ENFP Development

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.

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 a 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.

Puberty to 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 to others around them sensitively and encouragingly.

It is also at 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 of Development

Assuming an environment supportive of 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 organisation
  • Use specific and concise language in communication
  • Use logical, objective criteria to make decisions

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

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 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 proceeding 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.