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How to Spot an ESTP? What sets them apart from the other personality types?

ESTP Key Difference Featured

According to some research, this intriguing personality type makes up for 4% of the US population. However, other surveys show that this percentage could be much higher and may go up to 10%. No matter how rare they may be, ESTP personalities are so vibrant, joyful, and ready for action that it will be easy to spot them wherever they appear.

If anyone wonders how to spot an ESTP, they should observe the ways people react to difficult or dangerous situations. A typical ESTP, also known as The Daredevil, will jump into the fire, trying to put it out for the thrill of it. As action-oriented adventure seekers, they will make sure that everybody willing to follow their lead has a memorable experience. The Daredevil also loves entertaining others and enjoys the spotlight, keeping their communication light and funny. ESTPs have a talent for reading people’s body language and facial expressions and adjusting their own actions accordingly. Because of this exceptional trait, some would describe the ESTP personality type as “manipulative,” but this is an unfair misconception.

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This article offers a short review of the dominant ESTP preferences that will give you a clearer picture of this personality type. Additionally, you will discover the strengths and weaknesses of an ESTP personality, as well as what makes them stand out among the 15 other types in the personality spectrum. In this way, you will get a complete answer to the “how to spot an ESTP” question by the end of this article.

ESTP Strengths and Weaknesses

We have already stated that the ESTP personality is an inexhaustible source of energy, always seeking some new challenge or social interaction. Here are some other typical characteristics that make ESTPs stand out among other personality types.

ESTP Strengths

  • ESTPs are known for their inexhaustible energy and “can-do” attitude. Once they find an exciting challenge they will go above and beyond to tackle it, encouraging others to join them in overcoming difficult situations. They approach every problem with immense self-confidence and prefer taking action rather than excessive contemplation. For all these reasons, ESTPs are invaluable team members that will inspire people to act quickly and get the job done.
  • They are bold and fierce. When an ESTP sees an opportunity for an adventure, they will jump in it without considering the consequences. They will use their intelligence and drive to get what they want at all costs.
  • As true extroverts, ESTPs love being around people in different social contexts. These charming and communicative personalities will quickly become the heart of any group they are in. They are exceptionally observant and can anticipate how others will act by “reading” their body language. This gives ESTPs the opportunity to better adapt to others and their needs.
  • ESTPs are honest and straightforward communicators. This means that people will always know where they stand with them. They like to express their opinions in a factual way, not involving emotions. Many will respect ESTP personalities for their communication style and see this as a positive feature.

ESTP Weaknesses

  • The ESTP personality type tends to be judgmental at times. Being highly perceptive is an extraordinary feature that enables them to predict how people may react in different situations. However, ESTPs tend to rely on their first impression when they judge others. For this reason, they may miss the opportunity to form significant relationships with some people because of their initial instinct.
  • ESTPs are always ready to take action and expect everyone around them to share the same drive and efficiency. Therefore, they may get impatient and inconsiderate when other people can’t – or don’t – live up to their expectations. They like moving quickly towards the solution of the problem and will consider any display of emotions as an unnecessary obstacle on their way. As a result, they may not engage in the emotional side of their relationships because they prefer Thinking over Feeling.
  • They lack structure in life. ESTPs live for action and taking risks, and this fast-paced way of life does not go hand in hand with well-devised plans. For this reason, ESTPs will tend to avoid structured organization and strict schedules, finding them constraining and annoying.
  • ESTPs tend to invest immense energy in new exciting activities, but they can get easily bored. When they lose interest in something or someone, they tend to move on quickly, seeking the next big thing that will spark their interest. As a result, many would say that ESTPs have commitment issues. However, they will be able to commit to a specific cause or person if there is enough intrigue and excitement.

This is a shortlist of ESTP’s strong sides and shortcomings. You will find a more detailed description of their dominant features in our ESTP personality traits article.

ESTP Preferences and Cognitive Functions

Every type in the 16 personalities spectrum has distinctive features that set them apart from others. Even though this classification is based on four pairs of Preferences, along with dominant and inferior Cognitive Functions, every personality type represents a unique combination of personality traits. That said, let’s see what personality preferences and cognitive functions determine the ESTP’s actions and outlook of the world. The following are the ESTP personality type’s dominant preferences:

Extroversion vs. Introversion

As a result of their Extroversion preference, ESTPs will most likely be recognized for their energy, which they channel into adrenaline-pumping group activities or into solving their friends’ problems quickly and efficiently. They also won’t mind being the life of the party. However, once they get bored, ESTPs will move on to the next challenge calling out for their attention. The Daredevil is great at socializing due to their prominent extroverted side, but, being Thinking rather than Feeling types, ESTPs do not easily get emotionally engaged.

Sensing vs. Intuition

Furthermore, since ESTPs are Sensing types, they learn about the world around them through their senses. They tend to rely on solid facts and seek practical solutions for problems rather than contemplating elusive or abstract concepts. However, an ESTP personality will enjoy a meaningful intellectual debate, provided it leads to an efficient solution. ESTPs like to move quickly through different phases of a working process, making sure that everyone follows their lead and does their best to achieve set goals. These personalities will thrive in fast-paced, dynamic environments; stalling or routine may bore them easily. When this occurs, they tend to move on looking for a fresh project without following through on their current obligations.

Thinking vs. Feeling

The Thinking preference determines the way the ESTP personality type makes decisions. ESTPs are eager to achieve various goals and tackle difficult issues. While doing this, they tend to rely on logic rather than feelings. For this reason, ESPs are seen as pragmatic and strong-minded people who base their choices on facts and information, often disregarding other people’s feelings. Their only concern is to solve problems as quickly as possible and may find the consideration of feelings an unnecessary obstacle on the road to resolution.

