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Home » Psychology » 12 ENFP Functions Explained – Cognitive, Shadow and Sarcastic

12 ENFP Functions Explained – Cognitive, Shadow and Sarcastic

To fully understand any personality type, you have to learn about the primary or cognitive functions that drive most of their decisions as well as their secondary or shadow functions. Despite the name, shadow functions aren’t all bad. Let’s dive into all eight major functions of the ENFP: a rare but hard-to-forget personality type.

Cognitive Functions

The four primary functions of an ENFP individual determine how the person acts in their day-to-day life and helps to find their personality. The functions are dominant in order from most to least, and each plays a vital role in how the ENFP perceives the world and responds to stimuli.

Ne – Extraverted Intuition
The dominant function of the ENFP is extroverted intuition. This is one of the main factors that assist the ENFP’s creativity and helps them notice patterns or symbols around them. It’s also the main reason why they can draw connections between people and understand relationships extremely intuitively. Additionally, Ne provides the ENFP with a rich inner world. This results in most ENFPs developing hard moral systems, including ideas about right and wrong, relatively early in life.

Fi – Introverted Feeling
ENFPs’ secondary or auxiliary function is introverted feeling. This means that the ENFP’s emotional awareness is usually centered inward, focused on their own emotions rather than sensing the emotions of others. This, too, causes the ENFP to have a strong sense of morals early in life and drives them to adhere to those morals even when challenged by the outside world. Introverted feeling causes ENFPs to have a very strong sense of self, which can help them go against the grain even when their normal social tendency is to be friendly and smooth things over in the event of a conflict.

Te – Extraverted Thinking
This tertiary function of the ENFP is how they primarily use logic and rationality. Their thinking function is focused on the outside world, which helps them remember facts and other information with excellent accuracy. It also imbues the ENFP individual with a detail-oriented mindset in many cases; they can sometimes combine this with their intuitive function and detect patterns or connections between events or facts better than other types.

Si – Introverted Sensing
The fourth and inferior function of the ENFP is introverted sensing. As their sensory function is directed inward like their feeling function, ENFPs often use this to sink into memory and recall excellent details when needed. It also tends to make ENFPs rather nostalgic, sometimes to their detriment. However, their P function normally prevents ENFPs from being overly sentimental or trapped in the past. Instead, ENFPs are more likely to use this function to determine what new experiences they want to seek out.

Shadow Functions

In the Myers-Briggs typing system, shadow functions of the personality operate largely in the unconscious. This isn’t to say that these shadow functions aren’t helpful or only appear in times of stress but that they represent the lesser developed portions of a personality. Shadow functions can be important for safety and can’t be fully neglected, either.

Instead, shadow functions’ bad rap comes largely because people don’t develop these functions and so only see them in times of duress. Indeed, shadow functions normally crop up when things get tough, so the harsh, defense variations of these functions are those most well-known. Shadow functions are normally the inverse of the dominant cognitive functions.

Ni – Introverted Intuition
This mirror version of the ENFP’s main function isn’t nearly as well-developed as their dominant function. It looks inward with intuition and considers the ENFP’s gut feelings more often than not. When expressed in times of stress, ENFPs can sometimes jump to conclusions or make connections that aren’t really there. When trained properly, this shadow function can also help ENFPs get accurate functions about people or things. However, many ENFPs end up trusting their gut to their own detriment when threatened.

Fe – Extraverted Thinking
This is a reversal of the introverted thinking the ENFP normally uses. When triggered, it causes the ENFP to look outward and tried to detect the emotions of other people. While this is a fine goal, it’s also normally underdeveloped and can cause the ENFP to read people incorrectly. In addition, it’s a stark contrast from the self-confidence that the ENFP normally enjoys. Individuals who start to rely on this function can start on a terrible path of self-doubt or rely on the feelings of the group for decisions. This is not only draining but bad for the ENFP’s desire for individuality.

Ti – Introverted Thinking
The ENFP’s third shadow function is introverted thinking. As the name suggests, it causes the ENFP to look inward for information. Since this function is normally triggered during times of stress, the ENFP may act extremely cold or logical to those they disagree with. Words or “facts” may be hurled as weapons. However, being undeveloped, introverted thinking when used in this way can cause the ENFP to spit out incorrect information and appear misinformed, further driving them away from social cohesion and making them feel even more self-doubt.

Se – Extraverted Sensing
This final shadow function is a reversal of their normal inferior function. The requisite focus on extroverted sensing and the outside world can manifest as the ENFP seeking incredible sensations to drown out the discomfort they feel from their other functions. When in the grip of this function, the ENFP may act recklessly or cross emotional boundaries without care for the thoughts or feelings of others. This can also manifest as rash decision-making, which can lead to trouble in the long or short term. It’s also ultimately unfulfilling for the ENFP, as they’re normally drawn toward their own imaginations rather than actual physical sensations.

Sarcastic Functions

Another great way to understand the cognitive functions of the ENFP is to consider the stereotypical or humorous versions of each major function. Types are often identified according to stereotype, at least until you understand yourself or the person you are trying to type more fully. Let’s give some sarcastic, funny examples of each cognitive function.

Ne – Extraverted Intuition
Extraverted intuition, especially when paired with the other functions of an ENFP, usually shows up as an extremely hyperactive and endlessly curious individual. In kids, it might be brushed off; as adults, the ENFP is a maniac always trying to get a party together or go on an adventure. Adult responsibilities? Who needs those!?

Fi – Introverted Feeling
For the ENFP, the introverted feeling is super important. So much so that the ENFP has an overabundance of feelings that they just have to share with everything. They love you, and you, and you, and you…

Te – Extraverted Thinking
An ENFP’s thinking function isn’t the most dominant of their personality, but they somehow think that all of their ideas are not only logical but correct. Listen to them tell a story about their life experiences and somehow tie it into your current problem…

Si – Introverted Sensing
Introverted sensors overanalyze little things and are likely to make a big deal out of nothing. For ENFPs, it’s probably something you said that hurt their feelings five years ago that they still haven’t forgotten. They’ll never let you forget it, either.

Conclusion

Ultimately, ENFPs are dynamic and interesting individuals. Their cognitive and shadow functions work together to create a well-rounded personality that can alternatively be the life of the party and have a richly cultivated inner moral framework.

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