Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving Approximately 6-7 percent of the population
Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.
ENFPs are full of enthusiasm and new ideas. Optimistic, spontaneous, creative, confident, they have original minds and a strong sense of the possible. For an ENFP, life is an exciting drama.
Because they are so interested in possibilities, ENFPs see significance in all things and prefer to keep lots of options open. They are perceptive and keen observers who notice anything out of the ordinary. ENFPs are curious; they prefer to understand rather than judge.
Imaginative, adaptable, and alert, ENFPs value inspiration above all else and are often ingenious inventors. They are sometimes nonconformists, and are good at seeing new ways of doing things. ENFPs open up new avenues for thought or action… and then keep them open!
In carrying out their innovative ideas, ENFPs rely on their impulsive energy. They have lots of initiative and find problems stimulating. They also get an infusion of energy from being around other people, and can successfully combine their talents with the strengths of others.
ENFPs are charming and full of vitality. They treat people with sympathy, gentleness, and warmth and are ready to help anyone with a problem. They can be remarkably insightful and perceptive. and they often care about the development of others. ENFPs avoid conflict and prefer harmony. They put more energy into maintaining personal relationships than into maintaining objects, and they like to keep a wide assortment of relationships alive.
Possible Blind Spots
Since they find it so easy to generate ideas, ENFPs have difficulty focusing on just one thing at a time and can have trouble making decisions. They see so many possibilities that they have difficulty selecting the best activity or interest to pursue. Sometimes they make poor choices or get involved with too many things at once. Carefully choosing where they will focus their energy helps ENFPs avoid wasting their time and squandering their considerable talents.
To an ENFP, the fun part of a project is the initial problem solving and creation of something new. They like to exercise their inspiration on the important and challenging parts of a problem. After this stage, they often lose interest and lack the self-discipline necessary to complete what they’ve started. They are likely to start many projects but finish few. ENFPs have more to show for their efforts when they follow through with the necessary but tedious parts of a project until it is completed. Often writing important facts or steps down on paper helps them keep from getting side-tracked.
Often ENFPs are not particularly well organised. They can benefit from learning and applying time management and personal organisational skills. They do well when they team up with other more realistic and practical people. This usually suits them fine anyway, since ENFPs don’t like working alone, especially for extended periods of time. They find working with another person, even on a less interesting phase of a project, far preferable to working alone.
ENFPs are not much interested in details. Since they are more excited about using their imagination and creating something original, they may not bother to collect all the information they need in order to carry out a particular activity. Sometimes they just improvise on the spot, instead of planning and preparing ahead. Because they find information gathering tedious, ENFPs run the risk of never getting past the “bright idea” stage or, once started, never finishing. Always restless, they’d rather put off dealing with troublesome details and move on to something else new or unusual. ENFPs are more effective when they consciously attend to the actual world around them and gather more realistic impressions to their innovations workable.
– Love of Life
ENFPs are both “idea”-people and “people”-people, who see everyone and everything as part of an often bizarre cosmic whole. They want to both help (at least, their own definition of “help”) and be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. They are interested in new ideas on principle, but ultimately discard most of them for one reason or another.
Social/Personal Relationships: ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to the more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality. They are outgoing, fun, and genuinely like people. As SOs/mates they are warm, affectionate (lots of PDA), and disconcertingly spontaneous. However, attention span in relationships can be short; ENFPs are easily intrigued and distracted by new friends and acquaintances, forgetting about the older ones for long stretches at a time. Less mature ENFPs may need to feel they are the centre of attention all the time, to reassure them that everyone thinks they’re a wonderful and fascinating person.
ENFPs often have strong, if unconventional, convictions on various issues related to their Cosmic View. They usually try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade people gently of the rightness of these views; his sometimes results in their neglecting their nearest and dearest while flitting around trying to save the world.
Work Environment: ENFPs are pleasant, easygoing, and usually fun to work with. They come up with great ideas, and are a major asset in brainstorming sessions. Follow-through tends to be a problem, however; they tend to get bored quickly, especially if a newer, more interesting project comes along. They also tend to be procrastinators, both about meeting hard deadlines and about performing any small, uninteresting tasks that they’ve been assigned. ENFPs are at their most useful when working in a group with a J or two to take up the slack.
