ENFP relationship issues – an analysis

Recently I have had a lot of friends who either are an ENFP or are in a relationship with an ENFP run into problems. It is my hope that this guide will give insight into the world of ENFPs and how it relates to everyone else.

I have close to a dozen ENFP friends and my younger brother is an ENFP as well. So i have been able to observe them first hand with my practical ENTJ mind to see what works for them and what doesn’t. Every personality type has blind spots/biases and it is very difficult for most to self examine and admit they have an issue in an area.

It seems like everyone knows an ENFP and they probably do, because ENFPs know everyone. This is somewhat surprising as they only make up about 3-4% of the population.

Strengths of  ENFPs

ENFPs are master social harmonizers. This is their single greatest strength and social harmony is something they value above all else, including themselves. ENFPs love the social challenge of trying to get different groups or cliques to harmonize with one another. ENFPs are very fun, loving people that love it when they can play a part in making everyone have a good time. Their knack for comedy to diffuse social tension is something they resort to quite often. They like to have everyone included and will often approach and bring in more shy people.

ENFPs genuinely value everyone’s diverse opinions. They seek common ground among all peoples another and use this as an effective strategy they use to bring about social harmony. Often ENFPs can resort to being a monkey and provide brief entertainment. ENFPs do well in improv comedy.

ENFPs morph into their social circles, adopting the mannerisms and the style of a given group in order to fit in and bring harmony. ENFPs socially thus are some of the most adaptable people out there and can simultaneously juggle multiple diametrically opposed social groups.

The only time you will ever see a ENFP get upset or angry is when they deem someone to be a major social harmony disruptor. At this point the full wrath of an ENFP will be felt, often by publicly trying to ostracize someone.

A girl ENFP in the world of girls is truly a gem. Femalekind is notorious for being hypergamous and gossiping and putting others down to raise their own value. A female ENFP typically does no such thing and is often a breath of fresh air when it comes to a catty female environoment. ENFP females thus will often have a lot of guy friends more so then other types.

Good career choices for ENFPs

ENFPs make good group leaders, youth leaders, pastors, socialites, human resource specialists, union leaders, team builders,  and especially group therapy facilitators. They genuinely want to help people, but can become “depressed” if their usual happy-go lucky methods don’t work. They think “love” can solve all the world’s problems. Many honestly believe it’s that simple…however sorry to say it’s often much more complicated. Something they tend to have a hard time accepting.

Weaknesses of ENFPs

Our weaknesses are our strengths turned up to loud. And this applies to every personality type.

An ENFPs greatest strength is their socializing ability, how could that possibly be a negative? In fact I believe most ENFps are truly miffed and confused when they run into relationship problems. They are so very successful at making people feel good about themselves and making friendships it truly baffles them when an intimate relationship goes sideways.

The first greatest problem an ENFP has is they are so focused on making other people happy they often forget about themselves. Health is one area where ENFPs will often compromise on themselves. And this ties in with one of their strategies of self-destructive social harmonizing.

You see ENFPs tend to be either relatively overweight or underweight tending to an extreme on either end. They use the very shape of their body to try and make people feel more at ease with theirs. Super skinny ENFPs often adopt meek/small body posture in order to be less intimidating. They purposely make themselves small so they can make others big so they will feel better about themselves.

Obese ENFP’s often very overweight adopt an opposite strategy. They take the giant teddy-bear approach and will try to make others feel better about themselves by consistently being fatter than them. Obviously this approach doesn’t work on everyone for there is always someone skinnier or fatter than you out there, but as long as they are skinnier or fatter than their primary social groups, ENFPs feel their strategy is effective.

Occasionally you will run into a fit and healthy ENFP. In those circumstances they  are usually involved in social circles that are interested in fitness. Like a biking club or a running club, or being everyone’s bro at the gym.

Other than their possible health compromises, ENFPs often compromise their personal emotional life or values. Trying to find out what an ENFP values independent of others can be truly a challenge because so much of what they value is directly tied to other peoples values.

Which brings me to another point. ENFPs can find themselves in toxic situations possibly a very dysfunctional family. In such a case they feel like they are the glue that holds the family unit together. In such cases an ENFP can become the abused and stay in abusive relationships. If there is conflict between parents an ENFP child will often try to come between them and be the sacrificial lamb in order to preserve a relationship that they deem necessary for their personal survival. ENFPs can and do support dysfunctional family relationships at great cost to themselves.

One of the greatest disillusions or false belief an ENFP holds is that they believe they can MAKE other people happy. An ENFP may not admit this but, if you look at their actions it only becomes very apparent. This I believe is one of their greatest weakness because happiness is something that comes from within and can’t be applied cosmetically.

Shallowness – ENFPs are paradoxically deep and shallow. It’s that they can be deep for short periods of time, but they naturally tend towards a “fun/light” state and don’t wan’t to be caught up in 1hr long deep discussions about a single emotional event. ENFPS roughly have a 5-10 min time limit when it comes to discussing things of an emotionally deep nature before they are worn out, and want to move on to something else fun and lighthearted.

