This article is about the Myers-Briggs personality type. For the Socionics ESFp, see Sensory Ethical Extrovert.

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.

The MBTI instrument

  • E - Extraversion preferred to Introversion
  • S - Sensing preferred to iNtuition
  • F - Feeling preferred to Thinking
  • P - Perceiving preferred to Judging

Characteristics of ESFPs

Myers-Briggs description

ESFPs live in the moment, experiencing life to the fullest. They enjoy people, as well as material comforts. Rarely allowing conventions to interfere with their lives, they find creative ways to meet human needs. ESFPs are excellent team players, focused on completing the task at hand with maximum fun and minimum discord. Active types, they find pleasure in new experiences.

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.

How Others May Perceive ESFPs

Others usually see ESFPs as resourceful and supportive, as well as gregarious, playful, and spontaneous. ESFPs get a lot of satisfaction out of life and are fun to be around. Their exuberance and enthusiasm draw others to them. They are flexible, adaptable, congenial, and easygoing. They seldom plan ahead, trusting their ability to respond in the moment and deal effectively with whatever presents itself. They dislike structure and routine and will generally find ways to bend the rules.

Potential Areas for Growth

Sometimes life circumstances do not support ESFPs in the development and expression of the Feeling and Sensing preferences. If they have not developed their Feeling preference, ESFPs may get caught up in the interactions of the moment, with no mechanism for weighing, evaluating, or anchoring themselves. If they have not developed their Sensing preference, they may focus on the sensory data available in the moment. Their decisions may then be limited to gratification of sensual desires, particularly those involving interactions with other people.

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.

Cognitive functions

  • Dominant Extraverted Sensing (Se)
  • Auxiliary Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  • Tertiary Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  • Inferior Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Type and personal growth

Each person is unique; there is no "right" or "wrong" type. The purpose of learning about personality type is to understand oneself better and enhance relationships with others. Results on the MBTI suggest the probable type based on the choices made when answering the questions; however, only the individual can determine his or her true type preference. Moreover, type does not explain everything. Human personality is much more complex.

Correlation with Enneatype

According to Baron and Wagele, the most common Enneatypes for ESFPs are Helpers and Enthusiasts.

See also


External links

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