ESFP

Dominant Extraverted Sensing with Auxiliary Introverted Feeling

Tertiary Thinking and Inferior Introverted Intuition

Fun • Energetic • Social • Practical

According to the MBTI® Manual, ESFPs make up 8.5% of the population, making this type the 6th most common, of 16, in the US population.

ESFPs are known for appearing playful, spontaneous, realistic, and caring.  They prize enthusiasm, people, action, and interaction, and they use these qualities to take care of others in a crisis and bring more fun, peace, and enjoyment to their lives and the lives of those they interact with.  ESFPs have a great appreciation for finding new, creative, and tactful ways to use existing resources and processes to help others in practical ways.  This is most easily accomplished in harmonious environments that allow for flexibility, hands-on activities, and team work.

Along with the zest ESFPs usually have for life, they often love to make work enjoyable and playful.  They also tend to have a love and appreciation of possessions, from clothes to cars to other favorite items. As family members and friends, ESFPs are typically fun-loving, energetic, and playful, in addition to being warm and good at performing practical care-taking needs for their loved ones.

In Stress

Normally, ESFPs will be thrown off in environments where rules are rigidly enforced, and there is emphasis on long-term planning.  ESFPs are usually stressed by having to plan far in the future, feeling out of control, or being asked to complete tasks without detailed directions or processes. They may feel tense in environments that are critical and lack harmony. They generally feel stress when not allowed to learn through interaction with others and hands on experience, in lieu of book work, theory, or writing, and this can sometimes make traditional schooling difficult.

When faced with stress overload, which may come from being forced to make commitments or plans in advance, being forced to make decisions or eliminate options before they are ready, or having to spend a lot of time following someone else’s rules and/or schedules, ESFPs may find themselves “in the grip” of their inferior function, Introverted Intuition.  During this experience, the individual is likely to do things that are typically completely out of character.  This may include having fearful fantasies of the possibilities of impending doom swirling in their minds, like a tornado. They may begin to assign big meaning to small occurrences, and they may become uncharacteristically preoccupied with the meaning of life and the future of mankind or the universe.

Fortunately, going through and coming out of a grip experience can lead to growth and balance of the personality and the person.

To learn about ESFPs under the particular stress that only comes from being chased by the dead, check out ESFPs in the Zombie Apocalypse!

As Learners

In general, ESFPs enjoy learning in a hands-on, interactive, and people centered way.  They learn best when practical explanations, real life examples, details, facts, and expectations are presented first, rather than first being presented with abstract theories or encountering expectations along the way. Material sinks in more easily when the real life applications are apparent and/or highlighted by the instructor, and using stories about how information has applied in the lives of actual people will likely allow the deepest connection to the material. ESFPs often excel at memorization, and will usually be able to hang on to details that they find personally meaningful and useful in their own lives.

ESFPs like a flexible and varied learning environment, and they typically prefer to work in a way that allows them to talk ideas and concepts out with others, at their own pace, in a way that is fun and involves as many senses as possible.  Typically, ESFPs enjoy getting feedback from an instructor regularly, and in a way that is supportive and non-judgmental.  ESFPs also like to have ample time to work through the learning process, as they tend to struggle when they feel rushed by a teacher going through material too quickly or in a high-level manner.

Individuals of this type may find it helpful to ask teachers for real life examples when they are not present.  They should try to remember to look at details together, to see the big picture, in addition to their natural method of examining details as details.  Frustration may occur for ESFPs in a classroom that is too rigid or lacking in fun, so they may want to discuss options for assignments with teachers, which will hopefully allow the ESFP to add both fun and their own processes to assignments.  It may also be helpful to form study groups to provide maximum absorption via interaction.

Time Management

Typically, ESTPs greatly prefer action and trial and error over planning, and they may prefer to adapt existing plans to current situations and people’s needs rather than creating new plans. While some ESFPs use calendars, to-do lists, and other organizational aids, many prefer mental lists and friendly reminders from friends or coworkers.  Motivation for ESFPs comes from helping others in practical ways, environments that are inclusive and friendly, and creating fun..

ESFPs are often thrown off in time management by overcommitting to others in the moment, at the expense of planned activities, spending too much time having fun, and having to repeat or restart tasks due to a lack of pre-planning.  Procrastination may occur when the ESFP is asked to do something slow or boring or something that entails vague or long-term outcomes.

Tips for staying or getting back on task:

  • Get an accountability buddy you can exchange reminders and ideas with, to allow both of you to stay on track.
  • Figure out ways to incorporate fun and action into activities that seem slow or boring.
  • Take a step back to allow yourself to refocus on the task at hand.

Decision Making

When approaching decisions, ESFPs want to find solutions that are practical, functional in the here and now, people-focused, and flexible, and they are usually more interested in the execution than the deciding.  They will often begin by using their Dominant Extraverted Sensing to brainstorm about knowledge and processes that currently work, while considering past experience and commonsense to look at the facts and details of the situation as they pertain to people.  They will then consider how options will impact people and relationships in a way that is caring, considerate, hands on, and fun. ESFPs will likely put into action the options that require the least effort and provide the most enjoyment, adapting as needed.

ESFPs may enjoy talking initial ideas out with others, as this improves their brainstorming process.  They would rather not drag out the contemplative process more than is needed, as they would prefer to get to the action and people helping with minimal muss and fuss, but they may improve the outcome by spending a bit more time on the process.  Individuals of this type will generally examine the decision after the fact by celebrating positive outcomes and people’s contributions and thinking of ways to apply them to similar situations.

