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

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on June 02, 2020

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.

More from this author...
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.

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

Ishaan Joshi (not verified) says...

I felt the exact same thing , atleast now we know that we arent weak , its just how we are to avoid conflicts!

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.

Esme (not verified) says...

I have the same issue with my parents too, but not only do they try to control me by telling me what I can and can't do, they do it because they see me as a pawn they can use. They value me for what I can give them and do for them. If I act out of place, they withhold emotionally. My dad withdraws, doesn't acknowledge my presence or only literally commands me to do things. I can see his repressed anger filter through his orders. My mom on the other hand is a machine gun. She throws insults like rocks repeatedly, especially if I'm uncooperative. Makes me want to cooperate less truth be told. They're not the type of people to accommodate the individuality of their child. They just want things done in their way when they say it should be done. Super collectivist and traditional in their ways. Don't like it one bit. Can't imagine anyone liking it though. I'm thinking they're both ISTJ. Super religious, not huge on socializing and have never encouraged my siblings and I to. Quite the opposite. Only value acts of service (what can you do for me so that I can do something for you), work, religion, family, money. Those seem to be the only topics that matter to them. 

Mein (not verified) says...

Probably the unhealthier ones. 
My dad's ISTJ too, exactly (if not worse) like that when something messed up with him as well more than exceptional father when you got him right (also when he's not too-much messed with or he's sad).
Hope your living environment gets better though.

Stephanie (not verified) says...

I am an ENFP as well and this is an exact and full description of the relationship I have with mine as well. It feels like she does not know me as an individual and does not care to just to simply control me and get me to do things their way and how they want it not caring of how it could affect me mentally, emotionally and physically it frustrates me to the point I decide to give up and stop caring leaving me still unsatisfied and in alow mood that I can't find a solution to avoid conflict and a way we can both get along. My ideas aren't considered and taken personally or a way to control when I'm only trying to share or suggest something that can help/benefit both of us. It is even worse for me because I am African and expected to follow with our "culture" and religious beliefs it is very challenging when it's being hugely taken advantage of.

Jade (not verified) says...

scream into a pillow whenever you feel the rage creeping or crook of your arm x

Lisa D (not verified) says...

WOW. This is exactly me TO A T!!! I sent this to my partner to clue him in LOL

Gus S (not verified) says...

This is so true 

Danielle Frausto (not verified) says...

I relate to this, people really don't understand how much they hurt me because I try to respond sensitively and rationally while emotionally removing myself from problems, Its difficult to handle stress in my life and I especially cannot handle stress from other people. Thank you for this explanation and how best to respond and prevent this.

Ana P. (not verified) says...

If im giving you the cold treatment, i am most likely punishing you. Although it'll probably only last for a few seconds or minutes, depending on how deeply you hurt me and how much i really care about you. But i will eventually will also want to let you know what you did that got me in that mood. So yeah, if you get an ENFP mad, just sincerely apoligize (because we'll most likely be able to tell if you're lying to us) and then give us some space until we tell you that we accept that apology. :)

Albert M (not verified) says...

All of this describes me except the physical touch. If I'm angry I don't like people touching me, it feels like they're trying to soothe me instead of listening to me and fixing the problem.

Tasnia Neherin (not verified) says...

As an ENFP, I just love physical touches incredibly, that is exactly true but not when things aren't right until talked over or fully resolved. Solution is the most important thing before physical touches.

Carla (not verified) says...

This is absolutely accurate for me. I used to think I shouldn't shut down like that but it feels good to be understood 

Moggie (not verified) says...

Do any of y'all blow up too? Like, if I'm past my limit (which thankfully doesn't happen often), I will have this horrendously loud yelling spree and can get really violent. Although, I do definitely relate to the thing where I let people step on me to avoid conflict. I feel so attacked. :/

Ishaan Joshi (not verified) says...

I blow up as welll , trust me very very loud with a lot punching the walls , so yes i get you...

Anonymous (not verified) says...

