Dominant Extraverted Sensing with Auxiliary Introverted Thinking

Tertiary Feeling and Inferior Introverted Intuition

Gregarious • Adventurous • Realistic • Flexible

According to the MBTI® Manual, ESTPs make up 4.3% of the population, making this type the 10th most common, of 16, in the US population.

ESTPs are known for appearing outgoing, adaptable, energetic, and pragmatic.  They prize practicality, problem-solving, resourcefulness, and action, and they use these qualities to creatively tackle whatever situations arise around them.  ESTPs have a great appreciation for finding new, creative, and rational ways to use existing resources and processes to fix real problems.  This is most easily accomplished in areas that allow for flexibility, hands-on activities, and some team work.

Along with the zest ESTPs usually have for life, they often love to make work enjoyable and playful, to keep things interesting.  As family members and friends, ESTPs are typically fun-loving, energetic, and playful.  This often makes them popular; however, they may struggle in areas where they are required to express emotions.

In Stress

Normally, ESTPs will be thrown off in environments where rules are rigidly enforced, and there is little room for flexibility.  ESTPs 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 find it difficult to be in situations where there is a great deal 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, ESTPs 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 ESTPs under the particular stress that only comes from being chased by the dead, check out ESTPs in the Zombie Apocalypse!

As Learners

In general, ESTPs enjoy the process of learning when it is physical, hands-on, and fun.  They learn best when practical explanations, real life examples, details, facts, and expectations are presented in a way that is process oriented and involves as many senses as possible. They are especially good at problem solving on the fly. Material sinks in more easily when the real life applications, especially in the present, are apparent and/or highlighted by the instructor. They often excel at memorization and detail observations, and they love to couple these abilities with their love of exploration.

ESTPs like to learn within a flexible and informal environment, and they typically prefer to talk out ideas and topics with others, because they often think best while talking. Learning in an environment that is filled with emotional material or emotional conflict will likely distract and bother individuals of this type.  ESTPs also tend to struggle when forced to learn through reading alone or when working in a rigid environment that lacks fun.

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 ESTPs in a classroom that only has one or two methods of instruction, and they may need to seek ways to engage their other senses on their own time.  ESTPs may also consider asking teachers for options for assignments to allow them more fun and flexibility in learning.  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, as they see planning as unnecessary and perhaps even as impeding the process of getting things done. While some ESTPs use calendars, to-do lists, and other organizational aids, many use them only to keep track of a few important tasks, preferring to think of time in bigger chunks than hours.  Motivation for ESTPs comes from fun, action, and the excitement that comes from experiencing the outer world and experiencing the moment.

ESTPs are often thrown off in time management by turning attention from tasks that need to be completed to tasks that are more exciting or action oriented and less boring.  They may also be thrown off by allowing conversations to eat up time originally earmarked for completing projects.  Procrastination may occur when the ESTP is asked to do something slow or something that entails vague or long-term outcomes.

Tips for staying or getting back on task:

  • Try to focus on the goals of reasons for tasks more so than the actual tasks, and prioritize the most important tasks, even if it means letting some less important tasks go.
  • Figure out ways to incorporate fun and action into activities that seem slow or boring.
  • Take a break from action and commitment for awhile, to allow yourself to recharge and refocus.

Decision Making

When approaching decisions, ESTPs want to find solutions that are practical, functional in the here and now, realistic, and flexible, and they are 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.  They will then troubleshoot and consider the bottom line in a way that is objective, logical, hands on, and possibly fun. ESTPs will likely put into action the options that require the least effort, adapting as needed.

ESTPs 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 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 accepting that which did not go right and celebrating that which was amusing.

ESTPs may neglect examining future possibilities and knowledge outside their own experience when making decisions, and they may also fail to consider the people side of decision making, including emotional impacts on themselves and others.  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.  ESTPs will likely find this process more natural when exploring Sensing first, followed by Thinking, Feeling, 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.

