How to Talk to Your ENFP Partner (Hint – Listen First)

ENFP personalities like to be always moving. They are driven by new ideas and an innate curiosity about the world and strive for development in society, themselves and others. This excitement may come across as pushy or even flighty, as ENFP types like to move from project to project, often without completing the first one. But it is not malintended. Merely that the world fascinates the ENFP, and they want to learn more about it. 

If your partner—romantic, business, academic or otherwise—is someone who appears to constantly move between projects, push for bigger ideas every time and say ‘yes’ to things they can’t possibly complete, it can seem daunting to talk logistics. But the truth is, ENFP personalities do very well in group settings and are often open and inviting of constructive critique, as long as it really is constructive critique. 

Here are a few ways to communicate with the ENFP in your life, so every project is more efficiently completed and everyone is being heard in the relationship. 

Be supportive

ENFP types like supporting others, and the way we communicate is the way we like to be communicated with in return. While excitable, ENFPs are not entirely without rationality, and if someone isn’t going according to plan, they won’t be blind to that reality. That said, they thrive on encouragement, support and like environments where they feel their projects have value. When ENFPs feel like they can do something, they usually can. The flip side of that is, when they feel unsure or insecure about something, that usually becomes their reality. Don’t be afraid to remind them of past successes and achievements to keep them on their path. 

Focus on the bigger picture

ENFP personalities are driven by the idea of potential. They like pushing themselves and the people around them to succeed and achieve and try new things, and though it may come across as pushy, it’s genuinely from a place of kindness and excitement. One way to get them excited about new projects (though that’s usually pretty easy) or to keep them on task (often harder) is to point out the greater good—how does this improve development for society, help individuals succeed or generally make someone’s life better? Focus on the potential future and your ENFP will follow. 

Critique in a personal way 

It’s not that the ENFP doesn’t like critique. They just need to know where it’s coming from in order to understand it—and they need to know that they’re still a valuable team member. Rather than taking an overly objective approach to critique or edits, be it in a work environment or a personal one, it’s a good idea to approach the ENFP with individualized thoughts. Use their strengths as a launching off point “you’re excellent at delegating, so we need more…” and show that you understand them as a person and that’s why you’re sharing the critique. 

The ENFP likes to self-improve and tries to be better—again, potential. Objective critique can really interrupt an ENFP’s flow and limit their day’s success. Show that you already understand they’re great and that’s why you want to help them to improve. 

Let your emotions show through

In personal relationships especially, ENFP types respond to emotions. Even if you’re naturally closed off, this will make them feel as though you’re keeping something from them. ENFPs are passionate personalities and like to share their feelings and emotions; and expect the same in return from their partners. They’re much more likely to want to end a fight—even if it means going through deep waters—than to walk away and let the problem sit. 

Help them work through problems (but don’t solve them) 

ENFP personalities types are creative problem solvers. Not only do they like coming up with unique and interesting solutions, but they tend to be very good at it. Where it may be instinct to offer a pat response, try to resist the temptation. While problem solving, ENFP types often merely want an ear and some input so they can work through the issue themselves, or in collaboration. The process shouldn’t be rushed—they’re better off when they have time to talk things through and get their creative juices flowing. This is where they thrive. 

Remember the core beliefs 

As part of their desire to improve and help others improve, ENFP types usually have a firm and strong set of foundational values. Though they’re often seen as enthusiastic and excitable, if you do or say something that crosses those lines, you may find yourself in a conflict with an ENFP. They tend to stand firmly with these values and it can be challenging to make them budge, but if you’re looking to try, it’s best to take an emotional, humanistic approach to your argument, rather than an objective, logic-based one. 

Break down some walls

At the end of the days, ENFP personality types thrive in creative, discussion-based environments. While it’s good for them to have a certain amount of structure—because they can be their own worst enemy and get distracted with the next great idea—too much order and organization can stifle the very best parts of their creativity. 

Give them space to try out new ideas, move away from the structured and organized, and let them know that they’re allowed to chase their imaginations. This is where ENFPs do best and they should be encouraged. That said, make sure they have at least one target in sight, otherwise they’re liable to go off-road. 

Embrace open communication 

ENFP types are communicators, in the workplace and at home. When you have an open line of communication with your ENFP, it not only makes it easier to resolve issues or potential issues when they first appear, but it shows you ENFP partner or friend that you understand their fears and insecurities. For ENFPs, a lack of communication is an indication that something might be wrong, even when that’s not the case. Make it clear that you’re willing to discuss things--to the extent you feel comfortable--and speak with your ENFP partner when there is a problem. When they have all the information out on the table, they can take the next steps to resolution with the important people in their life. 

Final thoughts

At their best, ENFP personalities are driven and passionate. They can make for excellent motivators and also take on leadership roles, whether formal or simply because people want to follow their lead. It isn’t unusual for an ENFP to get inside their own head, however. Maintaining an open line of communication and embracing their creativity and their strengths is the best way to reach an ENFP, to help them perform to their fullest and to help forge the strongest, happiest, most enjoyable relationships for everyone.

RubyRaeScalera

Ruby Scalera recently graduated Emerson College and has since reported on a wide variety of topics from the Equal Rights Amendment to the history of the romance novel. In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. She currently resides in Nashville.

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