Yes this has happened with me too it's one of the reason I'm scared of anger but for me I would usually find some way to escape the situation before it escalates to that I don't want to get violent with anyone because I know I will ashamed of myself for it soon enough

Emma R (not verified) says...

ENFPs are cute. I understand them most of the time. 

INTJ, 5w6

Nicole L (not verified) says...

This took a load off for me!  For year, I thought I was broken for the intense rage I'd have inside once I felt someone wasn't be honest.  In my head, I would be destrorying worlds, universes, but outwardly I'd just kindly take some time out to simmer down.

And YES!  I completely respond well to honest apologies, I just didn't know why I couldn't with some people.  But that would be me sensing the sincerity.

Thank you for this essay, this has clear up so much space in my head.  Space I can now use for amusing the masses and having fun!

 

Whitney A.W. (not verified) says...

I relate to pretty much everything in this article! All except being conflict averse. I don't tend to think I'm conflict averse as I consider myself a confrontational person? Maybe it's because I'm assessed as being 51% P and 49% J? But it is true that I try to keep the peace if things don't need to be a huge deal, with people outside of my close friends in particular. I am not afraid to bring up things that are a problem at all. But this was definitely very helpful? gonna send this to my parents ?...

Lilly Cool (not verified) says...

Damn, this is sooo accurate i had to cry. Thank you!

Aaren (not verified) says...

As a ENFP leaning turbulent, As spectacular and pretty damn impressive as these are, we must remember that our family life, experiences and traumas play into it as well!!. I have had major strife for in my heart and soul i am a ENFP...but i was also a Combat trucker in the military (2T). In professions requiring a emotional and bubbly switch OFF i even after the military found myself with serious issues dealing with the ENFP shadow.....then after some more unfortunate decisions and life events it evolved into BPD. It does not help that i am a scorpio, and a Outlaw archytype. I was built to feel and LOVE. My abilities with people and the leadership skills i aquired changed my life and many others as well. Last week was my last straw not feeling the extrovert part of my being. So. My Intuitive, motivating, lovers of humans and all things positive.....the shadow that follows us is very very strong....possibly stronger than most the other MBI's. For when something shines as bright as we, there is only a equal reaction of darkness and it CAN and WILL test you and quite possibly break you....keep youre mental health in check. Make sure to get your walks in nature to return to earth appriciating her beauty, restoring appriciation for life itself....we exist as conduits to lift people UP! strive to WIPE off negativity and darkness from people. Please recognize that its incredibly pressurising and exhaustive on our spirit. Find a custom healthy release to offload the shadows you collect to return to the bright warm shine that you are :) Forever we lanterns in the dark, stone towers of compassion and grace....Burn bright until 12 feet under....Much love ya'll.-Ethan Starr

P.S. Dont be like me! Im one of them hurricane in a bottle ENFP's. Extremely unstable, split in half by choice. I had to be an ISTJ if in uniform. ENFP could fly dont get me wrong, but try being the buck side of that without you're heart and emotions involved. So i found who and what worked as I while in. Trully, unless you got the bearing and switch to do services like the military or any kind of emergency response avoid it. If i were to go back i would have been a firefighter....or a Motivational coach for sports teams and buisness enviorments. We have FIGHT in us, but i swear some careers that screw around with your Light too much take a very particular ENFP. I hardly made it out alive i was so crossed on who i was and am to this day negating the effects and wrestling with the daily challenges my borderline sticks to me. (personally....Borderline in essence is the viceral, depressed and manic shadow OF ENFP its a trip) That p.s was long....godspeed brothers and sisters! Our role in the future will be extremely important...there is a lot of darkness we must tear from those who cannot fare without a Lantern <3

Sunshine Yellow (not verified) says...

I cannot imagine having to be in a career when you are dealing with such injustice and torment. No wonder you feel like a hurricane in a bottle. Fantastic analogy! I hope you managed to find a place where you soul feels good and you can rest and find your shine again. Sending love x

Bushra (not verified) says...

I'm an ENFP.. your comment made me cry a lot.. thanks.

Sunshine Yellow (not verified) says...

