Myers-Briggs profile: ENFJ - The Sage
by Sandra Krebs Hirsch and Jean Kummerow
ENFJs are lively and enthusiastic facilitators who apply warmth and vision to helping people and meeting their needs. They are aware of people's aspirations and develop plans of action to make those aspirations into reality. They like organization and closure. They are at their best facilitating situations that require interpersonal sensitivity. ENFJs are tolerant and appreciative of others, seeking involvement with them in life's tasks. They are able communicators who are liberal in showing appreciation for others.\
The way ENFJs live
ENFJ children want life to be friendly, harmonious, and lively. They are responsible children because they like to please others and meet their needs. In doing for others, they usually find satisfaction for themselves. They are upset by conflict or disharmony. They are pleasant, exuberant and talkative.
ENFJ teenagers are constantly on the go, participating in many, many things. They enjoy a wide variety of activities, not only for that variety but also for the action and opportunity to be with others. They love being involved with friends, clubs, and any activities that let them be with others. ENFJs are often voted most congenial or nicest person in their class. Additionally, they may serve as leaders in their school activities. As students, they are able to focus on the interpersonal spirit or nature of the school and to speak eloquently to others about the school's best values. ENFJs are likable because they notice what is good about people.
As young adults, ENFJs set goals early on, both in the personal and professional realms. They follow through diligently and usually attain what they seek. Often the goals they set have to do with making society a better place for people. ENFJs may sometimes feel pulled between financial gain and spiritual gain.
Many ENFJs take their religious and community values seriously and want others to do the same. Loyalty, commitment, and responsibility are important values to ENFJs, even as children. They often settle into organizations that have a values orientation, or they will find a spot in an organization that is centered on values or people's need. ENFJs make responsible spouses, employees, and community members. Because most ENFJs enjoy public speaking and seem to have a way with words, they are often asked to present the position of the groups to which they belong.
Some ENFJs report that at mid-life they seek situations for themselves where it is possible for them to turn inward. This often takes a structured form such as meditation, journaling, or in some cases even career changes.
In retirement, they are likely to want to settle geographically in an area where they have close personal relationships and/or close personal ties to a specific organization. The relationships and values that are imprtant to the ENFJ become even more so in their retirement. Many ENFJs participate in voluntary service work in retirement.
The way ENFJs learn
ENFJs learn best in structured situations in which they are able to talk bout the lesson and interact with their peers. Because they want their teachers to be pleased with them, they attempt to be model students. They are willing to do what is required in order to become personally recognized by their teachers. Because they take criticism personally, they can either be wounded by it or be willing to redouble their efforts in order to change the criticism. ENFJs enjoy classes that have subject matter relating to people, their needs, their aspirations, and their characterizations. Many ENFJs choose the liberal arts because it gives them an opportunity to more fully explore humanity.
ENFJs are good students when the subject matter relates to their strong relationship values and people orientation, and when the teacher is warm and personal. They apply the necessary effort and energy to complete the tasks that they start. ENFJs also like some independent learning and projects.
How ENFJs work
ENFJs focused on the organization's ideals and operate within those ideals. They focus on how organizations should treat people and communicate these values to others. They enjoy leading and facilitating teams, and like to bring matters to mutually beneficial conclusions.
ENFJs prefer a work setting that contains individuals focused on changing things for the betterment of others. They like an environment that is people oriented, supportive, and organized. They do their best when there is a spirit of harmony, with encouragement given for self-expression. And they like their work to be settled and orderly, but not so much so that it is dull, quiet, unchanging, or unchallenging.
The ENFJ organizing style is to plan around the particular value or ideal and to supply the necessary energy toward its achievement or implementation. In the accomplishment of the goal, ENFJs will look at the people available and will assign tasks based on who needs the experience, the exposure, or the development. To a lesser degree, they will assign the task based on who needs the experience, the exposure, or the development. To a lesser degree, they will assign the task based purely on competency, because ENFJs feel it is more important to help others grow and develop new skills. If others have a particular deadline that needs to be met, the ENFJ will work to meet that deadline so that the other person will be happy.
ENFJs prefer occupations that reflect their ideals and that promote harmonious relationships with others. They tend to be attracted to occupation with a service orientation. They generally follow policies and procedures as long as those procedures are compatible with people's needs. They prefer things to be organized and decided rather than haphazard.
