INTP and ENFP: Two Possibility Personalities Looking to the Future

two happy male colleagues
1. Personality Type Cognitive Functions

2. INTP Characteristics

3. INTP Cognitive Function Stack

4. INTP Shadow Functions

5. ENFP Characteristics

6. ENFP Cognitive Function Stack

7. ENFP Shadow Functions

8. ENFP and INTP Compatibility

9. Conclusion

Knowing yourself is key to finding career success. How you think, feel, and respond to situations is part of your personality. Your ability to respond appropriately and manage yourself in everyday workflow and more importantly in stressful situations.

Understanding your personality facilities how you interact with family, friends, and coworkers. 

This article examines two personality types—INTP and ENFP—in the Myers-Briggs spectrum. Whether one of these personalities is your own, or that of someone else, having this knowledge can help you develop more fruitful relationships and unlock opportunities.

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. 

First, we’ll look at cognitive functions and how they influence your personality.

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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INTP Characteristics

Philosophical innovators, INTPs are fascinated with logical analysis, systems, and design. Theory is a constant in their minds, and they seek the universal law supporting everything they see. They seek to understand the unifying themes of life in all their complexity.

INTPs are detached, analytical observers who may appear blind to the world around them because they are deeply absorbed in their thoughts. The majority of their time is spent trying to establish concepts, making connections, and trying to understand how things work. For the INTP, life is a continuing inquiry into the mysteries of the universe. Because INTPs like to understand structure, they are sometimes called the Architect or the Logician.

Individuals of this type are motivated by time alone (Introverted), focused more on ideas and concepts than facts and details (INtuitive), who is motivated by reason and logic (Thinking), and who prefers being spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving).

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INTP Cognitive Function Stack

The INTP has four dominant functions. 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. 

Function stacks describe how each personality preference is ranked. For instance, which preference (I/E N/S, T/F or J/P) is the most prominent. The cognitive functions of INTPs are as follows:

Ti – Introverted Thinking – The primary function prizes rationality and objectivity.  INTPs take time to make decisions based on logical analysis. Additionally, it increases their thirst for knowledge and learning. Considering their strong preference, the functions below are seen as serving the Ti. So most of the time, the Ti way of doing things gets priority.

Ti – Introverted Thinking – Introverted thinking enables the INFJ to think critically and analytically, and it allows them to use logic and assessment of situations to solve a problem, but they are not entirely aware of how. This function facilitates the INFJ in figuring out where their ideas might fit into existing knowledge categories and frameworks.

Ne – Extraverted Intuition – The main way INTPs take in information. Using their intuition, they obtain patterns, principles, and ideas, construct theories and frameworks, and form connections as they talk, write, or create. At times they can feel somewhat rambling as they can jump from topic to topic based on the connections they’re making at the moment rather than following a more linear conversation.

Si – Introverted Sensing – Enables them to store all the interesting facts and knowledge they gather in their brains in an organized way for future reference. Their internal world is fairly structured and detailed. This can lead to a strong sense of internal stability. Si also makes the Ti-led internal world fairly structured and detailed in its analysis, and can often lead to a very strong sense of internal stability which can come across as arrogance to others. Specifically, INTPs have high demands for precise language, and their ability to articulate themselves very well when they wish. 

Fe – Extraverted Feeling – Fe is the INTP’s humanitarian side. Because of this, they want to use their intelligence and creative problem-solving skills to help others and fix the world. They can be less aware of and ill-equipped to deal with feelings than others. 

Although they have a cool exterior, they are passionate about reason, analysis, and innovation. Their goal is to build complex systems of understanding that unify the principles they’ve observed in their environment. Having complex and active minds, they will go to great lengths to create ingenious solutions to complex problems.

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INTP 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 INTP’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: Te – Extraverted Thinking – the mirror of introverted thinking, the INTP can shift to become less understanding and even irritable. On the positive side, this function allows them to make quicker decisions or become more outspoken. 

Critical Parent: Ni – Introverted Intuition – The second shadow function, introverted intuition, tends to have a negative impact. The INTP may begin to adopt a pessimistic point of view about themselves, those around them, and their environment. They may doubt the motives and their connections with their partner or friends. And, they may become overly critical of themselves. 

Deceiving or Trickster: Se – Extraverted Sensing – The third shadow function, extraverted sensing is less developed than the previous functions. The INTP may exhibit reckless behavior with extraverted sensing. Overcompensating for not being fully attuned to their emotions can lead them to decisions they may regret.

The Demon: Fi – Introverted Feeling – The last shadow function is the most destructive and that is due to how underdeveloped this quality is. The less developed the function, the less the personality type knows how to use it to benefit them. The introverted feeling can cause the INTP to self-sabotage. INTPs are known to be very critical and enjoy finding certainty in their decisions. However, when this function is used, this personality type begins to question and contradict established values. When they begin to blame themselves but also find that they are negative towards others, it becomes destructive.

The shadow of INTP might make them uncharacteristically direct and short-tempered, even aggressive. The INTPs may run low on patience and forgiveness, something they typically freely offer. 

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ENFP Characteristics

ENFPs are people-centered creators with a focus on possibilities and a desire to explore new ideas, people, and activities. Energetic, warm, and passionate, ENFPs love to help other people explore their creative potential.

ENFPs are typically agile and expressive communicators who use their wit, humor, and mastery of language to create engaging stories. Imaginative and original, ENFPs often have an artistic side. Art is appealing to them because it conveys inventive ideas and reveals a deeper understanding of human experience.

ENFPs are energized by time spent with others (Extraverted), focus on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), make decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling), and prefer to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving).

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ENFP Cognitive Function Stack

The ENFP function stack is the result of the primary need of the ENFP personality, which is an extremely extroverted tendency to explore and relate to the world outside more than to the inner world.

