ENFP Personality Type Profile

By Dr. A.J. Drenth

The ENFP personality type is one of sixteen types. ENFPs constitute up to 8% of the general population, with females outnumbering males at a clip of two to one.

ENFP Personality Traits

ENFPs are enthusiastic, idealistic, restless, and open-minded, with wide-ranging interests. Because of these personality traits, they are among the most versatile of all types, working well with both people and ideas. As Extraverts they are not opposed to action, while as Intuitives, they are not opposed to reflection. In this sense, ENFPs represent a sort of hybrid between Introverts and Extraverts.

ENFPs are novelty-seekers. They are constantly scanning for new and interesting people, ideas, and possibilities. Like INFPs, they enjoy abstract as well as more experiential forms of learning.

While seeking success in their careers and relationships, ENFPs generally take life less seriously than IP or EJ types (i.e., types with a dominant Judging function). At the end of the day, ENFPs want to have fun and may not be highly discriminating with regard to how that happens. Perhaps more than anything, ENFPs fear boredom and stagnation. Even sleep can seem a bit too boring or mundane for ENFPs.

The minds of ENFPs can move at a frenetic pace. They can be restless, anxious, and plagued by erratic sleeping patterns. As with ENTPs, one can even observe this restlessness in ENFPs’ eyes, which are commonly darting broadly from one side to another, as though searching for something in their surroundings. What they are actually searching for, however, is more mental in nature, such as words, ideas, or possibilities (i.e., Ne). ENFPs are constantly generating new ideas, associations, and quips. They can often seem random, scattered, distracted, and flighty and, rightly or not, are commonly diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.

Elizabeth Gilbert, ENFP author

Liz Gilbert, ENFP author

ENFPs are predominantly “right-brained” personality types. While the left side of the brain is concerned with order, control, and systematizing, the right brain is oriented to novelty, people, and emotions. The right brain is also the more random or “creative” side (i.e., divergence), while the left hemisphere is concerned with analysis and predictability (i.e., convergence).

Like other NP types, ENFPs place high value on their personal experiences when it comes to discerning truth. Though not to the same extent as ESFPs, for ENFPs, “experiencing is believing.” Because of the high value they place on their personal experiences, ENFPs may feel they cannot fully know themselves until they have tried just about everything (contrast this with INJs, who feel they know whether they will like something without needing to experience it). For this reason, ENFPs are quintessential seekers and dilettantes, wanting to experience as much of life and the world as is humanly possible. In many regards, the interests and aspirations of ENFPs are infinite. This can be nothing less than exhausting for those trying to stay apace with them.

ENFPs are among the least judgmental and most inclusive of all types, both inwardly and outwardly. Much like INFPs, they are champions of diversity and multiculturalism. Their Extraverted Intuition (Ne) allows them to readily see different points of view, while their Introverted Feeling (Fi) supplies a sense of empathy and respect for individuality.

ENFPs are also connoisseurs of and participants in the arts and culture. They are commonly drawn to all sorts of creative endeavors. In particular, they often enjoy music, drama, and photography. Those with sufficient mental focus can also make great writers, be it fiction or non-fiction. ENFPs are highly represented among journalists, excelling with both the written and spoken word.

ENFP career-seekers are often drawn to ministry, counseling, or teaching. They love seeing and cultivating potential in others. While some ENFPs are content with working largely with ideas, others seek to combine this with action and adventure. Such individuals may take up work as missionaries, tour guides, or diplomats. Others may try their hand at politics. ENFPs’ inferior function, Introverted Sensing (Si), may contribute an interest in history that may add to the allure of religious, political, or journalistic work.

ENFP Personality Type Development & Functional Stack

ENFPs’ functional stack is composed of the following functions:

Dominant: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

Auxiliary: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Tertiary: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

Inferior: Introverted Sensing (Si)

ENFPs’ type development can be roughly conceived according to three phases.

Phase I (Adolescence)

Extending from early childhood into adolescence, Phase I involves the development and strengthening of the dominant function, Extraverted Intuition (Ne). ENFPs spend much of Phase I developing and differentiating their dominant Ne. While tending to remain open-minded and curious throughout their lives, this is especially pronounced during this phase of their development. Beyond the requirements of school, Phase I ENFPs are generally free to sit back and absorb the world without undue worry or concern. This grants their Ne ample time to form extensive connections and associations. ENFPs may further expand their horizons through any number of means: reading, travel, the arts, engaging with people, etc. This exploratory phase may continue well into their twenties.

Once the dominant function reaches a certain threshold of strength and dominance, ENFPs’ inferior function, Introverted Sensing (Si), enters the picture and begins to play a more influential role. This can be confusing because the inferior is not next in line for development in the functional stack, but the inferior’s undue influence derives from its bipolar relationship with the dominant function. Phase II ENFPs are also working to develop their auxiliary function, Introverted Feeling (Fi). They use their Fi to refine and clarify their values, worldview, and identity. The process of “finding themselves” entails both inner (Fi) and outer (Ne) exploration. Their Fi also helps them weigh and evaluate the needs and wishes of their dominant versus their inferior function. As ENFPs develop and utilize their Fi, they may become more serious, focused, ambitious, and goal-oriented.

