Myers Briggs is a vastly popular personality test. You answer a series of questions and you are given a combination of four letters. Mine, as you might have surmised from the title, are ENFP. These stand for extrovert, intuitive, feeling, and prospecting. I am the human equivalent of a train wreck when it comes to pursuing women. I’m the human equivalent of two train wrecks happening simultaneously and both trains are carrying gun powder and blast resistant snakes when it comes to actually carrying on a relationship. This is partly because of the shortcomings that come with being and ENFP; this is also because I’m me and I’m bad at stuff. But we’ll break this down piece by piece. Let me try to explain the mad dance/ seizure-esq emotional convulsions that are the courtship of an ENFP.
From the beginning things take a hard left turn from the normal system. How we pursue people is by trying to get them to engage in extremely deep and personal heart to heart talks. Oh you played soccer in high school? Cool. Now tell me about your relationship with your best friend and how it has effected your view of yourself. That’s the kind of stuff I want to know about. We love to share. It’s like the love child of cocaine and Candy Crush as far as potency of addiction goes. We don’t mind telling you all about what we’ve been through in life. Sure we have secrets. But the whole open book thing kind of works for us. If we start confessing things about ourselves, it’s not really that odd for us. We just want you to be aware of who we are, and we want to know who you are. Our ultimate goal is for us to be apart of your inner circle by the end of the first cup of coffee. And by God there’s a good chance we’ll accomplish that goal.
Here’s a big problem with us. ENFP’s have a very strong stereotype of being social butterflies who get along with most people. We thrive on attention and relationships. There’s no science to back it, but I’m sure we could survive on those things alone. Like photosynthesis but with social interaction. Because we find so much joy/sustenance in making others laugh and smile, we come across as flirty. This flirtatious persona manifests in various ways. Being flirty isn’t a problem, but if you’re flirty with everyone, you’re flirty with no one. One of my friends once counted how many times I said, “How is it that you become more beautiful every time I see you?” in a day. It was like 12. To us that’s normal. Maybe that’s just to me. Maybe I’m weird. Alternatively maybe I have friends that are just getting rapidly more attractive. I digress. When this kind of affection and attention is doled out to everyone, it’s real difficult to see when there’s extra love in it. I have good friends tell me that they thought I liked them when they first met me, but were then told, “Oh that’s just Ben. He’s always like that.” This is very true, first off. But I actually did like some of those girls. But when you’re the social butterfly, entertainer type, it’s hard to make your real feelings known without explicit words. If you watch us you can figure out when we’re giving someone an extra hard time, which is usually an indicator that we’re interested. We are children. Emotionally idiotic children.
Amidst the sharing of deep secrets and flirting with every multi-celled organism we see, it can be a strange game to catch an ENFP in mid pursuit. Truth is we hardly ever see ourselves in the middle of pursuit. We’re several steps ahead of you on this front. I wrote in another post that the first time we meet you there’s a chance we’re already imagining what it would be like to be with you. That wasn’t a joke. I have fallen head over heels in love with someone in 7 minutes and 46 seconds flat before. We focus a lot on what could be. We have a conversation with you and our head starts playing a movie of what our life could be like. This means we throw things in cruise control a lot. Problem being that, as I’ve already said, our default communication style is flirtatious and goofy, so how are you ever supposed to know that we’re imagining what a European adventure together following Mumford and Sons would be like? You’re telling us what your major is and we’re thinking about singing Little Lion Man with you.
It’s important to mention that we’re sporadic. If you want a shot at the title, you better take it when the opportunity rolls around. I pursued maybe three girls in college for more than a year. Other than those exceptions, I jumped around like crazy. We have the emotional attention span of a 12 year old. Because we make it so hard to recognize when we have feelings, there’s a good chance you won’t even notice we’re courting you unless we’re laying it on real thick. And by real thick I mean we’re actively making an effort to ensure we’re spending time together. If we’re willing to make an actual plan to be where you are, you can assume we have a ring ready to go for whenever we feel the time is right. An even bigger deal is when we actually follow through. We do the whole thing where you say, “We have to hang out!” and then nothing comes of it. If you actually receive some form of communication denoting that we want to make good on that proposition, you have won us over in a serious way.
Not really a universal thing (I don’t think), but worth mentioning, a lot of ENFP’s love language is touch. Not in a creepy way (hopefully), but in a playful way. If we could get away with doing exactly what a dog does when it likes you we’d do that to display our affection physically. But that’s not “socially acceptable” or whatever.
The best metaphor is this: where as other people are like candles and are lit for a long time and have a steady flame, ENFP’s are like sparklers, we’re a flash of energy and then gone soon after.
I want to go on record as saying that these are the things I’ve observed about myself as an ENFP and are not blanket, all inclusive statements. If you have a very serious objection to something I said I’m very sorry.