ENFP and INFJ are two very different personality types.
One is extroverted, while the other is introverted.
One prefers to use their Perceiving process to deal with the outer world, while the other prefers to use their Judging process to deal with the outer world.
How could a person mistake one type for the other?
But yet, when I was browsing the Internet, I am surprised there are quite a number of people asking if they are an ENFP or INFJ.
ENFPs are more likely to mistype themselves as INFJs than the other way round.
I have a friend who I type as ENFP. One day, he cracked my friend and me up when he told us that he realized he was an introvert. It’s not only because I had known my friend for 12 years and I’m certain that he’s an extrovert.
Moments ago, he was just telling us how lonely and depressed he felt after his brother moved out of their shared room and he had no one to talk to. Plus, his brother just moved into the other room. He still could talk to his brother. It’s not as though he moved out of the house!
As his introverted friends, we looked at each other and couldn’t help but laughed. Having a whole room by ourselves is every introvert’s dream.
As mentioned before in my INFJ vs INFP post, MBTI types with the perceiving preference (i.e. P as the last letter) will have a harder time determining their personality types because they prefer to be open-ended and not put themselves in a box.
If you look at the blog post series that I have done, those that are two letters different from an INFJ in terms of their acronyms are types with the perceiving preference (i.e. INTP, ISFP, and ENFP). ENFPs, in particular, tend to be undecided about their personality due to their dominant cognitive function. More on that later.
“Am I an INFJ?” Blog Post Series
This is the seventh and final part of the “Am I an INFJ?” blog post series. In this series, we will discuss the similarities and differences between INFJ and other personality types:
I’ll be using the cognitive function to explain the differences between the various personality types. Each MBTI type has its own unique function stack (i.e. the order of your cognitive preference). So a difference in one letter results in a different order.
If you want to learn more about the function stack, here’s the cognitive functions chart for each of the 16 personality types.
Please note I’m neither a certified MBTI practitioner nor I wish to be one. I write this post based on my insights and observation of the people around me. If you have difficulties finding your MBTI type after reading this post, you can read other articles or hire and talk to a certified MBTI practitioner.
ENFP vs INFJ: What’s the Confusion?
ENFPs, together with ENFJs, often think of themselves as an introverted extrovert or an ambivert. Even though they are lively and sociable, they don’t seem to be as outgoing as compared to the other extroverts. They need some alone time to recharge and process.
INFJs, on the other hand, are often perceived as one of the most extroverted introverts. We can be very warm and friendly when we talk to people (if we choose to do so). So one might confuse an ENFP with an INFJ.
The truth is, most INFJs are very certain that they are introverts. We prefer to stay in our heads dreaming about the future than go out and talk to people. But we do recognize that there’s a need to interact with people once in a while. Once we start talking to people, our extroverted feeling (Fe) naturally comes out and people usually can feel our friendliness.
Very importantly though, please don’t confuse a need with a preference. ENFPs need time alone but they are excited about meeting new people. INFJs need to interact with people but we enjoy being in solitude.
Extroversion is not just about how much you like interacting with people.
One big misconception that people have is that extroversion is about how much you talk to people. This is not entirely true. Extroversion is about getting energy from the external world. The external world consists of people, activities, the physical environment, animals, and the systems and structure in the world, etc. It’s not solely made up of people.
You might be an extrovert who is curious about the world and spend a lot of time exploring your physical environment but not socialize with people as much.
Introversion, on the other hand, is about paying attention to your internal world. The internal world consists of our thoughts, emotions, memories, ideas, etc. We get more energized from self-reflection than taking action in the external world.
INFJ or ENFP?: A Quick Test
If you want a quick test and a fun way to determine if you are an INFJ or an ENFP, answer the following question:
Does having a lot of possibilities excite you?
If yes, you are most likely to be an ENFP. If not, then you are probably an INFJ.
When I see my ENFP friend, I see a person who is full of possibilities. He always has a lot of ideas about what we can do as a group. ENFPs can feel restricted if you ask them to focus on one idea.
In contrast, INFJs don’t like having too many ideas all at once because it can feel overwhelming. We don’t like open projects. They take up our mental space and we will keep thinking about the things that are incomplete.
INFJ and ENFP Cognitive Function
INFJ’s cognitive functions stack is as follows:
- Introverted Intuition (Ni)
- Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
- Introverted Thinking (Ti)
- Extraverted Sensing (Se)
While an ENFP cognitive functions stack is as follows:
- Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
- Introverted Feeling (Fi)
- Extraverted Thinking (Te)
- Introverted Sensing (Si)
INFJs and ENFPs have the same order in terms of mental processes (i.e. N, F, T, S).
But their orientation of energy (i.e. extraversion and introversion) is the opposite.
One reason why INFJs and ENFPs can mistype for each other is that we have the same order in terms of mental processes. We prefer to use our intuition first, followed by our feeling and thinking functions. Both of us are not that in touch with our sensing functions and tend to neglect them.
But how we use these cognitive functions are totally different. For example, INFJ’s intuition is directed inward while ENFP’s intuition is directed outward. The difference in the orientation of energy attributes to the difference in our personality.
4 Differences Between the INFJ and ENFP Personality Types
1. INFJs and ENFPs approach their projects differently (Ni vs Ne).
As mentioned before, ENFPs enjoy having a lot of exciting possibilities. Due to their dominant function (extroverted intuition, Ne), they are curious and interested in almost everything. They enjoy seeing how different things can be connected with one another. They tend to be project initiators and have a lot of ongoing projects at any time.
INFJs, on the other hand, are visionary. We come out with a grand vision that we want to pursue. We tend to or prefer to have only one project at any one time and we prefer to complete one project before moving on to the next.
