ENFP Personality Traits, Career Matches, and Jobs to Avoid
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Robin Williams, Meg Ryan, Robert Downey Jr., Drew Barrymore, Will Smith, Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson, Barack Obama, and Carly Rae Jepsen are all famous people considered to be the ENFP personality type. They’re all champions, and if you received the ENFP result from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment, then you’re in good company.
ENFP stands for: extroversion (E), intuition (N), feeling (F), and perception (P).
The world is full of possibilities for ENFPs. They are free thinkers, big dreamers, and the life of the party. However, unlike other personalities that might be eager to experience all the world has to offer, ENFPs are more interested in making connections and exploring the intentions of other people. If you’re an ENFP, then more than likely you’re invested in your relationships, and you have strong emotional connections with your friends, romantic interests, and family members.
About 7 percent of the population falls under the ENFP classification. Although this personality is not the most common, there’s a fair amount of ENFPs out there in the world. You may find that you know a few in your friend circle or at your work, and you can relate to them on a uniquely personal level.
If you’re an ENFP, then you may be wondering what this personality classification says about you. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you apply your characteristics to your career, and how can you pursue a career that plays off your inherent talents?
Let’s discover what being an ENFP is all about!
ENFP Personality Traits
“I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.” “If you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul.” – Drew Barrymore
The MBTI test has 16 possible personality results, which determines your results based on the following:
- How you focus your attention or re-energize (extraversion (E) / introversion (I))
- How you perceive or take in information (sensing (S) / intuition (N))
- How you make decisions (thinking (T) / feeling (F))
- How you orient yourself to the outside world (judgment (J) / perception (P))
As an ENFP your results are as follows:
- You re-energize around other people and prefer to be surrounded by friends or groups of people — you feel comfortable in social situations (extraversion)
- You tend to think in abstract concepts, or think more “big picture” and don’t worry about the small details — often concentrating on a further possibilities instead of immediate realities (intuition)
- You often give more weight to social implications than logic, especially in cases where personal considerations or feelings are concerned (feeling)
- You tend to withhold judgement or put off important decisions, preferring instead to keep your options open so that you don’t limit your possibilities should your circumstances change (perception)
ENFPs are often referred to as either “Champions” or “Campaigners.” You believe strongly that the whole world could change just from an idea. You’re a charmer but compassionate; you exude independence and energy. You crave freedom and creativity, and flourish when you’re given the ability or tools to achieve that.
You see the world as if it is one big puzzle to be solved, and recognize that everything is connected. However, unlike other personalities types that are eager to find solutions in a mechanical way, you recognize that the world is a web of interconnected emotions, compassion, and deeper meanings. You’re eager to find those deeper meanings, and learn more about other people in the process.
Like INFJ personalities, you’re drawn to causes. However, unlike INFJs, you are often thrust into the spotlight simply due to your charisma. Whether you want to be there or not, your followers will uphold your image or philosophy, and praise you for your work. ENFPs are often frustrated or upset by bureaucratic barriers, because you love independence and the freedom to be innovative. Without that, you can feel lost or want to give up entirely.
Your natural extroverted and charismatic tendencies make you a desirable friend, and you can easily switch from business to fun. You may be frustrated with a busy day at work one minute, but the next you’re out having a good time with friends, and feeling great because of it. Your friends enjoy being close with you, and enjoy divulging their most emotional secrets or thoughts. In turn, you cherish learning more about your friends, and highly value emotional expression and holding deep conversations. Luckily, you’re good at maintaining those important conversation topics.
Of course, you also have to be careful and not assume the intentions of others. At times, you may jump to conclusions or make harmful, wrong assumptions about friends or people you encounter. However, because you’re an emotional person, you can sometimes be sensitive to making mistakes. Luckily, once you do find your groove, or do manage to find forgiving and gracious friend groups, you will really start to flourish, and you may be surprised at how well you succeed.
