I am an ENFJ and I’ve listened to your course for ENFJ’s and it was great! And you were talking about me when you said ENFJs want to have it all. That’s why I took the course because it’s sooo TRUE! I need to do it all and find myself committing to too much and becoming overwhelmed

I have a question regarding my career. I have NEVER wanted my career to be my life and always pursued a career in science communication because (makes so much sense) I love taking research learned and explaining it to the public. However, I realized this career will never pay me any money and I won’t have control over where I live.

So, after spending 4 years working in the science communications field I have made a decision to become a nurse. I’ll be able to work with people, live where I want, earn more money, and have a good balance between work and life (don’t take work home with me). I’m currently finishing up my prereqs, working the hospital part-time, and applying to schools (out of state schools).

I’m also concerned with going back to school as school is not my strong area and I will be doing the accelerated nursing program which is quite intensive. I know I can do it, but am trying to figure out how to still maintain balance and not feel overwhelmed, which is why I’m seeking out advice before I take the plunge this fall (have to be accepted first though).  Do you have any advice on this?

My second question for you is that you say “ENFJs can have anything they want, and if they don’t have it it’s because they don’t really want it.” I understand this to a certain extent. I’m curious as to what you mean exactly because there have been, is currently actually, guys who I have wanted, but they haven’t wanted me in a romantic relationship. They want to still hang out with me a lot and confide in me, but it actually blows my mind that they want that, but don’t want to be in a relationship with me.

So, I’m confused on how you say “ENFJ’s can get anything they want.” AND the worst part is because I know they enjoy my company I hang out with them whenever they want to because I don’t want them to feel alone or like they don’t have anyone to confide in. It’s actually kind of nuts. I’m also stubborn and can’t accept that it’s “just platonic.” This is actually the most challenging part of my life right now, as for everything else I want, I do get. You are right about that.

I’m 27 now though and want kids and to settle down. I’m tired of getting sucked into dating guys that I date because I feel they need me more than I need them, but I stay with them because it makes them feel good. It’s insane when I say it out loud. I want to take the time to date a guy who I want to marry.

Thank you! I thoroughly appreciate any advice you have!

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12 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    I think the two questions are related. I think what you’d really like is to get married and have kids and have enough money from your partner’s earnings so that you could pick and choose what you do for work without having to worry about the money.

    The reason you are not attracting that type of man is because you are not being forthcoming about what you want. If you say what you want you’ll attract men who want that too. And if you commit to getting what you want then you won’t feel ok doing things that don’t align with what you want.

    Getting a nursing degree wastes your time because you don’t want to be a nurse. You want to have kids and take care of them and maybe go to work as a break from kids. Taking care of sick people is not a break from kids. So this is not a good job for you. And a woman who is in school to change careers is not someone who looks ready to get married and have kids.

    Hanging out with guys who don’t want to get married is a total waste of your time. They don’t have a biological clock — they can do nothing until they are 35, get a career when they are 40 and get married and have kids at 45. Stay away from those guys.

    So you should decide where you want to raise your kids, move there, get any job — it doesn’t matter — and date people until you find one to marry. Dating, not your job, is what’s important for you to reach your goal.

    Here is a post that might inspire you on the dating front:

    If you want to get married, make it your job to find a mate


    • Anonymous ENFJ
      Anonymous ENFJ says:

      You are completely right about hanging out with the wrong types of guys. I need to be more upfront. However, that is a huge shift in my plans right now. I’ve totally committed to going back to school with taking courses, quitting my other better-paying job, and starting applications.

      What if I can’t find a guy who can support me? Or doesn’t that seem shallow to only look for a guy who can support me? I want to be able to support myself as well in case I don’t find “Mr. right.” Plus, I don’t even know where I’d want to move.

      This is a challenging decision you’ve brought up. This is also amazingly far from any advice I’ve received from anyone. Everyone is so supportive of nursing, but I haven’t been blatantly honest with my relationships with them. I guess I have to move, as I am not in a good dating town.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        One more thing: you control if you find someone to marry. This is not the lottery or a fairy tale. You are finding someone to have a family with. Ten gazillion million people would be fine for that. You find one if you want to find one. Everyone compromises on their dreams to get married. No one will have everything you’re hoping for. The people you know who you think did not compromise to get married — they are just not telling you. But they did.

        And you are not committed to nursing school. You haven’t even started. And you can already support yourself. You do not have to have a career you love in order to get married. It doesn’t matter.

        Finally, the debt from nursing school makes getting married and starting a family more complicated. Nursing school is a good idea for some people but not for you.

        Some other posts that might help you:

        How to pick a husband if you want to have kids

        Open letter to the guy who refuses to be the sole breadwinner

        Good luck!

        • jessica
          jessica says:

          I think the career is the subject she is used to talking to with the guys, because she hasn’t yet sought out and talked with established guys that want a family. The new guys you date will want to talk about your current career, but in the context of you quitting that career to move on in life with them.

          You are communicating you want one thing, when in reality you want another (family), but luckily you have recently realised that. So before you date another guy you need to shift your mindset to catch up with what you really want, so you stop projecting this false future to these new guys. (Also, this will weed out the guys really fast that can’t afford family life on their own)

          Going to nursing school is the same thing perpetuated, and a huge time and money commitment to just end up married with kids in a few years. Move, take another job in communications, but make your goal dating for the right guy that earns enough for you to have a family.

