‘What Could Be’
What Carl Jung said about Extraverted Intuitive Types:
“Because extraverted intuition is oriented by the object, there is a marked dependence on external situations…The intuitive is never to be found in the world of accepted reality-values, but he has a keen nose for anything new and in the making. Because he is always seeking out new possibilities, stable conditions suffocate him …. So long as a new possibility is in the offing, the intuitive is bound to it with the shackles of fate.”
What does it do?
It helps to look at Ne in relation to Ni (introverted intuition) to make the concept stick. Whereas Ni is looking to filter and concentrate data into a singular point, Ne is fundamentally expanding and compounding data into many points. You can say that Ni has a goal in mind while Ne does not. It’s what could be-ness focuses on novelty and newness, rather than the tried-and-true.
Extraverted Intuition, from my experience, is one of the most verbal functions. We call Ne the “brainstorming” function for this reason. If you’ve ever spent time around an ENFP or ENTP, which has Ne as their dominant function, it’s very easy to see the ease in which they can rattle off ideas endlessly.
Ne Communication Style
I see the Ne speaking style to, more often than not, start a response with, “Or what you could do…you could try this or that…one thing you could consider is…” It’s not always something they truly believe themselves, they simply cannot NOT respond with an alternative to what you are suggesting.
With Ni, it’s almost entirely a background process that is nonverbal. You will notice as you study type that extraverted functions are much easier to spot than introverted ones (not a shocking revelation).
Ne types often are great storytellers and will weave many different layers into a narrative to enhance its weight. Typology and neuroscience expert Dario Nardi has called Ne types “trans-contextual” thinkers, which is made abundantly clear in the way they tell stories. You’ll notice how stories take a roundabout path to the finish line, traveling down curvy trails and bumpy roads until finally arriving.
How it Develops
Extraverted Intuition in its healthiest form can innovate, solve problems, and bring new light to an old concept. It’s a tremendous sounding board for new ideas. If your question is “what business I should start”, “what marketing should we try”, or “what new restaurant should we try”, Ne is absolutely the go-to function to aid you.
In its negative form, Ne can be impossible to wrangle. It can talk too much, ramble, become long-winded, etc. It can result in never settling down and constantly chasing a new job, lover, or hobby. Ne users can reject good information simply due to the fact that it’s old or traditional.
John Beebe, world-renowned Jungian author and Typology professor, revealed in his book Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type, the ways in which each of the 8 cognitive functions develop.
For Ne, it goes entertaining -> envisioning -> enabling.
We move from simply having interest in something happening, to being a part of it happening.
Put another way:
Entertaining: “That would be interesting if that happened.”
Envisioning: “I can see that happening.”
Enabling: “I can facilitate that happening.”
The key to wielding Ne correctly is to know when you are adding for the sake of positive momentum, or whether it’s just for the sake of ‘being suffocated by stable conditions.’ A good question to consider: “Am I helping this person by adding more options, or am I confusing the situation even more?” Towards yourself: “Is this new idea going to truly take hold, or am I just bored and want something new?”
Being aware of when to unleash or restrain Extraverted Intuition is how one develops it skillfully.
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