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View Poll Results: Do ENFP’s Lead People On?

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  • I think ENFPs often lead people on, but they aren’t usually aware of it.

    17 39.53%
  • I think ENFPs often lead people on, and they usually know exactly what they are doing.

    6 13.95%
  • I think ENFPs often lead people on, and I’m unsure if they are aware of this or not.

    16 37.21%
  • I don’t think ENFPs often lead people on.

    4 9.30%
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  1. #1
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Do ENFP’s Lead People On? - Active versus Passive Fi

    Hold up your hand if you’ve ever heard one of these complaints about an ENFP…

    • This ENFP lead me on. I thought he was more into me than he really was.
    • That ENFP was just trying to get my attention so I ignored her.
    • ENFPs are shameless flirts… the lot of them.
    • You can’t trust ENFPs because they make you think they like you more than they do.

    Whenever I hear such ENFP-talk on this forum, I cringe. Engaging in any of the above behaviors would mean violating my value system… and that is something no self-respecting ENFP ever wants to do… violate their own value system.

    Nonetheless, it does seem that there is a lot of confusion among those who know and love ENFPs on interpreting how emotionally invested an ENFP is in any given social interaction. In my not so humble opinion, all these misunderstandings have to do with Introverted Feeling (Fi) which is an ENFP’s second (or auxiliary) function.

    ENFP’s Cognitive Function Hierarchy = Ne > Fi > Te > Si

    I think Satine, at the start of the ENFP Common Issues Thread does a very good job explaining why Fi is at the source of a lot of these misunderstandings:

    Quote Originally Posted by Satine View Post
    2)Heart on the sleeve. ENFPs connect through Fi and Fi usually doesn't waste time getting to know someone. It jumps to the intimate part of the conversation as that is who the person *really* is… which is what is relevant to Fi. And that tends to either go over extremely well, to the point where people just end up telling them their life stories and childhood trauma's or... really badly, as people just consider it rude, inappropriate and impolite, not to mention wayyy too intense.
    3) Flirting. Due to the ENFP tendency to jump right to the intimate part of the relationship … ENFPs are often perceived to be big flirts when they're actually just genuinely intrigued by people…
    5) Attention whoring. Most ENFPs… tend to experience things very profoundly, and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. The expression of these things can be perceived as an act of attention whoring…
    7) Leading people on. As ENFPs tend to share intimate details easily with others and often have others reciprocate, a misunderstanding can arise between the two people in that relationship as to the status of the other person… This often leaves the other partner feeling hurt and rejected… it can give the illusion of a stronger bond than was intended by the ENFP.
    ENFPs are genuinely interested in people from all walks of life. They love to get to know people and can make others feel at ease and feel a sense of emotional intimacy almost instantly. This sense of intimacy is facilitated by their auxiliary Fi function that immediately jumps to the emotional essence of the conversation / other person. HOWEVER, this does NOT equate to the ENFP investing themselves in the relationship. Thus, I think this is the source of a lot of misunderstanding for ENFPs. To the untrained eye, the ENFP will appear more emotionally intimate than they really are.

    So how can you, the outside observer, know if an ENFP is really invested in a relationship?

    Passive Versus Active Fi
    Learn to recognize passive versus active Fi in an ENFP. If ENFPs can connect with others without Fi self-disclosure in some circumstances and with Fi self-disclosure in others, then there are at least two ways ENFPs express their Fi. I call them Passive and Active akin to passive and active voice sentences.

    • Passive Fi – When Fi is in Passive Fi-mode, the other person defines the level of intimacy of the conversation. This is Fi’s resting state… to connect with other people in a manner that is emotionally comfortable for the other person. Fi’s wants and needs are not a factor when Fi is in passive mode. Instead, the focus is on the other person.
    • Active Fi – When Fi is in Active Fi-mode, the Fi-user takes control and defines the level of intimacy between the two conversation partners. This occurs when the Fi-user discloses their most intimate thoughts and feelings. The other person’s wants and needs are not a factor when Fi is in active mode. Instead, the focus in on the needs of the Fi-user.