Some occupations seem to be more attractive to ENFJs: actor, clergy, consultant, counselor and therapist, designer, home economist, musician, religious worker, teacher, writer, and other occupations that allow them to be of service to others.
How ENFJs lead
The ENFJ puts relationships and responsibilities before personal leisure. Their time can be imposed upon easily; however, they need to guard against excessive responsiveness to avoid reaching overload.
They particularly enjoy reading novels and seeing movies in order to see how the characters play out the life issues and questions presented in the story; it gives them an opportunity to see how others live and get along. They enjoy discussing their reading and may join book groups in order to do that. They like going to movies and plays with others and like to comment on the plot characterization. They are close observers of others' behavior.
Many ENFJs join religious or community-oriented groups whose focus is to work for better understanding between people. ENFJs like discussion and an opportunity to talk about values and philosophical topics. Many do not like activities in which there is a great deal of competition or in which someone or something could be hurt.
How ENFJs love
For the ENFJ, love means flowers, poetry, candlelight dinners --- in other words, romance with a capital R. When they first fall in love, they fall in love with an ideal perspective of what the relationship will be, and they fall deeply, head over heels. ENFJs value commitment and loyalty, and look for it from their partner. They typically enjoy activities with their partners that allow them to discuss the relationship and focus on what each person truly believes. When commitments are broken, ENFJs become upset because they see the breakup as a personal reflection on them and because they have idealized the relationship. Since they are willing to put the time and effort into the relationship, they expect it will continue on as it was from the very start. Relationships have their ups and downs; the downs, however, are particularly hard on the ENFJ, who does not manage disharmony well.
When scorned, ENFJs may be resentful, spiteful, and deeply hurt. Because they are acutely aware of emotional matters they take the breakup of a relationship especially hard. They are willing to discuss the ending of the relationship with only a few others because they feel a sense of blame and shame for the relationship not working out.
ENFJ Myers-Briggs Profile by David Keirsey
ENFJ's are outstanding leaders of groups, both task groups and growth groups. They have the charming characteristic of seeming to take for granted that they will be followed, never doubting that people will want to do what they suggest. And, more often than not, people do, because this type has unusual charisma. ENFJ's place a high value on cooperation from others and are most willing to cooperate themselves.
Found in only 5 percent of the general population, ENFJ's place people as being of highest importance and priority. As a result, ENFJ's may find themselves feeling responsible for the feelings of others to an extent which places a burden on the relationship. An ENFJ communicates caring, concern, and a willingness to become involved. Thus people turn to ENFJ's for nurture and support, which an ENFJ is usually able to deliver. At times, however, these kinds of demands can overwhelm ENFJ's, who find at this point that they lack the skills to dissociate. ENFJ's do not seem able to turn away from these demands even when they become unreasonable. Or, if forced to let go of the burden through sheer unavailability of time or energy, ENFJ's experience a guilt all out of proportion to the realities of the commitment made to the relationship.
ENFJ's are especially vulnerable to idealizing interpersonal relationships, raising these relationships to a plane which seldom can sustain the realities of human nature. Because of this tendency to raise interpersonal relations to the ideal, ENFJ's may unwittingly overpower their friends, who believe that they cannot possibly live up to an ENFJ's perception of them. The fact is, ENFJ's are extraordinarily tolerant of others, seldom critical, and always trustworthy.
ENFJ's take communication for granted and believe that they are understood and that their communications are accepted. Just as they themselves are accepting, so do they assume that others are the same. When ENFJ's find that their position or beliefs were not comprehended or accepted, they are surprised, puzzled, and sometimes hurt. Fortunately, this does not happen with high frequency, as ENFJ's have a remarkable fluency with language, especially in speech; they are particularly adept when communicating face-to-face as opposed to communicating in writing. They are influential, therefore, in groups, having no hesitation about speaking out, no matter how large or small the group may be.
ENFJ's have an unusual ability to relate to others with empathy, taking into themselves the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of others. This can pose a danger for ENFJ's because they can unconsciously over-identify with others and pick up their burdens as if they were their own. In the process, ENFJ's may risk their own sense of identity. They have a natural ability to mimic because of this highly developed ability to empathize by introjection. They are likely to be very concerned about the problems of those close to them, but they also may get as deeply involved in the problems of those not so close and may find themselves over-extended emotionally.
