The opposing letters are I for introvert, S for sensory preferences, T for thinking, and P for perceiving (spontaneous, like to start not finish, work should include fun). I decided today to look at my portrait description again and was pleased to see that many of my weaknesses are either no longer an issue or I have the right amount of perspective to be able to navigate through them. Reading about my personality (and others') is always fun and I thought it would be cool to give some of the highlights of my personality from the book "Please Understand Me" by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates and "Please Understand Me 2," by David Keirsey.
While some personality types do not like to be put in a box or see the usefulness of personality questionnaires I think they are brilliant. The accuracy to which my personality is pegged is scary, and funny. I have a deep desire to understand the people in my life: why do they respond the way they respond? Do I need to get upset at their reactions and opinions to things or is it better to see where they're coming from so we can compromise or meet on equal ground? Below are some highlights of my temperament from the book and why I believe them to accurately describe who I am. Who knows, maybe it will help you understand me and explain why I react the way I do as well as give you insight into who I am ;)
1. ENFJ's have unusual charisma
At first I was like, um, no I don't. But then I realized that my excitement and energy when I see someone I love and or care about fits into this description as well as the fact that I get very animated, detailed, dramatic and passionate when I tell stories or voice my opinions. People have constantly told me they're entertained by this quality I possess either through words or through facial expressions.
2. ENFJ's place people as being of highest importance and priority
This is why I get hurt when I realize I am not the highest priority in someone else's mind. I have a very difficult time with letting relationships go, seeing them end or change. Because the people in my life matter to me, I feel like I no longer do if the same enthusiasm is not met with my own. Obviously that is something I need to work on, not everyone make people a priority, but that doesn't mean they don't care about me at all. I fall to one extreme and others probably are normal. lol But, I have to add here, it is a very lonely place to be when I feel an overwhelming amount of care or love for someone and it is not received, valued, or wanted. When it comes to my friends and family I want to know how they're doing, if I've hurt them so I can make it right, and I wonder if I'm a good friend. ENFJ'S are found in only 5% of the general population, other types are much more common, so again, this could explain why I feel alone and lonely sometimes. This isn't to say I don't feel loved or have no one in my life that reaches out, but being without contact on a regular basis can, at times, make me feel isolated and forgotten.
3. ENFJ'S find themselves feeling responsible for the feelings of others; naturally communicate caring, concern, and a willingness to get involved with others; can handle people with charm and concern
This is where developing boundaries has been necessary, or rather, reminding myself that I am responsible for my behavior but for another's feelings. We all choose to respond and act the way we do, we are solely in charge of our emotions. This is one of those weaknesses I spoke of earlier that I have gotten better at recognizing. The unfortunate part of this quality is that once someone picks up on it, they can use it to their advantage and manipulate me.
4. This unusual ability to relate to others with empathy can also pose a danger for ENFJ's because they can easily over-identify with others and pick up their burdern's as if they were their own, actually putting at risk their own identity.
While no memories are coming to mind where I've felt or noticed my identity was at risk from taking on the burdens of others, I have noticed that I tend to feel like whatever is happening to someone I care about, is happening to me. When I see someone's pain, anger, joy, whatever, I feel it to the extent that it is my emotion too. While this can be a good thing, it is once again, not my responsibility to fix the problem or fall apart, I can only do what I am responsible for in that situation: listen, give encouragement, and give advice if it's needed. I once had a friend call me a "worry worm" because he saw that I worried unnecessarily about silly things. My love may be big but it can cloud my judgment at protecting myself too.
5. ENFJ's have the highly developed ability to empathize by introjection, taking into themselves the characteristics, emotions and beliefs of others, even to the point of unconsciously mimicking others
This sounds a bit creepy in my opinion, and the funny thing is, I've totally seen it happen. I have a friend who says "because" buhcause, when I was around her more often, I started to say it that way too sometimes. I recently saw a video of myself from back in 2007 and the whole time I was speaking I was freaked out because I was sounding exactly like a friend I was spending a lot of time with back then, it was so strange to hear my tone of voice and the pace of speech match hers to a T.
