Three Mistakes that ENFPs Make in Relationships (and How to Avoid Them!)
When it comes to the world of dating and romance, all of us can feel a little overwhelmed. Finding real love can feel like a roller-coaster ride; one minute exhilarating and the next minute terrifying and confusing. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a way to side-step some of the most frequent blunders that people find themselves in? You can pick up magazines and books full of dating do’s and don’ts, but this article is where you’ll find tips specifically for your personality type. We’re going to explore the three most frequent mistakes that ENFPs encounter in relationships. We’re also going to discover some ways to avoid those mistakes and enjoy fuller, more authentic relationships. Let’s get started!
Mistake #1 – Idealizing Partners
ENFPs have an exquisite ability to see what someone or something could become in the future. Guided by potential rather than what exists now, ENFPs can spot hidden gifts that others don’t realize they possess. While this is definitely a strength, it can also cause some frustrating blunders in relationships. ENFPs may see their partner for all they could be, rather than who they are right now. Instead of getting the most accurate perception of who their partner is, they may idealize them, exaggerate their strengths, and imagine that they’re already at that future place of potential rather than where they really are at the present. This can cause frustration for ENFPs who then are faced with some deal-breaking realities in their relationship. They also might run the risk of making their partners feel under-appreciated for who they really are. No partner wants to feel like a “project,” so it’s important for ENFPs not to get hung up on pushing their partner into a projected image of who they feel they could be.
How to Avoid This Mistake: Take time to reflect and analyze on who your partner (or potential partner) really is and what you want from them. Take a few minutes out of your day to simply process the positive things your partner has actually done in the present. Before you venture headlong into a relationship with someone new, pause and consider what traits are actually attracting you to them. Are these traits that they are currently exhibiting? Or are these traits that you envision them exhibiting someday in the future? Would this relationship turn into a “project” for you, or would you be free to relax and enjoy your partner for who they are right now?
Mistake #2 – Struggling to Be Present and Authentic
This struggle might seem like a surprise considering ENFPs place such high importance on authenticity. In fact, “Authenticity” is the name of the mental process that ENFPs use as their co-pilot. While ENFPs prize sincerity and openness, they can also keep part of themselves hidden. They often struggle to fully express their true feelings right away, and this can lead to confusion for their partner later on.
Joel Mark-Witt, ENFP and founder of Personality Hacker, says, “On the surface, ENFPs can seem very flirtatious and connective, but they are usually only showing you their performance side. An ENFP opening up to true intimacy typically requires tons of time and trust. Genuine trust is so hard to feel that it’s usually limited to a very small number of people. But no one would know this because ENFPs can fool others into thinking they are more intimate and connected than they actually are.”
Many ENFPs report that they’ve wound up in confused relationships because they failed to communicate their true feeling. Other ENFPs have let their frustrations simmer for long periods of time and then “exploded” on their partner in a way that caused long-term damage. While this mistake isn’t universal to ENFPs (I spoke with several who couldn’t relate to this at all) there are enough ENFPs who struggle with this that I think it’s worth covering here.
How to Avoid This Mistake: Being private about your feelings isn’t always a bad thing, especially at the beginning of a relationship when trust is still being established. But it’s important to be aware when you’re letting hurts and frustrations simmer inside rather than expressing them to your partner. Holding onto bitterness over time can lead to explosions of anger that cause harm. Remember that being open about the good and the bad is what creates intimacy and trust. When you’re at a point where you feel safe in your relationship, practice being vulnerable and sharing things that will build understanding: Fears, Mistakes, Hopes, Goals, Passions, Hurts. You don’t have to let all these things out at once; take it slow if you need to! Just keep in mind that in order to establish the connection that you crave it’s essential to be vulnerable.
Also, when you find yourself on the verge of a relationship, be aware that your friendliness and exuberance might give your partner the idea that you are more invested in the relationship than you really are. Make sure to clarify what you really want in the relationship (if you know), and be aware that many other types might not express the same enthusiasm and connection without a strong feeling of commitment. Your warmth and charisma is a good thing – don’t lose it! But be aware that it can send a very strong signal to your partner and they might think that things are much more serious than they actually are. Use your words to ensure that you both are on the same page.
Mistake #3 – Interrupting or Being Distracted in Conversation
The ENFP mind is filled with endless ideas, visions, possibilities, and extrapolations. Sometimes all those ideas pour forth, cascading over whoever is on the receiving end of the conversation. While the enthusiasm and imagination of the ENFP is indeed exciting, it can also be overpowering, especially when it results in endless rambling or interruptions. Someone may start a conversation with an ENFP, only to find themselves cut off and taken down a rabbit hole of connected ideas that they didn’t intend to explore. This can result in irritation and a feeling of not being heard by the partner of the ENFP.
How to Avoid This Mistake: Listening can be a tough skill for anyone to learn, but for ENFPs, it’s a skill that you are exceptionally good at once you pause and slow down a little. Take a moment to tune into the present. Calm your mind and pay attention to the complete thought someone is trying to express to you. Listen to their tone of voice, watch their facial expressions, zoom in on their body language. This kind of listening will help you to really hear the intention of what your partner is saying and not just the first half of their thought. Put yourself in their shoes as well. As an ENFP this is something you’re very good at! Lastly, when you find yourself working out replies while your partner is still speaking, stop. Imagine that you are going to be tested about how much you remember from what your partner said. Over time, actively listening will become easier and your friends and relationships will improve as a result.
As an ENFP, you’re driven by curiosity, possibility, and empathy. This makes you an engaging conversationalist and a very trusted confidant and encourager. Embrace these strengths and make the most of them!
Summing It Up…
As an ENFP you have an endless amount of gifts to bring to the table in any relationship. Your type is often imaginative, insightful, ambitious, and open-minded. The enthusiasm and fun that you infuse into life makes you a magnetic, compelling individual. Don’t let these potential mistakes get you down! Embrace what makes you unique and strong. Use this information to avoid potential roadblocks that might keep you from having the fulfilling relationship that you deserve. You can find out more about ENFP strengths, weaknesses, and more here. You can also check out Antonia and Joel’s ENFP personality course here.