The ENFP Personality: Key Traits, Strengths, Weaknesses + More
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), each of us falls under one of 16 personality types. And of all 16 personalities, there are few more energetic or enthusiastic in terms of expressing themselves than the ENFP type.
The ENFP personality type.
As Michael Segovia, a senior consultant at The Myers-Briggs Company, explains to mbg, ENFPs are known to be spontaneous, creative, personable, energetic, and future-focused. And John Hackston, head of thought leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company, adds that they're also enthusiastic, caring, and people-centered.
These folks love to try or share new things, from ideas to experiences, but they can have some difficulty with follow-through. And Segovia adds that they're also likely to feel overwhelmed or have a sudden change in emotions if they're forced to make a decision before they're ready for it.
5 key traits:
ENFPs have an unmistakable enthusiasm in their approach to things, from a new passion project to meeting new people. "They are enthusiastic instigators of projects, but may become bored, or excited by another new idea, and leave things unfinished," Hackston tells mbg.
This type also enjoys variety, spontaneity, and having a "go with the flow" attitude—hence the difficulty with staying on track. "They love sharing new ideas and possibilities with other people [and] looking for adventures and novel experiences," Hackston explains.
Hackston notes that ENFPs are also creative thinkers, with a focus on the big picture. They can think abstractly and have a strong capacity to create, though they don't always catch important details. "They may see new connections that others do not, helping them to be more aware of what is going on around them—however, they may occasionally see links that do not actually exist, seeing a hidden agenda where nothing of the sort is intended," Hackston explains.
ENFPs have a charisma about them that makes them naturally inspiring and motivating to be around, according to both Hackston and Segovia. "People who have ENFP preferences are natural motivators, enjoy new challenges, and inspire others either in their professional setting or in their personal life," Segovia says. They are also guided by a strong core of personal values, Hackston adds.
One last telltale trait of an ENFP is their ability to adapt and be flexible in a variety of scenarios, or with all kinds of people. As Segovia explains, this type is often described as adaptable to change, "and they like to keep their options open."
- Big-picture thinkers
- Easily overwhelmed
- Can miss important details
- Difficulty staying on task
- Seeing connections that don't exist
- Seeking approval from others
ENFPs in relationships.
The way ENFPs behave in relationships is reflective of their spontaneous and flexible personality. As Segovia explains, they like to meet new people, hear different points of view, and consider their options before settling down with someone long term.
They tend to be supportive and good listeners, making their partners feel seen and appreciated, he notes, adding that meaningful conversations to share dreams, feelings, and thoughts matter to them deeply.
According to Hackston, while they want to feel a deep connection to a romantic partner, they also want someone they can have fun with. "This may be overwhelming or too intense for some people, so the ideal romantic partner is likely to be someone who either reciprocates these characteristics—another ENFP, for example—or someone happy to be spontaneous and go with the flow" (aka likely another perceiving type). And as Segovia adds, ENFPs can be "more difficult to be understood by types that value stability and routine."
Statistically speaking, research has shown that people who have intuition and feeling in common have a greater than 70% chance of compatibility. That means an ENFP will be most compatible with an ENFJ, INFJ, INFP, or another ENFP.
ENFPs in the workplace.
When it comes to ENFPs and their careers, the love of spontaneity and trying new things holds true. And according to Hackston, they also make supportive and empathetic colleagues, enjoying working with others. "They are looking for variety, new challenges, and the opportunity to be creative. They want a connection to other people, and to work in a job and for an organization that fits with their values," he explains.
Hackston and Segovia also note that it's not uncommon for an ENFP to change careers, and even career paths, multiple times throughout their life. Ultimately, they're creative problem solvers and thrive by learning new things and thinking outside the box, Segovia says. "They feel attracted by the opportunity of working alongside different people—especially those who also express their creativity when facing challenges," he adds.
ENFPs like the freedom to follow their own process, so deadlines can be stressful for them. Because of this, ENFPs may find themselves interested in entrepreneurship, Segovia tells mbg. And as Hackston adds, they're also attracted to jobs where they can motivate and inspire others, combine innovation with teamwork and their values, and of course, be creative or even artsy.
- Motivational speaker
- Charity work
- Ethical startups
How to thrive as an ENFP.
To thrive as an ENFP, Hackston says it's important that this type remembers they can say no, even if something new piques their interest. "Don't overextend yourself," he explains. "Take a moment to think about what really matters to you. What are your values? What will help you to achieve these, and what gets in the way? What can you do about this?"
Segovia echoes this point, adding to be aware of other commitments so you don't bounce around, overcommit, or overwhelm yourself. And speaking of overwhelming, "Schedules and deadlines are generally inevitable in the workplace, so try to create mechanisms to balance them with your creative process to avoid stress triggers," he adds.
And lastly, according to Segovia, its important ENFPs remember to honor who they are first and foremost, "while learning how to flex to the opposite side of your preferences when the situation calls for it" (i.e., tapping into your logic or "thinking" when the "feeling" side is running the ship).
The bottom line.
Every Myers-Briggs type has its strengths and weaknesses, and ENFPs are no exception. They're spontaneous, inspiring, and creative forces to have in your life—just don't be surprised if they tend to overthink, gloss over details, or become easily overwhelmed.