Phase III (30s, 40s, & Beyond)

Phase III, a phase which many individuals never reach or complete, is characterized by an attempt to understand and integrate the tertiary and inferior functions. By bringing these less conscious functions into the light of consciousness, we can better envision our path toward wholeness. For ENFPs, Phase III entails an exploration of the nature of and challenges associated with their tertiary Extraverted Thinking (Te) as well as their inferior Si.

ENFPs’ Dominant Function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

Extraverted Intuition (Ne) seeks outer novelty. At first glance, Se and Ne types can appear quite similar, as both ESPs and ENPs can be outwardly active, playful, or restless. Ne differs from Se, however, in that it is more concerned with seeking new ideas, connections, and possibilities than it is with seeking novel sensations.

Ne is an extraverted Perceiving function. It can function either perceptively or expressively. The verbal expression of Ne amounts to something like “brainstorming aloud.” When orating, ENFPs may not always seem to “have a point” as they randomly move from one idea to the next. Often times, the “point” is for ENFPs to find their way to a judgment (Fi), but this first requires them to explore multiple options by way of their Ne. While others may not trust the seemingly arbitrary and haphazard ways of Ne, ENFPs realize its value. They know that, in time, that truth or wisdom will reveal itself. Their only job is to express their Ne, trusting that it will lead them in the right direction. Granted, some ENFPs are much more coherent and polished in their expressions than others; much depends on the context of the conversation. In some instances, ENFPs call on their tertiary function, Extraverted Thinking (Te), which is not at all random, but more direct and to the point.

In its receptive role, Ne works to gather information. It does not merely gather overt information as Se does. Se is more straightforward, involving a direct apprehension of information through one or more of the primary senses. Ne is different in that it goes beyond or looks behind sense data. This allows ENFPs to discern otherwise hidden patterns, possibilities, and potentials. Their Ne is constantly scanning for relationships and patterns among facts and experiences. ENFPs commonly employ the receptive side of their Ne in activities such as reading, exploring the arts and culture,  and conversing with others. They enjoy asking questions that allow them to gain insight or knowledge from others, making them good facilitators of conversation. ENFPs often hone and apply this talent in careers such as journalism.

As an extraverted function, Ne is more divergent and open-ended than its introverted cousin, Ni. Once Ni has done its work, INJs are more apt to feel there is a single correct solution. ENFPs, by contrast, are disposed to multiplying rather than reducing the number of options or possibilities.

ENFPs also use their Ne to sniff out intriguing possibilities. They enjoy the role of wanderer or seeker. They rarely know in advance precisely what they are seeking, which is partly why they find it so exhilarating. Ne entails a sense of blind anticipation and expectation, of not knowing who or what will manifest next in their life journey.

Extraverted Intuition can also be associated with open-mindedness. It helps ENFPs see truth on both sides of an issue without forming premature judgments or conclusions. Ne can also involve an openness to alternative or Bohemian lifestyles, allowing ENFPs to consider things like going vegan or joining a commune.

Like ENTPs, ENFPs can have a sort of love-hate relationship with Ne. They that it helps them stay open-minded and allows them to see the value of different options or perspectives. They also enjoy its sense of adventure, expectancy, and wonderment toward life’s mysteries. But Ne also has its challenges, such as making it difficult for ENFPs to draw firm conclusions or feel confident about their decisions.

ENFPs’Auxiliary Function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Introverted Feeling (Fi) is the auxiliary function of both ENFPs and ESFPs. One of Fi’s primary concerns is the development of a personalized worldview, independent of societal conventions, which can serve as a platform for self-understanding and decision-making.

Fi is quite similar to Introverted Thinking (Ti) in that it involves an ongoing process of building an inner worldview and approach to life. The primary difference is that Fi focuses more on personal tastes (i.e., “likes and dislikes”) and moral judgments (i.e., “good and bad”), whereas Ti thinks more in terms of “true and false,” “logical or illogical.” Consequently, ENFPs first inclination is to use Fi to make moral, artistic, or   taste-related evaluations, whereas ENTPs use Ti to evaluate the validity and veracity of concepts.

The difference between Fi in ENFPs versus INFPs is its place in the functional stack. For INFPs, it comes first, which makes them quicker to judge. Afterward, they use their Ne to probe the judgment to see if it is valid or whether it should be kept open or “grey.” For ENFPs, the order is reversed. They do not start with an initial judgment or presumption like INFPs. This is particularly true in Phase I of their development. ENPs are wired to approach each situation with the openness of their Ne. After exploring things by way of their Ne, they use their Fi to form a judgment. Then, if they feel confident in that judgment, they may express it through their tertiary Te.

One of the more important features of Fi is its direction. Namely, because it is introverted, outsiders may not have easy access to ENFPs’ emotions, with the exception of their general spiritedness and enthusiasm. Like ESFPs, ENFPs express their Feeling judgments somewhat indirectly through their Te. This may at times lead others to view ENFPs as Thinking types, while seeing ENTPs, who extravert their judgments by way of Extraverted Feeling, as Feeling types.

