ENTPs are one of the most underestimated yet fascinating types in the Myers-Briggs system. They are known for their ingenuity, curiosity, and playful charisma. The ultimate devil’s advocate’s, they question everything, including themselves.
But what happens when an ENTP is unhealthy?
What causes an ENTP to be unhealthy?
Some people believe that the issue of healthy or unhealthy types is very black and white.
“You’re an unhealthy ENTP or a healthy one, and that’s all there is to it!”
I take a different approach. All of us have moments throughout our day or week where we demonstrate unhealthy and healthy characteristics. If you’re really stressed out on Tuesday you might have a few moments of unhealthy behavior. If you’re feeling better and clearer-headed on Wednesday, you might emulate healthy characteristics of your personality type. It’s natural to have moments throughout your life where you’re not at your best. Everyone has those. The problems arise when people become paralyzed in an unhealthy state without trying to grow past it or without having enough energy or resources to do so.
Table of contents
- The Healthy ENTP
- The ENTP Cognitive Function Stack:
- ENTP Cognitive Functions and Weaknesses:
- 10 Ways That ENTPs Can Be Unhealthy:
- #1 – They Prefer Short-Term Rewards
- #2 – They Are Distractible
- #3 – They Seem Unmotivated
- #4 – They Manipulate People
- #5 – They Struggle to Make True Friendships
- #6 – They Are Physically Weary
- #7 – They’re Out of Touch with Their Feelings
- #8 – They Worry What Others Think of Them
- #9 – They Are Arrogant
- #10 – They Lose Track of Important Details
- What Are Your Thoughts?
- Other Articles You Might Enjoy:
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
The Healthy ENTP
ENTPs can be some of the most open-minded types in the Myers-Briggs® system. They are known for their ability to consider multiple possibilities or angles for any given situation. They brainstorm and come up with new ideas, concepts, and theories. At their best, they are brilliant and quick-witted, filled with a boundless imagination. Many times they can rapidly concoct dozens of ways to troubleshoot a problem. Independently minded, they are comfortable working alone and putting the time to invest in learning to make sure they’re doing the best job they can at what matters to them.
When healthy, ENTPs balance their interest in newfound ideas with a sense of logic and rationality. They know how to channel their energy into initiating changes that they want to see in the world, and spend their time coming up with creative ways to make things work. They are highly productive, and spend a great deal of energy completing tasks and projects while simultaneously looking for new ones to take on or consider.
The ENTP Cognitive Function Stack:
Dominant Function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
Auxiliary Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Tertiary Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
Inferior Function: Introverted Sensing (Si)
5th/Opposing Role: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
6th/Critical Parent: Extraverted Thinking (Te)
7th/Trickster: Introverted Feeling (Fi)
8th/Demon: Extraverted Sensing (Se)
ENTP Cognitive Functions and Weaknesses:
ENTPs will naturally value their top three cognitive functions the most (Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling). They get into flow when they can play with ideas, possibilities, and theoretical tangents (through Extraverted Intuition). When making decisions, they try their best to be rational, objective, and use clear, critical thinking (through Introverted Thinking). When interacting with people, they enjoy an emotional connection, give-and-take, and responsive, high-energy interactions (through Extraverted Feeling).
In contrast to the top three cognitive functions, ENTPs are likely to see their inferior function, Introverted Sensing, as somewhat lifeless, trivial, or uninspiring. Thus, they may struggle to keep track of details, remember specific steps to a task, or prioritize their physical well-being (all areas where Introverted Sensing thrives).
The 5th through 8th functions of the ENTP are also at risk of being dismissed or unconsciously used in negative ways. For example, when ENTPs are stressed, they may lash out with critical Extraverted Thinking, suddenly becoming bossy, commanding, and hurriedly critical, without taking a more nuanced, thoughtful approach. They are also likely to devalue the Introverted Feeling of other types, seeing it as silly or sentimental instead of acknowledging its depth and value in honing one’s beliefs and priorities.
If you don’t know what the cognitive functions are yet, that’s okay. You can keep reading and gather valuable information either way.
10 Ways That ENTPs Can Be Unhealthy:
#1 – They Prefer Short-Term Rewards
ENTPs get more motivated by new ideas than by following the plans and procedures of others. They get easily bored with “business as usual” or tasks that repeat themselves – they need change! They may become so impulsive at times that they neglect important relationships and their physical health, instead opting for short-term fun or taking the path of least resistance. If they are unhealthy, they may lose sight of their long-term vision for themselves in favor of small immediate rewards attained from obsessive gaming, drugs, sex, or other distractions.