    I think the key here is ENFP Fi self-disclosure. I'm not just talking about personal facts or funny, self-deprecating stories. ENFPs don't feel the need for privacy like some other types and they will share such information freely and without emotional investment in the other person. But if an ENFP tells you their innermost thoughts and feelings about things, that's when they've made an investment in you. I'm not sure how to recognize this on the outside, but it's a very different feeling on the inside.


    I’d love to hear from ENFPs and non-ENFPs if this rings true for them. Most importantly, if anyone has any tips on how to recognize passive vs. active Fi from the outsider’s point of view, this would be most appreciated. I think it would quell a lot of ENFP/non-ENFP misunderstandings.


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  2. #2
    Member Serenes's Avatar
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    I don't really get the difference between passive and active Fi.. can you maybe give an example on how to notice the difference?

    I'm not ENFP but I seem to accidentally lead people on too..
    "You may be one person to the world, but to one person you may be the world."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    Hold up your hand if you’ve ever heard one of these complaints about an ENFP…

    • This ENFP lead me on. I thought he was more into me than he really was.
    • That ENFP was just trying to get my attention so I ignored her.
    • ENFPs are shameless flirts… the lot of them.
    • You can’t trust ENFPs because they make you think they like you more than they do.

    Whenever I hear such ENFP-talk on this forum, I cringe. Engaging in any of the above behaviors would mean violating my value system… and that is something no self-respecting ENFP ever wants to do… violate their own value system.

    Nonetheless, it does seem that there is a lot of confusion among those who know and love ENFPs on interpreting how emotionally invested an ENFP is in any given social interaction. In my not so humble opinion, all these misunderstandings have to do with Introverted Feeling (Fi) which is an ENFP’s second (or auxiliary) function.

    ENFP’s Cognitive Function Hierarchy = Ne > Fi > Te > Si

    I think Satine, at the start of the ENFP Common Issues Thread does a very good job explaining why Fi is at the source of a lot of these misunderstandings:



    ENFPs are genuinely interested in people from all walks of life. They love to get to know people and can make others feel at ease and feel a sense of emotional intimacy almost instantly. This sense of intimacy is facilitated by their auxiliary Fi function that immediately jumps to the emotional essence of the conversation / other person. HOWEVER, this does NOT equate to the ENFP investing themselves in the relationship. Thus, I think this is the source of a lot of misunderstanding for ENFPs. To the untrained eye, the ENFP will appear more emotionally intimate than they really are.

    So how can you, the outside observer, know if an ENFP is really invested in a relationship?

    Passive Versus Active Fi
    Learn to recognize passive versus active Fi in an ENFP. If ENFPs can connect with others without Fi self-disclosure in some circumstances and with Fi self-disclosure in others, then there are at least two ways ENFPs express their Fi. I call them Passive and Active akin to passive and active voice sentences.

    • Passive Fi – When Fi is in Passive Fi-mode, the other person defines the level of intimacy of the conversation. This is Fi’s resting state… to connect with other people in a manner that is emotionally comfortable for the other person. Fi’s wants and needs are not a factor when Fi is in passive mode. Instead, the focus is on the other person.
    • Active Fi – When Fi is in Active Fi-mode, the Fi-user takes control and defines the level of intimacy between the two conversation partners. This occurs when the Fi-user discloses their most intimate thoughts and feelings. The other person’s wants and needs are not a factor when Fi is in active mode. Instead, the focus in on the needs of the Fi-user.

    I think the key here is ENFP Fi self-disclosure. I'm not just talking about personal facts or funny, self-deprecating stories. ENFPs don't feel the need for privacy like some other types and they will share such information freely and without emotional investment in the other person. But if an ENFP tells you their innermost thoughts and feelings about things, that's when they've made an investment in you. I'm not sure how to recognize this on the outside, but it's a very different feeling on the inside.


    I’d love to hear from ENFPs and non-ENFPs if this rings true for them. Most importantly, if anyone has any tips on how to recognize passive vs. active Fi from the outsider’s point of view, this would be most appreciated. I think it would quell a lot of ENFP/non-ENFP misunderstandings.


    I think a lot of this is true, and it's the way we're perceived which may or may not have to do with how we actually are. I identify very strongly with the idea of self-disclosure in the form of facts of about my past and funny self-deprecating stories....I communicate this way constantly, and can be pretty open about it.

