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How to Spot an ENFP and What Makes The Optimist Different to Other Personality Types

ENFP Key Difference Featured

ENFP (A.K.A The Optimist or The Campaigner) is probably the most freedom-loving, humoristic, warm and friendly personality type out of all the 16 personalities. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given that their preferences are: Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving, and they make up around 7% of the population. These typically energetic extroverts are a notable presence in the lives of people who know them — but why? What sets them apart from other extroverted or feeling personalities? How do they compare to, say, an ESTP? Or to an INTJ?

In order to understand ENFPs better, this article will weigh them against other personality types. You will be able to see their similarities and differences and hopefully by the end of this piece, you will have a deeper knowledge of what makes ENFPs so special.

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ENFP Characteristics

The ENFP personality type is most likely to be described as a “true free spirit.” It’s easy to spot a person of this type in a room — but what gives them away? Here’s a short checklist:

  • Extreme extroverts, who thrive in people’s presence
  • Can easily get bored. Routine, mundane activities are definitely not for them
  • Good at daydreaming to the point where they can easily space out during important situations
  • Easily distracted if what they’re doing isn’t appealing to them
  • Imaginative and curious, new ideas come easily to them
  • Warm, enthusiastic and hyperactive

How Do ENFPs Compare to Other Personality Types?

Something important that you should be aware of is that each personality type is made up of a combination of different preferences. These preferences are:

  • Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

Next to that, we also have different cognitive functions: Introverted Feeling or Extraverted Sensing, for example. This means that no two extroverted personality types are the same — because their other functions differ from one another. Given these differences, we figured that the best way to illustrate how to best spot an ENFP was to compare them to the other 15 personality types.

ENFPs vs SJ Temperament Types

SJ temperament types (ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ and ISFJ) are driven by the Sensing and Judging preferences. These personality types are very structured and like establishing and following rules. To them, strategizing, careful planning and abiding by an organization’s norms and traditions are essential for society’s smooth existence. This core philosophy immediately clashes with spontaneous and carefree ENFPs, who easily get bored, tend to procrastinate and aren’t keen on following orders. Freedom is valued higher than many human rights for an ENFP and any attempt to limit that freedom can and will be judged harshly.


The ESTJ personality type (also known as The Defender) is the embodiment of traditional values, such as honesty, leading by example, and putting utmost dedication in their work. ESTJs are guided by Extraverted Thinking as their primary function, which means that they rely heavily on logic and facts when a decision needs to be made. They largely disregard their feelings when such a time comes, in order to reach a rational and objective conclusion. They are also very practical — you won’t be able to interest them in theoretical or abstract ideas and concepts. Things that they can’t see, touch or see the practical implication for, can quickly cause them to lose interest.

ENFPs perceive and interact with the world in a completely opposite way to ESTJs. Their dominant Extraverted Intuition compels them to focus on a world of possibilities, rather than plain facts and logic. These people are very inventive and imaginative, which makes them more focused on the big picture, rather than on tiny details. It’s easy for them to find patterns and connections between concepts and people, even if these aren’t visible in plain sight. The secondary function of ENFPs, which is Introverted Feeling, also means that they allow their emotions, rather than their heads, to guide their decisions. They place a higher value and importance on their feelings and values, which may sometimes overrule common sense and logic.

Essentially, ESTJs and ENFPs don’t have much in common – except for their extroverted nature. The difference in their values and life philosophy is very drastic and these two types may never truly understand where the other is coming from. This should show you how differently Extroversion can be expressed by different types, and how a shared preference doesn’t necessarily equal harmony and mutual understanding.


The ESFJ personality type (also known as The Administrator) is an extremely caretaking type. They are nurturing, supportive and always looking out for the wellbeing of everyone around them. ESFJs want to be accepted by society so they are likely to stick to established social norms in order to get in the good graces of those around them. Their dominant cognitive function is Extraverted Feeling and as such, they have no trouble adjusting their behavior to fit the needs of whoever requires it. It also makes them extremely considerate people but also judging, as they tend to make their mind up about people and situations based on what their gut tells them. This can lead to their false perception of people due to needlessly harsh judgement.

