You may be familiar with the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.) Perhaps you have even taken one of those free online tests to discover your four-letter “code.” You may have even gotten ENFP (Extrovert-iNtuitive-Feeling-Perceiving) as your result when you took the test.
The ENFP type is best known as “The Inspirer,” “The Champion,” or simply idealists. Sometimes they are known for their ability to come up with many creative solutions or ideas to a problem, with the belief that they all could equally be good.
If you were to look up the ENFP type, you would likely find that we have a reputation for being extremely creative, with constant ideas floating in our minds 24/7. That we are afraid of commitment, flaky, or that we tend to have a “grass is greener on the other side” mentality. And maybe, to a small extent, this can be true for some, depending on how healthy and mature they are.
It’s my wish that this article will help Non-ENFPs to understand our type better. I also hope to help my fellow ENFPs achieve a better understanding of themselves and why they think and feel the way they do.
1. ENFPs live in the world of possibilities.
We’re constantly thinking of what we could be doing or experiencing in our lives, whether it be related to our careers, traveling, or our creative pursuits. We are always thinking of what could be. But more than that, we are also inwardly thinking up ways to actualize our ideas. The sky is the limit with an ENFP, and even then, we may find a way to go beyond that.
2. Our minds are hyperactive.
While our behavior may sometimes indicate differently, ENFPs can never stop thinking. Sometimes our thoughts race so fast, we can’t even verbalize them. Thoughts, ideas, questions about life, are constantly coming and going before we know it. Then we forget what we were just thinking about ten minutes ago. And, uh, where was I going with this? Oh yeah.
3. Small talk is tedious for us.
We will engage in it if we must, but that intuition of ours will always find a way to deepen the conversation into something more. If you bring up how nice the weather is today, we will turn it into what our ideal weather would be like, how long it would last, and how we would feel if that were to happen. Or if you bring up some gossip, we will either turn a deaf ear to it or (depending on the maturity of the ENFP) ask hypothetical questions related to it. (I.e. “Wow, can you imagine if someone did that to you? I would be horrified! I’d never forgive them!”)
4. On our most stressful days, we feel “stuck.”
A stressed ENFP is a very unhappy ENFP. Under long-term stress, we tend to feel like we have lost our creative abilities. We feel stuck in a rut. Our minds may temporarily close off from new ideas. We become cranky and might withdraw more. We may obsess over past events or mistakes that we don’t usually dwell on, perhaps even seeking some reassurance. We also become nitpicky or pedantic.
5. But once we feel that spark of inspiration again, we charge head-on.
Once our inspiration is reignited, we feel like we can tackle anything life throws at us. We become more self-confident, more lighthearted, more optimistic, and more creative again.
6. We are impulsive, but we can also reflect.
Because we are dominant perceivers, we can be somewhat impulsive when making decisions. When we see a good opportunity to realize one of our ideas, we may take off after it without a second thought. When we get a good idea, we may immediately start working on a way to make it real if we like it well enough. Sometimes because of this, someone who is more conscientious may reel us back into reality.
That said, we can also carefully reflect before leaping into action. Because we make decisions based on what feels right to us (be it morally, ethically, and so on,) we are perfectly capable of stepping back and determining whether it is something we should pursue at any given time. We can also reflect to decide how we feel about our options before making a decision.
7. We love people, but we have a select few that we especially love.
ENFPs are a friendly bunch, and we love people. But more often than not, we tend to have a smaller circle of friends and family who we love the absolute most and spend the most time with. Often we even prefer one-on-one to groups, because it means we can get closer to those we especially love, where groups usually make this harder to do.
8. We are more intuitive about your feelings than you realize.
While our primary focus is ideas and possibilities, we are not ignorant of people’s feelings. In fact, we can be very perceptive. The difference is that we don’t want to make snap judgments about how you are feeling without first gathering more information that confirms what we perceive. So at times, we may hold off saying or doing anything. We may ask questions, of a non-invasive kind, to determine your emotional state. Or we may simply ask if you’re okay.
9. When an ENFP shows you they care, they really mean it.
ENFPs value sincerity in whatever they say and do. Chances are that if they are concerned about you, then they really are concerned. So take it for what it is, because a healthy ENFP will have no ulterior motives.
All in all, ENFPs are great people! We are loving, caring, imaginative, quirky, creative, easygoing, and a walking contradiction. We genuinely appreciate those who see and appreciate our strengths. Those who are caring enough to bring our weaknesses to our attention will also, over time, have our respect. And while it’s pretty great to be an ENFP, it also has its challenges, particularly in the workforce. Be patient with us, and it will pay off. Also, don’t be afraid to offer constructive criticism.