The Intuitive's Guide to Getting Along With Sensors

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on September 28, 2015

Of the four personality preferences in the personality system created by Myers and Briggs, the gap is widest between Sensors and Intuitives. While the population is split roughly 50/50 on the other dimensions, a full 70% of people show a preference for Sensing over Intuition when taking a personality test. This can lead to quantum differences in personality, and Intuitives may spend a lifetime feeling like the odd man out.

Because Intuitives are the minority, the onus is on them to adjust to the Sensor way of thinking. Here are some points to help you overcome the communication barrier so you can start enjoying a Sensor's company.

The Perceiving Function, Distilled

In a nutshell, the difference between Sensors and Intuitives is this: Sensors prefer tangible information, whereas Intuitives prefer speculation and depth of insight. So, while a Sensor will perceive data points individually (one by one) and literally (as they are in that moment), an Intuitive will perceive them concurrently (all at once) and abstractly (as they could be in the future).

Let's look at an example. Here's how a Sensor might experience a flight:

  • This takeoff is bumpy.
  • My ears hurt.
  • It's chilly in this airplane.
  • There's a man sitting beside me.
  • He's reading the book that I read last month.

You can see that the information a Sensor gets is highly factual. They make very specific observations about the things that are going on around them, and they do not attribute any meaning to those observations.

An Intuitive might experience the same flight like this:

  • This take off will be bumpy.
  • Why can't scientists do something about that ear popping thing?
  • I usually feel chilly on flights. It might be anemia. I'd better get some blood work done. 
  • I read that book. It was pretty provocative. 
  • That man must have hidden depths, reading such a seamy book. I bet he does a spooky job, like a mortician or an arachnologist.

Intuitives read between the lines to size up a situation and take intellectual leaps of faith about the meaning of things. As such, their ideas are often difficult to communicate.

What should be clear from the flight example is that the stimulus does not change, but merely the window through which the Intuitive or the Sensor sees it. You might live in the same house as a Sensor but it can feel like you're moving through very different surroundings! So how can you get along with Sensors who seem to come from a wholly different world? 

Observe tradition

Sensors place a lot of value on family, history and tradition. These things are concrete and knowable, and therefore can be trusted. In practical terms, this means that Sensors are far more likely than Intuitives to uphold rituals such as holidays and anniversaries. They connect through these physical experiences and use them as a conduit for transmitting cultural values.

This can lead to problems if, for example, an Intuitive wife forgets her wedding anniversary. She does this because she places greater value on future possibilities than old traditions. Exactness (the date) is not as important to her as the symbol (marriage). To her Sensor husband, however, failing to recognize such an important ritual is disrespectful as it undermines his entire value system.

Rituals are especially important when raising Sensor children. Young Sensors have a need for tangible stability in their lives. They place great emphasis on having their own room, which is organized so they know where their stuff is. They may have strong opinions about the contents of their lunch bag so they can fit in with the lunchtime traditions of their friends (an Intuitive child won't even notice what the other kids are eating for lunch). They want to know timelines - the exact time when they should wake up, do homework and go to bed. These traditions are a practical application of the information that a young Sensor has accumulated. They need them to feel safe and connected with the world.

Appreciate the need for detail and be prepared to explain how something will work

As an Intuitive, you come in at a high level on the ladder of abstraction. You do not consciously define the steps that are needed to get from point A to point B because you instinctively leap across all the steps and make snap decisions based on an overall feeling.

Frustrations occur because a Sensor needs those mechanical details. They want to see a practical application of the information you are giving them, and they want to follow a logical sequence from start to finish. Rather than providing a global concept, you're going to have to break down your vision and present it step-by step. Here are some things you might explain:

  • The starting point of your argument
  • The conclusion you have reached (this should be definite and concrete)
  • The process you went through to reach your decision
  • The information you relied on
  • How the conclusion is relevant to the here and now (Sensors can't rely on what hasn't happened yet, so future possibilities are less interesting)
  • What, precisely, the Sensor should do to act upon the information (the bottom line)
  • The times or deadlines that apply.

These details may not be on an Intuitive's radar, but if you want to meet a Sensor's needs, you're going to have to be as specific and concrete as possible. For even clearer communication, give examples.

Don't put words into the Sensor's mouth

Sensors live in the detailed, vivid world of the present. They value practicality and physical experience as ends in themselves. Much of the frustration a Sensor has with an Intuitive comes when the conversation bounces off in all sorts of directions that may be interesting for the Intuitive but has zero relevance for the Sensor.

Suppose, for example, that you're shopping for a new car. Your Sensor partner strikes up a conversation about fuel consumption, heated seats and tow packages. Because you focus on theory and metaphor, you attempt to extract a deeper meaning from the Sensor's literal words where none was intended. You are convinced, wrongly, that the Sensor is referencing the environmental impact of CO2 emissions and you can't understand why the Sensor keeps dragging you back into the mundane world of backup cameras.

What you have actually done is put words into the Sensor's mouth. They were having a benign conversation about cars, while you were setting the world to rights. The further you move from reality, the more annoyed a Sensor will get.

One way out of this jam is to lead with a different experience, one of action rather than exploration. Buy the new car first and then plunge into the theory pool of environmental degradation. Sometimes you just need to get the job done.

Key takeaways

Being Intuitive is a bit like being left-handed - the world is not designed for you, and right-handed people (Sensors) may not even realize that you exist. But just because you are an Intuitive does not mean that you are not able to engage in the sensory world. Everyone has both components in their personality. Fundamentally there is value in each mental process, which is why they exist.

With practice, it is possible to become ambidextrous and engage in both worlds. This may not be instinctive or even pleasurable to you, but you do have that ability. These tips will help you get started. The rest is up to you.

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


rhoadess says...

You might suggest mindfulness practice.

eleanor allocca (not verified) says...

Some lightbulbs went off and I immensely enjoyed reading all this interesting information. I am looking forward to your next revelations about myself... with curiosity and trepidation.

eleanor allocca (not verified) says...

