ENFP Development
The Unique Growth Path of the ENFP

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.

From Childhood to Puberty:
Development of Extraverted Intuition

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.

From Puberty to about Age 30:
Development of Introverted Feeling

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. 

Areas for ENFP Development

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:

  • Follow through on your inspirations, don’t stop halfway
  • Receive negative feedback without feeling offended
  • Be patient with policies and procedures in an organization
  • Use specific and concise language in communication
  • Use logical, objective criteria to make decisions

From Age 30 to Midlife:
Development of Extraverted Thinking

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:

  • Pick up a game that requires strategic thinking like chess, card games or computer games. Learn to make better decisions as you progress in the game.

  • Use cost-benefit analysis to make decisions. Consider pros and cons of each decision using a list. Think about the consequences of each decision.

  • Study a controversial subject. Study notes, read up for more information while suspending any judgment. Look at both sides of the argument and notice their merits.

From Midlife onward:
Development of Introverted Sensing

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:

  • When you are given a task, do not jump into it immediately. Instead break the task down into sequential steps and allocate a certain time to each task before proceed to execute the task.

  • Recall a significant event that happened before in your life, recount the details of this event: the sights, sound, smell, touch and taste.  Do not try to make connections or consider implications, but consider the event as it is.

  • Close your eyes and observe your bodily functions: your breathing and the sensation that your body is feeling right now.


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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