10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger ENFP Self

ENFPS – Or extroverted, intuitive, feeling perceivers – make up approximately 8% of the population. Though this type isn’t particularly rare to come across, they embody a series of internal contradictions that often leads to a great deal of confusion growing up. As an (arguably) grown-up ENFP, here are a few things I would love to go back in time and tell my younger self.

Lauren Hammond
Lauren Hammond


Yes you have half the attention span and double the mood swings of everyone else you know – but these are both simply quirks of your personality that you’ll learn to manage with time. It’s also a product of being surrounded by people who perceive the world using an entirely different set of cognitive functions than you do – once you start meeting likeminded people and working at something you love, your moods will even out and your attention span will magically spring into existence. Funny how that works!

2. There are other people out there who feel things as strongly as you do.

The intense passion that you bring to everything you love is not unique to you. There are millions of people out there who experience the world with all of the depth, intensity and passion that you do. It’s just that very few of them live in your hometown. Don’t worry! You’re not alone!

3. The things you perceive to be your weaknesses will end up being your greatest strengths.

Your stubbornness, your restlessness and your tendency toward over-analysis are going to take you further in life than you could ever imagine. There is no sense in trying to tone down who you are. Be the strange, emotional, fiercely independent person that you are and learn from every waking second of it.

4. You’re not going to be this indecisive forever.

Your main function is a perceptive function, which means that in your younger years you’re going to just want to EXPLORE. DISCOVER. ADVENTURE. And you’re never going to want it to stop.

As you grow up, your decision-making functions (introverted feeling and extroverted thinking) are going to mature and suddenly you’re going to be this person who is capable of making decisions (I know. What?!). It’s going to be awesome. Until then, just enjoy the chaos. It’s a lot less stressful when you realize it’s not going to last forever.

5. To attract people who are like you, you have to act like you.

There are so many other intuitives out there who think along the same lines as you do – but you’re never going to meet them if you’re spending all your time trying to act like something you’re not to fit in with the sensors. Be your loud, speculative, adventurous self – that’s precisely how you’re going to attract the people you want to be around.

6. Ignore every person who ever tells you “You can’t.”

What they really mean is “I can’t.” You’re an ENFP. Everything you want in life, you’re going to make sure you get, because you don’t mind going the extra mile. And you’ll be surprised at how under-crowded that extra mile is.

7. University is not the only way to get an education, nor is it the sole measure of intelligence.

When you do go to school, you’ll learn more from late-night talks with your classmates than you will in any lecture hall. You learn through doing, through debating, through experiencing and through reflecting. So don’t stress too much about memorizing the textbook – your ability to think on your feet is going to take you much further than your GPA ever will.

8. You don’t know as much about other people as you think you do.

You are quick to jump to conclusions about others and it’s going to get you into hot water more than once. Remember that introverted feeling is based on your own experiences – and those don’t always relate to others’ experiences. Listen a little more, assume a little less. You have infinitely more to learn from other people than you think you do.

9. Do more of what you love and less of what you think you should do.

Disinterest is your kryptonite. You are 100% guaranteed to be bad at anything you try to do that doesn’t interest you and the easy solution to this is to simply not do it. You CAN make a career out of traveling, out of freelancing; out of whatever passion you happen to be invested in. You’re just going to have to think outside the box to get there –luckily, that is your strong suit.

10. So many things about yourself are going to change but the core things never will.

90% of your interests are fleeting – and that’s okay! It’s good to know a little bit about a lot of things. The 10% of your interests that aren’t fleeting are pervasive as hell – and you already know what those are. Stay true to your morals, true to your passions, true to your inclinations and true to yourself. You already know who you are. Now it’s just a matter of what you’re going to do about it. Thought Catalog Logo 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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