How do you think this will help me? I have been doing this for two years.

Guest1 (not verified) says...

Why did you only list examples for how intuitives can speak sensor? I've been learning how to "speak" sensor my entire life. Some examples of how sensors can communicate to intuitives better would be nice as well.

Molly Owens says...

Well, this article was for the Intuitives, but we will definitely work on getting one out for Sensors as well!

Guest (not verified) says...

Would still like to see a piece on how Sensors can learn to "speak" Intuitive, and how it benefits them to do so.

Molly (not verified) says...

Where can I find the article for how sensors  can understand intuitives?

Dave666 (not verified) says...

In my experience Sensors are not interested in seeing things from an Intuitives perspective because they tend not to value it. Their narrow blindness is all they want to know.

taj (not verified) says...

Thats how I see it, i try to explain to my dad about all the ideas i have and he just nods his head and I can tell he cant understand me, his view point is so practical and narrow that it annoys me because I cant speak my mind and thoughts because hes a sensor

Ria (not verified) says...

Me too. I tried to show my sister a meaningful film that would be thought provoking but all she wanted was an inane monster film that was rated 3/10 on IMDA. The same sister who I showed an interesting video on Kierkegaard and it was barely 10 seconds before she went "this is boring". They don't want to know how to speak 'intuitive' because the way we view the world is boring or 'doesn't make sense' to them. It's just frustrating 

Guest (not verified) says...

Perhaps the article is written by a sensor Fi.

Clayton M. (not verified) says...

You might observe that the title of this article specifically states “The Intuitives guide to getting along with Sensors”

I genuinely do hope that helps to answer your mundane question.

Intuitively yours (not verified) says...

I completely agree/ I was like ummmm...

Monkeybrains20 (not verified) says...

Because, the author is a sensor.

Guest (not verified) says...

This just described the interaction between myself and my youngest daughter, and myself and my now ex-husband. wow. It frustrates me that I cant seem to communicate with her, but now I can see why we are both frustrated and wonder if the other is crazy because we can walk away from a conversation and both wonder if the other was really even there! She is a sensor big time and I am an intuitive big time. She reminds me of her dad in so many ways that we interact...its a huge ah ha for me today....major food for thought.

Molly Owens says...

Awesome, I'm so glad it resonated with you!

JudyGuest (not verified) says...

My now intuitive ex couldn't decide on a lot of things and situations and would leave it to me (my Sensor & Judgement). Then would accuse me of being controlling. A real catch-twenty-two.
The family would make plans and my ex would agree and then come up with "an idea" that would muddy the original plan and he would sometimes be bent out of shape if we didn't go along with his new ideas.....not all the time however. Hard to plan events and adventures with travel and family outings.

Xavier (not verified) says...

That's really interesting. As an intuitive this is my dilemma. When I'm trying to plan something with someone, they'll say something like, well that won't work. My first instinct is to ask, "Why won't that work?" And that tends to frustrate a lot of people (not sure if these people are Sensors or Intuitives). When they tell me the reason why it won't work, I'll throw out some ideas of how things can change slightly to make it work. They don't like that! And it confuses me to no end how come it can't work, when obviously if you just move this to here and this to here, it can work. Sometimes making decisions and plans is like playing Tetris. And you just have to move the blocks around. So I try to explain my rationale, and they keep shaking their head, and I'm like, "But it will work!" What I'm looking for is them to tell me the exact reason why it won't work that also can't be changed, so my head can be like, ohhh, I see...

LLTT (not verified) says...

Thank you for this, I think I found out a solution that will fix most dangerous United States issues altogether in one swoop, and while I have been working on the concept for several years and have worked out the inconsistencies in my head, when I try to ask a sensor for their perspective, they just say it won't work, give up hope and let the US of A continue to be subpar. 

Guest (not verified) says...

SJs are always controlling because they are Guardians, so, no matter how much of decisions you were taking in his name you were probably controlling his life big time without being aware of it.

WhatTranspires (not verified) says...

As an intutitive, I have learned to speak sensor as well. Sensors need to understand, however, that for us to step back and spell out every detail when we can see the end state so clearly, can be exhausting and frustrating but is also rewarding if we are recognized for our ideas. If you are writing a flip-side article, please remind Sensors that they need us, especially in the workplace. We provide vision and energy and innovation, and they help us make it real. We really do need one another, but we need to understand one another, be open and be aware.

Guest (not verified) says...

I found this article insightful.

Guest (not verified) says...

I've never flown, but I would wonder(probably out-loud) why someone hasn't solved that ear-popping thing.

Guest (not verified) says...

S and N. You forgot to mention that we do both. The take-off example only made that clear to me. I do both. We all do both-- but not with equal comfort. I am and N, but I do place importance on tradition. For example, one of my projects is working on my family tree. But, at the same time I don't place much importance on dates of birthdays and anniversaries. And yes, I do feel like a left-hander in a right-handed world.

Mathilda (not verified) says...

This is so helpful!! I've tried mindfulness practice, and other techniques to try to understand or communicate with sensors but I end up just feeling exhausted.
I had a great mentor who once told me I don't think you realize how you come across" and he is right, I don't. As an ENTP, I have always struggled with relationships - not sure how I managed to stay married for 20 plus years.
Always feel lonely and misunderstood, and always see things as you describe here.
Thank you!!!

RebeccaG1989 (not verified) says...

Wow this is seriously blowing me away right now! The pennny has finally dropped and everything is started to make sense. Been feeling like Neo from the Matrix since doing my Myers briggs Test:D

Thank You

Guest (not verified) says...

A lot of the language challenges can be tied to the Ladder of Abstraction idea. A cow is a cow no matter what, and that's the realm of the Sensor's communication style. No need to go beyond the universally accepted definition.

Most Intuitives realize they have to adjust the first time they have find themselves giving a lesson to the teacher in a typical K-12 setting.

