7 ESFP Functions and Characteristics

The ESFP is one of 16 personality types classified by the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and is one that is most commonly encountered, especially among women, comprising 10% or more of the general population. Being charming, warm and witty, ESFPs reflect the theme of performance. They also want to help and impact other people, evoke their enjoyment and stimulate them to act, as they want to do something meaningful and make a difference. Oftentimes, they are masters at showmanship, entertainment, motivation and presentation. Thriving on joyful living, social interaction and the challenge of the unknown, these individuals like to help others with getting what they want and need by facilitating them to get results.

ESFP Functions

ESFP is an acronym for extraversion, sensing, feeling and perceiving. Here are brief descriptions of the functions of this personality type:

E for Extraversion
People belonging to the ESFP personality type are outgoing and would rejoice their camaraderie or associations with others. More often than not, they would be more interested in interactions with others than keeping to oneself; they just love being with people whom they like to socialize with.

S for Sensing
ESFPs will be sensible or, in other words, pragmatic. They would be drawn more by what is real and tangible than what is abstract and intangible.

F for Feeling
As it dominates decision-making and reasoning, the “F” (feeling) function makes people with this personality type more willing to consider interpersonal relations and personal values than objectivity, while making any kind of choice or decision. These individuals tend to put logic at the backseat.
P for Perception
ESFP personalities would allow perceptions to prevail and delay inferential analysis. They would rather let their perceptions dictate the path forward than judging a person or situation factually or objectively.

Some of the most famous figures with the ESFP personality type are Marilyn Monroe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Eva Gabor, Steve Irwin, Kathy Lee Gilford, Jamie Oliver and Kyle Petty.

ESFP Characteristics

1. They are often considered physically attractive.
This is most likely attributed to their extraverted personality and their concern for keeping their appearance up, where they are always attuned to what is popular and trendy and would accordingly change their appearance. Jewelry, perfume, glamour and glitz—these are all part of an ESFP’s repertoire. However, this does not mean that ESFPs are necessarily narcissistic or snobbish about the way they look, but rather seem to have a natural eye for aesthetics, style and beauty due to their dominant function, Extraverted Sensing (Se). Not only that they are careful with their appearance, but they also want their homes to be tastefully adorned always, as ESFPs love to indulge themselves in a beautiful surrounding.

2. They are disposed to seeking material, sensory and experiential novelty.
This is one reason that ESFPs enjoy keeping up with current fashion and trends. Their Se function is hungry for new and stimulating things, such as new experiences, sights, tastes and sounds.

3. They would display a high level of kinesthetic intelligence.
This means that people who belong to the ESFP personality type are often athletic, as well as gifted with good dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Contrary to the ENFP personality type, who exhibits a preponderance of mental energy, an ESFP can display great physical energy. While ENFPs utilize their “Ne” (Extraverted Intuition) to explore new ideas, ESFPs would employ their senses (Se) to explore and manipulate the physical world.

4. They make excellent performers.
This may be the most obvious characteristic of ESFPs, as their sense of presentation and style, combined with their kinesthetic capacities, allows them to excel as vocalists, actors and the like. For the same reason, these individuals would also make skilled salespersons and marketers.

5. They love to party.
Due to their penchant for material and sensory novelties, as well as their natural talent for social performance, ESFPs have earned label of “life of the party” or “hedonist”. While this is true in many cases, particularly in their early development stage, it only captures a single aspect such a personality type, which is their dominant function, Se. A fact that is often missed is that many of these individuals present as articulate, intelligent and composed, using their tertiary function, Te (Extraverted Thinking), to express themselves in a rational and measured way.

6. They are generally open and adaptable to new experiences.
Despite being extraverts, ESFPs are often more interested in “doing” than just sitting around talking—a similar trait with other SP types. While they can be chatty at times, these people naturally have the Se function, which is not highly verbal. So, ESFPs would also often express themselves through acts of kindness or gifts rather than words.

7. They are often most verbally engaged when given the opportunity to offer advice.
ESFPs would often see themselves as wise counselors, even if they are not. This is because of their Ni function that makes them feel they can independently generate answers and insights for other people’s problems. Wittingly or not, the usual reason why they maintain a wide social circle is because they would find ample opportunity to give advice to others, which helps them feel important and valuable. If they are not careful though, their inclination to offering unsolicited advice can be annoying to some individuals.

ESFP Negative Characteristics

Aside from those listed above, it is important to note that there are certain negative characteristics of ESFPs as well. They can be very sensitive, which make them extremely emotional. While being emotional is not an undesirable trait, it can make them vulnerable to negative fallouts, such as being treated badly, not being cared for enough and being criticized. Also, these people can get bored very easily, are often unfocused, do not like conflicts and do not have the ability to plan for the future.

Final Thought

People under the ESFP personality type are attractive, active, fun and impressive. However, they can also be controlling, assertive and subtly manipulative. Like other personality types in general, the degree of psychological health of ESFPs depends upon their degree of personal growth, including how they go about reconciling their conscious and less-conscious functions.