ENFP vs INFP — The Differences between these Two Personalities


ENFPs and INFPs are two personalities that share Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving functions. It is natural, then, that they would have many similarities.

They both share a vision of the world as having the potential to be a harmonious and happy place, and both strive for a better future for mankind. Both personalities have a tendency to see the big picture of a situation, rather than the smaller details. They are also both deeply intuitive people whose decisions and perspectives are filtered through a lens of emotion.  

What is the Key Difference between ENFPs and INFPs?

ENFPs and INFPs tend to be very similar personality types, but they have an essential difference. While ENFPs are extraverts, thriving on being around and inspiring other people, INFPs are introverts, meaning that they prefer to help others to live in harmony from behind the scenes.

This one key factor makes them see the world very differently. Here are some examples:

  • ENFPs have a high energy level. They are ready and able to tackle anything if it will advance a cause that they are passionate about. 
  • INFPs have a lower energy level. They want to help their fellow man but just in a quieter and more subtle way.
  • ENFPs love adventure and are willing to take risks. 
  • INFPs tend to be more cautious and measured in their approach to life.
  • ENFPs tend to be everybody’s friend and are often the life of the party.
  • INFPs tend to shy away from attention and can be very difficult to get to know.
  • ENFPs get anxious when they are alone and often find that they need help from other people. 
  • INFPs tend to be very self-sufficient and are happy to be alone for extended periods of time.
  • ENFPs are very often scatter-brained. They may begin projects with enthusiasm but will lose interest or get distracted and then move on to something else that sparks their interest. 
  • INFPs are usually very focused. If they start something, they are likely to finish it.
  • ENFPs can be very impulsive and are likely to blurt out their opinions without reflecting on what the likely consequences of doing so may be. 
  • INFPs will think about what they want to say long before they actually say it.

ENFP and INFP — Cognitive Functions

To better understand the personality makeup of ENFPs and INFPs, it is useful to look at their personality functions. Everyone has four cognitive functions — Intuition, Thinking, Sensing and Feeling. Those functions can then be understood more precisely as being Extroverted (outwardly demonstrated) or Introverted (inwardly expressed.)

When you examine ENFPs and INFPs specifically, they share the same functions but in a different order. Their dominant and auxiliary functions are mirror opposites of each other as are their tertiary and inferior functions.

Dominant Functions:

An ENFP’s dominant function is Extraverted Intuition, meaning that they will tend to be excited by the world and see it as a place with unending possibilities. They have an optimism and feeling of love that is unmatched by other personalities. Here are some of the ways ENFPs express their Extraverted Intuition:

  • They see the grand scheme of things — rather than the minutia of any situation. 
  • ENFPs adore being around people and are able to use their passion to inspire those around them. 
  • They are immensely creative and can imagine countless possibilities that could change the future.

An INFP’s dominant function is Introverted Feeling. They are emotional beings who process their feelings internally. They have as much of the love and the hope that ENFPs have but with a little more caution and a lot more isolation. Here are some of the ways INFPs express their Introverted Feeling:

  • They have a tremendous amount of empathy for others.
  • They will always feel compassion but may have a hard time showing it if they are unfamiliar with those involved. 
  • They may have a tendency to feel misunderstood because they are so reluctant to communicate their true feelings.

Auxiliary Functions:

An ENFP’s auxiliary function is Introverted Feeling. Knowing how gregarious an ENFP generally seems, it is difficult to imagine that they have any function that includes the word “introverted.”

It does not, however, refer to how they interact with people. Introverted Feeling as the auxiliary function means that rather than using a strict logical framework for making decisions, ENFPs are more likely to consider emotions and extenuating circumstances. Here are some of the ways ENFPs express their Introverted Feeling:

  • Like INFPs, ENFPs have a great deal of compassion and empathy. 
  • They lead with their heart and can be very impulsive. If something seems right to them, they will do it. 
  • They have a strong sense of what is right and good in the world. They will make choices that align with those very firm values.

