The 10 Roles ENTPs Play

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Friedrich Nietzsche once said “[s]ometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” Many would say this is the very reason ENTPs exist—to tell people the truth so that they can discard those illusions. ENTPs understand that growth and maturity can only occur in the crucible of integrity and veracity.
In order to understand those who possess the ENTP personality type, one needs to understand the dynamics of their cognition. The Ego of the ENTP consists of Extraverted Intuition (Ne) Hero, Introverted Thinking (Ti) Parent, Extraverted Feeling (Fe) Child, and Introverted Sensing (Si) Inferior. Their interaction style is of the Starter type and is initiating, informing, and movement. Their temperament is that of the Intellectual: abstract, pragmatic, and systematic. They are the visionaries among us and have multiple roles.

1. Free-Thinkers


ENTPs think freely. Awareness of the Collective Unconscious is the source of their power and that awareness is second to none. Their minds reside in metaphysical worlds of possibility, philosophy, and theory. Thoughts in them flow unencumbered and are externally focused toward innovation and origination. Stagnation is anathema to ENTPs, and they will rebel in the face of control or limitation of thought. Past experience, not just their own but of everyone, is the foundation of a powerful prescience—an ability to easily and accurately anticipate the future which ENTPs can access readily. Indeed, they understand the First Law of Time: “All that has happened before will happen again.”

2. Pathfinders


ENTPs are pathfinders, not for themselves, but for others. They are one of the most open-minded of personality types and can envision multiple routes and destinations forward. Their obsession, however, is in finding the best option for both. As a result, they are energized in the pursuit of new ideas or when starting new projects, but they are drained in trying to bring any of them to completion. ENTPs strategize and develop a course of action, but being ever mindful of implications and risks, their plans have contingencies for exit. If the course of conversation or sequence of events takes an unforeseen turn that would risk their sureness or safety, they will seek a means of escape in order to avoid personal responsibility or injury.

3. Change-Agents


ENTPs are agents of change. Their virtue is sincerity and their passion truth-telling. Unable to blindly follow dogma, tradition, or process if untrue or ineffective, they seek to live in truth rather than live a lie. Beliefs, norms, and rules are always questioned, and if found lacking, are quickly discarded for something better. ENTPs see chaos as the catalyst for change and progress and will inject chaos to get things moving. While this approach can be troublesome for those who would prefer something more controlled and methodical, ENTPs know that the ends will justify the means. They are willing to break rules or established protocols to achieve their goals. In this, however, they may move too quickly or inject too much chaos which can thwart the very progress they desire. This necessitates them having trusting relationships with individuals who can moderate their actions and show them a more responsible method.

4. Intellectuals


ENTPs are intelligent, logical in thought, and responsible in doing so. Their sincerity demands that truth be adopted as soon as it becomes evident. Though their conclusions are quickly changed when they realize error, they might fight against this realization and can be unwilling to admit being wrong. When immature and arrogant, ENTPs tend to think the intelligence of everyone else is inferior to their own, sometimes dismissing useful ideas by being overly critical of how responsible others are with thoughts. Arrogance dissipates and relationships evolve when ENTPs are mature. They begin to read and appreciate strengths in others, becoming involved to listen and learn. In humility ENTPs understand their thinking can be flawed, and in faith find wisdom from others.

5. Actors


ENTPs are actors—not in the sense of performers on a grand stage—but in the sense of impersonators wearing masks to hide their true character. Their passion for truth-telling is motivated by a desire to help people improve and grow, but others see this raw sincerity as off-putting, manipulative, and cruel. ENTPs want to be accepted for their contributions, respected for who they are, and loved as any other human being, though, so they wear masks to disguise a harsh inner candidness and get along. They become insincere in order to satisfy basic human needs that most of us take for granted. They lie in order to tell the truth, and risk the masks becoming permanent. Fortunately, when surrounded by family and friends who are accepting and trustworthy, ENTPs can discard the masks and live in the warm blanket of truth.

