ENFJ and INFP: Two Idea-Driven Personality Types

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1. ENFJ and INFP Compatibility

2. ENFJ Characteristics

3. Personality Type Cognitive Functions

4. ENFJ Cognitive Function Stack

5. ENFJ Shadow Functions

6. INFP Characteristics

7. INFP Cognitive Function Stack

8. INFP Shadow Functions

9. Conclusion

Knowing about yourself is the foundation of success in all aspects of your life: in work, as a parent, as a partner, or in any other life role.

What do you know about yourself? Are you clear about your strengths and weaknesses?

In this article, we look at two personality types—ENFJ and INFP—in the Myers-Briggs personality types. Whether one of these personalities is your own, or that of someone else, having this knowledge will help you develop more fruitful relationships and unlock opportunities.

They also each have particular strengths and weaknesses and can interact in some very supportive ways. We will go through the features of each of these personality types, then the differences, and provide some insights to help these personalities achieve their potential in the world.

ENFJ and INFP Compatibility

Understanding another personality type enables you to have better communication than otherwise possible. Knowing how someone else processes feelings and information will facilitate how you communicate to get your message across with the least friction.

This understanding smooths communication in personal relationships and in the workplace environment. And it works both ways. Knowing how you respond prepares you for interactions with someone with a different personality type. And knowing how a different personality type works allows you to understand that they approach ideas, reactions, and feelings in a way that is different from yours.

Fortunately, ENFJs and INFPs have a number of compatible functions that make a relationship, either personal or workplace, easy to navigate.

ENFJs and IFPPs have great potential for close and caring relationships. You may find many similarities between how you think about and approach life. The two of you have a compassionate and idealistic nature, and even if you disagree on some things, you’ll probably feel that you’re on the same page when it comes to the major issues.

You both share your ideals and your commitment to helping others. While you may follow a few different paths, your goal is the same: to make the world a better place. This shared ethic allows you to build a lasting bond.

Conflict is unlikely between you since you are both inclined to imagine yourself in the shoes of the other person. When difficulties arise, you’ll approach them with compassion and empathy.

Despite having a similar general style of communicating, there is still some potential for misunderstandings. If you work on projects together, you may find that you tend to discuss the overall goals, but neglect to discuss details.

Both of you tend to talk more about the general idea than about the facts and practicalities. Make sure you take into account any details that require decisions and don’t assume you’re on the same page when you work together to create a plan.

The INFP values flexibility and freedom, and this in an area in which you differ from the ENFJ.

The INFP may take a relaxed approach to life, while the ENFJ tends to be more goal-oriented and serious. ENFJs value stability and structure, while INFPs readily trade stability for freedom to do things their way.

ENFJs may sometimes feel that INFPs aren’t serious or driven enough. And INFPs may occasionally find ENFJs lacking in fun.

You may find organization to be a major sticking point between you. While INFPs tend to be fairly relaxed about schedules, plans, and systems, ENFJs take a more structured approach. There may be disagreements over these fundamental differences.

Scheduling can also be a source of conflict between you, as INFPs prefer to leave things open-ended, while ENFJs prefer things planned and settled. Mutual respect and understanding is the key. Sometimes, compromise may be needed, yet seek input from a coach or mentor here. First, recognize that you have different approaches and that each style has its advantages.

At the workplace, INFPs may have some conflict about whether it’s really more important to work hard and achieve, or relax and enjoy the ride. ENFJs love taking charge and getting things done.

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ENFJ Characteristics

ENFJs are motivated by an altruistic sense of empathy and kindness. Having intuitive understanding of the emotions of others, they often serve as a useful emotional barometer for others around them.

However, their compassion does not rest solely on those close to them. They are often humanitarian in nature, and may feel genuine concern for the ills of humanity. They tend to experience the feelings of others personally and are motivated to act when they see people suffering.

ENFJs believe cooperation is the best way to achieve objectives and want supportive relationships with others. They enjoy being liked and are very sensitive to feedback, both positive and negative. In addition to seeking the best from others, they may feel disappointed when others are not as genuine in their intentions. ENFJs strive to maintain loyal relationships and be valuable members of their families, communities, and groups.

