ESFPs are warm and curious people who dedicate themselves to exploring the world through their relationships and interactions with other people. Because of their high emotional intelligence, ESFPs are often mistyped when people use the wrong criteria to analyse their personality, and this can be a problem that severely affects how they live their lives and how they grow.
ESFP General Strengths and Weaknesses
ESFPs are true originals, and really don’t mind showing off their unique vision in every way possible. For this friendly type, this often manifests as a focus on self-expression through fashion or other aesthetic forms, and many ESFPs are known for their amazing work in these types of fields. ESFPs use their extraverted sensing function to focus exclusively on the here and now, and get a lot of satisfaction from wringing every ounce of joy and sensation from the present moment. This present focus usually makes them very interesting and fun people to be around too, and this is a bonus for most ESFPs, who are naturally friendly and people focused. This is the result of their introverted feeling auxiliary, which gives them amazing people skills and ensures that their explorations of the world are usually focused on relationships and other people.
Unfortunately, this focus on the present can also be one of the biggest weaknesses of this type. ESFPs don’t like to consider what-ifs or think about what could be, and this can often manifest as a complete lack of long term planning. They’re concrete thinkers, who like to consider practical ideas that are immediately applicable, and the idea of having a ten year plan can seem too restrictive to them. Because of this, most ESFPs are happiest when they’re in the present moment, letting the future unfold naturally. However, this aversion to planning can often mean that they struggle with pastimes or careers that require a long term focus. Because of this tendency, many ESFPs struggle to focus on academics or other training required for many jobs, and often impulsively leave their studies when something more interesting comes along. This may give them short term joy, but in the long term it can result in them being stuck in a series of entry level positions.
Common Type Confusions
The most common type confusion experienced by ESFPs is caused by their emotional intelligence. ESFPs use introverted feeling as their auxiliary function, which gives them an understanding of their own emotions and motivations that can be used to analyse and understand the people around them as well. It also makes them more analytical than their happy, friendly exteriors would seem to suggest, and can make them think that they’re actually ENFPs. This typing mistake usually occurs when the ESFP tries to type themselves through online tests or descriptions of behavior. They end up mistaking their natural understanding of and intuition about people and their motivations with the abstract thinking that’s associated with the intuition dominant ENFP.
Common Confusions Comparisons
Though it’s very common for ESFPs to mistype themselves as ENFP, it’s actually fairly easy to tell these two types apart. ESFPs are present focused and people focused. They have a deep intuition about the emotions of others, but this understanding is concrete, based on reality as it is. ENFPs are also naturally focused on people, their emotions and their motivations. However, their understanding of people and emotions is far more abstract. They love nothing more than thinking about theoretical ideas related to people and possibilities that probably won’t come true but are fascinating to think about. To most ESFPs, this type of thinking is not only a waste of time, it’s almost completely uninteresting. They’d much rather go out and interact with people than consider abstract, vague possibilities about them.
Unusual Type Confusions
Much less commonly, ESFPs can be mistyped as ESFJs. This is unlikely to occur on official typing tests, because these types are so different, but it can occur when ESFPs are typed based on their behavior. When people are typed using the MBTI system, this analysis is supposed to occur based on their use of the cognitive functions. The cognitive functions can influence behavior, but they don’t guarantee it, so typing based on behavior is prone to some very serious errors. This typing mistake can occur because there are a number of behavioral similarities between ESFPs and ESFJs. Both are very social and people focused as well as naturally in tune with the emotions of the people around them. These similarities can result in this mistake, and in a larger sense is proof of the problems that arise from using the MBTI system incorrectly.
Unusual Confusions Comparisons
There are a number of similarities between ESFPs and ESFJs. However, these similarities are actually fairly superficial because the two types are quite different in the way they operate and see the world. Because of these differences, it’s actually fairly rare for ESFPs to mistype themselves as ESFJs, it usually only occurs when others try to type them. ESFJs use introverted sensing as their auxiliary function. This makes them very attached to schedules, routines, structures and the past. In contrast, ESFPs often truly hate these kinds of restrictions. Their extraverted sensing dominant demands and creates as much freedom in their life and in their routines as possible. They want to be able to take off on an adventure at a moment’s notice and work according to their own rhythms and preferences. In contrast, most ESFJs find this lack of structure both uninspiring and too chaotic to allow for smooth daily functioning.
ESFPs have a lot of emotional intelligence and this can often make them seem like other Feeling types who have a more abstract focus. This is a mistyping that’s fairly common, but it doesn’t need to be. By exploring their dominant cognitive functions, and where it focuses, ESFPs can clear up the misunderstandings and live a life that’s more congruent with their own tendencies and preferences.
- Storm, Susan. “Understanding ESFP Sensing“. Apr 1, 2017. (Retrieved Apr 2019).
- “Introverted Feeling (Fi)“. Jan 16, 2013. (Retrieved Apr 2019).
- Storm, Susan. “A Beginner’s Guide to Identifying Someone’s Myers-Briggs® Personality Type“. (Retrieved Apr 2019).
- “ESFP – The PerfCounselorormer“.
- “ENFP – The Discoverer“.
- “ESFJ – The Caregiver“.