Do you ever feel alone in your fears or worries? Have you ever felt that your fears isolate you from other people? I’ve wondered for a long time whether fears are in any way related to personality type; or which fears are more prevalent among different types. I decided to research fear months ago, and have been talking to as many people as possible to determine if there are any fears that are more common to specific personality types. I’ve also been researching my MBTI® manuals and books to see if they had any information to give.
What I Found Out:
There were definitely variations in the major fears of each personality type. I made it my goal to get responses from at least 300 people of each personality type before writing a blog post about their fears. What I discovered is that there were some universal irrational fears (spiders, heights, snakes) but that aside from those, the fears varied drastically according to type. NT types, for example, greatly feared mediocrity and stupidity. SJ types mentioned insecurity and financial ruin. NF types tended to have more existential worries about meaninglessness and the afterlife.
We’re Not All The Same
While this study I’m doing showed differences in the majority of fears that each personality type faced, obviously, there are exceptions to each of these fears. For example, a huge number of ENFPs mentioned being alone as a major fear, but there were several who said this fear didn’t really bother them at all. There are always going to be variations within type, so all this post is going to show us is what the majority mentioned. The top 10 fears in this post are based on the number of votes that I got from ENFPs I spoke with in forums, Facebook groups, and one-on-one in real life.
The Top 10 Things That Terrify ENFPs
- Being Alone
By far, the biggest fear among ENFPs was being alone. However, this doesn’t mean they want to be around people constantly. The fear had more to do with not having meaningful relationships, dying alone, or feeling disconnected from humanity in some way. Having a healthy social group, supportive friends, and meaningful, honest relationships are extremely important to ENFPs.
- Death of Loved Ones
This particular fear has been mentioned by nearly all the personality types I’ve surveyed so far; although every type seems to mention different relationships more. Certain types mentioned loss of children more, other types mentioned loss of spouses more; ENFPs mentioned loved ones in general.
ENFPs are strong believers in serving humanity in some great way in their lifetime. They want every moment to mean something and to have significance. There’s nearly nothing worse to an ENFP than being faced with meaninglessness or feeling that their life hasn’t been put to good purpose.
“I worry that I’m going to miss the things that really matter in life in my pursuit of looking for my next adventure. I worry that once I get to the end of my life I will have missed out on all the small things that give life true significance and purpose.”
– Helena, an ENFP
- Not Meeting Potential
ENFPs are true dreamers, and long to do something significant with their lives. They have no desire to just “get by” or fit in; they want to make a difference and an impact in the world. Not being able to use their life to its greatest potential is a very real fear to many ENFPs.
“My biggest fear is that I will look back on my life when I’m older and see all the opportunities I passed up. I have a hard time making long-term decisions, and I worry that the time I spend deliberating or trying different things will never amount to anything. I’m worried I will never meet my true potential.”
– Dave, an ENFP
To be left behind is a major fear for many ENFPs. They take their relationships very seriously, and hate the idea of being rejected by those they depend on or care about.
- Hurting People’s Feelings
ENFPs desire to connect with individuals on a deep and personal level. They pride themselves on being honest and authentic in their relationships, due to their auxiliary Introverted Feeling (Fi). Because of this, they have a hard time faking anything, even if it might make others feel good. Sometimes this can cause them to unintentionally hurt other people’s feelings, and this is a major cause of anxiety for ENFPs, who greatly desire harmony in their relationships and hate the idea of causing anyone pain.
- Being Morally Flawed and Not Knowing It
ENFPs place very high importance on living in accordance with their values. Because they have Introverted Feeling (Fi), they make value judgments that are very independent and are less based on outside influence. They are less prone to accepting a value or moral belief just because someone says it’s the “right thing to do”. This is one of the admirable things about Fi-users. They have a very strong internal moral compass and often have a lot of integrity because of it. I think because of how important living by these values is to ENFPs, they worry more than many other types about finding out their values are wrong or that they’ve betrayed them in some way. Some ENFPs mentioned that they are afraid that they will come to the end of their life and find out that they made the wrong value judgments or had an incorrect set of moral beliefs and were unaware of it.
- Old age
ENFPs have a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for the future, and are extremely ambitious, adventurous people. For this reason, many of them cited old age as a fear because it might take away their ability to explore, dream of the future, or be as autonomous as they’d like to be.
- The After Life
The world of the unknown is both exciting and frightening to some ENFPs. Some worried about going to hell, others worried about the nothingness that might be awaiting after death. The reasons that many ENFPs feared the afterlife varied, but if often had to do with facing hell or facing nothingness.
- Missing Out
ENFPs want to experience all the beauty and adventure that life has to offer, and they hate the idea of growing old and finding out they missed out on something incredible. They want to explore endless ideas, avenues, experiences, and visions. This is one of the reasons ENFPs enjoy traveling so much.
What Do You Think?
Do these fears bother you or are you surprised by these choices? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you.