Personality Shift

I was talking with friends and a statement was made that one’s personality tends to change every six months. I’m not sure where the studies can be found that show this to be true, but I was curious if certain differences in learned traits and habits might ultimately shift someone’s personality. And so I did some investigating of my own accord to find out.

For me, I look at my old self — not even two years ago — and can see quite a difference in my behavior and ideals. I’m more outgoing, more independent, stronger, and more confident in myself. Where I once questioned what I wanted to do with my life, I now know at least a direction and that is to create a better community around me. I want fulfillment in life by helping others. I know my place on earth is to show others God’s grace and to be an instrument for Him. I find myself striving to be a better person every day by practicing patience, caring, and becoming a listener to those around me.

In October 2014 I wrote a post entitled Quick Personality Identifier. Here I wrote about my results from an online Myers-Briggs Test. (If you don’t know what this test is, I recommend checking it out now! Take a free assessment and really get a fuller understanding of what is going on in your head…)

At that time I was an INFJ personality type. INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all. INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.

Today, I retook the test. Interestingly enough, I am no longer an INFJ — and I chose three different tests to get accurate results. Instead, I have shifted into an ENFJ. Not a huge change once you get down to the nitty-gritty of the personality types, but a change nonetheless. My shift from I (Introvert) to E (Extrovert) justifies the differences I’ve noted in my personality. Rather than being more preoccupied with my own thoughts and feelings, I’m now primarily concerned with my physical and social environment. This is something I am quite proud of and view this shift as a widening of my world.

Reading through my personality profile, I feel like I understand myself so much better! My strengths, my weaknesses, my interactions with those around me… everything is touched upon in this profile and it’s almost like looking into my own mind.

As I said in my Quick Personality Identifier post, the test is based on four preferences for personality types:

  • Where, primarily, do you prefer to direct your energy? E or I (Extroversion or Introversion)
  • How do you prefer to process information? S or N (Sensing or Intuition)
  • How do you prefer to make decisions? T or F (Thinking or Feeling)
  • How do you prefer to organize your life? J or P (Judgment or Perception)

Joining the ranks of Oprah, Jennifer Lawrence, and Daenerys Targaryen (my girl!), being an ENFJ means I am a natural-born leader, full of passion, and quite charismatic. With a confidence that begets influence, ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.

Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds. – David Deida

ENFJs make up only about 2% of the population, and they are always the people reaching out to inspire those around them to achieve and to do good in the world. ENFJs radiate authenticity, concern and altruism. They are unafraid to stand up and speak when they feel something needs to be said. ENFJs fine it natural and easy to communicate with others and they often can reach every mind, be it through logic or raw emotion.

The interest ENFJs have in others is genuine, almost to a fault — when they believe in someone they can become too involved in the other person’s problems and place too much trust in them. Most of the time, this trust is a lucky thing because it tends to inspire the other person to become better themselves. On the opposite, sometimes an ENFJs optimism can push others further than they’re willing to go and ultimately push them out of the ENFJ’s life.

Another snare ENFJs are vulnerable to is the capacity for reflecting on and analyzing their own feelings but sometimes getting caught up in another person’s plight and then seeing that problem in themselves. The ENFJ then attempts to fix something in him/herself that isn’t wrong. When this happens, the ENFJ’s ability to see past the dilemma and offer advice is limited and therefore they are of no help at all. Self-reflection and meditation are important practices for ENFJs during these moments so they can distinguish between what they truly feel and what is a separate issue needing a new perspective.

Overall, an ENFJs strengths are being tolerant of others’ opinions, reliable, charismatic, altruistic, and admired for their strong personalities and positive visions. Their weaknesses are being overly idealistic to the point of naivete, acting too selflessly, reacting too sensitively, and defining their self-esteem on whether they are able to live up to to ideals and goals. Failure in any respect causes their self-confidence to plummet. This also means that they can struggle with tough decision, usually becoming paralytic at imagining all the consequences of their actions.

When it comes to romantic relationships, ENFJs feel most comfortable when they are in a relationship. They take dating seriously, selecting partners with an eye towards the long haul rather than the more casual approach. There’s really no greater joy for ENFJs than to help along the goals of someone they care about, and a committed relationship is the perfect opportunity to do just that!

Being Intuitive (N) helps ENFJs keep up with the rapidly shifting moods common early in a relationship, but they still rely on conversations to help keep conflict. It is not uncommon to have an ENFJ ask their partner how things are going and if there is anything else they can do to make their partner happy. The risk to this is being overbearing or needy — sometimes the only thing wrong is being asked what’s wrong too often.

