Decision Making: The 8 Preferences

8 PreferencesIt is probably not news to anyone that the ability to make good decisions is incredibly important, and over the last few weeks, we’ve examined how each type makes decisions and processes that can aid us in making better decisions that take all aspects of type into account.  These have largely been focused on individuals making decisions. Today’s article can certainly aid in individual decision making, but as you read through how each preference contributes to the process of deciding, try to think about how you have seen these qualities play out in others and how you’ve felt and reacted when faced with a decision making style unlike your own.

Think of all the decisions that involve input from multiple parties.  These may include a student deciding where to go to college with parental input.  It may involve decisions on car buying or home purchases, college major choice, when to get married…. or the forever dreaded decision of what to eat for dinner (though this topic may be too scary for some to consider).  How many conflicts could we avoid or navigate more smoothly in life if we understood and allowed for differences in decision making styes?  For that matter, how much better would our decisions be if we talked them out from more perspectives than just our own?  Hopefully, the tips and tidbits below will spark some thoughts that will assist you in working with yourself and others in this process, which is so much a part of daily life.

 Extraversion and Introversion

People who prefer Extraversion...People who prefer Introversion...
• Want to start the process by talking the decision through energetically and. • Want to start the process by taking time to think it through carefully.
• Begin by looking broadly at data in the outside world.• Begin by looking deeply at data that comes from within.
• May look first at how the decision will impact the outside world.• May look first at how the decision will impact self.
• Will likely continue to talk through what they are thinking and feeling about the decision with others, throughout the process.• Will probably eventually talk through the decision with others, but in a way that is careful about what thoughts and feelings are shared and how.

Sensing and Intuition

People who prefer Sensing...People who prefer Intuition...
• Want to start the process by dealing with and examining the reality of the here and now. • Want to start the process by considering the possibilities of what could be.
• Want to gather and consider concrete, detailed facts and data.• Want to gather and consider ideas and meanings and how they connect.
• Value looking to the successes and failures of the past to inform and focus on the present decision.• Value creating new and different ideas to inform and create the future with the decision.
• Prefer to look at decision factors in chronological or sequential order.• Tend to look at decision factors by bouncing from one idea to the next.

Thinking and Feeling

People who prefer Thinking...People who prefer Feeling...
• Want a logical explanation of the decision and the reasoning behind it. • Want to gain values based motivation to make the decision.
• Analyze how the decision will fit principles and impact systems and structures.• Consider how the decision will impact people and relationships involved in the decision.
• Want to decide in a way that is fair and demonstrates objectivity.• Want to make a decision that shows concern and personal caring.
• Have a tendency to find and challenge flaws in possible outcomes of decision, first, before looking deeper.• Have a tendency to take in and accept possible outcomes of the decision, first, before looking deeper.

Judging and Perceiving

People who prefer Judging...People who prefer Perceiving...
• May wish the decision had been made yesterday and certainly want it made now, at the latest to facilitate moving forward. • May want to put off making the decision to allow adequate time for processing and gathering as much information as possible.
• Want to commit to the decision once it is made, due to the great feeling that comes with closure and certainty.• Want to have a decision that is flexible enough to change, due to the love of having open options.
• Feel uncomfortable with a decision hanging over their heads, and cannot really rest well until it is made.• Feel uncomfortable when decision options are ruled out or rejected, because it may remove the best option.

If you want to learn more about this topic, check out Introduction to Type and Decision Making by Elizabeth Hirsh and Katherine Hirsh.  It is a great resource for understanding the decision making process from motivation to review, and it is the resource I used most in writing this series.  As always, thank you for reading!



  1. Nancy

    As always Sadie, you hit it right on!!!! Great work!!

    1. Sadie (Post author)

      Thanks, Nancy!!! I always appreciate your feedback. 🙂

  2. Jeffrey

    Succinctly put, Sadie!

  3. Beatrijs van Agt

    Hi Sadie, I ventured upon this site while looking for some more input on infp-types. Thank you for putting your ideas out on the web for me to find – your input on decision making is very helpful. It’s refreshing and reassuring to recognize what I often tend to think of as my clumsiness to be behaviour belonging to type. It puts things straight again and helps to steer my own course and stay clear from the mire of selfdoubt. Thanks.

    1. Sadie (Post author)

      I am so glad you find the site helpful! Thank you for taking the time to comment and for embracing yourself as an INFP. 🙂


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