ENFPs tend to stray away from judging anyone and instead prefer to assume that everyone is naturally good, until proven otherwise. They are very trusting people and are also guided by empathy and a need to connect with others — though not as intensely as ESFJs. Social norms are of little importance to ENFPs and they wouldn’t be willing to go against their own principles in order to fit in. They don’t have to either — no matter how quirky they may appear to others, somehow ENFPs never complain about lack of friends. They take pride in their bright personalities and like to think of them as their own personal expression of freedom.

ESFJs and ENFPs share some similarities in caring for other people and the ability to empathise with them. However, there are some major differences between them as well — the main one being their way of judging others, as well as willingness to bend their own personality in order to fit into social settings.


The ISTJ personality type (also known as The Archivist) is hard working and orderly, and people of this type carefully consider their decisions and actions. Guided by Introverted Sensing as their primary function, these people have a very keen sense of right and wrong. They are very efficient and logical and when they seek a solution to a problem, they will take the most rational way possible. Very principled, they always believe that work comes before play. The most important thing for people of this personality type is to be efficient, productive and deliver results that are in line with expectations. Their blunt approach and hard honesty might make them seem cold and robotic, but they just don’t like to waste their time with unnecessary pleasantries.

In a way, ISTJ embodies everything that an ENFP is not — valuing order and dedication to hard work, no matter how boring the task is. This is why an ENFP might not like an ISTJ a lot in the long run. Another big struggle for ENFPs is their tendency for procrastination — if they aren’t completely involved in the task at hand, their attention can quickly falter. This is in part because of their active brains, which are always buzzing with new concepts and hecticly jump from idea to idea. The ENFP working style is more similar to random bursts of productivity, rather than a carefully planned, methodical approach. This spontaneity can be perceived as irresponsibility by an ISTJ and can annoy them greatly.

ISTJs come across as very uptight in the eyes of the free-spirited and fun-loving ENFPs. They don’t understand this practical and straight-to-the point approach to life, which clashes with the very core of their personality. In a way, ENFPs might admire the discipline of ISTJs — they themselves would never be able to dutifully work on a task that doesn’t immediately intrigue or entertain them in some way.


The ISFJ personality type (also known as The Defender) is a loyal, quiet, kindhearted and extremely people-pleasing person. They eagerly go above the expectations of what is required of them, but aren’t too fast to take the credit for their accomplishments. In fact, their humbleness is one of the biggest challenges for them to overcome. Their dominant function is Introverted Sensing, which (similarly to ISTJs) makes them prone to focus on details and concrete information. However, unlike ISTJs, their Feeling preference means they are more sensitive, empathetic and emotionally expressive. This personality type is firmly grounded in reality and respects traditional norms. Their decision-making process relies on past experiences in order to more accurately determine the best possible course of action in the current situation.

ENFPs share a sense of caring for their community, much like ISTJs. This is because both personality types share a common Feeling preference, which compels them to follow their heart and emotional drive. However, both ISFJs and ENFPs should be careful, as they can easily get too invested in the well-being of people around them, causing them to burn out or fall into a melancholy state. Another thing these two personalities don’t agree on is the extent to which one should be grounded in reality — ENFPs simply don’t see the point in that. Their imagination simply cannot be controlled, even if such an attempt is made.

Even though ENFPs share some similarities to calm, caring and cautious ISFJs, these two types differ on some very big fundamental topics. ENFPs have a much more blunt approach to life, always willing to repeat a mistake several times, just to be sure that it’s a mistake, whereas for ISFJs this is easily avoidable and unneeded. Above all else — an ENFP can never keep quiet and blend in to the shadows, like an ISFJ can. They are simply too full of enthusiastic lust for life for that.

ENFPs vs SP Temperament Types

SP temperament types (ESTP, ESFP, ISTP and ISFP) are driven by the Sensing and Perceiving preferences. These personality types are very spontaneous and are good at thinking on their feet. They often like to tinker with various gadgets and tools, and make for great artists. Personality types from the SP temperament are fun, energetic and are always up to tell a good story — which are traits largely shared by ENFPs as well.  Other characteristics, such as seeing the big picture and dislike for monotony and obligations, also resonate deeply with ENFPs.


