ENFJ Survey: 5 Things ENFJs Wish They Had Known as Teens



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.  

Direct Quotes:

  • “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.

Direct Quotes:

  • “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.

Direct Quotes:

  • “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.

Direct Quotes:

  • “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.

Direct Quotes:

  • “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.

Direct Quotes:

  • “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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Showing 27 comments
  • Hank

    Thank you, Charis!

    I found many valuable things for me and I can relate to pretty much most of what’s written here.


  • S

    Thank you so much for this article! I have recently found that I am probably an ENFJ, and all the points above ring so true for me.

    By the way, I particularly commend #5 to anyone else listening in, having spent much of my twenties and thirties tied to 2-3 one-sided relationships with broken lonely people who latched on to me and wouldn’t let go. On the one hand, I came out of it with much more compassion and and appreciation do different people’s experiences of life. But I have also have suffered from a lack of self-care, as my friends were so often unable to reciprocate.

    I sincerely feel it is up to me to ensure this self-care is put in place, as I am now (and have been for much of my life) an unhealthy ENFJ.

    • S

      Doh! So many typos!! 😊

  • KK

    I am 28 years old- recently found myself to be an Extrovert HSP & tied into this it all makes sense for me. My childhood clicked for me… my adult life has clicked for me. It feels like someone is able to help me explain WHO I am. I’ve always known I was rare because I’m sensitive, but I’m always into everything. Up until recently I started being closed off from friends & social functions…. I had become depressed and completely consumed in my depression mentally. My self esteem was BROKEN. I said “God- why did you make me so damn emotional & irrational?!” And the next day I found articles about HSP & now more recently this article.

    It’s like I’m finally able to put reason and understanding to my actions all these years. I understand my trigger points & understand how to use my love and giving nature as a GIFT. It’s a beautiful thing. I am in a relationship with an ISTP! Very difficult but he has been so supportive of me “finding myself”. He’s proud and I can tell he really appreciates that I’m working to care for myself. Normally I don’t do that. This has been AMAZING. I feel at peace just knowing. THANK YOU EVERYONE!

  • Elli

    Until today I identified myself as an extrovert highly sensitive person, I guess most people here will know about hsp. If not google it, it Will deepen your understanding of yourself. Now I learned, that this trade was a thing much earlier than I thought. I usually don’t like lables, but this is one I will wear with pride.

  • Ana

    Thank you to everyone for this. I am actually an ENFJ teen and this is so valuable!!

  • Freda Evans

    This is so true ,I always wondered why I felt the way I did growing up ?

  • Lamis

    Thank you so much.
    To anyone who felt even for a minute that submitting their advice wouldn’t do much, I am the teen that you are giving advice to and I am so thankful.
    Only recently have I decided to do something about finding out why I am the way I am and I’m lucky to have found many articles and websites that make me feel proud and at peace with my ENFJ self ❤️ Some of the advice I have already learnt the hard way, but the majority were the answers that nobody seemed to know how to give me.
    Thank you dearly, from an ENFJ teen 🙂

    • Charis Branson

      Thank you, Lamis! You are the reason we are here. <3

      • Gelvin

        Hey Lamis, I am a 16 year old male ENFJ, and have experienced already an emotionally abusive relationship… I agree with everything that was said and I feel that one of the most important things we can do as ENFJ teens is to first find where we stand, and what our base is. I recommend continuing your research of the MBTI types. When you begin a new relationship with someone, try to recommend the test to them, for you and them… In my experience understanding the types of those around you can and will lead to a happier you.

  • Sarah Elizabeth Hobbs

    Thank you sooo much!!!!! I have felt that even my family doesn’t understand me. I wish I could have heard this from them. But now I am inspired to tell myself these things!! THANK YOU!!
    P.S. I also love your personality type! Introverts are so deep! <3

    • Charis Branson

      Awww, thanks Sarah! I have an ENFJ friend who seems really deep to me. I’m glad you enjoyed the article! 🙂

  • gracia?✨?

    thankyou so much for this. i needed this, and i don’t think you’ll ever realise how much this means to me. ❤️

    – from a 15 year old ENFJ girl

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Gracia! Your feedback means a lot. 🙂

  • Olivia Jackson

    I am 22 and my life is in the process of a 360 ! This article is amazing and I am just learning about me and what I am capable of and I want to just say thank you so much ! You are doing an amazing thing for us ENFJ struggling to live !

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Olivia! Good luck on your journey. 🙂

      • Jeanie

        This is good advise for adults too. I normally feel like I can connect easily with others, but lately I am almost afraid to interact with other people. I have been burned by people I trusted and it’s really hard to get back out there. At 36, I’m just starting to realize how deceptive people can be for long periods of time. 😩 My advise would be, don’t gloss over the things that bother you about other people just because you want to be friendly and positive.

