I am going to be discussing the difference between INFJ and ENFJ using the two different positions of introverted intuition as a guide. INFJ has Ni as a dominant function and ENFJ has introverted intuition as an auxiliary function. Introverted intuition has a characteristic difference and look depending on whether it is being used as a dominant or auxiliary function.
The dominant function is often misunderstood because it is assumed that just because it is the function of first preference, that it is also the most visible function. This is only true if you have a particularly intimate association with a person, but, in typing celebrities or people that you only have a casual acquaintance with, it doesn’t work this way.
The auxiliary function is classically described as the function that is second in strength only to the dominant function. This is true in some respects, however, it is the primary function that is most in evidence when people are playing a role or putting on a public face. This also has implications in the way a person looks upon first impression. The auxiliary is the leading function in a general sense.
While the auxiliary function has generally been seen this way for introverted dominant types (because in them the auxiliary is extraverted), it is also true for extraverted dominant types, even though their auxiliary is introverted.
What this means in terms of type identification is that ENFJs can often be mistaken for INFJs and vice-versa. ENFJs can, and often do, project a strong introverted intuition vibe. What this looks like in net effect is an ENFJ personality will be characterized by strong presence and charisma, a sense of intense certainty about their being, who they are and what they represent.
This lies in contradistinction to many INFJs, who often have identity problems and a great deal of uncertainty about who they are and what they represent.
And as I just said, the main reason for this difference lies in the two different positions of introverted intuition for them.
So, this really comes down to a difference between what the dominant function does and what the auxiliary function does. Because introverted intuition will have different characteristic manifestations depending on whether it is placed at one or the other of these two orientations.
It’s kind of like a number will have a different meaning depending on whether it is placed in one column or another.
Take the number 32. It has a 3 and a 2 in it.
Now, take the number 23. It has a 3 and a 2 in it as well. Let’s say number 3 is extraverted feeling and number 2 is introverted intuition. The 2 is in the ten’s column in the number 23 and in the one’s column in the number 32.
So, we can agree that has different implications for introverted intuition, whether it is in the ten’s column or the one’s column. This is kind of the difference between the essential nature of a function and its different meanings depending on whether it is placed as a dominant or auxiliary function.
Any Myers-Briggs type can express introverted intuition, but the question is to what degree and in what characteristic fashion. This is really a question of quantity and quality. The first is often acknowledged in assigning the degree of strength of functions to each type, but the latter question of quality is often overlooked. A function can be qualitatively important but quantitatively weak.
So, back to what I was saying. ENFJs often project a strong sense of self and INFJs often don’t, and moreover, INFJs are in a perpetual search for some strong and definite sense of self. How are they going to project something if they can’t find some definite quality to project?
No, often what INFJs project is extraverted feeling, which in them amounts to them being able to project a great and varied array of personality flavors, all of shifting and great subtleties. Rarely do INFJs come on strong or project a certain and definite vibe. They may project a pleasant vibe or a downcast vibe or a…in short, they can project so many different types of vibes that they don’t know what the fuck to make of it, which is why they are one of the most difficult types to type, to themselves, and others.
So, for INFJs introverted intuition as a dominant basically leads to a vast amount of questioning and uncertainty. Then they have their lovely auxiliary extraverted feeling to further complicate and compound matters by projecting a great array of different possibilities of being and personality.
For ENFJs, all the potential quandaries that can be caused by having Ni and Fe in the INFJ positions is cancelled out for them simply by having the positions of the same two functions switched around.
ENFJs, instead of having introverted intuition at the dominant, have extraverted feeling. This is rather simple in a way. Where introverted intuition as a dominant says, “Who am I?”, searching inside for eternity and infinity to find a never-ending array of possibilities and meanings, extraverted feeling as a dominant says, “Take a look around your culture, see what type of personalities prevail in that culture and adopt some of those as reference points for your identity and ego-containment. Whichever ones float your boat. And also the ones that are approved of by society, in some sense.
Then introverted intuition comes in and says, “Fuck that, rebel. I’m gonna be my own person. And make a point of it. I’m gonna be such an individual in personality projection that people will not mistake me as someone who is just gonna be a comformist.” Something like that.
Actually, for an INFJ it can be that way too. Deep inside they can have an absolute certainty about who they are but they don’t care to show anyone else. So, they protect it, guard it, unfold it slowly over time to themselves. It is their own private and incommunicable world in their own language. In short, it is difficult to express the true nature of it. Some do attempt to express it directly (which means by short-circuiting the auxiliary extraverted feeling) and in those cases, it tends to either come out as an overwhelming and extremely powerful expression of self and truth or it fails spectacularly and can drive the person expressing that overpowering vision into the depths of despair and madness.
Yes, those are the awesome pure introverted intuitive types that you may have heard about, geniuses or madmen. But, many INFJs don’t fall at those extremes. Many are tempered by other functions, the first candidate being extraverted feeling at their auxiliary. The ones that are using that the most will probably be the most healthy and well-adjusted INFJs. But note that healthy and well-adjusted don’t correlate to the most interesting INFJs. There are tradeoffs in everything.
ENFJs, on the other hand, are not that invested in introverted intuition because they are not using it as a primary ego-orientation (meaning as a dominant function) but are using it as an auxiliary function, which means playfully, naturally, expressively, with complete ease. This is why many ENFJs make great actors. They use Ni to project a strong presence of a particular person. But, they aren’t invested in that presence. It is just a role.
Thus, the dominant function is opposite to the auxiliary function in many respects. The dominant function tends to be serious, whereas the auxiliary function tends to be playful and light. The dominant orientation holds together the ego-integration through the characteristic nature of whatever function lies there. With introverted intuition there, as you can imagine, the ego-integration tends to be tenuous at best. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. But, in net effect it leads to a leaky boat on an vast ocean, where the boat represents ego containment and the ocean represents the collective unconscious, the vast storehouse of all the possibilities and archetypes of human existence (and even outside the realm of human existence). So, as you can see introverted intuitive dominant types are going to be having a time trying to sort all that shit out.
Whereas, an ENFJ is not going to have that problem with their ego and identity and all that. They project all the possibilities of the collective unconscious and usually do it with a certainty, that is, settling on one role or another at any given time. Actually, what a lot of them end up expressing is the amoral and unsettling quality of the vast reservoir of the collective unconscious as a personality. So, many of the tortured and outcast (and dangerous) loner types you see portrayed in cinema (which is a great place to scope for ENFJs) are the personification and expression of introverted intuition. Not the embodiment of it, not the permanent inhabitation of it, but the clearest expression and visibility of introverted intuition.
If you want to know what introverted intuition is in a general sense, study the way ENFJs use it.
Notice I say the way they use it. INFJs don’t so much use introverted intuition, as experience it. Or rather they receive in this manner. ENFJs transmit introverted intuition. They put it out as a product. In this sense, ENFJs use introverted intuition in its more active sense than INFJs. With introverted intuitive dominant types, like INFJ, it is more that they are tuned into the station of introverted intuition. But, they transmit extraverted feeling, that is, assuming they are in the habit of transmitting anything at all.
Well, hope that clears some things up. If not, consult your local god or go throw some coins in a wishing well. Better yet, throw some coins in my wishing-well. That might work out more to your liking in the long-run.
Got questions? Leave a comment.