The ESTP personality type (also known as The Daredevil) is a people magnet — charming, talkative and entertaining, these people are extremely outgoing and love socializing. They love nothing more than to be the center of attention and are very adept at knowing how to keep that attention on them. ESTPs don’t particularly like abstract theories, and instead enjoy living in the here and now. Their dominant function is Extraverted Sensing, which means that they get energized most when interacting with people and living in the moment. Because of that, they tend to be extremely outgoing, sensation-seeking and engaging, to the point of some people finding it too intense to keep up with them.

ENFPs have an NF personality type, which means they are sensitive, empathetic and idealistic. They enjoy forming deep and meaningful relationships and are invested in understanding people on a deeper level. Given all their idealism, they may sometimes lose track of reality and get lost within their own minds. This is something that an ESTP can’t understand. They are a very in-the-moment kind of people, which brings a sort of practicality with it. They like to live in reality, as it has so much to offer for them and they are too busy experiencing every second of it. ESTPs like to communicate in a straightforward and concrete manner, while when ENFPs talk, they talk in a more abstract and what-could-be way. To an ESTP this is a waste of time.

Even if it may seem like these two personality types don’t have much in common, they have a shared enjoyment of energetic socialization and going outside of their comfort zone. And while they have different viewpoints on how to best act on these desires, they still remain well-liked and charismatic people that others like to be around. You can always count on them for an intriguing and immersive story, or finding other bold and unusual ways to keep you entertained.


The ESFP personality type (also known as The Entertainer) is the epitome of a social butterfly. These people love to entertain others and nothing gives them more joy than spending time with their friends. ESFPs don’t know the definition of the word “boring” — because it’s never boring where they are. They don’t particularly like learning from books and lectures — nothing beats a hands on experience for them. Curious, talkative and energetic, they always make an appearance, wherever they go. ESFPs “here and now” mentality can sometimes cause them future problems, and their dislike for routine and organization makes them appear unreliable.

ENFPs have a similar energy to ESFPs — they like to have fun, to be around people and to entertain. Being stuck in a routine is one of their greatest fears and they prefer to keep their options open when it comes to planning an adventure, for example. These two types are united by their spontaneity, but they have very different views on how to handle life. Similarly to ESTPs, ESFPs are very practical and live in the present, unlike daydreaming and future-thinking ENFPs. They are more united by their Feeling preference, which means that both personality types put more emphasis on personal feelings, rather than logical facts when a decision needs to be made.

ENFPs and ESFPs can definitely have a lot of fun together but they share very different philosophies. ESFPs are grounded, practical and logical, while ESFPs are deeply idealistic and can’t help but wonder what the world could be. Both personality types are deeply empathetic to others and find it easy to put themselves in the shoes of another person. They also follow their own sense of values, which aren’t dependent on the outside world.


The ISTP personality type (also known as The Tinkerer) is handy by every definition. These people enjoy tinkering, deconstructing things to see how they work and then putting them back together again. They are very results-oriented and waste no time when a solution to a problem is needed. ISTPs are guided by Introverted Thinking as their primary cognitive function. This means that they spend a lot of time dealing with problems in their heads, which makes them appear quiet and stoic. Because of their preference to logical thinking, they often address situations from an objective point of view, rather than an emotional one.

ENFPs identify strongly with their extroverted side. They can’t stay quiet or go without socializing for too long —they need social contact in order to get energized. Even though they are creative and enjoy making things with their hands, they do so in order to channel their energy, not because they are interested in how something works. ENFPs don’t have a particular interest in the real world — their heads are in the clouds most of the time. Instead of coming up with a solution to a problem, they are likely to look at the problem from a more heightened and philosophical viewpoint. They are also very emotional and don’t tend to be rational when making decisions.

ISTPs and ENFPs don’t have much in common. They share just one common preference — Perception, which makes them flexible and relaxed, preferring not to make plans but go with the flow instead. This preference also means they are great at improvisation and noticing opportunities of various kinds. However, besides that, an ENFP might find it difficult to relate to the quiet and laid-back ISTP and might deem them boring. Objective decision-making, rather than emotional, is also something an ENFP will not agree with and cannot fully comprehend.


