As you may already know, Jungian psychology can be very useful in understanding how any type of relationship works. In an earlier article, we detailed how certain pairs of cognitive functions are perfectly complementary, and how this can lead to more harmonious and fruitful relationships. Today, we will see the other side of the coin by looking at how certain duos of cognitive functions can be the cause of conflict or misunderstanding within a relationship, and therefore duos to be avoided.
Again, let’s keep in mind that no matter whether there is cognitive compatibility in a relationship or not, there will always be conflicts and areas of misunderstanding. There is no substitute for trying to keep a relationship in place, but it is clear that cognitive compatibility will affect the amount of work that needs to be done.
Not all relationships are perfect matches (and actually, this is a good thing). However, regardless of your relationship, it can be very beneficial to know the playing field by understanding your partner’s needs. You will then be able to understand your couple (or future couple) compatibility and make it one of your best relationships.
We will distinguish 4 axes of cognitive functions, which are : Te – Fi, Fe – Ti, Se – Ni and Ne – Si. We will see that the duets of incompatible functions are in fact duets composed of functions belonging to the same axis. The sources of incompatibility will be multiple: when meeting similar functions, there will be competitiveness in the case of introverted functions, and inattention in the case of extroverted functions. The meeting of opposite functions within the same axis will systematically lead to misunderstanding.
Let’s start with the likely behaviors of a relationship between two individuals with Te and Fi as cognitive functions.
Te – Fi focused relationship
Users of the Te – Fi axis: xxTJs and xxFPs
How Te reacts with Te, especially for the relations between xxTJs
Out of habit, Te intervenes when it is a question of expressing thoughts and acting rationally. Rather than trying to spot inconsistencies as a Ti user would, other Te users will also express their beliefs as a way of communicating.
Thus two individuals sharing the function Te may have more difficulty finding common ground, regularly coming into conflict without knowing how to bring down the tone given the absence of Fe.
How to ease tensions: agreeing that everyone has their own thoughts, and that both parties should simply respect the thoughts of the other in order to avoid conflict. Ego fights can also be avoided by leaving personal beliefs aside and looking at the beliefs of the other to try to find common ground.
How Fi reacts with Fi, especially for the relations between xxFPs
What Fi users dream of, especially for IxFPs, is for their partners to be attentive to everything they consider important, to respect them, and to act accordingly.
However, even if two Fi users will be able to exchange and understand each other by comparing themselves without judging what they like, they risk acting only in their own interests. They will both blame each other for the other’s lack of attention. Where one Fe user would notice the more or less obvious signs of discomfort from a Fi user, another Fi user will ignore them, leaving them in a solitude where they will withdraw into their problems.
The solution will be to make the effort to listen to what the other has to say and try to do it with sincerity.
What xxTJs criticize about xxFPs
Frequent users of Te will blame Fi users for their ineffective subjectivity. Type xxTJ will test whether type xxFP has reasons to consider X or Y as important, and in case type xxFP has no arguments, type xxTJ will consider this expression of Fi as whims that do not deserve attention.
What xxFPs criticize about xxTJs
Frequent Fi users will criticize the inhuman insensitivity of Te users, explaining that sometimes you can like something or consider it important without necessarily having a reason behind it.
In addition, xxFP types will sometimes be uncomfortable when xxTJ types act immorally just to achieve their goals. This is something that xxFP types may find difficult to accept.
Fe-Ti focused relationship
Users of the Fe – Ti axis: xxTPs and xxFJs
How Fe reacts with Fe, especially for the relations between xxFJs
Fe users attach more importance to the emotional state of others than to their own, as well as to the respect of the values recognized by all. In a relationship, the Fe users want to obtain the trust of their partners if the latter needs to confide in them.
Two Fe users in a relationship will expect the other one to confide in them, so this will not happen. Neither user will sincerely appreciate the other’s support because they themselves do not want their feelings taken care of. In Fi’s absence, the Fe will find it difficult to play his role to the full and this will be all the more annoying for the xxFJ who will regret not being able to make full use of one of the favored functions.
How Ti reacts to Ti, especially for the relations between xxTPs
A Ti user places importance in logic and wants to be seen as someone intelligent or as a reference for sensibility. Only a user of Te can provide factual cues to correct a user of Ti, validate them, and use this gift of logic to make sense of it.
Two Ti users are at the risk of rarely listening or really considering the logic of the other, unless they neglect their own ability to make logic. If neither of the two adapts to the other by bringing a rational, more objective and realistic point of view, then both will see themselves going into pure logic debates to fight for the place of referent of logic—debates that risk losing their rationality given the absence of Te.
What xxFJs criticize about xxTPs
Too frequent use of Ti logic can harm the good atmosphere of relationships, which is well maintained by good Fe users. This may be the cause of conflict in a relationship between xxFJ and xxTP types.
xxFJs will blame the insensitivity, lack of empathy and emotional distance of xxTPs.
