ESTP – a distinctive yet often misunderstood personality type belonging to approximately 5% of the population with a male-to-female ratio of about 2 to 1. Individuals with this type possess cognitive functions within their Ego in the following order of preference: Extraverted Sensing (Se), Introverted Thinking (Ti), Extraverted Feeling (Fe), and Introverted Intuition (Ni).
ESTP is quintessentially male in its characteristics, at least in Western societies. A fact that may present challenges to those women who possess it. ESTPs are one of the four types considered “Artisans” but are best described as “Persuaders” or “Realists.” Their interaction style is direct and initiating, and their temperament is more concrete and pragmatic. They are often considered the true Alpha archetype regardless of gender. The following 10 characteristics distinguish ESTPs from other personality types:
1. Life Happens
It’s a new day. The sun is up, the coffee is brewing, but you’re cranky. While you typically initiate and drive interaction with others, you actually prefer to respond to life as it unfolds. You know the grass needs to be cut, but you haven’t planned the day. You prefer to live in the moment with the uncertainty and freedom that that brings. There’s risk, but there’s also thrill in having to think on your feet. In crises you shine, thrive, even. Reflecting your innate tactical abilities and self-confidence in leadership. You don’t think about tomorrow.
2. Freedom and growth
Autonomy and spontaneity are essential to your well-being. However, your Introverted Intuition (Ni) inferior can cause you to be insecure about your future and unsure of what you really want. This can manifest as procrastination, analysis paralysis, and indecision all at the risk of slowing your personal growth. Compounding this is your Introverted Sensing (Si) nemesis which adds worry about your past and decisions made. Fortunately, this also motivates you to give others the best experience possible. While rules, traditions, and routines are constraining, having options puts you at ease and allows you to confidently act.
3. Respect and affirmation
You are all about respect. You responsibly give it and you expect it in return. However, having Introverted Feeling (Fi) trickster results in your personal sense of right and wrong being limited at best. Without this foundation, you find difficulty in valuing yourself. You rely on others to inform and affirm your value in order to compensate. Given this, you are very intentional with the image you project and the experiences you give. Other’s reactions and non-verbal cues convey their level of respect and allow you to determine your self-worth.
4. Somebody’s got to say it
You are the world’s “reality check” thanks to Extraverted Sensing (Se) hero and Introverted Thinking (Ti) parent. Not only are you tuned-in to the physical details of your immediate environment, you are also highly aware of the nature of human interaction. This allows you to analyze and react to any situation much quicker than others. You are also committed to the principles of fairness and justice. Should you and/or your peers be taken advantage of at work, you would be the one to confront management. Privately at first, but then publicly if necessary. You might even threaten legal action. Regardless, you present your case point by point illustrating why they are wrong, why they need to change, and the consequences if they don’t.
5. It’s about breaking the rules
You are your own authority. You challenge the status quo. Your logic is precise and contextual. Your Introverted Thinking (Ti) parent is naturally pessimistic about what’s true and what’s false. Rules are subjective and open to challenge. You can typically go along with a process or system until you understand its dynamics, but then the questioning and testing begin. Ultimately, you will destroy the inferior system in favor of creating a better one. It’s your responsibility, after all, and there is satisfaction in it. You know it’s better, and isn’t building something that works the point? In this you take charge, but once the system is fixed you prefer to pass managing on to someone else.
6. But I really am smarter than you
People may underestimate your intelligence at first, and likely consider you a partier, a troublemaker, or even a bully due to their premature judgements. Within your mind, however, you work with information freely: assessing, analyzing, refining, and organizing. You transform information into energy, direct this energy outward in the form of concrete action, and improve people and the world around them. Improvement to you is about fairness and what works for everyone. You seek to destroy weakness while simultaneously building up strength, a gift from you is, therefore, recognized.
7. Work it
You really are a charmer. People immediately notice when you walk into a room. You are naturally attractive to both men and women, and they tend to gravitate in your direction. Some may view you as a competitor, but everyone recognizes you as an Alpha. And while people are engaging with you, you are observing your environment—who is there, who is coming and going, who is talking to whom, etc.—effectively assessing threats and finding opportunities. You have a natural ability at reading behaviors and coordinating your own actions to effectively engage with people.
8. Trust me
Your strength is in your ability to persuade which gives you great potential for success in leadership, business, and sales. Closing the deal energizes you, but the process of negotiating, overcoming objectives, and changing minds drives you and provides a natural high. You are not necessarily interested in what others want, but you are focused on what you know to be in their best interest (and your own). You just need to persuade them to your way of thinking because their experience will then be significantly better.
9. What’s love got to do with it?
Intimate physical contact is important to you—very important—and nobody does it better. Your little black book confirms that. But your view of sex is misunderstood by most who prefer to simply judge. You are sexually giving and want to provide your partners with a skilled and intense experience. You seek to make them feel good about themselves which, in turn, allows you to feel good about yourself. The goal is a highly memorable experience such that loyalty to you is created. That loyalty then becomes the garden wherein love can grow and bloom. Sex is simply a means to an end: the process to find the one person who will be forever loyal, freeing you from fear of abandonment, and thus worthy of your love and full commitment.
10. Bully? I’m just trying to help you
You honestly want to help others and are motivated to actively engage them in that effort. You can be offended or feel attacked by those who doubt your motivations. You know that the path to improvement requires a face-to-face confrontation with reality, which can be hard for some to bear, and can cause them to view you as uncaring in the process. You even may think that a good, swift (and literal) kick in the pants is necessary to effect change. Regardless, to you the ends justify the means. You have little tolerance for those who “screw things up” and who lack the desire to change. But for those who sincerely want to be better, you are quick to their side and loyal to the end.
ESTPs are spontaneous, enthusiastic and carefree. They are freedom-based creators and prefer their own way of doing things. They challenge assumptions, the status quo, and have making an impact on others as their primary goal. They may criticize and tear you down, but if you have their respect or are otherwise important to them, they will build you back up making you stronger and better than before. Their methods may seem harsh, but their motivation is pure. Finally, they are often misunderstood and unfairly judged, especially when relating to accepted sexual norms. But their unorthodoxy is simply their way of finding the loyalty and love that they so desperately need.
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