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ENFJ: The Protagonist (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging)

An Overview of the ENFJ Personality Type

By Julia Simkus, published June 08, 2022

by Saul Mcleod, PhD

ENFJ Personality Type

ENFJ (extraversion, intuition, feeling, judging) is a four-letter acronym used to represent one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. People with the ENFJ personality type tend to be responsible, outgoing, and loyal.

Famous ENFJs include Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Maslow, Barack Obama, Pope John Paul II, and Maya Angelou.

ENFJ is one of the less common types in the population, especially for men. Among men, ENFJ is the second rarest type. ENFJs make up:

  • 3% of the general population
  • 2% of men
  • 2% of women

They are highly attuned to the emotions of others and their charming presence can attract the attention of just about any one.

They have strong desires to help others fulfill their potential, and they derive personal satisfaction from helping those around them.

They tend to make good leaders as they are highly capable of facilitating agreement among diverse groups of people.

ENFJs are sometimes referred to as “the Giver,” “the Protagonist,” or “the Teacher.” ISTP is the opposite personality type of ENFJ.

Strengths Weaknesses
Affectionate Self-sacrificing
Harmonious Overprotective
Reliable Indecisive
Altruistic Overly Idealistic
Sociable Manipulative

Key ENFJ Characteristics

  • ENFJs have magnetic personalities. They are capable of forming friendships with all types of people and can captivate a wide audience with their irresistible charm.

    As extroverts, ENFJs love spending time with other people. They like to be the center of attention and thrive on the energy from being in the company of others.

    They have excellent people skills and a unique ability to communicate proficiently whether in large crowds or small groups.

    ENFJs tend to have large social circles as they work hard to maintain strong relationships and will go to great lengths to care for their loved ones.

    However, while ENFJs are highly sociable, they do need time alone in order to recuperate and organize their thoughts.

  • ENFJs are remarkably empathetic. They have a unique ability to understand what others feel while also recognizing the importance of allowing others to express themselves fully.

    They enjoy helping others solve their personal problems as they strive to have a positive impact on the world around them.

    But, ENFJs can sometimes be too empathetic to the point of being over involved. They can have a tendency to take on other people’s problems as their own.

  • ENFJs have strong value systems. They preach authenticity and altruism and harbor a deep desire to be a force of positivity in the world.

    They can be incredibly persuasive and influential, motivated to change people’s minds by their genuine desire to do the right thing and help others realize their potential.

    They are driven to stand up for the people and ideas that they believe in because they genuinely believe they can make an impactful difference.

  • People with the ENFJ personality type can make great leaders. They tend to be idealists who are driven to implement their visions and achieve their goals in order to benefit society.

    They are motivating and inspirational and feel passionate about the potential for humanity. ENFJs feel a personal responsibility to make the world a better place.

    They can intuitively see opportunities for improvement in others and thus love to support people in becoming the best versions of themselves.

    They are also skilled at establishing harmony among diverse groups of people as their charisma can easily persuade others to their ideas.

    They are so interested in devoting their time to others, though, that sometimes they neglect their own needs in the process.

Cognitive Functions of an ENFJ

The MBTI suggests that the four different cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensing) form a hierarchy where each function is either directed outwardly (extroverted) or inwardly (introverted). The order of these functions determines one’s personality.

MBTI test dichotomies

The dominant function is the primary aspect of personality, while the auxiliary and tertiary functions play supportive roles.

Dominant: Extraverted Feeling

  • ENFJs are outward-turning individuals who love being surrounded by others. They have an engaging social behavior and draw energy from their social relationships.
  • They are intuitively aware of other people’s feelings and tend to place the needs of others before their own.
  • When making decisions, ENFJs tend to place a stronger emphasis on subjective emotions than on logic and facts. They are primarily concerned with how a decision will impact others.

Auxiliary: Introverted Intuition

  • ENFJs like to think about the distant future rather than focus on the here and now.
  • They create unique ideas, thoughts, and patterns as they process information about the world around them in order to make sense of complex or abstract concepts.

Tertiary: Extraverted Sensing

  • This function of the ENFJ personality can lead these individuals to take in concrete details and sensory information from their environment, allowing them to appreciate the present moment.
  • While ENFJs like to think about the distant future, they tend to be very aware of their immediate surroundings.

