The ENFP Manic Pixie Dream Girl

The time has come to pick holes in one of the greatest MBTI stereotypes, the stereotype of the ENFP as your manic pixie dream girl. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a quirky, weird girl that always does the unexpected. Someone who gives life and meaning to the boring, dead-inside bland, sensitive guy in the movies. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is always happy, so full of enthusiasm, hope, idealism and rebellion against the norms. 

ENFP Stereotype

  • Always like everyone they meet, get close to others very easily
  • Do whatever crazy idea they get as soon as they think of it, say whatever is on their mind immediately, no matter how crazy or random
  • Enthusiastic about EVERYTHING you do no matter how boring you really are or how tired they are
  • Extremely individualistic and will always march to the beat of their own drum

ENFP Reality

Strong opinions about people, either positive or negative, care highly about those around them, even those they dislike.

Run through multiple things they could say and try to pick the option that feels the most serious, afraid of saying something stupid or being “thoughtless”

Find most conversations with people boring and tend to drift away thinking about other things easily, sometimes run out of enthusiasm

Actually, that last one is true.

The problem with the ENFP Stereotype

Actually, on a really good day, an ENFP may even relate a little to the reckless stereotypes painted in the left in red. Sometimes they can truly let go of all inhibitions and worries. They’ll be sharing fully of themselves and opening up to those around them.

But most ENFPs are never that confident. They can’t consistently live up to the ideals of the manic pixie dream girl. Even if they try to, they’ll still have bad days and stress in their lives. With the stress, comes the emergent inferior functions. They may start picking apart their relationships logically, thinking about all the problems and issues they have.

You’ll see them get disappointed when an idea for travel or a project runs out in the sand. They don’t like if something just becomes empty words and no action. They may get angry and may choose to speak frankly and directly with other people. Especially if they believe someone to have been mean, rude, or selfish. Manic pixie dream girls do not exist, but there are lots of well-rounded people out there who dream big and sometimes get hurt or feel disappointed. Nobody is that cheerful, that happy, that positive all the time.

In the ENFP you will meet one of the more melancholic personality types. A type that is prone to second guessing their every move. A person that has high ideals and gets easily disappointed. A humanitarian that cares deeply about animals and people alike. Someone that has strong ethics and beliefs for themselves as well as other people.

Someone who holds people accountable. The ENFP is a person that isn’t afraid to be sad or upset or to talk about the dark or heavy, because that stuff is interesting and important. Contrary to popular belief, unlike ENFJs and ESFJs, they will never make a situation “look better than what it is”. They won’t put on a happy smile on a dark day. They won’t act happy when they’re sad. That’s not the ENFP way. The ENFP way is freedom and individualism.

Actually, if ENFPs were a fantasy species, they would not be pixies, but elves:

The ENFP Cognitive Functions

The cognitive function approach teaches that a person isn’t just “one person” all the time. Everyone has multiple sides to themselves, the side of who they are at their best, and the side of who they are under stress. The side that shows their ideal self and the side that shows their bad habits and tendencies. Here are the ENFPs cognitive functions.

Extroverted iNtuitive Perceiving

ENFPs are more enthusiastic and more open-minded than most people. But they are constantly afraid that they’ll run off too far or say something they’ll regret. That fear can cause them to weigh their words and consider their possibilities more carefully. Still, no matter how afraid, they can’t stop thinking about these possibilities.

They’ll start up new projects and have new ideas or they’ll shake up their routine, but they’ll also accept routine and structure and cleanliness as something important. They might clean the house in an angry frenzy wishing they would have hired a cleaner instead.

Perhaps they’ll express being bored by “having to do the same old day in and out” but when on vacation, they’ll express positive feelings about how nice and comfortable they feel when they can be at home, just wearing their pyjama.

Extroverted Feeling Perceiving

The presence of Extroverted Feeling in an ENFP as a flow function, makes the ENFP more humanitarian than most other types. The ENFP wants other people to live up to their strong inner code of ethics and ENFPs hate being disappointed by others.

ENFPs tend to have strong expectations for the people around them because they’re idealists at heart. They see people at their best and they also see people at their worst. They’ll be quick to let you know when you’re off track or when you’re being inconsiderate to them or other people.

They’ll let you know when they’re disappointed in you, and they won’t give up on you as easily as most others might. But when their hope for you doesn’t go anywhere and you start going in circles, they’ll be quick to turn on you with a vengeance for the time you made them waste on you.

If you like this approach to personality psychology and if you like getting more well-rounded, less stereotypical interpretations of the MBTI Sixteen Personalities, let me know in the comments below!

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