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.

Playing 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?

ENTP personality

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

Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic
Tom Hanks
Sarah Silverman
Céline Dion
Adam Savage
Thomas Edison
Mark Twain

Fictional ENTPs

Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean
Jim Halpert from The Office
Clyde Shelton from Law Abiding Citizen
The Joker from Batman series
Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones
Julian Sark from Alias
Felicity Smoak from Arrow


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2 months ago
...I am an ENTP. And it has always been pointed out to me that I have that "tendency" to fight back... that thingy where I get defensive. This test actually...put together everything I ever wondered about myself. There are times when you actually question your personality and trust me. Reading this profile of mine has gotten be confident than ever. But mind you not "over-confident". I do listen to people talk and prove them wrong with their Own statements. So basically I do require support...but I can still have my own uniqueness to it. This post is SO true for me.
2 months ago
My sister is an ENTP and I am an INFJ. She is extremely insensitive. When I compliment her, she just says, "Okay," instead of "Thank you". Because she is insensitve, I can be blunt to her without affecting her. Of course, this is just our little sibling rivalry. However, when she insults me, I take it personally, which I am learning I shouldn't do. (In the end, she never really means it.) She is so insensitive to my sensitivity. The point of saying this is to ask: are all you ENTP's like this? I want to know because everyone says that INFJ and ENTP are the most compatible, and it doesn't seem that way to me.
2 months ago
Oh, you have no idea. I'm ENTP-T and my mother is INFJ-A... It's very, very painful...
2 months ago
That may just be the cause of sibling rivalry, as opposed to the regular compatibility of the two.
2 months ago
I am an INFJ and know quite a few ENTPs and we get on really well, so I think it is mainly sibling rivalry
1 month ago
I am an ENTP girl and my Mom's an INFJ. I loooooove her, she is always so caring and encouraging! I just don't know sometimes what to do when she gets all emotional and depressed (I end up giving practical advice rather than really trying to comfort her lol) but she liked that part about me, so I guess it's okay. It's all about maturing, I think. Oh, I do tend to be more "harsh" and insensitive with my brothers.
2 months ago
I think it's very fitting I was categorised into this personality, having a meaningful intellectual conversation with friends/family is really satisfying. I like to hear all types of people's opinion on topics and I'll tend to try to see their points and even bring up the oppositions point of view to discuss things deeply.. My close friends are all very critical of opinions and love to hold their opinions to their chest, most of my closest friends don't get offended when we talk about things they they're passionate about
2 months ago
So I'm compatiable with this type? I'm an INFJ, and I can say I'd be okay with Jack Sparrow.
3 months ago
To add to the list of ENTPs, I think Shawn Spencer from Psych would be one :)
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