Lighthearted may be a better description than shallow, but you can see how the two are linked. Due to the nature of opposites attracting ENFPs are often attracted to introverts that are feeling oriented. And this is the crux of most ENFP relationship problems. Introverted feeler types can spend half a day dwelling and working through a single emotional issue. This is particularly taxing to an ENFP and often an ENFP will opt out or get annoyed with so much deepness and go talk to another friend. This intern makes the introverted feeling partner left out in the cold on a limb. Then they may brood about it, and feel poorly misunderstood and unappreciated. Introverted feeling types need lots of time and care when it comes to their emotions. Often an ENFP just isn’t willing to do this to the extent that’s necessary.

This is where I believe ENFPs need the most amount of personal spiritual growth. They can learn from introverted feeling types the focus and concentration necessary to tune into the inner world and self reflect and work through emotions.

In a way ENFPs dupe many deep people (iNtuitive types). They definitely have the capacity to be deep and those who are deep get excited at the prospect of someone who can meet them at their level only to find an ENFP will leave them in the dust after a short period of time seeking more novelty.

Experience junky – ENFPs are forever seeking novelty. This makes them very diverse interesting individuals in the sense they know a little bit about everything but rarely a lot about any one thing. This can sometimes apply to their relationships as well, and it most defiantly applies to their social life. ENFPs love social novelty hence why they have so many diverse groups of friends, which they often keep separate because disharmony would result if they mixed them too much. Also ENFPs love travelling. They rush into all new experiences head first. This is great however it can be a bit much at times. ENFPs may find it hard to settle in on space or a given relationship before they are on to the next new thing. It can also impede their personal development in the sense that they can’t fully develop one thing if they are constantly rushing to the next shiny thing.

It may appear that they are running from the problems in their life and this often may in fact be the case if they become accustomed to it. Sitting down and introspecting for any length of time is generally quite difficult. They are often plugged in to some form of social connections, texting, tweeting, instagraming and face-booking. On fb they tend to have friends in the thousands.






15 thoughts on “ENFP relationship issues – an analysis

  1. piporw

    This post has been super enlightening. Some of the weaknesses you bring up have actually been changed into strengths for me, as I have found my INFJ soulmate! Her FJ makes her the perfect amount of a feelings person and so has taught me how deep emotion and thought can prove worthwhile. I look forward to more of your posts!!

  2. Jessica

    i would have to agree on most, especially being attracted to introverted feelers as my fiance is one. (isfj/infj) but the weight perspective to me is a lil diff, physical appearences never meant much to me i just love interesting souls! but great insight! we are nuts! lol

  3. crichee

    I’m an ENFP and while I think there is a lot of correct in this post, quite a bit of it is superficial correctness. That is, you do hit on a lot of problems ENFP’s have, but your explanations of the motivations behind them and your nuance is rather skewed I’m afraid. So much so that at times, it seems like you’re describing a different personality type altogether (Sorry! but it’s true. I feel compelled to clear some things up).

    For example, a lot of ENFP’s may be overweight, but this has a lot more to do with pleasure seeking than it does with harmonizing, even though that’s a main goal of ENFP’s in general. Hyper stimulation, not harmony seeking behavior is also the reason for poor health practices, as health requires upkeep, and the ENFP is too head-in-the-clouds excited about ideas, ideas, ideas, to be bothered with something so mundane as eating right and health maintenance. (That said, there’s a lot of regular weight ENFP’s too. I’m one of them and I don’t work out at all! I also know several others who are…average. Not fit mind you, but average).

    Similarly, I was a bit put off by your description of ENFP’s “deepness” as this is a common misnomer for this type. In fact, most ENFP’s have a very rich inner world that requires them to regularly reflect deeply about things. In fact, an ENFP can burn out if they don’t do this (much like more introverted types). Most will do so consistently (unless unhealthy), though admittedly, they will likely do so alone. The real reason ENFP’s sometimes come off as shallow, or having a tendency to stick toward light-hearted topics comes from several different things. ENFP’s are about possibilities, so wallowing in deep emotion without some kind of movement (either unraveling the cause or hypothesizing what you should do with those emotions) can get rather tiring. Our Ne makes us want to take in all the information. And our Fi needs quiet to process that information, but processing is key. The information will be used to fit into the every changing, growing puzzle of our worldview. This makes it hard to connect with those who want to discuss a deep emotion, but don’t seem to want to go beyond just looking at it. ENFP’s will want to sort out the emotion and how it fits in their view and philosophy of the world.

    Also, because ENFP’s are so friendly, often we’ll make friends too quickly. This can be a problem if they want to “go deep” with their emotions and we’re not really feeling connected enough to do so, yet. The deeper the bond, the more invested and focused on the relationship the ENFP will be, allowing for those deeper discussions. Often mere casual friendships do not qualify as deep enough for this type of sharing, because the ENFP can be very secretive about their inner world, particularly if they worry it may cause disharmony (we REALLY DON’T WANT THAT!) . And yet, we are naturally emotive, heart on your sleeve people. The pull between these two factors is why you’ll see ENFP’s be really obvious and even over-expressive of their positive emotions, but not ones that make them feel more vulnerable. Yet, if someone shares their vulnerability, an ENFP will feel compelled to reciprocate. We may not want to do that and will instead steer the conversation to something that will not disrupt the harmony (let’s keep everybody happy mentality). If we even suspect opening up will jeopardize the good feelings happening in a relationship we will hold back, giving only what we see to be manageable amounts. In other words, it’s not that those deep emotions aren’t there, or aren’t reflected on. We just don’t examine them with other people very well.