ESTPs often…

  • Seek careers that allow them to be active and interactive in a way that is practical, fun, logical, and hands on.
  • Prefer environments with flexibility and interaction with people that offer variety in day to day and moment to moment tasks.  They thrive on excitement, energy, and freedom.
  • Enjoy tasks that serve a logical and practical purpose in the here and now and that involve interactive, hands on problem solving.  They usually love to sell or promote tangible items in their work and have a sense of fun mixed into tasks.
  • Might struggle with too much structure, intensely emotional work environments, and tasks that are largely filled with abstraction and theory.  They may also have difficulty with tasks requiring long term planning or tasks that require them to be tied to a desk all day.
  • Are often attracted to careers such as:
      • Sales and marketing (items, homes, insurance)
      • Outdoor work (forestry, farming, agriculture)
      • Mechanical work (machinist, mechanic, assembler, engine repair)
      • Trades (carpenter, electrician)
      • Civil service (law enforcement, fire fighter, paramedic, investigator)
      • Aviation (pilot or crew)
      • Chef or Bartender
      • Recreation (coaching, leading adventure groups, instructing adventurers)
      • Pharmacy
      • Management/Administration (trades, military, business, finance)
  • May be less interested in careers involving a focus on abstract theory, work that lacks variety and action, or intense work that focuses on relationships, feelings, and people.

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

ESTP team members will likely contribute to the team by springing into action in a crisis, securing resources for the group, and being casual adaptors.  ESTPs have great respect for work/life balance, logic, compromise, and pragmatism.  They appreciate practical assessments of current issues, and they love to problem solve.  They are known to be spontaneous, enthusiastic, and fun team members.

While ESTP team members have many strengths, they may move too quickly into change without a plan.  They may also have a tendency to blurt out their unfiltered opinions and can sometimes forget to take into account a situation’s impact on people.  ESTPs sometimes also lose the big picture and future goals in their desire to jump into action and put out fires.  Awareness of these areas, as well as seeking out the perspectives of team members with different preferences, can help ESTPs gain balance and appreciate team and type diversity.

As Leaders

ESTPs make resourceful and flexible leaders who can think on their feet to create practical solutions and fix problems quickly.  They tend to be politically savvy and good at mediating situations with those they lead.  ESTPs are known for having a casual style that makes them approachable, and they have a knack for identifying relevant information and gathering resources for the group.

ESTPs may find it challenging to focus on long-term plans, preferring to work on the action that is needed in the here and now.  Their individualistic and blunt nature may cause difficulty with building close relationships in the workplace and may cause impatience in situations where long term collaboration is needed to complete projects.  ESTP leaders will often  jump into action before the task has been completely processed and/or evaluated, which may make team members feel left out of the decision making process.

In Relationships

ESTPs crave and prize fun in relationships.  They take commitment seriously, and they want to know their partners share and honor that commitment.  This extends to fidelity, listening, and support.  They also place importance on intimacy and physical compatibility.

As partners, ESTPs tend to be fun, laid back, and good in a pinch.  If a problem needs to be solved, they are often adept at solving it.  They are typically good at taking care of the physical needs of their partners.  ESTPs live to play and be adventurous, and they love to share this with loved ones, while maintaining a sense of freedom and spontaneity. They may struggle with expressing and understanding emotions, communicating on a deep level, and feeling tied down or trapped by a relationship.




  1. Amy

    Hi Sadie,
    This is DEAD ON! I have embraced my ESTP self and thank you for your expertise.

    1. Sadie (Post author)

      Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  2. Miranda

    Great stuff here. I always come back to this typing for me. In my gut, I think it’s right, but I try to adapt to my surroundings, whatever they may be and sometimes lose sight of what I think is important. Hence, my results on MBTI tests are all over the place. Other ESTP females out there: do you find it much easier to work with men than women? I love my female friends (most of whom are STJ types that I don’t work with anymore), but in the current work place, I CANNOT stand feeling-type female drama, gossip, whining, pettiness, etc., but I also feel put on the spot and responsible for dealing with these females in a way that keeps me as uninvolved as possible, but also liked by the females; or at the very least, keeps me from being a target, because I can be brutal when attacked. Lol. But I don’t enjoy dropping the mic on people, usually, unless I think they have really done or said something outrageous.

    Of course, men can be feeling-type drama queens, and not all females act like this, certainly, but it’s been my experience that the majority of women in the work place just thrive on conflict conjured out of thin air.


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