Inferior: Introverted Thinking

  • ENFJs are highly organized and structured individuals who like to stick to a predictable schedule and routine.
  • They want to feel in control of the world around them. However, this is an inferior function, so many ENFJs do not feel confident in their own ability to be balanced and in control.

ENFJ Hobbies, Interests, and Careers

ENFJs are highly attuned to people’s feelings and needs, and they tend to be most passionate about careers that enable them to help other people reach their full potential.

ENFJs are enthusiastic problem-solvers who are particularly skilled at resolving conflicts and creating harmony.

They can excel in essentially any people-oriented field, but tend to feel particularly motivated when they can help others learn and grow.

Because their primary goal is to encourage other people to become better versions of themselves, ENFJs make successful psychologists, teachers, counselors, social workers, coaches, and human resource managers.

ENFJs also thrive in leadership and managerial roles. They are able to utilize their strong communication and planning skills to naturally organize people to take advantage of each individuals’ unique talents, and as a result, put their ideas into action.

In their free time, ENFJs enjoy organizing social events, reading, engaging with the arts, visiting museums, telling stories, listening to music, writing, and cooking.

ENFJ Work Environments

ENFJs can find ways to serve and inspire others in nearly any work environment. They adapt well to different situations and to different types of people.

However, the ideal work environment for an ENFJ is one that is harmonious, progressive, and people-centered. They enjoy working on a team where everyone can feel comfortable expressing their opinions and is motivated by the same core vision.

They thrive in environments that emphasize a clear humanitarian mission and are aligned with their personal values.

ENFJs look for work that allows them to support others and encourage their growth.

ENFJ Personal Relationships

ENFJs value their relationships with other people highly. They have outgoing, extraverted personalities and love to surround themselves with people.

They are good at connecting with a wide variety of people and forming friendships in all walks of their lives. ENFJs make caring and generous friends.

They invest a lot of time and energy into helping people solve their problems. ENFJs are particularly good at relating to others and bringing out the best in the people around them.

Typically, ENFJs are well liked individuals as their friends and family appreciate their genuine concern and care.

However, sometimes they can come off as overbearing and overinvolved. ENFJs are natural leaders and mentors, but need to know when to allow others to solve their own problems and grow without pushing too hard.

As partners, ENFJs are nurturing, affectionate, and enthusiastically supportive. When ENFJs fall in love, they tend to feel deeply.

They take dating and relationships seriously and are not afraid to make the first move when they find someone who meets their standards.

ENFJs are highly sensitive to the feelings of their partners and are ready to help whenever the opportunity arises. They enjoy caring for their significant others and encouraging them to explore their greatest potential.

When in a longer term relationship, ENFJs will even take on their partners’ goals as their own.

Tips for Interacting With ENFJs

Friendships

The ideal friend for an ENFJ appreciates their compassion and support, and accepts the care that they naturally offer.

As people with this personality type enjoy helping others, it is important to make an ENFJ feel appreciated and acknowledged.

It is also important to make an effort to understand the ENFJ's feelings and values and offer your own support in return.

Relationships

Similarly, as the significant other of an ENFJ, you should let your partner know how much you appreciate their generosity and care.

ENFJs believe that relationships are built on trust and mutual support, so you should also be willing to provide the same love and kindness in return.

Parenting

As parents, ENFJs tend to have a more hands-on approach. They take a very active role in their childrens’ lives and enjoy guiding their kids through the world.

They can be overprotective and stifling, making it difficult for their children to learn and explore on their own.

They can also hold high expectations for their kids and become disappointed when they do not live up to these expectations.

However, they love their children deeply and tend to create encouraging and supportive home lives.


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About the Author

Julia Simkus is an undergraduate student at Princeton University, majoring in Psychology. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology upon graduation from Princeton in 2023. Julia has co-authored two journal articles, one titled “Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions During the COVID-19 Pandemic and COVID-19-Related Restrictions," which was published in Frontiers in Psychiatry in April 2021 and the other titled “Food Addiction: Latest Insights on the Clinical Implications," to be published in Handbook of Substance Misuse and Addictions: From Biology to Public Health in early 2022.

How to reference this article:

Simkus, J. (2022, June 08). ENFJ: The Architect (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging). Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/ENFJ-personality.html

Sources

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