ENFJ – Protagonist (Description + Functions + Examples)

We all love stories that end with a lesson. Think of the lessons you learned from some of your favorite movies, books, or TV shows. What have these stories taught you? 

At the center of all of these stories is a protagonist: the main character. Many stories are based around the protagonist going on a journey, learning something new, and becoming a more developed character when their journey is complete. 

Now, you might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with personality types?” Well, I’ll tell you. Each of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types has a title, or role, that describes where this person fits in our friend groups, work teams, and overall society. In this video, I’m going to be talking about the personality type that is commonly known as “The Teacher” or “The Protagonist”: ENFJs. 

Let’s talk about ENFJs: who they are, why they make great teachers, and who in your life might be an ENFJ. 

Description

Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs created the Myers-Briggs personality types based on the work of Carl Jung. These personality types are based on four different dualities, including extraversion vs. introversion, intuition vs. sensing, etc. Let’s break down how ENTJs take in the world around them. 

E is for extrovert (as opposed to introvert.) This indicates that an ENFJ is likely to lean toward external stimulation rather than internal thoughts and feelings. A common misperception of extroverts is that they’re loud, brash, and the life of the party. That’s not always true. A protagonist can still go on a solo journey! An extrovert is just more likely to “fill their cup” by surrounding themselves with friends, family, and other types of external stimulation. Good food and good conversation is more energizing than a book and a cup of tea. 

N is for intuition (as opposed to sensing.) This indicates that a person makes judgments based on their intuition instead of the sensory information that is presented in front of them. They are more likely to rely on the impression they get from something than more “literal” data. Think of it as preferring the abstract to the concrete. 

T is for thinking (as opposed to feeling.) People who lean toward thinking over feeling draw conclusions from the head rather than the heart. They are more likely to make a judgement based on thoughts, perceptions, and analysis instead of where their emotions are leading them. 

Finally, J is for judgement (as opposed to perception.) Judgment and perception are often identified as the “least obvious” of the four letters in your personality type. Think of this as how a person works within structure. People with a J in their personality type prefer structure. They take control of the structure of their day. They make judgements about how tasks are approached and when a job gets done. 

Think of your favorite protagonists in a book. They enlist help from friends and use their intuition to make the next steps in their journey. As a teacher, they rely on critical thinking and structure to share what they have learned with others. 

Functions

In addition to the personality types, Carl Jung identified eight cognitive processes that shape how we respond to the world around us. Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type corresponds with four of these eight functions, resorting to one dominant function first. The dominant function of ENFJ types is extraverted feeling (Fe.) As their dominant function, ENFJ’s extraverted feeling causes them to make quick responses and judgments. They find it easy and comfortable to express their feelings, opinions, and problems in most situations as well as understanding others feelings very well.

The auxiliary function of ENFJ Types is introverted intuition (Ni.) ENFJs like to focus on the bigger picture and constantly look towards the future they want to achieve. They seek to maintain a positive presence with the belief that it will help them develop a positive future in time.

Coming in third is the tertiary function of ENFJ types: extraverted sensing (Se.) When this function is called upon, ENFJs will process the present environment through details and sensations. Therefore, they are more attracted to material comforts, beautiful surroundings, and aesthetics.

Finally, the inferior function of ENFJ types is introverted thinking (Ti.) Overall, this function has ENFJs seek organization in order to gain control of their life. However, this is their inferior function which ends up resulting in ENFJs lacking confidence in their logical approaches. That being said, some ENFJs will try to ignore this part of their personality, especially when making decisions.

Real Life Examples of ENFJs

The obvious career choice for an ENFJ is a teacher, but some of your favorite ENFJs chose to spend their careers teaching outside of the classroom. Whether they are teaching through their talk show, art, or writing a letter from a Birmingham jail, the world’s most famous ENFJs have taught the world something extraordinary - and changed history.

What have you learned from these famous ENFJs? 

  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Andy Griffith
  • Ben Affleck
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Diane Sawyer
  • Freddie Mercury
  • Demi Lovato
  • Michael Jordan
  • Drew “Dr. Drew” Pinsky
  • Nelson Mandela 

Strengths and Weaknesses of ENFJs

Not everybody can be a phenomenal teacher, especially in front of a classroom of rowdy children! ENFJs have a specific set of strengths that make them phenomenal teachers. They are known for their: 

  • Peacekeeping
  • Communication skills
  • Persuasiveness
  • Leadership
  • Charm and popularity
  • Altruism
  • Reliability
  • Ability to be a team players 

Of course, not all teachers are perfect. Their concern for the well-being of others can get in the way of their own wants and needs. ENFJs have weaknesses, too:

  • Overly Selfless
  • Overly Idealistic
  • Too Sensitive
  • Fluctuating self-esteem
  • Frustrated when making tough decisions
  • Overcommitment
  • They leap before looking

Working and Living with ENFJs

There is an obvious teacher-student relationship that many people experience with ENFJs. But what about the ENFJ who is the protagonist of their own love story? What is it like to know and work with an ENFJ? 

In relationships, ENFJs are sensitive to the feelings of others and want to help maintain their happiness. They may put others' needs first in order to ensure the other person is content with their relationship. As partners, friends, and family they are extremely supportive.

When it comes to romantic relationships, they can be highly sensitive in the face of conflict or criticism. However, they are able to find resolutions with their partners in the pursuit of harmony, even if it’s at the expense of their personal needs. 

Basic Stats About ENFJs:

Not everyone can be “the main character” of their story. Only 3% of the general population are ENFJs. About 3% of all women are ENFJs, and 2% of all men are ENFJs. 

ENFJ-A vs. ENFJ-T

Observations on the 16 personality types did not end with Carl Jung, Isabel Myers, or Katharine Briggs. In recent years, another duality has been added to the mix. Each personality type is either considered assertive or turbulent. 

Assertive ENFJ personalities (ENFJ-A) tend to be more independent and confident in their approach to life. This makes them less open to the advice of others and more comfortable dealing with stress. They are often more “teacher” than “protagonist.”

Turbulent ENFJ personalities (ENFJ-T) value the opinions of others and are therefore more sensitive to conflict. They can feel self-conscious and uncomfortable, especially in the face of stressful or emotional situations. However, they are better at empathizing with people. They are more likely to be a protagonist than a teacher.

How to reference this article:

Theodore. (2021, April). ENFJ – Protagonist (Description + Functions + Examples). Retrieved from https://practicalpie.com/enfj/.

About the author 

Theodore

Theodore created PracticalPsychology while in college and has transformed the educational online space of psychology. His goal is to help people improve their lives by understanding how their brains work. 1,700,000 Youtube subscribers and a growing team of psychologists, the dream continues strong!

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