    Also, I believe your description of the “sacrificial lamb” situation probably has more to do with enneagram (core motivations) typing and less ENFP (cognitive functions). While there is often correlation between these, they don’t always necessarily match up. Many ENFP may act the way you describe, as you are correct that harmony and relationships are key values for us. But, we also have a VERY individualistic streak (Fi again), and as that is our judging function, most ENFP’s will draw the line based on our own feelings, desires, and goals. We are NOT apt to be controlled and can become very hostile and contrary if people attempt to do so. It’s not so much that we try so hard to make people happy that we forget ourselves, rather it’s that we are happiest when everyone is happy. Our values aren’t based on those of the people around us at all, We are simply more likely to conceal values that cause disharmony from the public eye, because harmony itself IS (often) one of our values. That said, healthy ENFP’s will choose their own happiness over the group’s if they are forced to do so.

    You were right about one thing. ENFP’s do tend to think that love has the potential to fix most everything, and we do tend to fall into the trap of thinking we can make people happy, either by literally sharing our happiness, or by helping them find and nurture what makes them happy. It can be hard to accept that not everyone wants or is able to pursue joy in ways (or as much as) we do. We find that quite baffling sometimes.

    Ok, sorry for the long, long rant. I’m going to leave it here. But for those who are curious, it might be good to look a little closer at the ENFP and what’s really going on behind that shiny exterior there. It’s often quite different from what it seems.

    1. Maria

      Yes!! I was upset about the same things! I feel like, though the article had some good points, they dont truly understand enfp’s.

    2. April

      This was an amazing, enlightening response. It really balances out the post, as I had the a lot of the same agreements and disagreements as you. Thank guy for taking the time to clearly differentiate!

    3. Sarah

      Yep. Agreed. As an enfp, this article didn’t resonate with me but seemed like how we may appear to an outsider. This description however was good.

    4. Samantha Smith

      Very well written! I get quite frustrated when mbti’s with nearly opposite attributes trying “analyzing” the ENFP- we are a class of personality type that is truly unique! We are like walking mysteries and contradictions! We have profound depth and we thrive around those with equal intellectual capabilities! ENFPs do love to love, however this seems to be portrayed as if we are air-headed, mindless, careless and irresponsible. We simply abide by a different moral compass than pretty much ALL of the rest of you! Also, ENFP’s ARE quite rare AND are rated as the top four most intelligent types of all the MBTI! I’ll happily post the links that will provide you with this information. Do your research before writing an article about a type of person you don’t even relate to!

    5. Samantha smith

      I’m sorry i meant for my response to be a post! Not a reply directly to your post!!! I agree with your response!

  4. Another ENFP

    Crichee, as a fellow ENFP, I have to say that was an excellent overview of ENFP behaviour. Kudos for such depth, understanding and honesty.

    You’re absolutely right that there’s a lot more going on under the surface than often meets the eye with an ENFP. This is particularly the case for casual acquaintances of the ENFP. I’m conscious at times that my effusive manner could perhaps be misconstrued by people I have just met as either overbearing or perhaps even arrogant. Similarly, the desire to experience as much as possible could be viewed as shallow or even vacuous. Of course neither of these are what the true motivations are: Harmony and bringing out the best in people is generally the motivation for the former, whilst (for me at least) understanding everything I can about the way the world fits together is generally the reasoning for the latter.

    Certainly a lot of the depth of thought and feeling is definitely kept from those around us – particularly those who are not the closest to us. I find time on my own for personal reflection is absolutely critical if I am to function at my best.

    1. GoBears!

      Hi! I’m an enfp and I think both your guys responses were on point. The thing I keep reading about is that enfps have to spend a lot of time reflecting inwardly and unhealthy ones will bottle a lot of stuff up. I don’t know how to reflect on my emotions and even when I try I have no idea if I’m doing it right. Do you guys have any links to something I can read?

  5. Steven

    I am an enfp and I completely agree with crichee. just finding out a lot about this stuff (two days I didn’t know I was enfp-t, nor did I know that one can tell so much about me because of that) I am really amazed…

  6. pete

    I grew up with an enfp brother….. I have seen him do some really weird things….. and all in all he’s a loser and set a bad example for me in life, as he is 5 years older.

    1. crichee

      Well Pete, just know that all ENFP’s are not like that. There are jerks of EVERY personality type and amazing people of every personality type, too. With only 16 types for 6+ billion people, this is kind of unavoidable. I’m sorry your brother was one of the jerks. Keep your head up and don’t let one person make you afraid of mingling with other personality types.

  7. Natalia

    I am enfp and this overview is really good. However I don’t agree with you with enfp being shallow. I love deep discussions and I hate small talks. That’s why I get upset when people really believe that butterfly stereotype is real, that we can’t focus on something for a longer period of time.


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