Phoebe Buffay: ENFP
Extraverted Intuition (Ne): Phoebe lives in a world of possibilities. She is very open minded, holding a range of unusual beliefs that are powered by potential rather than plausibility: she regularly visits a psychic for updates on her future, and is convinced at one point that her mother has come back as a cat (The One with the Cat, 4x02). She is open to “big picture” ideas that her friends scoff at, such as cosmic signs, reincarnation, karma, and the existence of multiple gods, and often holds several (often contradictory) viewpoints at once because she can see the potential in all of them. For example, she decides Monica’s dollhouse can be built on both radioactive waste and an ancient Indian burial ground, despite the fact that this would be very unlikely to happen in real life (The One with the Dollhouse, 3x20). Phoebe wants to be free to explore her imaginative ideas, and feels stifled when her tangents are shut down by facts. For instance, she is irritated by Monica’s need to have all the furniture in her dollhouse match historically, and can’t see why she can’t include a giant dog, a dinosaur and a ghost in their game (The One with the Dollhouse, 3x20). Likewise, she is annoyed by Ross’s insistence that evolution is the only way through which to explain human existence, and urges him to see it as “one of the possibilities” rather than a definitive answer (The One Where Heckles Dies, 2x03). Phoebe likes to keep her options open, and often has trouble making decisions because she feels every alternative has potential. She is unable to decide between two men she is dating because they are both “so great” (The One with Ross’s Thing, 3x23), and is torn between the idea of donating her money to a children’s charity and spending it on her wedding to Mike (The One with the Home Study, 10x07). She is attuned to the bigger picture, and is quick to make connections between ideas and events – when hearing the word “hamburger” Phoebe sees it as a sign that she should visit her father, rationalising, “Hamburger. McDonald’s. Old MacDonald had a farm. My father is a pharmacist!” (The One with the Bullies, 2x21). She is also fairly intuitive, being able to sense that someone is singing when Joey hums inside his head (The One with the Race Car Bed, 3x07), and that Pete had only told Monica he liked someone else so that she would accept the job at his restaurant (The One with the Chick and the Duck, 3x21).
Introverted Feeling (Fi): Phoebe’s ethical decisions are frequently informed by her personal feelings. She refuses to eat meat because she believes the consumption of animals is “cold blooded murder” (The One with the Fake Party, 4x16), hates massage chains because she feels they are run by “corporate greed” (The One with the Fertility Test, 9x21), and refuses to buy from Pottery Barn because she views the products as “inauthentic” (The One with the Apothecary Table, 6x11). Her decisions are made to meet her internal standards, and rarely have anything to do with meeting the standards of a group – she chooses not to eat meat despite the fact that almost everyone else does, and frequently disregards fashion trends in the pursuit of her individual clothing style. Phoebe is deeply aware of her own emotions, and frequently acts on her feelings. For example, she avoids Ross after being offended by a comment he had made (The One with Joey’s Big Break, 5x22), and severs contact with her singing partner after feeling she had been betrayed (The One with Phoebe’s Ex-Partner, 3x14). Unlike Fe users, Phoebe tends keeps the feelings that fuel her behaviour private – she rarely talks about her sister Ursula, despite being deeply hurt by their troubled relationship, and does not mention her singing partner until forced to after they reunite at the coffee house. Phoebe’s focus on her own feelings can mean she has little insight into social cues – she is relatively oblivious about the way her music is received by others, believing she is “extremely talented” (The One where Eddie Moves In, 2x22), and completely misinterprets the reasons for Monica’s discomfort when she plays her guitar outside Monica’s restaurant, believing her outfit was the problem (The One with Rachel’s Dream, 9x09). Phoebe holds authenticity and integrity highly. She wants to be true to her beliefs, and experiences intense self disgust when she goes against them. For example, when Phoebe receives a fur coat as a family heirloom, she is torn between wanting to wear the coat because it “looks good” and wanting to destroy the coat to uphold her animal rights principles (The One with the Yeti, 5x06). She is similarly shocked when others don’t remain loyal to their beliefs, wondering how Ross will be able to “face himself” after “abandoning his whole belief system” when he considers evolution may not be the only possibility through which to explain human existence (The One Where Heckles Dies, 2x03).
Extraverted Thinking (Te): Phoebe is matter-of-fact in the way she talks. She is often frank when expressing her feelings (“I wish I could, but I don’t want to!”), and frequently references her difficult past in an informative way that seems inappropriate for the content she is discussing. Though she is usually content to chase possibilities through her Ne, Phoebe can be practical if need be. She is forced to come to terms with reality through her life on the street, and employs several strategies to meet her survival goals as efficiently as possible, such as mugging people for money (The One with the Mugging, 9x15), or haggling with shopkeepers for reduced prices (The One with the Ring, 6x23). She is undaunted about stepping on toes when she has a goal in mind – when she and Monica are catering for an employer refuses to pay, Phoebe demands the woman hands them a cheque despite the socially delicate funeral setting (The One with the Dirty Girl, 4x06). She can be hard line about her actions because she doesn’t see the point in keeping things in her life that have no logical function. For example, she avoids contacting her sister to avoid a counterproductive relationship, and suggests cutting Amanda out so that she and Monica no longer need to deal with her annoying behaviour (The One with Ross’s Tan, 10x03). Phoebe is more than capable of thinking logically, deciding to end her relationship with Mike on the basis of their conflicting views about marriage (The One with the Boob Job, 9x16). She frequently uses her Te to put her ideas (Ne) and principles (Fi) into action, such as exploring the potential of “cups and ice” through a series of decorations for Rachel’s party (Ne), or deciding not to eat meat to uphold her animal rights beliefs (Fi).
Introverted Sensing (Si): Phoebe isn’t too good with sensory details. She often misses things that are right in front of her because she is too busy focusing on the big picture – when Monica checks to see whether Phoebe knows what to do when playing football, Phoebe misses the point, and thinks Monica is asking whether she knows what do in life (The One with the Football, 3x09). She hates dealing with intricate details, and completely falls apart when she is in charge of organising the specifics of her wedding, begging Monica to do if for her (The One with Phoebe’s Wedding, 10x12). Despite this, Phoebe can be good at noticing details when they serve the purpose of making a big picture connection – she recognises a red sweater as Tag’s, and uses it to conclude that he is the father of Rachel’s baby (The One with the Red Sweater, 8x02). Phoebe is aware of her personal history, and enjoys teasing the others with snippets from her colourful past (“So much you don’t know!”). She frequently uses her memories to comment on present situations, such as comparing Ross and Susan’s dedication to raising Ben with the parental abandonment she experienced as a child (The One with the Birth, 1x23). She is haunted by memories of her broken childhood well into her adult life, and frequently tries get into contact with her family to make up with her past without one, such as asking her mother’s friend for information about her father (The One at the Beach, 3x25), or attempting to “patch things up” with her sister (The One Where They All Turn Thirty, 7x14). Phoebe has a sentimental streak, and likes to pay tribute to the things from her past that are important to her. She keeps a box of items from her life on the street that have sentimental value (The One with the Mugging, 9x15), and sets out to get a tattoo of a lily to honour her mother’s memory (The One Where Joey Moves Out, 2x16).