  • Mae Nasr

    I wish I had known this a long time ago it would of saved me a lot of heart ache and physical pain in my younger years after all the struggle I have gone through I have reach the place I should of been years ago no regrets as my life is wonderful and I have found my niche I would like to thank you for the insight that you have given me and you have reinforced what I have come to see in myself looking forward to your next delivery.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Mae! I have much the same perspective as you. It would have been nice to have some personal insight when times were hard, but I wouldn’t trade the lessons for anything. Cheers!

  • Dannielle Albert

    I am dying to read:
    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?

  • Ernest

    As I submitted my answers to the survey, I thought to myself, ” I think I maybe I went a little too deep into my response. ” and I almost didn’t submit it.!
    Glad I did tho because after submitting my response I then read everyone else’s, which honestly made me feel a type of emotion that I’ve never really felt before. I really started too cry, but at the same time I was smiling, it really hit me in a spot that I wasn’t aware I even had. It really was liberating to know there are people out there in the world, that have gone through the same difficulties that I had.

    • Melissa

      What a wonderful article! As an ENFJ, I was warned not to be so nice when I was 15 years old. It took many years to figure out how to be nice and kind without being too nice and too kind. What helped me was to say “I would love to help you for an hour, but I can only stay and help for twenty minutes. Would you like to to stay for 20 minutes? “ After I heard a “yes” response, then I would stay and help. I would check my watch from time to time and when twenty minutes were up I would say, “I would love to stay longer, but twenty minutes are over and I need to go.” I was surprised and happy that people commented on how loving and kind I was.

      As ENFJ’s we are able to give what we truly can give and others will be happy with us and appreciate our wanting to give as well as our contribution.

  • Jennifer

    Many people do not believe that I have the ability to feel and know why people are reacting to life in the way they are. I understand the connections between people and understand the reasons why people do what they do. I have the ability to get into other peoples heads and hearts most of the time its a gift sometimes its a curse.

  • Chris Arwood

    Somewhat correct for me, thank you for the great read. I say somewhat because over the last couple years I have been ‘fixing’ what I felt was wrong. Better terminology would be, discovering myself and coming to many realizations that I either had to take a second look at from within or open my eyes just a little wider to understand myself and everything around me on a different level.

    Two things I thoroughly enjoyed: The quotes, as they were very heartfelt and even one or two even seemed purposely put in there for me. The other was your Reiki. I myself am a healer. When my life did a 360, Reiki was one of the first things I studied and mastered. However, I won’t claim more knowledge than the enlightened one from the mountain, yet when I asked his guidance to learn as well as help, I was guided and given a different path of healing.

    Since then, I have come up with different techniques and periodically the foundation of the initial teaching and methodical healing practice embraces my heart and moves me to impliment the way I heal. What has been instilled in my intuition though, also from experience, is that every time you help or aid, each moment is different in healing. From saving a bee, curing a headache, relieving back pain, aligning chakras, opening blockages, igniting the bodys exterior energy centers to long distance care as well as caring for many broken hearts. Sometimes a smile goes a long way.

    Someday I’d like to talk more in depth with you. I have so much to say and have observed and patiently awaited my turn to speak my knowledge far past the time it seems. Being ready internally takes more than most can mindfully fathom.

    It’s only when the love you’ve saved an entire lifetime for all to cherish, first finds the strength to cherish your own love, can you truly start to make a difference around you.

    As you begin to fully grasp how simple it can be to inspire change, you can instead become complacent and inherently comprehend gifts and resolutions that have been misunderstood throughout the mysteries of time. Most just have to accept who they are and embrace their lifes purpose instead of pushing away. The Law of attraction definitely does have a great influence if properly utilized.

    So, thanks again, Charis Branson. If not with an exchange personally, my unforgettable memory will most definitely ponder after and look for other reads of interest penned from your intuitive perspective.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Chris! I’m glad you have been able to find a path that seems to resonate with your soul so strongly. I thought it was interesting that you said you were guided to a different path of healing. Me too! I got the Master attunement to Reiki but have never really used it. I found the various symbols cumbersome. I am currently learning Qi Gong and loving it! It is so powerful! I also do Chakra cleanse in my massage practice as a free service to anyone who asks. It is a short, simple technique I picked up somewhere.

  • christopher chiu

    Hi Charis,

    Wow – I am tearing up as I read this! Thank you for sharing this gift of wisdom and knowledge. It felt like you wrote me a personal letter – Super accurate and def. wish I had someone like you to guide me during my teens. But I have taken all the hard-ships & struggles and learned from them. They will be an asset to me as I transition into Life-Coaching and help others who are going through the same 🙂

    Much love to you,

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks Chris! I’m so glad you found the info valuable.

      How exciting to be going into such a rewarding field. Good luck. I’m sure you will change the world. 🙂

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