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ENFPs are charming, energetic and imaginative. They draw people to themselves like bees to honey. It is rare to find an ENFP who is not surrounded by people hanging on their every word. They are the life of the party. They have a natural charisma that puts people at ease and makes even the most lonely, or damaged, among us feel like we are understood and valued as human beings.

Perhaps that is their greatest super power. As someone who constantly doubts myself, I find the enthusiastic optimism of the average ENFP contagious. Five minutes in their company and I feel I can conquer the world. They see everyone in terms of potential – not shortcomings. It’s hard to not feel empowered in their company.

In a recent survey of ENFPs, we asked them 4 questions:

  • What are their top 3 challenges;
  • What 3 things do they wish others knew about them;
  • What 3 books/movies/courses/events have impacted their lives the most;
  • What do they wish they had known as a 15 year old adolescent?

Their answers were many and varied, and gave us an interesting insight into the inner workings of the ENFP mind.

In reading the ENFP survey, I tried to find some common themes among their disparate stories.  I have broken them all down to 5 items ENFPs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency. I am including direct quotes from the survey so we can all appreciate the variety of ways ENFPs have of expressing themselves.

#1 You’re Different – And That Is Your Greatest Strength

In the survey, 26% of ENFPs wished they could tell their younger selves that it is not only okay to be different, it is their path to awesomeness!

Direct Quote:

  • “You’re kind of weird and that’s cool. People are envious of how clear your dream for a healthier planet is at your age. Your fearlessness to be quirky and hyper all the time because that’s how you feel at the moment is admirable. Don’t let anyone shush you into blending in. Do not play yourself down in fear of making other people jealous, or sorry for themselves. Your pursuit of your personal truth will inspire them to do the same for theirs. Your adherence to your personal values and dreams is a sign of strength, even when tears stream down your face. Your vulnerability allows others to feel safe with you, and provides a haven for letting it out.”
  • “You don’t have to be tough or a gangster to fit in. You don’t have to fight just to prove that you are down with the homies. You will end up making more money than those guys anyway. There is no such thing as ‘acting white.’”
  • “It’s gonna be okay. You are not crazy and do not have to feel ostracized because your ideas are so different. They are your greatest strength and you are going to change the world one day.”

#2 Don’t Wait To Discover Your Greatness

This next category was a sobering one. ENFPs may appear to be the life of the party, but they carry a lot of inner wounding due to past decisions. Decisions that continue to impact their present. 24% of ENFPs wish they had done things differently when they still had unlimited options.  

Direct Quotes:

  • Whatever you do, do not get married immediately out of high school. Finish college first for God’s sake. Be serious every now and then.”
  • “Wait longer to have sex.”
  • ”Don’t sell yourself short in a relationship. You do not need someone to love you and you have horrible taste! You need to be more independent – you think you are already, but you’re not. You’re spoiled and have no real sense of reality. Your parents are setting a wonderful example for you – even though you don’t get along with your mom – and you need to knock off the crap. Don’t work so hard to buck the system. You can be independent without being a pain in the ass. The sooner you figure that you, the better off you’ll be in the long run. NEVER let anyone make you feel like you’re less than you are…not girls, not boys, not men, not bosses. Stand firm and never let anyone take advantage of you.”
  • “Cry more in front of others.”
  • “Don’t get pregnant at 18.”
  • “Love yourself so much that when someone treats you wrong you’ll recognise it. Don’t get on that plane, go to Hawaii instead and work as a check-out chick until you meet and marry Keanu Reeves. Learn karate and how to shoot a gun. Fall in love with weight lifting, exercising and healthy eating. Invest and save your money – buy that house FIRST.”
  • “You’re depressed because you have a desire deep down inside to do something great with your life. You’re greater than what everyone else thinks and if you don’t do something right now to start believing in yourself and unleash that greatness inside of you, you’re going to end up wasting more than 30 years of your life.”
  • “Keep up the good work. Keep playing sports. Who cares what people say. They will talk anyway. Live your dream for in the future. You will regret not following your passion every day. Stay sincere. But prepare your heart to bear the consequences of your life decisions. Even if your decisions are wholesome be prepared for your heart to break. But keep going. For the breaking of the heart is what opens it to the light of God.”

#3 Trust Your Instincts

ENFPs Copilot function is “Authenticity.” This is where some of their magnetism comes from. Authenticity tells them what to do by tapping into their internal convictions. It also helps them mirror the emotions of others as a form of communication.The Authenticity process can be slow in its decision-making abilities, however. So ENFPs sometimes struggle with giving themselves the time they need to tap into their inner convictions.

In the survey, 19% of ENFPs would counsel their younger selves to trust their instincts more.

Direct Quotes:

  • You have the truth in your heart and miracles in your mouth. Your hands hold power and your feet spread beauty. Don’t listen to their rules and their fears. Don’t listen to their lies and their manipulation. Trust yourself and be yourself and follow your intuition and regret nothing.
  • Only choose paths for yourself that feel really exciting to you. Not your parents or teachers, or anyone else. Just you. You can trust that feeling of excitement. It is valid, and it will never let you down. You don’t have to pick one path and stick to it for life. Just pick what interests you most for now and keep exploring new options along the way.
  • It will all work out. What you believe is valid and ok. Don’t undermine your opinions, stand up for how you want to live. Don’t believe that those in authority are always right.
  • Trust your instinct over other opinions, including experts. Pursue your passions with gusto, even if they aren’t practical. Take the road less traveled. When you move on, find ways to keep up with old friends. Treat yourself really, really well and don’t put up with anyone who doesn’t. Pay attention to the people (angels) who make a comment that is great advice in disguise.

#4 Life is an Adventure

ENFPs primary cognitive function is “Exploration.” This is what gives an ENFP the gift of seeing possibility everywhere. It helps them learn quickly through experimentation and innovation. 12% of ENFPs surveyed wish they could’ve seen more potential for adventure when they were young.

Direct Quotes:

  • Life is an adventure. Don’t spend it avoiding risk. Without risk, reward is bland. And never stop learning, no matter how boring life becomes. There is always something that will bring back that spark which makes life worth living. Your only job is to find that spark, the rest will come easy.
  • Everything you explore with joy will either become a path to follow or a memory to warm your heart when you are sad. Your Dad is proud of you.
  • “Explore harder and faster. It’s okay to quit things, just be able to write a good rational full page essay on why you want to quit. Stop caring what other people think. Take one idea and just finish it. Work up to progressively bigger projects. Don’t try to copy other people’s paths, walk you own. Do not do operational work, stick with creative, innovative, people-facing work that has a visual and abstract element to it.”

#5 Inspire!

ENFPs have the remarkable ability to inspire others to see their own potential. This makes them a gift to the rest of us. 9% of ENFPs said they find their greatest enjoyment from inspiring others.

Direct Quotes:

  • Relax. Patience. Focus on authenticity. Understand your blind spots. Enjoy inspiring people and championing causes.
  • You’re great! Don’t let people tell you otherwise! You have a compassionate heart that can be used for good!
  • Your kindness and compassion are going to define your life. You may be tempted to pursue fame, but that’s not where your heart is. Your greatest gift is your ability to see others: both their beauty and their pain. You love and are loved so much.
  • You are not invisible. The way you see the world is a gift. Learn that pain is not your enemy. Pain means you are alive and have survived. Every negative thing in your life is an opportunity for growth and to overcome. It is the fluid process of life. Wisdom is doing the wrong thing, correcting it, so you can help others navigate if they choose to.

You Have Value

Some of the other common threads found within the survey were:

  • Life gets better (8%)
  • Maintaining the right connections is important (8%)
  • Do what you love (7%)
  • You have value (7%)
  • Take better care of yourself (6%)

ENFPs comprise just 8% of the population, with women slightly outnumbering men. They are among the most academically talented, yet the most likely to have trouble conforming to the structure of the standard educational system. This often translates as a tendency to drop out or turn to substance abuse to cope with the boredom.

ENFPs are the least likely to get stressed out and because of this have lower than average rates of heart disease, hypertension, and chronic pain. They do have one achilles heel, however.  The main thing ENFPs stress over is finances.

ENFPs energy, vision, and passion make them great for any team. The way they commit themselves to the growth of others makes me wish there were more of them. In fact, if everybody had an ENFP in their lives, the world would be a happier more productive place.


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We would love to hear in the comments below what advice you would give to yourself as an INFP teenager.

Showing 29 comments
  • Trina B.

    This is great advice not just for teens, but for enfps in general. I would add that I would have given my teen self advice in saving money, knowing your worth, that focusing on yourself is a must. Ask for help and give yourself time for reflection. Stop running from the pain, you can’t out run it anyway. However, I’ve never met an enfp that couldn’t dance through it. Learn to harness your pain and realize it is there to clear out stagnation. Oh,and the drug thing… if, you’re doing it to escape boredom or issues just remember that when you’re done the boredom, issues or fear will be there right where you left them, but often with added company.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for those helpful additions, Trina! You are so right. The Drug thing doesn’t solve anything. It just postpones it. I think it actually makes it harder to learn coping mechanisms too, because it becomes a habit to just check out when things get overwhelming.

  • Trina B.

    Charis I’ve also found as an enfp that because we tend to light it up. When we are experience the blues or are in pain it throws those around us off. When it come to intense emotional work I’ve found supporters are often at a loss of what to do with us. I can’t speak for all enfps, but from personal experience pain the emotional kind is most challenging to deal with. What say you?

    • Charis Branson

      That sounds fairly accurate. IF ENFPs always portray themselves as the life of the party, people are going to be taken aback when one suddenly has a meltdown. I recently did a tarot reading for an ENFP and he received a lot of instruction to meditate. Perhaps that is the best solution for an ENFP who is imploding – get some alone time and go inside. Then you don’t feel pressured to perform.

      • Kathryn

        As an ENFP who has been imploding, there is a lot of wisdom in your advice. A vacation is what I have been crying out for for months – a few days or a week without husband, kids, friends – no demands, no one else’s needs or expectations – sit and breathe in some nature, drive and listen to some music, chat with strangers – time to make peace in my Self again.

        • Charis Branson

          I think such “breaks” are imperative for everyone. Otherwise, we stop performing at our best and go into a mode of existence that is barely functional. We are more short tempered and impatient, and may even injure ourselves or develop an illness if our bodies aren’t allowed to recharge or re-create. We start decompensating.

          It’s like the pre-flight instruction on airlines to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help anyone else. How are you supposed to be a good wife and mother if you aren’t getting enough “oxygen?”

  • Cherie

    Thanks again! I am reading this to my almost 15yrold ENFP tonight! Wish I could thank all those who contributed.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your feedback, Cherie! What did your teen think of the article?

  • Tommy

    I’m 14,ENFP, and I can relate to the emotional stress/moodswings, is it normal for an ENFP teenager to feel lost? I feel like I don’t have any friends that I can really emotionally connect to.

    • Branko

      I had the same issue. You will find friends like that (or you already know some but haven’t really connected yet). Your authenticity will help you in choosing them. Just go out there and make an effort (you can do it!) to meet people. Once you do, stick to them. Life will be so much better.

      • Charis Branson

        In reading over all the surveys from Intuitives, there was one common thread – College is much better than High School. I think people find it easier to create a tribe of like-minds in College.

        Have you read this article? It might have some ideas to help with making friends in High School:

  • Kiri

    Wow! I am 18 and this describes me perfectly! Ive dealt with my weed addiction now but for the last three years I smoked everyday all day because of how bored I felt with life and I loved how it made life so much more fun and exciting when I was high. I also tried so hard in high school to be well liked often sucking up to people only to lose my temper really quickly when I felt threatened or like I was being attacked (even if I wasnt). As soon as I finished High school I wished I could have gone back and told my younger self to remain true to who I am. I also love adventure and excitement and go through a stage of depression once returning from a holiday and having to go back to my routine. This article is eye opening and accurate. God bless all ENFP and their open exciting hearts!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Kiri! I’m glad the findings resonated with you so strongly. I agree – God bless all ENFPs! What would the world be without their incredible ability to inspire?!

  • Rachel

    I’m a 15 year old ENFP and this article perfectly describes what I’m going through. I have so many ideas of what I want to do with my life but they keep getting shut down by people around me. Thank you for writing this article it has really inspired me to do what I want not what the people around me want from me. 🙂

    • Charis Branson

      Thank you for the comment, Rachel! Be Strong! You have incredible gifts to bring to the world. 🙂

    • Breanna

      Yes, this is sort of the struggle I’ve been facing as a 15yo girl, feeling like I could really make something great with life and relationships… But like no one else is willing to support my journey. Instead all of my peers and elders seem to do nothing but criticize my views on life just because they aren’t really listening. I don’t think they really know me as well as they think they do, but I can’t stand to get away from them. I’ve supported my friends through a lot in their lives, been there when no one else has, and they abandon me every time I need a shoulder to cry on. It isn’t fair. Just because I lead with the “fun” part of my personality and have a hard time showing when I’m hurting, people expect that from me all the time and it’s exhausting. I want to do big things; I want to travel and be remembered by people, and I don’t want to be alone in my adventures, but none of my personal relationships ever really last and I hate it. I’m so young that I can’t really choose what I want to do with my life yet, but I want to do something bigger than this.

  • Casey Ward

    Terrific article!! Very accurate and potent.

    Thank you Charis!


    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Casey! I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  • Farimah

    Amazing, amazing article based on the surveys. I’m an 23 years old ENFP and the amount of relation i felt to the points stated is both very heart warming and extremely heart wrenching!
    I especially did connect so much with the finance talk. I almost get no stress over anything but financial matters. They are nerve wrecking no matter how i approach them.

    So i was wondering if you do have any advice for an ENFP trying to understand and control the financial aspects of their life from the point of view of a tertiary Te? I’m trying my best to become more competent in financial matters and i like to think that me trying so hard counts for something haha (even if i do fail quite a lot)

    • Korey

      23 year old ENFP here too!! 😀 It’s interesting that we stress over money. For me, I create a monthly budget that I adjust each time I get paid and pay all of my bills as soon as I get my paycheck and then cash out what I have left for food & fun. It works for me. Cut up all the credit cards except for one you keep for emergencies in your sock drawer.

      • Vincent

        23 years old, I seem to fit within the ENFP box.

        Personally I’ve never underestimated financial problems and dynamics and actively worked on myself to process it. I studied business (which seemed logical at the time to study operational organisation, money included) and focused on the diverse aspects of money in our life : [Intimate relationships as much as social and shared one].

        I feel like money canalizes a lot of our concrete and practical dependence and interdependence with society and other people in general.

        Two main results came out if I take a step back :
        –> Money is a language, its value is versatile and certainly should not be used as a point of reference to evaluate worth (even and especially operationally, also obviously in other aspects of life). If the value keeps changing, the key is to understand the variables and dynamics.

        –> If I want independence and to choose myself my interdependences well, I should avoid money as much as possible.
        What do I use money for ? [Food –> grow it, take the production surplus around you, . . . Property –> rent as little as possible, buy, find ways to acquire property, . . . ect]
        How do I get money ? [Be as close to the outcome of your work as possible, don’t “rent” your workforce to others, try to earn money with as little transactions as possible, don’t specialize too much and stay as autonomous as possible].
        For actual creation of value, money becomes secondary and is a detail within all the relationships you develop with the co-creators.

        It’s the most logical and long term way I’ve found that respect my values and my character (which falls in this point in the ENFP box very much so).

        Financial issues are a problem and should be a problem, the concept of money is inherently unfair in our modern society and raise a lot of demands on our parts without ever asking for consent.

        Well, this is as clear and honest as I can express myself, It’s no real advice. (Advices are tricky).

  • Cassia

    This was the most beautiful, and relatable articles I’ve ever read. Each comment was on point. I will definitely come back to reference this article when I am feeling lost! Seriously, thank you.

  • MeL

    I only wish I read this when I was 15 years old. I am 56 right now. Had I only had the confidence in myself then and embraced my weirdness and turned it into something greater than…now. I am a retired teacher and I am bored out of my mind. I have traveled to exotic places seen wondrous things and am alwAys in search of something stimulating… What a stable life I have made, but I am bored out of my mind. I hAve difficulty focusing. Food, alcohol and men bore me right now.

    • Charis Branson

      Maybe ‘retired’ isn’t the best place for you. Have you considered taking up a new challenge? Learning something new? I’m not talking about the classes they offer at the local senior center. Something that really challenges you and can use some of your pent up energy.

  • Max

    It’s ok not to have any true friends in the groups at school. Your friends to come didn’t have friends either.

  • Sophia

    Thank you so much for this! All of you.