MAni (not verified) says...

Thank you for all these informations, and insights it brings to me, my behavior, and my partner's.
Iam Intuitive, and she is a sensor. At the time as we speak, she hasnt taken the test yet, but i know she is a sensor.. lol.
Here I go again with my fast thinking and Assumptions.

But Intuition means we understand how things work and their possible results. while sensors are more passive...
Anyway, thank you again for the articles and comments. Its never enough to hear experiences and insights.

My story is that I have had trust issues with my partner.. and trying to understand why would she lie.. because of my reactions.. made me go through the differences between us into solving our issue.

We have been arguing for a week, and i have made so many readings and reaserches for the whole time, that i came in fast with diagnostics, solutions, transformations (for me) and search for better ways of communicating.

This resulting with me on all these Internet pages about compatibility options between N and S.
Thanks for more examples!

Iam man. ENFP , she is ESFP.

sara sami (not verified) says...

Awesome Article thank you for sharing.
I feel like if most sensors saw this article, they might be able to understand us a bit, since the article is very organized.

I found this post on google yesterday about how N's are smarter than S' and the hate it was receiving, but your article clearly communicates our issues much better than hating on sensors, however your article was about how we should communicate with them and not about our struggles. I would love to see an article where it has funny points summarizing the struggles we face because of living in a world full on sensor.
I also would love to see an article about how sensors can communicate with us and the misunderstandings/they feel when talking with us because when I talk with sensors I'm always cautious as not to bore/annoy them with my World topics/view and I hate having to carry that burden/feeling. I do feel as if i'm bothering/annoying them I don't know if that's just me feeling that way or other intuitives feeling that away as well.
Its not only them but I feel as if sometimes other intuitives who have low self confidence and are not comfortable with themselves/haven't understood themselves yet look down upon us/pretend they don't know what we are talking about just to fit in with the crowd and not be hated like us which bother me so much and makes me feel very alone.

We should definitely have organization/groups for intuititves to meet and discuss the topics we care about and love
If any of you reads this, please try to do something about it.

plus i would love to see a neat article like this one talks about the different types of intuitives that exist. Like the different between Feeling intuitives and thinking ones, how their intuition differs, how they see the world, would they get along better with each other or feeling intuitive and sensor is better than a thinking intuitive with a feeling intuitive.
also the difference between an introverted feeler and an extraverted feel and the same for the thinkers and how it differs when they communicate with each other. plus if the Myers Briggs is so awesome, why isn't everyone world wide using it everywhere to solves the misunderstanding issues.

lastly, I know I've ranted a lot lol but Is the hunger games secretly separated into the myers Briggs personalities, I got a hunch i'm very sure about and I would love to pursue it further because the different job occupations they had reflected different preferences, if it is , how would the world play if each preference/ personality group had their own region, wouldn't it be interesting to discuss such outcomes.

BTW fellow enfp here, heyyy :) :) :)
Love yall
lots of love xo xo :P :D

luhboosie (not verified) says...

I wouldn't say that world "isn't built for intuitives." It's much easier to "play" systems like school, for instance, if you are able to see more general patterns and "read in between the lines." For example, taking a test is not solely about knowing "the material"; it can also be about knowing your professor/teacher and what they see as important about the subject. If you're able to do that, as well as know some facts, you can both predict *what* to study, as well as answer questions in a way that mght express deeper understanding, at least to that specific professor. 

Strangely Rational (not verified) says...

School is made for the majority, and the majority are sensors. Especially these days, tests are about memorizing and regurtitating facts. Standardized tests have zero to do with teachers, and they drive the curriculum as well. Even back in the 70s/80s when I was in school and things weren't as bad, I detested school except for the parts that involved creativity and abstract thought (and both of my intutive children are having similar experiences as well). It wasn't until I hit college - where intuitives' abilities are more relevant and valued - that I really started to shine. 

species (not verified) says...

Apparently, I'm an intuitive in a family of sensors. I annoy them by barely caring about practical matters, chosing instead to obsess over the philisophical. They annoy me by seeming to only really care about things like the latest trends or the state of the furniture. It gets hard to relate to people who don't really have much interest in exploring the deeper meaning behind things...but at the end of the day I'm sitting around swamped and hypnotized by my thoughts, while they''re busy accomplishing practical things. So yeah, sensors are kind of better seems...maybe... :?

Another Species (not verified) says...

More often than not, I think Sensors are better off but this will depend on the situation at hand. I understand and can personally relate to what you wrote; however, as an INTJ, I can tell you that many of the "practical" things you wrote about that sensors often do could really be called "movement without achievement" or rather doing meaningless tasks like buying trendy items/getting the latest and loudest furnature while not having any significant long-term goals. They often lack depth or sincere insight. My parents made fun of what I talked about growing up, hated my questioning things, and said I was in my own world -- they are strong sensors involved in the community so they could relate to many more people than I could with my not liking small talk, goofy gossip, etc. But they now have nothing. I was right... I could see things falling apart in different areas and directions of their life and would let them know trying to help, but it was either ignored or they would double-down in the opposite direction and try to discredit me which caused me frustration that they took great pleasure in. The retirement account they had was drained by a qualified/certified "expert" from their church who I warned them about... You know, a good traditional man, lol. I can spot a phony a mile away but I am not always right (hard to admit) but in that case I was. Chronic health problems due to the type of physical work they did (practical work) was not the way to go in my book, especially as they got older, but hey, even with health problems I bet they are still better with their hands than I am! If I was still around them, I am sure they would give me a hard time about that as well and call me klumsy or something. I am glad I finally was able to get away from them! Love them from a distance and agree to disagree. I am not sure of what type you are (perhaps INTP?). I would suggest finding like minded people who share your values and limit (or elliminate) your time with family members you annnoy. If the result of your interactions is them being annoyed with you and your feeling left out, is it worth it? Sometimes it is best to part ways... Long story short -- my ESTP brother taught me that lesson after he sucker punched me and broke my nose & eye socket while my parents cheered him on in the background. The first thing my folks said when the Police were pulling up the driveway after I called 911 is "what will the neighbors think?"