An INFP’s auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition. Like their ENFP counterparts, they can imagine a world of possibilities but are more cautious about them, really thinking through what the potential consequences of radical change might be. Here are some of the ways INFPs express their Extraverted Intuition:

  • They usually develop a very strong “gut feeling” about people and situations. More often than not, they will follow these feelings. 
  • Like ENFPs, they see the world in large strokes rather than in small details. 
  • They may not be able to articulate why they do what they do but they will not deviate from what they know to be right.

Tertiary Functions:

An ENFP’s tertiary function is Extraverted Thinking, which means they process information by putting everything on the table and looking for connections that make sense. As this is a function that is third behind the two more dominant functions, it may not be as influential. Here are some of the ways ENFPs express their Extraverted Thinking:

  • When working through an issue, ENFPs may like to talk out loud or bounce ideas off of other people in order to get a consensus of opinions. 
  • When emotions are put to the side, they are able to puzzle out solutions using logical connections.

An INFP’s tertiary function is Introverted Sensing. This allows them to use vivid memories of the past to help them understand what is happening around them today. Here are some of the ways INFPs express their Introverted Sensing:

  • For an INFP, memories are often very emotional, so recollecting specific events can be a profound experience for them. 
  • They are known for their impressive ability to recall events from their past.

Inferior Functions:

An ENFP’s inferior function is Introverted Sensing. After their sense of right and wrong, their emotions and enthusiasm, an ENFP will use their past experiences to inform decisions about the present. Here are some of the ways ENFPs express their Introverted Sensing:

  • They will use lessons learned in the past for on present situations.
  • Like INFPs, they are likely to have strong emotions attached to their memories.

An INFP’s inferior function is Extraverted Thinking. This is the little voice in the back of their head that adds a bit of logical thinking to their emotional state and helps them balance out their personality. Here are some of the ways INFPs express their Extraverted Thinking:

  • When faced with adversity, an INFP may be able to quiet those emotional impulses and think of a rational plan of action. 
  • They use logic when trying to assess the riskiness of any situation.

ENFP and INFP — A difference in enthusiasm and energy

One of the largest differences between these two personalities is their life approach. They both want to make a difference in the world but each will do so in their own, unique ways.

ENFPs

They are relentless in their pursuit for the newest way to make a difference. They are passionate about what the future might hold and how to help others get there.

  • They are obsessed with getting to the truth of any matter. 
  • If you are their friend, they will try to get you to be the best person you can be through positive action. 
  • They love making their own decisions and being free from authority. They do not wish to conform with traditional ways of doing things. 
  • More than anything, they want to be allowed to do what they do best — work towards a better future.

INFPs

They are as mentally active as ENFPs are socially active. INFPs are always pondering about right and wrong and how best to achieve a balanced and harmonious environment.

  • They love to ponder the meaning of life.
  • If you are their friend, they will offer thoughtful advice that really gets to the heart of the matter. 
  • They love life-long learning. 
  • More than anything, they want their own truth to be understood by those closest to them. They often find this very difficult to accomplish.

Examples of How ENFPs and INFPs might handle real world situations:

  • If an ENFP is put in charge of opening up a food pantry, he would be thrilled for the opportunity to help deserving people. He would gather the right volunteers, use his charm and knowledge and get everyone else excited about the project. Using creative suggestions to get the ball rolling, he would let others handle the details. When it looked like things were really coming together, he may lose interest and move on to other things. An INFP, on the other hand, would hand off the responsibility of being in charge to someone more adept. From there, she would work from behind the scenes, making sure all the while that the group kept a harmonious and pleasant working environment. She would be very happy to be part of something so positive.
  • A charity auction for a worthy cause has just been announced. An ENFP has volunteered their time. They attract other people to participate with their out-of-the-box style marketing that wins over the entire community and brings crowds of potential donors to their event. Everyone is thrilled, especially the ENFP. An INFP is working at that same charity event. She worked in the office making a uniquely designed website that advertised the auction, which was also very well received. She is very proud of her contribution as well.

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