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ESFPs are fun and delightful to be with. They live for the moment, and know how to make the most of each moment. They are genuinely, warmly interested in people, and love to make others happy. They're usually very kind-hearted and generous, and are always going out of their way to do something nice for someone. Their affection is simple, straight-forward and honest. They dislike theory and complexities. They often resist forming relationships which require them to function on a high Intuitive or Thinking level. They prefer for things to be light and happy, although their warmth and affection runs deep. Their potential downfall is the tendency to live entirely for the present moment, and therefore to sometimes be unaware of the direction that their relationship is heading, or to be easily distracted from long-term commitments.
Each type has traits and behaviors that can strengthen their relationhips. Most ESFPs will exhibit the following strengths with regards to relationship issues.
The first step in overcoming our weaknesses is identifying them and recognizing them in our own behavior. Once we've done that, we begin to naturally correct our weaker behaviors in real-time. ESFPs may recognize some or all of the following behaviors that can negatively impact the health of their relationships.
"To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before." —Rollo May
ESFPs embrace their love relationships in a Big way, similar to the way they approach their lives in general. They love to be in love, and will try to make the most of each moment. They take things on a day-by-day basis, and are uncomfortable thinking too much about the future, or making plans far in advance. For this reason, ESFPs are not natural long-term commitment people. They may feel tremendously committed on a day-by-day basis, but they do not naturally plan for their futures.
This commitment issue is a potential pitfall for the ESFP. Many people of this type overcome this potential weakness, and become involved in truly satisfying, lifelong relationships. Others do not address this weakness, and move from relationship to relationship without forming real commitments, convincing themselves that this is what they truly want.
Sexually, the ESFP is a very earthy and sensual individual who seeks and enjoys intimate contact with their partners. Living in the here-and-now, they throughly embrace and enjoy the experience with all five senses. They are generous and warm, and highly interested in making their partners happy.
ESFPs tend to be materialistic, and somewhat caught up in "what others think" of them. They should take care that this doesn't interfere with their personal relationships, since many of the others types will not be able to relate to their perspectives on these matters.
ESFPs do not handle conflict well at all. They take any sort of criticism very personally, and consider it to be a general indictment of their character. They may react with anger and harsh words which they would later like to take back. ESFPs would do themselves a favor if they would come to realize that criticism can be looked at constructively, rather than destructively. If they can hear criticism without feeling personally threatened, the ESFP will have come a very long way towards greatly improving the strength and health of their relationships.
ESFPs are extremely literal and concrete when communicating. They say things in a very direct, abrupt manner, and can sometimes even unintentionally seem quite harsh. They like things to be communicated to them in a similar, concrete fashion. They dislike theory and abstraction, and will frequently misunderstand the jist of a communication if it is not communicated in a factual, present-tense manner. Discussions regarding the future or the past are not the ESFP's strong suit, and in fact they're likely to miscontrue future-looking statements as something that needs immediate attention. When they discover that the discussion is not regarding an immediate concern, they become disinterested.
ESFPs are in general very warm and giving people, with simple needs and demands from their partners. They just want to be happy, and want to bring happiness to others. They are energetic and popular individuals who will liven up the social life of the couple, and keep many new experiences on the horizon.
Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, ESFP's natural partner is the ISTJ, or the ISFJ. ESFP's dominant Extraverted Sensing function is best matched with a personality that is dominated by Introverted Sensing. More on ESFP compatibility
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth...
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable." —Kahlil Gibran
The ESFP's "go with the flow", fun-loving attitude will extend to the raising of their children. They are warm and affectionate parents, and are great for giving practical care to their children. They like to do things in a Big way, and enjoy big families.
The ESFP will freely give love and affection to their children, but they frequently have a problem with defining a structured, orderly environment for them, and they may rely on their partners in this regard. Ultimately, the ESFP likely believes that too much structure is not a healthy thing for anyone, and so they're unlikely to enforce a highly structured or disciplined environment. If this trait is strongly present in the ESFP, and is not counteracted by their partner's perspective, it could be considered a potential pitfall for the ESFP parent. Children need some structure which can be depended upon as they grow up.
The ESFP is very practical and concrete in their daily needs, and are usually quite good at taking care of their children's daily needs. Although their approach to life is frequently "ad-lib", and their lives are almost always extremely full of exciting events, the ESFP is very good at juggling many things at once, which makes them especially good at handling the various issues which come up in a large family.
ESFPs tend to have difficulty with the authoritarian role, preferring to be their children's friend. However, they do expect to be given respect and to be obeyed when necessary, and will fall into the role of parental authoritarian at times. This can be frustrating for some children, especially those with strong Judging tendencies, as they will not know what to expect from their ESFP parent.
ESFPs are usually remembered fondly by their children for being fun-loving, upbeat, and affectionate, although at times somewhat scattered.
ESFPs are highly enthusiastic and effervescent. They are usually very popular, because people are naturally drawn towards them. They get such genuine delight and enjoyment from experiences which they encounter in life, and they love nothing better than to draw a crowd of people along with them for the sheer fun of it. ESFPs try to turn every day into a party, and they're usually successful at doing so.
ESFPs are highly valued for their ability to have a good time, and for their genuine warmth and interest towards people. They are extremely in tune with their five senses, and may be prone to overload them with too much alcohol, food, or drugs. They get along with all sorts of people, although they're not interested in spending time with people who they find boring, or who expect the ESFP to communicate with them on an Intuitive or Thinking level. Some people may disapprove of the ESFP's fun-oriented lifestyle. Others may be put off by their very stright-forward and blunt speaking style. The ESFP is likely to especially enjoy spending time with other Extraverts who have the Feeling preference, although they may have a special place in their hearts for people of any preference.