ENFP vs. ENFJ: How to Tell Them Apart

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on July 13, 2022
Categories: Myers Briggs, ENFP, ENFJ

Within the Myers and Briggs personality system, it’s easy to assume the ENFP and ENFJ are inseparable siblings. They make a great team, but more because of their marked differences than their similarities. 

While surprising to some, both types would agree that they are not personality twinners. 

So… how do you tell them apart? 

#1: Deadlines, plans, predictability (oh my)

The first noticeable difference is the last letter of the four-letter code: P vs. J. Perceivers are laid back and spontaneous. They like to keep their options open, take life as it comes, and feel a lot of stress if they are pressured to make a decision. Judgers are structured and task-oriented. They make a plan and stick to it, and feel a lot of stress if the day gets away from them and they haven’t managed to check items on their to-do list. 

In other words:

Plans fill you with dread? You’re likely a Perceiver. 

Plans fill you with a sense of calm security? You’re likely a Judger.

Which sounds simple enough, right? Although…

#2: “All for one, and one for all!” 

I guarantee whoever wrote the 3 Musketeers was an ENFJ. Who else would come up with a phrase like that? 

An ENFJ prioritizes group harmony. They are more likely to shove down individual needs – their own and others –  if they deem them a threat to the emotional equilibrium of the group. 

They even may go as far as to view personalities like the ENFP as selfish - gasp! That’s because ENFPs are inclined to be true to their own heart before they can consider anyone else’s. 

This difference in approach isn’t difficult to identify. However, if you’re still coming up blank, listen to the way they talk about fictional characters. 

Do they complain about movies like Mulan and Moana being totally skewed or unrealistic, that you can’t always follow your heart and have it work out in the favor of your family/village? 

Those are your ENFJs. 

Do they adore Encanto’s Mirabel for her ability to stick to her path, regardless of how her family reacted? Or identify with Zootopia’s Judi Hopps for her heartfelt way of defying authority?

Those are your ENFPs. 

#3: Acts more extraverted at parties

While at a party, the ENFP will walk in and observe the dim lighting, the music, the food, who is dancing, who is not, and wonder what deeper meaning is held within. 

ENFPs have a paradoxical outer enthusiasm while their inner self observes and connects ideas. While they are singing their heart out to karaoke, they will also be drawing conclusions about why this party exists in the first place. What does this look like? Well, you’ll probably see the ENFP zoning out by scrolling, munching and pretending to read as they work out their inner web of thoughts. They’ll answer any inquiries with a mindless “uh-huh” and stay in the zone. 

The ENFJ would walk in and immediately notice who is standing alone, who is dancing, and who is there for the food. They will have a clear goal geared toward others such as, “This is a party! Everyone should have fun!” and work the room to accomplish that goal. 

You’ll see them striking up conversations, sharing observations, and engaging to bring about their vision of a fun party. The ENFJ’s initial cognitive reaction is to harmonize with those around them. 

#4: Discover as you go

Between these two personality types, the ENFP is more likely to jump into the unknown and figure it out as they go. An ENFJ will feel the need for a solid plan (see #1 above) and a clear vision. 

In today’s world of online businesses and side hustles, you can pinpoint these two types easily. 

The ENFP has a haphazard social media schedule, but shows up with infectious enthusiasm! Chances of them actually researching everything before launching a website, offer and brand are quite low as that would make the entire venture boring beyond reason. 

An ENFJ would take longer to get off of the ground. There will be more research hours, vision boards, and pristine course layouts before any domain name is purchased or a social media handle is secured. 

Another way to spot this difference is in simple conversation. 

An ENFP is more likely to ask probing questions. Their goal in conversation is to lead the person to their own, individual conclusion. 

In direct contrast, an ENFJ already has a solution in mind. They may ask questions to lead, but these questions are more geared toward a specific answer. 

Instead of making discoveries as they go, the ENFJ will already have a mind made up. The ENFP will gladly surrender to the flow.

#5: Don’t tell me what to do

A surefire way to test an ENFP vs. ENFJ is to directly give them advice. 

An ENFP will bristle. At unhealthy levels, they will deeply resent being told what to do. They will likely see this as a bid to control their choices. Even at a healthy level, an ENFP will have to mentally overcome the impulse to roll their eyes, scoff, or chuck a shoe in the general direction of the person giving them advice. 

An ENFJ is going to welcome a conversation. Giving them advice still comes across as a guideline, but they are more willing to engage and discuss the motivations and implications of this advice. In fact, if you give an ENFJ advice, you’ll both likely walk away from that conversation feeling uplifted. 

In conclusion

An ENFP is a deadline-adverse, authentic individual who dwells in intellectual chaos. Although they are easy-going in adventures, beware to the one who tries to tell an ENFP what to do. An ENFJ is structured and task-oriented. They bring harmony wherever they go and have a solid plan for the goals in their life. An ENFJ will welcome conversation of any kind, so it feels more like a two-way street. Either way, you’ll be lucky to have these charming, big-picture Feelers in your life. 

Kim Jacobson

Kim spends her time as a freelance content marketing writer and indie author. Her focus is on empowering others to make healthy choices, and personality theory plays a large role in that calling. What else would you expect from an ENFP? She lives in the mountains with her ISFJ husband and two incredible kiddos.

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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.

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Tereza (not verified) says...

Great article.

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