The ISFP personality type (also known as The Adventurer) is kind, sensitive and quiet. They are known for being considerate and peaceful, and accepting people for who they are. Their primary Introverted Feeling function means that this type processes information based on their own inner feelings about it. ISFPs value their freedom greatly — but for them this freedom translates to them constantly reinventing themselves. It also means that they dislike commitments — which can cause problems in relationships.  Just like others from the SP temperament type, they identify more as doers rather than dreamers and are firmly rooted in reality.

ENFPs are also very considerate people and accept others for who they are. They don’t like changing people and are aware of everyone’s own individual uniqueness. They can relate to the Introverted Feeling function of ISFPs, as they also rely on this function — even if it’s not their dominant one. How an ENFP feels about a person or a situation can influence their judgement greatly. These two types have a shared preference for maintaining their freedom as well — even though it manifests itself in different ways. And while ISFPs don’t handle commitment well, being able to make a deep and meaningful connection (and to keep it) is of essence to an ENFP.

Out of all the SP temperament types, perhaps ISFPs are the ones an ENFP can connect with and understand the best. These two still have a lot of differences, namely their opposing views on reality and exploring theoretical concepts. However, both personality types are very in-sync with their environment and it’s easy for them to empathise to others — because of their Feeling preference.  Their shared Perception preference, on the other hand, makes them good improvisers who handle situations with a level of flexibility.

ENFPs vs NT Temperament Types

NT temperament types (ENTJ, ENTP, INTJ and INTP) are driven by the Intuition and Perceiving preferences. These personality types are very intelligent, determined and independent. They are driven by their desire to master as much knowledge as possible and are considered to be high-achievers. They value reason and logic, and have a low tolerance for people who can’t keep up with their intellectual wit. ENFPs find common ground with these types when it comes to their shared curiosity and innovative ideas. However, the NT preference to solve problems via logic doesn’t particularly appeal to ENFPs.


The ENTJ personality type (also known as The General) is a natural and decisive leader. People from this personality type are analytical, tend to be hard-working and are very dedicated to the task at hand. They are good at taking action, spotting problems and making decisions based on objective and logical criteria. ENTJs are very outspoken, have good people skills and are very well organized. Their primary cognitive function is Extraverted Thinking, which makes them quick at making decisions and augmenting these decisions in an organized manner. Their secondary function, Introverted Intuition, makes them more future-oriented and considerate of all possible outcomes when a decision is needed.

ENFPs aren’t known to be very analytical and their hard-working preference depends on whether or not they are invested in the task at hand. For them, being motivated and interested in whatever they are doing is key in keeping them engaged with it — these people simply can’t keep going if they are bored. ENFPs make decisions based on their own inner feelings and aren’t very good at staying organized. They like improvising and adapting to their environment, rather than planning carefully. Similarly to ENTJs, they are future-oriented and take much pleasure in considering various impossible and theoretical scenarios, as well as their outcomes.

ENTJs and ENFPs share some similarities in their extraverted natures and proneness to explore what could be. A big difference between them is that whereas ENTJs like to express themselves in an organized and tight manner, ENFPs are very scattered in their thoughts and their argumentation can be based on pure idealism at times. This can make them seem not as trustworthy and stable as ENTJs, who are often preferred leaders. However, while ENTJs have a tendency to overlook the opinions of others, ENFPs are always curious as to what people around them think because this helps them build upon their own imagination.


The ENTP personality type (also known as The Debater) is one of the most intellectually-oriented personality types, which loves debating and challenging concepts and ideas. These people are very quick-witted and will challenge those who accuse them of being wrong, even if they are a little stunned at first that anyone could think such a thing. They are in constant pursuit of knowledge and get great satisfaction by listening to others’ points of view, and then comparing it to their own. This personality type is guided by the Extroverted Intuition cognitive function, which makes them process information very quickly and have a holistic way of thinking. Because of this ability to see the bigger picture, they can easily spot underlying connections which aren’t typically visible on the surface.

ENFPs have three shared preferences with ENTPs — Extroversion, Intuition and Perception. This makes them quite similar in their ways of assimilating information. These two types also have the ability to look at situations from a slightly different perspective than the orthodox one. ENFPs don’t share ENTPs enthusiasm for debates but they still like to share ideas with others and hear their feedback. They don’t do this for sheer entertainment, however, but to get a fresh view on their own concepts and use the new information to build them up. To them, winning a debate is not as important as it is just to hear a different opinion.

