Expressive, outgoing, and creative, the ENFP makes up one of the most popular personality types.
Reading time: 5 minutes
This short series covers several aspects of the ENFP personality type.
You can jump straight to any section by clicking the links below. Otherwise, we’ll start with the classic definition of the ENFP personality type.
ENFP stands for Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving.
In the popular Myers-Briggs or 16-personalities tradition, all personalities belong to one of 16 types. Each type is defined by preferences across four cognitive functions:
Here’s how to understand the ENFP’s place on all four dimensions:
ENFPs have an extraverted attitude or orientation.
ENFPs tend to focus more on the objective world of people and their external environment, while an introverted attitude leads to a greater focus on the inner, subjective world of concepts and ideas.
ENFPs prefer to use the cognitive function of intuition over sensing when taking in information about the world.
This dimension, intuition vs. sensing, is known as the perceiving function in MBTI theory.
Intuition refers to perception from sources other than the sensory system. ENFPs prefer to use their perception of abstract patterns, connections, “gut feeling” about a situation, rather than relying more heavily on perception directly through the sensory system (sensing).
ENFPs prefer using their feeling function when judging information and assessing values and needs among people.
This dimension, thinking vs. feeling, is known as the judging function in MBTI theory.
By prefering feeling over thinking as their judging function, ENFPs lean on their acute understanding of others’ emotions, desires, and perceptions.
As a perceiving type, ENFPs tend to present their perceiving function of intuition to the external world.
Because they present their perceiving function externally, other people see ENFPs as highy intuitive, curious, and interested in abstract concepts and ideas.
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The four-letter types from MBTI theory encode each type’s attitudes and preferred cognitive functions.
For the ENFP,
From this, we can determine how the ENFP prefers the four cognitive functions of intuition, sensing, thinking, and feeling:
Why? ENFPs have an introverted attitude (I) and a perceiving attitude (P), so they present their perceiving function (N) to the external world.
Like all extraverted types, ENFJs prefer an orientation to the outer world, so they present their strongest cognitive function (N) to the outer world and other people.
ENFJs’ secondary function, feeling, is the one they rely on more heavily in their inner, subjective world. This counterbalances their extraverted primary function.
In MBTI theory, the tertiary function is the opposite of the auxiliary function, which for ENFPs is thinking.
Lastly, the inferior function is the opposite of the primary function, which for ENFPs is sensing. The inferior function in all personality types is the least developed function.
According to the MBTI, somewhere between 2% and 11% of all people will be classified as an ENFP.