INFJs enjoy completing projects,
while ENFPs enjoy starting new ones.
Since our dominant function (introverted intuition, Ni) is directed inward instead of outward, our ideas tend to be convergent (i.e. we will refine the idea until it becomes the best one). In contrast, ENFP’s ideas are divergent. They will generate more and more ideas. But most of the time, the projects are incomplete.
INFJs and ENFPs can be great partners not just in terms of relationships but they can also be great partners in business. If they share the same purpose and value, ENFPs can start new projects while INFJs can complete them. ENFPs lose interest before the projects are completed while INFJs can’t stand leaving projects open.
But make sure there is a team of people that help you all with the in-between. Otherwise, the INFJs might feel exhausted with the ENFPs if they keep starting new projects and the INFJs can’t keep up with them.
2. Both types might have problems finding a career but for different reasons (Ni vs Ne).
Sometimes, these two personality types might mistake themselves with each other because they face the same challenges in life. Both types might end up in midlife career crisis and feel depressed. But the reasons why we end up in a career crisis can be rather different.
ENFPs have a wide spectrum of interests and they find it difficult to focus on one single area. Therefore, they tend to be polymaths and jump from one job to another without settling down. They might also start multiple, new projects but didn’t give these projects enough care and details that they required due to their inferior sensing function (Si). So their ventures often end up failing or incomplete.
Both ENFPs and INFJs struggle in their careers
due to their inferior sensing functions.
INFJs, on the other hand, find it difficult to get started due to their inferior sensing function (Se). We might spend a long period of time searching for the perfect job or career or procrastinate on taking actions until we have a thorough plan. Also, due to our idealistic nature, our current job always doesn’t seem to match up to our ideals. We switch from one industry to another only to yearn for something better.
INFJs can be polymaths too. But we are a different kind of polymath. ENFPs are interested in multiple things and pursue them at the same time. INFJs might be interested in learning many things too. But we will go very deep into a subject, lose interest in it after learning enough, then move on to the next subject.
Both personality types have a problem in finding a job that they can stay for long and be satisfied. Both dislike jobs with too many deadlines, procedures, routines, or details to take care of, even though an INFJ might be more comfortable in handling such things than an ENFP.
Also, INFJs are more likely to stay at a job they dislike because we don’t have a clear enough vision or when we don’t know how to get there. In contrast, ENFPs are more likely to stay because they are lost with too many possibilities and don’t know where to go.
3. INFJs and ENFPs interact with people differently (Fe vs Ne).
ENFPs have such an energetic and enthusiastic presence toward life and people. It’s easy to tell them apart from INFJs. Due to their dominant function (Ne), they can’t hide their zest to life and curiosity in people.
Even though my ENFP friend was in the same clique as me in university, he was always talking to people from the other cliques even if it’s simple small talk or he will ask them questions. He was sort of the bridge between our clique with the other groups. Through him, I got to know more people.
Unlike other extroverts, some ENFPs might dislike parties or large groups of people but they usually have no problems approaching strangers and talking to them or sharing their opinions in groups.
INFJs observe before we act,
whereas ENFPs just go ahead and talk.
INFJs usually don’t talk much in a group unless we feel comfortable with the group. We will observe people first. If there is someone who we think we can develop a closer friendship with, we will talk to them when we have the opportunity i.e. when the group gets smaller or when there is a chance for 1-1 conversation.
We go slow and can be selective about who we talk with unless it’s required for work or if the other person approaches us first. So we tend to have a smaller social circle. ENFPs, on the other hand, don’t have such concerns. They can talk to anybody and usually have lots of contacts.
If an INFJ and an ENFP are friends, it’s usually the ENFP who approaches the INFJ first. ENFPs are more active in making friends and outgoing while INFJs are more passive in this area and reserved.
4. INFJs and ENFPs empathize with others differently (Fe vs Fi).
Both INFJs and ENFPs are empathetic but we empathize with others in a different way. Due to their shared introverted function (Fi), ENFPs empathize with others in a way that is similar to an INFP.
ENFPs empathize through their inner values or morals. For example, if they value harmony and kindness, they will not like it when someone behaves unkindly to others or is argumentative. They would prefer to hang out with people who are appreciative and supportive.
If you dig deeper, you will realize that ENFPs usually have a cause that they strongly care about. For example, my ENFP friend cares about the environment and will ask people to recycle and be more mindful of using non-recyclable plastics.
INFJs understand others,
ENFPs have inner morals of what’s right or wrong.
Due to our extraverted feeling (Fe) function, INFJs empathize by understanding other people. We are able to see other people through their lens and know how they feel. For example, growing up as an INFJ child, I already have a strong sense of how the characters in the movies or TV shows feel even though I don’t have the same experience. So INFJs tend to have a wider tolerance and acceptance of behaviors.
However, this doesn’t mean that we agree with bad behaviors. It just means that we understand where they are coming from and how their past has contributed to their current habits and behaviors. We are more likely to see them as “broken” and try to fix them or help them.
Both ENFPs and INFJs might please people. ENFPs might think it’s not nice to say no to others or hurt them (an inner moral). INFJs, on the other hand, tend not to think so much about whether it’s nice or not.
We are naturally accommodating and sensitive to other people’s needs (Fe) so we are quick to say yes. Also, we understand the pain of rejection that the other party will feel when we reject them and consider the impact of our actions on them. So we will find it difficult to say no.
If you want to learn how to love yourself as an INFJ, be sure to download my free eBook, Self-Acceptance for INFJs.
Featured Photo Credit: Pixabay