LuluDreamOn (not verified) says...

Wow, they sound like hardscrabble dolts and I'm sorry you had to be in that family.  

taj (not verified) says...

Im exactly the same, I feel so alone because I havent met anyone experiencing the same thing as me personally

Another ENTP (not verified) says...

Hi Molly. I know this article is quite old now, but I found it whilst trying to work out why female sensors always seem to have a problem with me. I always make the effort to get along with them, but I seem to get nothing but shade in return from most (apart from ESTPs). I can generally get along with most male sensors (my father is an ESTJ, so that may have something to do with it), but females specifically seem to hate me. I normally try to find something to like about everyone & treat everyone equally, but lately it's  gotten to the stage where I don't even feel like making the effort anymore.

I got told by one ESFP that I use too many big words & that she 'hadn't swallowed a thesaurus'. I forget the exact word, but do recall it was only three syllables long & not something uncommonly used. And also that I was addressing my INTJ husband at the time & she chose to butt into our conversation.

Either way, I try not to judge people's worth on their intellect alone, but I do feel like a lot of female sensors want me to dumb myself down & talk about nothing more stimulating than the last episode of Love Island. How can I get along with them without feeling like I have to conceal my intelligence?

Molly Owens says...

I hate to say it, but I think female ENTPs have a bit of a difficult lot in life. Jesse Carson just wrote a great post about this same issue which I would highly recommend reading. She talks about a lot of issues we have with other people, but I think the crux of it is that we just communicate in a way that people don't expect from women, and not everyone is able to handle it.

I appreciate wanting to get along with everyone, but something that's been very freeing to me is to realize that not everyone is going to like me. That doesn't mean I'm going to be impolite or willfully belligerent, but it does mean I can let myself off the hook if someone doesn't seem to take to me. I take solace in the fact that when I do click with someone, we both really value that connection!

EKD (not verified) says...

I want to add a point that I recently came across about growing up with a critical parent who makes him or herself feel "bigger" by subtle or not-so-subtle put downs of their children. Often it can be from a mother to daughter because of latent jealousy issues. Women are extremely competitive with one another, but it's pushed underground because of societal programming. So when it comes to the surface-- ouch! When I realized at 67, that my mother had continually undermined every success of mine with dismissive comments, while also using me to burnish her own image as a mother with her church and friends, I saw inside my complete confusion as to why I never felt I could "succeed." Look up Mother daughter jealousy and there's a great article on Psychology Today. So, this gets perpetuated through generations and then women do it to one another to give themselves little dopamine hits throughout their day-- "friends" who dismiss and use you and you wonder what the hell you did to deserve this? Consider generational patterns and the desire that seems hard baked into humans to compare and to lift themselves "above" others. BTW-- thanks for this blog! We intuitives need a lot of support from each other in this world. I sincerely doubt many Sensors would be thrilled to have their Intuitive hand them an article saying, "Hey, here's how you can talk to me!" I laugh at the thought.

ElDJe (not verified) says...

Hi Molly,

Thanks for this article. I found it very enlightening.

Can you recommend any book, program or resources to practice communicating with Sensors. I want to build on the tips you provided in this article and would like to find a structured way to practice. Maybe you have written a book yourself or know of something else.

I will appreciate any recommendations. I would love to be able to communicate and connect with millions of more people without learning a foreign language, per se.


Molly Owens says...

Hello! I'm not aware of a book about communicating with Sensors specifically, but The Art of Speed-Reading People is a pretty good overview of dealing with personality differences in general. The publisher of the MBTI® assessment also has a booklet called Introduction to Type and Communication which could be helpful!

Rusty (not verified) says...

I was following until you got to here: 

"Much of the frustration a Sensor has with an Intuitive comes when the conversation bounces off in all sorts of directions that may be interesting for the Intuitive but has zero relevance for the Sensor.

Suppose, for example, that you're shopping for a new car. Your Sensor partner strikes up a conversation about fuel consumption, heated seats and tow packages. Because you focus on theory and metaphor, you attempt to extract a deeper meaning from the Sensor's literal words where none was intended. You are convinced, wrongly, that the Sensor is referencing the environmental impact of CO2 emissions and you can't understand why the Sensor keeps dragging you back into the mundane world of backup cameras.

What you have actually done is put words into the Sensor's mouth. They were having a benign conversation about cars, while you were setting the world to rights. The further you move from reality, the more annoyed a Sensor will get." 

If it didn't have relevance, I wouldn't bring it up. I'm bringing it up because I think it's relevant, and something I think the sensor should see. If the sensor doesn't want to hear an intuitives abstract opinions, then why are they even telling them about it? 

Further more, seeing many different possibilities at once doesnt mean I see any of them as correct or incorrect. Speculation and assumtion are not the same thing.   

My first assumptions, if any, are that I have wrongly misunderstood the conversation. And I ask for clarification. This is usually what annoys most sensors in my experience. I don't put words into anyone's mouth, I go through a list of possibilities using induction and deduction to narrow them down to the most logical, and statistically plausible results based on as much responce I can get out of direct questioning as the sensor has tolerance for. Most sensors do not seem to have understanding that intuitives perceive things differently then they do. And they misinterpret our speculations as critisism, and jumping to conclusions about how we perceive things. Then they become defensive over something that they assume we assume, when this is not the case.  

I think that more often times the intuitive is having a conversation about reality, when the sensor just gets annoyed. 

Mathilda (not verified) says...

I love your response Rusty, it's spot on and makes me giggle because so many of my conversations veer off into this sort of spiral. Thanks!

Vp (not verified) says...

