Personality Cafe banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

5,838 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ENTP Type Profile

By Dr. A.J. Drenth

The ENTP personality type is one of sixteen Myers-Briggs types. Like ENFPs, ENTPs are versatile, open-minded, and restless. Since their dominant function, Extraverted Intuition (Ne), is a Perceiving function, their overarching task can be seen as one of taking in information. More specifically, ENTPs are compelled to acquire new information. They are easily bored by redundancy and are driven to seek novelty wherever they can find it. They are constantly scanning for new ideas and possibilities that can feed their curious and information-hungry minds. ENTPs’ hobbies and interests are limitless, attesting to their insatiable appetite for novelty.

Jon Stewart, ENTP

ENTPs’ minds move at a frenetic pace, contributing to restlessness, anxiousness, and erratic sleeping patterns. Not only are their minds constantly scanning the environment to scope out new possibilities, but are simultaneously generating new ideas and associations. Moreover, as extraverted Intuitives, ENTPs enjoy sharing and exchanging their ideas with others. Considered together, it is no wonder that ENTPs are restless, scattered, distractible, and, rightly or not, commonly diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.(Please do not paste this type profile onto other websites.)Unlike ENTJs or other types with a dominant Judging function, ENTPs do not carefully screen and filter incoming information. They are truly among the most open-minded of all types when it comes to taking in outside information. However, just because they are permeable to new information does not mean they are quick to accept it as true. As ENTPs ingest the world over time, they naturally make connections and associations. They gradually develop, even if largely unintentionally, their own theories about the world and human nature. When these theories don’t square with conventional thinking, which is often the case, they grow increasingly skeptical and critical of majority viewpoints. So despite their status as Extraverts, ENTPs can often feel like outsiders, at least with respect to their worldview.When engrossed in their dominant Ne function, ENTPs are not highly intentional or agenda-driven. Their only agenda might be one of finding sufficient stimulation to avoid boredom. Hence, they may not be as consciously driven or obsessed with discovering truth as INTPs are. Nonetheless, many ENTPs, especially those who have spent more time engaging their auxiliary function, Introverted Thinking (Ti), come to recognize their penchant for philosophizing. Like INTPs, they enjoy exploring unifying patterns and proffering broad metaphysical speculations. But despite these intellectual propensities, ENTPs are less apt to develop an exclusive focus on the intellectual pursuits than INTPs are. As Extraverts, they are more reluctant to focus on any singular pursuit, preferring instead to spontaneously hop between different hobbies and interests.ENTPs’ tertiary function, Extraverted Feeling (Fe), is a strong interpersonal function. This, along with their verbose Ne, contributes to ENTPs’ love for spending time with others who share similar interests. Despite their tendency toward restlessness and distractibility, ENTPs display better focus when engaging with others in stimulating discussions or activities. Like INTPs, ENTPs are more interested in discussing ideas than they are in engaging in small talk. Their Ne, Ti, and Fe confer an interest in analyzing what makes people tick—their motivations, interests, patterns, and propensities. Engaging with others allows ENTPs to sharpen their theories of human nature (Ti/Ne) while also providing opportunities for them to help or counsel others (Fe) along the way.While not as adept as NFJ types, ENTPs can make fairly good readers of people. They use their right-brained faculties to perceive and decode nonverbal communication, while naturally modifying their tone, body language, and verbiage in response. As far as Thinking types go, ENTPs are among the best at displaying empathy and compassion for others. This is especially evident in ENTPs who are further along in their development.When it comes to schooling, the degree to which ENTPs feel engaged depends largely on the circumstances. Like other NTs, ENTPs are naturally gifted in math and science. But as dominant Intuitives, they tend to have broad scholastic interests that extend to the arts and humanities. Their inferior function, Introverted Sensing (Si), may also contribute to a fascination with history. As abstract learners, ENTPs are more apt to enjoy traditional schooling thanESTPs are. Teachers often appreciate their intelligence and genuine intellectual curiosity. ENTPs also tend to be strong test-takers. However, if the instructor or coursework is insufficiently stimulating, they can quickly become bored and restless. ENTPs are also notorious for procrastinating too long, producing work that fails to reflect their true level of aptitude.Because they have Fe rather than Te in their functional stack, ENTPs are often better at finding their place among people than they are in the world of work. Abounding in policies, rules, and regulations, the modern working world seems best suited for those with Te in their functional stack (especially TJ types). ENTPs’ Ne, as well as their lack of Te, makes them reluctant to work within highly structured systems or organizations. Unfortunately, nearly all professions, as well as academic and research institutions, have become highly formalized in their methods and operations. Consequently, ENTPs, like their INTP counterparts, often struggle to find a satisfactory niche in the modern world of work.Career-wise, ENTPs are best suited for working with people and ideas. Since many ENTPs are effective orators and writers, with an interest in history and current events to boot, they often do well as journalists, writers, or editors. ENTPs also enjoy teaching, but are apt to grow weary of the increasing systemization and bureaucracy of the modern education system, as well as the publication-focused nature of universities. Hence, the community college setting may be the best option for ENTPs interested in teaching. ENTPs with religious affiliations may enjoy functioning as missionaries, pastors, or ministers. However, their knack for deviating from conventional methods and traditions may eventually introduce problems into religious work. ENTPs may also enjoy working as actors, mediators, diplomats, or entrepreneurs.Because ENTPs often feel like fish out of water in the modern world, it is not uncommon for them to struggle with depression. This is exacerbated for those who have not found satisfying work and feel financially obligated to others, causing them to feel trapped and without recourse. ENTPs are therefore wise to carefully consider whether long-term relational commitments involving financial obligations are truly in their best interests, especially early in their development.