    I can't say I've ever intentionally made someone think I liked them more than I did, leading people on is not my idea of a good time, unless you count my former employment, but THAT is a very clear, defined established environment where I was explicitly paid to be a performer.

    I think I can be an attention whore, but I don't always do it for purely selfish motives, sometimes I'm not even aware I'm doing it and am just trying to socialize ... actually a lot of the time I'm also attempting to entertain other people. I've just always been that way, and I also think hyperbole is amusing.

    Me and my ENFJ best friend in high school used to call ourselves the "(Her name) and (my name) show." We both have this quality to our personalities, though I think mine comes through more strongly in writing and stage performance and hers comes in the form of the every day chatter of ENFJ charm.

    I would be lying if I said I didn't do that, and I think all ExFx types do it in one way or another. The thing is though I'm generally not doing this in any kind of romantic context where I'd be making people think I liked them emotionally more than I actually did.

    If anything, in character I'm meaner than I am when I'm being real.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenes View Post
    I don't really get the difference between passive and active Fi.. can you maybe give an example on how to notice the difference?

    I'm not ENFP but I seem to accidentally lead people on too..
    I think Fi passive mode is when you're just being and not really connecting and allowing the other person to be who they are, etc. Wait - and by "not connecting" I don't mean ignoring or not caring, I just mean you accept that person is being who they like to be, and there's no need to control interaction in any way.

    Fi active mode is pursuing intimacy with particular individuals.

  5. #5
    Senior Member animenagai's Avatar
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    Basically it's all true, only that's not our intention at all lol. We're just friendly, we often find it hard to accept that people don't like us and we want to be friends with everyone.
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  6. #6
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Great post, EW...*mulls*

    Hmm..I do dispute the whole use of active-passive Fi as you've defined it, at least for myself.

    And I think there's a distinction in active mode. There's self-disclosure for the sake of adding to the conversation and there's self-disclosure for the sake of the other person (showing them that you know what they're going through). Then there's self- disclosure coz you're unable to contain Fi (also known as that errupting emo-vulcano), making anyone who pushes the slightest wrong button a target of that self-disclosure. And then there'es the kind of self-disclosure that happens due to being touched and having trust imparted on you as a result of a special connection. Even that one still falls apart into one-night stand disclosures and long term disclosures. And of course one type of disclosure can trigger another.

    It's the latter you seek. And it's the rarest, imo. So safest bet is to go with either one of the others, when in doubt.

    Lemme see..when I'm clicking with someone who's asking for help, or advice, I'll use passive mode, and, when I notice a certain level of trust and comforting being needed, I'll use active mode to self-disclose and make the other person feel more at ease (syncing). If the conversation is with multiple people, I'll automatically self-disclose if it's a topic that's of interest in me, and especially so if someone is in fact in need of support.

    The important key difference here is that the things i'll self disclose here, are 90 percent of the time things that I've dealt with, that I've untangled in my brain, that I'm ok with and that I'm ok with others knowing. The other 10 percent, I'll share things that I'm still working on, but usually not in a way that would leave myself too open to attack, or i'll try to keep it vague. I'll do that when it's necessary to comfort the other person or when their story has hit a sensitive spot and awakened part of the Fi-volcano. I'll also do it if I deem it important for others to know my experience so they can make a more informed decision should they ever encounter that situation.

    This is all just...Fi being casual, believe it or not. It is. It's me being caring and polite.Nothing more but definitely also nothing less.


    Then there's the Fi-vulcano situation that unfortunately many are familiar with already. It's where you're no longer able to contain Fi and you start spewing from the inner part of yourself, unfortunately often leaving yourself very vulnerable to others repercussions who took the heat for you, who not only got to take the heat but also heard all your secrets. Embarrasment usually ensues as does scorn on occasion. Not fun. There's no frigging connection there, it's just something I wanna forget ever happened.