How to Cope: Making peace with a certain amount of boredom is crucial for ENTPs. But this doesn’t have to mean that they accept life as a mundane 9-5 life-sentence. Mixing up important projects, tracking those projects, and then rewarding themselves with fun, energizing activities along the way can help them to stay motivated. They can also mix up boring activities with fun activities. For example, setting a goal like “Every day when I go for a run, I’ll listen to my favorite playlist” or “While I’m washing the dishes I’ll listen to an audiobook I’ve been dying to get to.”
#2 – They Are Distractible
Even the best ENTPs are easily distracted by new thoughts and possibilities that come into their minds. But at an unhealthy level, they get bored with tasks quickly, which can cause them to become unreliable or flaky when they start to skip from one idea/project/task to another without seeing things through.
How to Cope with Distractibility: ENTPs need to consider carefully how much they can take on at once. If they start to feel overwhelmed or stressed by the sheer volume of what they want to accomplish, they should slow down and focus on just one or two projects at a time. Staying focused can mean eating a healthier diet (blueberries and salmon help your brain focus!). It can also mean taking breaks to get up and move, or setting a timer and focusing on one task until that timer goes off. ENTPs can also try to break down their goals into smaller, more easily accomplished milestones and then reward themselves with something small after each milestone is reached – like a new book or show that they’ve been waiting for. Usually ENTPs thrive when they follow a non-traditional work routine. Working for 8 hour stretches during the day won’t allow them to produce their best work. Instead, they should work in frequent bursts followed by creative “play” time to make their mind light up with new ideas and ways to perfect their tasks. Of course, not all jobs can allow this and many ENTPs will have to find a way to make the 8-hour stretch bearable or fun in its own way.
#3 – They Seem Unmotivated
ENTPs are known for being creative and original, but at an unhealthy level they may not have a strong sense of direction or driving ambition to push them forward. They dislike routine and can get bored quickly with repetitive tasks that don’t allow them to use their creativity or ingenuity. ENTPs will be most motivated by anything that is new, challenging, and exciting – but at an unhealthy level may lack the discipline or follow-through to make their dreams reality. Instead, they may imagine their life away, theorizing rather than actually doing.
How to Cope: Lack of motivation can stem from several things: Doing work that doesn’t inspire you, not having concentration skills, mental difficulties, or not knowing how to break down a project into manageable pieces. ENTPs can improve their motivation by addressing these issues. When they find a project that inspires them or is important to you for some other reason (e.g., monetary reward) then they can break it down into smaller steps so that it doesn’t seem overwhelming. They can also improve their concentration and focus by playing entertaining games like Sudoku, memory, or chess. They could also enlist the help of Thinking-Judging friends they enjoy and ask for help narrowing down projects or ideas.
#4 – They Manipulate People
When ENTPs are not getting their desires met in a relationship, they may try to control the other person by being sarcastic, playing mind-games, or being critical. ENTPs who feel insecure often use clever humor as a way of making others jealous or uncomfortable as a defensive mechanism. These types usually know how people tick and are good at “reading” where people are at emotionally, but in an unhealthy state they may use this intelligence in manipulative or abusive ways.
How to Cope: ENTPs need to recognize instances where they are being manipulative, and then take a step back from the situation. They can’t fix what they don’t have self-awareness about. Being vulnerable is scary, but being authentic about how they feel can help partners and friends to understand them better and build a stronger bond. They can also learn to ask their partners for a favor or a change in a relationship dynamic rather than trying to control them through subtle means.
Journaling can be an effective way to process the “why’s” of behavior. If you’re an ENTP who is having relationship issues, write down the problem, ask yourself why the problem exists, and then answer that question. Keep asking yourself “why” until you have no more “why’s” to ask. At the end of this process you may discover a truth about yourself that’s impacting your ability to communicate clearly and honestly with the people that matter to you.
#5 – They Struggle to Make True Friendships
Unhealthy ENTPs have a tough time allowing people to get close. They enjoy going out and being around people, but when they are unhealthy they will often go through a string of superficial friendships. Being vulnerable and humble, qualities that strengthen friendships, is terrifying for them. They may be so focused on what they’re getting out of a relationship that they become undependable friends, cancelling plans last minute or not calling when they say they will.
How to Cope: Unhealthy ENTPs need to recognize that friendships are meant to be a two-way street where each person helps each other. They need to share, listen, and schedule time with their friends to feel supported. Cancelling plans or forgetting a commitment is forgivable now and then, but if it’s the go-to method of dealing with responsibilities it will inevitably destroy relationships. Vulnerability is key to bonding with another person, especially in a romantic relationship. It feels scary to everyone, but it’s the challenge every individual must overcome in order to form a solid relationship.
