I've been meaning to share some new-to-me Myers-Briggs information with you, and this week I think I'll finally have a little time to write some of it up.
As I've made heavy mention of in the past few years, I'm an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
But can I be honest? There are many times I don't feel at all that ENFPish. My Extrovert/Introvert split is quite even and a little social anxiety mixed with a lot of family of origin issues means that I am fully aware that most people would not experience me as the archetypical ENFP who is most often depicted in pop culture as this:
In fact, I've spent a good long time wondering if I am actually an INFP. On the surface, it seems like something as simple as swapping out the E for an I wouldn't make that big of a difference. Right?
Well, a few months ago, some fellow MB geeks introduced me to a great YouTube channel run by DavesSuperPowers, and by watching the videos he has created, I learned that there's actually a significant difference in the two types, much more than could ever be explained by an isolated examination of the four letters that make up each type.
Here's the groundwork for his approach to helping people move past online personality tests and really understand what makes them tick:
To pull out the main points from the video, it's important to see that within the MB approach to personality types, we all operate with four cognitive functions:
We ALL have those four functions and we all express them either in extraverted (yes, spelled with an A when we are talking about the four functions) or in introverted ways.
This is where we start digging deep, and it can be a little overwhelming at first. I highly recommend looking through his videos to see which of them apply to your type. It was when I watched this one on ENFP vs INFP that I began to realize that there is such a big difference between these two types - a difference that goes far beyond swapping an E for an I:
(um, I forgot one of the motivational posters he uses has language - so, viewer be warned)
Watching this video is when I began to connect the dots in some ways that were so exciting and affirming. As an ENFP, I have a huge HUGE extraverted intuition. I cannot turn it off. I am constantly taking in information everywhere, all the time. This explains why, at the end of the day, I just want to crawl into a sensory deprivation chamber. It's exhausting, but it's also kind of awesome.
At first, I was a little confused at discovering ENFP has introverted feeling as a secondary (note: strong) function. I tend to think of myself as a fairly expressive person, but as I thought about that over the course of a few days, it really began to make sense. When I am sad, I absolutely disappear. I don't want to talk to anyone about the sad or the hurt or even the intensely happy. Maybe when I've had time to fully process the feelings. Maybe. But mostly, that Big Feelings stuff is only shared with the closest of close friends.
And yeah - sometimes I DO feel bi-polar because I can be flying high after I'm charged up over spending time with friends or interacting with lots of people at a festival, etc., and then I just want to hide under my covers for a while. It's so incredibly empowering to know that this is TOTALLY NORMAL for my personality type.
Watching the videos from DavesSuperPowers and digging in to learn more about my four functions:
- Extraverted iNtuition
- Introverted Feeling
- Extraverted Thinking
- Introverted Sensing
has helped me to know how I can really embrace what comes naturally to me as well as figure out areas I need to working on developing.
I'm going to talk a little more about how understanding the four functions plays out in marriage, friendship, and work later, but for now, I just have to share with you that instead of feeling the pressure to live up to the CONFIDENT ENFP poster above, I can be much more at peace with this view on the ENFP:
If you have a moment and like to engage in the MB geekery with me, check out Dave's videos and report back on what you learn about YOUR type!