    There's a softer variant of that when I'm not that pressured yet, but when someone's kindness happens to make the heat inside rise and it gently starts streaming out. *This* does require a connection. But even a fleeting connecting over that sensitive topic will do. It's the reverse situation of before. I'm the one *being* comforted. It makes me feel cared for and connected (something I need like a drug) and allows me a moment to be vulnerable. I'll usually close it off as soon as the excess pressure is gone, as I *know* I'm on borrowed time. I also feel guilty for doing it afterwards, knowing most people cannot handle it very well for a very long time. Im utterly grateful towards them, but it doesn't mean we'll connect over anything else anytime soon or remain friends. They do hold a special place in my heart though as they've seen a part of me that I don't share easily, so they maintain that special status even if we remain complete strangers.

    At this point however, I care, however there's no real lasting connection still as the trust was in the moment there and then, and also coz I kind of needed to blow off steam and was out of time selecting someone to trust with care. Again, it doesn't diminish my gratitude towards that person however.

    Then there's the people I've build up a bond with. There's familiarity. Often, they too only belong to the previous groups as we're too different, or we don't relate enough or I know that it would weird them out to fully know me and therefore there's a lack of trust in that department. I like these people, I have fun with them and they can count on me. Doesn't mean they get to know me better though. I keep them at arms length emotionally (unless the previousy described situations arise). This often happens when I bump into them in my life regularly. I mostly use passive Fi with them, with some active to keep the bond steady.

    Then there's the emotional one night stand. Which happens when you connect on so many bases all out once, you get an emotional feeding frenzy from both sides. And often, you overeat. It's an overactive Fi, spruced up with passive Fi to let the other person also have their say and secure the sync (often, when you get too overeager, you'll in fact damage the connection as you're too willing to share, as Ne gets in the way) It's when you meet a new person and you click so well and intensely you can talk for hours, just basking in each others presence, feeling perfectly safe and all floodgates open. There's a soul-exchange almost. Then, the frenzy dies. Something kills it. And you look at each other. Either you both finally had your fill and are happy and have nothing left to share, it was awesome and perfect, just as it was. It was in the moment, like two ships passing each others by. Or you suddenly realize that despite all the syncing you've done..you're still complete strangers to each other and you now get to the parts where you realize they're *not* compatible in certain areas that kinda are...a big deal.

    Does that mean you suddenly don't like em anymore? No, but it sure is a way to kill that connection and usually ends up being a 'dud'. Which is kinda painful to come down from as well as emotionally awkward afterwards. These people become part of the previous category usually, though some make it up to the next category

    => THIS IS USUALLY WHERE MOST CONFUSION TAKES PLACE (when it comes to flirting, though it can begin as early as the first stages that I've described, I've noticed)

    It's the compatibility factor. There was an intense sharing, intense bonding, yet somehow you're not compatible and it sucks ass. It's an emotional high which comes before a very painful fall. Yet it's nobody's fault, nor is it coz one person isn't good enough for the other. It's just not meant to be. Period.
    OR, there is indeed potential, but that's all. It's potential. Doesn't mean you're perfect for each other just yet!

    Lastly, the people you get to know coz they intrigue you and where you actually pace yourself to get to know them over time. The bond is tried and tested (for that matter it's continuously re-evaluated at least by me). Active and passive Fi take turns without hurrying it or rushing things and build up a steady bond that way. In here as well there are categories. These depend on the level of relating, how much you can be yourself, what areas you sync up with with the person. The more areas covered, the more you can be yourself. This is especially handy for building a group of friends. But depth is where it's at for me. I've connected to people which I had very little in common with, but the things we had in common were the crux of who we were, and very similiar. It allowed us to delve *so* deep and know so well how the other would respond to situations, just coz you'd do the same thing or something similar that I am no longer able to keep from them what is hidden there. They literally delved into my soul. These people, wherever they may go, however long we haven't seen each other, and whatever may have happened, carry a piece of my soul around. If and when I meet them again, it'll be like they never left. They may be incompatible for me to live with as a lifepartner, and therefore we might not date (they can be family,best friends platonically as the chemistry isn't there, plain female or just a man who's not compatible with my lifestyle, therefore ensuring that we'd ruin each others dreams if we were to try and build a life together), but I am emotionally naked with them. They *get* me. And vice versa. I have their number.

