A close friend of mine told me once that, though I claim not to have any “best” friends, everyone thinks they are mine. Why? Because I’m an ENFP. And when I’m with you, I’m WITH you. If you’re hurt, I’m hurt. If you’re celebrating a victory, I’m the first one clinking glasses to cheer you on. My language is smiles and compliments and they flow effortlessly, bringing people into me like moths to a flame.
The ENFP is the person whose eyebrows rise and fall as quickly as the twists to the plots in the stories you’re telling. They enter into your conversations as if they are an active participant in them, and will let you know exactly how they feel about the outcome. And they love to share and bare their soul in ways that lure you into their world like a novel you can’t put down.
So, it may be surprising to hear that when it comes to trusting people, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Sure, this personality type likes to place their trust in people, but once that trust is breached, it’s going to take way more than an easy apology and box of chocolates to get it back.
Do ENFPs really have trust issues?
Everyone knows that ENFPs wear their hearts on their sleeves -- it’s part of the stereotype. Maybe it’s because they’re louder than life, or the fact that you can read their every emotion just by looking at their face.
If the ENFP personality type is upset, you’ll know it. And if they are over-the-moon excited about something, you’ll know as soon as you see them. As born Extraverts, emotions flow from the ENFP with ease.
What people don’t realize is that an ENFP usually will share only the tip of the iceberg of their soul -- unless their trust with you runs very, very deep. Sure, you may think that the emotional story from your ENFP friend’s past was them sharing a vulnerable moment with you. But often, there is more to the story than this personality type is willing to tell. That is, unless they trust you completely.
For me, trust is given freely to the people in my life who have earned it. But I will not give it too quickly to new acquaintances, and have absolutely withdrawn it from those who have hurt me.
So, I guess you could say we ENFPs trust conditionally.
Why would a personality type who loves people have an issue trusting them?
Honesty and integrity are an ENFP’s most prized possessions. Though we sometimes teeter the line of being a little too open with how we feel about something, we love telling it as it is. And we expect the same in return from others.
As Intuitive Feelers, it’s pretty easy for us to gauge how our trust is being handled. We know if someone is not being honest, and we can sense when we’ve been betrayed or we aren’t being taken seriously.
My close and trusted friends know that they have a part of me, a knowledge of sorts, that is sacred. The funny thing is that my not-so-close friends may often feel the same way, when in reality they barely know the real me. That’s because an ENFP senses when you’re not going to be invested as much as they are. That’s when they pull back and keep you at arm’s length.
Ultimately, an ENFP has to feel like you care just as much about them and their life as they do about yours. If not, they aren’t going to risk sharing a part of themselves that you may reject or brush off. They will humor you with a surface friendship and even allow you to take things deep, all the while remaining guarded themselves.
How to push an ENFP over the edge
If you’re wondering how NOT to lose the trust of an ENFP, pay close attention to the list below and avoid these missteps at all costs!
1. Act like you don’t care
I once was in a conversation with a new friend and we seemed to hit common ground right away. As usual, I jumped into the topic pretty boisterously and then mid sentence, my friend looked down at her phone and answered a text message. While some people are okay with this kind of “listening”, I was inwardly enraged.
As someone who is all in when you’re talking to me, I expect the same level of respect when I’m talking to you. It’s one thing to answer an important call, or to be distracted once by a loud noise. But if you’re constantly turning your attention elsewhere while I’m talking, I’m going to close up and keep it shallow.
2. Lie to or about an ENFP
Earlier I mentioned how important honesty is to the ENFP. You better believe that if you can’t be truthful with them, you can’t be with them.
If there is a type of person that I can honestly say I detest (yes, strong language, but I’m an ENFP, what do you expect?), it’s a liar.
I, like most ENFPs, have absolutely zero tolerance for someone who is dishonest. Take, for example, the “friend” whom I used to feel very close to. While I never had a problem in person with her, I began to notice that her social media posts were untruthful. While at first it seemed that she was just inflating herself and her life, it soon turned to blatant lies that would leave my mouth gaping.
Upon reading one such post, I kindly commented and not so obviously called her out. Her response was to attack me in the comments as the one who was lying. One foot was out the door of that friendship right then and there. It’s one thing to lie about yourself, but to turn around and call me a liar? Nope.
3. Be fake
The ENFP is as authentic as they come. They are curious about people and the world and want to get to the root of what makes everyone and everything tick.
A person who isn’t genuine is never going to gain the trust of an ENFP. If you build your identity around what everyone else thinks rather than who you really are at the core, you’ll leave this personality type thinking, ‘no thanks.’
ENFPs want people to be real, open and raw. Give us who you really are and we will give you the best part of us.
How deep does an ENFP’s forgiveness go?
Once you lose the trust of your ENFP, you will be hard pressed to get it back. While some people are quick to forgive and forget, this personality type is not.
Small errors are easily forgiven and this personality can laugh off a lot of things. Even when genuinely hurt over something, we will usually recover pretty quickly if the act wasn’t intentional. And even if it was, if some heartfelt conversation is shared toward mending ways, we are usually all in.
Where we struggle is when our trust is abused. If we share a part of ourselves with someone and they betray that trust in a big way, the friendship is unlikely to survive. Even if it does, it will never be the same.
When it becomes a personal attack on the ENFP, forgiveness will be hard to earn back. It’s not that we don’t want to forgive, it’s that once we are deeply wounded, the scar reacts as a constant reminder of how the loss of trust ensued.
ENFPs may be fun, outgoing, and the life of the party, but they are also sensitive (oh yes, they are!) and very, very smart. How does that saying go? “Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me.”
How to earn back an ENFP’s trust
Let’s say you’re a genuinely good person who just happened to press too many ENFP buttons. How do you earn back a trust that was once so assured?
Flowers, candy and wine will not do the trick. Well, wine may not hurt, honestly, but there better be a good, lengthy, well-intentioned apology and explanation to go along with it.
To give an apology to an ENFP is to plan and prepare. You must be intentional with how and why you are apologizing. You must understand and be able to convey every aspect of where you went wrong and how you’ll do better.
This loving personality type is looking for real, honest people who will love at all cost. If that’s you, even if you’ve made a mistake, you’ve got a really good chance at winning them back.