6. ENFJ's value harmonious relations
If you know me at all you know that not only do I not like conflict, I don't know how to handle it 90% of the time. If I feel loved by you I can handle it a lot easier because I trust that love won't be removed for my having a differing opinion. If, on the other hand, I feel unsafe, you have anger, a relationship is still being developed, I don't know you, feel out of my league (unable to emotionally be in a place where I can hold my own), I will avoid it like it's a plague. Some things, I reason to myself, just aren't "worth it" or if the outcome won't be how I want it to be then I won't say anything. I've recognized recently, just how much of my own happiness I am willing to sacrifice if it means keeping things pleasant, not having someone angry with me, or to keep them happy even when that person is in the wrong. This is a huge problem for me, I don't like people not wanting to be in my life, classic people pleaser: that's me, but I also want to be loved for me, and not for who others think I should be.
7. ENFJ'S are interested in the growth and development of individuals
This one makes sense to me since the above mentions that we tend to care about others a lot. It stands to reason that ENFJ's want to see others reach their prime potential. When I pray for my friends and family I often pray that they would become the man or woman God envisioned when He made them.
8. ENFJ's have intuition that tends to be well developed.... they can read other people with outstanding accuracy. Seldom is an ENFJ wrong about the motivations or intent of another, hidden or not.
And here is the one I am probably the most in awe of/ quality I am proud of. This is what would make me an excellent student of Dr. Cal Lightman (little joke, he's a fictional character on the show Lie to Me). For some reason I can not explain, but have a conversation with me and I can piece together things about you that you didn't tell me. I do, read people well, and when I read the part about being able to determine the motivations and intent of others whether they are hidden or not, was extremely validating to me. The unfortunate side of this is that I know I can never be 100% right 100% of the time, unless someone owns up to a "hidden motivation or intent" it's always going to be speculation. Which is probably why the authors say to trust the intuition. Another down side is it appeals to the womanly characteristic of over-analyzing things and I can never turn my brain off.
9. ENFJ's are deeply devoted to their children, yet tend not to be domineering to either the children or a mate. In fact, the ENFJ is so even-tempered that he or she can be victimized by a mate who might have become more and more demanding. They are supremely affectionate and nurturing, so much so that they can be taken advantage of by a particularly demanding child.
At this point in my life I can't tell you if this is accurate. I'm more afraid I'll be too protective of my kids. And I'm not so sure I'm even-tempered, I can be, but I don't think I'm close to 90% of the time being even-tempered. Thankfully my many years of babysitting have exposed me to many types of children so this probably won't happen. Hopefully. lol
10. The longing for the perfect carries over into the careers of ENFJ's, who experience some degree of restlessness whatever their jobs.
I can get restless in my jobs, but I think this is more due to the fact most jobs I've had have involved retail which bores me, but still I have seen this in several jobs, always thinking there's "more."
11. ENFJ's like to have things settled and organized. They prefer to plan both their work and social engagements ahead and tend to be absolutely reliable in honoring these commitments.
I get super annoyed when others don't stick to plans we've made: it's like, just tell me you don't want to plan anything with me and don't say things like, "I don't know what I'm doing yet," if I have to recognize that's just a personality type that doesn't like to plan things, then you need to recognize I don't like not knowing what's going on and doing things at the last minute. This doesn't mean I won't do things at the last minute, but if I have to adjust to your preferences, you should be willing to adjust to mine.
12. Outgoing, and perhaps the most expressive of all the type, ENFJ's do not hesitate to communicate their feelings.
This one, you have to know is true. I will tell you everything I'm feeling, when I'm feeling it and why. I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve and who you see is who I am. ENFJ's pride themselves on their authenticity and I am no exception. I'm proud of this trait but I fall victim constantly because I assume that's how everyone else is. Sadly I've learned the hard way that no, not everyone is authentic and honest. Thankfully I'm starting to implement this new knowledge and trusting my intuition.
So there you have it, twelve (out of the many) traits I possess as an ENFJ. I encourage you to study up on it and learn about yourself, it will open up the lines of communication between you and loved ones, and maybe even co-workers or roommates!