ENFP Strengths and Weaknesses
“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” – Barack Obama
Every personality type in the MBTI manual comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Here are the pros and cons of having an ENFP personality type:
Life of the Party
As already states, ENFPs make exceptional friends. Not only are you charismatic and easy to talk to, but you are also eager to learn the inner thoughts and feelings of others. Because of your exceptional people skills, you’re also just a great communicator in general. You’re capable of small talk, but are more interesting in getting to know people on a deeper level. You’re also relaxed in most social situations and spontaneous, making conversations with anyone effortless and flowing. Because of that, many ENFPs will have large and comfortable friend groups, and can easily be the life of any party.
ENFPs are also curious and observant. Throughout conversations you may take mental notes about someone’s tone or answer to a question, and may start to piece together a rough image of that person’s inner thoughts and feelings. You’re eager to know more about other people, are comfortable asking questions, and don’t hold back when you’re out of your comfort zone. You’re also more likely to remain open-minded throughout your lifetime, as you don’t want to limit your imagination or close off possible truths. For you, everything is a potential new piece to the larger puzzle of life.
When you learn something new or create a new friendship, you’re not someone who will sit quietly with that information. Instead, ENFPs will show their undying enthusiasm with any new discovery, and will energetically share that information with anyone that is willing to listen. Your energy and enthusiasm is also infectious, which may allow you to gain even more friends simply through your outpouring excitement.
However, despite your love of knowledge and exploring emotional connections, ENFPs also understand the importance of relaxing. Your intuitive nature gives you the ability to sense when your body needs to chill out or unwind. You can also use that intuitive nature to really stay present in the moment and enjoy whatever world is around you. You can easily switch between intense conversations with friends and letting loose on the dance floor or in a bar — which may surprise some of your friends, but feel completely natural to you.
Short Attention Span
Despite the enthusiasm and energy of many ENFPs, it can still be difficult for you to focus on one particular project at a time. Unfortunately, ENFPs are easily distracted, as you’re just so eager to continue to learn, explore, and grow. This can mean that certain work projects may get set aside, or that mundane office routines and bureaucracy may get in the way of your motivation. You may find yourself unable to concentrate on projects that you’ve promised to finish simply because you’re bored.
Very much in the same vein, ENFPs are certainly great at starting projects or coming up with ideas, but you may find it hard to follow through and finish them. This could mean that you just need some hands-on people that can help you follow through with tasks at work, or that you might need to be more disciplined about your personal projects and set reasonable goals for yourself until their completion. However, without help and discipline, your ideas may not go anywhere, and may doomed to be only a passing thought or hope.
Prone to Overthinking
Unfortunately, ENFPs are also prone to overthinking things, which in turn can cause you to stress out. You’re always looking for the unlying motives or motivations behind decisions — even if there are none or the explanation is really simple. It’s not uncommon for you to get stressed out or lose sleep while over analyzing conversations or decisions made by friends or work colleagues.
You care deeply about the feelings or intentions of others, so you can be very sensitive and prone to obsessing over offhand remarks or criticisms. Sometimes you may even become highly emotional, and have counterproductive emotional outbursts when faced with stress, conflict, or criticism.
Additionally, because you’re so well liked and friendly, many people may come to you for advice or help. This may be welcomed for a time, but it’s important to be aware of your threshold for helping others and maintaining personal boundaries. You can easily get overwhelmed or stressed out when everyone turns to you for help, and you may not know how to turn down people when your cup is overflowing.
Finally, one of the biggest struggles you may face with this personality is that you’re independent to a fault. Although it’s reasonable to be put off by micromanaging bosses, it’s important for you to remember that the world is full of checks-and-balances. Sometimes you need people to double check your work, and sometimes rules need to be followed before you can make an idea into a reality. This can be a tough reality to accept for ENFPs.