What xxTPs criticize about xxFJs
The need to express oneself emotionally can be tiring for xxTPs. The xxFJ’s compassion and need for harmony can be seen in the long run as a fear of telling the truth, or as fragility, which xxTPs will more or less directly oppose.
Se – Ni focused relationship
Users of the Se – Ni axis: xNxJs and xSxPs
How Se reacts with Se, especially for the relations between xSxPs
Two users of Se will find themselves trying to make the other one live adventures that are always crazier than the previous, with an almost malicious pleasure to impress the other as much as possible. However, both being used to all kinds of sensations, it will be difficult for either user to appreciate what the other will bring. No matter how hard one tries, it will be perceived as a mere repetition of the other’s life, and both will not be able to sincerely thank their partner.
On the other hand, when it comes to going on an adventure together, both will know that they can count on each other in case of problems, and this will create a solid bond of trust. Thus, like many relationships where two individuals share the same functions, there will be a good chance that this relationship will become, at best, a solid friendship as opposed to a love relationship.
How Ni reacts with Ni, especially for the relations between xNxJs
Good Ni users are seen as individuals with a well-defined, abstract vision of the world, and above all, known for their visions of their own futures. All their lives make sense around their goals, and they are not afraid of ambition.
Two Ni users in a relationship can quickly realize that their goals diverge. When one member of the couple has such a project for the couple, he or she will insist on the complete execution of that project. Where one Ne user would rather tend to adapt to the wishes of the Ni user by looking for the best opportunities not to be missed behind such ideas, another Ni users might simply see it as a constraint to the execution of their own plans. The solution is then to privilege independence within the couple.
What xNxJs criticize about xSxPs
Naturally, the high standard of living of xNxJs drives them to do what it takes to be successful, and for this, sensible planning and action becomes indispensable. However, the mentality of xSxPs is instead rooted in the philosophy of “Carpe Diem,” something xNxJs will find difficult to accept. xNxJs will consider xSxPs as immature in their time management, undisciplined and indecisive.
What xSxPs criticize about xNxJs
The xSxP’s need for instant gratification causes them the need to enjoy the moment much more than working or thinking about a plan for the future, or anything else they see as hindering their unique quest to enjoy life to the fullest. They will repeatedly try to relax the xNxJ, to show them that life shouldn’t be so serious and that they had better explore the world before it is too late.
Tensions will decrease when both individuals understand that they do not have the same management of their time and how to respect it.
Ne – Si focused relationship
Users of the Ne – Si axis : xNxPs and xSxJs
How Ne reacts with Ne, especially for the relations between xNxPs
Good users of Ne never run out of ideas, so two users of Ne together can imagine anything. Never stopping at the edge of reality, whether in the course of work or in a debate of any kind, both users will get caught up in an escalation of increasingly crazy ideas, but rarely come back to what’s actually possible.
Even if this cohesion may seem optimal for a serious relationship, it is by no means constructive. Like two open taps without containers to collect water, the absence of a Ni user to organize and order the incessant flow of ideas of Ne will cause the loss of many ideas and projects over time. Neither will really know how to listen to the other, too busy already imagining a new set of ideas.
The solution will then be to understand and respect the common need for change and innovation of both individuals, reduce the pace and build sustainable ideas for both parties.
How Si reacts with Si, especially for the relations between xSxJs
Users of Si are attached to their past, their experiences and their routines. They are therefore naturally sensitive to the experiences brought by others. In a relationship with other Si users, boredom may be felt because of the general immobility of the couple. In the absence of Se users to change things and bring in new experiences to which Si users are normally sensitive, this couple may become destroyed by a routine that has slowly set in.
The solution is to realize the shared need to maintain a stable life and get out of their comfort zones together, bringing mature and new experiences to the couple.
What xNxPs criticize about xSxJs
In their need for change due to their constant impatience, xNxPs will see xSxJ’s stability of life as a prison in which they will never wish to comply. xSxJs appear to them as people who are too attached to security and too conformist. These are habits that will not be accepted by xNxPs, who are too attached to maintaining their freedom and their desire to defy reality. In particular, xNxPs will regret that xSxJs are not interested in their ideas.
What xSxJs criticize about xNxPs
The instability and lack of discipline of xNxPs will be blamed by xSxJs. The xSxJ types will often be forced to call the xNxP types to order when they forget a birthday or arrive late. In a relationship, xSxJ types will not always understand the xNxP’s non-conformist thoughts, which will be seen as bizarre or useless. In response, xSxJs will then remind xNxPs of the norm of things so that xNxPs don’t lose themselves.
Birdy and the Incompatible Functions
At Birdy we use this compatibility theory to connect you with the most naturally compatible people. By understanding your personality type, your cognitive functions, and your inferior functions we can help you learn more about how to develop your personality and understand the people around you better.
We also want to help you learn about these differences and similarities that can make relationships easier or harder. We want to guide you while you navigate your relationship and help you understand yourself and your partner better.
You can download our app for Android or iOS, or learn more about yourself by taking our personality test and reading more about your specific personality type.
Written by Dan