Are you an extravert, an introvert, or a hybrid? My ENFP story serves as an example

The difference between an extrovert and an introvert is quite simple, right? Extroverts are outgoing while introverts are shy, at least that is the common perception. It’s not exactly true. Developing a better understanding of each personality type – and identifying yours – can help with personal and professional development, and more effectively communicating with people.

My favorite is found at 16Personalities.com, which is based on Carl Gustav Jung’s study of psychological traits and the renowned Myers-Briggs test. Carl G. Jung’s theory of psychological types characterizes people by their preference of general attitude:

Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I),

Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N),

Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)

Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

I’m a vivid ENFP (Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving). ENFPs are enthusiastic, idealistic, restless, and open-minded with wide-ranging interests. Because of these personality traits, we are among the most versatile of all types, working well with people and ideas. As extraverts, we are not opposed to action, while as intuitives, we are not opposed to reflection. In this sense, ENFPs represent a hybrid between introverts and extraverts.

Fueled by a fascination with the human brain, and motivated to gain greater self-awareness. As humans, we have beating hearts that wage battle with stimulated brains about decisions, thoughts and feelings. Honest feedback is not always flattering, nor is it pleasant to learn. Consequently, many of us have a low level of self-awareness. We like hearing the good, but we generally dread receiving what we deem as bad. Yet self-reflection is an essential first step to improving as a person. This introspection propels personal growth and professional development.

ENFPs often share their own aspirations freely and want to hear others’ dreams in return. We are unlikely to judge anyone’s dream and will discuss the most imaginative and outlandish of fantasies with warm, enthusiastic intensity. We love to explore creative possibilities, and nothing deflates us faster than talking about dry facts or harsh reality.

Our dominant function, Extraverted Intuition, works like an idea-generating machine. We see potential everywhere and they feel compelled to make our dreams a reality. ENFPs are the friends that will inspire you when you feel down, who will have the amazing “crazy” ideas that are just so unique they might actually work.

While the life of an ENFP seems exciting and inspiring to many, we often struggle with maintaining focus. We loathe being micromanaged and restrained by heavy-handed rules. We want to be seen as highly independent masters of our own fates, even possessors of an altruistic wisdom that extends beyond draconian law. The challenge for ENFPs is that we live in a world of checks and balances, a pill they we not happy to swallow.

ENFPs may seem like a bundle of contradictions. We are friendly yet autonomous. ENFPs are anything but simple and as a result we can be an enigma to the people who know them. Because we are extroverted and friendly, many people will gravitate towards us, but this may result in the ENFP unwittingly being a part of discussions that don’t naturally stimulate our mind. We even become bored and restless, and revert more towards isolation and accessing their imagination through writing or reading on their own.

ENFPs are socially aware and desire to connect with people, but we are also intensely independent and individualistic. We love to make people laugh or feel joy but we also aren’t afraid to stand up for the unpopular opinion.

Am I an extravert or an introvert? The more accurate description would be an extraverted introvert – a person with strengths and areas that benefit from improvement. The key is maximizing the strengths and understanding where I can improve, which is why the 16Personalities.com test provides valuable insight.

“The ENFP personality is a true free spirit,” a description of the site reads. “They are often the life of the party, but they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others. ENFPs are fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom. If they’ve found a cause that sparks their imagination, ENFPs will bring an energy that oftentimes thrusts them into the spotlight, held up by their peers as a leader and a guru – but this isn’t always where independence-loving ENFPs want to be.”

It is clear that no test will give you a 100 percent pinpoint accurate assessment of every aspect that makes you “you,” yet these forums offer credible insight about who we are, why we think and behave the way we do, what our potential is and how we can improve ourselves.

What is your personality type, and are you more of an extravert or an introvert? Discover the answer at www.16personalities.com.