Full disclosure: I'm married to an ENTJ. And, at 53% Introverted, 47% Extraverted, my own personality is running dangerously close to the ENTJ cliff edge. So excuse me if I have a soft spot for these cut-to-the-chase innovators that exude confidence and drive.
But as much as I like ENTJs, I couldn't eat a whole one. There are certain things about them that just rub people up the wrong way. Here are the 10 "unforgivable sins" of ENTJs .... with a little commentary as to why they're not the heartless, bossy, puppy kickers they're made out to be.
#1: They never share their feelings
Coming from an INTJ, this one is the kettle calling the pot black. But in my experience, ENTJs are even more protective of their emotions than their Introverted cousins. My significant other is like a lightning rod for rationality - he gets utterly confused when asked to lead with the heart.
It's not that he doesn't care; in fact, he cares deeply about all sorts of things and can be an incredible listener and intensely loyal friend. It's just that he 'thinks' emotions rather than 'feels' emotions. Everything, repeat everything, is approached like a business decision. If you stumble across an ENTJ, don't be too optimistic about getting him to open up. A touch-feely, heart-on-sleeve, sprinkled with pixie dust ENTJ has never been seen in the wild.
#2: They don't know how to lighten up
It's rumored that Julius Caesar was an ENTJ. Did he ever lighten up?
In his 55 years on Earth, he reinvented the Roman army, changed the calendar, conquered Gaul, made a stab at Britain, rose through the ranks to become the most powerful man in Rome, mitigated a financial crisis, gave land to around 20,000 poor families and precipitated the collapse of the Republican government. He even knocked out a bit of poetry in his spare time. Blimey.
This man had some serious ambitions to achieve - he didn't want to be told to lighten up or 'chill.' For those of us who don't have the same level of drive to do things (which is just about everyone), this level of achievement is exhausting. Seriously, ENTJs. Chill.
#3: Sorry seems to be the hardest word
If I mess up in a serious way, I apologize. I do this because my morals say that it is the right thing to do, and I recognize that some people will have a hard time letting go of an issue until someone has acknowledged their mistake.
If an ENTJ messes up, he or she is very unlikely to want to say sorry. Saying sorry admits a mistake on the ENTJ's part, and ENTJs believe that mistakes are to be expected, fixed and learned from so they don't repeat the blunder. If you aren't making mistakes you aren't trying hard enough. And who should apologize for trying too hard?
#4: They have zero tolerance for whiners
ENTJs are highly independent and believe that everyone is responsible for their own fate in life. Complaining, blaming, shaming and whining carries no weight with them. Don't approach them if you need to vent or rally against the injustices you're facing. They'll tell you to stop thinking and DO something.
Either that, or they'll look at you like you're a worm.
#5: It's 'my way or the highway'
Subservience is an ENTJ's kryptonite - they cannot NOT lead, which is why they have no problem stepping up to the plate to call the shots. While everyone else is agonizing over a decision, an ENTJ will have spotted the smart way to get things done, mapped out an action plan, and gathered all the resources she needs to accomplish her mission. Which will succeed because, well, she's an ENTJ.
While admirable in a crisis, this take-charge attitude can come across as controlling, unyielding, and irritatingly opinionated. ENTJs can steamroll someone if they're not careful. In our house, this has led to some fairly explosive exchanges. He controls. I refuse to be manipulated. It's almost amusing to see the sparks fly.....
#6: They have no bedside manner
If you live/work/socialize with an ENTJ, prepare to hear some pretty blunt language. These personalities value absolute honesty as they work their own no-holds-barred track through life - it takes a lot of effort for them to communicate tactfully and with charm.
'Impersonal' is the adjective that best describes an ENTJ's thought processes; 'interpersonal' is something that other people do behind the scenes. Sugar coating their language is neither a requirement nor a need unless it's essential to the forward progress of their work. An ENTJ might not mean to come across as bossy and sharp, it's just so hard to pull those punches.
#7: Winning is EVERYTHING
The goal in life is winning. Everything else pales in comparison. ENTJs are totally willing to pay any price in order to win.
#8: They can get really emotional
Under stress, it's common for an ENTJ to crash into his or her 'shadow' personality. That's the part of their function stack that they have the least access too, and it's usually the exact opposite of their usual type.
In the grip of his inferior functions, an ENTJ will lose his extraverted thinking. Instead, all those underdeveloped feelings will spill out. This highly logical and decisive type will suddenly get so insecure, anxious and defensive that he won't know what to do with himself. The only way out is for him to reconnect with his extraverted thinking, usually in a dark corner away from prying eyes.
We all get shot down sometimes, but failure is especially dramatic for ENTJs - they tend to rise higher than most people, so they have much farther to fall. ENTJs will be deeply embarrassed by their emotional outbursts and will HATE you if you make a big deal about it. They are their own worst critics. There's no need for you to rub it in.
#9: Like fools, they rush in
If ENTJs have an Achilles heel, it's that they don't sweat the small stuff. They're so focused on the big picture that the 'details thing' does them in. The problem is not one of procrastination - ENTJs are not Perceivers. It's just that dotting the 'i's' and so on requires the ENTJ to slow down and spend far too long thinking about one thing. What they really want to do is smash through a problem, hand over the implementation, and move on to the next big idea.
What we're saying here is that an ENTJ functions best with a wing (wo)man. The ENTJ will deal with the high-profile strategy stuff that's important. The wing person will handle the other 'useless fluff.' Sigh.
#10: They are far too rare
ENTJs make up just 2% of the population - 3% of men, and 1% of women. The most unforgivable sin of all, is that there simply are not enough of them to go round. And really, who wouldn't want one of these energetic, articulate, quick witted, out-of-the-box, competent, critical, heroic, playful, bewildering characters in their life?