ENFPs and ENTPs are quite similar personalities, based on their three shared preferences. However, ENFPs are significantly more sensitive and emotional, often finding themselves in the heart of drama. ENTPs stray away from such situations and take a more pragmatic and logical approach to making decisions. Both types get easily bored, so trying out different things and changing their environment frequently is of the essence to keeping them happy. Creativity-wise, both types are bustling with unexplored ideas and wild concepts, which often challenge the conventional.


The INTJ personality type (also known as The Mastermind) is convinced that there is nothing that human intelligence can’t overcome. They thrive on discipline and knowledge and spend most of their time trying to improve situations based on careful analysis. INTJs are confident in their abilities, are skilled strategists and strive for perfection. Guided by Introverted Intuition, they are gifted with both an analytical and conceptual mind, that can easily interpret meaning from patterns. They enjoy exploring possibilities and reading between the lines to grasp the deeper meaning of a situation.

For ENFPs, being flexible is more important than coming up with a detailed plan and sticking to it. Their natural gift for improvisation causes them to quickly adapt to any changes they are presented with, which doesn’t come as easy to an INTJ. When presented with changes, INTJs will need some time to recalibrate their plan in order to fit the new needs. Furthermore, ENFPs tend to be inspired by chaos, whereas INTJs prefer an orderly and structured environment, which is in line with their inner processes. INTJs are also very independent and like working alone, while ENFPs get inspired from others and enjoy working in teams.

Sharing an Intuition preference makes both ENFP and INTJ good at conceptual thinking and makes them more likely to think about the future. However, while ENFPs draw energy from others, react emotionally and are prone to being spontaneous, INTJs enjoy spending time alone, processing situations logically and following a carefully laid out plan. Their problem approach also differs: INTJs tend to be more methodical and structured, while ENFPs are easily distracted, hectic and have difficulties following through. Both are naturally creative thinkers and often bring innovative ideas as solutions to problems.


The INTP personality type (also known as The Logician) is very logically inclined, and people of this type pride themselves on their rationality, intellect and ability to offer unique solutions to problems. They don’t see much value in emotions so it’s unrealistic to expect emotional support from them — instead they will offer a practical solution to the problem at hand. This can make them seem very cold and reserved, which they aren’t very bothered by. INTPs are guided by Introverted Thinking, which makes them want to tear things apart just to see how they work. They often want to understand something completely to its core before offering advice or a solution to the problem.

ENFPs are much more emotional than INTPs, which can cause confusion for the latter, as they don’t find logic in emotions. ENFPs rely more on their creativity and imagination to solve issues, rather than aiming to support their ideas with logical facts or to learn from past experiences. When someone comes to an ENFP for support, they will likely be inclined to offer supportive and empathetic understanding, rather than try to solve the problem straight away. To them, being seen as a safe haven and someone to count on for emotional help is more important than giving helpful, but cold and logical, advice.

INTPs and ENFPs don’t have much in common — except for their shared Perception preference, which makes them flexible and able to improvise in unexpected situations. INTPs don’t understand emotionality and don’t see any use of it, while ENFPs don’t understand acting on pure logic and consider it cold and insensitive. However both of these personality types are incredibly curious about the world around them and seek to understand it better — they just have different methods of doing so.

ENFPs and NF Temperament Types

NF temperament types (ENFP, ENFJ, INFP and INFJ) are driven by the Intuition and Feeling preferences. These personality types are empathetic, generous and project deeper emotions. One of their biggest aspirations is to know themselves better and be accepted for who they are. They are good at sensing and identifying the feelings of those around them and are very caring individuals. Something that often guides NF’s is their natural idealism and unique perception of the world. They will protect and stand up for their values, as well as for causes they believe in. ENFPs are also a part of this temperament type.


The ENFJ personality type (also known as The Guide) is warm, passionate and charismatic. These people like to help others reach their full potential because they believe in the people around them. Others are in turn inspired by ENFJs’ passion and idealism and are eager to follow them. ENFJs are deeply caring and affectionate, with excellent language skills which make it easy for their messages to be properly understood. They are guided by Extraverted Feeling, which means that other people’s feelings resonate strongly with them. It also means that they place more importance on their personal thoughts about a topic, rather than on objective facts, when a decision needs to be made.

