An ENFJ & an INTJ Walk Into a Bar…

ENFJs: We’re devoted, loving, hard-working and loyal to a fault. What’s not to love, right? Well, for this ENFJ, love has been… a battlefield. Like many of my fellow Teacher personality types, I tend to fall into the category of “serial monogamy.” I find myself in one relationship after the next, pushing for something lasting—even when the relationship has clear problems.

The pursuit of love, ENFJ style

Part of what makes an ENFJ special is that we’re relentless in our pursuits. This trait has helped me in countless areas of my life—sports, education, my career, even art. But when it comes to romance and the quest for a life-long partner, my unyielding spirit hasn’t proven useful. At all.

The drive and passion that will get you everywhere when it comes to so many other areas of life seem to do nothing for you when it comes to the dating world. Sure, you might have better odds of finding “the one” if you search under every rock, go out on dates once a week, and “put yourself out there,” as they say. But as far as trying harder when you’re already in a going-nowhere relationship goes—there’s no amount of effort that will create a lasting relationship out of one that simply is not working.

After a two-year relationship that included moving states together, living together and discussing marriage together, I was yet again thrown into the dating world. Apparently, a cross-country career opportunity tugged at my partner’s heart strings harder than I ever could. So, there I was (again), falling into the arms of dating apps and feeling just a few swipes away from love-induced carpal tunnel syndrome.

Letting go of my ENFJ nature

I reached the point of desperation that many 20-somethings fall into at some point during their dating years: I was willing to settle for “something casual” in exchange for my naturally tenacious pursuit of “true love” (whatever that was). Exhausted, I flicked my thumb across the screen for a final swipe, and this time I messaged the man on the receiving end to say that I wasn’t, in fact, looking for love. Instead, I was excited to grab a casual drink at a local bar, where we could both relax, unwind, and try not trying for a little while.

The next night, an ENFJ and a good-looking, well-dressed, southern-mannered INTJ walked into a bar. He was interested—if not excited—about the prospect of getting into a no-strings-attached relationship with me. And, against my better judgment, the idea seemed intriguing to me, too.

Without the hovering thought of “love” over our heads, we had fun—and not just behind closed doors. We went to the movies, tried new restaurants, went hiking; the whole shebang. We were living life like it was fleeting, like it was rare, and like something this rich couldn’t possibly last forever.

Flash forward 6 months and I’m in the most stable, loving, committed and honest relationship I’ve ever been in.

In typical ENFJ fashion, my usual approach in life is to do the “right” thing with focus and drive to make a vision a reality. It had never crossed my mind that taking a casual approach to dating could lead to everything I wanted. Is there a different set of rules for love and dating than for the rest of life? Maybe logic, strategy and determination aren’t in the recipe for romance. Maybe love is just happenstance?

But if there is no goal setting or effort level that equates to finding companionship, then us ENFJs have some rethinking to do.

How does an ENFJ find love?

I don’t know the answer for everyone, but I do know that for this ENFJ, I found exactly what I needed when I walked into a bar one night with no goals, no expectations and no rules. Everyone’s experience is a little different, but here’s the advice I’d give a fellow ENFJ experiencing dating fatigue like I was:

1. Nevermind the fog

It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be against your nature. But get into a habit of exploring different kinds of people in different ways, without foresight for what the relationship could or should turn into.

Don’t look for a clear-cut, logical path to finding your person because, in my experience, the one who is everything you’re looking for is never where you’d expect them to be. Try something new without fear and without a clear goal in sight. Sometimes the most spectacular views are at the end of a long, foggy trail.

2. Take the scenic route

As an ENFJ, there’s no mistaking the fact that you’re ambitious. You may find yourself pursuing every goal in life at full speed. Sometimes though, we Teachers get so caught up in forward momentum that we forget to look at the path we’re on to decide whether it’s the best fit for us.

With love, there’s time to slow down. Take things one step at a time. Stop every so often and ask yourself if you are where you want to be, who you want to be, and going in a direction that you’re passionate about. Use your journey to fully understand your own needs and to steadily perfect the art of loving yourself. After all, the best way to show a future partner how to love you is by doing it yourself.

3. Remember to answer the door

If you’re anything like me, you might get so hung up on doing all the “right” things to find a partner that you forget to see a really great person when he/she stumbles to your door. Making an effort to see past the logical sequence of events that should lead to falling in love can help you tune into what is actually happening around you. Did that barista just smile at you? And most importantly, don’t get so burnt out while searching for “the one” that you neglect to let love in when it finally shows up at your doorstep.

No matter what your personality type is, you have everything it takes to find healthy, fulfilling relationships with time and patience. Sometimes we do ourselves an injustice by self-doubting or becoming overly anxious along the way. Instead, take a deep breath and go bravely onward with that spirit of adventure and positive energy that makes us ENFJs so lovable—even if your final destination is still a mystery.

