So have you ever had that ONE friend? No, not that one weird friend (although, all things considered, 90% of MY friends are “weird,” by normal population standards, so … *inserts cackling face*). I mean the super sweet, doting, generous, GIVING friend– the one who who gives their affection, time, gifts, talents, and yes, advice, to you. They might be an ISFJ, like one of my younger brothers. They might be an INFJ. Or E/INFP. Or ESFJ, like one of my besties.
Or they might be the playfully nicknamed “Mom friend,” ENFJ (a certain ATLA character comes to mind… I’ll shush now, Steve 😉 ).
Empathetic, social, compassionate, and understanding, ENFJs are masterful at reading people, and guessing what it is they want or need. In an unhealthy ENFJ, this can even translate to manipulation in some instances, but usually the motives are unselfish and very caring, because they think they know exactly what said person/people need(s), and will often give struggling loved ones advice on how to proceed with a problem (as well as a sympathetic ear and a comforting hug). Being incredibly giving to other people, it is important to remind them to take time for self-care every now and then. While having strong values due to Fe and Ni, the Dominant Fe’s priority of group care over self-care often (sometimes unfortunately) overrides these individualistic values, leading them to become more placating to their friends and family. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation at times for this sensitive type, even when surrounded by people they love and are familiar with.
However, this gregarious, friendly and affectionate type tends to be popular and much-loved by many people. Like ENFPs, they are fun-loving, and they adore people, and genuinely wish to understand them. They are normally intelligent, honest, energetic, and quick-moving– the latters likely due to Tertiary Extraverted Sensing. They can be great leaders, and are often involved on things like committees. Interestingly, they possess a different kind of intellect than their introverted cousins, INFJs, INFPs, and most NT types– they usually don’t care for leisure reading, whether for entertainment or information, unless it is something they are extremely interested in, or captures their interest immediately. They possess a vast emotional and social intellect, which I admire and respect.
I see this a lot in one of my younger cousins (who, as a minor, shall remain unnamed), one of the few, rare ENFJs I am privileged enough to make the acquaintance of. She is popular with her peers, many friends. Very caring and sweet, close with her ESFP and INTJ sisters. She is also quite athletic (Se-attributed, no doubt, and likely encouraged by an Se-Dom father and older sister), and even helps her older sister’s team by keeping score. Yet, she has a deeper side to her that sometimes raises its head when we play games like “Would You Rather?” or just talk about life, and I suspect this to be her Ni at play, though I think she more commonly uses it to understand and relate to her friends and family. Additionally, she often utilizes a combo of Fe-Se to artistically express herself, which she has gotten to be extremely good at. 🙂
ENFJ Cognitive Functional Stack-Up:
Fe (Extraverted Feeling): Conscious function. They tend to make more decisions with their heart, not their head, and since it’s an Extraverted function, it is consciously concerned about doing what is right for the GROUP’s benefit, not just their own. Dominant and Auxiliary Fe and Fi users are often sweet in nature, being pleasant peace-keepers, and Fe in particular genuinely does not wish to upset that (sometimes delicate) balance of peace between friends and family.
Ni (Introverted iNtuition): Unconscious/subconscious function. This function copilots with Fe, and helps the ENFJ understand people so well– how and why they think the way they do, and how that thinking can affect their behavior, and, finally, how that behavior can affect other people— thus, the whole group that Fe is so concerned with. They easily and internally pick up on small, subtle patterns of behavior that can help them help others in the long run, and give ENFJs a sense that they KNOW what they’re talking about, when advising a person. It also gives them a better read on people– whether or not they’re being lied to, for example. Ni is keen when it comes to subconsciously picking up on what isn’t necessarily trustworthy or provable. They thrive on the unknown, the complex.
Se (Extraverted Sensing): Conscious function. This function applies to the concrete, sensory world around the ENFJ in the here and now, and can easily cause them to be great lovers of aesthetics and physical pleasures, like beauty and great quality food. This is a fascinating balance between Ni and Se, because Ni is often concerned with the beauty of the abstract, whereas Se likes things it can physically sense, feel, smell, taste, etc. ENFJs can be connoisseurs of both Sensing and iNtuition, in this case.
Ti (Introverted Thinking): Unconscious/subconscious function, and the ultimate weakness in the ENFJ’s stack-up (THIS, I would wager, is likely why they *usually* don’t like to read for fun. *Usually*. ). This function helps to internally analyze any information the other functions have collected about, well, anything. But since Ti naturally prefers things like, say, mathematical, psychological, or scientific theories, it is often left unused. However, if balanced sufficiently well with the other functions, Ti can actually help the ENFJ strengthen that Ni gut instinct on those patterns, giving them logical reasons why those patterns exist, and helping the ENFJ form a more solid, well-founded opinion/argument (I know, I know– taboo word for us Feelers 😉 ).
Many passionate, world-changing, and visionary people are ENFJ, and often thrive on change that helps others, and makes the world a better place overall. They are compassionate innovators– usually people who want to make a positive difference. Even if it means helping bit-by-bit— because they know it will have a domino effect– by just putting a smile on someone’s face or making their load lighter. They are givers and helpers by nature. Even the ones who have turned to the “dark side,” often have their “moral reasons” for manipulating others, claiming it will benefit all involved, but fortunately, these unhealthy and more controlling ENFJs are relatively few and far in between the healthy, genuinely caring ones.
Overall, ENFJs are normally sweet, outgoing, passionate, understanding, supportive, giving people who are fun to be around– but may need an occasional nudge for self-care.
Famous/Historical ENFJs: Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Jennifer Lawrence, Dakota Fanning, Maya Angelou, Reese Witherspoon, Andy Griffith
Martin Luther King Jr. as leader: A TED Talks playlist