A typed internet essay about Te

In my ongoing quest to distinguish between Ti and Te, I recently came across an interesting article:

[My husband is an INTJ, while I’m and INFJ. He communicates with the world through extraverted thinking, while my thinking function is introverted.

Here’s a typical conversation we might have on a weekend.

Hubby: Want to go with me to the hardware store?

Me: Which one?

Hubby: The blue one.

Me: You mean Lowe’s?

Hubby: I guess so.

I used to find it incredibly frustrating that he seemed to pay little attention to the names of things. After all, isn’t it possible that there’s more than one blue hardware store? How could I be sure which one he meant without knowing the name?

He, on the other hand, considers names extraneous, and often difficult to remember. Names, he says, get in the way. They create barriers between ideas. For instance, it’s clear what the relationship is between “the blue hardware store” and “the orange hardware store.” Calling them “Lowe’s” and “Home Depot” obscures that connection.]

Whether or not the observation itself is legit, it’s still lols how true the latter attitude rings for me. For instance, the word “hubby” is annoying despite its cool context. “Hubby” is not a synonym for husband. “Hubby” is a cue for “I am a fairly old fashioned person who does not want to seem unhip on the inter-net.” I am distracted by the incongruity of this conflation because I am absurdly aware and therefore wary of nomenclature; though the importance of precision in naming things is fully apparent to me, only rarely can I employ it in full conscience. The sword of accepting titles as a pure descriptive form for concepts is too double-edged: precision requires that one accepts the propaganda that underlies so many of the names we come across in our post-Orwellian world.

This is me at Jamba Juice (or, as I mentally call it, Fruit Drink Place):

Me: I’d like a strawberry smoothie. The small size of it.
Clerk: Which one?
Me: What?
Clerk: Jamba offers several strawberry themed smoothies, if you’d care to consult our menu. Strawberry Surf Rider, Strawberry Nirvana, Strawberries Alive…
Me: Oh, ok. The one with the least nonstrawberry crap in it will do, thanks :)

Perhaps I would have fared better at ordering refreshments before 1949.

In fact Jamba Juice is a downright sublime example of what happens when names get out of control. Ordering at Jamba Juice involves the unspoken rule that only if some completely deranged smattering of mangled lexicon passes your lips will you be permitted to pay for a chalky banana-ice blend flavored with various fruits. This is a screen cap I did of part of the JJ menu:

I can tell you here and now that in my life I will most likely never give voice to the words “Berry Fulfilling”. It is difficult to envision too many conditions under which I might legitimately do this. Maybe

JUDGE: And what were you drinking when the incident of January the fourteenth took place? Please be as specific as possible.


JASON SCHWARTZMAN (playing Jamba Juice Clerk in movie): Hi, what would you like today?


RADIO HOST: All right, for one thousand dollars, which Jamba Juice beverage is a “relaxing whirl of raspberry juice, lower calorie dairy base, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and iiiiiiiice”!

Why such obstinacy, you might ask. Don’t you realize you are wasting collective hours of your life in playing impromptu charades with bewildered strangers?

Te. It’s Te. Blame Te. Te really likes arguing about the details of things for no reason, relentlessly and pedantically until you just give the fuck up and go to bed. Like if Ti were a brilliant director who made a cool movie, Te would be the horrible internet board non-troll fanning a flame war over whether or not Object A belonged in Shot B of said movie.

Why does Object A matter? Uh, it doesn’t. Unless, that is, you have a lot of Te.

I understand this internet-arsonist person because I have been this person, and will before long play the role again. I have a lot of Te. Like if you want to know how much Te I have, imagine a textbook ExTJ. Are you imagining? If you are doing it right and are not ExTJ yourself, you are probably imagining the image of this person making you cry. Very good. Now, tweak this image as follows: Instead of running away, you are just like. “Man, ExTJ, why do you gotta be like that all the time?” And instead of destroying you the ExTJ is all, “Oh my gosh!! I am so sorry oh my gosh are you mad please don’t be mad” as tears appear in their eyes and they awkwardly attempt to hug you, except their jawbone hits your ear, so now in addition to being mad you are also bruised on your ear.

That’s me.

The thing about Te is that it’s broad. Concepts > words. When I say “Raspberry Rainbow”, you are thinking of a different manner of thing than you would think of if I merely said, “raspberry smoothie”. The necessity for me of opting for the latter lies in the fact that, to me, “Raspberry Rainbow” is a totally different concept from “raspberry smoothie” — the latter is an item, the former is a slogan. Referring to the slogan where one should refer to the item seems foolish and misleading to me, with my 1-2-3 punch of Ne-Fi-Te. Ne likes to keep things broad, Fi hates to mislead the naive, and Te does not ever, ever, ever want to be wrong.

