ENTP Personality (“The Debater”)

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crack-pot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.

Thomas J. Watson

The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil's advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don't do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it's fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.

An odd juxtaposition arises with ENTPs, as they are uncompromisingly honest, but will argue tirelessly for something they don't actually believe in, stepping into another's shoes to argue a truth from another perspective.

ENTP personalityPlaying the devil's advocate helps people with the ENTP personality type to not only develop a better sense of others' reasoning, but a better understanding of opposing ideas – since ENTPs are the ones arguing them.

This tactic shouldn't be confused with the sort of mutual understanding Diplomats (NF) seek – ENTPs, like all Analyst (NT) personality types, are on a constant quest for knowledge, and what better way to gain it than to attack and defend an idea, from every angle, from every side?

There Are no Rules Here – We're Trying to Accomplish Something!

Taking a certain pleasure in being the underdog, ENTPs enjoy the mental exercise found in questioning the prevailing mode of thought, making them irreplaceable in reworking existing systems or shaking things up and pushing them in clever new directions. However, they'll be miserable managing the day-to-day mechanics of actually implementing their suggestions. ENTP personalities love to brainstorm and think big, but they will avoid getting caught doing the "grunt work" at all costs. ENTPs only make up about three percent of the population, which is just right, as it lets them create original ideas, then step back to let more numerous and fastidious personalities handle the logistics of implementation and maintenance.

ENTPs' capacity for debate can be a vexing one – while often appreciated when it's called for, it can fall painfully flat when they step on others' toes by say, openly questioning their boss in a meeting, or picking apart everything their significant other says. This is further complicated by ENTPs' unyielding honesty, as this type doesn't mince words and cares little about being seen as sensitive or compassionate. Likeminded types get along well enough with people with the ENTP personality type, but more sensitive types, and society in general, are often conflict-averse, preferring feelings, comfort, and even white lies over unpleasant truths and hard rationality.

This frustrates ENTPs, and they find that their quarrelsome fun burns many bridges, oftentimes inadvertently, as they plow through others' thresholds for having their beliefs questioned and their feelings brushed aside. Treating others as they'd be treated, ENTPs have little tolerance for being coddled, and dislike when people beat around the bush, especially when asking a favor. ENTP personalities find themselves respected for their vision, confidence, knowledge, and keen sense of humor, but often struggle to utilize these qualities as the basis for deeper friendships and romantic relationships.

Opportunity Is Missed Because It Looks Like Hard Work

ENTPs have a longer road than most in harnessing their natural abilities – their intellectual independence and free-form vision are tremendously valuable when they're in charge, or at least have the ear of someone who is, but getting there can take a level of follow-through that ENTPs struggle with.

Once they've secured such a position, ENTPs need to remember that for their ideas to come to fruition, they will always depend on others to assemble the pieces – if they've spent more time "winning" arguments than they have building consensus, many ENTPs will find they simply don't have the support necessary to be successful. Playing devil's advocate so well, people with this personality type may find that the most complex and rewarding intellectual challenge is to understand a more sentimental perspective, and to argue consideration and compromise alongside logic and progress.

Famous ENTPs

John Adams
James A. Garfield
Rutherford B. Hayes
Theodore Roosevelt
Thomas Edison
George Carlin
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Alfred Hitchcock
Tom Hanks
David Spade
Céline Dion
Alexander the Great

Fictional ENTPs

"The Joker" from Batman series
"Jack Sparrow" from Pirates of the Caribbean
"Tyler Durden" from Fight Club
"Clyde Shelton" from Law Abiding Citizen


Your name:
Jul 18, 2015 03:31:41
As an INFJ, I was hoping I could get some advice. I'm dating an ENTP. We are both 29 and have been living together for 3 years. We were so connected in the honeymoon stage for the first year. It was truly perfect. Magic. Video games together, movies, hanging out, vacations, the works. It was apparently too good to be true, because after that year mark, he and I have been at odds. He claims it's my emotions.. I claim it's a result of his constant need to nitpick and bulldoze...

