Since Intuition is a Perceiving function and Ne is extraverted in its direction, an overarching purpose of Ne involves acquiring information from the outside world. Ne is similar to Extraverted Sensing (Se) in that it prompts extraverted exploration in an open-ended fashion. This allows Perceiving types to readily adapt to and blend with their circumstances rather than trying to change or control them.
While Se involves apprehension of information through one or more of the primary senses, Extraverted Intuition does goes beyond or looks behind sense data. This allows NPs to discern otherwise hidden patterns, possibilities, and potentials.
Extraverted Intuition scans for relationships or patterns within a pool of ideas, facts, or experiences. In conjunction with either Ti or Fi, it helps NPs formulate and modify ideas. NPs commonly employ their Ne in activities such as reading, conversation, and engagement with nature or the arts.
While NPs’ Ti or Fi pushes for closure, their Ne counters by rallying for more options and alternatives. In many cases, Ne wins out, interjecting enough new or contradictory information to keep NPs in a state of perpetual openness or indecision. At times, this can serve as a source of frustration for NPs, making it difficult for them to make decisions or draw firm conclusions. But one of the benefits of Ne is it helps them remain open-minded. It allows NPs to see truth on both sides of an issue without forming premature conclusions. This makes them good listeners and well-suited to act as fair and effective arbiters.
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) & Openness
While openness to multiple perspectives is a signature strength of NPs, it can sometimes hamper their productivity and follow-through. Leaning too heavily on their Ne can seduce them into chasing too many rabbit trails and to lose sight of their original focus. This may be a problem, for instance, for NP writers, whose attraction to tangents and asides can be frustrating for readers seeking a more streamlined discussion.
Extraverted Intuition can also help NPs sniff out intriguing possibilities. It can help NP entrepreneurs read trends and identify promising opportunities.
Ne also contributes a sense of wonderment toward life’s mysteries and contingencies. This is why NPs often enjoy the role of wanderer or seeker. Only rarely do NPs know exactly what they are seeking, but Ne confers a sense of blind anticipation, a sense of excitement regarding who or what will manifest next on their life’s journey. Relatedly, Ne can take on a mystical flavor, involving an openness or curiosity toward what God or the universe might have in store at any given moment.
Ne is also sensitive to ambience. When introduced to new setting, NPs typically do not attune to specific objects or details (Se), but are more aware of the vague feelings or impressions that emerge. NPs know almost immediately whether they like “the feel” of a given environment. Since they are not attuned to sensory details, they can be oblivious to things other types may consider blatantly obvious, causing them to appear naive, dreamy, or absent-minded.
Finally, Ne can contribute to a persistent sense of restlessness or dissatisfaction. NPs can find themselves wanting to escape certain situations or circumstances in order to experience more novelty, freedom, or autonomy. They might feel compelled to quit their job, break off a relationship, or ditch a lame party in hopes of discovering something more exciting or inspirational. Those who consistently act on these promptings can be perceived as fickle, irresponsible, or self-indulgent.
Readers seeking tangible examples of Ne might take time to observe ENPs, for whom Ne is dominant. ENPs often live a frenetic lifestyle, equipped with more hobbies and interests than they know what to do with. They are always on the go, always excited to try new things, and rarely content to perform any single activity for an extended period. Since they are always searching for new potentials and possibilities in every situation, they can seem easily distracted and have difficulty focusing.
To learn more about Ne and the other personality functions, be sure to explore our book, My True Type, which takes an in-depth look at each of the 8 functions and preferences. Ne is also a central topic of our new online course, Finding Your Path as an INFP, INTP, ENFP or ENTP, which we developed to help NPs better understand their personality, identity, life purpose, relationships and career path: