ENFJs are the most socially aware of all the Myers-Briggs types. Although other types have some strong social inclinations, ENFJs pair direct understanding of social situations with a complex ability to understand how people think. They can handle sensitive situations and people with ease, which makes them master diplomats.
ENFJs represent only 3% of the world’s population, with women outnumbering men 3 to 1. The most famous ENFJ in the western world today is Oprah Winfrey.
ENFJs are great at organizing social events and are natural teachers and communicators. Isabel Briggs Myers once said, “ENFJs are likely to have a gift of expression, but they may use it in speaking to audiences rather than in writing.” This is understandable as it allows them to directly interact with their audience and interpret the needs of others in real time.
ENFJs are appreciative and compromising. They can become demanding and impatient if others do not respond to their guidance.
They are the most likely of all the types to cope with stress by exercising, and the most likely to believe in a higher power. They are commonly found in careers that revolve around religion, teaching, and the arts.
Job satisfaction is very common for this type because they see the value in picking up and leaving something that has stopped bringing them satisfaction.
In a recent survey of ENFJs we asked four questions:
- What are the top 3 challenges you face as an ENFJ?
- What 3 things do you wish others knew about you as an ENFJ?
- What 3 books/movies/courses/events have most impacted your life?
- What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self ?
In this article, I would like to focus on the last of the four survey questions –What do you wish you could have told your 15 year old self ?
Many of the answers shared some common themes. So, I have broken them all down to 5 items ENFJs wish they had known when they were 15 years old, in order of frequency.
#1 Stop Trying To Please Everyone
The dominant mental process for ENFJs is Extraverted Feeling (“Harmony” in the Genius System). This means their strength is getting other people’s needs met. Many ENFJs do this through diplomacy, relationship coaching, teaching, and mentorship.
Their greatest weakness is getting their own needs met and allowing themselves to get caught up in other people’s drama.
19% of ENFJs would tell their younger selves to stop trying to please everyone else.
- “You will be great no matter what you do. Believe in yourself and don’t do everything that other people tell you to do. You don’t need to please everyone, try pleasing yourself once or twice.”
- “You can’t be loved by everyone. So don’t try so hard to change yourself into being ‘likeable’.”
- “Seek help as soon as you can and love you for who you really are. Stop trying to be who everyone else wants you to be.”
- “You are separate from everyone else around you. It’s okay to have your own thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to pick up everyone else’s feelings. You will survive if you’re rejected. In fact, you’ll be open to true acceptance from others if you can be the best you- not the best them. Not everyone “reads” people like you do- don’t assume everyone can see the dynamics that you do. Be patient with others (especially you’re future husband!) and don’t talk down to him when he doesn’t “see” those dynamics in your relationship.”
- “It is okay to say no and it doesn’t matter what others think of you. It is not your ‘duty’ to try to rid the world of all the terrible things that happen. Rather it is your vocation to use your passion to help others in a sustainable way and not to do so at the expense of yourself. You are always going to approach life in a unique way and those who really care about you will recognize that this is a strength and not a weakness. Don’t waste time on those who try to abuse your philanthropy.”
#2 Invest in Yourself
ENFJs can exhaust themselves by too much philanthropic work. They can become over involved in the needs and dramas of others, thereby robbing themselves of the time they need for self care.
ENFJs auxiliary function is Introverted Intuition (“Perspectives”). This process requires down-time to function. It finds its greatest inspiration in sensory deprivation. It is therefore imperative that ENFJs take time for themselves by getting out of the real world and into their heads.
12% of ENFJs would tell their adolescent selves to invest in themselves a little more.
- “No matter how you may feel day to day, you are a great and powerful being, sent here to do great and powerful things. No one else is in control of your feelings. The road you will take will be extremely difficult on you, and you will always feel alone, but the joy you spread has no bounds. Your toughness, passion, humor, and humility, will surprise yourself and inspire others. While realizing you, by yourself, cannot change the entire world, always striving to be a better person does change the world around you. You are the Writer, Producer, Director, Cameraman, Set Designer, Caterer, and Star of your Life Movie. Make it one worth watching.”
- “It’s okay to take care of yourself and to be yourself. Your personality is somewhat rare, and that is why you feel so different.”
- “Look after yourself more and stop trusting people so easily. Not everyone has good intentions and people lie more often than you think. It is easier to live life when you try viewing things from various perspectives. There are true friends out there.”
- “Everyone doesn’t know you like you think they do. Sometimes you have to tell people and not assume that they GET things the way you do. Learn to communicate how you feel and be aware that how you feel is just as important as how everyone else feels. Don’t overdo it but don’t undervalue yourself either…that can lead to some serious damage that takes time to recover from…believe me.”
#3 Show Compassion to Everyone
Extraverted Feeling (Harmony) has an interesting nuance. It isn’t just about getting people’s needs met. It’s also about setting social structures and maintaining social order. Social rules are so obvious and rigid to ENFJs that they often becomes confused when someone doesn’t seem to know the rules. They can even become judgmental when people don’t “toe the line.”
13% of ENFJs surveyed said they wish they had been more compassionate, overall.
- “Pursue equality and fairness for all, and show compassion to the least of your fellows.”
- “Not everyone thinks like you. Stop being mad that no one else seems to be courteous. Also, a Highly Sensitive Person is a thing and you are one.”
- “Slow down and take time to deeply develop friendships and relationships.”
- “Learn to give more hugs. You’ll like them; I promise.”
#4 Don’t Hide Your Emotions
ENFJs superpower is not only their ability to feel, but to detect the emotions of others. Empathy comes from the combination of Harmony and Perspectives – the ENFJs Driver and Copilot. This is why they are such great diplomats and mentors. So, it is imperative they rest into their superpower and not run from their feelings.
12.5% of ENFJs would tell their younger selves not to hide from their emotions.
- “It’s okay to share your emotions with people you trust. It’s therapeutic and their counsel will guide you along the journey of life.”
- “You don’t have to be tough.”
- “It’s okay to feel deeply and be sensitive, that’s what makes you so unique.”
- “Lean into being soft and gentle. Being strong and confident doesn’t mean you have to let people walk over you or that you’re weak.”
- “Write poetry or journal. Share your free flowing feelings and analogies. This will help you better understand where your feelings are coming from. You fear your expression could frighten or confuse others but it’s important to at least explore your intense emotions yourself, honor them with non-judgmental free flowing writing and give them space to live outside of yourself. Validate that you feel that way. It’s okay for you to feel with such intensity. ”
#5 Set Boundaries
Any time you have someone who leads with Extraverted Feeling you are going to have a problem with boundaries. There are a lot of people who have a lot of needs. There are also a lot of people who have never experienced real kindness. When such people encounter a Harmony person they hook on sometimes like leeches.
Fe dominant people have to be careful of becoming entrapped in exhausting, one-sided relationships.
9% of ENFJs surveyed would tell their younger selves to set better boundaries.
- “Don’t get sucked into reciting damaging personal beliefs and especially don’t try to find and recount evidence to support them.”
- “Don’t spend your energy on people who do not legitimately care for you and your well-being. There is nothing to be gained from toxic ‘friends’, even if you think it will make you appear more favorable to others. You’ll find that a lot of the decisions you made were based on other people’s opinions, and you end up wasting your time when you realize you should have gone with your gut feeling.”
- “Speak up! You have needs that need to be met as well. Don’t sweep things under the rug. Say it how it is. Harmony can be created from conflict. I’d rather have harmony than no interaction, BUT if harmony can’t be reached (and sometimes it won’t) I’d rather have no interaction than disharmony. That means walking away from destructive friends, and situations.”
- “Do not allow others to hold you back, make sure you are living for ‘yourself.’ You have to help and care for yourself before you can help others.”
You Are Amazing Just The Way You Are
I think it is human nature to want to be someone we are not. We look at other people’s lives and see things through rose-colored glasses. Then we look at our own lives as flawed somehow. We fail to realize that other people look at our lives with the same rose-colored glasses. They don’t see our struggles any more than we see their struggles.
The greatest gift we can give ourselves is the knowledge that we are amazing just the way we are. We bring something to the world that is so important the world would suffer if we weren’t here. Imagine a world without diplomats, teachers, and philanthropists. These are the gifts ENFJs bring, and we are grateful for them.
- “You are a good person and have an amazing ability to affect other people for the better. Trust in that and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.”
- “You are Normal! You have amazing strengths and are just as capable as anyone else around you. It’s okay to show emotion, don’t bottle it up or feel guilty. You envy others for what they have, but many people would be thrilled to have your talent of understanding people. It’ll be hard to find people who are on your same wavelength.”
- “You’re worth the stars, the moon, the galaxy. You will shine in beauty only if you can believe it to be so.”
- “Embrace your unique ideas and interest in others. Stand out and lead with those ideas. The majority of people’s ‘normal’ answers are not always correct. You have an amazing ability to connect and react with others.”
We would love to hear more about the advice ENFJs would give to their teenage selves. Please share them in the comments below.
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