Guest article: caring for your ENTP
First of all, congratulations on your recent acquisition of an ENTP! You will find that the ENTP is a friendly, loyal, and valuable companion who, with regular care, will become a cherished part of your life. The following tips will help you take proper care of your ENTP to ensure that this loyal and unusual creature can flourish in your home or garden:
Ask yourself: “Is an ENTP right for me?”
Before proceeding with this relationship, you should ask yourself if this is really a commitment you want to make. ENTPs are not for everybody; they require attention and patience, but are not well-suited to extensive maintenance. Intuiters, thinkers, and perceptives (INFPs, ENFPs, & INTPs) will generally experience the absolute best qualities of an ENTP with little effort. ISTJs, INTJs, and INFJs will experience varying results, but will generally find the ENTP to be both fun and competent in both professional and personal settings.
If your primary function is Fe or Te, you will find that the ENTP is an enjoyable companion and an empathetic ear, but the two of you will run into trouble. ENFJs, ENTJs, and ESFJs will all be able to connect with an ENTP easily, but may have trouble maintaining that connection. While fully capable of doing so, ENTPs do not naturally enjoy using social currency; they will naturally schmooze, call in favors, or come to your rescue, but will either fail to acknowledge or wholly resent the idea that this is based on some sort of status or debt.
If your primary mode of interaction depends on exchanges of social currency, you would be well advised to curb such behavior or return your ENTP to the pet store. If you are an ESFJ, be sure to demand your money back by screaming at the shop clerk, and don’t forget to knock over a stack of reptile cages in a huff on your way out.
Energize your ENTP!
First of all, you’ll need to feed, walk, and play with your ENTP regularly. ENTPs require stimulation, inspiration, and validation (the three “ions” of the ENTP magnetosphere) to function correctly. When fed proper amounts of all three, the ENTP is a surprisingly low-maintenance creature who will energize you and those around you. If the ENTP is deficient in one of these vital ions, it may inadvertently begin to draw from those around it with its natural magnetism, which may diminish your energy. As such, it’s a good idea to keep your ENTP fully fed with the following:
Stimulation — ENTPs require regular social interaction, new experiences, and engaging, same-page conversations with amazing people in order to thrive. This is due to the high prevalence of extraverted intuition (Ne), which practically mandates that socialization be on an intimate, profound level. Your ENTP is also an adept if not reluctant user of extraverted feeling (Fe), and is thus able to navigate your holiday party, family dinner, corporate retreat, or otherwise socially uncomfortable situation, but this should not be mistaken for the sort of existential connection required to keep an ENTP satisfied.
Inspiration — Ne works in tandem with introverted thought (Ti) to practically demand not only intimate connections with people, but inspiration to greater thought or action. This makes the ENTP a vital fountain of ideas, but these ideas must be fed with ideas of their own. The ENTP prefers to connect in this fashion, and will remain energized from this sort of interaction until physically passing out from exhaustion. Inspiring an ENTP is a difficult task that comes more naturally to some than others, and ENFPs, INFPs, and INTPs may find that this occurs almost too naturally. If so, roll with it – you’ve unlocked a sleeping giant of ideas.
ENTPs are highly adaptable planners and natural problem-solvers. They can make and modify a road map or plan in a matter of seconds and will generally be laid-back when things don’t go according to plan. As such, the payoff from inspiring them to engage in projects or plans is substantial.
Validation — The ENTP is, by nature, a self-assured creature, which also makes them very fragile. Regular maintenance in this arena will keep your ENTP healthy and positive and nurture both Ti and Fe. ENTPs love and appreciate attention, but are especially good at detecting and appreciating attention from a genuine origin.
ENTPs are highly selective creatures with regards to who they associate with. They tend to have high circles of close friends and form quick bonds with people, but have wider nets of people with whom they are generally disinterested. Ultimately, you should remember that, having chosen you, your ENTP wants to impress you and will go to great lengths to do so.
This doesn’t mean you need to agree with everything your ENTP says or does — in fact, the Ti in your ENTP practically demands that you call them out when you disagree with their course of action. However, the manner in which this is done is incredibly important; ENTPs appreciate a deconstruction of their point rather than a blunt declarative statement, and they are very resistant to seeing the world in black and white terms. An ENTP is more validated by a conscientious attempt to see the world their way – through Ne – than through being assured that they are correct.
Avoid leaving your ENTP unattended.
ENTPs generally hate to be alone unless it is for productive purposes. While the degree of this may vary from ENTP to ENTP, these unique creatures find themselves easily bored and will usually reach out socially on a regular basis. Ironically, they are also highly selective creatures; if you have earned the privilege of being regularly engaged by your ENTP when they are bored, then congratulations: you have formed a bond that is not easily broken. You should reciprocate whenever you are bored if your ENTP exhibits this kind of behavior. A bored ENTP, when left alone, is a dangerous thing. They will become restless and possibly even depressed.
