ESFP (Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving) is an abbreviation used in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) publications to refer to one of the sixteen personality types. The MBTI assessment was developed from the work of prominent psychiatrist Carl G. Jung in his book Psychological Types, which proposed a psychological typology based on his theories of cognitive functions.
From Jung's work, others developed psychological typologies. Well-known personality tests are the MBTI assessment, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey. Keirsey referred to ESFPs as Performers, one of the four types belonging to the temperament he called the Artisan.
ESFPs take a hands-on approach in most things. Because they learn more by doing than by studying or reading, they tend to rush into things, learning by interacting with their environment. They usually dislike theory and written explanations. Traditional schools can be difficult for ESFPs, although they tend to do well when the subject of study interests them, or when they see the relevance of a subject and are allowed to interact with people.
Observant, practical, realistic, and specific, ESFPs make decisions according to their own personal standards. They use their Feeling judgment internally to identify and empathize with others. Naturally attentive to the world around them, ESFPs are keen observers of human behavior. They quickly sense what is happening with other people and immediately respond to their individual needs. They are especially good at mobilizing people to deal with crises. Generous, optimistic, and persuasive, they are good at interpersonal interactions. They often play the role of peacemaker due to their warm, sympathetic, and tactful nature.
ESFPs love being around people and having new experiences. Living in the here-and-now, they often do not think about long term effects or the consequences of their actions. While very practical, they generally despise routines, instead desiring to 'go with the flow.' They are, in fact, very play minded. Because ESFPs learn better through hands-on experience, classroom learning may be troublesome for many of them, especially those with a very underdeveloped intuitive side.
If ESFPs do not find a place where they can use their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions, they usually feel frustrated and may become distracted or overly impulsive. They may have trouble accepting and meeting deadlines. They may also become hypersensitive, internalizing others’ actions and decisions.
It is natural for ESFPs to give less attention to their non-preferred Intuitive and Thinking parts. If they neglect these too much, they may fail to look at long-term consequences, acting on immediate needs of themselves and others. They may also avoid complex or ambiguous situations and people, putting enjoyment ahead of obligations.
Under great stress, ESFPs may feel overwhelmed internally by negative possibilities. They then put energy into developing simplistic global explanations for their negativity.