Sixteen Months of Type — ESFP

This is the tenth post in our 16 Months of Type series and we focus here on ESFP. To remind you, we are using our material on managing life transitions with psychological type (formerly available through CPP as Introduction to Type® and Reintegration and now available on as the jumping off point for each piece and then connecting this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs). Read on!

ESFP, Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling and PerceivingWhen facing an LCE, ESFPs typically want an approach that is down-to-earth and can be put into practice immediately. If your preferences are for ESFP, you most likely see a life-changing event as a time when practicality, flexibility and fun are essential to coping with challenges as well as in making things work. People who prefer ESFP tend to do best when they have hands-on learning opportunities that feature variety, action and collaboration. While those of other types may appreciate a more structured, formal approach, ESFPs thrive when things are casual, friendly, and focused on helping everyone feel as comfortable and upbeat as possible about whatever difficulties are being faced. ESFPs tend to have an uncanny ability to know just what to do to make people feel at ease and to arrange environments so that day-to-day needs are better served. They seem to foster a sense of camaraderie and warmth wherever they are.

When ESFP preferences are overdone, people who prefer ESFP may be so determined to make things better immediately that they neglect to think deeply about what the change means for them and their future, overlooking the long term consequences of actions or inactions. The usual ESFP drive to do something active now for the sake of security and convenience may sometimes mean they lose out on long-term gains. While this approach offers relief in the moment, it may prevent ESFPs from getting what they really need and/or deserve from a transition because they may be inadvertently cutting off possibilities for their personal growth and advancement. Furthermore, ESFPs present-focused, caring nature and desire for harmony may cause them to neglect the more formal processes they must complete to achieve their own long term goals and needs.

When facing an LCE, ESFPs typically need a lively companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey.People who prefer ESFP need support that encourages free-flowing, fun, experiential learning where they can discover the most practical ways to get what they want and to plan for their future. A dynamic companion can also help them see that some decisions, although difficult in the near term, will result in greater happiness over the long term. This helps ESFPs stay motivated and confident so that they can keep going when things feel uncomfortable or when immediate rewards or signs of success are not available. Ongoing support of this kind keeps ESFPs from getting discouraged and helps them hang in there long enough to start seeing their desires realized. These companions can also remind ESFPs that attending to their own needs is critical and that their insights have merit simply because they are theirs; even if others don’t seem to understand or agree.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ESFP, they may neglect their own dreams, plans, or concerns out of habit; keeping their focus on making their immediate environment comfortable because they feel more competent in this arena. Without reminders to trust their hunches and listen their wise inner voice, ESFPs may struggle to balance present ease with future goals and may sacrifice big improvements for small comforts without realizing it. No one can see things just the way ESFPs see them and a good companion can remind them that all benefit when ESFPs honor and share their unique observations – doing so makes a better present and future for the ESFP and those significant to them.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 80
If you prefer ESFP (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find time to check-in with yourself and discover what matters most – in terms of the bottom line as well as in people terms?
  2. How can you explore the larger meaning of your experiences in order to discover new ways of proceeding that might help you to manage your transition more successfully?
  3. How can you take an objective inventory of which approaches to your new circumstances are working and which are not?
  4. How can you create plans, schedules or routines to help you manage your new way of living more easily?