ENFP in a Nutshell
ENFPs are people-centered creators with a focus on possibilities and a contagious enthusiasm for new ideas, people and activities. Energetic, warm, and passionate, ENFPs love to help other people explore their their creative potential.
ENFPs are typically agile and expressive communicators, using their wit, humor, and mastery of language to create engaging stories. Imaginative and original, ENFPs often have a strong artistic side. They are drawn to art because of its ability to express inventive ideas and a create a deeper understanding of human experience.
What Makes the ENFP Tick
ENFPs tend to be curious about others and preoccupied with discovering the deeper meaning in people and ideas. They want authentic experience and often seek emotional intensity. ENFPs are easily bored by details and repetition and seek out situations that offer an escape from the mundane. Novelty is attractive to ENFPs, who often have a wide range of interests and friends from many backgrounds.
ENFPs prize individuality and often consider the pursuit of happiness to be the highest priority in life, both for themselves and for others. They place great importance on personal freedom and self-expression, and want to be able to go wherever inspiration leads.
Recognizing an ENFP
ENFPs love to talk about people: not just the facts, but what motivates them, what inspires them, and what they envision achieving in life. They’ll often share their own aspirations freely, and want to hear others’ in return. The ENFP is unlikely to judge anyone’s dream, and will discuss the most imaginative and outlandish of fantasies with warm, enthusiastic intensity. They love to explore creative possibilities, and nothing deflates them faster than talking about dry facts or harsh reality.
ENFPs often seem unconventional, and may come off as scattered; they don’t tend to be in touch with their physical surroundings. They often overlook the details, as they are more likely to focus on connecting with other people or on exploring their own imagination and self-expression. They have little patience for the mundane and want to experience life with intensity and flair. ENFPs often have an artistic streak, and may be artistic in appearance. Many have developed a distinctive and quirky personal style.
ENFP in the Population
ENFP is a moderately common personality type, and is the fifth most common among women. ENFPs make up:
- 8% of the general population
- 10% of women
- 6% of men
Popular hobbies for the ENFP include writing, creating and appreciating art, playing musical instruments, listening to music, participating in community theater, and reading fiction.
Famous ENFPs include Bill Clinton, Phil Donahue, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Will Rogers, Carol Burnett, Dr. Seuss, Robin Williams, Drew Barrymore, Julie Andrews, Alicia Silverstone, Joan Baez, and Regis Philbin.
Research on ENFP
Interesting facts about the ENFP:
- On personality trait scales, scored as Enthusiastic, Outgoing, Spontaneous, Changeable, Impulsive, Energetic, and Understanding
- Scored among highest of all types in available resources for coping with stress
- ENFP women are less likely to suffer from heart disease >> Tweet this
- ENFP men are less likely to suffer from chronic pain >> Tweet this
- Rated by psychologists as among most likely of all types to have trouble in school
- Overrepresented among academically talented elementary school students
- Personal values include Home & family, Friendships, Creativity, Learning, and Community Service
- Commonly found in careers in counseling, teaching, religion, and the arts
What the Experts Say
"They may be inspiring teachers, scientists, artists, advertising or salespeople, or almost anything they want to be."
- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing
"Their enthusiasm is boundless and is often contagious, making them the most vivacious of all the types, and also inspiring others to join their cause."
- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II
"ENFPs' ability to empower others is one of their most impressive contributions to the workplace."
- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work
ENFP at Work
At work, the ENFP is concerned with using their creativity to express themselves and benefit others. ENFPs want to explore the possibilities for themselves and other people, and approach their work with vision and inspiration. They enjoy taking on creative or people-centered problems that call for an imaginative, original solution.
ENFPs are often motivated by their beliefs in humanitarian causes and want work that is consistent with their values. They are particularly interested in helping other people develop as individuals. They tend to choose careers that allow them to pursue ideals of personal growth and artistic expression.
ENFPs dislike routine work and want a variety of tasks and challenges. They prefer to set their own schedule and chafe when saddled with excessive regulations or mundane details. They seek out fun, novel tasks that allow them to be imaginative and relate to other people in an unstructured, supportive way.