My issue - I can't handle his debates. NOT just debates, but he seems to have this habit of talking, and talking and talking some more, never once allowing me to even get a word in edgewise when we are in a conflicted state - usually over something completely stupid - which I call out many times!!! ie: "We don't need to be angry right now? Don't you understand?" and then I fall into tears on my idiot end (literally can't help the tears after hours of berating by him. Remember, INFJ = me) - which makes him even ANGRIER. In my perspective? I'm not crying to make him mad... I'm crying because I feel hopeless.... I don't get a chance to even ***discuss*** It almost seems as if he can't let me talk because if he does, then he'll be challenged, and he's won most challenges by talking over people to the point of their exhaustion, exasperation, disbelief, and then they concede because who the eff cares, we'd all rather do something fun instead of bitching for 5 hours... only he ultimately cares.

I've been keeping this pretty long for an ENTP so I fear I'm not getting to the point, BUT, I know ya'll love information (I'm the same way) so you have alot of info to base your devil's advocate perspective in... How do I deal with someone who needs to talk and talk and debate for hours at a time when I just can't handle it? I keep getting overwhelmed with his demand of me to engage, when... I literally can't engage him. I need time to think, breath, collect my thoughts (he says this is weak... yet, he seriously struggles with all these same complaints at work and with friendships over this same stuff! I get it, logic truly is more important than anything else... but we're all human, too. It's like empathy is a nonexistant perspective in his reality). I want to be with him. He's wonderful, but I'm beginning to strongly believe I am in an emotionally abusive relationship, and I keep blaming myself like there's something I can do to make it all better.

ENTP's... please advise... you rock, but you can be incredibly harsh and painful to us little people ...
Jul 19, 2015 20:05:27
Well first and foremost, this might not be the best forum if you really think you're in an abusive relationship since that isn't really a personality-type issue. And also don't belittle yourself, no little people, only different people.

Short answer: Use the most suitable communication with the highest chance to get your point across by learning what works best for the other person and for you so everyone involved can understand each other better.

Ah yes, emotional arguing, let's nitpick at this with a long answer. =)
ENTP's will likely consider emotional arguments to be an illogical and unfair argument, since feelings are a personal experience that can't be argued or "solved". Of course you can try but ultimately everyone will feel what they feel and choose for themselves how they act upon those feelings. Debating with people is a way to connect. Emotional arguments however are quite one-sided, focus turns to those feelings rather then the shared discussion and reaching a conclusion together often gets left out. I'm not saying you shouldn't involve feelings in an argument, you feel things for a reason after all, so find out why and then explain it. Expressing your emotions in a calm and constructive way ensures that your point gets through, whereas being emotional without clearly knowing why, isn't exactly mutually beneficial. And the most beneficial and logical approach to any disagreement is a compromise on both ends, finding the tools and methods one lacks.

On a more practical note: So he's talking, that shouldn't mean you have to. Sometimes trying to argue and convince someone is not the answer (or so I've heard). If you don't want to debate then he would have to find another outlet for that need. If you want to, then it's fully in your right to take the time you need to think things over and have a grown-up sit down talk time. (Maybe using the evil device that enables the one who holds it to talk while silencing everyone else. I hate it, since I'd like to continue talking until my mouth falls off, but for the sake of overall happiness one must yield to the force of the talking-stick!)
As we are guided by logic, explaining why you think your way is the best option is a good way to make it stick. And even if we might argue against it, that doesn't we don't agree. Sadly "it feels right" or even the horrible "that's just how it is" does very little to convince any self-respecting ENTP. Knowing "why" makes us respect your opinion since it shows you've thought it through, more than if it's an intangible argument.
Logic is awesome for when you want to tell someone what you want, emotions are awesome for deeper connections that don't really need words, everything has its place and purpose.

For further counsel I suggest you seek more personal answers closer to home and heart. ;)
Jul 10, 2015 16:44:04
I thought I was just an A$$ hole
Jul 02, 2015 03:25:16
ENTPs don't lose a argument because we don't end it till we win it we mostly we mostly responed because we must prove that we are right about every thing so yay me and the other 3% of ENTPs their... oh it also was so true
Jul 01, 2015 21:44:23
This test is very accurate, thanks test. :)
Jun 14, 2015 15:58:28
I'm an INFP and I love ENTP's