October 18, 2015

Confessions of an ENFP

My long-time friend is here to tell you about her personality type! Don't forget, if you want to be part of the 16 Personality post series, take the test (http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test) and email your results to christiellaryder[at]gmail[dot]com. If the slot for your personality type is still open, you will get a chance to help people understand YOU! 

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for – and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool – for love – for your dreams – for the adventure of being alive.
---Oriah Mountain Dreamer

ENFP, that’s me! The quote above describes me somewhat accurately… although I have so say, my upbringing affects it to the point that I do actually care more about the mundane things in life (like job, daily life, etc) than it portrays. Just putting that out there. ;-)

 So what is it like for an ENFP? Well, let’s just take a paragraph from the personality test itself…

“The ENFP personality is a true free spirit. They are often the life of the party, but unlike Explorers, they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others. Charming, independent, energetic and compassionate, the 7% of the population that they comprise can certainly be felt in any crowd.”

7%? Not too bad… kind of neat, actually, to think we’re that unique. ;) 

This here is going to explain a bit about me… but I honestly don’t know how to write up this post… but hey, I’ll give it my best shot. It won’t look professional but hopefully it makes sense. So, a breakdown of some of the misconceptions about us ENFPs:

(First, even if we share a personality, we’re all very different. We’re rather affected by our past in the sense that we obviously don’t follow these personality ‘explanations’ to a T. Of course, this is the case for everyone. However, it seems like our personality gets hit more with the expectation of being extremely similar.) 

1.)I am actually rather sensitive to personal jokes. There are only a select few people in my circle of friends who can joke about me in any way they like. The rest, however, may do so, but it tends to be hurtful instead of funny. I don’t know why and it really doesn’t make sense to me, but there it is. I suppose it’s because I need to *really* know that what you’re joking about isn’t what you actually think.

2.)I’m not an entertainer. Yes, my friends may be disagreeing with me at this point, but let me explain. At a party it is true that I’m usually the one making jokes or telling funny stories and making everyone laugh. However, believe it or not, it’s not because I like the attention. Truly. I’m not a huge ‘I must have attention’ kind of person. In fact, I’m usually very content to NOT be the center of attention. However, I am extremely sensitive to the people around me. I love to be happy and therefore I want everyone else to be happy. So if it makes you happy when I tell a joke or funny story, I’ll pull everything I’ve got just to put that smile on your face, even if it means a personal joke that goes against fact #1.

3.)I’m more sensitive/observant than I seem. I may look and act goofy, but again, refer to #2. This isn’t because I am. I’m actually very aware of things going on around me- so long as they pertain to a personal level (if you want me to be aware that someone is coming up behind me with a glass of water and I should keep my hands to myself… well, that’s a different problem). A friend is having a conversation and seems to be getting frustrated; I’ll pick up on that. Someone seems to be hurting; I’ll pick up on that, too. However, I don’t always tell you that I’ve done so. Why? Mainly because I’m not one to bring up big topics in a crowd. Again, #2. Not everyone wants to talk about politics, theology, the world’s problems, etc. Also, I don’t know what it is exactly that you’re dealing with… so I try to steer clear until I know how to actually approach it- I don’t want to make it worse than it is! As the test result said ‘ENFPs are very sensitive and emotional- so if they step on someone’s toes, they both feel it.’

4.)I’m actually very intelligent. Again, don’t know why I do this… however, my personality likes to ‘live up to the expectation’. The typical expectation of me is that I’m the entertainer. I’m supposed to be goofy. I’m supposed to be making people laugh. If acting slightly stupid for comic relief is needed, I’m your girl. However, it can be rather frustrating on my end because few people know I can actually be serious. I love talking ‘deep stuff’. You want to talk about theology? Oh yes, bring it on. Politics? The latest debates on big subjects? I’m totally in. However, I tend to do these more in personal settings, one on one. Again, referring to #2… if it’s a big group, I’ll just stay silent because I’m afraid of saying something that not everyone will agree with. 

