Intimacy and the Feeling Functions–An Otto Kroeger Remembrance


Otto Kroeger

Extraverted Feeling is an external force of judgment, order and control based on human-centered, personally held values.  Extraverted Feeling is a function that tends to build personal bridges and networks, include and seek to be included (where values align), harmonize and actively work to make the world safe for the values held dear. While they will likely be smooth in so doing, dominant function extraverted Feelers (ENFJ and ESFJ) will let you know about these values and actively sell you on adopting them yourself.

Otto Kroeger, an extraverted Feeler (ENFJ), always loved a good party. He actually even preferred bad parties to being alone, but his being involved with the gathering ensured that there would be jokes, laughter, introductions, stories—a web of warmth and social connection. When we lived close to each other, it was rare that a Friday night (and quite a few weeknights in between the Fridays) did not find Otto at a party.  Frequently Otto would invite me to these parties, and while I appreciated his invitations, rarely did I go.  If he had asked me to go somewhere just with him—dinner, a trip, even a movie—I certainly would have gone more often. I am an INFP.

The dominant function of INFP is introverted Feeling, an internal force of order, structure and control—all based on unspoken but deeply felt values and beliefs. Introverted Feeling is an inner drive toward alignment, an inner hum of harmony and connection to the values that buoy life. While they will rarely tell you directly, dominant function introverted Feelers (INFP and ISFP) most often believe that these all-important values should govern your life as well.

I wanted a connection to Otto, my mentor, and to me that felt like quiet, private time with just the two of us. Maybe he would even share something personal and heartfelt. It turns out that Otto often wanted a connection to me, his protégé, and to him that meant my being active within his network, there at the parties, laughing and socializing—harmoniously connected to him through everyone. To this introverted Feeler, extraverted Feeling seemed too often glad-handing and shallow while to the extraverted Feeler, my introverted Feeling was too intense, withdrawn and hard to get to know.

The last MBTI Certification workshop that Otto and I delivered together ended with Otto’s announcing to the class that he loved me, a revelation that meant the world to me. I had written him an intricately composed letter that he had not yet read that contained the same sentiment.  I would never have dreamt of saying such a thing in front of crowd, but Otto would not have told me without the crowd. It would have meant so much less.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses

  1. Rita M. Murray says:

    Hile, I cherish the colorful and accurate description of Extraverted Feeling and Otto. Even more, I appreciate your honest reflections on the Introverted Feeling (your INFP) response to such extraverted living. Thanks also for the memories. My Extraverted Feeling loved those parties too as the “web of warmth, social connections” and spontaneous duets at the piano in front of strangers were sheer delight to me – heaven really. Given your calm, private nature, (and despite your incredible gift of humor), I never questioned why you weren’t there or why you left early. Your poignant article here has helped me better understand Otto and you – the mentor and protégé. Your deep reflective writings, timely blog postings, always instructive actionable tips, and sustaining spirit of the OKA legacy are gifts that no doubt Otto would treasure anew if he understood how powerfully you are engaging the virtual world in your unique Introverted Feeling “web of warmth and social connections” from your home to our hearts and minds, all the while comfortably alone … “actively working to make the word safer for the same values held dear.” How poetic! You are the heir apparent and these are the works prepared beforehand by God that you were destined to walk in. Blessings and love, Rita, ESFJ

  2. sandy brody says:

    …touching and beautiful, Hile. May Otto’s memory be a blessing.

  3. OKAUser says:

    Oh, I am sad to hear this. I will always remember the Certification workshop I did with him in Bethel Maine as the best, bar none, workshop I have every attended in my professional career. He made the material come alive with his stories, humor and deep knowledge.

    A loss for the MBTI world of tremendous proportions.

    Carry on his great work,
    Leslie Rothman

  4. OKAUser says:

    I’m very sorry to hear the news about Otto. He was a remarkable human being and will be greatly missed by so many who benefited from his insights, love, and wisdom. I understand this comes as an especially great loss to you as he was a personal mentor of yours for many years. His life positively impacted us all! My prayers go out to Otto’s family and the broader OKA family at large! My best wishes for the continued success of OKA through your leadership, inspirational vision, perseverance, and practice of all Otto taught us about work, and most importantly, about life.

    With Deep Sympathy, Heartfelt Gratitude and Best Wishes,
    Bill Benner

  5. OKAUser says:

    Otto will live on in my memory and the memory of all of us whom he touched. He was a tower of a man, sharing, caring, wise and ever so funny. I can close my eyes and hear him now telling one of her favorite “gozanaplotz” tales.

    I know this must be difficult for you. Please take good care of yourself, especially at this time.

    We knew Otto had to leave us; however, that doesn’t mean we were ready to say good bye to such a brilliant man.

    Hugs and prayers,

    Holly Elissa

  6. OKAUser says:

    Thank you for including me in the very sad news about Otto’s death. I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to learn from him. My Type Talk book includes his autograph and while I always was honored to have this memento it’s now even more precious to me. I actually have three copies of Type Talk and have given this book to so many folks who have also found it so valuable.

    Otto was so powerful in both his passion for MBTI and also in the way he brought it to life in our classroom. I remember him as powerful, funny and with a keen sense of wit and understanding. His stories were so valuable for indeed he was in a sense a historian for this entire movement.

    I promise to keep you and your colleagues in the light as I’m sure you all are feeling a deep sense of loss. I can only speak for me but I know Otto Kroeger continues to live every time I use the tools he taught me.

    Warm Regards,

    Lisa Fields, M.S.

  7. Carol Shumate says:

    This story is a lovely illustration of the difference between Fi and Fe, but also the kinship of the two. I especially love the last line: “It would have meant so much less.”

  8. Cindy says:

    Hi Hile,
    Your explanation of types and preferences (on youtube video) is my favorite. You make it very easy to understand. My thoughts can be very unstructured, thus I really appreciate your structure and precision. I’ve always thought you have “J”, “S”, “T” or combination of all. Never thought you’re INFP. Knowing this once again helps me to see that type is just a indication of one’s preferences and has nothing to do with skills. Whenever I see your youtube presentation, I tell myself ‘I want to present like he does.”

    I don’t know Otto except recently reading his book “Type-Talk at Work.” Always glad to know a strong and memorable mentor-protege relationship. Always wish I’ve one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *