Currently, I am stuck at Hamburg airport, trying to make my way to Genoa via Milan. My flight is delayed by 2 hours, courtesy of Easy Jet, and all I have left to do is sit back, relax, people watch.
Humanity. The topic of so many of my thoughts ever since I could remember. The core of so many discussions and reflections. The object of desire when I was lonely as a child. Frequently a delightful surprise in another culture, when I move countries. Also, the source of deepest happiness I have ever experienced.
When I tested a couple of times as an ENFJ and understood the Jungian typology / MBTI instrument (describing peoples’ preferences for acting and decision making*) – I was able to grasp my way of seeing the world, very much in-tune with people. I cannot switch off my “read” of people, wherever I go. Sometimes it can get exhausting, as ENFJs have inherent dislike for disharmony between people, and we might end up fighting a never-ending battle to help everyone get along with everyone. Ufffff. On the other hand, we tend to be the ones that are either loved or liked by pretty much everyone. We know how to talk to everyone, if we want to. We see you! We have spent our lives learning about humans..
Let me invite you for a moment to ENFJ’s head. If I enter a room, I will be immediately able to tell the mood of the group. One on one it is even stronger, and if I know you intimately, I will be able to tell when you are angry or sad, or what caused it or even, how to fix it. Not all of my solutions are readily accepted though, but I guess part of ENFJ charm is being able to convince people to give different chances a try.
In my close personal relationships I can “read” the most introverted types, trying hard to hide their feelings. Our intuition and instincts that are absolutely open and attuned to people we know and love would hint to us that something is going on. Sometimes it isn’t a specific thing we observe. It’s just this feeling that we *know* what is in their hearts. Most of the time, it is true, at least to a degree.
But the real strength of ENFJ personality relates not to one-to-one situation, but to the uncanny ability to read groups, even crowds of people, and sometimes… make them do what we want. Most of us use that for positive stuff, like my (supposedly, maybe?) type-pal Michael Patrick Kelly, who uses this skill very aptly to bring people amazing joy at his live concerts. Why is it that people look at him, mesmerised, and wave their hands left to right? ENFJ charisma at play ; ) But more on my real-life-inspirations and their “types” and “functions” will come later. There is a lot to be said on that topic and I am not known for limiting my verbal output : )
Immature or overstressed ENFJs might end up trying to get under people’s skin and manipulate them in order to reach our own goals (comes to us naturally, we see where we can “push” buttons or know what someone really wants to hear), but most of the time our introverted intuition, which is the voice in our head, our gut and moral compass, stops us from such behaviors. We genuinely wish for everyone around us to succeed on their path of internal development and sometimes imagine the world filled with people, who reached their full potential and understand that the ultimate way is to love ourselves and everyone else around you, because every soul in this vast universe is a stardust of the same eternal love. We see that in everyone. And as annoying as people can be, I think I can safely say, that unless we feel very dejected about a particular situation, we genuinely love humanity, and very strongly believe in it. One day, humanity will succeed at genuine love. Agape.
If you want to depress us, isolate us from people and the world. Especially ENFJs that still have some growing up to do. When we are stuck in a cage of lonely life without meaningful relationships (and for the relationship to be meaningful, we do require a lot, possibly more than other types), and there is no way to get out in the world and excercise out all that lonely anxiety in a very raw sensual way (anything, sport, nature, travel; it is a bit of a ersatz solution but it can help), then we fall. We overthink and our thoughts obsessively turn to very dark scenarios. The world can lose all meaning. Sometimes our meditative intuition comes and helps, and it is a tremendous strength, but what we really, trully, deeply need, are people. Authentic, trustworthy (we can have a cynical take on that), loving people.
Sitting in a cafe at the airport, I see so many souls here around me. Fleeting on their way to far or close destionations. Today they will end up in arms of someone they love. Or they will have to attend to a very difficult situation, be it a funeral of someone close to their heart or a sudden turn of events, meaning an end to their dreams. They might busily go about fixing their careers, providing for their kids, who bravely scramble in a dash after them, busy growing up as they go… Such beautiful souls. Smiles, peacefulness, quickly drunk coffees and beers (at 12! but ok, it is Germany), unending movement of jackets, patter of heels.. I see open to wonder and playful eyes of extraverted intuitive feelers, who salsa through life with a dance in their steps.. I see the quiet cat-like movements of introverted intuitives, wise and observant – and the magnetic presence of introverted thinkers… I see you, extraverted thinkers, out to plan, strategise and rule the world in your own little corner of stardust, which compacted into stars thanks to your sheer willpower… I see you, introverted sensing feelers, busy loving your kids, husbands, friends, relatives, colleagues and pets, and making sure everyone wears gloves in the cold. From eye contact to eye contact, from smile to a surprised stare, quietly and not obviously, I am busy cheering you all on the way, as you go to become more in this life : )
*Acting dimension is expressed as either F or T: based either on feeling or thinking, led by the heart or needing to analyse every single detail. Perceiving dimension is S or N: intuitive abstract “universe-related” way or sensing, practical, “hands-on” and very much in the physical moment way. More of awesome material on this topic on Personality Junkie blog.