ENFPs hate bureaucracy, both in principle and in practice; they will always make a point of launching one of their crusades against some aspect of it.
ENFPs are friendly folks. Most are really enjoyable people. Some of the most soft-hearted people are ENFPs.
ENFPs have what some call a “silly switch.” They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become a ‘wild-child’, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the “switch” is flipped.
One study has shown that ENFPs are significantly overrepresented in psychodrama. Most have a natural propensity for role-playing and acting.
ENFPs like to tell funny stories, especially about their friends. This penchant may be why many are attracted to journalism. I kid one of my ENFP friends that if I want the sixth fleet to know something, I’ll just tell him.
ENFPs are global learners. Close enough is satisfactory to the ENFP, which may unnerve more precise thinking types, especially with such things as piano practice (“three quarter notes or four … what’s the difference?”) Amazingly, some ENFPs are adept at exacting disciplines such as mathematics.
Friends are what life is about to ENFPs, more so even than the other NFs. They hold up their end of the relationship, sometimes being victimized by less caring individuals. ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis.
One ENFP colleague, a social worker, had such tremendous interpersonal skills that she put her interviewers at ease during her own job interview. She had the ability to make strangers feel like old friends.
ENFPs sometimes can be blindsided by their secondary Feeling function. Hasty decisions based on deeply felt values may boil over with unpredictable results. More than one ENFP has abruptly quit a job in such a moment.
As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.
ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it.
ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything that they do must be in line with their values. An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true Self, walking in step with what they believe is right. They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace. They’re constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with themselves. Since emotional excitement is usually an important part of the ENFP’s life, and because they are focused on keeping “centred”, the ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values.
An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. Unlike other Extraverted types, ENFPs need time alone to centre themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values. ENFPs who remain centred will usually be quite successful at their endeavours. Others may fall into the habit of dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of achieving.
Most ENFPs have great people skills. They are genuinely warm and interested in people, and place great importance on their inter-personal relationships. ENFPs almost always have a strong need to be liked. Sometimes, especially at a younger age, an ENFP will tend to be “gushy” and insincere, and generally “overdo” in an effort to win acceptance. However, once an ENFP has learned to balance their need to be true to themselves with their need for acceptance, they excel at bringing out the best in others, and are typically well-liked. They have an exceptional ability to intuitively understand a person after a very short period of time, and use their intuition and flexibility to relate to others on their own level.
Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivious to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP’s family members.
An ENFP who has “gone wrong” may be quite manipulative – and very good it. The gift of gab which they are blessed with makes it naturally easy for them to get what they want. Most ENFPs will not abuse their abilities, because that would not jive with their value systems.
ENFPs sometimes make serious errors in judgment. They have an amazing ability to intuitively perceive the truth about a person or situation, but when they apply judgment to their perception, they may jump to the wrong conclusions.
ENFPs who have not learned to follow through may have a difficult time remaining happy in marital relationships. Always seeing the possibilities of what could be, they may become bored with what actually is. The strong sense of values will keep many ENFPs dedicated to their relationships. However, ENFPs like a little excitement in their lives, and are best matched with individuals who are comfortable with change and new experiences.
Having an ENFP parent can be a fun-filled experience, but may be stressful at times for children with strong Sensing or Judging tendencies. Such children may see the ENFP parent as inconsistent and difficult to understand, as the children are pulled along in the whirlwind life of the ENFP. Sometimes the ENFP will want to be their child’s best friend, and at other times they will play the parental authoritarian. But ENFPs are always consistent in their value systems, which they will impress on their children above all else, along with a basic joy of living.
ENFPs are basically happy people. They may become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks. Consequently, ENFPs work best in situations where they have a lot of flexibility, and where they can work with people and ideas. Many go into business for themselves. They have the ability to be quite productive with little supervision, as long as they are excited about what they’re doing.
Because they are so alert and sensitive, constantly scanning their environments, ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension. They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled. They need to maintain control over themselves, but they do not believe in controlling others. Their dislike of dependence and suppression extends to others as well as to themselves.
ENFPs are charming, ingenuous, risk-taking, sensitive, people-oriented individuals with capabilities ranging across a broad spectrum. They have many gifts which they will use to fulfil themselves and those near them, if they are able to remain centred and master the ability of following through.