ENxPs: The Most Introverted Extroverts
“Why are ENFPs and ENTPs considered to be the most introverted extroverts? They always have so much energy!” It’s a question, and an observation, that I’ve seen echoed throughout the MBTI community over and over again. In fact, I decided to write out this post explaining this phenomenon today because, on this lovely day, I have now answered this particular question three times in three different MBTI-related Facebook groups. So, here is an explanation for why ENFPs and ENTPs have been labeled as the most introverted extroverts.
ENFP: Ne Fi Te Si
ENTP: Ne Ti Fe Si
Even though Ne is an extroverted function, it’s not capturing raw information from the environment as is, like Se is doing. Ne is continually searching for nuance, patterns, the subtextual meaning behind everything it sees. Constantly connecting the dots - trying to peek behind the metaphorical curtain of everything and everybody that they encounter - requires a lot of energy and brain power for ENxPs.
For ENFPs, their auxiliary function, Fi, is a very introverted function - it requires complete stillness and silence to work properly. So in that sense, ENFPs need a lot of time to both process what they’ve seen and experienced in the world around them, and to introspect and reflect about themselves.
ENTPs, like ENFPs, possess Ne as their dominant function; and so, like ENFPs, they require more downtime than your average extrovert to process and unfold and theorize about all of their perceived patterns, theories, and ideas. Unlike ENFPs, however, ENTPs do not use Fi. Instead, their second function is Ti, introverted thinking. Like Fi and any other introverted function, Ti has a preference for silence in order to work properly, so that it can internally fit each piece of the puzzle into the correct slot in a way that makes sense to the ENTP.
Moving down the stack, the difference in the third cognitive function between ENFPs and ENTPs is what I believe dictates that ENTPs may be, perhaps, a smidgen more introverted than ENFPs are. The third function for an ENTP, Fe - extroverted feeling - does not require action or data on the part of the ENTP. It works by absorbing information from its social environment, by reading and observing the nuances of social interaction in order to do what Fe does best: managing impressions and manipulating social interactions. It does not necessarily require action on the part of the ENTP: just passive input (although the ENTP can, of course, use their social skills to manipulate a conversation in the direction they want it to go in order to gather more information - and, of course, an older ENTP who has more information is going to be more astute and adept at navigating the social terrain than a younger and less experienced ENTP is).
On the other hand, the ENFP’s third cognitive function, Te (extroverted thinking), does require action. Te is task-oriented, and works by determining which steps need to be taken in order to accomplish a pre-established goal: it is primarily concerned with efficiency, organization, and objectively getting things done in the real world. It has a desire to control and shape its environment. And so unlike Fe, which requires only passive input, Te actually requires action on the part of its user: Fe can still operate properly while being perfectly idle, but Te can’t.
Additionally, when you zoom out and look at the big picture of how ENFPs and ENTPs operate (as opposed to examining the intricacies of their cognitive functions), although both types have a strong affinity for being the center of attention, ENFPs are primed for wanting to experience authentic emotional connections with other people. And so while ENFPs and ENTPs are both considered to be the most introverted extroverts, I do believe that, because of the differences between Fe and Te - as well as taking the type types into account as a whole - it is probably the case that ENTPs are a little bit more introverted than ENFPs are.