ENFPs are initiators of change who are keenly perceptive of possibilities, and who energize and stimulate through their contagious enthusiasm. They prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship, and are tireless in the pursuit of new-found interests. ENFPs are able to anticipate the needs of others and to offer them needed help and appreciation. They bring zest, joy, liveliness, and fun to all aspects of their lives. They are at their best in situations that are fluid and changing, and that allow them to express their creativity and use their charisma.
ENFP children are ‘into everything.’ Their natural curiosity results in children for whom questions were invented. They often spend long periods of time devising new and original — but not necessarily practical — languages, plays, and scenarios. Many ENFPs enjoy drawing, writing, playacting, and dreaming. They are often chosen as leaders because of their persuasive enthusiasm and their energy for new and different ways of developing things.
ENFP teenagers are agreeable, sociable, outgoing people who like to imagine themselves in the future. They spend many hours wondering and discussing with friends whom they will marry, where they will live, what their children will be like, and what work they will do. They leave no option or possibility unexplored and find it difficult to see themselves in any single job or career.
Because they see endless possibilities, to select one possibility appears to the ENFP to be too narrow a focus. They hate to be boxed into a career for life and therefore hesitate and resist making decisions. It is unwise for ENFPs to settle down too early, and they make the soundest choices when they delay career and marriage decisions until their middle to late twenties. Often when a decision is made, ENFPs will still leave a number of options open or change their minds as they encounter new information.
Even in their everyday activities, ENFPs often search for the new and the novel. If there is a logical route to work and ENFP has been driving that way continually, he or she will likely tire of it and look for other routes.
ENFPs are more likely than other types to change from one career to another, demonstrating their versatility in doing so. It is not uncommon to hear stories of ENFPs who have established themselves in a career and who, when faced with the daily routine of maintaining it, leave it to start another.
Adult ENFPs maintain characteristics that might be considered youthful, such as enthusiasm, curiosity, and a zestful outlook on life. As a result, people often enjoy being with them. Many times they are young-in-spirit as they age, perhaps because of their temperament.
ENFPs look forward to retirement as a time that can bring freedom from the restrictions of the work world and ample opportunity to pursue their varied interests. However, if ENFPs become disabled or experience a lack of resources, such as money, they may become despondent because this restricts their ability to quest after new experiences.
ENFPs often learn best through a variety of means, such as observing, reading, and listening to and interacting with others. They enjoy the search for new ideas and possibilities, and will put in the time necessary to master subjects they find interesting. One strength is their enthusiasm for the process of discovery. They enjoy survey courses, comparative studies, and disciplines in which there is much to research and explore. They do not like classes that are too structured, that consist only of lectures, and that allow no room for their imagination. They may get caught up in the learning process and consequently need strict deadlines to bring a project to completion.
ENFPs prefer a learning environment in which the teacher takes personal interest in them, in which there is an opportunity to talk about ideas with their peers, and in which there is a chance to ask questions and develop new ideas.
A motto that might describe the ENFP as a learner is “There’s always another way or another answer.”
ENFPs often follow a nonlinear career track and nontraditional routes to obtaining knowledge, qualifications, and skills. When they are committed to what they do, they are enthusiastic to the point of preaching to the entire world about it. For an ENFP, work must be fun and must contribute to something larger than merely collecting a paycheck.
The preferred work setting for ENFPs contains imaginative people focused on human possibilities. ENFPs want a work environment that is both physically and mentally colorful. They prefer a participative and collegial atmosphere in which employees are included in the decision making. ENFPs are less productive where there is disharmony because they pay more attention to the relationships between people at work than they do to the tasks. Their ideal job would offer variety, novelty, challenge, and freedom from tight supervision; it would be idea oriented and imaginative, and would have lively, energetic people enjoying themselves and their tasks.
Most ENFPs will say they are organized, but others might not see them that way. Their desire to be open to the moment tends to outweigh their need to be organized. Usually ENFP work space is arranged haphazardly, with work materials and personal momentos scattered about. In terms of the management of time, ENFPs find it particularly difficult to estimate accurately how long an activity will take. Because people’s needs are more important than schedules, ENFPs are often late and characteristically full of apologies for their tardiness.
ENFPs prefer occupations that reflect their ideals and that promote harmonious relationships with others. They tend to be attracted to occupations with a service orientation. ENFPs usually find a place in their work life for creativity. They particularly enjoy people-oriented work in which they are able to combine things in new and different ways to benefit humanity. Flexibility and autonomy are important to ENFPs, who may bolt from organizations in which this is not attainable.
Common occupations picked by ENFPs include artist, clergy, consultant, counselor, entertainer, journalist, public relations worker, social scientist, social worker, teacher, and other occupations that allow ENFPs to use their creativity and insight.
ENFPs are energetic and enthusiastic leaders who are likely to take charge when a new endeavor needs a visionary spokesperson. ENFPs are values-oriented people who become champions of causes and services relating to human needs and dreams. Their leadership style is one of soliciting and recognizing others’ contributions and of evaluating the personal needs of their followers. ENFPs are often charismatic leaders who are able to help people see the possibilities beyond themselves and their current realities. They function as catalysts.
