ENFJ Vs ENFP: How Do They Handle Romance and Relationships?

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on June 24, 2020

Picture the scene: a relaxed Sunday morning, the sun glinting through the cracks between the curtains. An ENFJ rolls over in bed, checks the time and begins to stretch. They have a whole list of plans for the day and they’re ready to get up and out.

With their head under the pillow on the other side of the bed, an ENFP is still snoring. They were out late the night before, surrounded by friends and strangers, discussing plans for the future and debating the deeper meaning behind life on earth. This ENFP also has plans for their day, but they’re more vague ideas and opportunities… and they definitely haven’t written a to-do list!

The ENF personality types have many similarities when it comes to relationships, from their desire for intense, meaningful connection to their love of looking to the future and imagining the endless possibilities open to them. 

But there are also areas where they diverge, especially when it comes to goal-setting and organization. Do these differences bind them together or tear them apart? Let’s take a look!

I like you...but I won’t back down!

Intuitive Feeling types seek out closeness in their relationships. They look for the chance to know their partner deeply and fully, delving into their values, ambitions and experiences. 

ENFs can quickly build a strong connection with their partner if they feel that they share one another’s principles and basic moral standards. They can spend hours talking into the night with someone they’ve just met, locked in one place and enthralled by the process of getting to know another person on an intimate level, sharing their innermost thoughts. 

On the other hand, both ENFJs and ENFPs can argue fiercely if they feel their opinions aren’t being heard. They hold their values so deeply that conflict can quickly arise if their partner contradicts with one of their fundamental beliefs. An ENFJ might get stuck on advocating for one cause they’re extremely passionate about, whereas an ENFP might repeatedly argue that everyone has the right to voice their opinions, whatever they are! 

Conflicting opinions combined with a passionate way of voicing their feelings can be an explosive combination for ENFs. Two ENFs in a debate will often refuse to compromise or back down, going back and forth for hours. Issues like this have the potential to cause a rift in their relationships that continues for weeks or even months.

Happiness is (not) being a social butterfly

At the same time, ENFs types value happiness and harmony. They are enormously compassionate personality types, and both are adept at reading the emotions of those around them. In a relationship, Intuitive Feeling types tend to feed off the energy of their partners, absorbing their emotions.

This desire for understanding extends to their social lives too. Both ENFJs and ENFPs enjoy spending the time to appreciate and encourage the people they meet and they’re highly sociable in most situations. 

For ENFJs, making connections might take the form of getting close with just a small number of people. They use their natural perceptive nature, investing time in listening to the stories of those around them, offering genuine support and often establishing long-term relationships in the process.

Taking a different stance, ENFPs will often seek out the individuals who spark their imagination and enthusiasm – those who are willing to share in creative conversation and playful debate. When they decide to invest time in getting to know someone, it’s usually coupled with warmth, empathy and familiarity. On the other hand, they have no patience for people who seem dull or who just want to talk about themselves. ENFPs have zero qualms about walking away from a conversation that doesn’t hold their interest!

In an ENFJ and ENFP couple, ENFJs might find the ENFP way of flitting from person to the next, seeking out the path of most entertainment, a bit off-putting. In the same way, ENFPs can find it strange the way ENFJs deliberately delve into people’s aspirations and dedicate time and energy into helping them achieve their goals. ENFPs might see the ENFJ method as boring and time-consuming, ENFJs can see the ENFP method as superficial and scattered. 

Focus or freedom?

Where ENFJs and ENFPs are most different is in their approach to goals. ENFJs are extremely goal-orientated; they are ambitious and driven, approaching tasks with a clear vision and a determined attitude. 

In contrast, ENFPs prefer to take a far more flexible approach to most aspects of their lives. ENFPs like to be relaxed and they value freedom above all else. No goal is worth sacrificing their ability to do what they like, when they like.

If an ENFJ recognizes they need to learn a new skill to progress in something they’re passionate about, they’ll apply themselves with focus and energy. They set their plans in motion immediately and work to bring together the people they need to make it happen. They will stay focused, sometimes working for years until they achieve success.

When it comes to ENFPs, that energy might begin to dissipate quickly after starting the project. Their idea of becoming a professional musician, for instance, gets bogged down by the number of hours it will take them to master the instrument they just bought. In these cases, it will probably not be long before they’ve moved on to the next idea that catches their attention. 

In a relationship, ENFJs may begin to resent the lack of drive they see in their ENFP partner. They want stability and concrete aims; they don’t want to constantly be changing their course just because they feel like it. In an ENFP’s mind, fun comes first before any goal-setting exercise, whether it’s imposed on them by teachers, bosses or their partners.

Together, we make plans for the future

ENFs are the types who most enjoy chatting about their passions and possibilities. They can talk endlessly about plans for a brighter future with friends, acquaintances and one another. This love of connecting is the key similarity between ENFJs and ENFPs and it’s what binds them together in relationships, despite their differences when it comes to planning!

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

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Alex555 (not verified) says...

I'm an ENFP and my girlfriend is a ENFJ. I relate so much to this post, it's 100% accurate haha! We've been together for 2 years now and it has been a lot of fun so far

Thanks for the great content

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