Overview of ENTPs’ Functional Stack & Personality Type Development

ENTPs’ functional stack is composed of the following functions:Dominant: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)Auxiliary: Introverted Thinking (Ti)Tertiary: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)Inferior: Introverted Sensing (Si)ENTPs’ type development can be roughly divided according to three phases. These phases unfold in accordance with the differentiation and development of their functional stack.
Phase I (childhood-20s)
Extending from early childhood into adolescence, Phase I involves the development and strengthening of the dominant function. With the development of and identification with the dominant function comes a concurrent rejection of the other functions. Through this process, the dominant becomes associated with “me,” with “who I am,” while the tertiary and inferior functions become denied aspects of the self (i.e., “not me”). The end result is a self that is divided into conscious and less conscious parts.ENTPs spend much of Phase I developing and differentiating their dominant Ne. While ENTPs tend to remain open-minded and curious throughout their lives, this is especially pronounced during this phase of their development. Beyond the requirements of school, Phase I ENTPs are generally free to sit back and absorb the world without undue worry or concern. This allows their Ne to make all sorts of connections and associations, which eventually coalesce into a unique worldview. (This Personality Junkie type profile is continued on the next page.)

Phase II (20s-30s)
Once the dominant function reaches a certain threshold of strength and dominance, ENTPs’ inferior function, Introverted Sensing (Si), enters the picture and begins to play a more influential role. This can be confusing because the inferior is not next in line for development in the functional stack, but the inferior’s undue influence derives from its bipolar relationship with the dominant function. Unfortunately, the inferior’s influence peaks in Phase II of type development, which happens to be the same time people are making life-altering decisions about their careers and relationships. We discuss ENTPs’ inferior-function related issues later in this profile.
In addition to the increasing presence and influence of their Si, Phase II ENTPs are also developing their auxiliary function, Introverted Thinking (Ti). They use their Ti to bring greater order and clarity to their ideas, worldview, and identity. Ti helps them weigh and evaluate the needs and wishes of their dominant versus their inferior function. As ENTPs develop and utilize their Ti, they may become more serious, focused, ambitious, and goal-oriented.

