When my sister first told me that she had also tested as an ENFP, my immediate thought was that she was dead wrong.
Clearly, I am the one and only true ENFP! (Sounds just like an ENFP thing to say, yeah?)
I went through all of the deep ENFP knowledge I’ve learned in my years studying personality theory. I took each letter one by one, dug into the cognitive functions, and even compared both of us against characters of the TV show Friends to make my case.
Yet none of those avenues sated my confusion and gave me the answer I wanted to hear.
I then dove into the Enneagram - and the light came on.
While the Myers-Briggs personality test is designed to show you how you make sense of the world around you and highlight your decision-making process, the Enneagram hones in on your motivations; particularly how your childhood impacted your coping mechanisms based on a specific core fear and core desire.
Simply put, Myers Briggs tells you how you tick while the Enneagram ties in childhood experience to the equation. In a perfect marriage of nature vs. nurture, looking at your Myers-Briggs personality type in tandem with your Enneagram type can give you a more detailed and colorful picture of your inner self.
It’s possible to test the same 16-type preferences as another person and see stark differences between you. My sister and I engage in similar processes when engaging with the world around us. We often follow the same conceptual thought pattern. And yet, our internal motivations and coping mechanisms differ greatly from each other, hence the reason we often butt heads growing up (love you, Jen!)
While not absolutely exclusive, the most common Enneatypes for ENFPs are the 2, 4, and 7.
Type 2: The Helper
ENFP Type Twos are warm and generous. In fact, they almost seem to adhere to the cognitive structure of an ENFJ with what looks like the harmony-keeping Extraverted Feeling function (Fe). ENFPs are no strangers to being a walking contradiction, and these type twos balance their motivations for group harmony with their personal values as seen through their Introverted Feeling (Fi).
This type’s basic fear and desire are mirrors of each other. More than anything else, Twos want to be seen and loved for who they are while fearing feelings of unworthiness and not being loved.
ENFP Twos can catch themselves in an unhealthy situation where they become overly codependent on others, taking on the feelings of those around them in an attempt to maintain the internal value of group harmony. Unhealthy emotional dependency can lead to the very feelings ENFP twos want to avoid: unworthiness.
My Dear ENFP Two: It is okay to take time for yourself. Your Introverted Feeling operates from a sense of self and engaging that function is easiest to do when you’re alone and untethered to someone else’s feelings. Healthy attachments come from healthy boundaries, and those healthy lines are exactly what promote the growth of your generous, empathetic, self-aware, and adaptable personality.
Type 4: The Individualist
Speaking of Introverted Feeling, ENFP Type Fours are highly in tune with this cognitive function. While one trademark of the ENFP personality is to have a rich, inner world, fours visit their lush inner fantasies when feeling oppressed in their own lives.
Fours are most aware of their weaknesses and tend to feel misunderstood. They look around and see phony behavior, usually because other types will suppress or avoid their shame whereas fours will feel their shame head-on.
ENFP Fours are all about finding their true identity and being true to themselves. And - something that’ll make you proudly smirk - type Fours tend to be rebels at heart. They don’t want to be labeled. They don’t want to be coerced into doing something against their nature to fit in. They want to be free to find themselves and their life purpose.
Their greatest fear, again mirroring their greatest desire, is to have no purpose or identity at all. Becoming a fading shadow on the wall or proverbially being locked away in a birdcage is the most terrifying outcome to an ENFP type Four.
My Dear ENFP Four: It’s not uncommon to struggle with feeling different. Use your natural introspective inclinations to redirect victimized feelings into compassion and advocacy for others. Your beautiful capacity for creative solutions can be turned inward to live a more authentic, expressive existence. Healthy engagement with your motivations helps you fully embrace life - inside and out - and take others along the way. It can be incredibly helpful to have someone else to talk to, write down your feelings, or somehow get them out of your head and into the world in front of you. Reality waits for no one, be conscious of how much time you spend in your mind versus your community and relationships.
Type 7: The Enthusiast
The ENFP Type Seven is typically what comes to mind when reading the basic ENFP profile. Gregarious, spontaneous, possibilities around every corner. These types crave two things above all else: freedom and fun.
Ideas are constantly churning under the surface. ENFP Sevens seem to buzz with activity, inside and out. This springs from a need to distract themselves from their anxiety and pain. At unhealthy or average levels, a seven would rather redirect their active minds to something fun than sit with unpleasant feelings.
The ENFP Seven wants, above all else, to be satisfied, happy, and wanting for nothing. This doesn’t mean they’re high-maintenance or decadent, but that their utmost motivation is to meet their own needs in an enjoyable and often adventurous way. The reverse is also true for Sevens. They are most afraid of being in pain, deprived of what they seek, or unable to take care of their needs.
My dear ENFP Seven: Your natural curiosity and playfulness are such gifts to those around you. Don’t let them drag you into ignoring your Introverted Feeling. Take some time to process experiences, acknowledge pain, and move through unpleasant feelings. Creating habits such as meditating or journaling can help you confront the feelings you’re trying to distract yourself from. Remember, distraction only works for so long. It’ll bubble up and come out one way or another, choose to engage in a healthy way to continue down the path toward your confident, productive, joyful, satisfied self.
A Note on Other Types
Depending on your upbringing, you may or may not identify with the above Enneatypes. My guess, you wily ENFP you, is that you’ll see bits and pieces of each one you can identify with.
For example, that’s the case with me.
Even though my sister and I grew up in the same home, we are 10 years apart in age. Her relationships in our home lead to an Enneagram type Four ENFP, while mine lead to one crazy ENFP as an Enneatype Nine.
I can identify with the rebel-hearted four, the curiosity and natural fun-loving charisma of a seven, yet the deepest truth for me is that I want to be understood. While I experience feelings of shame or anxiety, my real issues come with understanding anger as a healthy emotion.
All of this to say, if you don’t identify with the most common ENFP Enneagram types, you are not alone. (And my guess is you kind of like that you’re different from other ENFPs).
Your turn, ENFPs. What’s your Enneatype? Tell us in the comments below!