Extraverted Sensing (Se) occurs when someone is really focused on the outside world and all the information they’re getting from their senses. People who use Extraverted Sensing live in the now, and find joy and purpose through their interactions with other people, culture, and nature. Unlike types who ‘live in their heads,’ Extraverted Sensors are energized by the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and emotions they get from interacting with the world.  

Sound like you? Read on to learn more about this fascinating function! 

Extraverted Sensing in a nutshell

When someone interacts with the world through an Se function, their focus remains on the present, on the here-and-now. What they observe and experience is more real than anything else, and their ideas about truth and virtue always remain grounded in that reality.

People who use Extraverted Sensing experience intense emotions connected to their sensory experiences. They are often connoisseurs of great art, all types of music, and the most delicious culinary treats. They may embrace alternative healing methodologies that involve physical movement or therapeutic contact, such as yoga, Tai Chi, massage therapy, acupuncture, or Reiki. They usually enjoy sports and other challenging outdoor and indoor activities that test their limits and force them to develop their physical skills. 

Extraverted Sensors are often visual and kinesthetic learners, and can absorb information much more readily if it is demonstrated rather than explained – or better yet, if they can learn directly through hands-on experimentation.

Which Personality Types Use Extraverted Sensing?

ESTPs and ESFPs use Extraverted Sensing as their primary function, while ISTPs and ISFPs have it as a secondary function. This has an obvious and decisive influence on the behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyle choices of these types.

Are You an Extraverted Sensor? Here’s How to Tell

We’ve already listed a few of the distinctive traits of Extraverted Sensors. If you still aren’t sure whether you use an Se function, here are a few clues that can show you that you do.

1. You enjoy the company of children and animals

Do you love kids and animals? Most Se types do, since Extraverted Sensors are playful by nature. It’s not uncommon to see them jump right in when they see kids having fun. 

Like children, animals are also spontaneous and fun-loving and absorbed in the moment, which probably explains why Extraverted Sensors have so much fondness for animals and often have several pets.

In a very real and very positive sense, people who use Extraverted Sensing refuse to let the child inside of them die. They are happy to assume grown-up responsibilities, but they won’t let their playful side be extinguished by the passage of time.

2. You enjoy listening to people talk about themselves and their lives

Those with a strong Extraverted Sensing function are intensely curious about other people. They enjoy hearing loved ones, co-workers, and brand-new acquaintances talk about their jobs, families, hobbies, time in school, and other interesting activities, and they will ask a lot of questions to elicit as many details as possible. 

Extraverts in general are sociable and outgoing. But ESFPs and ESTPs may be the most sociable Extraverts of all, because their Extraverted Sensing function makes them so eager to learn about how other people live.

3. You are an inductive thinker

A deductive thinker relies on general principles, concepts, or ideologies to help interpret events. They develop their big ideas first, and then use them to make sense of what is happening in the world.

An inductive thinker, on the other hand, bases everything on observation and experience. Their ideas about topics like politics, spirituality, science, psychology, culture, and nature are constructed from the ground up, rooted in solid reality rather than abstraction.

As an Extraverted Sensor, inductive thinking will come as naturally to you as breathing. You won’t trust big ideas that seem to be based on speculation, and you’ll always gravitate toward thinkers who are practical in their actions and grounded in their outlooks.

4. You see details others miss

Extraverted Sensors notice the details because to them, the details really matter. From an Se perspective, the details add texture and depth to experience, and if they are overlooked the flavor of the moment will be lost.

If you’re an Extraverted Sensor, you may be genuinely surprised by the inability of your friends and family members to either notice or remember detailed information about people, places, things, or interesting events. At times you may become impatient with them, thinking that they didn’t notice those things because they weren’t paying attention.

5. You frequently change jobs or careers

The resume of the typical Extraverted Sensor will be quite long. Before they settle on a long-term career, they will often hold a number of jobs that cover a broad spectrum of duties and responsibilities. Even after they find a long-term career that satisfies them, Extraverted Sensors will often move from job to job within those careers, as they’re always seeking promotions and aren’t the least reluctant to move to another state or city if a new opportunity requires it.

Does this match your history? If so, it isn’t because you struggle to make a commitment or don’t know what you want out of life. If this happens it's because like all Se users, you crave fresh and unique challenges, and will become bored in a job if you don’t find them. You’re allergic to routine, and when you’ve been in a particular job too long, or if a job isn’t challenging and requires no creativity, you’ll be looking to move on. 

6. You don’t dwell on the past or live in the future

Extraverted Sensors aren’t much into nostalgia, and if you use Se you won’t spend too much time thinking about all the fun you used to have. You’ll find the present far more stimulating and provocative than the past, and the only time you’ll think about the past is if it somehow adds context to what you’re doing right now.

If you possess an Extraverted Sensing function, you won’t be preoccupied with the future, either. You experience the world as a place that produces constant surprise, and since the future is still indeterminate you won’t spend time trying to predict what might happen someday.

7. You enjoy taking risks and actively seek them out

Your desire for the new, the different, and the exciting runs deep, and you’re not afraid to take some risks if it means you can learn a new skill or try something thrilling or energizing. For you life isn’t worth living if you always play it safe, since this approach won’t bring fresh and diverse experiences.

You aren’t a reckless person—you do try to plan ahead of time to make sure the hazards are minimized—but you aren’t going to pass up the opportunity to go mountain climbing, skydiving, motorcycle riding, or any other activity you find intriguing simply because others tell you it’s too dangerous.

Why Extraverted Sensors Make Delightful Companions

Extraverted Sensors have dynamic and lively personalities, which will tend to shine through pretty strongly even if they’re an Introvert (like an ISFP or ISTP).

If you plan to go to a concert or sporting event, attend a play, visit an art gallery, go to a carnival or circus, or take a long hike in a beautiful natural setting, you would be wise to take your Extraverted Sensing friends along with you. They will enjoy accompanying you immensely, and their enthusiasm and engagement will only make these experiences that much more fun for you.

Of course, if you enjoy frequently going on outings of these types, you’re probably an Extraverted Sensor yourself! If that’s the case, your infectious enthusiasm and appreciation for life’s simplest rewards will have already brought great pleasure into your life. Moving forward, you can choose to spend time with other Extraverted Sensors, to amplify your joy even more, or you can bring your friends and family members along on your journeys regardless of their personality inclinations. Either way, your companions will treasure your company and together you’ll have wonderful times that you’ll all remember forever.

Nathan Falde
Nathan Falde has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years. His ghostwritten work and bylined articles have appeared in numerous online outlets, and in 2014-2015 he acted as co-creator for a series of eBooks on the personality types. An INFJ and a native of Wisconsin, Nathan currently lives in Bogota, Colombia with his wife Martha and their son Nicholas.