How ENFPs Act When They’re Angry (And What You Can Do About It)

ENFPs are known for their playful nature and emotional resilience. Life may drag them down, but these bubbly personalities nearly always bounce back to their natural optimistic state.

However, no personality type is cheerful around the clock. You might be surprised to learn that ENFPs experience darker emotions, like anger, just as intensely as they feel happiness.

What makes ENFPs angry?

The triggers that provoke an ENFP’s rage, and the tools they use to cope with anger, are very specific.

Dishonesty

Most ENFPs are honest to the point of messy authenticity. You’ll often find them oversharing their personal lives and blurting out off-color jokes in inappropriate settings because they value genuineness above social rules.

Because they aren’t prone to deception themselves, they have no tolerance for it in others. These idealists despise being lied to in personal and political situations. As Perceivers, they rely on instinct to tell them when someone is untruthful or inauthentic, and they have strong reactions to liars and phonies.

Not feeling heard

Conversation and connection are like oxygen to the ENFP. If you cut them off, interrupt them, or don’t seem to be listening, you might as well be cutting off their air supply. They feel immediate rejection and frustration — which they cover with suppressed rage. 

When you interrupt an ENFP repeatedly, they may press their lips together and stop speaking. If you invite them to finish what they were saying, they might shake their head “no” and remain silent while avoiding eye contact. Don’t be fooled — your friend hasn’t lost their desire to communicate. They are seething with rage, and only a heartfelt and sincere apology will suffice at this point.  

Control and constraints

These free-spirited folks do not take kindly to being reined in or feeling stifled in any way.

Usually they are slow to anger, but if someone blatantly tries to control them they will fight back ferociously. More subtle power grabs, like manipulation and passive-aggressiveness, might confuse them for a while, but eventually they will see what’s going on and lose their temper. 

Unsolicited advice can set off a fiery reaction for an ENFP because it feels like they’re being told what to do. Approach an ENFP with advice at your own risk. 

ENFPs don’t like to be told that they can’t do something. Vague explanations like, “that’s just the way it is” or “this is how the system works” only enrage them more. If you must put limits on an ENFP, appeal to their soft hearts by showing them how the restriction benefits the group as a whole.

Injustice

The ENFP personality type is called The Champion for a good reason. ENFPs live to uplift others and help the people around them grow. They love the underdog and always want to support those in need. 

Watching someone wield their power to hurt, belittle, or control others sends the ENFP into a blind rage. Their most deeply held values compel them to speak up for animals, children, and anyone who lacks a voice of their own in the world.

Defending friends and family

Champion energy will also erupt if an ENFP thinks their loved ones are under attack. They might be slow to defend themselves, but ENFPs are very quick to jump up and protect those they think of as “their” people. 

How does an ENFP express anger?

If you can’t remember ever seeing an angry ENFP, there’s a reason — they don’t like to show this emotion in public. 

That may seem odd for people who are so free with their feelings in general, but ENFPs don’t like to admit anger even to themselves. Except for righteous outrage on behalf of others, the emotion just doesn’t fit into their rosy worldview. 

For that reason, you’re likely to see an ENFP’s anger manifest in other, more subtle ways:

Avoidance

Because they feel things so intensely, ENFPs are often afraid of their own anger. It can feel terrifying for them to be engulfed in rage.

Because of that fear, ENFPs might use mild words like “irritated” or “annoyed” to describe their feelings, even when they’re seething with fury. They hide from their anger by minimizing it.

This fear can make ENFPs very conflict-avoidant, especially when they’re young and still prone to be people-pleasers. As they get older, they learn how to set boundaries and protect themselves. But a young ENFP may allow themselves to be used, manipulated, or exploited by others to avoid confrontation.

They’re inclined to walk away from disputes. If they care about the person they are angry with, they’ll come back to work things out as soon as they have their emotions under control.