ENFJ's would do well to follow their hunches, for their intuition tends to be well developed. Decisions made purely on the basis of logic may not be so sound, and checking with a person who has a strong T preference might be at times advisable for the ENFJ. In the framework of values, however, the ENFJ is on certain ground. Generally, they know what they prefer and can read other people with outstanding accuracy. Seldom is an ENFJ wrong about the motivations or intent of another, hidden or not.
The ENFJ's career
This longing for the perfect carries over into the careers of ENFJ's, who experience some degree of restlessness whatever their jobs. And, as with ENFP's, ENFJ's have a wide range of occupations which offer success. Being verbally adept, ENFJ's contribute to an unusual level when dealing with people, particularly face-to-face; the media, the ministry, and the stage and screen are populated with successful ENFJ's. They make superior therapists, charismatic teachers, excellent executives, and personalized salespersons. Areas that would not permit utilization of the interactional talents of ENFJ's for example, accounting, should be avoided; otherwise, almost any people-to-people occupation where personal, sustained contact is involved capitalizes on the personality of an ENFJ.
ENFJ'S like to have things settled and organized. They prefer to plan both work and social engagements ahead and tend to be absolutely reliable in honoring these commitments. ENFJ's are very much at home in complex situations which require the juggling of much data. At the same time, they can handle people with charm and concern. ENFJ's are usually popular wherever they are. Their ability to be comfortable either leading or following makes them easy to have around, whatever the situation. A well-developed ENFJ group leader can provide, almost endlessly, activities for groups to engage in with almost no preplanning and can find adequate roles for members of the group to play. In some, this can amount to genius which other types find hard to emulate. In this ability to organize without planning there is a certain similarity to an ESFJ, but the latter acts more as a master of ceremonies than as a leader of groups. The ESFJ is more of a recreational leader, who insures that each member has fun at a party and that the right things are expressed at social occasions, especially institutional social occasions such as weddings, funerals parties, and the like. ENFJ's, just like the ESFJ's, value harmonious human relations above all else; but ENFJ's are not so easily crushed by indifference as are ESFJ's and are more independent of other's valuations.
The ENFJ's home
ENFJ's are socially adept and make excellent companions and mates. They also are deeply devoted to their children, yet tend not to be domineering to either the children or mate. In fact, the ENFJ is so even-tempered that he or she can be victimized by a mate who might have become more and more demanding.
ENFJ mates always try to please and feel personally responsible when home life does not go smoothly. They are tireless in their efforts to see that it does, providing generously from available income, time, and energy. This dedication often exists, however, side by side with an ENFJ's dream of the perfect relationship-a characteristic of all NF's, but one which is particularly strong in an ENFJ. Thus an ENFJ has that longing for the ideal that results in a vague dissatisfaction with whatever is in the way of relationships, mating as well as friendships.
The ENFJ at midlife
At midlife, ENFJ's might want to expand their capabilities toward introverted activities such as reading, gardening, painting. They also may want to increase their sensitivity to classical music, subtleties of fine foods and beverages, beginning to develop ever-increasing discriminations of fineness among fine things. Already likely to be a gourmet, an ENFJ might become a connoisseur art collector, for example, or an expert of medieval tapestries. Also, the development further of intellectual capabilities might interest ENFJ's at midlife, perhaps taking the direction of formal study. ENFJ's have the ability to appreciate both people and nature, and more time spent in travel might be gratifying, particularly if this was used as an opportunity to collect works of art.
The ENFJ's ideal mate
Who can complement this growth-catalyst? The opposite on the S side is ISTP, the "artisan." It is not difficult to see how the teacher inherent in the ENFJ would want to "bring out" the craftsman in the ISTP. The artisan, however, has another side to his nature that pops up occasionally and in some cases is a life theme: adventure and exploration. The ISTP can, so to speak, be wayward, take off for parts unknown. It is difficult to imagine a similar desire on the part of the ENFJ to bring out adventuresomeness.
The ENFJ, on the intuitive side, finds the INTP attractive. Now here is a splendid target for our catalyst, for beneath the cool, collected, detached, and doubting exterior lies an architect of buildings, machines, tools, operations, tactics, languages, mathematics, or whatever can be designed. If, that is, this latently capable designer can be "activated" or "brought out".