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