Rusty, I have never had a better time reading a response and seeing myself reflected. Thanks! I feel a childish sense of glee that someone else finds sensors  -well, how do I put this- annoyingly defensive. It always blindsides me and kills the enjoyment of the conversation. For me, it’s never about the particular situation but about the big abstract picture and trying to understand the system that governs it. But the sensor is a robot and it keeps rejecting my input because the program it runs has only a drop down menu and no essay field. 

Very funny to read and relate another’s experience that I thought was my private hell. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. I guess I’m morally defunct but it makes my loneliness less  unique to me, which is some kind of ironic connection! ;) 

LC (not verified) says...

HA HA! I love your post. Couldn't get enough of the truth of it! had to comment because you made everything make sense with your comment about intuitives. I am the exact same way. 

taj (not verified) says...


H2orocks4001 (not verified) says...

oh my God! on!!!

i just had this discussion. My intuitivness is like all the way to the wall.  I’ve been meditating for 180 days so that hopefully has helped the sensing.   

I see that if the SENSING & FEELING either is under or over developed (not really sure which one) that it can lead to believing our feelings. 


That is actually a cognitive distortion in cbt.  And I found my self arguing with this.


i only started seeing more and more patterns because I started keeping track of interactions.


i think to, the intuitive side can come up with patterns that don’t mean anything. That’s why I obsess by about learning enough about the world (note, I notice I get kinda intellectually off from those concept idea books that give us a new lense, and the sensing world books of topics aren’t as interesting or stimulating is a better word.    Those books I find I do getvery useful info out of in a different way.  It’s more info I need for eq and LQ (Love quotient). I went through and read 900 pages in 3 separate books on human emotion in past couple month and it helped me see peopledifferently (I learned a bunch of the science)

i make a point to constantly learn and build a model I know works so my patterns I’m seeing aren’t wrong.  I’m more concerned with getting to right, than being right.  I get frustrated when a sensing person will attack what’s I’m seeing despite me seeing and having researched a topic extensively.   And it’s not that I have to be right, again it’s about getting to right, (it involves other people)

often though in disagreements they end up just not liking what I have to say or present and then despite me even explaining the steps we need to take and what it means, it feels like they all just flatness our disagree and when asked why , they don’t have any justification.

im willing to be flexible, I’m not usually willing to sacrifice basic logic though.

what do I do , ugh.



Another Species (not verified) says...

You wrote "If it didn't have releveance, I wouldn't bring it up." I think the article missed this point to some extent, but you hit the nail on the head with your response to it. From what I have seen, the sensor will often become annoyed by other types bringing up valid (or different) points from different angles. I don't understand why that is often so offensive to them.

This is just my 2 cents -- they should see the conversation as it is, but they refuse to or are unable to do so in the more advanced intuitive communication style. I think the intolerance that sensors have is because if they were to ask for the type of clarification that you might, as suggested in your article response example above, the sensor would be doing it as an attack or criticism, so they assume (incorreclty) that you are doing it for the same reason that they would if they were to do it (and I don't think that many of them really have the ability to reason this way to begin with). Buying a car is a big deal after all so lets go over all options!

Do you think the article makes it appear the intuitive does not consider the relevant features about the car?

I think intuitive discussions are far beyond what sensors are "wired" to do in conversation, and they might think that style of posing the option of different possibilities (often going down the road of progress) is confusing or irritatating to them as it goes against the grain of how they think with established beliefs and many sensors somehow manage to feel threatened or intimidated by it due to insecurities. Often I find they become passive-aggressive in response to the frustration they have towards the intuitive. 

Sometimes I think that sensors can't even hear what was really said in a conversation and simply misinterpret what was said a lot more than an intuitive type would be stereotyped to do so by a sensor in reality.

As I have gotten older, I try not to waste time sharing speculations/opinions with people if I believe they will not be receptive to it, will become irritated, irrational, and also if they don't ask for it and I see no productive (or fun) outcome in doing so. In the end it is just not worth it, as they will either have hard-feelings most of the time after a "conversation" or just say I am unconventionally odd. I read the 48 Laws of Power and that has helped me greatly in dealing with people as an intuitive -- I learned that it is often to best keep quiet in many situations... But not when buying a car together like the article.

TIMOTHY CROWE (not verified) says...

I will never conform in any way to the sensors expectation. The expectation that I should conform is where real sensor iNtuitive bigotry originates, not from intuitives. Sensors hate all that does not conform and expect iNtuitives to conform. No not untill I am understood! Understanding is representation in the system. I am not represented. Dont have the occipital capacity to understand me? Then there will be no conforming.

LC (not verified) says...

Damn straight!! That is truth to me as well. Someone commented earlier that sensors are robots and that is the honest truth, from what I have experienced with them. Finally, someone making sense of us intuitives and not backing down with what we know and believe. 

taj (not verified) says...

i literally was just thinking to myself in the shower about how all sensors are like robots and are oblivious, i thought this after trying to have a abstract conversation with my sensor dad (esfp) whilst I am an (entp). the conversation didnt go well and I kept thinking about how different I am from other people becuase he didnt understand me. But now Ive discovered that im not the only one who shares the same views and opinions, I just wish I knew some people like this in real life..

Simone Runyan (not verified) says...

I can't decide if I like this article or not.  It (almost) makes Intuitives look like caricatures who are always thinking about "weird stuff" and generally "being weird."  Believe me,  I have met Intuitives like that,  but I personally anyway don't have too much of a problem misunderstanding Sensors (for example) because I am "reading things in" to what they say.  I do find myself asking Sensors quite a bit why they are telling me a certain thing, but it's usually because they seem to get caught up in a lot of factual details and leave me to try to figure out their point.  Either that or they aren't saying what they actually mean.  

Neither do I find that Sensors necesarily need to hear all the "steps" in between A and Z.  Most Sensors I know are pretty sharp and can make "intuitive leaps" right with me. 