Heather Nocera

Heather is an ENFJ who is energetic and loves getting to know different personality types. She is passionate about all forms of writing, from academic and technical writing to free verse poetry. She studied English composition and rhetoric at the NC State Graduate School and is now living and writing in New York City. She is Team Oxford Comma, loves doing handstands, and is obsessed with her dog, Bella!


INTJme (not verified) says...

I  am an intj and I found love with an enfj.  It has been one of the most profoundly beautiful  exeriences of my life but also brought me to my knees at times.  He is flighty, impulsive (with the decisions effecting me traumatically), people pleasing.  He is also very kind, fun, spontaneous, daring and loving.  Are the negative traits that tested us normal with enfj's?

ENFJ (not verified) says...

wow, you just described me in a previous relationship. Be careful and trust that intuition HARD. 

Zawady (not verified) says...

I am an ENFJ and oh lord so I struggle but appreciate reading this. I have established a set of rules before even considering looking in someone's direction. I never knew that might have to be something I'd have to change. I'll atleast try 


Sofiaslr (not verified) says...

I am an ENFJ and I am currently dating an INTJ! He is calm, direct, thoughtful, sweet, and very loving. The way he views the world is intoxicating. He seems to appreciate my social nature, and he pushes himself to get out there with me as much as he can. He talks through everything with me, and listens when I tell him my perspective. I've never had anyone value what I had to say. I've had a lot of users in my life who sucked the joy right out of me. I feel similarly about the desire of finding something permanent. I stuck it out with people way more than they deserved. When I chose to meet him, it wasn't because I was consciously trying to choose differently than I had before. I wanted to wing it. To get out there without thinking too much, and he was so eloquent in his profile online, I felt he would offer interesting conversation. Over the past 8 months, I have fallen deeply in love with him. I feel like this love is healthy. I am still trying not to evaluate the future or its potentially negative possibilities. I want to live in what we have now, and cultivate it. My dream is that the future will look like I've always hoped. Full of love and trust. Full of fulfilled dreams and happiness. I know I'm whimsical in nature, but I so desperately wanted my life to be filled with light and happiness. And I have began to see the possibilities with such a quiet and kind person. I would have never imagined! Such is the way with life though! Loved this post, and thanks for reading this!

An ENFJ female (not verified) says...

I am an ENFJ female after 2.5 years I'm still with my INTJ male. It's crazy how I can relate to this article. I was tired of waiting for love so he and I decided to be casual friends with benefits and even though we agreed to see other ppl too we never did we always wanted to be together. It took him a while to express in words hahah he loved me since I'm better at expressing emotions in words, but unlike past relationships I knew he loved me even before he verbalized it I always felt it. We still do almost everything together and want to be together. I'm the social butterfly in our industry and he says that he if Happy letting me be the star and him being in the background letting me shine. He enjoys my go getter attitude and my opinion. He says the most attractive quality for him has always been my brain. We balance out each other's weaknesses. I am more feelings and he's more logical and numbers But his love of discovering new facts and always wan to learn is attractive. I have gotten him to enjoy and try outside activities. We don't argue often but as per articles when we do argue it can be explosive. He hates when I use the silent treatment he wants to know what is going on in my mind. He would rather I tell him what I'm thinking in the moment versus letting it marinate and become bigger later on. When I can finally express myself clearly he understands where I'm coming from. Anyone in an ENFJ-INTJ relationship should see the article 

Scott Elliott (not verified) says...

Whoa, boy, this took me on a journey! I'm an ENFJ to the letter (no pun) and spent six wonderful years with an INTJ. To this day, I consider him to be the most fascinating person I've ever met. Not the smartet (though very bright). Not particularly warm when meeting new folks (though, as an actor, he has a remarkable ability to shine from within when he's on stage). We picked up on each other's communication styles rather quickly, but I did become frustrated whenever he needed to remove himself from a conversation "to collect [his] thoughts." On more than one occasion I thought to myslef "Well, until I'm done delivering this extemporaneous monologue, you're staying put!"

I often wonder if I'll find someone quite so awe-inspiring again. Had we entered into a relationship at this point in our lives (I'm 30; he's 34), I think we would have gone the distance. We began dating when I was 19 and he was 24. Just too young. Simple as that. Hell, my brain probably resembled melting cookie dough at 19! We differed in many ways, but a wise friend once framed relationships as a choice between "wanting to be happy and wanting to be right." My willingness to accept, even celebrate, our differences strengthened our bond and minimized petty conflict. He's the only person with whom I'm able to back down and feel good about it. A beautifully transformative relationship, no doubt about it. Wonderful creatures, INTJs

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