Loyalty, support, emotional feedback – these are not what ENTPs look for in their friendships. The last thing people with the ENTP personality type want to hear is "you’re right", not unless they have absolutely earned the distinction in a heated round of intellectual debate. If they’re wrong, ENTPs want to be told so, and they want every detail of the faults in their logic to be laid bare, partly in their quest for oftentimes arbitrary truth, and partly just so they have to work to defend that logic with counterpoint and parry.
It’s often easy for ENTPs to test compatibility with a potential friend – they just need to test combatability. ENTP personalities are quick-witted, and their primary means of expressing this is in the form of arguments and discussions, where they will easily spend an entire evening debating an idea they may not even believe in.
These debates are never taken personally, no matter how heated they become or how striking the disagreement. Much as an athlete competes for the physical exertion and the spirit of competition itself, ENTPs debate for the sake intellectual stimulation and for the debate itself, and even in overwhelming victory or crushing defeat, it’s never about dominance, only inspiration to try harder next time.
When You Play, Play Hard
They know how to relax and have fun too, it’s just that "fun" to ENTPs – a bottle of wine and a discussion about the causes of and solutions to the European Debt Crisis – could be described as "an evening from hell" by many Observant (S) and Feeling (F) types. But ENTPs are a genial and enthusiastic personality type for the most part, and pretty much any situation that allows for conversation and a little wordplay is an enjoyable outing.
ENTPs are actually remarkably good at communicating with friends and acquaintances of other personality types. Their natural tendency to argue as effectively as possible means that ENTPs are accustomed to communicating in other people’s language and frame of reference, and this translates well into normal conversation. Where people with the ENTP personality type do have difficulty relating to others is in emotional expression, the Achilles’ heel of all Analyst types.
The Worst Thinking Has Been Done in Turmoil
Being inclined to suppress their emotions and feelings, when ENTPs are faced with a friend who, figuratively or literally, needs a shoulder to cry on, they have no clue how to handle the situation. They are perfectly willing and happy to offer a series of rational, reasonable solutions to the problem at hand, as ENTPs do for any situation where a problem needs to be fixed, but they are certainly not known for their sensitivity or outward affection, no matter how intuitively they may understand another’s position.
Worse is when ENTP personalities try to turn these emotional situations into something they find more comfortable: a debate. Given how remarkably good ENTPs are at debating both sides of a point, they are remarkably bad at putting themselves in someone else’s shoes from an emotional standpoint. ENTPs should avoid at all costs the temptation to turn a discussion about the causes of a friend’s recent breakup into competitive intellectual fodder.
So long as everyone understands not to take their words too personally, anyone who isn’t afraid to discuss new ideas – and have them converted into so much confetti – is likely to find stimulating and thought-provoking friends in ENTPs. It’s not a compatibility that clicks with everyone, but ENTPs don’t really care about being liked by everyone anyways. As long as they get to alternate between being the sounding board and the megaphone, ENTPs and their friends are bound to enjoy each other’s company for a long, long time.