ENTJ vs. ENFJ: When Te and Fe Collide

Raja Burrows is a contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As with other guest writers on the site (such as Malin Gustavsson, Michael Pierce, and Jesse Gerroir), the views expressed in this article are not necessarily completely overlapping with our own.

By Raja Burrows

Extraverted Thinking (Te) and Extraverted Feeling (Fe) have much in common. They are both extraverted judging functions and, as such, naturally goal-oriented and closure-seeking. ENTJs and ENFJs have these functions in the dominant position, and are often seen as “powerhouses” with “big, dynamic personalities.” For the most part, both types also tend to eagerly assume leadership positions, and rarely opt to blend into the background.

The natural tenacity of Te and Fe is often magnified by the auxiliary Introverted Intuition (Ni) and the tertiary Extraverted Sensation (Se) of the ENJ types. As a rule, the convergent, austere nature of Ni paired with the broad, carnal nature of Se gives well-developed ENJ types the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of their visions. Of course, this is not always the case, and it’s especially important to be aware of the bias against sensation in ENJ types. Even though they don’t repress their Se like INJ types do, it is still far more comfortable for an ENJ type to remain detached from immediate reality and true to their subjective plans and ideals than to wholeheartedly immerse themselves in reality as it appears in the here and now.

buldozerheartredoBut for all their similarities, ENTJs and ENFJs engage the world in fundamentally different ways. The ENTJ’s dominant Te means that she will gravitate more naturally towards an impersonal solution which she arrived at through the use of objective data. It might rightly be said of imbalanced Te that “all the world’s a spreadsheet, and all the men and women merely cells.” But even in the case of healthier Te types who are somewhat more attuned to their Introverted Feeling (Fi), the idea of each person being his or her own, individual “cell” still very much applies. All Fi users (TJ and FP types) experience their feelings as being distinct from those around them, something that is particularly evident in the Fi-dominant IFP types. As a result, ENTJs may see feelings as an unnecessary distraction from the ultimate goal they’re pursuing. And since they experience feelings in such a subjective, individualized way, it is unlikely that they will take into account the overall “mood” of the room, or the emotional ambience that sometimes greets their plans as a mild form of resistance. (There is one exception to this obliviousness, however, and that is if the ENTJ notices that the discord is negatively impacting productivity; in such a case she will be inclined to do whatever it takes to get everyone back on track. But this newfound amiability doesn’t mean that the ENTJ is using Fe directly; rather, the ENTJ is softening her ordinarily no-nonsense style as a concession towards her ultimate goal.)

Compare the ENFJ

For the ENFJ, it’s just the opposite: A harmonious emotional ambience is not just a means but an end in itself. Whether she’s giving a lecture on astrophysics or championing civil rights for a disenfranchised minority group, the ENFJ’s experience of closure is bound to be strongest when feelings of goodwill fill the air. True to Fe, she is willing to sacrifice some sincerity in the name of group harmony and social appropriateness in a way that doesn’t quite sit right with dominant Te and which is utterly foreign to inferior Fi.

True to Fe, the ENFJ sees feelings as being malleable and belonging to the group as a whole. However, her instinct to soothe and smooth over potential conflict may come at the expense of unresolved inner tensions in her logic, which is the result of her repressing her Introverted Thinking (Ti).

When Ti is repressed in ENFJs, it often results in a smooth surface with fragile foundations underneath. When Fi is repressed in ENTJs, the result is a brawny battering ram with no heart behind it.  If an ENTJ and an ENFJ are on the same page, their union is truly a force to be reckoned with. In conflict, however, things can get ugly and fast. ENTJs naturally relish conflict and see it as the natural way for the best ideas to rise to the top. Their tendency in an argument is to multiply facts, piling facts upon facts and browbeating their opponent with them until they submit. ENFJs, however, will naturally look for ways to find common ground with their adversary and win arguments by persuading the opposition with succinct, “unimpeachable” appeals, rather than brute force. Unfortunately, such appeals are the exact opposite of what an ETJ wants. Te is all about establishing hierarchy, and there’s almost nothing an ENTJ loves more than winning by a landslide (preferably of the objectively measurable kind). But if they must lose, they want to lose to a worthy opponent who was proven to be objectively superior – not by being wrapped up in velvety appeals to mutuality where the conflict was avoided and the logic was unclear.

