Are Thinking types really driven by logic?

A Feeling perspective.

Are Thinking types really driven by logic?

Well… they like to think so! And it has to be said that when you need an objective, dispassionate head on a matter, they can be superb at focusing on the facts, evidence, weighing options and coming to a clear and elegant solution. We Feeling types are often grateful for the clarity of thought, unencumbered by the many “but what will they think…” and “what if they feel…” intangible topics that take up so much of a Feeling type’s thought processing.

However…when Thinking types claim to be purely logical and never ever emotionally led, they might not be being entirely honest with themselves. I met a market researcher who was working with a luxury car manufacturer, looking at decision making processes when buying a new car.  The Feeling types’ choices tended to be based on ‘I like the look of it’ or ‘that will feel great when I park up at work.’ The Thinking types responses were purportedly rational, based on hard data and analysis of options, ‘this is the better spec for the price’ or ‘it does more miles to the gallon,’ or ‘it’s more practical’ but when those decisions were unpicked, the Thinkers generally made their choices based on an emotional response and then justified it, in fact retrofitted their views, with logic and ‘evidence.’ The Feeling types were simply more comfortable with their emotionally led decisions.

Similarly, I have witnessed Thinking types react emotionally to a situation, and then deploy cold, hard logic to justify their reaction and how they intend to deal with what’s occurred. Not recognising that had they had a different emotional reaction, their ‘logical’ response would have been very different. An example could be that someone doesn’t show up on time for a Teams meeting. The Thinker is insulted and feels his time has been wasted. Based on this emotional response, the Thinker decides that the logical thing is not to allow any more time to me wasted, not to bother rescheduling and withdraws from the relationship and the potential opportunity. Whereas, if the emotional response had been a more pragmatic one, ‘that’s a bit annoying, let’s rebook asap,’ then the workstream could continue. So, whilst it’s easy to package up the difference between Thinking and Feeling as unemotional vs emotional, my experience is that it can be very different.

It is sometimes argued that Feeling types are illogical, but I see it more as differing priorities. Imagine that your priority is making sure everyone is looked after and maintaining harmony? How illogical are the steps Feeling types take when viewed through that lens? Feeling types prioritise and factor in emotional issues and decisions all the time, who will this impact? Will they be ok? Can I do anything to make it better for them? These are their priorities, to protect people’s wellbeing. They are always anticipating emotional responses. That extra time listening to someone’s problems for a Thinking type is a tedious waste of their time. For an F it’s an essential use of time to help that person feel better. Thinking types just do not work at this level. They just don’t see it as they are focused on the practical, factual, intellectual, yet whether or not they recognise it, they are a part of it. They are grateful for the Feeling type who sends them a joke to cheer them up, or who empathises, talks their problems through with them and helps them feel better about it. They benefit from that ‘Feeling lens.’

So, in my view it is a little more complex than logic vs illogicality, or evidence vs emotion, even though the Thinkers in my world would have us believe differently. Seen through the lens of a Feeler it all does make logical sense and sometimes the Thinker’s ‘rational’ response, is simply a post-rationalisation of something which they don’t fully understand or with which they find it difficult to deal and so their ‘feelings’ are wrapped up in a package of logic, which of course makes them ‘feel’ better.