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Friday, May 4, 2012

Behavioral Cues For Thinking

Written by Catherine Rains

When I’m working with a new client, the first thing I usually try to guess is their preference for Thinking or Feeling. Why? Because it will dictate how our conversation will start. If my client prefers Thinking, they will want to get to business right away, with minimal personal chit chat, which is not true with my Feeling preference clients. Because knowing this preference is so important to me early in the conversation, I pay very close attention to their Thinking/Feeling behavioral cues, even more than with the other preferences. Here are some things that I look for. They:
  • Might look more serious, business-like, appearing a bit indifferent
  • Often will jump right into the purpose of the meeting without my prompting
  • If I compliment them, they sometimes respond with a quick thank you with little personal narrative about what I complimented them about
  • Could appear critical because of their focus on what is wrong and needs to be fixed
  • Sometimes will argue or debate a point just for fun
  • Might use dark humor, sharp wit or sarcasm
  • Could question my competence to see if they deem me competent
  • Often use the phrase “I think…”
  • Usually get right to the point in an email with little personal “talk” (unless they know they are emailing a Feeling preference, and then will add a short personal line in the beginning after they are finished writing the email!)
So what cues work for you in guessing whether someone prefers Thinking?

*It is important to understand that you cannot assess a person's type based merely on type cues; having the person take an assessment and giving them a proper interpretation is always recommended. The point of the blog is to try to understand how to pick up on certain type cues when in the absence of giving someone an assessment and self-verification, such as in a job interview.


  1. Would you be able to elaborate on how you have observed the judging process of Thinking among Clients who:

    -- Prefer EXTRAVERTED Thinking?
    -- Prefer INTROVERTED Thinking?

    I am very interested in hearing from individuals who have a great degree of experience observing the functions-in-attitude in action.

    Also, anything involving the difference in the 'cues' when the process is Auxiliary vs. Dominant would be fantastic.
    While I lack the variety of experiences that a seasoned consultant/coach would have, I can certainly tell that my friends who prefer Te as dominant (ESTJ/ENTJ) express this process VERY differently that *I* express it (Ti as Auxiliary - ENTP.)

  2. Hi JeniRae, here is a response to your question from Catherine:

    Just as you said, someone who prefers Te will express their dominant very different than those that prefer Ti. Extraverted Thinking is about organizing the environment to achieve logical goals. They can be seen like a general corralling the troops to follow the plan, and stick to the plan. Introverted Thinking is about internal logical analysis, and thus not as observable. Someone who refers Ti is doing internal analysis to make a decision, and we usually see this when they announce that final decision, which could be a surprise to us since we never hear anything about how they reached the decision, or even knew they were in the process of making a decision.

  3. love the last point (adding short personal line AFTER finishing the email) -- so true! I do it all the time!