This article by a person who identifies themselves only as “SW” defines the extremes of this NeTe looping attitude as “Borderline Personality Disorder.” Idk though man, pretty sure it’s just called “Type-3″. Type-3 is the convergence where ESTJ and ENFP look vaguely alike, at least on paper. It softens the rough, Type-8 Te-dom while grooming the scattered, affable Ne-dom into something more of a political animal.

Ya it pretty much blows.

I would like to get better at Ti. Unconsciously I seek out friends who use it handily. But unless you torture me with 109°C heat, long lines, and a free drink coupon, I will never, ever dance to anyone’s sick tune and say “Raspberry Rainbow” so long as I live.


  1. luemb

    Thanks for the article! This is a very interesting take on how Te works. I do think like this, but I hadn’t thought of explaining it in terms of Te (I’m an INTJ).

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  3. NFP Here

    “I would like to get better at Ti. Unconsciously I seek out friends who use it handily. But unless you torture me with 109°C heat, long lines, and a free drink coupon, I will never, ever dance to anyone’s sick tune and say “Raspberry Rainbow” so long as I live.”

    Yes! FOr years I ordered a “small” at Starbucks because I hated their arbitrary sizing system. I have enough arbitrary and amusing language in my own head, but you don’t see me forcing that shit on others. Anyway, me Fe and Te got the best of me, so I now order “tall.” I think it’s just easier for them to process the order (Te?) and I don’t want to hold the line up (Fe).

    I believe I do use Ti quite a bit, and I enjoy it. Perhaps it’s not my default function, but using it is like playing solitaire or whatever in that it’s amusing. I definitely seek out Ti users in friendships.

  4. Gideon - INFP

    Oh man, I can relate to some of the Te things so much. I think when I have a debate, I flip on Te. In every day life I can be pretty awful with Te, having a hard time organizing my possessions, time, and priorities.

    I can’t stand being wrong, but at the same time if I’m seriously debating it’s because I feel very strongly that I’m right and I’m willing to address every single point a person makes in order to prove that. If I didn’t feel comfortable addressing something from every angle, I probably wouldn’t be debating. Internet debates are awesome, because I can look up statistics that I remembered reading about (Si) somewhere or just use whatever I find and weave it into my argument (Ne?) and it makes me look more qualified :D. I think my weakness is letting the other person make me mad (Fi, duh), which makes you appear incapable of objective analysis of the subject.

    I’m the one who will argue every detail of what someone has said, if it’s in writing. It’s not as easy to do that in speech. Then I’ll just try to address the main points. And I probably won’t have the guts to be as direct about my disagreement. But yeah, I can have a hard time giving it up because I think the debate is over when I’m proven wrong, not when the other person begins getting agitated.

    I’d say I’m actually not awful at debate, I suppose this would be evidence of relatively (compared to other xNFPs) developed Te? I understand it’s my inferior and weakest function, but I remember doing fairly well on my schools debate team early in highschool and when I’m knowledgeable on a subject I’m comfortable with debate. It’s even kind of nice sometimes, as long as people aren’t getting emotional. It’s a way to test the merit of your ideas, see which ones are weak in yourself and your opponent, and learn more about the issue from a fresh perspective. In my opinion the best debates are the ones focused on the contrasting of different perspectives, as opposed to striving to prove who is right or wrong.

  5. DH

    “I would like to get better at Ti. Unconsciously I seek out friends who use it handily. But unless you torture me with 109°C heat, long lines, and a free drink coupon, I will never, ever dance to anyone’s sick tune and say “Raspberry Rainbow” so long as I live.”

    I’m INFJ (thus I have Ti as my tertiary) and I have a difficult time referring to items by their silly slogan names. but when I think about it, if I was ordering, I probably would (reluctantly) use the slogan name to make sure the person knew exactly what I was talking about and so as not to annoy the order taker (Fe). But naming something Matcha Green Tea Mist is not very descriptive. If I try to describe something, whether in writing or in speech, I always need to use the “right” word — the word that most accurately describes what I’m talking about. I often go on thesaurus.com to find that word or dictionary.com to make sure that word means what I think it means. To me, if you’re going to use words, make sure they’re the right words (Ti). Slogans don’t do that. Jamba Juice slogans might instead play to Se by giving a strawberry smoothie 5 different and ridiculous names with silly descriptions (heavenly? harmonious? I don’t think so!). People (certainly S-types) need the different names to feel like the smoothies are unique to each other and perhaps to imagine what one would taste like to determine if they would like it.

    Names and words are important to me. I can usually remember someone’s name and birthday before I can remember their face. But naming things can certainly get out of hand! in my view, that happens when names are for show and not descriptive — if they’re there to sound cool or funny, and not to accurately describe something.

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