While artists of every ilk take inspiration from the world around them, the act of writing, painting, sculpting, designing and creating can often be a solitary one, with hours spent burning the midnight oil or hunched over projects before the rest of the world has woken. 

The problem is, the alone time required for the creative process often runs in direct contrast to the way most ENFP personality types live their lives. In an ideal world, we’d be constantly surrounded by sociability, connectivity and communication. Getting the creative juices flowing requires a delicate balance of creative output and social input. 

As the friend and family member of an ENFP artist, we know you mean well. We know you’re trying to understand this life we’ve chosen and you want to support us….but there are just some things you can’t wrap your heads around because the ENFP creative may do things a little differently to how you might expect. 

Here are eight things your ENFP creative friends really want you to know.

1. We’re not bragging about our work

ENFP types gravitate toward projects they’re passionate and enthusiastic about. This means that when asked about them, we often provide long, winding explanations that may come across as humble-bragging or outright ego-stroking. But it’s not intentional! 

If we’re working on a new book or painting or song, that means it has us excited, and we simply want to discuss it with the people in our lives. Much of our inspiration comes from communication, so this is a natural outlet for us, even if it seems a little self-involved. We just want to share cool things with the world!

2. We’re not flighty—for the most part

If every time we chat, we’re working on a different project or idea, it may seem like we just can’t stop moving. Maybe one day we’re into watercolors and then fine art and then sculpting, and that can be frustrating for people more inclined to take projects one step at a time. 

For the same reasons we often rave about the projects we’re working on, we also like to try a little of everything, just to see if we like it. While crocheting might not be the right media, it may help us find one that is (or it may not, and that’s okay). We jump from project to project or idea to idea simply because we like them all, not because we’re flighty and unable to stick at anything.

3. We’re afraid of missing out on opportunities

If it seems like we might be doing everything at once, that’s likely because we are. We love new media, new ideas, and new projects and we’re terrified that we might miss out on something that could have been really great. 

To that end, we might say ‘yes’ to too many projects or people or it might seem like we’re constantly in over our heads. But, that works for us. We’re not the type to follow rules and when you couple that with creative intentions, you end up with a colorful juggling act. Stability is not really part of the job description. We don’t need you to tell us that we’re taking too much on.  

4. We don’t need you to respond

ENFP types take inspiration from the process of creation. That means we often have to work through kinks and issues as we go, and the best way for us to do that is to talk through them or otherwise tease them out. 

When we ask the dinner table for potential character names, it’s because we need a sense as to what might work and what might not. When we unwind a plot problem to friends, it’s as much about explaining things to ourselves as it is about asking for advice. We hope you won’t be too offended when it seems like we don’t end up taking it.

5. Sometimes, we need to not work to get stuff done

If you know we’re on deadline and we call you for coffee in the middle of the day, we’re not slacking off, honest! Because we’re so often inspired by the world outside our studio or office, it can be difficult to be creative when we’ve been cooped inside for too long. A trip to the museum or a walk in the park is often enough to help kick start our creative juices. To that point, we don’t mean to be rude if we pull out our journal or sketchbook in the middle of lunch. Sometimes that’s just where inspiration hits.

Also, if you see us staring at a pot of dead ivy for fifteen minutes, we really are working. Sometimes the answers are in the ivy plant, or at a spot on the horizon, or the wall. Inspiration comes in weird forms, especially when you walk the line between independent creative and group-oriented communicator.

6. Yes, we know some of our ideas are out there

ENFP types tend toward spontaneity, fun and creativity. It’s safe to say that we sometimes don’t focus much on logistics, which means that our projects can look fanciful and without a blueprint or plan. 

We often like to dream big, sometimes unintentionally, merely because we know that the project will find a realistic landing in its own time. And because we don’t see every project through to the end, it’s okay to dream big. The ones that we really want to accomplish will evolve and change until we do meet those real and tangible goals. But don’t worry about bringing us down to earth. We know it’s there, we’re just not that interested. 

7. It really is hard for us to be alone

Creatives often have to be alone -- to get edits done, to finalize chapters, to clear our minds for paintings or drawings. But ENFPs thrive and succeed in environments where ideas are shared and collective communication evolves and changes. It can be challenging for us to spend enough alone time to complete our projects.

For friends and loved ones of ENFP creatives, that means you may see a small explosion when we finally come out of hiding or you may see us doing everything we can to avoid being alone. Independent creative projects are often antithetical to the way we live our lives, so we need to find that perfect balance on our own. 

8. Sharing our work with you is BIG 

This is true of any artist, to be fair, but ENFPs value communication and the sharing of ideas above all else. We’re also deeply emotional and we have to find a good balance between letting that emotion into our work and not allowing it to rule over us. That means if we decide to share our work with you, it’s because we know you’ll respect it and because you’re a person whose opinions we trust. If we offer to read you something or share a song or a painting, we hope you’ll see it for the act of love that it is. 

The final word

Every artist is going to be different, but there are a few things you can expect to see in your ENFP artist friends. Understanding where we’re coming from and how we communicate is the best way to fortify those relationships, make sense of our work, and reach us when we don’t necessarily approach things the same way. 

We’re deeply grateful to the people in our lives who help inspire and support us, and know that you’ve put yourself on the page in stories, paintings, and songs. When it comes to expressing our love for our friends and family, that’s the very highest honor we can give. 

Ruby Scalera recently graduated Emerson College and has since reported on a wide variety of topics from the Equal Rights Amendment to the history of the romance novel. In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. She currently resides in Nashville.