ENFJ Personality Type: The Protagonist

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated April 29, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the ENFJ personality type is generally extraverted and intuitive, and they tend to prioritize feeling and judgment over thinking and perceiving. ENFJs can also be called Protagonists. With their natural charisma and charm, they often occupy leadership roles. These individuals also tend to be loyal and loving in relationships. However, Protagonists tend to be conflict-averse and can be hard on themselves and demanding of others. If you’d like to learn more about your personality or are interested in addressing any mental health challenges you may be experiencing, working with a licensed therapist online or in person can be beneficial.

16 personality types

Getty/Luis Alvarez
Make the most of your personality type

Knowing your personal traits can unlock a deep sense of self-understanding that may motivate you to enhance your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. Protagonist personalities may be more likely to experience success and happiness if they have a deep understanding of why they think, feel, and behave the way they do. 

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) generally identifies four major personality types, each divided into four subtypes.

  1. Analysts: Architect (INTJ), Logician (INTP), Commander (ENTJ), Debater (ENTP)
  2. Diplomats: Advocate (INFJ), Mediator (INFP), Protagonist (ENFJ), Campaigner (ENFP)
  3. Sentinels: Logistician (ISTJ), Defender (ISFJ), Executive (ESTJ), Consul (ESFJ)
  4. Explorers: Virtuoso (ISTP), Adventurer (ISFP), Entrepreneur (ESTP), Entertainer (ESFP)

There are also similar tests to the MBTI, such as the 16 Personalities test, that include other personality categories. For the 16 Personalities test, this extra category would be Assertive vs. Turbulent. So if a person’s test results indicated they were a Protagonist, it's possible they could be considered an Assertive Protagonist or a Turbulent Protagonist.

ENFJ: The Protagonist

ENFJ is generally the abbreviation for extraversion, intuition, feeling, and judgment (or extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging). This personality type can be commonly known as the Protagonist. 

Extraversion: ENFJs are typically motivated by interacting with people. Protagonist types tend to be sociable and generally have a wide circle of acquaintances. They are often outgoing and friendly, even though they can be quite independent. Social events usually energize these types. These personalities normally listen to others before making decisions, and they may enjoy the approval of others.

Intuition: ENFJs may focus on the big picture and future possibilities. They tend to pay less attention to detail and the current situation. They are usually creative and abstract thinkers who can be very intelligent and curious.

Feeling: ENFJs frequently consider the feelings of others before making decisions. They usually attach importance to social implications when making a decision, rather than using cold logic.

Judgment: Protagonist types tend to be planners. They often like predictability because it can enable them to plan and control situations. They can sometimes come across as assertive when they set their mind to something.

ENFJs tend to be extroverted and sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. Their dominant characteristic may be their genuine desire to make the world a better place. They are often imaginative, as well as determined and hardworking. 

ENFJs usually look for harmony in relationships and broader social groups. They can be warm, charming, charismatic, and talkative. They frequently excel in the social arena, and people generally love to be in the company of a Protagonist because they can be fun and have a good sense of humor. ENFJs often make excellent leaders.

The Protagonist type is thought to make up between one to 5% of the population. Some famous Protagonists may include Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, and David Keirsey. 

Insightful

Protagonist types often have a talent for reading others quickly, and they may easily establish rapport with all sorts of different people. These insights may allow them to understand the fundamental principles or personality of the people they are speaking with, while still giving off a warmth that can be an almost contagious force. Their extraverted personality traits and compassion can enable them to become fast friends with nearly everyone. They may easily be able to assess someone they've just met, and they may then take on their emotions, expressions, and body language.

Socially intelligent

Social interaction usually energizes this type. ENFJs can be formidable networkers and generally have a wide circle of friends and social connections.

Persuasive

Protagonists may use their charm and charisma to easily persuade others to their way of thinking without expecting to change anyone.