6. Anti-Heroes


ENTPs are anti-heroes. Despite their potential, ENTPs are not of the Hero archetype. For all their clarity of prescience, their own future is nebulous as dusk in the woods—vague forms in pigments of gray. They worry about the course of their lives, legacy, effectiveness, family commitments—any number of things. The personal “what-ifs” consume them. Sometimes, they become convinced that bad things will happen even when no evidence exists to support such certainty. When immature, this insecurity contributes to a fear of failure and can lead to idleness and stagnation. As they mature, however, ENTPs develop faith in the possibility of success. They begin to entertain new ideas and start new projects or adventures in the hope of giving themselves a better future. With each new action, faith allows them to play the odds and determine the probability of failure or success. Confidence grows and maturity results from the collection of experience.

7. Sufferers


ENTPs suffer. They are uneasy in their own skin and anxious about their own health and well-being. At times, this insecurity may appear as hypochondria, yet ENTPs do experience any number of ailments and physical discomforts, some of which can be severe. In response, they seek to be comforted and reassured by others including doctors, therapists, and friends. They are just as likely to have an above-average understanding of diseases and symptoms as they are to have a cabinet full of prescription drugs, vitamins, and medicinal herbs. Ultimately, life experience shows them that suffering, like failure, is inevitable and common to all. This understanding allows them to face their fears and brings them to the realization that success and their own unique path to enlightenment requires endurance to face pain and failure.

8. Amoralists


ENTPs are amoral. They are not immoral—as some would accuse. Rather, they are devoid of awareness of right and wrong. Regardless, society sees this trait as undesirable and another reason to mistrust or avoid them altogether. In fact, amorality serves their pragmatism and frees them to consider all possibilities and solutions fully on merit and without regard to moral judgement. Still, it remains a vulnerability preventing them from making value judgements when necessary. This requires them to seek the company of high-minded individuals to inform their morality and define their ethics. In isolation, they can behave unethically. With others, they become exemplars of decency and conscience.

9. Allies


ENTPs test. They yearn to remove the mask of insincerity and live genuinely but will not do so irresponsibly or without trust as the risk of rejection is too great. Consequently, probing, assessing, and validating the ability of others to tolerate and embrace truth-telling is a common habit of ENTPs. The process is at first gradual, but as acceptance grows, ENTPs share increasingly more. In time, feelings of safety—enough to remove the mask and show their vulnerability—take hold. Allies and friends, those that can be trusted and taught, reap the rewards of ENTP sincerity. Contrarily, betrayal of trust and violation of privacy garners vengeance and hatred. No longer an ally, ENTPs can become an enemy.

10. Companions


ENTPs are not uncaring. To describe them otherwise is a hurtful characterization. Granted, they can be manipulative and untrustworthy when insincere, but are quite caring. Tearing people down is necessary to build them up. Such methods seem harsh, but the motivation is pure when sincere. ENTPs seek to strengthen those around them both temporally and spiritually. Human interaction is not about the feeling of the relationship but about the truth of it. One need only put ENTPs at ease with assurance, acceptance, and respect for them to extend a hand of commitment and loyalty in return. Be clear with what you want, remind them of their duty, listen to their instruction, and appreciate them. In this way one earns devotion from ENTPs as a loyal companion.

Ultimately, ENTPs are the most introverted of all extraverts. They need confidence and comfort in their surroundings that they not only will be accepted, but also wanted for who they are. In this environment, thinking flows, loyalty grows, and extraversion blooms. ENTPs are then able to replace the mask of insincerity with the face of truth and confidently utilize their power and passion for the betterment of society.
Carl Jung once said: “Error is just as important a condition of progress as truth.” ENTPs need only accept this principle for themselves and others for them to chart their own path to enlightenment and change human destiny.

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For a more in-depth look at the ENTP personality type, check out the Who are the ENTPs Post, or all of the ENTP posts.

Are you an ENTP and want some guidance on how to overcome your struggles? Or, do you know an ENTP and want some more tips to deal with them?

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Throughout my nearly 30-year career in corporate finance and sales leadership, my goal – no, my purpose – has been to help people develop and find their best path forward. Our individual strengths are constrained by our weaknesses, and the advancement of society suffers as a result. Cultural enlightenment, therefore, relies on individual development. It’s a life-long journey and represents a commitment to others. My commitment is to you.

Stronger people. Joyful relationships. Contented lives.

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