Each of the 16 Personality types consists of four letters. Each letter corresponds to a fundamental personality trait for that personality type, which is found by answering a set of tailored questions. Your answers to those questions determine your combination of four sets of opposing traits—introverted versus extroverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging.
Between 2 and 5% of the population have the ENFJ personality type.
What does ENFJ stand for?
Each of the 16 Personality types consists of four letters corresponding to a fundamental personality trait for the type. Tailored questions find your combination of four sets of opposing traits—introverted versus extroverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging. ENFJ stands for extraversion (E), intuition (N), Feeling (F), and Judging (J) personality traits.
Kind and humanitarian
The Protagonist is characterized by genuine compassion for the people around them, a quality that often leads them into the teaching or helping professions. They’re not pushovers, but they are among the kindest and most perceptive of the personality types. They often live to help and support others, and can’t stand to see people suffer.
ENFJs also pride themselves on their ability to connect with people on a profound level and bring out the best in them. Although they are extroverted, they often tend to hold themselves back deliberately to let other people shine. This personality type typically has a wide and genuine circle of friends and puts a lot of effort into maintaining good friendships and family relationships.
Innovative and intelligent
ENFJs are lifelong learners deeply curious about the world around them, with a love of theories and patterns. Protagonists usually have quite a sharp intellect and often have a fondness for more people-related subjects such as the arts, literature, history, and psychology—but their interests can also encompass the sciences or fields like law or accounting.
Like their introverted counterparts, the INFJ, ENFJs are highly capable of coming up with novel ideas. ENFJs sometimes have a strong artistic streak and are capable of great creativity. They are passionate about their own ideas and they will encourage their friends and colleagues to see things from different angles. ENFJs are unafraid to challenge the status quo.
Like other judging personality types, ENFJs are capable of organizing their own thoughts and their time. Although other people’s happiness is often their top priority, they can be very rational, sensible, and analytical as they go about achieving this aim—a trait that serves them well in academia, in the professional world, and in any causes they get involved in along the way! The ENFJ is also a dependable and generally reliable person, who doesn’t shirk from hard work, sees their plans through, and takes their responsibilities very seriously.
Intuitive feeling personalities often have the gift of being able to express themselves well in a range of different mediums. ENFJs are no exception: they are often good writers and gifted and moving public speakers, persuasive, with a flair for self-expression. This personality type has the confidence, warmth, and oratorical skills to be an inspiring leader, teacher, or lecturer, or an engaging entertainer.
ENFJs can be empathetic to the point they tend to lose sight of their own perspectives and needs. While the attention they pay other people is admirable, it can also leave them feeling tired and drained, and sometimes even taken advantage of when they don’t receive anything in return.
Protagonists sometimes need to work on their own boundaries and make sure they have time for themselves. As extroverts, they can handle a lot of interaction with others—but everyone needs some downtime sometimes. If you’re an ENFJ, remember to pause every now and then and take stock of how you’re really feeling.
ENFJs can make fantastic teachers. Unfortunately, outside of the classroom, the Protagonist’s insistence on helping and certainty that they know what’s right for other people can make them appear a bit condescending and even controlling. This sensitive personality type might get really upset when someone tells them they come across this way, because their intentions are good. Sometimes they just want to help so much, they get carried away! The Protagonist might benefit by not just looking at the situation of the person they want to help, but truly listening to that person and respecting their wishes.
ENFJs are dubbed the Protagonist for a reason: they will fight for what they believe in, sometimes putting all their effort into trying to help someone or aggressively push a cause. Like the INFJ, the ENFJ is stubborn and idealistic, but while the INFJ prefers to create plans and projects that will come to fruition in the long term, the ENFJ will use a more direct and personal approach.
ENFJs can be found organizing protests, handing out leaflets, giving interviews, and using their persuasive public speaking abilities to try to win people over to a particular social, political, or environmental cause. Often, the ENFJ just burns out after giving too much of their own energy. While their idealism is commendable, at times it might be better to step back and let someone else take the reins for a while.
The ENFJ’s sensitivity is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately, this personality type can sometimes suffer from low self-esteem and tends to take criticism very personally.
The ENFJ should remember that not all personalities are as sensitive or kind as them, and try to focus on the opinions of people they respect and care about, rather than letting just anyone under their skin.
As an extroverted feeler (EF), the ENFJ’s self-esteem is affected by how people perceive them, and whether they are considered a good person. If the Protagonist focuses on building their confidence and sense of identity up internally, they might find it easier to handle negative feedback.
What are the hobbies and interests of ENFJs?