Leadership abilities and qualities

Protagonists excel at taking personal responsibility for their actions and are frequently passionate about making the world a better place. Their biggest joy may be to inspire the development of others to improve the world and the rights of those within it. Protagonists can be formidable in nearly any work environment and are often confident and fearless when it comes to speaking their minds about social injustice. Many protagonists have the charisma and genuine desire to help others to a better life, so much so that they can potentially influence millions. Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama are often believed to be Protagonists.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh

Career options for ENFJs

ENFJs can make excellent teachers, counselors, and ministers. They tend to be successful in any career that allows them to effect positive change and improve the lives of others. 

EFNJs and relationships

Protagonists are usually dedicated and committed partners who often maintain strong relationships and bring out the best in their significant others. 

ENFJs may constantly ask their partners how they're feeling, which not everyone will enjoy. While some may find this behavior a bit smothering, ENFJs may genuinely want to know about their partner's emotions so that they can maintain a happy and healthy relationship. The right partner will likely find Protagonists to be warm, loving, and fun to be around.

ENFJs can be overly defensive of their children and may involve themselves in every aspect of their lives. Their children may start to resent this as they reach puberty, often wanting to have more freedom and less intense supervision. ENFJs can also be quite strict with their children, but normally with the intention of bringing out the best in them. Children of Protagonists generally describe their parents as warm and supportive, although a bit strict.

The biggest relationship problem Protagonists may have can be their deep dislike of conflict. ENFJs may agree to keep the peace, ignore serious issues, or give in and back down rather than have a confrontation. This can cause severe problems as Protagonists usually have strong ideals and core values, and backing down on an issue that is important to them may only cause further conflict down the road.

Understanding ENFJ strengths and abilities

Protagonists are often:

  • Understanding of other people’s feelings and motives 
  • Inspiring and charismatic verbal communicators
  • Talented in motivating and persuading others to help them make the world a better place
  • Altruistic and generous
  • Warmhearted and unafraid of showing affection and admiration for others
  • Fun, with a great sense of humor
  • Team players
  • Loyal and committed
  • Excellent leaders

ENFJs can be:

  • Rigid, unbending, and idealistic
  • Oversensitive and hard on themselves 
  • Insecure about their appearance and presence
  • Despondent when criticized
  • Demanding of others
  • Intolerant of mistakes and shortcomings
  • Domineering and smothering
  • Self-sacrificing of their well-being in pursuit of improving the lives of others

Getting help

While ENFJs often have many strengths, one of their biggest weaknesses can be how they are affected by criticism, both from others and themselves. ENFJs typically do all they can to avoid conflict, and they can be particularly hard on themselves when they feel they’ve made a mistake. Conflict can be a natural part of life, and avoiding it can negatively impact physical and mental health, as well as weaken relationships.  

Licensed therapists can teach ENFJs (and others) conflict resolution skills to strengthen relationships and lessen mental health concerns related to conflict avoidance.

Getty
Make the most of your personality type

Benefits of online therapy

Online therapy can be an easy, affordable way to get professional help with any challenges you may be facing and learn effective conflict resolution skills. If you’re an ENFJ, you may find it difficult to schedule a therapy appointment around your busy social life. Online therapy can make it simple to schedule appointments at a time that works for you, even if it’s outside of typical office hours.

Effectiveness of online therapy

Although not much research currently exists on the efficacy of online therapy for conflict resolution skills, studies generally suggest that online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy at treating a variety of mental health disorders and concerns.

Takeaway

ENFJs are often warm, caring, and altruistic. Their main goal in life may be to make the world a better place, and their charisma and excellent social skills can inspire others to follow their lead. Protagonists are usually loyal and committed partners, parents, and friends. However, they can be extremely averse to conflicts and confrontations, potentially brushing problems under the rug until they become much more significant issues. Whether you’re a Protagonist or a different personality type, therapy with a licensed mental health professional can help you address any areas of your personality that you’d like to adjust, as well as any mental health challenges you may be living with.
Navigate personality traits with a professional
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started