ENFPs can be infectiously loveable. They’re enthusiastic, highly sociable and emotionally sensitive. At the same time, they’re prone to overthinking. And they have a severe case of lack of follow through, which can present some challenges to roommates and partners.

Living with my ENFP partner, I’ve gradually learnt to embrace the good and the not-so-good, and celebrate the ...let’s call them ‘quirks’ of this unique personality type. I’ve never met anyone who has so much enthusiasm and impulsiveness as my partner, who can swing between absolute over-the-moon exuberance and deep self-doubt.

The highs and the lows of the ENFP personality are what makes them so interesting. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from living with an ENFP (and what I’ve learned about myself in the process).

1.     ENFPs are hugely emotionally expressive

ENFPs are people-centered and draw much of their energy from their social interactions. They have an incredible ability to be hyper-alert to the emotions of the people close to them. This natural sensitivity of ENFPs becomes heightened when you live with them.

I’ve never met anyone as emotionally-led as my ENFP partner – he knows when I’m angry before I admit it to myself, he hugs me before I realize I need to cry, and he can sense from across the room when I’m feeling lost or uncertain. He absorbs all these feelings and reflects them back to me, feeling my emotions as deeply as I feel them myself. As an ENTJ, this kind of emotional understanding freaks me out!

Living with an ENFP, you have to get used to the fact that you can’t hide your emotions. That in itself can be quite freeing. However, it also means that all emotions are intensified in your living space. Happiness and stress are magnified to the same extremes. Over time, you learn to respond to these swings in a more measured way, helping you become more attuned to your own emotions in the process.

2.     ENFPs thrive on newness

Whether it’s striking up a conversation with a stranger in a bar or deep-diving into a new hobby and sharing their findings with everyone – literally everyone – they know, ENFPs do best when they’re discovering things for the first time. They’re outgoing and spontaneous, following whatever interests them most at that moment.

When you’re living with an ENFP, you get used to this near-obsessive focus on newness. Embracing the energy is a great way for other personality types to open up to new ways of thinking and exploring the world.

At the same time, it can be exhausting if you invest too heavily in the novelty-seeking aspect of an ENFP’s personality. The obsession with newness has a major downside – the excitement rarely lasts and ENFPs quickly move on to the next new thing that captures their imagination.  Prepare yourself for the changeability of the ENFP character and recognize that these types rarely follow through on their original plans. Learn to take each day as it comes, celebrating the endless hunt for new ideas.

3.      ENFPs are storytellers

Because ENFPs love novel experiences, they tend to amass stories and anecdotes that they readily share with whoever will listen. They have a strong nose for drama, too – my partner can construct stories from seemingly nothing, injecting suspense and humor into the simplest events. Word-mastery is one of my favorite aspects of this personality type. 

On the flip side, ENFPs also have a tendency to take over in social settings, sharing story after story without pausing for breath. They could benefit from listening more and do well with a partner or friend who brings these quieter communication skills to the table. 

4.     ENFPs hate small talk

ENFPs love to make new connections but conversely, they hate small talk. ENFPs have no time for dry conversation, reciting facts or pithy introductions. Rather, they’re eager to launch directly into deep, intense explorations of your ideas and they easily share their opinions in return.

The ENFP I live with is happiest when he’s meeting new people, but he hates the mundane, repetitive introductions that most people find necessary when meeting for the first time. He rejects questions about what he does for a living and where he’s from, pushing the conversation immediately into more personal and intense territory. 

ENFPs aren’t afraid to share their feelings and lay bare their ideas without fear of judgement. This level of intensity means you always have someone to talk to when you want to delve deep into an important topic and need some feedback. But fair warning – it takes time to navigate this aspect of the ENFP personality as many find it intimidating at first.

5.     ENFPs are always spontaneous

ENFPs refuse to get locked into a routine. They do everything in their power to maintain their freedom and value spontaneity above all else. As a result, they try to be as imaginative as possible in how they spend their time.

One of my favorite things about living with an ENFP is their eagerness to seek out creative activities. Whether it’s visiting an art gallery, going to a jam session or discussing a new book, ENFPs embrace their creative spirit and love to share this with the people around them. Living with an ENFP, you learn to seek out every opportunity your surroundings have to offer. Soon, you’ll find yourself spending the weekends in some hidden place that’s just around the corner that you never knew existed!

6.     ENFPs are terrible with details

On the downside, you have to get used to the fact that ENFPs are completely and utterly useless when it comes to details. Explorative personalities tend to focus on the big picture. When it comes to day-to-day tasks like finding their phone, wallet and glasses, ENFPs are completely hopeless.

My partner’s mother loves to tell the story of how he would turn up to school with an empty backpack and be forced to borrow books and pens from his classmates. It wasn’t deliberate – he just never remembered to pack his bag in the mornings. Maybe that’s why ENFPs often struggle in school… just a thought!

From my experience, focus is not a strong point for ENFPs and they don’t listen to simple instructions. For an ENTJ who loves to organize the people around her, this is one of the hardest things to deal with when living with an ENFP. They tend to be forgetful, disorganized and sometimes completely inept. This means they need friends and colleagues who can look out for the little details and put up with their failings. Thankfully, their personality is adorable enough that they can get away with it – most of the time!

7.     ENFPs crave external validation

One of the paradoxes of the ENFP personality is their habit of overthinking. Whilst they’re happy to share their ideas in the most unapologetic way, they can also worry what people think of them. This can push their emotional intuition to a point where they imagine problems that aren’t there.

Living with an ENFP, I’ve noticed that they have a strong need for external approval to help support their own self-confidence. ENFPs often seek out praise and affection from the people closest to them to soothe their insecurities. This observation has led me to reflect on where we seek recognition from. Many of us base our self-worth on external sources – compliments, social media likes, praise from colleagues – but we could all benefit from looking a bit more to ourselves for approval and caring less what people on the outside think.

8.     ENFPs know how to love

If you’re lucky enough to find the right ENFP, you will quickly realize that they love to love. Seriously, their affection knows no bounds. Every morning includes a daily declaration of their love. They breathe affection and tenderness and channel their natural exuberance into celebrating their closest relationships. When you are accepted into that close circle, you get to see the full depth of their loving personality. 

Living with an ENFP can take work but if you’re ready to ride the wave of their emotions and learn from the good and bad aspects of their personality, you’ll find that they’re pretty darn irresistible. It’s a wild ride!

Elizabeth Harris
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at bethharris.com