This section ENFP Development is about the unique developmental path of the ENFP personality from birth to midlife. While an individual’s personality development is unique, personality type provides a good general framework for you.
To understand the ENFP’s development, we have to understand the hierarchy of mental functions for the ENFP. The hierarchy of mental functions for the ENFP is about which mental function (Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking or Feeling) the ENFP is most comfortable with using and which they are least comfortable in using.
Without going too much into Type dynamics, let’s look at the ENFP’s hierarchy of mental functions:
The ENFP is most comfortable with using the Dominant Function Extraverted Intuition and least comfortable with the Inferior Function Introverted Sensing.
As children, ENFPs will develop the Extraverted Intuition function. They will be most fascinated by stories that stretch their imagination and will often ask their parents to repeat fairy tales or myths to them.
They are usually very insightful children with quick understanding of concepts and ideas that are presented to them. They are easily excitable by new things and people and will drop everything when something new catches their eye.
If they have not properly developed this function in their youth, they may grow up to be stubborn and narrow-minded, not accepting of other’s points of views.
During puberty, ENFPs will start developing the auxiliary function, Introverted Feeling. This is an important time as they begin to learn to interact and relate with others around them in a sensitive and encouraging manner.
It is also in this time that they begin to consider and reflect on their values and what is important to them, and they may become crusaders for causes they believe in.
If they have not properly developed this function, they may grow up to be unreliable and fickle-minded, moving from a new idea to another and changing their decisions whenever something new gets their attention.
Assuming an environment supportive to their development, most ENFPs would have developed Extraverted Intuition and Introverted Feeling by 20 years old or so.
Their areas of improvement will most likely come from the underdeveloped sides of Extraverted Thinking and Introverted Sensing.
Here are some suggestions for improvement:
If these behaviours are not developed by 30 years old, the ENFP will feel the tension to continue growing, to start developing the tertiary function Extraverted Thinking.
The ENFP may start learning how to use objective criteria in evaluating life’s circumstances. They start learning to take negative feedback constructively and use it as a catalyst for improvement.
The ENFP can further develop the Extraverted Thinking function through these simple exercises:
From midlife onward, the ENFP’s focus turns toward the inferior function, Introverted Sensing.
The underdeveloped Introverted Sensing of ENFPs comes out in a childish and undeveloped way when ENFPs are under stress, leading them to be overindulgent in certain material pleasures or suddenly focus on unimportant details.
But in midlife, there is an unconscious shift and desire to develop that inferior function in order to achieve wholeness and continual growth. It is an uncomfortable but necessary transition.
Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Introverted Sensing function:
The developmental paths of individuals are unique depending on the environment, culture and social norms they were brought up in.
Some cultures value certain personality traits more than others, affecting the personality development of an individual. Lastly, it is good to remember that no two people need to develop the same way, and hence only some of the above may apply to you.
This page only serves as a general guide for anyone using it as a reference. If you like to learn more about your unique developmental path, please contact me.
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