ENFPs often have a difficult time separating their work from their leisure. Because they like to have fun while they work and usually arrange their work lives to meet this need, the boundaries between their work and their leisure may not be as clear as they might be for some other types.
Because of their continual search for new things to experience, it is rare for ENFPs to become heavily involved in a single activity; their appetite for involvement is too great. Generally, ENFPs are on the lookout for new things and may come across what is “trendy” before others. They tend to participate early on in those new activities.
ENFPs like travel and reading because these activities open experiences of other times and places. Their reading often brings quiet and reflection time, as well as new material for their dreams. Their travels afford them opportunities to experience different people and cultures.
Some ENFPs may invite others to join them at plays, films, or in classes. Some enjoy physical activities in which they are able to challenge themselves, release their energy, and maintain their physical fitness.
For ENFPs, loving is an almost constant state. They are generally involved or in love with someone or something new. ENFPs may have originated the quotation “All the world loves a lover.” When falling in love, they explore all the new possibilities in the relationship, and the new person is studied in every way. The ENFP tends to idealize his or her current relationship and will often say that their current one is “the best ever.”
It might be argued that each type, when first in love, resembles a garden-variety ENFP, because ENFPs normally behave like people in love. Some of the cultural cliches about falling in love – such as “Falling in love with love,” “Head over heels in love,” “Love is blind,” “All the world loves a lover,” and “Throw caution to the wind” – seem to apply to the ENFP. This same boundless affection can be showered upon friends, co-workers, and others. People often feel unconditionally loved by ENFPs, but over time many of these relationships dissipate, as in “When I’m not near the ones I love, I love the ones I’m near.”
ENFPs are delightful, enthusiastic partners who are young in spirit; there is rarely a dull moment with them. They readily note their partner’s best aspects. They may overlook obvious details and facts about their partners that might cause other types to be more cautious. As relationships progress, ENFPs romanticise their partners and make strong efforts to rationalize any discrepancy between the reality and their “ideal.”
When they are in love, they may either overcommit and ignore any unpleasant yet true facts; or they may undercommit, believing that there may be a better love “just around the corner.” Therefore, ENFPs may be seen as fickle in their relationships as they search for the “right one.”
When and if the flaws in the relationship become too obvious to ENFPs, they may admit defeat, feeling great pain because they have put so much energy into perfecting a particular relationship. When ENFPs are scorned, they overgeneralize about their partners’ worst faults. Because ENFPs thrive on new possibilities, when they fall out of love, they rebound quickly.
For ENFPs nothing occurs which does not have some significance, and they have an uncanny sense of the motivations of others. This gives them a talent for seeing life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil. This type is found in only about 5 percent of the general population, but they have great influence because of their extraordinary impact on others. ENFPs strive toward the authentic, even when acting spontaneously, and this is usually communicated nonverbally to others, who find this characteristic attractive. ENFPs, however, find their own efforts of authenticity and spontaneity always lacking, and tend to heap coals of fire on themselves, always berating themselves for being so conscious of self.
ENFPs consider intense emotional experiences vital; when they have these, however, they are made uneasy by a sense of being there but with a part of themselves split off. They strive for congruency, but always see themselves in some danger of losing touch with their real feelings, which ENFPs possess in a wide range and variety.
ENFPs exercise a continuous scanning of the external environment, and nothing out of the ordinary is likely to escape their attention. They are keen and penetrating observers and are capable of intense concentration on another individual while aware of what is going on about them. Their attention is never passive or casual, never wandering, but always directed. At times, ENFPs find themselves interpreting events in terms of another’s “hidden motive,” giving special meaning to words or actions. This interpretation tends to be negative and, more often than not, inaccurately negative. In the process, an ENFP may find that he or she has introduced an unnecessary, toxic element into the relationship. While ENFPs are brilliantly perceptive, they can make serious mistakes in judgment, which works to their discomfort. These mistakes derive from their tendency to focus on data which confirm their own biases. They may be absolutely correct in their perceptions but wrong in their conclusions.
Because they tend to be hypersensitive and hyper-alert, they may suffer from muscle tension. They live in readiness for emergencies; because they have this facility, they assume this is true for others. They can become bored rather quickly with both situations and people, and resist repeating experiences. They enjoy the process of creating something – an idea or a project – but are not as interested in the follow-through. They are typically enthusiastic, and this is contagious. People get caught up and entranced by an ENFP. Yet this type is marked with a fierce independence, repudiating any kind of subordination, either in themselves or in others in relation to them. They do tend to attribute more power to authority figures than is there and give over to these figures an ability to “see through” them-which also is not apt to be there. While ENFPs resist the notion of others becoming dependent or having power over them, their charisma draws followers who wish to be shown the way. ENFPs constantly find themselves surrounded by others who look toward the ENFP for wisdom, inspiration, courage, leadership, and so on-an expectancy which, at times, weighs rather heavily on an ENFP.