ENFJ stands for Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging. ENFJ indicates a person who is inspired by time spent with others (Extraverted), whose focus is on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling), and who prioritizes being planned and organized over being spontaneous and flexible (Judging). ENFJs are sometimes referred to as Protagonist or Teacher personalities due to their desire to help others grow and develop.

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Personality Type Cognitive Functions

Each personality type has a dominant and shadow function. 

The following are the different primary functions as they relate to a personality type:

Dominant Function: Focuses on how an individual is seen in the world by themselves and others. They are concerned about other people’s perceptions of them since they have an extraverted, dominant function.

Auxiliary Function: Conducted by order, rules, and how the person functions in the world.

Tertiary Function: The function uses the inner child and draws on how the ENFJ responds to other people. Often it’s a childish response. This is a rather underdeveloped position as compared to the other functions.

Inferior Function: This function is the least developed among the primary functions. We are primarily concerned with how we relate to people who differ from us.

Depending on the personality, the functions that sit in each category above may vary. For example, an ENFJ’s dominant function is extraverted feeling, but an INFP’s dominant function is introverted feeling.

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ENFJ Cognitive Function Stack

The ENFJ has four dominant functions. Individuals use this function to communicate with others and live their daily lives. Out of the four primary functions, the first is more dominant, and the fourth is more reserved.

Let’s look at the ENFJ cognitive functions to see how they correlate to this personality type.

Fe – Extraverted Feeling. This primary, dominant function relates to the relationships of the ENFJ. Their goal is to help or benefit others. As a result, ENFJs are able to engage with the world and make decisions based on instincts heavily influenced by others and the impact their decisions have on them.

Ni – Introverted Intuition. Introverted Intelligence is a function inside that processes information that is then transformed into an idea. This has to do with the preference of ENFJ to think about the future rather than the present. This function is more instinctive and is used to nurture and protect others.

Se – Extraverted Sensing. In addition to taking in the present moment, Extraverted Sensing gathers details and other sensory information from the surroundings and environment. This encourages ENFJs to seek out interesting experiences and to be aware of their current environment. At times, it can make ENFJs feel impulsive or distracted, and it is also known as a vulnerable area.

Ti – Introverted Thinking. Introverted thinking is responsible for enjoying structure and control and a struggle to narrow down a lot of information into an impersonal lexicon and critical perspective. ENFJs feel a sense of control by having a schedule and structure, but because of its inferior status, this function may not be in high confidence and may require more effort to develop.

Depending on the personality, the functions that sit in each category above may vary. For example, an ENFJ’s dominant function is extraverted feeling, but an INFP’s dominant function is introverted feeling.​

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ENFJ Shadow Functions

People often overlook the shadow functions. But they can be very revealing and help you better understand your limitations to become more open.

An ENFJ’s shadow functions are non-dominant parts of their personality. We usually experience shadow functions when we are tired, annoyed, or in a situation that causes tension.

There are four shadow functions to a Myers-Briggs personality, and they fall into these categories:

Opposing: Introverted Feeling (Si) – This is the first of the shadow functions, and it acts as your primary defense mechanism when you are faced with a challenge. For ENFJs, this is Introverted feeling (Si). The goal is to compare past and present experiences. This function keeps Fe (Extroverted Feeling) functions in check.

Critical Parent: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)  – This function is a “strict parent” function that is described as being self-critical, limiting, or becoming that way towards others.

This contradicts the planned and organized aspects of the auxiliary function Ni and can cause irritation and overwhelm.

Deceiving or Trickster: Introverted Sensing (Si) – The shadow function is a knee-jerk reaction when an ENFJ feels threatened. It opens up a variety of options and can create disorganization or disorder in an effort to protect the ego. The feeling of extreme responsibility or limitation can also occur. ​​

The Demon: Extraverted Thinking (Te) – This shadow function is your weakest link in all of your cognitive functions. It focuses on objective facts for ENFJs to achieve their goals. It creates logical order, and is not always preferred, but is also vital to meeting other goals.

The shadow functions of an ENFJ are opposite to all the primary cognitive functions. So, an ENFJ who is an extraverted feeling person has the opposing shadow function of introverted feeling.