Phase III (30s, 40s, & Beyond)
Phase III, a phase which many individuals never reach or complete, is characterized by an attempt to understand and integrate the tertiary and inferior functions. This requires understanding the nature of how these functions manifest within our type, including the ways they can be grandiose, selfish, defensive, and destructive. For ENTPs, Phase III personal growth entails an exploration of the nature of and challenges associated with their tertiary Fe and inferior Si.
ENTPs’ Dominant Function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

As described in my post, Rethinking Judging & Perceiving, EPs are really “purer” Perceivers than IPs are. Not only do EPs display the outer characteristics commonly associated with Perceiving (e.g., spontaneous, easygoing, adaptable, receptive), but their dominant function (Ne or Se) is also a Perceiving function.
ENTPs’ dominant function, Extraverted Intuition (Ne), seeks outward novelty. At first glance, Se and Ne types may seem fairly similar (such conflation can be seen, for instance, in the Enneagram Seven), since both ESPs and ENPs can be outwardly active, energetic, and playful. Ne differs from Se, however, in that it is more concerned with ideas, connections, and possibilities than it is with seeking novel sensations.
Extraverted Intuition can function either perceptively or expressively. The verbal expression of Ne amounts to something like “brainstorming aloud.” Although typically not to the same extent as ENFPs, when orating aloud, ENTPs may not always seem to “have a point,” quickly bouncing from one idea to the next. In many cases, “the point” is for ENTPs to find their way to a judgment, but they must first explore the options by way of their Ne. While others may distrust the seemingly arbitrary or haphazard ways of Ne, ENTPs realize its value, recognizing that in time, truth or wisdom will reveal itself. ENTPs’ primary job then, is to employ and express their Ne, trusting that it will lead them in the right direction. With that said, some ENTPs are much more cogent and streamlined in their expressions than others. Many ENTPs learn to develop and express themselves via their tertiary function, Extraverted Feeling (Fe), which is not at all random, but more direct and coherent.
Ne also works receptively, gathering information from without. Unlike Se, it does not gather overt information, but goes beyond or looks behind sensory data. It is what allows ENTPs to discern otherwise hidden patterns, possibilities, and potentials. Ne is constantly scanning for new connections and patterns. They often employ this receptive side of their Ne in activities like reading, watching movies, and conversing with others.
Because it is an extraverted function, Ne is more divergent, extensive, and open-ended than Introverted Intuition. Ni is more intensive and convergent, conferring a greater sense of conviction and closure. Once Ni has done its work, INJs are apt to feel there is a single correct solution. ENTPs, on the other hand, because of the divergent nature of Ne, are disposed to multiplying rather than reducing the number of possible options or solutions.
ENTPs also use their Ne to sniff out intriguing possibilities. They commonly enjoy and assume the role of wanderer or seeker. Rarely do they know in advance exactly what it is they are seeking, which is why they find operating in Ne mode so exhilarating.
For instance, ENTPs might spontaneously embark on a walk in unfamiliar city, anticipating a pleasurable sense of adventure, uncertainty, and expectancy. They might even experience a sense of romance, perhaps imagining a serendipitous encounter with a future soulmate in a quaint coffee shop or used book store. ENTP artists and writers may experience a similar sense of expectancy in entering the creative process, the excitement of not knowing exactly what will be revealed as they become immersed in their work. Hence, Ne has a certain mystical flavor, involving an openness or curiosity toward what God or the universe might have in store.
Ne also confers open-mindedness. It helps ENTPs see truth on both sides of an issue without forming unwarranted judgments or premature conclusions. It also contributes an openness to alternative or Bohemian lifestyles, allowing ENTPs to entertain options such as vegetarianism or joining a commune.
Ne also resists excessive external structuring, which feels like an imposition to ENTPs’ sense of personal freedom and autonomy. ENTPs scoff at what they see as unnecessary or overly rigid rules, regulations, or procedures. They also dislike unchanging or sterile surroundings. When the environment is too bland or sterile, they can quickly become bored and restless.
Like other NPs, ENTPs can have a love-hate relationship with their Ne. They love the fact that it helps them remain open-minded, to see the bigger picture, and to appreciate different options and perspectives. They also enjoy its attendant sense of adventure, expectancy, and wonderment toward life’s mysteries. But Ne also has its challenges. It can make it difficult for ENTPs to feel calm and satisfied, to arrive at firm conclusions, or to feel confident in their decision-making. (This Personality Junkie type profile is continued on the next page.)

ENTPs’Auxiliary Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

As dominant Perceivers, ENTPs are naturally disposed to taking a more passive approach to life, particularly with regard to the outside world. Like other EPs, they are content to remain in a mode of open Perceiving until they are prompted, whether inwardly or outwardly, to employ their auxiliary Judging function, Introverted Thinking (Ti). When ENTPs feel compelled to engage their Ti, they become more inwardly focused and intense, similar to the typical mode of operation for INTPs. But because Ti is introverted in its direction, onlookers may fail to notice this more rational side of the ENTP.
Ti involves the application of logic and reason for the sake of understanding a given situation, system, or problem. It also works to bring structure and order to the inner world. This inner structuring grants ENTPs a good sense of inner control.
When engaging their Ti, ENTPs dig into the background of their thoughts to better understand their origins and to ensure their ideas are logical. Like INTPs, they can quickly find inconsistencies or logical shortcomings in a given theory or argument. They excel at identifying exceptions or imagining scenarios in which the proposed explanation might breakdown. They find it easier to identify logical shortcomings or inconsistencies —to assert what is not true—than to confidently assert what is true.
The difference between Ti in ENTPs versus INTPs is its place in the functional stack. For INTPs, it comes first, which makes them quicker to inwardly judge. INTPs then use their auxiliary Ne to open up and further explore their initial judgment. In ENTPs, the order is reversed. They do not start with an initial judgment or presumption like INTPs. Rather, like INJs, ENTPs approach things through the fresh eyes of Intuition. They then employ their Ti to analyze and enhance the logic, structure, and ordering of their Ne perceptions.
In addition to the different ordering of their functional stacks, ENTPs, as dominant Perceivers, can more easily leaves thing open-ended or ambiguous than INTPs can. Their Ne dominance also makes ENTPs more open to “playing” than INTPs are. I once administered a values inventory and was surprised when a couple ENTPs marked “having fun” as one of their top priorities in life. To most INTPs, whose dominant Judging function leads them to approach life rather seriously, such a response smacks of hedonism and would likely be among their lowest ranked values. ENTPs’ dominant Intuition may also confer a greater interest in the arts and culture than would be typically seen among INTPs.
While many attempts have been made to differentiate Fi and Ti, the difference seems largely a matter of interests and emphases. Fi types (FPs) are more concerned and skilled with moral judgments (Fi) than they are logical ones (Te). They judge in terms of good and bad, love and hate, like and dislike. TPs, in contrast, start out with a need for good logic (Ti) and are generally less concerned with matters of taste or morality upfront. They think less in terms of love and hate than of true and false, reasonable and unreasonable. With that said, since T and F are adjacent in ENTPs’ functional stack, it can sometimes be quite difficult, especially early in their development, for them to discern their T-F preference.

ENTPs’ Tertiary Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

ENTPs tertiary function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe). Fe is the most interpersonal of all the functions. It strives to promote interpersonal peace, harmony, and understanding. This involves attending not only to what is said, but also to how it is said. While ENTPs may be less disturbed by or sensitive to external disharmony than INTPs are (since INTPs’ Fe is more sensitive in the inferior position), ENTPs still work, even if largely unwittingly, to cultivate good feelings in the environment.
We can also approach ENTPs’ Fe more theoretically. Namely, since Fe is their preferred extraverted Judging function and falls lower in their functional stack, ENTPs are predicted to be less comfortable extroverting judgments (Fe) than keeping their judgments to themselves (Ti). This can lead ENTPs, along with other Perceiving types, to habitually defer to others’ wishes rather than asserting their own. And because ENTPs have strong minds, they may grow resentful of those who try to control them. Granted, ENTPs are generally more self-assertive than IPs are, but their discomfort in utilizing their Fe can still get them into relational trouble. To improve their communication in relationships, ENTPs can learn to confidently express their Feeling judgments through Fe rather than resorting to passive-aggressive sorts of communication.
ENTPs’ Inferior Function: Introverted Sensing (Si)

