ENFJ: The Giver (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging)

An Overview of the ENFJ Personality Type

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ENFJ, also known as the giver or protagonist personality, is one of the 16 different personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Some other types are known by the acronyms ESFJ, ENFPINFP, ISFJ, and INTP.

People with ENFJ personality type are often described as warm, outgoing, loyal, and sensitive.

ENFJ Personality Type

Verywell / JR Bee

Of all the personality types, the ENFJ is often perceived as being the strongest "people person." They are capable of forging friendships with all personality types, even with more introverted or reticent individuals.

Because of their ability to sense what others feel and affect how people behave, they do have the ability to influence and even manipulate others. This is balanced by their strong value system and desire to help other people be the best that they can be. ENFJ is the opposite of the ISTP personality type.

Psychologist David Keirsey suggests that approximately 2% to 5% of all people have an ENFJ personality.

Key ENFJ Characteristics

  • ENFJs are strong extraverts and enjoy spending time with other people.
  • ENFJs have great people skills and are often described as warm, affectionate, and supportive.
  • ENFJs are great at encouraging other people and derive personal satisfaction from helping others.
  • ENFJs are often so interested in devoting their time to others that they can neglect their own needs.
  • ENFJs also have a tendency to be too hard on themselves, blaming themselves for when things go wrong and not giving themselves enough credit when things go right. Because of this, it is important that people with this personality type regularly set aside some time to attend to their own needs.
  • ENFJs are good at bringing consensus among diverse people. For this reason, they can be outstanding leaders and bring enthusiasm to a group that can be motivating and inspirational.

One common myth about the protagonist personality is that they are always sociable. While they love people, they do need time alone in order to assimilate and organize their thoughts.

Strengths
  • Outgoing and warm-hearted

  • Empathetic

  • Wide social circle

  • Encouraging

  • Organized

  • Affectionate

  • Persuasive

Weaknesses
  • Approval-seeking

  • Overly sensitive

  • Indecisive

  • Self-sacrificing

  • Rigid and uncompromising

  • Overprotective

  • Manipulative

Cognitive Functions

Each Myers-Briggs personality type can be identified by a hierarchical stack of cognitive functions that represent how each person interacts with the world. These functions focus on how people take in information about the world and how they then use this information to make decisions.

Dominant: Extraverted Feeling

ENFJs express this cognitive function through their engaging social behavior and harmonious social relationships. They are in tune with other people's feelings, often to the point that they ignore their own needs in order to please others.

People with a protagonist personality place a stronger emphasis on personal, subjective considerations rather than objective criteria when making decisions. How a decision will impact others is often a primary concern.

Auxiliary: Introverted Intuition

ENFJs like to think about the future rather than the present. They may often become so focused on the larger goal that they lose sight of the immediate details.

As ENFJs take in information about the world, their introverted intuition processes this data in order to create impressions, ideas, and thoughts. This allows them to spot patterns and make sense of complex or abstract data.

Tertiary: Extraverted Sensing

Extraverted sensing causes ENFJs to take in the present moment, gathering concrete details and sensory information from the environment. Because of this, they will often seek out novel or interesting experiences and sensations.

People with the protagonist personality type tend to be very aware of their present environment. This can lead to a great appreciation of aesthetics and a desire to create a pleasing space.

Inferior: Introverted Thinking

ENFJs are organized and enjoy structure and careful planning. Sticking to a predictable schedule helps ENFJs feel in control of the world around them.

Because this is an inferior function, ENFPs may not have a great deal of confidence in their own ability to be logical and organized.

Developing this function can help people with this personality type feel more balanced and in control of their decision-making process. Neglecting this aspect of personality can lead to relying solely on personal values when making decisions.

ENFJs You Might Know

  • Abraham Maslow, psychologist
  • Peyton Manning, football player
  • Barack Obama, U.S. president
  • Bono, musician
  • Elizabeth Bennet, character in "Pride and Prejudice"

Personal Relationships

ENFJs value other people highly and are warm, nurturing, and supportive in personal relationships. At times, they can become very wrapped up in other people's problems.

They are altruistic and interested in helping others, which can sometimes come off as a bit overbearing. Despite this, they are usually very well liked and people appreciate their genuine concern and care.

As parents, ENFJs are nurturing and warm, although they can sometimes be accused of being so-called "helicopter parents." They are directly involved in their children's lives, although they can sometimes be quite strict and even rigid at times.

ENFJs need to remember to give their children room to explore and express their individuality, particularly as children age into adolescence.

ENFJs have an outgoing personality and enjoy spending time with other people. Being in social settings helps them feel energized.

In friendships and other relationships, people typically describe people with a protagonist personality as supportive and fun to be around. They are particularly good at relating to others and are known to help bring out the best in the people with whom they spend their time.

Career Paths

ENFJs often do best in careers where they get to help other people and spend a great deal of time interacting with others. Because of their strong communication and organizational skills, ENFJs can make great leaders and managers.

They are good at organizing activities, helping each group member achieve their potential and resolving interpersonal conflicts. They strive to create harmony in all situations, and always seem to know what to do to ease tensions and minimize disagreements.

Popular ENFJ Careers

  • Counselor
  • Teacher
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Human resources manager
  • Sales representative
  • Manager

Tips for Interacting With ENFJs

Friendships

One of the best ways to be a good friend to an ENFJ is to accept the care and support that they naturally offer. People with this personality type enjoy helping their friends, and it is important to show that you accept and appreciate what they have to offer.

However, it is also important that you offer your support in return. ENFJs are not always good at asking for help when they need it. In many cases, simply being willing to listen to whatever they have to share can be very helpful.

Parenting

Children of ENFJs might find it difficult to live up to their parents' high exceptions. At times, the ENFJ parent's hands-on approach to parenting can be stifling and make it difficult for kids to explore the world on their own terms.

Parents of ENFJ children should recognize that their children are extremely empathetic, sometimes to the point that they may feel overwhelmed by the strong emotions that other people evoke. These children are giving and caring but may find it difficult to burden others with their own struggles.

If your child has a protagonist personality, encourage your child to care for others while still taking care of their own emotional well-being.

Relationships

Because ENFJs are so sensitive to the feelings of others, your happiness is critical to your partner's happiness. Remember that your partner may even put their own needs last in order to ensure that your needs are met.

Let your ENFJ partner know how much you appreciate all the support and care that they offer and be willing to provide the same support in return—even if they struggle to ask for help.

A Word From Verywell

Like all personality types, ENFJs have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Learning more about your personality type can help you understand qualities that might affect your relationships and well-being.

The protagonist personality tends to be altruistic, caring, and loyal, but they can sometimes be overprotective and manipulative. They care about others and strive to help make the world a better place, but this sometimes means that they neglect their own needs. 

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Murie J. Knowing me, knowing you: Personality and peer appraisalBr J Gen Pract. 2010;60(574):382–384. doi:10.3399/bjgp10X502001

Additional Reading
  • Myers, I. B. (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding Your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.