Conflict 3- Opposing Function

Conflict 3- Potential for conflict from our Opposing Function

If we are working at the single preference level, it is all too easy to assume that those with the same functions in their Types will see eye to eye. For example, “I’m a T and you are a T, so we should be similar in some ways”.  Not if one is TJ and the other is TP. There will be some similarities in that they will both take a detached perspective and use logic and be outcome focused; however there will also be some stark differences that can create conflict.  This is because the TJ will Extravert their Thinking (use thinking outwardly in action and communication) and the TP will Introvert their Thinking (use thinking internally in thoughts and problem solving).  So this potential conflict area is often missed.

Before I start on this one, I am going to re-iterate some of the caveats for this article to provide a context.

  • By ‘conflict’, I mean misunderstanding, irritation, lack of trust, creation of tension, negative perception and negative impact. So not ‘conflict’ as in ‘full on fisticuffs’ or overt argument.
  • I am highlighting the conflict points, but remember that there is a huge potential for complementarity when different Types work well, and diversity of Types is essential.
  • So that this doesn’t turn into a novel, I will only be selecting the most common issues that I have observed during my time working with Type. You may have experienced many others.
  • And finally, as in the previous articles, I am looking at typical expressions of Type. Resilience, maturity, emotional intelligence, stress, etc. will all impact how we react in a given situation as individuals.  That having been said, the presence of a bit of tension will usually bring out these typical reactions as our Type becomes more rigid and one sided under pressure.

The illustration below shows the positive characteristics of each function-attitude (the function paired with E or I) and how they may perceive the opposing function negatively under certain circumstances.  These circumstances can be lack of awareness of differences, being under pressure, being defensive, or simply not being too fond of the other person.

Remember though, these are just negative perceptions, filtered through the bias of our own preferences.  They are not the truth.  Nevertheless, they may feel real to us at the time.

If you do not know the dominant function-attitude for your type, look below:

Introverted Sensing ISFJ, ISTJ Extraverted Sensing ESFP, ESTP
Introverted iNtuiton INFJ, INTJ Extraverted iNtuition ENFP, ENTP
Introverted Thinking INTP, ISTP Extraverted Thinking ENTJ, ESTJ
Introverted Feeling INFP, ISFP Extraverted Feeling ENFJ, ESFJ

The next article will look at the potential for conflict from our Inferior Function (the complete opposite Type to our own).
Followed by the other 3 Typological Perspectives on Conflict –
5) between Same Types
6) how different types may try to Resolve Conflict
7) the potential for conflict as  result of our Stage of Personal Development.

Earlier articles in this series of Different Perceptions of Conflict:
1. The difference in conflict definition from the Thinking and Feeling perspective
2a. Extraversion – Introversion explores common misunderstandings between these styles.
2b. Judging – Perceiving explores common misunderstandings between these styles
2c. The Functionstypical misperceptions between S and N, and T and F Types

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