MBTI: Inside Out


Emotions that have emotions? Muh mind is blown! Surprise, Disney and Pixar are still breaking records together with “heartwarming comedies that are fun for the whole family!” And it’s not like it’s all just hype either, their work is pretty much always solid. It should be, right? They spend enough money to afford a small army.

Now we explore the feelings of the feelings. It wasn’t too hard to get a bead on these characters given that the personification of feelings are going to have their own feelings expressed pretty boldly.



Happy go lucky to the point of not understanding others, there’s nobody better lead around a bunch of other feelings. Considering the others all lean toward the negative side in some way, Joy being at the controls is what keeps the story from being a downer the entire time. This is much like the ENFP, whose goal in life is to be the most interesting, while doing the most interesting things, with the most interesting people.

Which isn’t to say that they’re about status, but rather making the most out of their life. Joy and the other feelings don’t really get what Sadness is doing there in Riley’s head and nobody is more determined than Joy to keep her away from the controls of Riley’s emotions. ENFPs can be similar in the sense that they’ll often bounce back and forth from one activity to another, hoping to fill enough of their time throughout the day without experiencing the negative side of life.

I’ve called ENFPs the ultimate extrovert before and the title still fits. While ENFPs need their alone time like anyone else would, it seems that they need less time to recharge than anyone. Notice that Joy is the driving force of Riley as well as the plot, and it’s her reluctance to accept that Sadness is a also part of Riley also that keeps necessary changes from happening. Again, similar to the ENFP’s way of often refusing to accept necessary aspects of life they deem uninteresting or dull in favor of excitement and happiness.

Sadness- INFP


The steady hand they never knew they needed, Sadness hasn’t really had much a role in Riley’s life until the events of the film take place. Really, what does an 11 year old need with that feeling? Aside from not getting dessert instead of dinner, there’s not much use for her. But once Riley and her family move away from her family and friends, Riley’s getting a hands-on education from Sadness.

INFPs aren’t always grey and dismal, but they’ve got a reputation for being that way all the same. It could be due to the “tortured artist” image so many famous INFPs deservedly acquired during their career. INFPs lead with Fi, followed by Ne. Putting it shortly, the depths of their own feelings, beliefs and ideas are all going to be explored thoroughly. It’s from this that they can appear emotionally volatile or unstable to those around them who aren’t as keen on emotional self-awareness nor comfortable with their own feelings, Joy being the “person” in this instance.

One reason for INFPs appearing the way that they do is that they feel the strong need to live a life that’s conformed to their own values and from this comes emotional honesty. So when you meet an INFP in a more negative state, it’s going to show even if they think they’re hiding it. If they’re happy, it’s going to show. Point is, though they’re definitely introverts, their mood will be clear. A lot of the humor in the film comes from Sadness’ seemingly inability to see the positive side of anything and it definitely shows.

She is Sadness, after all. Somebody’s got to carry the burden and INFP fits the bill.

Fear- ISFJ


This was the most difficult emotion to pinpoint since, being a cartoon, the characters tend to be more expressive than you would need for a live-action film. So Fear’s emotions being worn on his sleeve seemed like a more negative side of Fe. And he is, in a way, a ISFJ’s auxiliary function is Fe. But with Si being dominant can easily revert the user to the paranoid as Fear seems to thrive from. Being Fear, he’s only got so much of a choice doesn’t he?

Interesting that Fear is at the controls during Riley’s dreams. It keeps to the idea that even though she’s sleeping, Fear is subtly in control because of course, stronger emotions like Joy and Sadness are absent.

But the ISFJ and Fear most resemble the other in this case due to the ISFJ’s way of often acting under feeling more than anything else. It’s a demanding world out there and while ISFJs work best under someone, this can often give people the idea that they need to push around the quieter ones. You wouldn’t call the ISFJ spineless as a type, but users can often have difficulty standing up for themselves when they should given their natural state of keeping their head down and getting their job done.

In Fear’s case, he doesn’t normally get pushed around though he’s certainly not at the controls when things are going the way they’re supposed to. And thank God, because there’s only so much Riley can handle.

Disgust- ESFP


It’s all in the attitude. Without having really thought about it, Disgust seems like the least necessary emotion for a person to have. But at the same time, as humans, we get disgusted pretty often and sometimes it’s disgust alone that keeps us out of trouble. So when Fear and Disgust are at the controls, you can bet Riley is staying away from whatever it is that’s made them take control in the first place.

Disgust embodies the perpetual attitude of a cool teenage high-school girl, stereotypically speaking, an ESFJ or ESFP. ESFPs aren’t permanently disgusted with humanity normally, but it’s not out of character for them to act displeased or annoyed with so much of society that either bores them or annoys them. This can easily appear superficial to other types that don’t focus on the same things.