ENFJs don’t need much to be happy. Just knowing their partner is happy is enough, especially if it is expressed in visible affection or verbal affirmation. Making their partner’s dreams come true is often the chiefest concern in a relationship, but this can sometimes cause an ENFJ to neglect their own needs. It’s important, then, to remember to express those needs on occasion.

ENFJs invest their emotions wholly in their relationships, and are sometimes so eager to please that it undermines the relationship — leading to resentment and even failure of the relationship. When this happens, ENFJs experience strong senses of guilt and betrayal. If potential partners appreciate the ENFJ, though, then they will make an effort to look after the needs of their ENFJ partner even when he/she is not concerned for their own well-being. In the end, ENFJ personality types believe that the only true happiness is mutual happiness, and that is the stuff successful relationships are made of.

When it comes to friendships, ENFJs are anything but passice. With some people may accept the circumstantial highs and lows of friendships, ENFJs will put active effort into maintaining connections while viewing them as substantial and important. An ENFJ will never allow a friendship to slip away due to laziness or inattention.

People with the ENFJ personality type take genuine pleasure in getting to know other people. All perspectives, no matter how vastly different than their own, are intriguing to ENFJs. They connect best with individuals who share their principles and ideals, but have no trouble talking with people of all modes of thought. ENFJs truly open up with their closest friends, though they keep their many other connections in a realm of lighthearted but genuine support and encouragement.

Other truly value their ENFJ friends, appreciating the warmth, kindness, and sincere optimism they bring to their friendships. ENFJs strive to be the best friends possible, and this is apparent when they work to find out more than just the superficial interests of their friends, but also their strengths, passions, hopes, and dreams. Nothing makes ENFJs happier than to see the people they care about do well, and they are more than happy to take their own time and energy to help make it happen.

Unfortunately, some people simply do not have the energy to keep up with an ENFJs desire to lend a helping hand. And when their efforts aren’t reciprocated, ENFJs can become offended. This typically happens with those people more interested in living “in the moment” rather than the future, as well with those who are content with who they are and are uninterested in the sort of self-improvement and goal-setting that ENFJs hold so dear.

When circumstances like these arise, ENFJ personalities can be critical. While always tactful, an ENFJ’s advice to push forward may further annoy their friend. Instead of taking such approaches with friends like this, it is better for an ENFJ to relax into an uncharacteristic “live and let live” attitude.

Usually, though, ENFJs find that their excitement and optimism produces many satisfying relationships with people who appreciate and share their vision and authenticity. The joy ENFJs take in moving things forward means that there is always a sense of purpose behind their friendships, creating bonds that are not easily shaken.

Now when it comes to finding a career, ENFJs cast their eyes towards anything that lets them do what they love most: helping other people! Altruistic careers give ENFJ personality types a chance to help others learn, grow, and become more independent. This attitude, alongside their social skills, emotional intelligence, and tendency to be “that person who knows everybody”, can be adapted to quite a range of careers. Anything that helps a community or organization to operate more smoothly such as HR administrators, event coordinators, politicians, social workers, or teaching and counseling would be good avenues for ENFJs.

I find this career advice interesting — and exciting! In 2014, when I was an INFJ, my career profile went like this: INFJs struggle to begin a career early on in life because they see ten wildly different paths moving forward, each with its own intrinsic rewards, alluring but also heartbreaking because each means abandoning so much else.

It’s more than accurate that I was lost when I thought of a career only two years ago. I had so many interests that I couldn’t focus on the future and where I would be. I hated being asked in interviews, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” because I honestly had no idea! Now, though, I can honestly say I see myself in a position that is not on the corporate career path and focused on status or material gain. Instead, I want to be working to better my community, most likely in a nonprofit sector setting for a cause I am passionate about.

All in all, I am proud to say I am an ENFJ. Though it seems like I need to make a conscious effort to develop my weaker traits and continue to add to my skill set, the idealism and vision ENFJs exhibit allows them to overcome Life’s challenging obstacles. Whether I am attempting to find (or keep) a romantic partner, stay calm under pressure, or make a difficult decision, an ENFJ’s goal is always to brighten the lives of those around them.

Ultimately though, ENFJs are genuine, caring people who talk the talk and walk the walk, and nothing makes them happier than leading the charge, uniting and motivating their team with infectious enthusiasm. There really isn’t another way I’d prefer to conduct myself in this Life…

*Sources: This information comes from 16Personalities.com in reference to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.

If you would like to take your own personality test, I recommend doing so on 16Personalities website. Click here to try it yourself! When you’re done, please come back and let me know what personality type you are and how strongly you agree with your outcome!

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