Communicate with your ENTP, especially when plans change.
This goes hand-in-hand with regular maintenance as described above, but as ENTPs are actually highly adaptable planners, it is important to them to be kept in the loop with regards to social plans and your life in general.
If an ENTP suggests dinner, they mean it; if you can’t make it, the ENTP would much rather have you send a text to cancel than disappear off the face of the earth. Rather than be angry, a properly-trained ENTP will be momentarily disappointed, but will immediately follow up by rerouting plans. Don’t be surprised if pictures of a completely unplanned dinner/costume party/beach trip show up on Facebook the next morning.
Be patient when you tell your ENTP your problems.
If your ENTP wants to know what is going on in your life, this is likely the result of genuine interest or concern, as an ENTP generally does not ask such questions out of politeness. As such, you should be candid and honest with your ENTP. ENTPs are great at giving advice, and they want their advice to be useful. Don’t be surprised, however, if the ENTP inadvertently launches into a wild diatribe, anecdote, or story about a similar situation they encountered. You should experience an incisive, thesis-like delivery of the lessons learned from such experience in approximately ten minutes from the time the ENTP begins talking.
Keep away from Fe.
The ENTP is adept at all manners of social interaction, and can usually fend for itself in an Fe-heavy environment; however, make no mistake – these sensitive creatures prefer to view the world in an intuitive fashion. Although conscious of social expectations and generally polite, the act of engaging in extraverted feeling is absolutely exhausting to your ENTP. As such, they may be temperamental, argumentative, or unpredictable when they are placed in uncomfortable social situations.
It would be advisable to keep your ENTP away from such situations to avoid unpleasant Ti-related outbursts. For example, your ENTP will be charming and pleasant throughout your family Thanksgiving party, but this act will also be exhausting to them as there is no interaction the ENTP would consider genuine. Furthermore, if left to its own devices in such a situation, an untrained ENTP may find it difficult to resist the temptation to tell your crazy right-wing aunt exactly why her position on gay marriage is wrong. Especially if she is an ESFJ.
Feed your ENTP regularly, from a variety of exciting food types.
Feeding your ENTP a variety of exciting foods will help develop their weakest function, introverted sensing (Si). Granted, from the ENTP perspective, this food will be more of a social and experiential indulgence, but teaching the ENTP to appreciate the simple joys of Si — a sweater, a delicious meal, and a hike to a pretty waterfall — will keep them a balanced person while feeding their Ne through delicious meals and crazy adventures.
Exercise caution with other ENTPs.
ENTPs are rare and dynamic creatures who are generally unused to interacting with others of their own kind. Ever self-analytical, the ENTP resents its own flaws and sees them readily in others. As such, two ENTPs in close proximity may butt heads if they possess key differences or view issues through different prisms of rationality.
ENTPs are also used to shining in a room full of people and drawing energy from their engagement and attention. As such, two ENTPs in the same group may inadvertently exhaust each other when attempting to act as a magnet for the “three ions” mentioned above.
Two ENTPs who are on the same wavelength, on the other hand, can collaborate to form a superconductor of creative, inventive energy. ENTPs who really, really dig each other should be highly encouraged for the dynamic effect they have on the world around them.
Don’t make your ENTP angry.
If your ENTP has done something to upset you, they can be trained easily with clear and direct communication of what they have done and how the issue can be resolved. They may be sensitive in this arena, so be sure to express your concern in as reasonable a manner as possible; if your concern is expressed in an emotional or immature fashion, the ENTP will likely default to Fe (against their will) and will lash out or disengage entirely from your relationship. The ENTP likes to engage in problem-solving and will approach any disagreement well from this angle, using the preferred functions of Ne and Ti.
If you have wronged the ENTP and the issue is addressed, they will be relatively forgiving, although they do not tend to forget things easily. On the other hand, if you have deliberately done something to harm or upset your ENTP, or have wronged someone they care about, you are really in for it. Your best course of action in such a scenario is to find a new circle of friends. Whether the ENTP intends to engage in such behavior or not, you will become socially destroyed if you dare to attack within its protected range.
Have fun with your ENTP!
Following the above steps should ensure that you and your ENTP get along for years to come while curbing any potentially bad habits that may arise along the way. Enjoy the ride, because it will be a good one!
Should you find that the relationship between you and your ENTP is not working out, do not abandon it on the side of the road. Find a nice INFP, ENFP, or INTP to foster it until it can find a new home.