Ne – Extraverted Intuition – Extroverted Intuition function is the dominant function. Perceptual or information-gathering processes govern ENFPs. They are very thoughtful and able to understand what others are experiencing on the basis of instinct or gut feeling.

ENFPs use this function to find patterns and their underlying principles or to see future possibilities. Some use these patterns to construct theories and frameworks.

Fi – Introverted Feeling – Introverted feeling deals with internal values. ENFPs are often extremely respectful to others, making sure everyone feels included and everyone has what they need. Additionally, this function may make them image-conscious, and they may be highly aware of how others view them. ENFPs may take a long time to consider their own beliefs to make sure they are correct.

This introverted feeling function also helps the ENFP place authenticity in high regard. Therefore, the ENFP is likely to be disillusioned by anything that seems dishonest or shallow to them.

Te – Extraverted Thinking – This function supplements the intuition and feeling functions. As a logic-oriented function, it influences decision-making and problem-solving. It assists the ENFP in finding a better solution to a problem, often to improve the efficiency of a process, or to refine what is already in place.  

Si – Introverted Sensing – As the least dominant function, you may not notice introverted sensing in an ENFP. This function helps the ENFP organize and create systems from the myriad ideas and patterns they perceive, creating operating instructions that help them keep going over time. 

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ENFP Shadow Functions

Shadow functions are often underdeveloped, but emerge when the ENFP is under stress because these functions work subconsciously. They work in opposition to the main cognitive functions. 

Opposing: Ni – Introverted Intuition – Introverted intuition usually presents in jumping to conclusions. Usually, an ENFP would need evidence to make assumptions, but, when under stress, this might not be the case and the shadow function pops up. 

Critical Parent: Fe- Extraverted Thinking – While normally guided by their internal moral compass, the ENFP can turn around under stress, to look to group motivation instead of their own. Instead, they fixate on having group approval.  

Deceiving or Trickster: Ti – Introverted Thinking – This shadow function can manifest in the ENFP as aloofness. ENFPs are generally considerate of others but when this shadow function appears they may focus on themselves.  

The Demon: Se – Extraverted Sensing – When an ENFP feels insufficient, this function will try to prove they are truly experts in how to approach a situation. This over-confidence can lead to reckless decision-making. 

Most people learn how to cope with shadow functions as they mature. The sooner you are aware of shadow functions, the better prepared you are to recognize and deal with their potential destructive influence. 

group of colleagues working together

ENFP and INTP Compatibility

ENFPs and INTPs differ in many ways. At the same time, their traits allow for harmony in their relationship that allowing them to work well together and develop a friendship. Pushing each other helps both parties be successful and opens the door to more experiences together as a result.

Difficult Times. Because they have different approaches to situations, in a time of difficulty each can support the other. They offer support by providing an alternate perspective on a situation. An ENFP is primarily driven by emotion. This means they often lack the raw logic necessary to navigate the tougher moments and make rational decisions.

The INTP is nearly the exact opposite—they try and find the most efficient and logical approach to solving an issue. Because of these differences, the other person can bring fresh ways of seeing a problem. 

Deep Conversations. Because both personality types engage in abstract thinking, they each bring enriching new ideas to the conversation. They both skip the small talk and move to deeper, sometimes philosophical conversation. 

Improvement Ideals. The shared desire for improvement in these personalities can help them move forward together. The ever-changing pursuit of more information keeps both parties interested in improving skills and will help you push one another to improve. The ENFP looks at ways to make the world a better place, while the INTP studies ways to improve technology to contribute to the world’s progress.

Logic-Emotion Friction. The conflict between logic and emotion is evident in this relationship, as both perspectives look at things from opposite lenses. An ENFP personality will often seek to make emotional connections with others to learn what motivates and drives them. An intellectual connection that involves thought and logic is more enjoyable for INTPs. When these two attempt to connect, these opposing approaches may create some tension. 

World Perspective. The different world views can help nourish each personality type. The ENFP provides an overview of how we can improve our understanding of humanity in making decisions and how we should learn to work with others. And, as well as providing a dose of logic and reason, INTPs can help the other person connect their humanity to a base of rational decision making.

Toward a Better World. In spite of their slightly different looks at things, their two personalities aim to help make the world a better place. ENFP personalities generally work in humanitarian fields like healthcare and education so that others can improve and feel happier inside. Business or engineering is a good way for the INTP personality to give back to others in a different way while still making the world a better place.

Mutual Interests. These personalities come together with the desire to grow and develop.  Exploring new activities together is an excellent way to connect. As both personalities have a strong intellectual connection, they both enjoy learning new things about the world.

Structure and Organization. These two personality types are fluid with their organization. Both of these personalities are not very likely to follow a routine and make a daily schedule, so they can live well together. In order to keep the relationship on track, you may want to assign certain task roles for each person.

Communication. ENFPs want to use emotion and humanity to deal with problems, giving the INTP  the chance to spill emotions right away. In order to reach a conclusion, the INTP needs time to think and analyze. Often, this difference causes uncomfortable conflict and tricky conversations.

Recharging. ENFP personality is based on interacting with others as often as possible to build energy from social interactions like an extrovert. INTPs need alone time to recharge before going out and socializing. Planning is essential between the two parties to keep everyone feeling comfortable and able to get the energy they need.

We can expand as people by putting ourselves out there and connecting with people who are similar in some ways and different in others.

Organize Possibilities Into Action

Looking toward a future filled with possibilities is inspiring, but it may not be enough to bring you satisfaction with family, friends, and career. 

At elevanation, we guide you through action steps to clarify your vision of where you are now, and build a foundation for real future possibilities. 

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 people for success. If you want to know more about yourself and make successful and meaningful change, Schedule Your FREE Action Call.

We get you to your ideal life. 

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