The ideal work environment for an ENFP is relaxed and friendly, with few restrictions on creativity. The ideal job for an ENFP allows them to follow their inspiration, satisfy their curiosity, and develop solutions that benefit people in innovative and original ways.
Popular Careers for the ENFP
Top careers for the ENFP include:
Least Popular Careers for ENFPs
It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the ENFP, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to the ENFP. Occupations that require the ENFP to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to ENFPs who are choosing a career.
The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among ENFPs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.
ENFPs as Leaders
In leadership positions, ENFPs convey enthusiasm and excitement for their ideas. Their leadership style tends to be democratic and flexible, with an eye toward developing human potential. They enjoy helping others grow as employees and as people, and grant plenty of freedom to their reports to develop innovative and unique solutions. ENFP leaders motivate with their passion for their ideas and beliefs, and they are often insightful in their assessments of people problems.
Because they are so focused on their ideals, ENFP leaders can sometimes neglect the practicalities of implementation. They are more focused on people than on process, and can lose sight of the ultimate goal as they explore relationships and human development. They may need to develop planning and organizational skills to ensure that their creative ideas become reality.
ENFPs on a Team
ENFPs are enthusiastic, involved team members who are interested in exploring the possibilities for innovation. They enjoy relating to people and hearing their ideas—the more imaginative, the better. Although they are open-minded, they are fundamentally grounded in a sense of values, and look for the principles and motivations behind their teammates’ ideas. ENFPs have little interest in rules, and will encourage their teammates to think outside the box to create a solution that is uniquely theirs. They want to encourage other people to be creative and find their own voice.
ENFPs are most focused on relationships and on ideas, and may have friction with more task-oriented teammates. They relish the task of brainstorming possibilities and options for a project, and are sometimes reluctant to settle on a course of action and move on. They typically shy away from taking on responsibility for details, and can best contribute to a team with their considerable interpersonal skills. They are energetic in their commitment to the group’s mission, and are often good at motivating others and encouraging them to use their talents.
ENFP Communication Style
ENFPs are enthusiastic, collaborative communicators who love exploring possibilites for people. They often enjoy getting to know other people and understanding what inspires them, and they are insightful about solutions to personal problems. Highly empathic, the ENFP can find something to identify with in almost every person they meet, and enjoys encouraging other people to develop and grow. ENFPs are typically optimistic and like to talk about opportunities for the future, motivating others to join them in their vision.
ENFPs as Partners
In relationships, the ENFP is warm, encouraging, and emotionally engaged. ENFPs connect with others by sharing their feelings and experiences. They are expressive with their mates and want their mates to share openly with them.
ENFPs place great importance on personal development; they encourage their mates to pursue their dreams and want the same encouragement back. They are accepting of their partners as individuals and are unlikely to pressure their partners into being or doing anything in particular. On the rare occasion that they object to a mate's behavior, it's likely to be because their values have been violated.
Although they are quite sensitive, ENFPs can be guarded when it comes to their deepest feelings. They dislike conflict and are likely to withdraw rather than engage in a difficult discussion. ENFPs are flexible and supportive, and would rather find a way to connect than butt heads. They are creative problem-solvers, and can often come up with original ways to compromise.
ENFPs can sometimes be unpredictable, as they follow their inspiration wherever it leads. They can seem unreliable, although they are usually very responsive when a partner is emotionally in need. The ideal mate for an ENFP supports their creativity and caring for others, and expresses appreciation for the ENFP's unique qualities openly and often.
ENFPs as Parents
As parents, ENFPs are creative and devoted. They enjoy creating new experiences for their families and want to inspire their children to grow as individuals. Although they can be very passionate in their ideas about correct behavior, they are not often strong disciplinarians; they value close relationships above all else and may avoid discipline for fear that it will distance them from their children.
ENFPs deeply value their role as parents. However, they tire quickly when subjected to mundane chores and demands from their children. They get the most joy out of parenting when they are connecting emotionally with their children and joining them to explore possibilities for the future.