The Functions of the ESTP
- Extroverted Sensing: ESTPs are known for experiencing their surrounding, focusing on the present moment, and acting quickly and immediately. Tending to enjoy excitement and new experiences, they are adventurers, enjoy being the center of attention, and seek adrenaline inducing situations. They are very aware of their surroundings and are very observant, noticing small details even in situations which other types consider overwhelming. This aids in their interaction with people because they are able to read other people reasonably well. ESTPs like seeing concrete results, and often take their personal experiences as the truth– sometimes not believing in ideas which cannot be practically seen and not considering other people’s experiences or prospective. They are known for being spontaneous and loving fun and relaxation. Often, they are athletically talented: good at physical activities such as dancing or sports and tend to be coordinated. Also ESTPs tend to be charismatic and easy to talk to. Since ESTPs tend to live in the present, they tend not to be the best secret keepers and tend to rely on first impressions.
- Introverted Thinking: Even though ESTPs are known to live in the present, they value consistency and have a strong sense of personal justice. However, ESTPs are known for being arrogant and rather brash when someone is inconsistent or breaks the ESTP’s sense of fairness, though ESTPs can be very self controlled when they are focused and in the right mood. ESTPs tend to have a decently strong “code of honor” and often enjoy thinking about universal truths. However, ESTPs are not prone to formal traditionally logical thoughts, rely on inductive reasoning, or enjoy debating (though they love competition.) Because of the SeTi combination, ESTPs tend to be confrontational and emphasize objectivity and deductive reasoning. Their focus often wanders when they are enraptured by details or a sensory experience (Se). ESTP dislike tradition and rules; they would much rather follow their own ideas and rule themselves without interference from culture, tradition, or authorities.
- Extroverted Feeling: ESTP understand the community and social sphere around them decently well; however, they tend to rely on stereotypes to gain this understanding. So when it comes to personal interactions, ESTPs often struggle, even while they easy navigate shallow interactions. Since Fe is the tertiary function, ESTP are often completely oblivious that they are not showing their affection for the things and people that they value. ESTPs are not emotionally internally focused, so they do not always have an accurate view of themselves or the reality of their interactions with the world. As the ESTP matures, they become loyal and dedicated to family, friend, and culture. However, their affection is often shown in spontaneous and passionate outbursts with a lack of feedback in between. In addition, ESTPs are known for feeling emotionally isolated from the people around them, even though they often are participating fully with other people and feel like they are attempting to connect. If an ESTP neglects Ti, then they feel trapped while trying to connect with other people and become distrustful of everyone, fearing betrayal and falseness. They also can become obsessed with the opinions of others and seek to have a positive image at all costs.
- Introverted Intuition: More mature ESTPs can have long term dreams, and even the immature ESTPs tend to have goals (even if the goal is to have fun or go on an adventure). ESTPs are a contradictory mix of steadfast individuals who are often suspicious of others. They often notice symbols and patterns but have trouble interpreting them. However, since intuition is the ESTP’s inferior function, ESTPs generally do not look to the future or see patterns, and they often jump to false conclusions. Also ESTPs tend to distrust and dislike the theoretical and purely intellectual. (More below on immature and mature ESTPs.)
*Personality types are not as simple as picking between two letters four times. The mixture of letters actually determines four cognitive functions as listed above. The dominant function is listed first and drives the type, while the inferior function is listed last and is often unused in immature types.
**If you read my post on ESFPs, you probably noticed that I reused some of that post here. This is because ESTPs and ESFPs have the same dominant (Se) and inferior functions (Ni).
How to Manifest this Personality Type in Fictional Characters
Goals: The some of the most immature ESTPs simply have goals surrounding sensual experiences and living in the present. However, this is definitely not true for all ESTPs. ESTP’s goals can surround nationalistic feelings towards a certain culture or the idea of participating in a community. Also their goals are often about connecting with people or expressing/enforcing their personal codes of honor.
Motivations: ESTPs love to try out new things and explore new experiences. They also are motivated by seeking true community and interaction with others while remaining true to themselves and their own personal beliefs. In general, ESTPs’ goals are not motivated from looking at the future and in depth planning, simply for the sake of the theoretical. In addition, ESTPs often are motivated by competition or a challenge.
Interaction with Other Characters: Many times, other characters will not see how much the ESTP actually cares for them. Since the ESTP is often very focused on experiences and actions, they can fails to put much time and energy into relationships, and then suddenly the ESTP will express an exaggerated amount of affection. Though this expression is genuine, it is confusing for the characters around the ESTP. Also male ESTPs are prone to denying emotional attachments and seeing it as “weakness.” This makes relationships interesting– to say the least.
ESTP tend to try and steer their group of friends towards action and fun, but rarely are they the true leaders of the group. Though ESTPs probably won’t be the leader of their friend group, they probably won’t defer to the leader very often either. Often an ESTP will play the “clown”, “rebel”, or “adventurer” in a group.
Young/Immature Characters: Very immature ESTPs, who have not developed Ti, are often obsessed with new experiences and with trying mastering everything they come across but not dedicated to anything for very long (leading to them becoming a “jack in all traits and a master of none.”) Slightly more mature ESTPs often fail empathize with others and be very selfish, focusing on their own immediate pleasure (neglecting Fe). Some ESTPs can lack any sense of duty, be generally irrational, and not think about the consequences of their actions.
Matured Characters: More mature ESTPs realize the importance of being focused and dedicated, and they develop personal rules for justice and strive to be consistent. As ESTPs develop Fe, they become intensely loyal towards their family, friends, and even culture. Often times, this is reflected in sudden, enthusiastic affection for people, displayed through actions, and a strong sense of nationalism.
Examples of ESTP Characters: Viola (The Twelfth Knight), Tintin (The Adventures of Tintin), Aladdin (Aladdin),
If you’d like to look into ESTPs more, I would suggest checking out this website and this article (please note that you have to scroll down to find the ESTP type). I used many of them for my research and go into more detail on this personality type.
So have you ever written an ESTP character? What do you think about this personality type in fiction? For me, my ESTP character, Raewas, is actually the favorite character overall among my readers (as you can see from this poll), but when I was doing research for this post, I found that ESTP characters were rarer than I had expected.
Have a wonderful week. God bless,
Disclaimer: I am an INTJ not an ESTP and an amateur with Myers Briggs Personality Typing. So I am not speaking from personal or professional experience in this post. However, I believe that I was objective in how I portrayed ESTP in this post, and I strive to understand and empathize with the personality type. Moreover, this analysis of the ESTP personality type is not meant to help ESTPs understand themselves better. This is an amateur analysis meant to help writers create characters.