) The result is that our topics tend to bounce around like they were in a pinball machine!

  5. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi Patti, Thanks for your idea of making and following an agenda. As well as keeping your presentation on track, this can help ensure you present the material sequentially and don’t miss important details, another challenge for people who prefer Ne.

  6. Donna Dunning says:

    Hi Paul, Your comment triggered a thought. Wouldn’t it be interesting to tally common phrases used by different personality types. I’m sure one of mine would be “I’m just thinking out loud here…”

  7. Lauren says:

    ENFP (Which I’m sure you know by now as I’ve just left you a bunch of comments!) so I know this very very well. My INTJ husband is dominant Ni but his looks much more disciplined or reigned in. He follows me very easily – I think his Ni allows for this – but eventually his introversion just shuts him down. He tells me I never end, which is very true. Usually to get me to stop talking about something, to stop making connections between things is to get me to get so exhausted from talking that I crash.. obviously not so healthy!

    His Ni.. it looks different. It’s a bit hard to explain how it looks different, but it is more concerned with depth into one subject instead of making connections between everything like I do. I also get the impression that most of his happen quietly and I’m not privy to them (obviously the I part) which is one reason it’s hard for me to explain the difference.

    The tips here seem like good ones. I will have to try to explain what I’m doing as I’m doing it more. I will occasionally say things like “I’m just talking” which is mostly good enough but it’s a bit indirect for some people.. “I’m thinking outloud” seems like it would be more useful.

    “I shouldn’t even start talking about how I sometimes don’t provide enough data or background when expressing my ideas.”

    I get accused of the opposite at times – that I provide entirely too much background.

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