5.)I don’t like hurting feelings. To refer to #3, this may sound slightly odd… I mean, no one likes actually hurting people. However, I tend to over think offenses. Literally. I will stay awake regretting things and feeling really horribly over hurt I’ve caused others. I can even cry over it. Now, this is sometimes nice because it means I’m usually rather careful about causing offense in the first place. However, it can also be bad because I end up getting ‘walked on’ a lot because I won’t tell others to ‘ease off’. If someone makes a joke that really cuts deep, I’d rather laugh over it and mask the hurt than tell them it was mean and then risk *them* getting hurt feelings over it. I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either. 

6.)Words of affirmation go a really long way. I may seem like an extremely confident person, but deep down I can sometimes be trembling and knocking my knees together. There are many days when I feel rather independent and just fine on my own… but usually I need a little affirmation, even if it’s just a happy hello or a compliment. Usually, however, the ones that go the longest are the heartfelt ones of ‘I appreciate you’ or ‘I love you’.

So those are just a few things explaining some misconceptions about us ENFPs. So we may have some awesome qualities just like other personalities… we also have our downsides. We’re not perfect, after all. I can tend to over think things WAY too much… Why did that person say that in *that* way? What does it mean? I’m typically trying to read between the lines. This can be frustrating for both me and the person involved… Because I’ll come to a certain conclusion only to find out it’s completely opposite of what I thought. However, I’m slowly learning to curb that a bit. But only a little bit. ;-)

I can also lose interest really quickly in the ‘mundane’ things in life if I’m not able to express some creativity in whatever it is I’m doing. Be it sharing ideas on how to improve something or even just wanting to do things a bit differently to ‘shake it up’ a little.

I also can’t bear the thought of disappointing someone… which can be good and bad. It helps with getting tasks done and such but it can be bad because this actually seems to make my personality seem a bit hypocritical. I want to be free and try new things… but I also don’t because I don’t want to disappoint. Again, it’s weird… but then again, my whole personality is a bit weird, isn’t it?

“Can't I fly helicopters AND be an oceanographer who writes songs and cooks?” 
This one made me laugh. It’s extremely true. You’ll find that we ENFPs don’t like dabbling in just one thing… we like having a LOT of things to do. Which also means we tend to do better with several jobs as opposed to one career. (Nanny, rancher, violinist, seamstress, gardener, etc… I think I’ve got my bases covered.)

 A few fun facts:

-We’re easily entertained

-We don’t actually wear our hearts on our sleeves… we only seem to do so, even to those closest to us.

-We take great delight in the simplest of things- a flower, a particularly blue sky, etc.

-We love it when friends are successful, even if we’re in a ‘low spot’. We don’t let our personal ups and down affect the way we react to other’s happiness or sorrows.

-We’re very curious and love learning all sorts of things.

-We know how to relax and enjoy life.

-We can change moods in an instant- even surprising those closest to us.

-We can be easily distracted, but we can also really focus.

-We sometimes really like some of the mundane things- again contradicting our own personality, but sometimes we need to just ‘disconnect’ for a bit.

So in conclusion… well, yeah, conclusion.

Few personality types are as creative and charismatic as ENFPs. Known for their idealism and enthusiasm, ENFPs are good at dealing with unexpected challenges and brightening the lives of those around them. ENFPs' imagination is invaluable in many areas, including their own personal growth.
Yet ENFPs can be easily tripped up in areas where idealism and kindness are more of a liability than an asset. Whether it is finding (or keeping) a partner, staying calm under pressure, reaching dazzling heights on the career ladder or making difficult decisions, ENFPs need to put in a conscious effort to develop their weaker traits and additional skills.

If you’re so inclined, you can read more about ENFPs on this link: http://www.16personalities.com/enfp-personality

If you know an ENFP, it might be helpful to read up on it… we’re an odd lot and we long to be understood… but it’s also hard to just explain it.

I’m off to go dream up a few more ideas because, well, you can never have too many of those, right?

Sarah Heckendorn is a web designer, nanny, musician, and writer. She has many hobbies and enjoys being with people she loves. She lives on a cattle ranch with her family in New Mexico.

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