In order to fully grasp and understand a personality under Myers Briggs Type Indicator, it is important to take a look at the different functions that dictate how they live. There are four cognitive functions that are at the forefront of what motivates and explains how personality types reach decisions.
There are also four shadow functions that each personality has. These shadow functions maintain a bad reputation as they usually only manifest when a type is under extreme stress or feels a personal attack on their individuality.
Below are fourteen ENFP functions explained, beginning with the cognitive and shadow functions.
The Core Cognitive ENFP Functions:
The four core cognitive functions are what truly determine the way in which ENFPs process daily life and motivations. They dictate how they take other’s emotions into account, how they problem-solve, and how they come to a decision. Referred to by its two top functions, ENFPs are also known as NeFi.
#1 Extroverted Intuition or Ne
The first and dominant core function is Ne or extroverted intuition. As the core function, ENFPs utilize it to decipher patterns, create methods or routines in order to process how to approach the pay they approach life.
Oftentimes ENFPs will simply say their thoughts out loud which may make others perceive them as not really having cohesive thoughts. However, by speaking their thoughts aloud they are giving their extroverted intuition to fruition into wisdom.
Ne also allows for an ENFP to remain open-minded in different situations, they are able to see both sides objectively. Although extroverted intuition can prove to be a great dominant core function as it invites various perspectives, its very nature can have its own challenges. Ne can make a NeFi apprehensive about coming to a decision.
#2 Introverted Feeling or Fi
The second core function is Fi or introverted feeling which tends to focus on building the ENFP’s morals, values, likes, and dislikes. Because Fi comes second to Ne in the ENFP type, when approaching a decision or situation, they will do it with an open mind, that is the Ne, and then after having approached it openly they use their Fi function.
The introverted feeling function will reveal how it aligns with an ENFP’s values. The Fi function also makes a NeFi aware of others’ emotions, making them really considerate individuals.
#3 Extroverted Thinking or Te
Extroverted thinking or Te is the third cognitive function and is centered around how ENFPs take a logical approach to decision making. Given the rational approach, NeFis attempts to find the best solution to whatever obstacle is put in front of them. Although ENFPs prefer to make their decisions with enough time to assess all options, if it is needed, they use their extroverted thinking function to make a more timely decision.
It is also notable to mention that ENFPs might not be as confident utilizing Te which can lead to submitting themselves to others’ goals rather than their own.
#4 Internal Sensing or Si
The last core function, and the inferior function, is internal sensing or Si. Since this function is not as developed within an ENFP, this may cause them to have trouble with being reliable and actually being able to set their plans and ideas into motion.
That being said, Si does have its benefits. Internal sensing is concerned with the past, and will therefore impose boundaries based on past actions and experiences, however, since it is the inferior function it is more likely for ENFPs to identify more with Ne.
The Shadow Functions
We established briefly that shadow functions tend to manifest under extreme circumstances, and that is because they work subconsciously. Now it doesn’t mean that they can only occur under extreme measures, but it is more common that way.
These functions are the opposing ones of the cognitive functions explored earlier. Although they can be detrimental to the personality type, it usually only happens to be because these shadow functions remain underdeveloped.
#5 Introverted Intuition or Ni
Introverted intuition or Ni is the opposite of the dominant Ne. In ENFPs, introverted intuition usually presents itself in jumping to conclusions. Typically an ENFP would need to have evidence to make assumptions, however, when under stress this might not be the case.
ENFPs don’t tend to rely solely on intuition so when they decide to go with their instinct, most often than not, it doesn’t turn out well. On some occasions, this type might utilize their introverted intuition to defend and support their extroverted intuition.
#6 Extraverted Thinking or Fe
Fe or extraverted thinking is the opposite of introverted thinking. Where Fi relies heavily on an ENFPs moral compass, Fe tends to lean in favor of the group’s motivation rather than their own.
Typically, ENFPs are solid when it comes to their individuality and staying faithful to their inner self, however, whenever they are in their shadow functions, this doesn’t seem to be the case. They become fixated on having the approval of whichever group they are in.
#7 Introverted Thinking or Ti
The third shadow function for a NeFi is introverted thinking which essentially entails reflecting inwards rather than outwards. Since Ti is a shadow function, and shadow functions typically make themselves present when ENFPs are under stress or feel challenged, introverted thinking can manifest itself quite aloof.
This type is generally considerate of others around them but when this shadow function presents itself this is not a priority of theirs.
#8 Extraverted Sensing or Se
As the opposite of the already inferior function, extraverted sensing or Se is the last shadow function and it can prove itself to be quite dangerous for the ENFP. Typically Se occurs when NeFis feel as if they have experienced something insufficiently through their usual introverted sensing, or Si.
This idea of insufficiency motivates an ENFP to prove that they truly can be experts when it comes to how to approach situations. The danger occurs when this overconfidence leads to reckless decision-making.
The Sarcastic Functions
The following functions are the four core cognitive functions but they are reimagined in a more simplistic and sarcastic manner. Further explanations of the cognitive functions are always helpful, as they will resonate with real-world examples.
#9 Extroverted Intuition or Ne
Extroverted intuition typically presents itself as an energetic and curious individual with a wild and creative imagination. An ENFP with Ne as a function will continuously contribute unique ideas and present themselves as like a kid who cannot sit still from the excitement.
#10 Introverted Feeling or Fi
ENFPs are considerate of others’ emotions so it is only natural that they have so many feelings and emotions towards you, and the next person and the next. Fi also gives this personality type a positive outlook on life that in turn makes the INFP a devotee to life.
#11 Extraverted Thinking or Te
A great way to think of Te, extraverted thinking, in an ENFP is to think of the person in the friend group that everyone goes to vent and get advice from. ENFP emanate themselves as trustworthy so people tend to naturally gravitate towards them to reveal all their troubles and life stories.
#12 Introverted Sensing or Si
Introverted sensing often leads to overthinking the smallest of things, it might have been something someone said or how they acted. More often than not it is nothing substantial and yet maybe it was the tone in your voice that has an ENFP wondering if they did something wrong. It might have also happened years ago or yesterday, to an ENFP it is hard to let little things go if they think it has some significance.
#13 Perfectionism under Si
We have already established that under Ne, or extraverted intuition, ENFPs tend to focus on the big picture. However, if they decide to become involved in a project that truly captures their interest the ENFP can become fixated on perfectionism. A mixture of perfectionism (Si) from the project and the vivid imagination (Ne) of the ENFP can create quote a harmonious balance.
#14 Inner Bodily Awareness
Si, introverted sensing, is the inferior function as it is the least developed. This can lead to a somewhat acute sense of inner bodily awareness. If an ENFP becomes too fixated on attempting to recover that awareness, it is highly likely that they can become ill with conditions that stem from stress.
It is evident that ENFPs are unique individuals, like all personality types. A balance between their cognitive and shadow functions explains the way they go through life and how they process it. In order to fully understand ENFPs, one must take all these functions into account.
Hopefully, an in-depth look into each function provided the insight needed in order to fully understand the ENFP personality from all perspectives.