The thing that drives me  absolutely insane about my interactions with Sensors is when they say to me,  "Remember I told you [such-and-such]?," and then I have to go into a lengthy response explaining that yes,  I do remember whatever it was that was said (albeit vaguely,  usually), but that the point I was trying to make was actually [whatever]....It's exhausting,  and I feel stupid trying to explain myself,  and all the while a little part of my brain is thinking maybe I really don't understand what is going on and they truly do have the better understanding of the situation because they remember exactly what was said and I do not.  

Oh,  and yes I most certainly did notice what other kids had in their lunch boxes.  

Erin H.S. (not verified) says...

The problem with 'majority rule' thinking that this article espouses ('Because Intuitives are the minority, the onus is on them to adjust to the Sensor way of thinking') means that Intuitives, especially those who have sensing as their lowest function, are constantly put at a marked disadvantage.  You're essentially asking Intuitives to speak in their non-native language, which means that they will not be able to offer their full range of gifts and talents in the workplace.  The same would be true if all Sensors were asked to continually function on an intuitive level.

In progressive, well-functioning workplaces, the natural preferences (as well as abilities and talents) of each employee is recognized and used their fullest extents as possible.  This means that a 'meeting in the middle' is required by everyone, rather than trying to push the 'outliers' into a box of conformity.  Intuitives can learn to communicate more effectively with Sensors, but Sensors can do the same for Intuitives (just as much as this is emphasized for Feelers vs. Thinkers, etc.).  This gives everyone the opportunity to function as they are naturally wired, learn more about their co-workers, have the chance to share their gifts with the team as much as possible, and develop a greater sense of empathy for others who see the world differently than they do.

We need all types of people -- we each offer a variety of strengths that -- collectively -- can become something very powerful.  Asking groups to mute their natural abilities because they're in the minority is short-sighted and can promote greater conflict and miscommunication in the long run.

H2orocks4001 (not verified) says...

In a relationship both people should learn each other

but I’m reading books like motivational interviewing and innermost work of a leader and other very useful self development stuff I’ve found.

first 10 pages of those books dramatically changed my thinking I felt.

but what I will say is that to grow as a leader, I will have to work to cater to them, as if it’s 70% of them, that means that 3/4 of the people I lead are sensing and it’s still my goal to help everyone see a higher perspective.


Another Species (not verified) says...

What fields do you think have most progressive well-functioning workplaces that allow the natural abilities and talents (of sensors and intuitives) to flourish the most? Anyone can feel free to answer this.

I think that it is typically sensors that are asking intuitives to mute their abilities, due to the majority rules forced-conformity factor common in many workplaces. Some conformity is good, like showing up on time, completing tasks, having the same desired outcome, etc. However, there have been times when I have tried to get sensors to "conform" to my style as well on occasion with little luck.  

Every personality type has value in some way by contributing something -- albeit different from others -- and it would be a good thing to hone in on improving communication between different personalities no doubt, but it is a challenging proccess that often brings stress. Sometimes it is better to not even bother.

Do you think it is typically easier for intuitives to go backwards than for sensors to go forward, so to speak?

In the past I have discussed the weather, and a co-workers extramarital affair with another co-worker, it felt rediculous -- almost like I was making fun of them in the conversation as I was having it with them, so it just felt insincere and wrong to me. Both topics were initiated by the sensor. Those types of conversations were an attempt to get me to conform in the workplace, and I was not for it, especially considering half of their work day was wasted on them.

Self-employment has been a blessing.



LC (not verified) says...

I believe that hiring more intuitives and less sensors (keep a couple for balance)  in your employ might be another option to consider because, think about it, IF we intuitives are not about shallow gossips or talk, then work might get done.  I like my conservations to be moving in a positive direction to accomplish something good or just to have wholesome fun at no one's expense. 

My name is Jeff (not verified) says...

I hate the fact that intuitives have been forced their whole lives to adjust to sensors while the other way around is never even considered. Minorities are trendy right now, so how about some support to intuitives. Intuitive lives matter. We are another kind if black people. Sensors are dumb. Because when we arrive at a conclusion, we have already been we they are. We can anticipate things. Their final point is our starting point. They go from point A to point A. We go from point A to D without having to mess up the points in between. We are scolded, disdained and hated by sensors. But sensors who try to mimic intuitive are the worst. You know, the artist that builds a piece that supposedly has a pattern but it was just randomly arranged to look that way? I hope our society starts valuing intuitives more, because all great turning points and improvements were made by us. Si types would rather stay where they were, but now they use what we created. Se types would rather have fun, but preferably using the things we create. They need us. We also need them. To acknowledge us.

Zarah (not verified) says...

I agree! Except with the derogatory stuff. But I got where you were going.

Another Species (not verified) says...

"But sensors who try to mimic intuitives are the worst. You know, the artist that builds a peiece that supposidly has the pattern but it was just randomly arranged to look that way?"

I think ISFP is supposed to be the most creative type with art, according to some commenters on the forums.

Many ISFP artists also claim to be very intuitive (or often get mistaken for one especially by other sensors that buy into it).

I had an ISFP art teacher that said "you are doing it wrong" and gave a poor grade becase of how I went about doing it. She was good friends with my ESTJ Mother. I took those same photos later to a photography competion and got first place. I jokingly let her know this when I saw her again yet she still refused to accept that there was another way to do things than her copy-cat and phony way of art.

"We go from point A to D" I go from point D to A: Start with the end result and then go backwards and figure out different ways on how to get it. If it can be done without all the sensor type of details, better yet. They won't acknowledge this actually works, don't bother trying to get them to. 

A sensor will not value your way and say that you did it wrong and then they go from point A to A again. If it wasn't for people like us, humans would be living in prehistoric conditions and no written language, etc.

LC (not verified) says...

I agree wholeheartedly as well!

CandyH (not verified) says...

Understanding this probably would have saved me from years of frustration with my former sensor bosses, and I’d probably still have those jobs.