As is true of other types, ENTPs can be easily blinded to the degree to which their inferior function impacts their decisions and behavior. ENTPs seeking self-knowledge and personal growth must work to understand the ways their inferior function, Introverted Sensing (Si), manifests in their personality.
Introverted Sensing is best understood when juxtaposed with its functional opposite, Ne. Despite their oppositional nature, when considered together, Ne and Si constitute a meaningful whole. As we have seen, Ne explores new ideas and possibilities. Si, by contrast, is concerned with preserving the past. Ne knows no limits, seeing infinite options and possibilities, while Si sees clearly defined limits as determined by past precedent. Ne is liberal and unfettered, Si conservative and careful. What is fascinating is that all of these opposing forces can exist within the same personality type. ENTPs tend to consciously identify with the needs and values of their Ne, while their subconscious pushes for the interests of Si.

Big Picture (N) vs. Details (S)
When using Ne, ENTPs can be rather oblivious to details. They may fail to effectively attend to the concrete details of daily life, such as forgetting to the bills, being careless with their diet, or not taking enough exercise.
When engrossed in a creative project, however, ENTPs can look like INTJs, becoming perfectionistic and obsessive over details. As N-dominants, it can be difficult for them to accept anything less than perfection when it comes to the physical embodiment (S) of their vision or ideas (N).

Mind (Ne) & Body (Si)

A most overlooked feature of Si is its perception and awareness of internal bodily sensations—the body as felt and experienced from within. But since Si is ENTPs’ inferior function, they may feel out of touch with their inner body. To compensate, they may grant too much attention to certain physical sensations, making them more susceptible to hypochondriasis or psychosomatic illnesses, in which an increased focus on bodily sensations cultivates or heightens symptoms.

Past (Si) vs. Future (Ne); Traditional (Si) vs. Novel (Ne)

N and S also have a temporal element. Si concerns itself with the past, while Ne is focused on future possibilities and potentials. ENTPs’ Si can confer a strong interest in the details of history. They also enjoy using their Ne to explore historical meanings and interpretations, as well as their implications for building a better future. This is why many ENTPs take up politics or journalism, careers that allow them to use their knowledge of history to analyze current events and speculate about the future.
ENTPs regularly experience a sense of tension between the traditional (Si) versus the novel or unconventional (Ne). This is especially common for ENTPs in Phases I and II of their type development. To some degree, they remain attached and drawn to their childhood traditions (Si). At the same time, their Ne and Ti encourage them to question and even rebel against those same traditions. This can engender identity confusion in ENTPs, unsure of the degree to which they should break from their childhood traditions versus reconceiving themselves. Such struggles can leave ENTPs with questions like: Should I opt for family life or a freer, less fettered lifestyle? Should I choose the security conventional career (Si) or tackle something more creative and potentially risky (Ne)?
In considering such questions, ENTPs, need to ensure they are leading with their dominant function rather than their inferior. As N-dominants, ENTPs’ best strengths involve creatively exploring ideas, theories, connections, and connections. To best utilize these strengths, they need to ensure they are not allowing their inferior Si to impose undue limits or boundaries on their explorations. They are generally better off using their Ne, as well as the reasoning capacities of their Ti, to hash out truth, rather than deferring to Si traditions of their youth. This is not to say, however, that their Si will not supply some of the raw material for their Ne and Ti to explore and analyze.

1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.