ESFPs may neglect examining long-term future possibilities and knowledge outside their own experience when making decisions, and they may also fail to consider the logical, analytical, and objective sides of the decision making process.  To find more balance in the process, all types may consider discussing decisions with friends of different types to gain new insights and/or utilizing the Zig-Zag Method, which encompasses exploring decisions from the perspective of all four functions.  ESFPs will likely find this process more natural when exploring Sensing first, followed by Feeling, Thinking, and Intuition.

In Careers

Personality type is one important part of the process of choosing a career that is a good fit, but it is far from the only part.  It is important to first look at your personal goals and values when making a career decision.  These may involve retiring early, helping others, having time for hobbies/avocations, having time to spend with kids and family, making lots of money, making use of a specific talent (singing, art, athletic ability, etc.), following in family footsteps, or following a childhood dream.

It is also important to look at skills and preferences.  If you hate math, maybe engineering is not the way to go, and you may want to skip being a doctor or nurse if the sight of blood makes you queasy.  Interests, from loving the great outdoors to being fascinated by the depths of the human mind, play a huge role in the career choice process as well.  Below are some type specific commonalities in the career world.

ESFPs often…

  • Seek careers that allow them to use their orientation to action, adeptness with detail, hands on approach, adaptability, and warmth to help others in the moment.
  • Prefer environments where they can help others in a harmonious and fun environment that allows a great deal of interaction with coworkers and other people.
  • Enjoy tasks that help people in practical ways, that aid in easier and more productive functioning in day to day life.  This is often in a way that is action oriented, fun, exciting, and hands on in the moment.
  • Might struggle with too much structure, strict deadlines, isolation, disharmonious environments, and situations that require long term planning.  They may also tend to put off decisions while they are in the career search process.
  • Are often attracted to careers such as:
      • Nursing (emergency and labor and delivery)
      • Medicine (respiratory therapy, medical technology, physical therapy)
      • Office work (administrative assistance, bookkeeping)
      • Teaching (K-12, religion, health)
      • Veterinary work ( veterinarian or vet tech)
      • Recreation (coaching, gardening, fishing, farming)
      • Social Services/Counseling
      • Customer service (sales, library worker)
      • Child care
      • Trades (cosmetology, construction, electrician)
  • May be less interested in careers involving a focus on data, conflict mediation, analysis, or abstract theory.  They may also shy away from extremely structured careers that do not allow fun or action.

If the career you are interested in does not appear on this list, or if you simply don’t find any appealing careers listed here, do not worry!  Personality type is not meant to sentence you to a life of misery in a career you hate, and this list is far from exhaustive.  You may want to check out descriptions of thousands of possible careers at O*Net, and then contemplate how your type may play into some of the careers that do interest you.  Also, if your university has a career counseling center (and most do), visit them to gain assistance in finding a career that suits your needs and wants.

As Team Members

ESFP team members will likely contribute to the team by tuning into and providing the practical needs of other individuals, while providing energy, vitality, humor, and fun to the work environment.  ESFPs have great love of flexibility, harmonious interaction, encouragement, and inclusiveness.  They appreciate the view points of others, and they are good at providing empathetic support in a crisis situation.

While ESFP team members have many strengths, they may find it difficult to focus on complex and deep projects, especially those that focus on analysis or are seen by the ESFP as boring.  They may also have a tendency to keep their own thoughts and needs to themselves, in favor of taking care and appreciating the ideas of other people in the group, and their love of socializing may cause work to be put on the back burner.  ESFPs sometimes also lose sight of the long-range plan in their tendency to live in the present moment.  Awareness of these areas, as well as seeking out the perspectives of team members with different preferences, can help ESFPs gain balance and appreciate team and type diversity.

As Leaders

ESFPs make energetic and flexible leaders who set the course of the team by including the view points of others and using their own personal set of values.  They tend to focus on current realities as a starting point for working with their teams, and they are typically very realistic about what is possible or not.  ESFPs are known for being good at building trust and harmony in teams, while creating a fun, encouraging, and spontaneous work environment, and they are often great at coaching those that they lead.

ESFPs may find it challenging to focus on future planning and strategy preferring to focus on the here and now.  Their gregarious and fun style may not appeal to individuals who are more serious in nature, and they may sometimes be seen as playing favorites with more outgoing and talkative members of the team.  It may also be difficult for ESFPs to stick to deadlines, deal with new data, and complete repetitive tasks.

In Relationships

ESFPs value harmony and fun in relationships.  They take commitment seriously, and they want to know their partners share and honor that commitment.  This extends to fidelity, mutual support, and shared listening.  They also prize a good sense of humor and sharing values with their partner.

As partners, ESFPs tend to be affectionate, energetic, and fun.  They will often lead very active social lives with a wide circle of friends, and they love to include their partners in this life, while keeping harmony and happiness in the relationship. ESFPs typically like for their partners to show appreciation for their helpfulness and friendliness in a way that is evident but understated.  When it comes to conflict and disagreement, ESFPs tend to struggle.  They tend to believe, “If I ignore it, it will go away.”

ISTJ   ISFJ   INFJ   INTJ   ISTP   ISFP   INFP   INTP  ESTP   ESFP   ENFP   ENTP   ESTJ   ESFJ   ENFJ   ENTJ

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