Getting to Know Me (as an ENFP)

ENFP: Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

This is the Jungian definition for someone like me. I found this out when filling out the personality test of the StumbleUpon user profile. (If you’re using StumbleUpon, my handle is “Gnorb”. Shocked, aren’t you?) The thing is I took this personality test about 2 months ago then forgot about it. All I thought was, “ENFP, eh? Cool, I guess. Whatever that means.” Recently, however, I’ve taken to using StumbleUpon as a networking site rather than a simple entertainment tool. My curiosity peaked when I started noticing other people’s profiles. That led me to performing a Google search for “ENFP”, which led me to a number of pages which describe that personality type.

What really got me is how accurate these descriptions were. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is so true about me that it’s scary, I definitely have to give kudos to Jung for doing his homework. For a good comparison, and to understand me a bit better, if you know me in real-non-internet-life, compare the description of the ENFP to the description of my Chinese zodiac symbol, the Earth Sheep.

(By the way, if you want to take the personality test for youself, you can do so here. Also, if you’re wondering how accurate this is about me, it’s pretty darn accurate. I’ll take the test again to make sure that I am what it says I am, or the other way around.)

The Inspirer

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 “centered”, 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 center themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values. ENFPs who remain centered will usually be quite successful at their endeavors. 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 oblivous 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 tendancies. 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 fulfill themselves and those near them, if they are able to remain centered and master the ability of following through.

Jungian functional preference ordering for ENFP:

Dominant: Extraverted Intuition
Auxiliary: Introverted Feeling
Tertiary: Extraverted Thinking
Inferior: Introverted Sensing

I also found a shorter explanation here: http://www.typelogic.com/enfp.html. According to this, other ENFPs include Robin Williams, Bill Cosby, Andy Kauffman, and Dr. Seuss. (And yes, that makes me feel special, so if you don’t care, kindly STFU.)

General: 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 center of attention all the time, to reassure them that everyone thinks they’re a wonderful and fascinating person.

ENFPs often have strong, if unconvential, 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. Followthrough 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 CAPTAIN WILDCHILD, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Som etimes 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, moreso 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.

Functional Analysis:

Extraverted iNtuition

The physical world, both geos and kosmos, is the ENFP’s primary source of information. Rather than sensing things as they are, dominant intuition is sensitive to things as they might be. These extraverted intuitives are most adept with patterns and connections. Their natural inclination is toward relationships, especially among people or living things.

Intuition leans heavily on feeling for meaning and focus. Its best patterns reflect the interesting points of people, giving rise to caricatures of manner, speech and expression.

Introverted Feeling

Auxiliary feeling is nonverbally implied more often than it is openly expressed. When expressed, this logic has an aura of romance and purity that may seem out of place in this flawed, imperfect world. In its own defense, feeling judgement frequently and fleetly gives way to humor. ENFPs who publicize their feelings too often may put off some of the crowd of friends they naturally attract.

Extraverted Thinking

Thinking, the process which runs to impersonal conclusions, holds the extraverted tertiary position. Used on an occasional basis, ENFPs may benefit greatly from this ability. Less mature and lacking the polish of higher order functions, Thinking is not well suited to be used as a prominent function. As with other FP types, the ENFP unwary of Thinking’s limitations may find themselves most positively mistaken.

Introverted Sensing

Sensing, the least discernible ENFP function, resides in the inner world where reality is reduced to symbols and icons–ideas representing essences of external realities. Under the influence of the ever-present intuition, the ENFP’s sensory perceptions are in danger of being replaced by hypothetical data consistent with pattern and paradigm. When it is protected and nourished, introverted sensing provides information about the fixed. From such firm anchoring ENFPs are best equipped to launch into thousands of plausibilities and curiosities yet to be imagined.

Perhaps the combination of introverted Feeling and childlike introverted Sensing is responsible for the silent pull of ENFPs to the wishes of parents, authority figures and friends. Or perhaps it’s the predominance of indecisive intuition in combination with the ambiguity of secondary Fi and tertiary Te that induces these kind souls to capitulate even life-affecting decisions. Whatever the dynamic, ENFPs are strongly influenced by the opinions of their friends.
Famous ENFPs:

Franz Joseph Haydn
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
Will Rogers
Buster Keaton
Theodor “Dr.” Seuss Geisel (The Cat in the Hat)
Mickey Rooney
James Dobson (“Focus on the Family”)
Andy Rooney
Carol Burnett
Paul Harvey
Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched)
Bill Cosby (Ghost Dad)
Dom Delouise, actor
Dave Thomas, owner of Wendy’s hamburger chain
Lewis Grizzard, newspaper columnist
I. King Jordan, president of Gallaudet University
Martin Short, actor-comedian
Meg Ryan, actor (When Harry Met Sally)
Robin Williams, actor, comedian (Dead Poet’s Society, Mrs. Doubtfire)
Sandra Bullock, actor (Speed, While You Were Sleeping)
Robert Downey (Heart and Souls)
Alicia Silverstone (Clueless)
Sinbad
Andy Kaufman
Regis Philbin