    Often, I can tell who these people are, before even knowing them, just by observing them. They *act* in a way that I very much recognize. I see their motivations more clearly than others as it's natural to me. And yet they intrigue me as they often fill them in differently than I would (which adds to practical compatibility) They may have a completely different way of going about things, but the drive behind it...I recognize and totally relate to. And if I'm able to pace myself, and they do the same, when we meet, it's often heavy a heated anticipation and recognition. It's like meeting your lifelong friend...who you haven't seen your entire life. Quite literally. And while you get the basic pleasantries out of the way, and get to know the practical stuff about them, you already click on a deeper level..that understanding is already there. And it's tested.

    Lastly, I've found that the man who you share your values with, who you can be emotionally naked with in the way described above in several different areas, and who has an interest in exploring who you are and vice versa to great extent and whose lifegoals are compatible with yours, is a man I will share my life with. And will commit to.


    Infatuation can occur at any given stage, as it shows increased interest in the potential that person holds. Lust can start as soon as I've seen them. But love and commitment...we need to get to the last stage for that. That doesn't mean I don't treasure the people who I don't go that f ar with. Far from it. It just means that not everyone is going to see the inside of my Fi. Nor should they. Or that just anyone who holds my affection will hold the key to my heart..and I do mean *all of it*. I don't mind showing some people around parts of it though
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    I see through it as being in a good natured, all inclusive affectionate light hearted playful manner and having social fun. I shall be reading this thread with curiosity. Its probably wanting to be harmonizing.

  8. #8
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    Woow Satine... I could relate to a lot of what you said. Although I'm an INFP.. so I don't do that as often with someone I just met. After getting to know someone better and I see them as a potential friend, I can get into very deep conversations with them especially if I was 1-on-1 (never in a group). I think that could be the cause of 'leading people on' in my case.

    I agree on what you said about self-disclosure.. I do it for a lot of different reasons as well, and it's not always because I really like someone. I may risk self-disclosing some things if it can help support others, or if I feel connected to someone in the moment (doesn't mean I'll feel that way after) or just Fi erupting too. -nods- However, when I share very deep/vulnerable things about myself (which is very rare and requires a lot of trust & kindness/acceptance), I will always appreciate that person even if we don't become friends and such. I'll remember what they did for me.

    Overall I think we may lead people on sometimes because we always seem to genuinely want to get to know/understand others and we can be so supporting of others when they share very personal things.. soo it can seem like romantic interest when we're just really concerned with the person's well-being and like to connect meaningfully with others. And we usually want people to like us, be on good terms with people, and keep harmony/good feelings.

    I can see how ENFPs would lead people on a lot though :p since they'd more freely connect/self-disclose with many people whereas since I'm more Introverted, I'd be more selective (but it still happens with the ones I choose to become friends/close with)... and rare 1-on-1 conversations where I just click with someone.
    "You may be one person to the world, but to one person you may be the world."

  9. #9
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    Yeah, I don't see it that way. I agree with Satine to a certain extent. Satine's explaination makes me think Hot-Fi and Cold-Fi would be accurate descriptions. ENFP's seem to operate at warmer tempertures, than the cooler INFP's (I think the same goes for ESFPs and ISFPs, although I think active and resting Fi is more accurate in thier case, it's the being present in the moment thing. With ISFP bff, it's like flicking a switch at times) and tert-Fi's operate at sub zero temps at times. Also all have the potential to supernova too, LOL.
    Can't think of the chemical principle I'm alluding too (?Van der Waals forces), but I'm pretty sure they are more active the warmer the enviroment/solution is.
    A pretty incomplete analogy....but some one here will get what I'm alluding too.
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  10. #10
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    i think this is same that with any communication misunderstandings. other part doesent express him/herself in a way that the other would understand properly. but i dont think its either ones fault, i mean why should the "talker" get tuned to "listeners" wave length, but the listener doesent have to tune with the talkers? i think people who blame the enfp for giving the wrong impression are just egocentric idiots. basically they blame the enfp leading them on because enfp didnt talk their language, but fail to realize that its equally their fault that they didnt talk the enfp language. so they get hurt and want to blame others, because they cant admit that its partially their own fault. ofc enfps can sometimes actually lead on people, but it seems that usually its just a misunderstanding in communication.
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