ENFP
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ENFP Strengths

Excellent communicators. ENFPs have outstanding communication skills and they know how to use them. They will engage anyone in conversation at the drop of a hat, and they know how to draw others out in a way that keeps the discussion flowing. Whether casually shooting the breeze or collaborating in the workplace, ENFPs provide the horsepower that keeps the engine of conversation humming along. 

Imaginative. ENFPs are imaginative problem solvers and reject the idea that traditional ways are always the best. In every situation they believe an original approach is possible—and desirable—and they refuse to become prisoners of habit or routine. They see roadblocks as opportunities, and they confront every challenge they face with fresh eyes and no preconceived notions. 

Natural leaders. ENFPs step forward to assume positions of leadership readily and instinctively. They are confident in their ability to handle demanding responsibilities many people find scary or intimidating. ENFP leaders are consensus builders who work hard to gain the trust of their associates, patiently listening to their ideas and reacting enthusiastically to their good suggestions. Their assertive, “can-do” attitude inspires others and motivates them to action.

Strong social conscience. Often active in social movements, ENFPs stand up for what they believe in without apology. Some people talk the compassion game but don’t follow through with meaningful action, but ENFPs believe it is vitally important to back up caring words with good deeds. Despite their friendly nature, an ENFP will go supernova with righteous anger when they are exposed to suffering and injustice. They can get quite loud and assertive, if that’s what it takes to get their opinions heard.

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ENFP Weaknesses

Hypersensitivity. ENFPs sometimes let their imaginations run wild and often perceive bad intentions that don’t really exist. Being hyper-alert and aware helps ENFPs improve their social comprehension, but reading between the lines only works when something is actually hidden there. If it isn’t, misunderstandings can occur and hurt feelings can damage good relationships.

Lack of focus and follow through. ENFPs are endlessly creative, capable of filling a thousand days with a thousand bold ideas. But they don’t always follow through on their inspirations, and if others are not brought on board to handle the details, their best ideas may never be put into practice. ENFPs rely on their initial excitement and passion too much and don’t always show the discipline necessary to translate their ideas into real-world production. They have a tendency to start new projects before the last ones are finished, and failing to see things through is where ENFPs sometimes come up short. 

Overthink things. ENFPs have a tendency to perceive slights, resentments or hostility where none actually exist, and their habit of overanalyzing other people’s behavior can lead to unnecessary anger and conflict. If ENFPs aren’t receiving as many compliments as they expect from their significant others, their insecurities can be activated and they may start to feel unappreciated and unloved. 

Overemotional and approval-seeking. While emotional expression is a core part of the ENFP's identity, they can come on too strong. The bubbly, energetic style of ENFPs doesn’t mesh well with every partner and introverts, in particular, can sometimes feel steamrolled in their presence. ENFPs are also approval-seekers, and in their desire to receive praise and acknowledgment they may try a little too hard to make a good impression, talking too much and listening too little in the process. 

ENFP Growth and Development

In order to reach their full potential, ENFPs should:

Accept the fact that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck ... ENFPs are intuitive and have a sharp eye for detail. They make a mistake, however, when they insist on looking for hidden motivations or covert agendas everywhere. In normal social encounters, ENFPs should make a real effort to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and take words and actions at face value. Assuming the worst can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, since people will eventually sense an ENFP’s mistrust and return it in kind. 

Take the foot off the accelerator. In social situations, that is. When ENFPs are tempted to turn on the charm just a bit more, or pick up the intensity in their presentation style, they would be wise to resist those urges. Smiling and nodding and listening are excellent communication tools. Interestingly, because they are so good with words, ENFPs actually need fewer of them to make their points or establish solid human connections in most instances. 

Don’t shirk the “dirty” work. ENFPs don’t always see projects through to the end, preferring to hop from one endeavor to another like a hungry hummingbird flitting through a juicy flower patch. So every once in a while, as a change of pace, ENFPs should make it a point to maintain tight control all the way to the finish. Detail work and project management do not always come naturally to ENFPs. But they have the insight and know-how to handle all the small stuff, if they just make the decision to put their noses to the grindstone and keep them there until the process is complete.

Look inside for validation. ENFPs enjoy compliments and try very hard to please, and this has a subtle, and not entirely positive, effect on their behavior. When ENFPs pay too much attention to the opinions of others, it can prevent them from following their own instincts and leave them open to manipulation. “If being true to myself gets me in hot water, then so be it”—that is what ENFPs should tell themselves when they start worrying too much about what other people think. 

Find good partners. Because they are a little lax with the details, ENFPs need assistants and co-workers who can handle the duties they tend to overlook. ENFPs enjoy working in teams so it should not be a big stretch to form relationships or partnerships with people whose skills complement their own. In their personal lives, ENFPs can also benefit by making connections with those who are good at the aspects of life they neglect. This could certainly be said about any of us, but ENFPs have a strong independent streak and may not reach out to others for help as often as they should.

About the Author

Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She founded Truity in 2012, with the goal of making quality personality tests more affordable and accessible. She has led the development of assessments based on Myers and Briggs' personality types, Holland Codes, the Big Five, DISC, and the Enneagram. She is an ENTP, a tireless brainstormer, and a wildly messy chef. Find Molly on Twitter at @mollmown.

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