4 thoughts on “Getting to Know Me (as an ENFP)

  1. A second taking of the test puts me as an “ENTP”.

    Extroverted (E) 60.53% Introverted (I) 39.47%
    Intuitive (N) 60.53% Sensing (S) 39.47%
    Thinking (T) 55.56% Feeling (F) 44.44%
    Perceiving (P) 54.55% Judging (J) 45.45%

    As you can see, I’m a toss-up between the T vs. F and P vs. J, though mostly between T and F.

    Here’s the synopsis of the ENTP:

    “Clever” is the word that perhaps describes ENTPs best. The professor who juggles half a dozen ideas for research papers and grant proposals in his mind while giving a highly entertaining lecture on an abstruse subject is a classic example of the type. So is the stand-up comedian whose lampoons are not only funny, but incisively accurate.

    ENTPs are usually verbally as well as cerebrally quick, and generally love to argue–both for its own sake, and to show off their often-impressive skills. They tend to have a perverse sense of humor as well, and enjoy playing devil’s advocate. They sometimes confuse, even inadvertently hurt, those who don’t understand or accept the concept of argument as a sport.

    ENTPs are as innovative and ingenious at problem-solving as they are at verbal gymnastics; on occasion, however, they manage to outsmart themselves. This can take the form of getting found out at “sharp practice”–ENTPs have been known to cut corners without regard to the rules if it’s expedient — or simply in the collapse of an over-ambitious juggling act. Both at work and at home, ENTPs are very fond of “toys”–physical or intellectual, the more sophisticated the better. They tend to tire of these quickly, however, and move on to new ones.

    ENTPs are basically optimists, but in spite of this (perhaps because of it?), they tend to become extremely petulant about small setbacks and inconveniences. (Major setbacks they tend to regard as challenges, and tackle with determination.) ENTPs have little patience with those they consider wrongheaded or unintelligent, and show little restraint in demonstrating this. However, they do tend to be extremely genial, if not charming, when not being harassed by life in general.

    In terms of their relationships with others, ENTPs are capable of bonding very closely and, initially, suddenly, with their loved ones. Some appear to be deceptively offhand with their nearest and dearest; others are so demonstrative that they succeed in shocking co-workers who’ve only seen their professional side. ENTPs are also good at acquiring friends who are as clever and entertaining as they are. Aside from those two areas, ENTPs tend to be oblivious of the rest of humanity, except as an audience — good, bad, or potential.


    Maybe I should take the bits and pieces of this and make my own, what describes me.

  2. This one also seems pretty accurate, from http://www.personalitypathways.com/dom-ne.html

    Words, ideas and possibilities spew effortlessly from them. Words are their best friends. They dance around ideas, the more, the merrier. Imaginative, spontaneous, original and enthusiastic, they have a knack for seeing other possibilities, other dreams and options. The world is never as it is but as it could be, as if it were but an artists sketch begging for colour. They initiate change and often are prone to trespassing a few known boundaries to take themselves and others where no one has been before. The status quo tends to lack inspiration.

    When inspired, they are fearless and tireless. Their energy will know no limits unless red tape takes over. Routine drags them down. Their faith in possibilities and belief in the benefit of change often inspire others to follow. They are challenging, ingenious and innovative. They will give their best to what appears to be an impossible challenge, a place unknown to man or beast.

    They use metaphors, stories, images and analogies to make their point.They love theories and often shape their own. They see patterns emerging. Keen improvisers, they are rarely caught off guard, there is always something up their sleeve. The sky is the only limit.

    They are sometimes entertainers, artists or otherwise engaged in public demonstrations that allow their ideas to bloom. Their greatest difficulty is not in initiating projects but in choosing among so many possibilities, setting realistic boundaries, establishing priorities and correctly assessing resources.


    This one seems like the most accurate description yet. In fact, if you had to read one thing before you met me in real life, I’d say read this.

  3. Hah. Thank you Norbert, for bringing this to my attention. I did the test, the outcome was this (which, circabout sounds right):

    Introverted (I) 86.21% Extroverted (E) 13.79%
    Intuitive (N) 58.97% Sensing (S) 41.03%
    Thinking (T) 73.53% Feeling (F) 26.47%
    Perceiving (P) 54.76% Judging (J) 45.24%

    Your type is: INTP

    But this here is .. well you put it well yourself; I’ll avoid calling it scary, but it’s very interesting:

    INTP – “Architect”. Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 3.3% of total population.

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