When they have the time, ENFJs enjoy social hobbies, and hobbies that allow them to embrace their creative side. They’re also usually a cultured bunch of people—and interestingly, they are one of the personality types most likely to cope with stress by exercising.
- Baking and cooking
- Organizing parties and other social occasions
- Getting involved in a community or music group
- Checking out art galleries and museums
- Going to concerts
- Hiking, cycling, and running
Interacting with ENFJs
ENFJ people are cheerful, confident, and quite charming, and they will usually work hard to put you at ease and build a rapport with you the first time you meet them. If you are also an intuitive (N) personality, you will probably enjoy chatting to them about their interests and ideas, which are wide-ranging. They can usually get on with most people; ENFJs may find sensing and thinking personalities (ST) a bit harder to connect with, but they usually manage to find some common ground.
As you get to know the Protagonist better, one of the biggest problems you might have with them is growing overly reliant on them. The ENFJ loves to get involved and is very efficient at helping, so people might not realize they are taking a lot of this person’s energy without giving enough back. If you show the ENFJ that you are genuinely grateful for their help and support, you can build an even better and stronger relationship with them. Let them know that you will also be there for them, too, if they need it.
Another problem some personality types have with the ENFJ is feeling like they’re offering them help or charity that they don’t need—or feeling like they are being nudged into courses of action the ENFJ thinks are good for them. If you’re a fellow feeling personality, you’ll probably know how to tell them, tactfully, that you appreciate the advice or gesture, but you prefer your way of doing things. If you’re a thinker (T) personality, you might find this situation a bit frustrating and harder to navigate. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for yourself, but remember that the ENFJ usually has good intentions and can be easily hurt.
In a relationship
This Protagonist is passionate, devoted, and kind in their intimate relationships, and they prefer warm and tolerant people who share their interests and values. As one of the quieter extroverts, an ENFJ can do well with either an extroverted or an introverted partner, as long as they have enough in common.
Romance is often very important to the ENFJ, and they spend a lot of time searching for the right partner. In extreme cases, an ENFJ looking for love might seem to jump from relationship to relationship!
Living with an ENFJ
The ENFJ is orderly and plans both work and housework in advance. Due to their generally helpful attitude, they might shoulder much of the responsibility on themselves. If you are a more disorganized perceiving (P) personality, remember their tolerance will only stretch so far—after the first hint, it’s a good idea to pull your weight!
ENFJs see sexuality as a chance to bond on a deep and intimate level with another person, and they are interested in meaningful relationships. Once committed to someone, they can be very passionate, giving, and adventurous people, but they aren’t likely to seek casual encounters.
ENFJs really don’t like conflict, and this can sometimes lead them to be passive-aggressive. If you are in a relationship with an ENFJ, it’s good to encourage them to be open about their feelings and voice different opinions to yours. Check in with them if you notice they don’t seem happy! Thinking personalities can often struggle with the Protagonist’s less direct way of expressing unhappiness and dissent: but if they get angry or impatient with the ENFJ, this might just make the problem worse, as the ENFJ feels more and more hurt. In some cases, an ENFJ who feels wronged might turn to other people and subtly badmouth the person who is causing them problems.
ENFJs sometimes also become codependent on their partners, as they really dislike being alone. This might not be problematic for the other person (since the ENFJ will move heaven and earth to make others happy), but it can lead the ENFJ to stay in situations that are not healthy for them. Moreover, ENFJs genuinely want to have a good influence on the people around them, so if their significant other isn’t behaving well, or doesn’t seem content, the ENFJ will often shoulder the responsibility themselves. Fortunately, after a difficult relationship has finished, the ENFJ can usually put the situation behind them fairly easily and move on.
Any two healthy personality types can make a relationship work, but some of the best matches for the ENFJ are the INFP and INFJ. With other NFs there is less potential for misunderstanding or accidental hurt feelings, and the pair can also spend their time swapping ideas.
The Protagonist is happy taking the lead when dealing with introverted personality types, but this personality also doesn’t mind playing a supporting role in relationships with other extroverts, and can get on well with the ENFP and the ESFJ. The ENFJ will probably struggle to connect with sensing and thinking (ST) personalities the most, finding them cold and rigid.
As a parent
ENFJs love family life, and their intuition and sensitivity usually make them a great, caring, and responsible parent. They will encourage their children to be the best they can be both socially and academically, and they want them to grow into well-rounded, free-thinking adults. Protagonist parents are the type to introduce their children to as much culture as they can. They’ll encourage discussion about the world around them, and they will probably be very enthusiastic and supportive if their child wants to learn a musical instrument, or takes an interest in art.