ENFPs’ Tertiary Function: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

Extraverted Thinking (Te) involves the outward expression of rational judgments and opinions. Since Te is ENFPs’ preferred extraverted Judging function and falls lower in their functional stack, ENFPs are generally less comfortable extroverting judgments than keeping their judgments to themselves (Fi). This may lead them, along with other Perceiving types, to habitually defer to others’ wishes rather than asserting their own. And since ENFPs have independent minds, they can grow resentful of those who try to control them. With that said, ENFPs tend to be somewhat more self-assertive than IPs, but their relative discomfort with utilizing their Te can still land them in relational trouble.

As with other Perceiving types, ENFPs can also disposed to passive-aggressive behavior, involving the expression of negative feelings in indirect and underhanded ways. For instance, an ENFP might suddenly discontinue correspondence with a friend after furtively feeling offended by something he said.

To improve their communication in relationships, ENFPs can develop the ability to confidently assert themselves through their Te. In hoping to live up to their ideal of authenticity, they can learn to express themselves more honestly and directly.

Self-actualizing ENFPs find a source of strength and confidence in their Te. They find the courage to stand-up for themselves, to overcome their fear that conflict or disharmony will necessitate a bad outcome. They come to see how forthright expression can enhance intimacy. Te can also contribute to ENFPs’ leadership capacities.

(This Personality Junkie type profile is continued on the next page.)

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Comments

  1. Simone Streeter says

    Dear Dr. Drenth,

    I’d like to make one suggestion to your essay on the ENFP. In describing the Ne function as seeking novelty, I think it is more accurate and more respectful to phrase it as needing the sense of discovery. The word novelty connotes something more trivial and shallow.

    My experience has amply shown me that the need for discovery, or simply a sort of global curiosity, has been the most important quality I had in surviving almost unbearable trauma. I had to get through periods of terrible emotional pain simply because I had to see how things turned out. Suicide was too predictable.

    I think the ENFP personality’s combination of open curiosity and strongly felt values is better represented by the term discovery than novelty.

    Thanks for your work, and thanks for reading!

  2. Paulina says

    To Logan. Maybe Yes, I am also deeply religious, I am INFP (I guess) and unfrotunately desriring to be ENFP. I did not question and although it has helped me to develop strong faith( aslo raised in a very religious family) , I hated the fact I do not question, it is really very enhancing our understanding and building the faith up, not demaging it. The questioning is highly valued by me now. I had to leanr it. My dear ENFP, you have started just from a different angle, perhaps beqaring the cost, but I think you developed a strong, justified faith, and not a narrow-minded lazy one. What is more, I had to learn the playfullness, your inherent enthusiasm had to come to me in time (also due to good evangelisators). We so much, so often hate our types for the skewed features we have, yet, remeber, others admire us so much. Greetings!!:):):)

    • Logan says

      I didn’t question until I was about 12. I think that I largely led with my inferior until that point. I was always described as peppy, energetic, positive, smart, creative, and friendly…

      …if you challenged my belief, though, I could be downright cruel.

      Now that Fi has entered the picture, I’ve been wondering if I honestly had the right to be so harsh as a child. Since that was my “backbone,” and I can’t justify aggression for any other cause, I am extremely passive and bend my will to others.

      I don’t know what my role is, or if I have one…

      …So, I frequent sites like this.

      I really want to be able to use my imagination in a career, but my mother keeps asserting that imagination is not something in demand in this economy.

      I think Ne and Fi only cause doubt in combination…

    • Paulina says

      :) I also do not know what my role is, I believe I have one, and yes, this is the reason I enter sites like this one. Even more, I enter them because I’d like to hear so much that it is the one I am dreaming of. There is a point about waht you said about Ne and Fi. After all, both, INFP and ENFP, do not give ourselves credit for the things we are capable of doing. This would make us more into the personlaity tests than others.On last Monday, it came to me that I would not find the answer in these tests and God is the only one who has it for me. It is somehow easier for me to dive in here, reading all the time, but possessing quite a good knowledge of the types I am still left with no answer. So let us maybe do what we want to do really. I think hearts know quite well, and let’s wait for God to show us more. And I guess it is good to listen to parents, but I know from my own experience, God sometimes wants for you something entirely different. Use your imagination and work hard on the career you’re dreaming of! And first, forgive yourself:)! Be stubborn when it comes to your dreams and life.:) I was, I do not regret, my mom and dad used to tell me I shoud pursue midwife studies, but I felt it was not something for me, so I am (almost:) a teacher now. I am happy about it- I can be with people, for people, and be creative;) They pay pretty well too.

    • Tiggy says

      I wouldn’t go into teaching unless you are capable of working extremely hard and being very organised and disciplined. A lof of ENFPs find teaching too stressful nowadays. You have to be in before the kids are and leave later and work most evenings, marking and preparing lessons. In the summer holidays it’s quite common for teachers to just colapse with exhaustion for the first two weeks and they usually have to do preparation stuff and start back before the kids. It really is a great big treadmill that doesn’t stop and doesn’t allow for any slack. Also, many ENFPs prefer the kids to the other teachers.