INFJ or ENFJ?

I have answered this question so often on Reddit that I wrote a blog post to save time repeating myself.

So you did the mandatory MBTI test in high school, the 16 Personality Test online, or somewhere else.

But you keep wondering if you are introverted or extroverted.

It doesn’t matter if you are going out or playing a board game with friends. Your mind can’t come to terms with the extraverted/introverted divide.

Heads up, it is hard to understand because INFJs are the most extroverted of introverts, and ENFJs are the most introverted of the extroverts.

After years of research, I could see the clear-cut differences between INFJ and ENFJ in their approach to life.

Social interaction

Spiritual growth drives ENFJs and INFJs, and there is no limit to pursuing self-improvement.

We are naturally drawn to education about life because we feel misunderstood, neglected, and weird.

Both care a lot about social recognition, but their strategies are different.

The INFJ will feel like the ultimate parrot, mimicking social roles perfectly. Through introjection, they take on other people’s emotions. When the room is on fire, their souls burn with joy. But when a good friend is hurt, they feel the same suffering. Hence INFJs are masters of sympathy and understanding.

An ENFJ will feel like the ultimate demagogue, knowing precisely what to say and do to be liked by most group members. Through heightened social awareness, we instinctively shape our personality to align with the vibration of the people around us. Like a choir singing a capella, we tune into the environment’s ambiance. Hence ENFJs are masters at connecting individuals through empathy.

Intuition

Extraversion, or the need to be influenced by the environment, and introversion, the need to reflect on one’s position within reality, is in flux like the pendulum swing of a clock.

Humans need to rest once in a while — to sort out their thoughts. Also, they have a craving for external stimulation to gain new ideas.

Body intelligence is often misunderstood by science as intuition. For example, your nose and tongue instinctively know to avoid rotten food. The stomach will make you puke if you have ingested something toxic, and this process is body awareness and not cognitive intuition.

Most people only experience cognitive intuition once in a while, usually while taking a shower or before falling asleep. When the mind entirely rests, the unconscious seed blossoms, and you experience a eureka moment.

Suddenly you see a pattern that was hidden before. You understand why some events went that way or become conscious of some form of transformation your life is going through.

INFJs will have this introverted intuition without the relaxation. For example, an INFJ will sit in a history class, and the teachers will talk about the aftermath of the Second World War, and within the blink of an eye, they understand their Jewish neighbors’ hate against the Germans. Or, when writing an essay or reading a book, ideas seem to pop op-out of nowhere, distracting the writer or reader from his business. Thus the inner life can be explained as stormy because the intellect can sweep them off their feet.

ENFJ will have some instances of introverted intuition but has more extraverted intuition. Instead of relaxation, our minds quiet down through movement or action. In your childhood, people tried to slow down your speaking because you were jumping from topic to topic. Although the train of consciousness was logically oriented, in your opinion, others couldn’t establish the connections between the seemingly different subjects. When you get older, you will see that you answer your questions. For example, when you need a word and ask for it. Asking around can be enough to get the answer before someone has time to respond(clairvoyance). Thus the ENFJ external life can be explained as chaotic because of the interruptions of the unconscious.

Experimentation

INFJ and ENFJ are adequate organizers of events or experiments. They are the ones who bring a soccer ball or portable speakers to the park.

Especially in project management or life experimentation, you will see the differences.

When an INFJ takes on leadership responsibility in projects, they will give every member of a team a role and the freedom within a certain margin to execute their tasks. When nobody wants the most challenging task, they are the first to volunteer. The planned workflow will be perfectionistic and must be implemented according to the details. No compromise on values is tolerated. An INTJ or ENTJ can only rival this kind of strategic leadership. Their organization principle is preparation is vital.

ENFJs will similarly delegate tasks. Depending on whether it is within their ballpark, they will also take on the most challenging task. The workflow is holistic, and the final picture is clearly envisioned. Co-workers can decide how they want to build the product. Where the methodology is, in most cases, open, working ethics is holy. Slacking is not tolerated unless you have a good reason, like being physically or mentally sick or having to help someone else. The management style looks similar to the ENFP and is about facilitation and guidance. The organization principle — do what feels natural.

Likewise, an INFJ will approach a new hobby or habit first intellectually. For example, when they think about starting with yoga. They envision different scenarios:

a) Would I be disciplined enough to follow weekly yoga classes with Adrienne on Youtube?

b) Do I need to be enrolled in a yoga school to build up a routine and meet other yogis?

They will mentally prepare themselves for: talking with strangers, selecting between different schools or Youtube channels, reading books, and blogs, subscribing to different Reddit, etc. When their mind feels prepared enough, they make the jump. Hence extensive research provides them with a safety net.

On the contrary, ENFJs will go to a yoga class with a friend and conclude that they like it and subscribe to that yoga club. Along the way, they learn about the existence of other yoga clubs, styles, etc., to make pivots. When doing research, they ask a lot of questions to people, about how something would work out. ENFJs believe they can learn as much through the eyes of others as through their personal experience. Hence positive feedback from the body or people provides them a safety net.

Conclusion

To summarize,

INFJ’s are sympathetic parrots with a lot of eureka moments who do scientific research to optimize the process for the whole and themselves;

ENFJs are empathetic demagogues with many self-interruption moments who thrive on feedback loops to optimize the current activities for a group or themselves.

Both are natural pattern optimizers, human connectors, and spiritually and scientifically inclined.

Hence many people mistakenly see them as having similar personalities.

This blog post is #21 of the 30-day creative writing challenge.

Note: I am an ENFJ who thought I was an INFJ for two years. I studied the INFJ type through books, interactions with friends, Reddit, youtube, blogs, and podcasts.

Note: Do not use MBTI as a relationship guide; it is meant as a system for personal growth.

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Jasper Ruijs

Jasper Ruijs

I write short essays deconstructing systems and exploring innovative thinking. You can connect with me on Linkedin 👉 http://bit.ly/ruijs