The reality is, from my experience, that it is completely against the grain for sensors to speculate about personality types (abstraction central), much less do research about how to communicate with intuitives (unless they are somewhere in the middle).  It will most always be the intuitive’s responsibility to straighten out this conundrum, however unfair it may seem.  I have a daughter, husband, and a few former bosses that are strong sensors and figuring them out was a long journey.  Just getting information from them is difficult.  You won’t get long open-ended answers... they will give you exactly what you asked for and nothing else.  They will argue vehemently against your abstract assumption if you can’t prove it and especially if they have past experience that directly disproves it (at least teenage sensors will!).

Sensor bosses don’t jive well with creative intuitives, so be prepared to keep those ideas in your head, execute the idea, document its success, and THEN show your boss.  Otherwise they will look at you like you’re speaking charlie-brown-teacher-speech.

Sensors seem “2D” to me, but I’ve learned to save the intellectual philosophy theories for fellow intuitives and keep it short and sweet with sensors.

That only took me, maybe, 30 or so years to understand!

LC (not verified) says...

It is all about "show me" with sensors. I understand your thinking on this. 

Mart8 (not verified) says...

Sensors love experts. It's not in their DNA to question authority. If you present yourself as a expert and you are full of confidence then it works very well. It's easy to do.
Intuitives can and will crack you, but not sensors.

CandyH (not verified) says...

To some other comments I just read:

1. Female intuitives will come across as “snotty,” “know-it-all,” or generally threatening.  Not that we intuitives are any of those, and many times we TRY to be non-threatening, but because the range of our information spans a library, we can come across as intimidating.  So, if we aren’t careful, sensor bosses may try to get rid of us and sensor females will have no clue about our true intent.  

2. Concerning the unfairness of intuitive “shape-shifting” to fit into a sensor’s world:  It’s our gift. Plain and simple.  We are the chameleons because only intuitives can think in differently-colored environments.  It will never even cross a strong-sensored mind to analyze you.  You will be confusing, air-headed, and then discredited like a summer breeze.  If you need to keep your job or a relationship, then use your gift and be the one to initiate change.  It works!  And once you speak their speak, they will open up and life gets way easier.

Zarah (not verified) says...

I never leave comments on any website but this article really resonated with me. I’ve read some of the comments and find it absolutely fascinating. I’m a female ENTJ but I border on Introvert, I’m in my 30s, and have recently been diagnosed with ADHD. Haha I live in a small traditional town where my family owns a local business is VERY white and very narrow minded. My perceptions, ideas, and at times my existence has been rejected my entire life here because of what most had considered rebellion, crazy, and/or extreme feminism.. I loved reading everyone’s thoughts and experiences here. It was like drinking a hot beverage. It warmed my soul. I have my degree in interior design (imagine that) because I am a fantastic conceptual problem solver and am very creative. I had to take a position outside of my norm when I moved back to be with family. Everyone here are sensors. It’s been ROUGH; however, I adjusted my technique to my surroundings. It took a lot of time utilizing the process of elimination. I discovered that when I compare things to everyday examples that I’d typically not think twice about and incorporate humor people all of a sudden are on my team. We’re deep thinkers. We don’t try to be, it’s how we roll. At times, Ive broken things down to S types and came across as condescending. It takes practice. Some are more open then others and some are legit crazier and insecure then others. These are the ones I feel I have to be cautious with. Insecure S types are scary. I also learned that I had to incorporate humor. Humor really helped me out. Doesn’t always work but eh. I’ll adapt. I have so many clients now and it’s all word of mouth AND it was such an obvious change. S types, I think, need to belong. We can adapt. Does it suck that the world isn’t our way. Yes, I guess. I’ve had these super internal moments myself. Why should I have to try all the time. They don’t appreciate me. Blah blah blah. But in the big picture, it depends on how you look at everything and hopefully you’re more positive then negative. We ARE the only true mentally free people in a sense. The S types are locked in. I agree with another person on here. We need them and they need us and we are them and they are us. It’s a balance. They don’t see us because we’re not helping them to see us. Should we have to no but it’s how the world works.. You could become a shut in or just loathe everything BUUT helping others I think is more rewarding. Once they know you’re there, they’ll respect your perception. I ALWAYS thought my family was dumb. Turns out, theyre not. They’re just SUPER literal and super narrow minded. They’re actually damn smart. We’re just different. We have to guide them out of their tunnels so they can finally see the stars. Once they realize there’s a whole universe and different way of thinking, I think they’ll be much more open to new perceptions. It’s a guidance issue. Don’t look at this article as a self help article, look at it as a tool. It’s another resource to our massive mental library. It’s showing us how we can guide the S types to enlightenment.


Emily Mangiaracina (not verified) says...

Thank you for this article! It's helpful although I think this takes practice. I have to admit, I can have a hard time keeping myself from going off into intuitive flights in conversation. But, I think the ideal is to be able to find a way to relate our intuitive ideas to sensors by connecting it to their practical interests. 

For example, if a sensor has a liking or attachment to something (like animals), that may be the forum through which we can point out what is wrong with society's hierarchy of values, with animals in obviously the wrong spot. Except you never say "hierarchy of values" to a sensor, you have to use practical language.

You could say "Isn't it messed up how animals are treated" and you get to satisfy your (maybe this is particularly NF or INFP) thirst for abstract values and generalizations, and they can bring up concrete examples of animals being mistreated and they satisfy their thirst for practical reality with something that interests them. And neither of you necessarily veer off completely into the other "world," but you can have a conversation of mutual interest and understanding.

All intuitives reading this - with your gift comes responsibility. Indeed, intuitives have a capacity to adapt themselves to sensors in a way that sensors cannot, or can only do so with difficulty (to a greater or lesser degree depending on the person). The onus is on us not simply because we are the minority.



Strangely Rational (not verified) says...

"This can lead to problems if, for example, an Intuitive wife forgets her wedding anniversary. She does this because she places greater value on future possibilities than old traditions. Exactness (the date) is not as important to her as the symbol (marriage). To her Sensor husband, however, failing to recognize such an important ritual is disrespectful as it undermines his entire value system."

