Believable Characters, Part 8

We are still discussing creating believable characters using the Myers-Briggs core personalities. I’m pulling from several sources, but mostly Jeff Gerke’s book Plot vs. Character and David Keirsey’s book Please Understand Me II

You remember the four parts:

1.  Extrovert (E) or Introvert (I)
2.  Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N)
3.  Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
4.  Judgment (J) or Perception (P)

We’re a quarter of the way through these personality types. Stay strong! We’ll cover them all in no time. Today we’re looking at the ENFJ, or who Keirsey calls THE TEACHER. This person is a natural teacher (hence the name) with the uncanny ability to influence those around them. ENFJ’s want to learn about the humanities, are preoccupied with morale, and work well with everyone. They see themselves as highly empathic, benevolent, and authentic. Often they mimic people they admire. They’re also enthusiastic, love the idea of romance, want to be recognized for their hard work, and aspire to be wise. They practice diplomacy over strategy and tactics – they are the peacemakers. 

ENFJ’s make up about two percent of the population, but that’s enough. They are so charismatic, people around them tend to obey the Teacher’s commands. They make excellent leaders and always have new ideas for group activities, often without a lot of pre-planning. They are natural hosts, making sure all guests are content and that there’s plenty of activity to keep the group together. Teachers consider people their highest priority, and they communicate caring, concern, and a willingness to be friends with everyone. People often turn to ENFJ’s for nurture and support. Sometimes ENFJ’s can become too involved in the problems of others and become overwhelmed.

Famous ENFJ’s include Ronald Reagan, Dr. Martin Luther King, Tommy Lee Jones, Oprah Winfrey, and Michael Jordan. Lisa Simpson from the Simpson’s and Padme Amidala from Star wars are ENFJs.

If your novel needs a top-notch journalist, a diplomat, or a high school coach, the ENFJ is your choice for a base personality. If you need a software developer, a purchasing agent, or a firefighter, look somewhere else.

Next time, we’ll look at yet another personality type.


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