The ENFJ often has an easier time bonding with other feeling (F) personalities, but thanks to their strong interpersonal skills they can still connect and have a loving and nurturing relationship with their thinking (T) children. Unfortunately, as they reach adolescence, the ENFJ’s children may start to find the strong-willed, emotional Protagonist a bit overbearing. An ENFJ who is struggling to cope with their child growing older should remember no matter how independent their child becomes, they will always have a special place in that child’s heart.
ENFJs are good at creating routines and structure, but they may struggle to exert discipline. ENFJs expect their children to make mistakes, and encourage them to learn from their mishaps rather than trying to punish them.
The exception is when their child has done something the ENFJ believes is morally wrong. As a sensitive and idealistic person, the ENFJ will struggle with this and may feel like a failure as a parent. ENFJs might benefit from talking through the situation and their feelings of guilt with their partner or friends, to get some perspective on the situation.
As a friend
ENFJs make great friends. They are caring, affectionate, entertaining, and loyal. They usually have a wide group of friends and acquaintances, and a smaller inner circle of close friends who are privy to their vulnerabilities, hopes, and dreams. An ENFJ friend is always willing to talk, give advice and discuss ideas and new concepts, as they strive towards their own goals of self-improvement, self-expression, and harmony.
The downside of a friendship with an ENFJ is they might overgive in their friendships and take responsibility for things that are not their fault. If you’re friends with an ENFJ, be conscious of the time and energy they spend helping you, and try to make sure it’s reciprocated. If you’re close friends with an ENFJ, you might find you have to encourage them to look after themselves a bit more.
The Protagonist might also struggle to connect with more independent personality types, who may chafe against what they might see as attempts to control them or dictate how they should live their life. When this happens, the ENFJ will often withdraw, feeling hurt, rather than try to continue the friendship. At times, the ENFJ can benefit from being a bit more easygoing with the people around them. Sometimes, if you want to be a good friend, it’s enough to listen rather than trying to help.
ENFJs are at their best in environments that value their feeling preference, interpersonal skills, extroversion, and ability to analyze and organize. They can excel at a variety of jobs, but their sensitivity to conflict and strong moral compass means they may be uncomfortable in a highly competitive or cold environment.
It’s common to find ENFJs in the caring professions, teaching, psychology, the arts, and academia. ENFJs are capable of being very assertive when they need to be, and an ENFJ fuelled by a passion for writing or public speaking or devoted to a cause can do well in the worlds of politics, media, and business—they will just have to hold on tight to their idealism! The ENFJ’s intuitive attitude to life and their love of working with people means solitary occupations, or occupations that require practical skill, rather than a lot of thought, probably won’t suit this personality type.
Due to their combination of hypersensitivity, talent, and charisma—and their sometimes uncanny ability at reading others—ENFJs who are still a bit uncertain of themselves can, unfortunately, be a target for people who don’t “get” them or feel threatened by them. ENFJs are always kind and compassionate to strangers, but they often learn some hard lessons in life when it comes to who to trust.
Popular ENFJ jobs and careers
- Education (primary, secondary, and tertiary)
- Community or social worker
- Psychologist or counselor
- Marriage counselor
- Minister of religion
- HR manager
- Print journalist
- Public relations
- Advertising manager
Celebrities with the ENFJ personality type
Famous ENFJ personalities can be found inspiring others in politics (where they can make brilliant and empathetic leaders), psychology, and the arts.
- Barack Obama
- Nancy Reagan
- Nelson Mandela
- Mikhail Gorbachev
- Yassar Arafat
- Francois Mitterand
- Martin Luther King, Jnr
Actor and directors
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus
- Morgan Freeman
- Andy Griffith
- Reese Witherspoon
- Dakota Fanning
- Emma Stone
- Sean Connery
- Kirstie Alley
- Kristen Wiig
- Bono (U2 lead singer)
- Demi Lovato
- Maya Angelou
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Erasmus of Rotter
- Abraham Maslow
- Alfred Adler
- Erik Fromm
The bottom line
ENFJs are known as the Protagonists for a reason: they are talented, creative, and warm individuals who have a love of harmony and a drive to help others. They also have the confidence and charisma to make things happen!
Unfortunately, some of the ENFJ’s best qualities are the things that tend to trip them up. Protagonists often give too much of their time and energy to others, and sometimes, they need to step back and take care of themselves.
If you know a Protagonist, you’ve met a rare and wonderful individual: as a friend, partner, or colleague they have a lot to offer with their loyalty, compassion, and intuitive insights. They’ll give their time and energy to help you thrive. Just make sure you give them something back.