- Enthusiastic and fun-loving, they make everything enjoyable
- Clever, witty, direct, and popular, people are drawn towards them
- Earthy and sensual
- Down to earth and practical, able to take care of daily needs
- Artistic and creative, they’re likely to have attractive homes
- Flexible and diverse, they “go with the flow” extremely well
- They can leave bad relationships, although it’s not easy
- Try to make the most of every moment
- Generous and warm-hearted
- May be frivolous and risky with money
- Tend to be materialistic
- Extreme dislike of criticism, likely to take things extremely personally
- Likely to ignore or escape conflict situations rather than face them
- Lifelong commitments may be a struggle for them – they take things one day at a time
- Don’t pay enough attention to their own needs
- Tendency to neglect their health, or even abuse their bodies
- Always excited by something new, they may change partners frequently
What does Success mean to an ESFP?
ESFP’s can’t help but spontaneously grasp the moment, particularly if it offers a new sensation or experience. And while the ESFP might seem to others to only be interested in piling up new experiences, or reliving old ones just to savor the quality of the sensations or lively enjoyment they bring, the ESFP has in fact a far more subtle relationship to life and the world around them. Indeed, with their curious mixture of Extraverted Sensation and Introverted Feeling, the ESFP can show a wealth of complexity in their ways, even if to the ESFP themselves, considering such matters is felt to be a tedious and – to their way of seeing the world – quite unnecessary task. For this reason, just defining what success means to an ESFP requires more than simply assuming that a life filled with satisfying, quality experiences necessarily fulfills this criteria, as the ESFP’s true needs and satisfactions will depend greatly on the strength and refinement of their Sensation and Feeling functions. But there is one thing that defines all ESFP’s, and that is their exuberant ability – and need – to engage with other people and express that which grips them. So, whilst success might come through many different paths, and be felt by the ESFP in modes and preferences not necessarily understood as success by other types, the successful ESFP will nevertheless always be found where they can live in full and open engagement with people and able to express their talents, appreciations and joys before the world at large.
Allowing Your ESFP Strengths to Flourish
As an ESFP, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren’t natural strengths for other types. By recognizing your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world, and how you can better use your talents to achieve your dreams.
Nearly all ESFP’s will recognize the following characteristics in themselves. They should embrace and nourish these strengths:
- A great ability to understand the objective world, its facts and
- A talent for entertaining and pleasing others with words and
- An aptitude for getting the most out of any situation or
- Very skilled at finding the best of things for themselves and
- A warm and generous attitude both as a giver and
- Exceptional natural musical and dramatic
- A detailed and finely nuanced appreciation of the outside
- Adept at detecting and recognizing the effects of minute changes to their
- A talent for learning to do practically anything by just watching and
- A reassuring and practical sense of the world which supports
ESFP’s who have developed their Introverted Feeling to the extent that they can integrate the concrete world of their perceptions with a responsive and healthy system of personal values will find that they enjoy these very special gifts:
- Their refined tastes will make it a joy for others to be in their company and
- Their ability to weigh the value of their actions gives great force to their talent for entertaining people of all
- They will quickly differentiate between those things which are of greater and lesser importance to a
- They will not just seek entertainment and things for their own sake, but will seek always to find that which they feel will provide the most value and reward for themselves and
- The ESFP who augments their ability to recognize opportunities (Extraverted Sensing) with a strong internal value system (Introverted Feeling) will find themselves more likely to attract, and be attracted into, very rewarding relationships with others – particularly with those of the opposite
- They will recognize and promote the talents of
- They can be counted on to defend the best and most life promoting aspects of the
Potential Problem Areas
With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without “bad”, there would be no “good”. Without “difficult”, there would be no “easy”. We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalize upon our strengths, but also face our weaknesses and deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type’s potential problem areas.
ESFP’s are kind and creative beings with many special gifts. I would like for the ESFP to keep in mind some of the many positive things associated with being an ESFP as they read some of this more negative material. Also remember that the weaknesses associated with being an ESFP are natural to your type.
Although it may be depressing to read about your type’s weaknesses, please remember that we offer this information to enact positive change. We want people to grow into their own potential, and to live happy and successful lives.
Most of the weaker characteristics that are found in ESFP’s are due to their dominant Extraverted Sensing function overshadowing the rest of their personality. When this function smothers everything else, the ESFP can’t use Introverted Feeling to properly judge the value and propriety of their perceptions or actions. The first ten of the following weaknesses derive in varying degrees from this problem alone, whilst the rest are due to the additional effect of the ESFP’s unique make up and result from their diminished capacity to use abstract reasoning:
- May be seen by others as unnecessarily coarse in their behavior and life
- May be unable to value or may ignore the preferences and needs of
- May perceive even the most careful and objective criticism as simply a ploy to spoil their enjoyment of
- May have skewed or unrealistic ideas about the feelings of
- May be unable to acknowledge or hear anything that would lead to second thoughts or a more careful
- May blame their problems on the world at large, seeing themselves as frustrated heroes battling against the
- May become totally self focused and oblivious to the havoc they wreak on others
- May uncaringly use totally inappropriate social behavior simply to make a
- May be overbearing in their judgments upon the taste and dress of
- May come across to others as boastful and rash in their
- May rationalize the ways of the world in the most inane or simplistic
- May believe the most extraordinary things about inanimate objects and their
- May feel overwhelmed with tension and stress when driven into a situation which requires deep and careful
- Under great stress, may feel the world around them is alive with dark, unseen
Another difficulty, which is not so much a problem for the ESFP but for those around them, particularly if Introverted Thinking or Intuitive types, is that even when joyful or in the midst of life, they may be perceived as coldly self absorbed and oblivious to the feelings of others, even when the truth is quite the reverse. Should it somehow matter, then when in the company of such people, the ESFP should take some trouble to express their feelings and value judgments.