Best ENFP Personality Careers
“I wouldn’t have thought of myself as a person who could guide anybody and then it turned out that I can.” – Meg Ryan
There are few personalities as eager to try their hand at everything as the ENFP. Your outgoing and curious nature make you an avid adventurer, and you may find that there’s no one exact calling that matches your interests, but many. You’re a big dreamer, and unfortunately that can make finding a career path challenging.
However, just like any other personality, your career options are truly endless. ENFPs can perform well in any industry, and the trick is to play off your natural talents to find a calling that best suits you and to stick with it to become an expert. No matter what your MBTI result maybe, there’s a future for you down many different career paths.
Best Career Matches for ENFP Types
If you’ve found with your ENFP personality that it’s difficult to stay focused on one career path, try to imagine all the potential things you can do in that career. Instead of being distracted by some new and cool calling, try to think of how your current calling can get even cooler or more interesting. What more could you develop? How can you innovate your industry? What ideas have people said were impossible but you’ve always wanted to try?
Of course, this adventurous and curious quality is something that ENFPs highly value in their career. You want a calling that can foster your imagination and provide you with room to grow and innovate. You also want a career that can work alongside with your values, so it’s best to avoid jobs that don’t provide you with a fulfilling purpose.
Other aspects that ENFPs look for in a job include:
- Allows for independence
- Allows you to connect and relate to coworkers, customers, or clients
- Avoid routine and bureaucracy
- Fosters imaginative solutions to human problems
- No restrictions on creativity
- Relaxed and friendly environment
Some of the best career paths for ENFPs include:
- Arts and Entertainment, Communications, and Multimedia: Your extroverted nature makes you a natural entertainer, public personality, or performer. In fields such as acting or politics, your intuitive side and understanding of human emotions can help you tap into human nature in a way that many others may struggle to identify or understand. Plus, your big ideas and eagerness to be creative can work well in any artistic endeavor.
- Arts and Entertainment
- Announcer or Commentator
- Art Director
- Craft and Fine Artist
- Dancer or Choreographer
- Fashion Designer
- Interior Designer
- Landscape Architect
- Music Composer
- Musician or Singer
- Politician or Political Activist
- Public Relations Specialist
- Writer or Author
- Multimedia Artist
- Arts and Entertainment
- Biology, Conservation, and the Sciences: ENFPs work best when you can work alongside your values. Within biology and sciences, there are many opportunities for you to be both creative and help the world become a better place. Your curious and adventurous side will also come in handy, and you may become a leader in your field simply because you were eager to try new ideas or explore options outside of the norm. Plus, human-centric sciences (such as anthropology and urban planning) give you the opportunity to put what you know about people into practice in your career, and to learn more about human nature and innovation.
- Anthropology and Archaeology
- Conservation Sciences
- Urban or Regional Planner
- Business, Management, Marketing, and Sales: ENFPs are not necessarily natural born leaders, but you can excel in management and leadership positions. Your high emotional-intelligence can make you an empathetic and well-respected leader, and your creative drive can make you an innovator in your field. You’re not afraid to take risks, and sometimes being a business leader requires a bit of chance. In sales and marketing, your intuitive understanding of human nature and your extroverted tendencies can make a naturally talented salesperson or spokesperson. You may find that many of your natural qualities are satisfied in these career paths.
- Business and Management
- Advertising Manager
- Community Service Manager
- Customer Service Representative
- Fundraising Manager
- Hiring Manager
- Human Resources Specialist or Manager
- Non-Profit Management
- Training and Development Specialist or Manager
- Event Planner or Promoter
- Public Relations Manager
- Advertising Sales Manager or Agent
- Insurance Sales Agent
- Real Estate Agent
- Retail Salesperson
- Sales Manager
- Travel Agent
- Business and Management
- Education: Your love of people and your enthusiastic nature can pair perfectly in the education sector. Not only are you willing and able to take on a room full of kids, but your excitement and charisma can make you into a memorable and well-loved role model for young adolescents. You will also be able to foster their creativity, in turn by flexing your own creative mindset.
