ESFP Credo: "Where's the party?"

ESFP Keywords: Friendly, Chatterbox, Easy-going, People-centric, Harmonious, Flexible, Goes with the flow, Sociable, Caring, Supportive/Practical, Relational

Life-loving thrill seekers, the ESFP is interested in people and experiences throwing themselves into relationships and life in general. Their dislike of rules and routine, are justified by their view that their reason for existing is to bring harmony, sympathy and support to peoples' lives. An ESFP may slide out of rules, regulations obligations on the grounds that, 'I just had to do something to help.' The key words here are 'do' and 'help.'

If there is a crisis, the ESFP will be there, taking charge, offering support, revelling in their ability to help; their energies and infectious enthusiasm, means that other people will like them and they will build relationships easily and often. The ability of the ESFP to drop everything and provide immediate, practical support may come at the expense of an ability to plan, schedule and prioritise.

This may also cause a blurring between social time and work time, and the immediacy of the issue will, for the ESFP, be paramount and so it may be difficult to put an issue to 'one side' until a task is completed, or it is time to go home, etc. The desire to make work a fun place may also cause difficulties in that an ESFP may not be able to take the hard decision - they prefer harmony and…fun.

With their pragmatic desire to help, and do so immediately, the ESFP will not respond well to being time-bound, or locked into a project. The ESFP is not naturally good at follow-through, and will impulsively follow only their own urges - which tend to be the needs of others. Through meeting the needs of others, their own narcissistic needs are also met; there is a paradoxical self-indulgence in indulging others.

On the positive side the ESFP has an ability to make others feel so special, be excellent 'glue' for a team, and good at maintaining morale. As their decisions will be emotionally- or values-based, people will feel that they are valued and special and, whilst meetings may last longer than average, and little planning gets done, everyone leaves feeling part of something good and indeed feeling good.

The ESFP is the natural entertainer, funny, animated, a chatterbox, anecdotal and making people feel special. They know lots of people and prefer to be at the centre of things, surrounded by appreciative folk who let them fly. Spontaneous and high spirited the ESFP likes sharing, loves fun but this can make them easily distracted in a work situation as they naturally gravitate towards the ‘fun’ bits and may therefore ignore the essential, (though more boring) bits.

Down to earth and practical, ESFPs live in the here and now and are rarely future-oriented preferring to take life as it comes with the optimistic view that it’s bound to be good, (and if it isn’t then there’s always next time!) Longer term for the ESFP might be Saturday, probably Friday.

The ESFP likes concrete, material things and will take pride in their appearance and fill their lives with lots of experiences, jumping from one to the next in a breathless flurry. This can see them over-commit and take on too much but their carefree nature means they will tend to charm their way through.

As they want (indeed need) to experience everything, the ESFP may well have trouble prioritising as their focus is only for ‘now’ and so follow through won’t come naturally, and they’ll look to leave as many options open as possible, although the ‘F’ side means they will feel genuinely guilty when they let people down.

This more sensitive side means that the ESFP will take criticism very personally and to heart, but they will be excellent at diffusing tension and difficult situations as they find confrontation between people uncomfortable. Although chatty, open and very expressive the ESFP will keep their own private feelings to themselves and you may be surprised to find that what you see is not the whole picture as the ESFP may be very talkative but are not so keen to share more private, personal information. There is a more reserved side but only those allowed close would see this. Always eager to help and to please the ESFP needs to know they have made a tangible contribution as they struggle with complexity and anything they perceive as complex, ethereal or woolly.

In personal relationships the ESFP may spend so much time looking after others that they may struggle with their own, personal difficulties as they rarely rely on any objective evidence for decision-making and so they can be taken advantage of. They will, however at all times look on the positive, and a defining characteristic is the strong ability to ‘bounce back!’ In organisations the ESFP is the natural ‘glue’ for the team, excellent at establishing and maintaining relationships and morale and bringing others in.

The door opens and… ‘where's the party?’ The ESFP loves people, excitement, telling stories (all with a concrete anecdotal, people based theme), and having fun. The spontaneous, impulsive nature of this character is almost always entertaining and brings a smile to even the most serious of situations. And ESFPs love to entertain - on stage, at work, and/or at home. Social gatherings are an energy boost to these ‘people’ people, often thinking and talking in staccato manner, jumping from theme to theme, thought to thought in mid-sentence, mesmerising and entertaining the listener, eventually the jumping around being pulled into a coherent whole, (if we wait around long enough)!

ESFPs are attracted to new ideas, new fashions, and new gadgets, new…whatever! They love to talk to people about people. Some of the most colourful storytellers are ESFPs. Almost every ESFP loves to talk. Some can be identified by the twenty minute conversation required to ask or answer a simple factual question. Don’t try to say to the ESFP ‘do you have five minutes?’ the ESFP doesn’t DO five minutes!

Although some ESFPs may develop Intuitive abilities, the mastery of logic, analysis and abstraction is usually difficult and energy-sapping, takes the focus away from the boundless things to be experienced - and it’s not very much fun. So let’s party!

In a team situation, the ESFP will bring an urgency to get things rolling - and make sure they happen right now. The ESFP will look to have an immediate and positive impact on the team and as such will be a good catalyst for action, and cutting through anything woolly or ethereal.

Famous ESFPs

  • Sir Paul McCartney
  • Sybil Fawlty
  • Al Pacino