ESFP (extraverted, sensing, feeling, perceiving) is one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. People with ESFP personality types are often described as spontaneous, resourceful, and outgoing. They love being the center of attention and are often described as entertainers or “class clowns.” ESFP is the opposite of the INTJ personality type.
According to psychologist David Keirsey, the developer of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, approximately four to ten percent of all people have an ESFP personality type.
Key ESFP Characteristics
- ESFPs tend to be very practical and resourceful. They prefer to learn through hands-on experience and tend to dislike book learning and theoretical discussions. Because of this, students with ESFP personality types sometimes struggle in traditional classroom settings. However, they excel in situations where they are allowed to interact with others or learn through direct experience.
- ESFPs live very much in the here-and-now and sometimes fail to think about how current actions will lead to long-term consequences. They will often rush into a new situation and figure things out as they happen. They also tend to dislike routine, enjoy new experiences, and are always looking for a new adventure.
- In addition to having a strong awareness of their surroundings, they are also very understanding and perceptive when it comes to other people. They are able to sense what others are feeling and know how to respond. People tend to find them warm, sympathetic, and easygoing.
- One common myth about ESFPs is that they are attention-seekers. While they are fun-loving and do not shun the spotlight, they are more interested in simply living in the present and doing what feels right at that moment.
- Optimistic and gregarious
- Enjoys people and socializing
- Focused on the present, spontaneous
- Dislikes abstract theories
- Becomes bored easily
- Does not plan ahead
The MBTI suggests that individual personalities are marked by a number of different cognitive functions (sensing, thinking, feeling, and intuition). Some of these are more dominant than others and the hierarchical order of these functions influences how people perceive and relate to the world.
These functions are focused outwardly (extraverted) and in other cases they are focused inwardly (introverted). Extraverted functions are focused on interacting and acting within the world around you, while introverted functions are centered on internal reflection and analysis.
Dominant: Extraverted Sensing
- ESFPs prefer to focus on the here-and-now rather than thinking about the distant future. They also prefer learning about concrete facts rather than theoretical ideas.
- ESFPs don’t spend a lot of time planning and organizing. Instead, they like to keep their options open.
- When solving problems, they trust their instincts and put trust in their own abilities to come up with a solution. While they are reasonable and pragmatic, they dislike structure, order, and planning. Instead, they act spontaneously and do not spend a great deal of time coming up with a plan or schedule.
Auxiliary: Introverted Feeling
- ESFPs place a greater emphasis personal feelings rather than logic and facts when making decisions.
- People with this personality type have an internal system of values on which they base their decisions. They are very much aware of their own emotions and are empathetic towards others. They excel at putting themselves in another person’s shoes, so to speak.
Tertiary: Extraverted Thinking
- This function is focused on enforcing order on the outside world. It is centered on productivity, logic, and results.
- Because this tends to be a weaker aspect of personality, ESFPs may not always feel secure sharing their judgments, especially if they feel it will disrupt the harmony of the group.
Inferior: Introverted Intuition
- While this is the least prominent aspect of personality, this function can help the ESFP spot patterns and make connections in things they have observed.
- ESFPs are usually not particularly adept at using logic to sort through abstract concepts, but this sense can sometimes lead to flashes of insight and epiphanies about the themselves or the world.
ESFPs You Might Know
- Bill Clinton, U.S. President
- Pablo Picasso, artist
- Mark Cuban, entrepreneur
- Will Smith, actor
- Fred and George Weasley, fictional characters from Harry Potter
As extroverts, ESFPs enjoy spending time with other people and have excellent interpersonal skills. They are good at understanding how other people are feeling and are able to respond to other people’s emotions in productive ways. For this reason, ESFPs can make good leaders and have a knack for mobilizing, motivating and persuading group members.
ESFPs are often described as warm, kind and thoughtful, making them popular and well-liked by others. ESFPs enjoy meeting new people, but they also have a thirst for new experiences. They are generally focused on the present and will often be the first person to try the newest ride at an amusement park or try out a new adventure sport.
With their strong dislike for routine, ESFPs do best in careers that involve a lot of variety. Jobs that involve a great deal of socializing are also a great fit, allowing individuals with this personality type to put their considerable people skills to good use. Careers that involve a great deal of structure and solitary work can be difficult for ESFPs, and they often become bored in such situations.
Popular ESFP Careers
- Social worker
- Athletic coach
- Child care provider
- Human resources specialist
- Fashion designer
Tips for Interacting With ESFPs
ESFPs grow weary with the same old routines and are always ready for a new adventure. In order to keep up with this personality type, you need to always be ready for new experiences – from exploring new places to meeting new people. Keeping things interesting is important, but ESFPs love to have a reliable co-conspirator who is as ready for fun as they are.
ESFP children are enthusiastic and energetic, which can be both fun and exhausting for parents. You can help by providing plenty of outlets for this boundless energy. Sports, hobbies, and outdoor adventures are all good sources of fun for ESFP kids. While these kids are people-loving extroverts, they may need time alone to process their feelings when they are upset. Be sure to give them some time before drawing them out to discuss their emotions.
ESFPs tend to be honest and forthright in relationships. They don’t play games and are warm and enthusiastic in romantic relationships. One thing to remember is that ESFPs dislike conflict and tend to take any critical comments quite personally. While it is important to be straightforward in your relationship with an ESFP, try to avoid being overly harsh or confrontational.