Whether a person tends to remember or forget, prefers exactness or not, or is considerate of other people or not, has very little to do with being intutive vs. sensor. It has to do with all of the functions combined. Remembering an upcoming wedding anniversary is largely about looking toward the future, because it requires planning if you are to buy a gift or make other special arrangements. As an ENFP, planning - especially anything that has to do with connecting with and making other people feel loved! - is one of my biggest strengths. To this day, I remember anniversaries I had with boyfriends over 25 years ago, and not just major ones either but things like the first time we said "I love you" and such. Things that resonate emotionally are much more likely to be remembered, so if any one function were to be picked out to predict remembering an anniversary, I'd give the edge to feelers. Anything that involves your own and other people's feelings is going to be remembered. And intutive feelers can do this even better, because we'll be much more able to figure out what our mate values even if they don't say it directly.

My ISTP boyfriend and I, who have been together for over a year, are less than a month apart in age, and yet he still couldn't even tell you what month I was born in. Same goes for how long we've been together - he's months off, even though I've reminded him several times, whereas I can remember the exact date and day of the week that we met. He's in the here and now, one thing at a time, so something that's not relevant today isn't very relevant at all. He may be more observent about what's going on around us in terms of factual, physical detail, but anything with an emotional component is likely to be forgotten quickly. My mind can move from past to present to future and in between thought and emotion far more easily. And we're both equally exacting, just about different things. 

When it comes to tradition, there's a difference between judgers and perceivers. My ISTP boyfriend has very little interest in or respect for tradition, wereas my ISTJ ex cares about it a lot, and that's typical for each type. They're both sensors, but one is very laid-back, open-minded, flexible, and somewhat messy, whereas the other is more uptight, straight-laced, stubborn, and organized. So while there are many similarities in how I have to communicate to get through to each, there are some methods that would work well for one but ineffectively for the other, and that's with both being introverted sensing thinkers. Throw extroversion and feeling in the mix, and there are far too many variables to come up with any blanket rules for communicating with sensors, except maybe just to try to focus on concrete language and not get too deep into abstractions. Although sometimes they can surprise you with their ability in that area as well, so don't underestimate them.

Conehead (not verified) says...

Perhaps these tests simply enable one to keep an open mind.

The DBJ (not verified) says...

I had a smile on my face reading this. I’m an INFP and irritate the heck out of my sensor friends sometimes. Most conversations include a blank look in my direction followed by “I don’t follow”. Now I understand why :)

Michael-xNTJ (not verified) says...

great points and very interesting.. one thing I noticed that could be improved is the Intuition and details / “how to” part - while some intuitives are not detailed at all someone like INTJ, will have no issue with plans for getting from point A to B or detailed processes designing, explaining, etc. whatsoever.. so that part may be not very accurate.. there are many Intuitives who can be very detailed, especially NTJs..

Hollie N (not verified) says...

Thank you so much for this article! I have been attempting to help a teacher of mine who seems constantly overwhelmed and constantly late. She will be incredibly stressed over a deadline, but will get into long conversations about things that don’t seem to be pertinent considering the context of her life and her time availability. She will, for instance, get stuck trying to choose a color to print her syllabus on, but won’t spend time really clarifying what the syllabus is. It’s like walking around with no context. I am realizing that she lives this overwhelmed life, and without the ability to step back, she will continue to work this way. The things that I will choose to help her with, I will try to break down in a way she can understand. I appreciate this article and am grateful you took the time to write this! 

K.N. Listman (not verified) says...

Intuitive are all different based on their knowledge.

  • I would judge the take off climb based on current winds, put it will not be bumpy--landings are bumpy depending on pilot skill and wind.
  • As we take off I will swallow in the back of my throat. It is a technique to deal with the pressurization change problem (I would tell my children to do it, too, when tell were young.)
  • I usually feel chilly on flights, so I will take my sweater on of my purse/bag, I know that the coolness increase of the plane gets higher due to the intake of colder air at higher altitude. (I let my children know this so they can take a sweater along as blankets on anything but a flight across the ocean are a thing of the past)
  • If the book was pretty provocative and seamy, I would not have finished it as I prefer thinking to sensory overload.
  • If that man is reading it, he is hooked on the adrenline that comes from reading a scary story with sensory overload.

So at this point I am assuming that a sensor wrote the intuitive veiwpoint and got much of it wrong. The intuitive doesn't just guess at what is going on, but puts together information quickly in order to decide on the best tactics to take.

... (not verified) says...

Sorry, but I refuse to bend over to accommodate Sensors. I won't hold their hand and guide them through concepts they're too simple to comprehend because if the roles were ever reversed it wouldn't even occur to them to do the same for me. They're a lesser type of being, a cog in the machine, a remnant of our ape ancestors which will eventually be bred out as humanity evolves and gene editing in favor of higher IQs becomes acceptable. They're here to be mindless drones who keep keep their superiors hands free and bellies full so we have the time to work on what is truly important for all life on Earth in the long run. But one day their jobs will be displaced by AI and they'll be essentially dead weight. I'm not cruel to them, but I definitely tune them out the moment I spot one. They have nothing of value to offer me in terms of communication, and due to their ignorance, the feeling is certainly mutual. You might find what I'm saying ridiculous, but deep down all of you intuitives out there find resonance in what I'm saying even if you try to cover it up with egalitarian guilt. 

A sensor (not verified) says...


Abdul Quadir (not verified) says...

That's why I think to give up everything and go to countryside/mountain side, learn the survival techniques, get some livestocks, a dog, and leave a peaceful life away from this sensory stimulating environment. We got to do all the task this cummulating extra burden on already a burdened brain. Meanwhile one of my friend who a hardcore sensor is pissed off by due to one of my intuitive act. I got to bridge the gap but he won't understand my perspective...?

Vicente451 (not verified) says...

This might work for a while but sooner or later the intuitive would forget to do something important and end up killing himself as a result. Intuitives are just not good at performing menial tasks.

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