For a while now, I have been saying that I’d write about ENFPs because they fascinate me (or I should say, “we” fascinate me). You probably want to know, what is an ENFP?
To understand what it is, you need a little background.
Back in the '90s and early '00s, you might have heard of the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory and/or read a book called Please Understand Me II. Both resources include the comprehensive personality test commonly known as the Myers-Briggs. I think a friend introduced me to it in about 1999, and I continue to be blown away by the accuracy of the description of this, my personality type, over the subsequent decades.
So what is an ENFP?
If you are one, you might already know it, because we ENFPs are seekers, determined to learn more about ourselves. In the language of Myers and Briggs, ENFPs are people with personalities that score highest on measures of extroversion, intuition, feeling, and perceiving in the Myers-Briggs scale of 4 different dichotomous pairs of traits:
Extroversion (E) – Introversion (I)
Intuition (N) – Sensing (S)
Feeling (F) – Thinking (T)
Perceiving (P) – Judging (J)
Your score on each of these pairs is determined by your answers to carefully crafted questions. Once you answer them, you get a score for each pair, and viola! You have a “dominant personality type.”
So why do I keep referring to this little quartet of letters when I explain my desire to coach or my constant seeking for what’s next in my life? Because the description of the ENFP personality type—in particular the “NF” part—captures me and my tendencies so well. To wit:
Interact vs. Act Alone
“People-to-people work is essential for ENFPs, who need the feedback of interaction with others.” p. 175
Discover vs. Know
“The thought that the visible is all there is is untenable for the NF.” p. 65
Novelty vs. Certainty
“They can become bored rather quickly with situations and people and resist repeating experiences” [specific to ENFPs] p. 174
People vs. Ideas
“As with the NT, the NF is future oriented and focused on what might be. But, rather than thinking about the possibilities of principles as does the NT, the NF thinks about the possibilities in people.” p. 65
To sum up:
These quotes are, I think, from Please Understand Me II by Keirsey and Bates. I don’t actually know because in one of my many house moves, I sold all of my books. I only have photocopies of some of the pages regarding NFs and ENFPs. If anyone has access to either Please Understand Me or Please Understand Me II, could you tell which book these quotes are from? The page numbers I list above are accurate.
Who are ENFPs?
Typically writers, speakers, coaches, public figures. This explains my professional preferences so much! It also explains why I became so painfully disenchanted with—indeed, disgusted and burnt out by—my editing jobs. There was no interaction, only one-sided, asynchronous communication done in isolation with no real-time presence of another human being. It explains why I am constantly enthusiastic about coaching. It also explains why I am determined to grab hold of every possibility to participate in my favorite fun things to do, starting now and hopefully not finishing until I’m dead.
My ENFP Journey
So when I say “because I am an ENFP,” it’s shorthand for explaining why I am acting the way I am acting and why something is important to me that is not important to most other people (only about 6% of the population is said to be ENFPs). It also explains so very clearly why most people I know, including my relatives, seem to have no ability (or, perhaps, simply no desire) to understand me and my life choices at all, and why I have naturally gravitated toward other ENFPs in my life.
Check out this link to the Myers & Briggs Foundation for tons of useful info about the test and what the results mean. It's SO much fun!
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