ESFP: Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving

At your best

People with ESFP preferences are exuberant lovers of life. They live in the moment and find enjoyment in people, food, clothes, animals, the natural world, and activities. They seldom let rules interfere with their lives, focusing on meeting human needs in creative ways. ESFPs are excellent team players, oriented to getting the task done with a maximum amount of fun and a minimum amount of fuss.

How others may see you

ESFPs get a lot of fun out of life and are fun to be with; their exuberance and enthusiasm draw others to them. They are flexible, adaptable, congenial, and easy going. They seldom plan ahead, trusting their ability to respond in the moment and deal effectively with whatever presents itself. They hate structure and routine and will generally find ways to get around them. ESFPs tend to learn by doing, by interacting with their environment. They usually dislike theory and written explanations. Traditional schools can be difficult for ESFPs, though they do well when they see the relevance and are allowed to interact with people or the topics being studied. Others usually see ESFPs as:

  • Resourceful and supportive
  • Gregarious, fun-loving, playful, spontaneous

Characteristics of ESFPs

ESFPs are interested in people and new experiences. Because they learn more from doing than from studying or reading, they tend to plunge into things, learning as they go. They appreciate their possessions and take pleasure in them. ESFPs are likely to be

  • Practical realistic, and specific
  • Observant
  • Focused on current realities

ESFPs make decisions by using their personal values. They are good at interpersonal interactions and often play the role of peacemaker. Many feel a special affinity for children and animals. They primarily use their Feeling judgement internally to make decisions by identifying and empathising with others. Thus, ESFPs are likely to be

  • Generous, optimistic, and persuasive
  • Warm, sympathetic, and tactful

ESFPs are keen observers of human behaviour. They seem to sense what is happening with other people and respond quickly to their practical needs. They are especially good at mobilising people to deal with crises.

Potential areas for growth

Sometimes life circumstances have not supported ESFPs in the development and expression of their Feeling and Sensing preferences.

  • If they have not developed their Feeling, ESFP 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, they may focus on the sensory data available in the moment. Their decisions may then be limited to gratification of their 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 and overly impulsive
  • Have trouble accepting and meeting deadlines
  • Over-personalise 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, however, they may:

  • Fail to look at long-term consequences, acting on immediate needs of themselves and others,
  • Avoid complex or ambiguous situations and people
  • Put 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 negative pictures.

Where you focus your attention: Extraversion

People who prefer Extraversion tend to focus on the outer world of people and external events and attention outward and receive energy from external events, experiences and interactions.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Extraversion:

  • Attuned to external environment
  • Prefer to communicate by talking
  • Learn best through doing or discussing
  • Breadth of interests
  • Tend to speak first, reflect later
  • Sociable and expressive
  • Take initiative in work and relationships

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Like variety and action.
  • Tend to be faster, dislike complicated procedures.
  • Are often good at greeting people.
  • Are often impatient with long slow jobs.
  • Are interested in the results of their job, in getting it done and in how other people do it.
  • Often do not mind the interruption of answering the telephone, often act quickly, sometimes without thinking.
  • Like to have people around.
  • Usually communicate freely.

How you take in information: Sensing

People who prefer Sensing like to take in information through their eyes, ears and other senses to find out what is actually happening. They are observant of what is going on around them and are especially good at recognising the practical realities of a situation.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Sensing:

  • Focus on what is real and actual
  • Value practical applications
  • Factual and concrete, notice details
  • Observe and remember sequentially
  • Live in the present
  • Want information step-by-step
  • Trust experience

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Dislike new problems unless there are standard ways to solve them.
  • Like an established way of doing things.
  • Enjoy using skills already learned more than learning new ones.
  • Work more steadily, with realistic ideas of how long it will take.
  • Usually reach a conclusion step by step.
  • Are patient with routine details.
  • Are impatient when the details get complicated.
  • Are not often inspired, and rarely trust the inspiration when they are.
  • Seldom make errors of fact.
  • Tend to be good at precise work.

How you make decisions: Feeling

People who prefer to use Feeling in decision making tend to consider what is important to them and to other people. They mentally place themselves in a situation and identify with the people involved so that they can make decisions based on person-centred values.  Their goal is harmony and recognition of individuals, and their strengths include understanding, appreciating and supporting others.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Feeling:

  • Sympathetic
  • Assess impact on people
  • Guided by personal values
  • “Tender-hearted”
  • Strive for harmony and individual recognition
  • Compassionate
  • Accepting

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Tend to be very aware of other people and their
    feelings.
  • Enjoy pleasing people, even in unimportant
    things.
  • Like harmony. 
    Efficiency may be badly disturbed by office feuds.
  • Often let decisions be influenced by their own
    or other people’s personal likes and wishes.
  • Need occasional praise.
  • Dislike telling people unpleasant things.
  • Are more people-oriented, respond more easily to
    people’s values.
  • Tend to be sympathetic.

How you orient toward the outer world: Perceiving

People who prefer to use their Perceiving process in the outer world tend to live in a flexible, spontaneous way seeking to experience and understand life, rather than control it. Plans and decisions feel confining to them; they prefer to stay open to experience and last-minute options. They enjoy and trust their resourcefulness and ability to adapt to the demands of a situation.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Perceiving:

  • Spontaneous
  • Open-ended
  • Casual
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Like things unconstrained and open to change
  • Feel energised by last-minute pressures