The silent treatment

If your vivacious ENFP partner suddenly starts communicating in one-syllable words and grunts, or doesn’t reply to your texts, something is terribly wrong. The silence isn’t meant to punish you, though. Your partner is just creating some space until they feel calm enough to process things with you. 

Talking things through

Once an ENFP has a handle on their feelings, they will use their finely-tuned verbal skills to resolve issues. They avoid direct conflict by expressing their emotions calmly and  presenting their solutions as win-win scenarios. Their approach is the same for an intimate relationship or a professional environment.

This sensitive type has an intuitive understanding of other peoples’ motivations, so they know precisely how to negotiate for whatever changes they need to see in a situation. If they’re met with resistance, though, ENFPs can become manipulative to get what they need.

How to deal with an angry ENFP

These gentle souls don’t like to be angry. They want to forgive you—all you have to do is give them room to do it. 

Give them space

If your partner tries to walk away from an argument or refuses to engage in conversation, give them some time. They’re trying to protect you from their temper while it’s flaring out of control. 

ENFPs are usually self-aware enough to know that they may be overreacting. If you leave them alone for a while, they’ll sift through their emotions and come back when they’ve decompressed.

Listen to them

When they come back ready to talk, what they need most is to feel heard. Let your ENFP friend speak, without interrupting, and reflect your understanding back to them (“What I hear you saying is…”) so they feel heard. 

Once you’ve heard them out, they’ll be willing to listen to your side of the story.

Apologize without excuses

If you are genuinely sorry for your actions, definitely apologize. Don’t cloud your apology with any excuses or defend your behavior—just say “I’m sorry.” Forgiveness is likely to come so fast you’ll have to duck.

But since authenticity is vital to the ENFP, a fake apology would be a mistake. These master communicators know instinctively when you’re not sincere.

If you can’t authentically apologize, say so. “I hear what you’re saying, but I’m still too angry to apologize. I need to get some things off my chest first,” is the kind of honest statement an ENFP respects.

Heal the rift with touch

Here’s a pro tip about your ENFP partner: They are incredibly physical, and they tend to hold their emotions in their bodies. You don’t have to offer a verbal apology if you can provide a physical one instead. 

If your partner is rage-crying, take them in your arms and comfort them. While they’re talking, take their feet in your lap and rub them. Put your hand on their arm gently while you speak. Stroke their hair. If tension still lingers after you’ve talked, offer them a massage. 

Putting it all together

ENFPs are generally happy, easygoing folks, but dishonesty, constraints, injustice, and interruptions can enrage them. The best way to handle their anger is to give them some space to cool off and then offer them your undivided attention when they return to talk things over. If you can make them feel heard, they will quickly return to their usual bouncy mood. 

Lauren Haas

Lauren Haas is a nomad who has been living out of a backpack since 2013. She travels the world and supports herself by freelance writing, fundraising, managing social media, and leading Women’s Adventure Tours. Lauren has learned to embrace her ENFP quirks and relish her Challenger/Enthusiast nature, but she still has trouble keeping up with the laundry.

Comments

AndreeaT (not verified) says...

This is so true to me. I'm an ENFP and this is absolutely right. I felt like I'm weak because of the fact I didn't face conflicts but now I know this is a normal trait of this personality type and I'm a little bit more relaxed.

Thank you! <3

Lauren Haas says...

AndreeaT, I'm glad the article resonated with you! 

charles silas (not verified) says...

I am currently living almost everything you wrote here, very apt. Thanks. This has made me understand myself all the more

Mahaut (not verified) says...

I am an ENFP and currently really angry at my parents (litteraly, for trying to control me, not listeing and being dishonest about it). This is really how I react.

I avoid them as much as I can and don't talk when I am with them. I ususally let go of the anger, and have with them before, but because they do not want to see me, I just can't digest it and stay very very angry. 

I don't feel like they will let go of the things they want me to do, and I don't think I can accept it either - and I don't want to never see my parents. I just feel angry all the time and do not know what to do. Cool to see that I am not alone in this. It does not bring anything to comment that, but it gets it off my chest.

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