#6 – They Are Physically Weary
ENTPs are idea-people by nature. But there’s always a trade-off for this. All these ideas, theories, and possibilities can leave them so wrapped up in thoughts that they lose touch with their physical bodies. This can lead to them forgetting to eat, drink, or sleep as they chase after possibilities and insights. Over time, this can lead to exhaustion, malnourishment, or chronic illness.
How to Cope: Staying grounded in the body is crucial for every individual. ENTPs cannot think clearly or have “aha!” moments when they are so depleted that they are no longer connected to the world around them. They can find physical grounding through exercise, meditation, contact with nature, and eating healthily.
If you’re struggling to feel motivated to be healthy, just think of doing so encourages creativity, clear thinking, focus, and a longer lifespan. There are dozens of apps that can help you to remember to drink enough water or eat healthy meals. Meditations and workout plans can also be found for free in so many online places!
#7 – They’re Out of Touch with Their Feelings
ENTPs focus their lives around solving problems, generating ideas, and gaining knowledge – not “wasting” time with emotions, guilt, or introspection. But in the process they can lose touch with the more human emotions they so desperately try to keep at bay. They may shut down emotionally or become prideful, refusing to accept their limitations and mistakes, or denying how they truly feel about people who have deeply hurt them. This can lead to a cycle where they build walls around themselves that they refuse to let people penetrate. It’s crucial for them to balance their need for rationality with being more open and empathetic toward themselves and others.
How to Cope: ENTPs are often seen as aloof extroverts, but they have an emotional world just like everyone else. They can take the first step toward self-awareness by allowing themselves to honor their feelings. If they need help getting in touch with their emotions, they can try journaling, seeing a therapist, listening to music that connects them with their emotions, or practicing guided meditation.
#8 – They Worry What Others Think of Them
ENTPs are typically confident and not easily rattled or embarrassed by others opinions. However, some unhealthy ENTPs are at the opposite end of the spectrum, which can lead to them feeling very insecure. Instead of doing what makes the most sense to them logically, they override their thinking side for the sake of other people. They may halt their mental process of sifting out inaccuracies because they’d rather make a good impression or stay in a particular friend group. ENTPs who struggle with approval issues become preoccupied with being perfect, often trying to compensate for their perceived shortcomings by pretending they have it all together or that they know more than everybody else.
How to Cope: Certain unhealthy ENTPs have been raised to believe that other peoples’ opinions are more important than their own. For various reasons they have stopped honoring their thinking side and loop back and forth between their intuitive and feeling sides. They need to realize that it is okay to let go of this exhausting pursuit for perfectionism and that the inner voice that sees inconsistencies and logical truths is worth honoring. Taking time to refine their thoughts, understand their principles, and be radically honest about themselves and their beliefs can help them to feel more fully alive.
#9 – They Are Arrogant
ENTPs are typically smart, witty, and charming – but when they are unhealthy, they may be so infatuated with their abilities that they lack humility or deep affection for other people around them. They are often the types who use humor as a way of being aloof or acting “better” than everyone else. ENTPs who are arrogant have an inflated sense of self-importance, which is often coupled with an overt feeling of being entitled to say whatever they want to others, no matter how it might hurt them.
How to Cope: ENTPs who are in their healthy stage are able to balance empathy with logic. Unhealthy ENTPs tend to believe that others have inferior thoughts and perspectives and don’t deserve any real attention. Becoming humble is a journey of discovering that they are not perfect or always right. It involves listening, learning from others, and becoming aware of their blind spots.
#10 – They Lose Track of Important Details
Chaos can ensue when ENTPs get so caught up in ideating that they don’t pay attention to details. This can occur when they get into a debate and they’re so focused on their own retort that they don’t hear the details of what the other person is saying. It can also happen when they’re working on a project and lose sight of important details along the way; for example, starting a blog but forgetting to edit and proofread their articles properly. They may also forget more mundane details like paying their bills on time, flossing their teeth, or cleaning out the refrigerator (although, wouldn’t we all like to forget that?)
How to Cope: ENTPs are natural at brainstorming and thinking big, but they can lose track or motivation when it’s time to bring their ideas to fruition. ENTPs who tend to forget about the smaller pieces need to be more mindful about details in every aspect of their life. Otherwise, they’ll either end up with too many unfinished projects or half-finished tasks cluttering their desk. They can benefit from writing down all of the things they need to do, even if it seems like overkill, so that they know exactly what steps they have to take to get something done. Sometimes outsourcing nitty-gritty tasks is possible, but if not, finding ways to make those tasks enjoyable is key. Listen to an audiobook while cleaning the house, go to a fun coffee shop or cafe while proofreading, play a favorite song while flossing your teeth, or set up reminders on your phone to pay bills on time so you don’t forget.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any insights or perspectives you’d like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!