Explanation of Problems
Nearly all of the problematic characteristics described above can be attributed in various degrees to the common ESFP problem of being overly absorbed by the sensations and immediate apparent facts of the external world. ESFP’s are usually very spontaneous and outgoing people who have little time for analysis of the complexities behind the world they live in. They are likely to treat any point of view other than their own rather shortly, waving away in particular the more intellectual and intuitive understandings of others as irrelevant and totally secondary to the obvious realities of life. If the ESFP does not learn how to deal with the tension that arises between, what to them is the most obvious and satisfying way to deal with the world and those deeper intricacies which lie behind its facade, the ESFP will begin to shut out any incoming information which produces this tension. This is a natural survival technique for the ESFP personality. The main driver to the ESFP personality is Extraverted Sensation, whose purpose is solely to perceive the realities of the external world and by which the ESFP orients themselves towards the things they need or desire. If an ESFP’s image of the world is threatened by demands for careful judgment or reasoning, the ESFP shuts out the demand in order to preserve and honor their world view. This is totally natural, and works well to protect the individual psyche from getting hurt. However, the ESFP who exercises this type of self-protection regularly will become not only more and more careless of other people’s needs and perspectives, but also cut off in a world where the facts and realities which they perceive become interwoven with a belief system which supports only the ESFP’s desire driven view. Under such circumstances they will justify their own inappropriate behaviors in the most astounding or rationally simplistic ways, and will always find fault with others for trying to complicate and disturb what ought to be a simple and obvious way of life. It will be difficult for them to maintain close personal relationships because they will not only have unreasonable and simplistically concrete expectations, but will be unable to understand why such expectations cannot be easily met.
It’s not an uncommon tendency for the ESFP to look to their inner world only for feelings that justify their desires and perceptions. However, if this tendency is given free reign, the resulting ESFP personality is too self-centered to be happy or successful. Since the ESFP’s dominant function is Extraverted Sensing, they must balance this with an auxiliary Introverted Feeling function which is sufficiently refined to make reasonably objective judgments about the value of the ESFP’s actions and the people and things in their life. The ESFP makes value judgments via Introverted Intuition. This is also the ESFP’s primary way of dealing with their own internal subjective world. If the ESFP uses Introverted Feeling only to serve the purposes of Extraverted Sensing, then the ESFP is not using Introversion effectively at all. As a result, the ESFP does sufficiently consider the effects of their actions and perceptions sufficiently for a strong value system to arise in their personality. They see nothing but the joys, satisfactions and sensations of the world outside themselves, and deal with feeling only so far as it supports their need for constant stimulation and gratification. These individuals can often come across as coarse and lustful, although can just as easily seem the complete opposite, as refined and tasteful connoisseurs who, nevertheless, at closer quarters reveal their complete indifference to anything but the satisfaction of their own desires.
At this point, I would like the reader to understand that, as with all personality types, serious problems are usually only encountered by those whose dominant function is unusually strongly expressed against the other functions. Such situations are rare and although the problems discussed here can indeed be felt to some level by all ESFP’s, most people regardless of their personality type tend toward a balance within both their personal and worldly relationships which occurs despite differences in personality preference; a balance driven by the need for comfort in others and the human capacity for love. So whilst it is essential for us to fine tune our relationships through knowledge and understanding of our differences and peculiar needs, it is also good for us to remember that the most simple and childlike longings of the heart can also be most powerful guides to happiness.
To grow as an individual, the ESFP needs to focus on increasing their self understanding to allow a rational and more objectively reasoned value system to arise within themselves. In order for the ESFP to more validly judge the value of their desires, actions and the things they allow into their world, the ESFP needs to know that their world view is not being threatened but qualitatively reinforced by the strength and objectivity of their judgments. The ESFP must consciously tell himself/herself that a feeling that does not agree with their desires or perceptions of the world is not an indictment of their character but a clue to greater understanding.
The ESFP who is concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to their motivation for valuing certain actions, interests and possessions over others. Do they attend to their feelings to judge such things according to a strong set of values which accords also with the needs of others? Or, do they judge only to support a personal desire? At the moment when something is felt, is the ESFP concerned with adjusting that feeling to fit in with what appears to them as the most important things in the world? Or is she/he concerned with allowing their feelings to be fully realized? To achieve a better understanding of their feelings, the ESFP should try to allow feelings their full force, before setting them against their strong desires. They should be consciously aware of their tendency to discard anything that doesn’t agree with their immediate sense of appearance, and work towards lessening this tendency. They should try to see situations from other people’s perspectives, without making personal judgments about the situations or the other people’s perspectives. In general, they should work on exercising their Feeling in a truly Introverted sense. In other words, they should use Feeling to understand how the world of their perceptions affects their inner life, using it to discover the values that truly matter, rather than simply to support their wishes. The ESFP who successfully creates a strong value system can be quite a powerful force for positive change.