I am hurt and enraged when my partner does not think how I will feel about something before signing us up to do something.
 

(Warning - this may be very upsetting to read for other ENFP's so please don't read on if you're feeling in a fragile state of mind)

I am a week out of delivering my miscarried baby. I was 17 weeks when I found out the little one no longer had a heartbeat and the disbelief and upset was enormous! I found out the baby had passed 3 1/2 weeks before, just after all my scans and bloods had said everything was absolutely fine. I had no idea!!! I had to carry the baby for 5 days knowing it was dead, trying to get to sleep knowing, before I went into hospital to be induced into labour and deliver the baby. Just no words! After delivering the baby, I ended up in surgery as my placenta didn't follow, and  I had to have 3 blood transfusions due to the blood loss, and then got an infection. I was let out of hospital less than 6 days ago. Needless to say, the whole experience was the most traumatic and upsetting things I've ever been through. And that was all less than a week ago.

This following week has been quiet. I've been able to sleep and rest, and have just wanted to hide and not see anyone. But in the background - which became the foreground on day 4 days after getting out of hospital, my partners brother (the most vile and arrogant person I've ever met - was battling childcare arrangements in court because he upped and left his wife of 20 years and 3 kids last summer when a younger girl told him she had a crush on him. As an ENTP, that is not ok and I've made it clear I'm not going to start playing happy families with his new relationship, especially when I've seen him fall short of seeing his own kids in preference for the new and exciting relationship he has with this girl.

Anyway, this morning, after my partner and i had made arrangements to have a quiet weekend in the garden with our kids - literally is the most I can bear - he tells me instead he's arranged for us to go to his brothers house tomorrow to supervise whilst he sees his kids (court ruling), cook a roast dinner, meet his new girlfriend! I mean WTF!

I'm not only grieving right now and extremely weak from the surgery. I do not want to see my own friends or do anything. And my partner signs us up for seeing the person I dislike the most on the planet, meet his girlfriend I have chosen not to meet since their affair. And cook them a roast and play happy families. I am just totally and utterly aghast that my thoughts and feelings on this are just not taken into account at all! 

I mean he was looking into our dead little baby's face 6 days ago! He knows how I feel about his brothers affair and that I have chosen not to meet his new girlfriend. He knows I need to be resting. How on earth do you deal with this kind of lack of acknowledgment, consideration, sympathy, empathy.  It just blows me apart. And he gets angry at me for not communicating in the way he wants me to because all my emotions of shock and disbelief and hurt bubble and bubble until I have an outburst and then run away. Hence how I've found this article whilst trying to rationalise my emotions whilst away from everyone in the garden.

My feelings of deflation are enormous. I am totally aghast. How would you guys deal with this? It's worth mentioning my partner is an ISTP so we experience the world from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. But trying to weather his lack of thought for me is too much! Especially when, at a time like this, you rely on your partner to really care and think about your needs.

asdfghjkl (not verified) says...

Honestly, I've never gone through childbirth nor have i lost a child, but I am able to relate to having your emotions ignorred especially when you've made them obvious, or are in a situation where they are easily deducable. If your partner arranged to do something when you are ill equiped to perform basic daily activities let alone the one thing you'd avoid on your best day, you have every right to feel the way you do.

Reba (not verified) says...

Thank you this article helps me understand an ENFP that I know.

There is still a problem I seem to face quite often though. See I'm dealing with a very unhealthy ENFP. While being an unhealthy INFJ. I am always convinced in my mind that he is lying....or shortchanging the truth somehow. And since I'm in a very unhealthy state right now...I dont feel I can rely on my intuition. How can I feel better about trusting him?...And he also seems to stab at me in a joking manner...and gets mad when I take it personally.  How can I tell whether he is truly trying to make light of the situation (like he says), or if it's a manifestation of suppressed anger, resentment, or dislike towards me?   Thank you. 

Andreajm (not verified) says...

The part about the physical-make up is not true. If I’m angry, I don’t want physical affection. Make up sex is bullshit and just another way to push things under the rug. Sex doesn’t solve problems. Commitment to change does. 

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