The shadow functions arise at the worst times, usually when we feel stressed and are quick to do something hurtful. When an ENFJ expresses shadow functions, expect to see normally uncharacteristic actions.

Because they are outgoing, talkative, persuasive, warm, energetic, and charismatic, ENFJs are fantastic at encouraging, helping, and supporting others. They are better than most at reading other people’s emotions and feelings. ENFJs are driven by empathy for others.

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INFP Characteristics

Guided by their core values and beliefs, INFPs are imaginative idealists. Always looking at possibilities, the realism of the moment holds little consideration for INFPs. As a result, they see potential for a better future and pursue truth and meaning with their own flair.

In addition to being sensitive, caring, and compassionate, INFPs care deeply about their own and others’ development. Individualistic and nonjudgmental, INFPs believe each individual must find his or her own path. They are open-minded and encourage others to take the same steps to explore their own ideas and values. INFPs are creative and often artistic people who seek new avenues for self-expression.

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INFP Cognitive Function Stack

The same principles apply to the cognitive functions for an INFP. Individuals use these functions to communicate with others and live their daily lives. Out of the four primary functions, the first is more dominant, and the fourth is more reserved.

Here are the four cognitive functions for an INFP:

FI – Introverted Feeling. INFPs internalize experiences on their own.They really want to feel their way through the world solo, even when around others. So, in a group, they need to come out of solo thinking, and this requires energy. This is their dominant mode of being.

Ne – Extroverted Intuition. If INFPs are concerned with who they are in an introverted sense, they can be extroverted when it comes to discovering who they are. In order to develop their sense of self, they look to the world outside of themselves.

SI – Introverted Sensing. Especially when they have internalized the past through the first two functions, INFPs value the past. INFPs are not bound by tradition, but will honor traditions they have experienced and assimilated when they believe that those traditions reflect their values and speak to their identity.

Te – Extroverted Thinking. This function is like a secret craving for order. This feeling-based group of people can be perceived as unfeeling because they are so quiet, but they also value structure, even though they are seen as disorganized.

INFPs want an open, supportive exchange of ideas. They treat others with acceptance and non-judgment, believing that each individual must follow their own path. They are flexible and accommodating and can see many perspectives. In turn, the INFP emphasizes supporting other people.

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INFP Shadow Functions

The shadow functions can stay hidden but tend to come to light when the INFP is under stress. For an INFP, this could be when someone tries to steamroll them into a new way of thinking or doing. Or, when the INFP must mix and mingle in a large group.

Opposing: Extraverted Feeling (Fe) – When someone challenges the INFP’s values or makes a threat to their ego, the INFP may lash out and appeal to external values or the values of “the group” in order to solidify their argument.

The Critical Parent: Introverted Intuition (Ni) – The critical parent is often harsh and hypercritical. It seeks to establish limits and control, and it defends itself by denying oneself or others. Often immature, the critical parent sets limits on their own plans and dreams because they have a hunch that they will fail.

The Trickster: Extraverted Sensing (Se) – The trickster’s primary function is to manipulate and create paradoxes. It distorts INFP experiences. They may become impulsive, reckless, or focused on the moment at the expense of their ideals and dreams.

The Demon: Introverted Thinking (Ti) – This function can be harmful to an INFP. Systematizing things may become too important to them, or they may try to apply cold, hard logic to arguments and define and re-define terms. Over time, they may become flustered and will tear apart existing models and frameworks to prove they are inconsistent. Additionally, they may become increasingly self-critical and focus on their own logical inconsistencies and failures.

While being true to your ideals is admirable, in the real world, it may be impossible to achieve anything until the INFP can find a way to give and take a little and achieve practical, albeit imperfect, solutions to problems.

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When You Want to Channel Your Ideals for A Better You

Holding high ideals isn’t enough to change your life. When you want to make a change, the most successful change comes from knowing yourself, aligning your talents and strengths with your ideals, and taking action steps.

When your action steps are based on a solid foundation, you can make changes that are even more you, without limiting beliefs and actions that hold you back.

At elevanation, we mentor you for career and life success. If you want to enjoy these benefits, schedule your free action call with me today.

See you soon.

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Christian Pyrros
Senior Mentor and Coach

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