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 seek – ENTPs, like all Analyst 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.

Debaters You May Know

3 years ago
The only true friend I have is my friend Lizzy. I don't see the point in deep relationships. I probably should but, I don't. Logic has always came first for me........ God I love logic...
3 years ago
Logic? You mean the basic thing everyone seems to lack? Yeah! Cheers to logic.
3 years ago
Interesting thing about logic is that, like emotions, it's one-sided. You can view a topic through various types of logic and come to different results or conclusions.
7 months ago
I disagree. Here's the definition of logic from Wikiapedia. Logic originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, (but coming to mean thought or reason) is generally held to consist of the systematic study of the form of valid arguments. A valid argument is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the argument and its conclusion. Now, I don't believe based on this definition that logic is one-sided or has many different results or conclusions. I think a person may have many different perceptions about a topic or preconceived ideals or conclusions but their opinions are not facts. Here's an example from my Logic & Argumentation Class from college: Argument 1: All humans are primates 2: All monkeys are primates then a logical conclusion can be that All humans are monkeys. However, this is an invalid conclusion (despite what scientists may claim, no human has turned into a monkey and no monkey has turned into a human).
3 years ago
How I take pleasure in arguing. Rarely, I know I'm wrong yet I successfully convince others that I'm right. Oh god that's evil.
3 years ago
Totally recognize that.... it's evil, but so entertaining.
3 years ago
I enjoy shredding arguments into bits and watching them flow in the wind like a trophy of triumph
3 years ago
It's like coming out of the closet, or X-men meeting Dr Xavier... finally knowing that we're not alone. I got my tears bursting in comprehension of why we do things differently. It ain't easy surviving in the mainstream. It's all the fault of our planet.
3 years ago
ENTP living in a house with a bunch of Sentinels of various types. It's very hard to get anywhere when the current system of getting to go places and do things requires weeks of planning, and even then those plans don't take priority over anything. However, when I display everything wrong with it, my parents say "We'll consider it" and that's when I know I'm not getting anywhere.
3 years ago
Oh thank you for this! Also an ENTP woman and the feedback I've gotten is so frustrating. "You're too aggressive!" "Must you always take control?" "Don't always give the answer just because you know it." "Don't correct your boss." The things I've heard go on and on, yet the ENTP men I work with get everyone eating out of their hands because they are SUPPOSED to act this way, and I'm not. And I also grew up in a family of F types and then gave birth to an F type. I have to say, though, trying to see things from her perspective has given me much more patience with the rest of the Fs in my family. Ah, thank you for being there and letting me know I'm not the only one with this chip on my shoulder!
3 years ago
I feel this. My father is an ESTJ. I couldnt even argue with him without him flipping out xD My sister is an INFP, and my mother is an ESTP. Fml. There arent any xNTx's in my family. They're all Sentinels or Diplomats.
Giorgio Rienoso
3 years ago
I think we should all befriend eachother with the same personality type. Maybe the world would be better off knowing who we really are. Who knows, maybe marriages would actually work, but then that would mean everyone would have to have some notion of rationalism and logic. Wouldn't it? Oops, almost created havoc again. My bad!
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