- Childcare Center Director or Preschool Director
- Elementary School Teacher
- High School Teacher
- Instructional Coordinator
- Kindergarten Teacher
- Middle School Teacher
- Preschool Teacher
- Teacher Assistant
- Healthcare, Mental Healthcare, and Therapy: ENFPs love to understand the intentions of others, and working within healthcare, mental healthcare, or therapy provides you with the perfect platform to get to know people better and directly help them through trying circumstances. The compassion you can show them will not go unnoticed, and you can become a strong advocate for your patients. Plus, since many social workers, counselors, and therapists see a variety of people every week, these careers can give you the variety that your adventurous side craves.
- Athletic Trainer or Physical Therapist
- Dental Assistant or Hygienist
- Health Educator
- Massage Therapist
- Nurse Midwife
- OSHA Specialist or Technician
- Veterinarian or Veterinarian Technician
- Mental Healthcare
- Mental Health Counselor
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Social Worker
- Social or Human Service Assistant
- Substance Abuse or Behavioral Disorder Counselor
- Career or School Counselor
- Life Coach
- Occupational Therapist
- Recreational Therapist
- Speech-Language Pathologist
- Services and Personal Care: If none of the above callings excite you or peak your interests, then these trades could also play off your natural talents and provide you with a lucrative future.
- Animal Trainer
- Bartender or Waiter/Waitress
- Childcare Worker
- Cosmetologist or Hair Dresser
- Fitness Trainer
- Recreational Worker
- Skincare Specialist or Beautician
Highest Paying ENFP Careers
Just as with any other personality, ENFPs are most successful in your career when you can utilize your natural talents on a regular basis. Although some of these careers may pay better than others, the most fruitful job will be the one that you stick with for the long haul. Success and high wages comes with persistence and dedication.
However, your natural charisma can also come in handy with jobs such as sales and management; which you may find are some of the best paying jobs when you work on commission and can climb the “corporate ladder.” Charisma can also come in handy in arts and entertainment — where you can gradually make your way to “star” status, or at least make a steady paycheck as a charismatic public personality.
Additionally, you have all the capabilities to start your own small business. You’re charismatic, which means you can attract and convince investors to help fund your business. You also are full of creative ideas, which can help you disrupt your industry or sustain innovation. You are also eager to improve and better yourself — which is always a welcomed personality trait in any business. If you stick with it long enough and take some calculated (but not too wild) risks, you may find that your best paychecks come from your own business adventures.
ENFP Careers to Avoid
“There is still a lot to learn and there is always great stuff out there. Even mistakes can be wonderful.” – Robin Williams
It should be noted that ENFPs — or any other personality, for that matter — can succeed in any career. However, there are some careers that might better match your personal talents, mode of thinking, or natural behavior. If your career is not playing off your natural inclinations, then you could find that job draining, unappealing, or might even suffer from burnout. It could be that you need to quit your job and switch career paths.
In general, ENFPs enjoy the ability to question your environment or the status-quo. You’re not happy just working for a paycheck, but you want to solve problems, question people and intentions, and grow emotionally or mentally from whatever you do. However, rigidity is not welcomed for ENFPs — you want to be able to push your boundaries and challenge yourself and others — so jobs that have a military-like heirarchy or require order might be threatening or disheartening for you. You also are easily bored when your job becomes predictable and there’s no changes.
Because of this, these jobs may not be the best fit for an ENFP personality:
- Bank Teller
- Chemical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Computer Engineer or Software Engineer
- Computer Analyst
- Factory Supervisor
- Financial Manager
- Flight Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Police Officer
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Katie McBeth is a researcher and writer out of Boise, ID, with experience in marketing for small businesses and management. Her favorite subject of study is millennials, and she has been featured on Fortune Magazine and the Quiet Revolution. She researches SEO strategies during the day, and freelances at night. You can follow her writing adventures on Instagram or Twitter: @ktmcbeth
This post was updated June 19, 2018. It was originally published June 7, 2018.