ENFPs are characteristically optimistic and are surprised when people or events do not turn out as anticipated. Often their confidence in the innate goodness of fate and human nature is a self-fulling prophecy.
ENFPs have a remarkable latitude in career choices and succeed in many fields. As workers, they are warmly enthusiastic, high-spirited, ingenious, imaginative, and can do almost anything that interests them. They can solve most problems, particularly those dealing with people. They are charming and at ease with colleagues; others enjoy their presence. ENFPs are outstanding in getting people together, and are good at initiating meetings and conferences, although not as talented at providing for the operational details of these events. They enjoy inventing new ways of doing things, and their projects tend to become a cause, quickly becoming personalized. They are imaginative themselves, but can have difficulty picking up on ideas and projects initiated by others. They must make these ideas and projects their own if ENFPs are to lend their energy and interest. Once people or projects become routine, ENFPs are likely to lose interest; what might be is always more fascinating than what is. ENFPs make extensive use of their intuitive powers. They usually have a wide range of personal and telephone contacts, expending energy in maintaining both career and personal relationships.
ENFPs make excellent salespeople, advertising people, politicians, screen or play writers, and in general are attracted to the interpretative arts, particularly character acting. People to people work is essential for ENFPs, who need the feedback of interaction with others. ENFPs may find it difficult to work within the constraints of an institution, especially in following rules, regulations, and standard operating procedures. More frequently, institutional procedures and policies are targets to be challenged and bent by the will of an ENFP. Colleagues and superiors sometimes find themselves in the position of having to accommodate and salvage. At times, ENFPs demonstrate impatience with others; they may get into difficulty in an organization by siding with its detractors, who find in an ENFP a sympathetic ear and a natural rescuer. In occupational choice, ENFPs quickly become restless if the choice involves painstaking detail and follow-through over a period of time. Variety in day-to-day operations and interactions best suits the talents of ENFPs, who need quite a bit of latitude in which to exercise their adaptive ingenuity.
As mates, ENFPs tend to be charming, gentle, sympathetic, and nonconformist. They are not likely to be interested in the less-inspired routines of daily maintenance and ever will be seeking new outlets for their inspirations. As parents, ENFPs are devoted although somewhat unpredictable in handling their children, shifting from a role of friend-in-need-rescuer to stern authority figure. They may not always be willing to enforce their impulsive pronouncements, but leave it to their mates to follow through. A mate of an ENFP can expect charming surprises: extravagant generosity punctuated by periods of frugality. Independent actions regarding money on the part of an ENFP’s mate are not ordinarily welcomed, and the mate may find him or herself in an embarrassing situation of having to return purchases. ENFPs generally are the ones in charge of the home, and a conflict free home is desired, almost demanded. When he or she is in charge of economic resources, the ENFP’s home may contain extravagant luxuries while necessities may be missing. They are not always interested in saving for the future and may be casual in giving consideration to such things as life insurance, savings accounts, and even a ready cash supply for mate and children.
ENFPs are characteristic in their pursuit of the novel, their strong sense of the possible, and outstanding intuitive powers. At the same time, they have warmth and fun with people and generally are unusually skilled in handling people. Their extraverted role tends to be well developed, as is their capacity for the novel and the dramatic.
At midlife ENFPs may need to give particular attention to their physical health, concentrating perhaps on developing resources to release muscular tensions. Body awareness and relaxation exercises may deserve investment of energies; work with various art media such as oils, clay, and building materials may be pleasurable. They need also to discipline themselves against beginning too many projects and making commitments to too many people. They should more fully enjoy relationships and opportunities that already exist, even at the expense of neglecting new ones. ENFPs certainly need to relax, to decrease the number of hours invested in work, and turn to recreational activities – travel, visual entertainment, and physically relaxing activities.
Here is the herald, the spirited bearer of tiding. But underneath this effervescent enthusiasm is a person fiercely dedicated to “meaning” in life and reminiscent of the INFP crusader. Only the ENFP neither crusades nor meditates, not for long anyway. The ENFP is into everything, frisky, not unlike a puppy, sniffing around to see what’s new. ENFP has to be in on everything, can’t bear to be left out of anything. That’s why they make such splendid reporters, newscasters, and journalists. Mercury. Now who would enjoy this frisky, bubbly-yet serious-person? The Rock of Gibraltar, of course-ISTJ, the “trustee.” ISTJ, who revels in “keeping the books in order,” “balancing the budget,” “securing and ensuring,” “stabilizing and steadying,” “honoring contracts,” “keeping the ship on a steady course” and “shipshape,” delights also in providing anchorage and safe harbor for the heraldic ENFP.
Who else is attractive and attracted to our curious journalist? Strangely, the abstract scientist: INTJ. Lost in his abstract world of hypotheses, he finds anchorage in the person who knows what’s going on in the real world! So ENFP can be an anchor or have an anchor, and who can tell which will be chosen.