Thought Catalog
June 3, 2015

The ENFP’s Guide To Dating Guardians

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What is the issue?
Guardian personality types – namely ISFJs, ESFJs, ESTJs and ISTJs – place a heavy focus on upholding tradition and sticking to the commitments they’ve made. These types want to practically provide for their partners and generally value long-term relationships. Here’s the ENFP’s guide to which Guardian types they’re best dating, marrying and altogether avoiding.
Valéria Almeida
Valéria Almeida

ENFP and ISTJ

Though these types share all four cognitive functions, they use them in completely opposite order – leaving plenty of room for conflicts to develop. It is common for these types to feel initially attracted to each other, as each is strong in the other’s area of weakness. The ISTJ may be drawn to the ENFP’s friendly nature and ability to think outside the box, whereas the ENFP appreciates the capable, grounded nature of the ISTJ. Over time however, these two stubborn personalities are prone to clashing as they have vastly different communication styles and can’t always tune into each other’s values. This relationship has the best chance of success if both parties are able to develop their third function (extroverted thinking for the ENFP, introverted feeling for the ISTJ), as it is the auxiliary function in the other party.

Strengths of this pairing: At best, the ENFP will appreciate the ISTJ for their reliability, their togetherness and their ability to translate ideas into concrete actions. The ISTJ will in turn admire the ENFP for their positivity, their ambition and their ability to connect with others with ease. Practically speaking, these types balance out one another’s weaknesses and do have the potential to learn and grow from one another.

Potential pitfalls of this pairing: At worst, the ENFP will view the ISTJ as close-minded, stubborn and overly rigid and the ISTJ will see the ENFP as impractical, over-dramatic and inconsistent. Both parties have strongly-felt personal morals that they are generally are unwilling to budge on – this can be a point of contention if the values do not line up. The ENFP dwells primarily in the abstract whereas the ISTJ dwells in the tangible here-and-now, which can make communication difficult.

Verdict: This pairing is best to avoid. While two committed partners may certainly be able to make this relationship work, it would involve an intense amount of effort and would likely leave one or both partners feeling unfulfilled over time.

ENFP and ESFJ

These partners have two cognitive functions in common, but the stacking of these functions are mismatched, which can lead to strained communication. Both the ENFP and ESFJ are people-focused individuals who are comfortable making decisions based on their feelings, so they may initially connect on a surface level. This type may enjoy participating in similar activities and often find themselves in the same group of friends. However, the closer these two get the more they realize that they have less in common than they may have initially expected. These types may struggle to understand each other unless the ESFJ has significantly developed their Ne and can brainstorm ideas with the ENFP, or if the ENFP is comfortable applying their Fi to analyze the emotions of others.

Strengths of this pairing: Both partners are extroverted people-people who enjoy being surrounded by loved ones. Two healthy partners of these types can bond over their love of bringing others together. At best, the ENFP will appreciate the energy, selfless nature and outgoing attitude of the ESFJ whereas the ESFJ will appreciate the ENFP’s energy, warmth and positive outlook.

Potential pitfalls of this pairing: Because the ESFJ’s feeling function focuses on others, they may have trouble understanding the ENFP’s system of internal morals that they use to make decisions. Conversely, the ENFP may not understand the ESFJ’s fascination with the goings-on of those around them. At worst, the ENFP will see the ESFJ as shallow, judgmental and fake, whereas the ESFJ will see the ENFP as scattered, selfish and overly-theoretical. The ENFP may feel as though the ESFJ is trying to control them and the ESFJ may feel as though the ENFP does not appreciate all they do for them.

Verdict: While these types may not outright dislike each other, they are not necessarily well suited for a long-term partnership. They are likely to struggle to achieve a meaningful emotional connection – something that is highly important to both parties.

ENFP and ESTJ

While these parties share all the same functions, they prioritize the use of these functions in very different order, leaving room for many potential clashes. On the positive side of things, both parties are ambitious, goal-oriented and personable. On the negative side, the ESTJ takes pride in sharing their way of doing things with others and the ENFP does not appreciate being told what to do. On the flip side, the ENFP enjoys exploring different options whereas the ESTJ values quick, logical decisions. This pairing works best if each can develop their third function, which is primary in the other – meaning the ENFP could get on board with the decisive, results-oriented nature of the ESTJ and the ESTJ could brainstorm ideas with the ENFP.

Strengths of this pairing: Both partners are extroverted in nature and enjoy reaching decisions through talking them through aloud. At best, the ENFP will appreciate the ESTJ’s pragmatism, reliability and straightforwardness and the ESTJ will appreciate the ENFP’s drive, open-mindedness and sense of humor. They can bond over their goal-oriented nature and will often find that putting their heads together allows them to find the best possible solution to a given situation.

Potential pitfalls of this pairing: While the ESTJ values the tried-and-true method, the ENFP enjoys examining all possible solutions to a given situation. These differences in attitude are likely to frustrate both parties. At worst, the ENFP will view the ESTJ as bossy, overbearing and too set in their ways, whereas the ESTJ will view the ENFP as directionless, overly distractible and lacking common sense. The moments of connection they may experience when the ENFP applies their Te are likely to be overshadowed in time through their differing opinions on most topics.

Verdict: While ENFPs and ESTJs may get along in social situations, their destinies are unlikely to lie with each other. These types are both crystal clear on what they want out of life – and those visions are unlikely to line up.

ENFP and ISFJ

ENFPs and ISFJs share two cognitive functions – introverted sensing and extroverted intuition, but what is first in one’s stacking is last in the other’s and vice versa. As a result, it is can be difficult for these two to find common ground as one would always have to be using their inferior function in order for natural communication to take place.

That being said, there is an element of opposites-attract to this pairing, as the ENFP may find the grounded nature of the ISFJ comforting and the ISFJ may enjoy the excitement the ENFP brings to their life. Additionally, both parties tend to be quite committed to the relationships they enter into and are therefore willing to work as a team to make the relationship a happy and healthy place to be.

Strengths of this pairing: Both partners prefer making decisions based on their feelings and are therefor happy to compromise – to an extent – for the good of the relationship. At best, the ENFP will appreciate the ISFJ for their reliability, their selfless nature and their calming presence whereas the ISFJ will appreciate the ENFP for their warmth, their enthusiasm and their commitment to personal ideals.

Potential pitfalls of this pairing: There is a large potential for miscommunication with this pairing, as the ISFJ tends to show love by running errands and physically providing for their partner whereas the ENFP places a strong emphasis on affirming words. Both partners may at times feel as though their partner is neglecting their needs, whereas in reality the acts of love they’re showing are simply going unnoticed. At worst, the ISFJ will consider the ENFP to be selfish, overly impulsive, unreliable and overwhelming in their desire for exploration, whereas the ENFP will see the ISFJ as petty, passive-aggressive, uninterested in topics of importance and lacking a backbone.

Verdict: This pairing will stand the best chance if both partners values line up and they are willing to put work into the relationship. It’s not the worst pairing out there but understanding one another will certainly never come naturally for these types. TC mark

Heidi Priebe explains how to manage the ups, downs and inside-outs of everyday life as an ENFP in her new book available here.

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