    If I could give advice to younger self (or to another younger self reading this), I would say a few things.

    1) Keep loving everything with your WHOLE heart. Keep diving in head first. Keep being intensely passionate. It’s what makes you happy — and it often makes others happy, too. It’s the only way you do things and that’s ok.

    2) Eventually though, you’re going to probably want to keenly change focus from that thing you were just diving into, and that also is ok! …However please be patient with those around you. Some people don’t see change as a positive thing – as a dire need – like you do. Please try not to feel as though you need to disappear from someone’s life because you feel so guilty about making a change that they weren’t comfortable with at first. People are simply not THAT mad at you for doing what you want / need / feel compelled to do. Wait for people. They will be sad – and hurt – if you just leave. ALSO: Saying goodbye will always be terribly hard and letting someone down will probably continue to be the hardest thing you’ll ever do — remember, 15 year old me: I’m writing this at age 24 and I still DREAD having to mature up and end things properly – whether it’s a job, a relationship, a friendship, etc. Burning bridges is terrible for people on both shores. Say goodbye.

    3) Don’t let that fear of saying goodbye let you become too afraid to let go. You HATE being complacent! It is not who you are. Hanging on (long term) for someone else will only make you resent them or yourself. Don’t be afraid to let go and change – just do it the right way. And trust yourself (and more so God).

    4) Lastly, it is ok that you feel like you don’t know who you are. You probably will not be socially defined by hard skills like how great you are at sports or the type of music you like — as so many people are. You are socially defined by your person. Peers and non-peers will ask you for advice. You will rarely pick the music in the car, but your friends will appreciate that you’re always open to listen to their music. You will be called the smiley one — even when you’re sad. (Find someone though that you can be sad with – they’ll normally be found in the music department). You will lift people up and make them feel powerful. Let THAT make YOU feel powerful. You will connect. You will sometimes feel like you don’t know who you are because you don’t think you have “a thing.” But you do: your thing is YOU. And that doesn’t fade after high school like sports do!

    5) I love you!!!!! and I can’t wait for you to get your braces off! 🙂

  • Herself

    All I can say is WOW! I am a 38 yr old enfp and I lately have been feeling extremely bored, lost and a tad trapped. I have a wonderful family, two beautiful children and an incredible altruistic life work with my husband who is an estj. I never regret my two little treasures and thank God for them every day! But I married kind of young and if I could give advice to my young enfp self I would say #1 Don’t make such a hefty decision till 30,had I followed this, I think I would have been somewhere very different today and that is ok.#2 Know yourself, get comfortable, find and accept yourself before diving into life. It’s really ok. I wish I would have allowed myself to be at peace with who I was and not trying to fit into anybody elses boxes, as well meaning as they may have been. #3 Never just settle for something, push the boundaries, in a good way of course. You will never be like everbody else and that’s fine. Revel in your uniqueness , find time to look up at the sky and marvel at all the wonders of the world, it is huge and fathomless.#4 Find as much adventure as possible! Your amazing memories will help you later in times of life when you have to follow routine and as another wise enfp just said, go on vacation just yourself or maybe with one other really good like minded friend, without husband, kids or family and be intrepid again for a week just to refresh. If you don’t you will implode eventually and hurt those around you that you would die to protect. Prevention is the name of the game for an enfp. I suffer from hypertension and other nervous problems, something I shouldn’t be suffering from as an enfp, because for years I tried to be something else. I love being one now and have finally come to peace with myself but it is still a challenge every day. Thanks so much for your article I almost cried when I read it, it made me realize that I really need to take a break, no guilt, no regrets! It is a beautiful life, go out and dance through it and live as many lives in one as you possibly can!:-)

  • mahnoor

    this article made me cry!
    all of it is on point.

  • KJ

    Wow, this article is exactly what I needed.<3
    I'm an ENFP and turning 17 in a month, but just recently started having trouble in school. Everything was fine and I had top grades until I dyed my hair blue. ( We don't have any dress codes here and I LOVE blue!) But apparently the teachers don't appreciate that since I'm in a healthcare highschool and they started giving me terrible grades.

    It's really sad how people never understand. If you don't fit into one of their stereotyped boxed, they turn your unique ways into something weird and bad and look down on you.
    But this article was very inspiring^-^

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