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. The personality type that is commonly known as “The Teacher” or “The Protagonist” is ENFJ.
Not sure if you're an ENFJ? Learn more about the Myers Briggs Test to find out!
What Does ENFJ Stand For?
Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs created ENFJ and 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. ENTJ stands for extraversion, intuition, feeling, and judgment.
E is for extraversion or 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.
F is for feeling (as opposed to thinking.) Of course, people with both “feeling” and “thinking” in their personality type can do the other. ENFJs may rely more on how they, and more importantly others, feel. They want other people to feel good! If they have to make a decision, they are more likely to consult other people. ENFJs are great at “reading the room” for this reason.
Finally, J is for judgment (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 a structure. People with a J in their personality type prefer structure. They take control of the structure of their day. They make judgments 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.
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 the 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 Famous 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 ENFJ
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:
- Communication skills
- Charm and popularity
- Ability to be a team player
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
- They leap before looking
Basic Stats About ENFJ:
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.
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? Taking the time to explore the relationships that an ENFJ has with others is crucial to understanding an ENFJ.
It’s especially important that non-ENFJs take the time to consider how their ENFJ friends, colleagues, and partners see the world. ENFJs want to be understood! Or rather, they try to avoid misunderstandings as much as possible. By learning about the different dimensions of the ENFJs in your life, you are doing them a great service.
Here’s what an ENFJ said about being misunderstood on the ENFJ subreddit:
“I’m pretty easygoing but I absolutely hate misunderstandings. I dislike plot points in media based around misunderstandings.
Recently in my real life, I’ve been at the center of multiple misunderstandings and they have a life of their own. Some of them are positive, others not so much. I know I can’t control what other people think or do but when I’ve tried to clear them up I was ignored….Is this common?”
Users agreed that being misunderstood was a big trigger for them. So, if you have ENFJs in your life, keep reading! Even just making an attempt to understand an ENFJ is an act of love and kindness.
(By the way, the ENFJ subreddit is a great resource for all things ENFJ. You can also explore other MBTI subreddits, from INTP to ESTJ!)
ENFJs at Work
ENFJs want to help you out. Leadership comes natural to them, whether they’re in a leadership position or not! An ENFJ wants a mentee that they can support and teach in the workplace. And with an ENFJ as your guide, you’re destined to succeed. ENFJs are a great example of what it means to work hard and step up to the plate. They have to - as the protagonist, they have to end up with the promotion and the leadership position!
Conflicts may arise when the ENFJ ends up working long hours. Managers of ENFJs may be tempted to use ENFJ’s determination and hard-working nature for their gain. And before they know it, a manager of an ENFJ may find that they’re no longer in charge!
When it comes to friendships, 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. Don’t you want to have an ENFJ as a friend?
Want to keep an ENFJ as a friend? Be open with them. Allow yourself to share your goals, dreams, and deepest thoughts. This is a great success for an ENFJ. They want to unlock the different layers of their friends. So let them in! Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and give your ENFJ friend an opportunity to cheer you on and support you.
ENFJ Compatibility and Romantic Relationships
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.
When it comes to compatibility, the second of four traits is key to understanding how two people will align as they make judgments and look at the world. ENFJs are very compatible, for example, with INFPs. But that doesn't mean that The Mediator is the Protagonist's only love match. ISFPs are also a great match, and some argue that INTPs and ENFJs are very compatible.
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.