It is just as wrong to say that ENFJs are “illogical” as it is to say that ENTJs are “unemotional.” Just because Thinking and Feeling are their inferior functions, respectively, it doesn’t mean they are not there. And there are many ways for an ENFJ and an ENTJ to reach compromise, especially since they both have similar access to Ni and Se. But when Thinking and Feeling are contested between them, it is in the best interest of both to recognize the unique challenges that arise from having inferior Fi and Ti, respectively. They should cultivate that awareness as much as possible, and try to use that knowledge to rationalize the compromises they will inevitably have to make.

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Image in the article commissioned for this publication from artist Francesca Elettra.

14 Comments

  1. How does the functionality of dominant extroverted judgement differ when the perceptual axis is Si/Ne? Isn’t Si typically better constituted to multiply facts than Ni, whose inclination is to amalgamate them imaginatively? Just as Te manipulates facts, Fe manipulates sentiments, desires and emotions. So, given the motivation, couldn’t an EFJ just as easily create dissonance as they would harmony and use their Fe to evoke in individuals our groups feelings of guilt, hurt feelings or anger, or compel them to act destructively.

  2. Te can multiply facts all by itself, smothering a given problem or confrontation in facts. EFJs, yes it’s possible, just not the norm.

  3. In general Fe is described somewhat too positive in my opinion, it is just as capable and accepting of social and emotional manipulation, dogmatic control, coercion, shaming, etc to achieve its goals of social harmony withing the group. And that social harmony can just as easily be directed by a Fe user to authoritarian, sadistic or destructive ends.

  4. On the ENFJ page it says the type is strongly related to the narcissistic personality. How do the empathetic, understanding, group oriented, caring and diplomatic qualities ascribed to the former in this and other articles correspond to the self-centered, disdainful, convention flouting, exploitative and conceited qualities of the latter?

  5. That’s a big question, which we will answer at a later date. But basically, Fe appeals to common values and tropes. That in itself does not prevent the Fe type from conducting these appeals in a self-serving way. It’s just clothed in a blanket of commonly accepted tropes so that people will have a harder time perceiving it as narcissistic or self-serving.

  6. Having a very weak preference of feeling (in this test) over thinking, I can say that typology is not entirely true, but should definitely not be discarded as nonsense. Functions work, there are preferences, based on the situation. But there is no consistency. The theory is broken. Probably a few more dimensions or aspects should be added before anything in this theory makes any sense. And with the internet and very many biases (probably in this comment too), that’s unlikely going to happen. I got over here an ENFJ btw.

    For me, regarding this blog, I understand that if there is a conflict, it is a matter of subjective belief about what is objective. Nothing is objective in the human mind. And therefore a new agreement of what is objective should be made in any situation where there’s conflict, with as much cool as it can be done, because it is pointless to argue over who is right if the other side is not listening. And it is pointless to submit to the other side, if you do not benefit out of it at least moderately.

  7. Can you give examples of these narcissistic, manipulating EFJs? It would be an interesting thing to see. :)

    Ariana Grande could be a possible ENFJ example – but I think ESTP is much more likely for her. Fe+Se at any rate. :)

  8. Well I’m replying as much to your discussion in the comments as the actual article. :)

    I think the article is pretty good, particularly on the ETJ/EFJ conflict sections. Certainly reflects my own experience. :)

  9. Carl Sagan’s last interview with Charlie Rose can be an example of Te and Fe colliding (in a friendly way, but still in a colliding way).

  10. I was first an ENFJ, but there is another test where you may take to see if you are not an ENFJ, but another classification. I took the test and turned out I was not an ENFJ but the other; however I didn’t bookmark this! :( Thx

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