And that’s not to say the ESFP isn’t shallow, but as far as they see it, things like style and taste are representative of who a person is. So parting your hair down the middle, tucking your t-shirt into your jean shorts and wearing high socks could cause any human to cringe but the ESFP won’t be able to help themselves in either cracking up or vomiting. Their blasé attitude could be to many ESFPs what the sad stereotype is to INFP- carrying truth without being the whole truth.

Anger- ESTJ


What other options are there for the hot and cold, tie-wearing, newspaper reading feeling? Lewis Black fits as the voice of course, and it’s interesting how much more intense Anger was than what Riley was able to express when he was at the controls. It speaks to how crazy things get in our mind but what little shows, even at our worst.

“I say we lock ourselves in our room and use that one swear word we know. It’s a good one”

ESTJs, like ESFPs being disgusted, aren’t always angry but man when they are, it’s happened fast over a very short period of time. Their emotions can seem so extreme it might even leave those around them wondering if the ESTJ is joking or not considering how casual things might have been just a few seconds earlier. While the negative side of this is clear, the positive side of the ESTJ is exemplified in his willingness to just make a decision.

This is part of the reason ESTJs end up as leaders in their workplace, or other socially-inclined functions. The ESTJ’s dominant Te and auxiliary Si tells them that they need to do something and to do it the way they know. If you felt this way way all the time, you’d be pretty decisive too. And it’s this decisiveness that puts them in charge and has others either following or following and muttering about much they don’t like what’s happening. Anger didn’t have much control of Riley but, like Fear, there’s only so much of him that can be handled at one time.


6 Responses to “MBTI: Inside Out”

  1. ambient Says:

    And what about Riley? Some people argued that each of the emotions is somewhat representative of a function stack.

    • Taylor Says:

      Yeah, I thought about that but with no definite answer. She’s only 11/12, and I normally don’t even bother typing kids that young. Although, if you look at the majority of the letters of each emotion, ESFP wins out with 3 extroverts, 3 sensors, 4 feelers, and 3 perceivers. Not scientific or even that well thought out, but eh, there’s something.

  2. bobnickmad Says:

    Huh, ENFPs are generally considered the most introverted of the extroverts anot the other way. They’re just the
    most spantaeous.

    • I was just about to say! I’m an ENFP to an E hehehe, puuun, anyways! I’m VERY introverted, but when I’m around people I’m also very extroverted. But my energy doesn’t come from being with people it comes from intense alone time. It takes a lot for me to go out with people to social gatherings, and I like to know weeks in advanced before having to go out and do things so I can “get myself ready” for being out and around people. I’m usually one of the first to leave the party too. I’d say 3/4 of my time is spent by myself (excluding work), and the other 1/4 includes work and social gatherings. Speaking of work, I’m a hostess and although I’m good at the job it KILLS me, by the end of a 4 hours shift I’m so emotionally drained and need silence and pajamas.

  3. Meags Says:

    This is so accurate!! /ISFJ

  4. eunipiggu Says:

    I think you have the wrong idea of ENFPs here. I’m an ENFP, and I definitely take pride in understanding others. I think the way you’ve described ENFP’s as those who only care about the interesting is more of an Se dominant trait, in which case Joy would be ESFP. ENFPs are Ne dominant, meaning they live on curiosity. But unlike ENTPs, ENFPs are feelers so they are more people oriented.

    Like others said, ENFPs are also the most introverted of the extroverts. I myself think I’m quite ambivert. ENFPs need a lot of time to themselves to think over their morals and ideals, and to collect themselves. I also find myself really tired after hanging out with a big group, and just need some time with just me and my computer. They are the most spontaneous, as others said, and when they’re with people, they will go all out and crazy.

    ENFPs are accepting and openminded. They definitely do not care just about the positive in life; in fact, they believe the negative is necessary and it’s what gives life an interesting touch. That is their Ne at work. They get involved in people’s problems and wholeheartedly accept everyone.

    I think the things with Joy always wanting to be happy is just a personality trait that’s special to her and doesn’t really have to do with MBTI, because she is the embodiment of happiness and that’s what makes the story roll.

    I think Joy is not an intuitive at all. Or a perceiver. I think she is an ESFJ. Definitely extroverted. She’s never tired of interacting with others and being a leader. A sensor because she really does live in the moment and does not think deeply into any one situation, the way way Sadness does. Like you said, she really wants to find the interesting in her life now. Feeler bc she obviously uses her feelings for EVERYTHING. A judger because she structured her mind to always having things revolve around the order she wants it to. She tends to freak out when things get out of order.

    This might be biased, bc i HATE Joy. I hate her personality, her denseness, everything. And I most definitely do not think she fits the ENFP category. Not being biased there, I just really don’t think she’s an intuitive.


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