By Tiffani Warren
ENFPs at their best are creative individuals who follow their own path. They thrive in environments where they have the chance to come up with and use their own ideas, and often see a multitude of opportunities and possibilities in situations that others miss. They feel uncomfortable or stifled in situations where there is only “one right way” to do everything, and they are expected to follow orders unquestioningly. Their primary interest is in finding new ways to do things, and exploring new avenues for growth and self-expression.
ENFPs believe that they will best be able to achieve their potential if they stay true to themselves and hold themselves to the moral and personal standards they’ve developed over the years. They will not accept the fact that a particular behavior is ‘good’ or ‘important’ just because others tell them that it is so, but rather, they envision all of the ways that they could act or respond in a given situation and then choose the one that feels most right to them. In this way, they can develop a code of morality and personal belief that is separate from that of their peer group or society at large, based on personal observations and beliefs and not simply what is expected of them. It is important, however, for ENFPs to reflect on the objective information they can obtain from the outside world when they make decisions or interpretations, as the way they personally feel about a situation does not always paint the full picture. ENFPs who allow themselves to explore objective reality without making personal value judgments too quickly will discover, with pleasure, that doing so enriches their life experiences and opens doors to new opportunities they might not initially have perceived.
A young or immature ENFP will not easily learn from the past and may find themselves making the same mistake repeatedly, believing only that they should ‘seize the day’ and that ‘he who hesitates is lost’, but feeling threatened by negative memories or external reminders of how similar circumstances turned out before. They may find themselves believing that this time, things will be different and refusing to accept that the past is often an accurate prediction of the future.
However, as the ENFP grows and matures, they will begin to find a balance between the desire to seize the day and the lessons they’ve learned from past experience. They will avoid repeating obvious mistakes and actions that they know will lead to negative consequences, and the risks they choose to partake in will be better calculated and chosen more mindfully. They will also be more willing to repeat choices that they know lead to positive consequences, even when those choices are not the most exciting available. That said, they will always be more adventurous and open-minded than most other types, finding themselves saying “yes” to new opportunities when others might say “no”, and gleefully taking a leap of faith even when the future is uncertain.
Mature ENFPs are often very good at seeing things from other people’s perspectives and making predictions about how people might react in various contexts, but they often do not find much pleasure or gratification in engaging with this ability unless it’s in service of some larger goal or in order to help someone they care about. Because they are so focused on noticing all of the possibilities and perspectives in the world, they resist the task of determining which possibility is most likely and which perspective is most correct. However, when they are sufficiently motivated, they are very skilled at doing so, and those who allow themselves to practice this skill will find it to be very useful when they are faced with an important choice or a sticky situation.
ENFPs do not enjoy evaluating facts and arguments for internal consistency and are prone to making careless errors in reasoning. They will often prefer to delegate this task to someone they trust to do it better. That said, they are capable of doing it – begrudgingly – when no help is available. ENFPs find it very difficult to focus on and stay aware of everything that is going on around them right now, in the moment, and cannot help but daydream and imagine new ideas and possibilities springing from the details that enter their mind. Although they may, with much determination, be capable of success in a traditional school or work environment, it is not where they thrive. They prefer to explore new places and ideas, using creativity or hands-on experiences to understand, discover, and accomplish things.
To summarize, ENFPs are creative and open-minded individuals who seek to develop their own personal understanding of themselves and the world by exploring as many new ideas and possibilities as they can and by being true to themselves and their own beliefs. When they balance these capabilities and desires with an awareness of objective facts as well as the consequences of their past experiences, they can achieve a great depth of understanding and influence and can make powerful changes to the world, inspiring humanity with their drive to aim high and dream big.