ESFP (extraverted, sensing, feeling, perceiving) is one of the 16 personality types identified by the Jung Personality Test. People with ESFP personality types are often described as spontaneous, resourceful and outgoing. 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.
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The test looks at personality preferences in four key areas: 1) Extraversion vs Introversion, 2) Sensing vs Intuition, 3) Thinking vs Feeling and 4) Judging vs Perceiving. As you’ve probably already guessed, the acronym ESFP represents Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving.
- Extraversion: ESFPs enjoy interacting with other people and feel energized after they spend time socializing.
- 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.
- Feeling: ESFPs place a greater emphasis personal feelings rather than logic and facts when making decisions.
- Perceiving: ESFPs don’t spend a lot of time planning and organizing. Instead, they like to keep their options open.
Some common ESFP characteristics include:
- Seeks out new experiences
- Spontaneous and sometimes impulsive
- Like facts and concrete information
- Dislikes theories and abstract information
- Enjoys people and socializing
- Focused on the present
- Like variety, dislikes monotony
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.
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.
As extraverts, ESFPs enjoy spending time with other people and have excellent interpersonal skills. They are good at understanding how other people are feelings 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.
An ESFP’s primary cognitive functions are extroverted sensing, introverted feeling, extroverted thinking , and introverted intuition. This is the order in which they are dominant, so ESFPs are largely governed by their extroverted sensing, while their thinking and intuition are less pronounced.
These functions cause ESFPs to be primarily spontaneous and sympathetic. Their pattern-recognition and rationality are also determined by these functions, but they are secondary, as they are associated with the inferior functions.
An ESFP’s shadow functions are the opposite of these primary functions. They come out in stressful situations and can make ESFPs stubborn and impractical.
ESFPs do well in relationships with fellow Sensing personalities. These are likely to share the ESFP’s general worldview, greatly facilitating communication.
Additionally, Introverted and Judging personality types can balance and complement ESFPs’ eccentricities. Because of this, ISFJ and ISTJ are ideal matches for an ESFP.
ESFPs usually get along poorly with Intuitive types, especially extroverted ones such as ENFP. Such a pair can find each other abrasive as they have trouble understanding the substance of the other’s perspective.
ESFP women can be especially spirited and effervescent. They have a very strong personality and are not afraid to use it to get what they want. They are very carefree and focused on the sensory experiences of the moment.
Because of these traits, they necessarily have certain strengths and weaknesses. Among their strengths are charisma, practicality, and sociability; their weaknesses include avoiding conflict to a fault, behaving impulsively, and tending to be a bit too dramatic. These weak points can be kept under control by an ESFP woman who knows how they fit into her overall personality.
ESFP women are very well-suited to careers that involve interaction with others and artistic expression. They typically make excellent nurses, journalists, and designers.
Researchers suggest that some of the following famous individuals exhibit characteristics consistent with the ESFP personality type:
- Bill Clinton, U.S. President
- Ronald Reagan, U.S. President
- Bob Hope, actor
- Marilyn Monroe, actress
- Pablo Picasso, artist
- Woody Harrelson, actor
- Goldie Hawn, actress
- Saint Mark, apostle
Some fictional characters that with ESFP characteristics include:
- Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
- Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, Home Improvement
- Peter Griffin, Family Guy
- Clementine Kruczynski, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Best Career Choices for ESFPs
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.
A few possible career choices for ESFPs include:
- Social Worker
- Athletic coach
- Child care provider
- Human resources specialist
- Fashion designer