  2. Julia Aidar
    Julia Aidar says:

    I am just happy to see I knew exactly what Penelope was going to tell you. :D

    I have no idea of dating, found my husband in university and have been with him 15 years. But I can definitely attest to the fact that I have compromised and so has every close friend and family with whom I have had this sort of intimate talk.

  3. Isabelle
    Isabelle says:

    I’m also an ENFJ, and struggle mightily with wanting to have it all. I’m 31 and have 2 kids (1 & 4). One practical suggestion is to date older guys. Depending on where you live, most guys who are “together” enough to support a family are NOT interested in doing so until they are 35+. Their biological clock kicks in way later than ours does, and if you are in any major city, this is way worse. My husband is super smart, but from a small town in WI, so that’s the only reason getting married young and having kids young worked out for us. Many of my mid-30’s friends who desperately want kids aren’t willing to date older (or ugly, or boring, or….) guys, and it makes things REALLY HARD. Penelope is right that everyone compromises– I have what I think is a very solid and happy marriage, and we both have definitely compromised. The trick is to compromise on things that don’t actually matter once you have kids– like how exciting they are (you aren’t going anywhere anymore anyway), how good-looking they are (as long as you have sexual chemistry, you are good, and everyone gets old eventually.)
    Figuring out what your non-negotiable are for a partner,and whether they are actually smart (ask people!) would be a good idea right now. When you know what you want to find, you have a much better chance of finding it.

  4. TG
    TG says:

    I strongly suggest that you continue your pursuit of a nursing degree – it is one of the best investments you can make – and the cost is very reasonable (see below). It is an excellent choice for working mothers – flexible, mobile, good pay. Education is something that can never be taken away from you – and you never know when you’ll need to be the bread winner.


    Typical Tuition Rates

    The best way to calculate your tuition costs for an RN program is to multiply your school’s cost per credit times the number of credits necessary to complete your program. As stated above, this varies from one school to another. The reason for this is because some schools require more credit hours than others, and some facilities charge more per credit hour than others.

    Another factor that can affect your tuition rate is whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student. In most cases, tuition rates for in-state RN students are much more affordable than those for out-of-state students. Furthermore, universities tend to be more expensive than community colleges and trade schools. Some common tuition rates for RN students attending community colleges are:
    _In-State Cost Per Credit Hour – $72 to $82
    _Out-of-State Cost Per Credit Hour – $154 to $216
    _Average Tuition Per Semester (full-time in-state students) – $864 to $1,019
    _Average Tuition Per Semester (full-time out-of-state students) – $2,627 to $3,168

  5. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    Nursing is an excellent career choice… and speaking of finding the right person to marry, think of all the wonderful, educated, high-earning doctors you will meet in the medical field should you choose to follow the path you desire.

    I have a dear friend from college who married her college sweetheart who just happens to be a highly paid surgeon now. She is now 37 and they just had their first child and since they are doing extremely well financially she can pretty much do whatever she wants (she is in a creative field) and doesn’t have to worry about earning an income.

    I didn’t read any frantic tone in what you wrote regarding marriage and babies. It seemed like you really wanted career advice. But there will be an intersection in your future that you may want to start thinking about.

  6. Rayne of Terror
    Rayne of Terror says:

    An observation, men in mid-sized Midwestern cities/towns get married and they’ll do it before they are 30. My experience is with cities between 50k and 150k population. If you are so inclined, I’d look for a university town so you have lots of amenities, join activities you like, and start following P’s advice.

  7. Alex
    Alex says:

    I love Penelope’s advice. As an ENFJ, I can totally relate with some of your goals, but I’m mind-boggled at your lack of actions. When dating, as soon as I realized a guy wasn’t serious, I’d drop him. You need to develop some extra confidence so that you don’t feel the need to stay with someone that isn’t right for you.

    I made dating my job. I was going on 1-5 dates a week, actively looking for something “serious”. And when I found it, I put the relationship ahead of my career and followed him across Canada. I explained my need to get married because I was assuming all of the risk in the relationship (as in, moving for his job and sacrificing my own career prospects). We made a plan to get married within the year. Then I started priming him on the idea of us starting to have kids. We made a deal to begin once his intense work stint ended. We are now having a kid.

    Not only do you need to clarify your goals, and identify which is your highest goal, you need to more actively date and be clear about what you want without scaring guys away. If a guy is looking for something casual, run. If a guy is looking for a serious relationship, that could work. Talk about goals with him (eventually).

    I love the idea that ENFJs get what they want, and if they don’t get it, they don’t really want it. I think this is probably true. If you’re not attracting the right kind of guys, join some clubs (toastmasters? outdoors club?), join a gym, join a language class. You might meet people in nursing school but don’t lose sight of your main goal.

    Anyone can support themselves if they bring their costs down low enough. Are you wasting money? Can you tackle that area? Everything is less expensive when sharing costs so don’t think about it like you’re looking for a sugar daddy, you’re looking for a guy with a job. You’ll probably want to work part-time as a SAHM anyways, so don’t worry so much about being supported by a future hubby.

    Good luck!

    • ellen
      ellen says:

      gosh! thank you how did i never read this dear polly column before? thank you infinity! happy new year!

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