ENFPs are also compassionate and caring, having the great ability to empathize deeply with others. They have a similar inspiring trait as ENFJs that they can easily get people to follow their idealism. However, unlike ENFJs, ENFPs don’t tune as much into other people. They can empathize to a great extent but not to the point where they start carrying other people’s burden. These personalities share 3 preferences, however the final one makes ENFJs more prone to decisiveness and being organized, while ENFPs are better off at improvisations.

ENFPs and ENFJs have a lot in common — given that they are the two extrovert personality types from the NF temperament type. However, they do have some differences. The main one is that while ENFPs are more prone to daydreaming and fantasizing, ENFJs are people of action. They are more willing to project their idealism into the world in a tangible way, which can make a positive change in their community. Furthermore, whereas ENFPs are very open about their emotions, ENFJs can sometimes ignore their own, as they are too focused on people around them. This can cause them to get hurt, if they aren’t careful.


The INFJ personality type (also known as The Sage) is gentle, idealistic and sensitive. The rarest personality type is filled with good intentions about everyone around them — they believe that their positivity and love can make a positive change in the world. Sometimes they can be so caring for others that they can easily forget to take care of themselves. Guided by Introverted Intuition as their main cognitive function, a prominent INFJ trait is to place heavy emphasis on what their own inner compass tells them. The INFJ relationship with their intuition is very close — they will undoubtedly follow it, even if that might make them seem stubborn at times.

Even though ENFPs are also idealistic and strive to leave the world a better place, they don’t take this mission as seriously as INFJs. ENFPs don’t like conflict, and will do their best to avoid it, whereas INFJs will vigorously defend their values if they are put under question. When pursuing a goal that they hold very dearly, ENFPs might get sidetracked more and have trouble organizing themselves, while INFJs dedicate their whole energy and attention to achieving their ideal. A natural introvert, an INFJ is more private and tends to keep to themselves, compared to energetic and people’s people that are ENFPs.

ENFPs and INFJs don’t have much in common other than their common temperament type. Introverted INFJs are more reserved and quiet compared to bubbly and outgoing ENFPs. Both types are idealistic and their gaze is focused on future possibilities. ENFPs like to avoid conflict when they can, even if it means compromising their beliefs, whereas INFJs are always ready to stand up for their values, even if everyone is against them. Both types take great pleasure in helping others and guiding them to be the best possible version of themselves.


The INFP type (also known as The Mediator) is the true idealist out of all the 16 personality types. These people are reserved and quiet but always see the good in people, and are deeply sensitive. INFPs make for great friends, who can empathize deeply and sincerely. Guided by Introverted Feeling as their primary cognitive function, this personality type likes to process their emotions inwardly. They are also very compassionate and have a superior sense of emotionality. INFPs are very sensitive to criticism, as they tend to take everything too personally. This can often hurt their emotional nature and cause them to overthink.

Even though they only differ by their energy preference, ENFPs and INFPs are very different. ENFPs appear more relaxed and it’s easy for them to feel comfortable in a new environment. They are more forgiving when it comes to criticism and aren’t that likely to take other’s words to heart. INFPs on the other hand are more self-reliant and independent than ENFPs, which can’t stay alone for too long. ENFPs also are more accepting of others — some more active and competitive types can make INFPs feel uneasy.

INFPs and ENFPs might come from the same temperament type, but the difference in how they project their energy is significant. Even if they share a sensitive and caring side, INFPs tend to keep more to themselves and explore others from afar, while ENFPs prefer to jump in the action and make their mind about people up close. Another big difference between them is their tolerance for conflict and criticism – while ENFPs aren’t very fond of either, they can handle them if it comes to it, whereas INFPs can get very emotionally hurt if put in such a situation.


As you can see, it’s easy for ENFPs to find something in common with nearly any other personality type. Given that they are non-confrontational and are very accepting of others despite their differences, it’s easy to see how they can get along with most people. If you want to learn more about the potential relationships that ENFPs can have with the other types (in terms of romance, friendship and work), you’ll enjoy our article on ENFP relationships.