Once upon a time, an ENFP fell in love with an INTJ and followed her around until she agreed to marry him. Their letters combined to create two baby girls – another ENFP and an INFJ. As the children grew, their personalities and differences grew as well.
ENFP: Gosh you’re just too uptight.
INFJ: Wow I’m so organized.
ENFP: Can’t we sleep in and go to breakfast later?
INFJ: I have a busy agenda today so we need to leave by 8:27.
ENFP: Just relax.
INFJ: Get your act together!
I’m the INFJ. The ENFP? That’s my big sister.
I don’t get how her brain works. I really don’t. More often than not it drives me insane. How the heck does “be there at 1pm” morph into “show up at 1:30ish” inside her maze of a mind?
She doesn’t get how my brain works. She just doesn’t. Time and time again I’ve driven her all the way to and from and back down to crazy town. The way I love to stick to carefully arranged plans is something she can’t even begin to fathom.
Even though we share genes, parents, upbringings, and two out of four letters of our Myers-Briggs results, it doesn’t mean we understand each other. When you change one letter, the way the other letters operate shift. Plus, within the trait each letter represents, there are various versions.
The Myers-Briggs test operates on a spectrum.
It’s far from a yes or no question and answer kind of thing. Complex, right? And then you throw in the whole “every person is unique” thing, and BOOM – you don’t even understand your own flesh and blood.
Welcome to my life.
ENFP. INFJ. Apparently, they’re supposed to be super compatible personality types. My sister, being her typical people-pleasing ENFP self, would absolutely agree. She loves me.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my sister more than I could ever explain, but I wouldn’t exactly call us compatible. Maybe on a good day I’d call us semi-complementary. But we should never share an apartment. Someone’s head would get chopped off… and I’m pretty 100% sure I’d be the one holding the knife.
“Awwwwww you loveeeeeee me sooooo much!!”
That, plus a suffocating snuggle, was my sister’s response when I told her I was writing this. (Such an ENFP reaction.)
I laughed nervously as I pried her hands from my shoulders and explained how it’s about our differences…. our very, very, VERY different differences.
In reality, I can’t wait for her to read this.
Because while it is about how opposite we are – and how sometimes I pretend I’m asleep so I don’t have to participate in a sister snuggle session – this is more about understanding each other. That’s something I couldn’t do before the Myers-Briggs test.
It me a glimpse of what her creative, colorful, fly by the seat of her pants brain looks like. Let me tell you, it does NOT look like mine. Sure, there are some similarities (we are sisters after all), but for the most part they’re two separate paintings on two separate canvases. Thanks to the extensive personality descriptions available all over the Internet, I’m learning how to approach her painting. I’m starting to get it… I’m starting to get her.
I used to see her actions as deliberate attacks on me. When I’m on a tight schedule and ready to get in the car, 95% of the time my sister will still have a few pieces of hair left to curl. *Cue suspenseful music* Why is she always trying to purposefully make my life miserable?!
Reality check – she’s not. She’s just an ENFP, and I’m just an INFJ. I remind myself that we’re not wired the same way. I sit in the car, count down the minutes until we’ll be late, send her a few more “hurry up” texts, and I wait. When she gets in the car, I let out a “finally” and we drive off analyzing the latest radio hit like we always do.
I ain’t even mad about it later.
I don’t hold a grudge or harbor resentment like my passive-aggressive self would like to do. It’s okay because I know our brains aren’t set up the same way. They’re not clones – they’re unique, special snowflakes. Sometimes they clash, and sometimes they harmonize just like our voices.
Turns out her aversion to schedules isn’t her way of firing shots in my organization-obsessed direction. Coming up with a new plan last minute isn’t her way of insulting my to-do list. She’s not trying to rip it up or burn it or tell me I’m stupid. Her brain just came up with a brilliant idea. Why should I see that as offensive? It’s just an ENFP thing.
Even though I don’t love her perpetual lateness or the way she turns her nose up at the sight of structure, I love my sister. And I’m starting to understand how to love her brain the way it needs to be loved.
After all, we’re just two four-letter acronyms learning how to appreciate the letters we don’t share.
Thank you, Myers-Briggs.
Featured photo credit: Sister Dance/Donnie Ray Jones via flickr.com