The Performer
The ESFP personality type is Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving, which means they are energized by time with others, practical and detail oriented, motivated by their empathetic and compassionate instincts, and more likely to live in the moment rather than plan ahead. Charming, engaging, and supportive, ESFPs love to be in the middle of the action, whether as the life of the party or by meeting the needs of others. ESFPs look on the bright side and do their best to live life to the fullest, but they can be easily bored, avoid conflict even when it's necessary, and struggle with long-term planning.

ESFP Strengths

Showmanship. ESFPs have lively personalities which they use to liven up every room they occupy. Bringing smiles and enjoyment to others gives the ESFP greater satisfaction than anything else in the world. Being cheerful, entertaining and humorous comes naturally to ESFPs, and the people who know them best realize their interest in the happiness of others is sincere and motivated by empathetic and compassionate instincts.

Supportive. ESFPs do like to be the center of attention, but they also prize the spirit of cooperation and never try to hog the spotlight when asked to work on group projects. It is really the social give-and-take that ESFPs enjoy the most, and if they act as facilitators in cooperative situations it is only because their outgoing natures predispose them to take the lead. As teammates or partners, ESFPs will always listen to what everyone has to say, will never try to force their ideas on anyone. 

Positivity. ESFPs are the quintessential positive thinkers, firmly believing the bright side is the only one worth looking at. ESFPs see every minute of wasted time as a lost opportunity, and they can’t stand to throw away chances for fun, conversation, excitement or unique experience. Furthermore, they do a fantastic job of passing on their enthusiasm and hopefulness to their companions, and that is why some of the most admired self-help gurus and motivational speakers come from the ESFP ranks. 

Bold and practical. Because they refuse to live in the past or the future, or get distracted by dreams or fantasies about the way the world should be, ESFPs are high-quality practical workers who never sacrifice their determination to accomplish remarkable things in the present moment. They want desperately to help others, but they also want to see results from their efforts immediately and aren’t willing to be patient. ESFPs will put the pedal to the metal in a heartbeat if they see opportunities to make a constructive impact in the lives of the people they care about most. 

ESFP Weaknesses

Avoid conflict. The one problem with “glass half full” types is that they will sometimes deny unpleasant truths or avoid uncomfortable situations if they feel it might cast a dark cloud. ESFPs hate buzzkills, and this makes them a bit squeamish about conflict, persistent social problems and a variety of other unfortunate circumstances that can’t be wished away or overcome with a cheerful attitude.  

Sensitive. It is ironic given their tendency to showmanship and outspokenness, but ESFPs are extremely sensitive and can be deeply hurt when others criticize their ideas, personalities or conduct. They have a tough time seeing such criticism as constructive, and they usually react with anger and resentment when they feel someone is questioning or attacking them. 

Easily bored. With a need for constant excitement, ESFPs find it hard to maintain their focus on the topic at hand; often demonstrating the sort of attention span normally seen only in kindergarten classrooms. This can make them appear flighty and unfocused. Life is not a non-stop party, and ESFPs do need to knuckle down if they are to turn their high energy into an accomplished goal. 

Poor long-term focus. When given the choice between theory and proven practice, ESFP will choose the latter every time. They distrust abstract concepts, future hypotheses and big picture projections and this makes them poor long-term planners. ESFPs aren’t as good at recognizing alternatives as they should be, and this can blind them to exciting possibilities for growth, evolution and constructive change. 

ESFP Growth and Development

In order to reach their full potential, ESFPs should:

Make lists and write down goals. Too often, the spontaneity and impulsivity of ESFPs leads them astray. To avoid spur-of-the-moment decision making, ESFPs should try to set goals and organize their activities ahead of time, possibly with the assistance of written lists and schedules. This would give them a clear life plan to refer back to, keeping them on the straight and narrow when faced with temptation. 

Don’t ignore the long-term consequences. By focusing on practical matters so intently, ESFPs sometimes waste chances to improve their lives and establish long-term goals. We all need to broaden our horizons and step back so we can see things from a greater perspective. ESFPs would benefit from undertaking a meaningful dialogue with the dreamers, creators and visionaries in their lives. The more relationships ESFPs can form with big picture thinkers the better off they will be. 

Assume it’s all constructive criticism. ESFPs are sensitive to criticism of all types. They take it personally and often react with resentment and defensiveness. This is not an easy personality trait to subdue but, with practice, ESFPs can reprogram their thinking patterns, becoming less reactive and more open minded over time. As a starting point, ESFPs should attempt to convince themselves that all the criticism they receive is meant to be constructive—which it might very well be. If they can reach this point, their personal growth is all but ensured. 

Investigate alternative learning strategies. ESFPs often have a hard time functioning in formal academic environments, where it is impossible to escape from the abstract and the theoretical. They prefer practical, hands-on learning that will help them develop specific skills that can be applied in real-world situations.  Fortunately, there are alternative learning environments that can provide an ESFP-friendly learning experience—internships, apprenticeships, trade schools or technical colleges, individualized study programs at online universities. ESFPs could benefit tremendously if they ventured away from the traditional educational model and forged their own path. 

Shine a flashlight into the darkest corners. ESFPs are notorious for avoiding unpleasant topics or situations. But running from trouble actually empowers it, allowing it to ruin relationships if tensions are left unaddressed. Instead of avoiding things that make them uncomfortable, ESFPs would be better off to confront them, before they have the chance to do any real damage. A positive attitude should not be used as an excuse for denial, which is always a bad idea no matter the circumstances.