It is no secret: we are wired for stories. Fiction allows us to stress-test and learn vicariously through relatable characters and fascinating worlds.
If you’re an ENFP personality, chances are you’ve been disappointed by other articles that point to Michael Scott or Ron Weasley as your fictional personality counterparts. As engaging as these characters are, I’m guessing that you don’t want to be associated with the universally inappropriate boss or the insecure sidekick.
Below are four ENFP characters you can actually relate to, complete with the real-life lesson we can learn from these fictional ENFP comrades.
1. Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
I think you’re either going to love this one or hate this one. Wonka is full of pizazz and wackiness, and that automatically clues us into him being an ENFP character. Combine that with his other-worldly, out-of-the-box approach to managing a candy factory, and you’ve solidified the personality of this eccentric sweets connoisseur.
Who else is going to travel the world and employ Oompa-Loompas? Who else is capable of maintaining child-like wonder while dominating a business empire? Willy Wonka might be odd, but there is little argument that any one else could have blazed his trail.
I see Willy Wonka as an ENFP who fully embraces his weird, wacky self while pursuing his passion. Many ENFPs (including me) choose to bury a little bit of their zaniness. So, it’s really appealing to see a character who salutes his own odd behavior and is unapologetic about his approach.
The Willy Wonka Lesson: What makes you different makes you great! Embrace your wacky passions. Try the new thing you’ve had in the back of your mind and don’t hold back because of how it might look to others.
2. Phoebe Buffay from Friends
Heidi Priebe, ENFP writer and all together bomb-tastic human, once wrote that ENFPs have wings, taking us up in the clouds and “driving us to madness,” while also having deep roots that ground us. And this quote is what comes to mind when considering the personality of Phoebe Buffay from Friends.
Like Wonka, she is zany and wacky, but she has the biggest heart. Phoebe always has random items in her purse and off-the-wall ideas to offer (wings) while never failing to have her friends' backs and showing up to every part of her life (roots). Come rain or shine, Phoebe is a relentless force of action and emotion.
Phoebe also has an incredible creative streak that is often quite comedic. I actually love this. The point of creativity isn’t to be the best dang creative who ever did live, as is certainly the case with Phoebe. Instead, she is unapologetic about her zany music and art. She walks to her own rhythm and doesn’t give two shakes what anyone else might think about it.
The Phoebe Buffay Lesson: You have no need to apologize for who you are and what you think. I often got in trouble for being told how to do something, only to go off and do it my own way. That’s not a bad thing. Follow the advice of Brene Brown in being authentic, “It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
3. Nymphadora Tonks from the Harry Potter Series
Nymphadora Tonks is the queen of metamorphosis, possessing the ability to change her appearance at will. I can’t think of a better personification of the ENFP’s dominant cognitive trait, extraverted Intuition. What’s even better is this trait allows Tonks to be an incredible auror (that’s a dark wizard catcher in case you live under a rock). She excels in her profession, an area where she uses disguises and quick thinking to succeed in high-stress situations.
I think about my extraverted Intuition as a tiny little madman bouncing around from thought to thought in my head. That is the reason ENFPs are such good idea-generators, but it is also why we often come across to others as flaky. What Rowling does so beautifully with Tonks is show the strengths of having such an agile thought process. Yes, Tonks is clumsy. She is also the protégé of historically renowned auror Mad-Eye Moody. That is no accident.
The other aspect of Tonk’s character you may relate to as an ENFP is her love for Remus Lupin and, more specifically, her emotional reaction to this love. Lupin is a werewolf and, while he has feelings for Tonks, does not want to be involved with her because of his condition. Throughout the Order of the Phoenix, we see Tonks having issues metamorphosing because she is so lovestruck in such a complicated situation. Her emotions overpower her ability to transform.
That’s not a pretty thing to admit, but I can absolutely relate. We ENFPs fall hard. That rich inner life we enjoy can spin any number of scenarios before we even get out of bed in the morning. And I have absolutely experienced an inability to focus and carry on with tasks while lovestruck.
The Nymphadora Tonks Lesson: Listen to your gut! It doesn’t have to make sense to everyone else. Tonks falls in love with Lupin, a werewolf, and adamantly sticks to her guns when tested. Like this wonderful ENFP character, you have such talent, my friend. Listen to others who love you, but not at the expense of your inner voice. It will rarely lead you astray.
4. Miles Morales from Into the Spiderverse
I wanted to include this one because it is the number one reference that finally clicked while explaining my inner world to my husband.
Phrases like “sometimes my thoughts are so loud” and “but I got distracted” and “I just amuse myself” don't really compute for my lovely ISFJ companion. But this particular scene from Into the Spider-Verse made me feel so understood. My husband still references this scene when trying to make sense of the way my mind works. Because, like Miles, we ENFPs are always inwardly commenting on our own observations. We keep ourselves quite entertained with our constant inner dialogue.
With Miles, we also see a glimpse of the creative expression so innate in ENFPs, especially as an outlet in a stifling school environment. He is clearly social and well-liked, but the important story is all about his inner world and acceptance of his newfound powers. In Miles Morales, it is easy to see that ENFPs are indeed Extraverts, but are the most introverted of the Extraverted personality types.
The Miles Morales Lesson: I used to be told that you can’t take things seriously and have fun at the same time -- and I think Miles would disagree. Your inner dialogue can lend itself in an amusing and insightful way. You are capable of wit and joy while grasping deep concepts (roots and wings, remember?)
Okay, your turn! Who are some of your favorite ENFP characters? What stories or characters do you most relate to or help you accept your ENFP nature?