Profile of the ESFP Personality Type

An introduction to the ESFP personality type, AKA the Performer, according to the theory created by Isabel Briggs Myers.

ESFP in a Nutshell

ESFPs are vivacious entertainers who charm and engage those around them. They are spontaneous, energetic, and fun-loving, and take pleasure in the things around them: food, clothes, nature, animals, and especially people.

ESFPs are typically warm and talkative and have a contagious enthusiasm for life. They like to be in the middle of the action and the center of attention. They have a playful, open sense of humor, and like to draw out other people and help them have a good time.

What Makes the ESFP Tick

ESFPs live in the moment, enjoying what life has to offer. They are especially tuned into their senses and take pleasure in the sights, sounds, smells, and textures around them. ESFPs like to keep busy, filling their lives with hobbies, sports, activities, and friends. Because they'd rather live spontaneously than plan ahead, they can become overextended when there are too many exciting things to do. An ESFP hates nothing more than missing out on the fun.

Although they are characteristically fun-loving, ESFPs are also typically practical and down-to-earth. They are grounded in reality and are usually keenly aware of the facts and details in their environment, especially as they pertain to people. They are observant of others and their needs, and responsive in offering assistance. ESFPs enjoy helping other people, especially in practical, tangible ways.

Recognizing an ESFP

ESFPs are often the life of the party, entertaining and engaging others with humor and enthusiasm. They notice whether other people are having fun, and do their best to create a good time for all. Typically at home in their physical environment, ESFPs may take the lead in getting everyone involved in some active diversion. ESFPs are generally friendly and likable, but can be hard to get close to; although they tend to be very open, they are reluctant to be serious or to talk about anything negative.

ESFPs are tuned into their senses, and often gravitate towards pleasing colors and textures in their environments. They often carefully choose fabrics and decorations with which to surround themselves. This attention also often translates into their appearance; ESFPs are often dressed in sensuous fabrics or bright, dazzling colors. They are often up on the latest trends, and like to excite the people around them with new environments and experiences.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

Famous ESFPs

Famous ESFPs include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Magic Johnson, Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, Paul McCartney, Bob Hope, and Goldie Hawn.

For more information: Famous ESFPs

ESFP in the Population

ESFP is the third most common type among women, and the seventh most common among men. ESFPs make up:

  • 9% of the general population
  • 10% of women
  • 7% of men

Popular Hobbies

Popular hobbies for ESFPs include socializing, team sports, home improvement projects, cooking, entertaining, games, and dance. ESFPs love big parties and gatherings and are quick to join any group or activity that sounds like fun.

What the Experts Say

"Among ESFPs are the students whose high school class voted them 'the friendliest' or 'the best sport.'"

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"Performers radiate warmth and festivity, and whether on the job, with friends, or with their families, they are able to lift others' spirits with their contagious good humor and their irrepressible joy of living."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"So much a part of the ESFP is this fun dynamic that when something unpleasant cannot be converted to fun, or cannot be avoided completely, then it is time to simply drop the subject and move on to something different."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

Research on ESFP

Interesting facts about the ESFP:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Changeable, Energetic, Forceful, Initiating, and Resourceful
  • More likely to use emotional coping techniques over spiritual or physical resources
  • Tend to look to authority in education rather than expressing intellectual curiosity; prefer hands-on learning
  • Among most likely to stay in college
  • More likely than other types to watch television for more than 3 hours a day
  • Second highest of all types in marital satisfaction
  • Among types with lowest income
  • At work, tend to be satisfied with co-workers but dissatisfied with job security, stress, salary, and accomplishment
  • Personal values include Home/Family, Health, Friendships, Financial Security, and Spirituality
  • Overrepresented in health care, teaching, coaching, and child care occupations