Perceiving vs. Judging

When this Thinking preference combines with the Perceiving preference, the result is an exceptionally goal-driven personality type that does not like to be constrained by structure. ESTPs will prefer a flexible environment where they can invest their vast energy into solving a burning issue and have the freedom to move to the next big thing when they feel like it. In other words, they will be great at jumping in to solve the immediate crisis, but they will leave for another exciting project after things cool down. They are constantly seeking new challenges in work and in life, and for this reason, they may not follow through if they lose interest, or if something comes in the way of their progress.

When it comes to the four cognitive functions typical for an ESTP personality, they are:

  • Dominant function Extroverted Sensing (Se)
  • Auxiliary function – Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Tertiary function- Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
  • Inferior Function- Introverted Intuition (Ni)

These preferences and cognitive functions may determine ways in which ESTP personalities experience the world around them, make decisions, or approach problems. However, bear in mind that a person’s character is a complex concept affected by numerous factors. For this reason, people should not refer to these preferences as something that completely defines a person, their character, or their life path.

How Does an ESTP Compare to Other Personality Types?

Let’s turn now to comparing ESTP personality traits and see what similarities and differences we may find between them and the 15 other personality types. This may provide a clearer picture of what the ESTP personality is like and how others perceive them.

ESTPs vs. NT Analyzer Types

Similar to ESTPs due to the shared Thinking preference, personality types that belong to the NT analyzer temperament group are level-headed, logical, and goal-oriented people. Analyzers are often described as self-sufficient, reliable, and hard-working individuals. As they rely heavily on reason, NT types will tend to gather knowledge not only to make decisions but also to question everything around them. Besides the Thinking preference they have in common with ESTPs, Analyzers are Intuitive personalities (while ESTPs are Sensing types). For this reason, there may be possible clashes between NT types and ESTPs. Analyzers in the 16 personalities spectrum are INTP, ENTP, INTJ, and ENTJ, and we will see now how an ESTP personality compares to these personality types.


INTPs are individualistic, deep, and private people. They spend their time contemplating complex ideas, mostly leaving practical actions to others. An INTP personality will immerse themselves completely in activities that interest or excite them. But since they have a limited attention span, they will move on as soon as boredom sets in. They tend to leave others to finish their projects, while they move on to follow their latest interests. Due to their dominant Introversion preference, they may come across as people of few words. However, INTP personalities may become quite vocal when they have something important to say. That said, they see small talk and light conversation as a waste of time. Additionally, INTPs are analytical and cynical types that rely on logic to form their judgment; they do not rely on or express their feelings easily. For all these reasons, many will find it hard to get through to an INTP personality.

Although they share the Thinking and Perceiving preferences with INTPs, ESTPs have many contrasting features. First of all, the energetic and goal-oriented ESTP personalities prefer taking immediate actions to contemplate intangible ideas. Furthermore, once they find a challenging project to work on, ESTPs will motivate other team members to give their best and reach the goal together. In contrast, self-sufficient NTPs will withdraw and work towards the same goal in solitude.

On the other hand, both of these personalities make logical decisions using collected facts and data. Furthermore, ESTPs also prefer the flexibility to strict schedules at work and will move on as soon as they lose interest in some activity.

Joyful, adventurous, and communicative, ESTPs are the stark opposite of serious and deep INTP personalities. As a result, ESTPs may find it hard to connect with private INTPs immersed in their thoughts, despite their shared preferences.


ENTPs are enthusiastic people always seeking new possibilities. As Intuitive types, they like offering their fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to solve problems. Same as the ESTP personality type, these curious personalities love challenging situations, where they can exercise their inventiveness. They also love to engage in fiery intellectual discussions for the fun of it. On the downside, they may show impatience towards those who do not share their opinions or are confused with their complex ideas. Direct and honest in their communication style, ENTPs may unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings when they think they have to defend their ideas.

ESTP shares numerous features with ENTPs. They are extroverted, energetic, and enthusiastic people. They also seek new challenges they can share with those willing to follow their lead. Similar to ENTPs, they may get easily bored and shun routine, and move on to find new thrills.

However, ESTPs love being in the heart of the action, and may not grasp the ENTP’s elusive, innovative concepts. They will enjoy an intellectual exchange, but only if it leads to a practical solution to an imminent problem. Thus, ESTPs will not enjoy engaging in debates with an ENTP simply for the sake of it. Both ESTP and ENTP personalities may not grasp the significance of feelings due to their shared Thinking preference. For this reason, their blunt communication style may easily hurt people’s feelings.


INTJs are deep, imaginative individuals who look towards the future to uncover groundbreaking ideas. As Thinking types, they will rely on logic and hard work to turn these advanced, abstract concepts into reality.

With their prominent Introversion preference, INTJ personalities will have a hard time opening up until they get close to someone. But when they decide to enter a conversation, INTJs will enjoy deep intellectual debates about future inventions and solutions. Thanks to their strong Intuitive preference, INTJ types tend to collect and process gathered information quickly, discerning the invisible connections between things that can lead to long-term solutions. Because of these Introverted and Intuitive preferences, INTJs often seem unapproachable and aloof to others when they are immersed in their thoughts. This may be one reason why ESTPs may not try to get closer to this personality type.

Additionally, ESTPs, as action-oriented personalities who live in the present moment, may not understand the INTJ’s need to look into the future and devise complex intangible solutions. As a prominently extroverted and outspoken personality, ESTPs are the complete opposite of the withdrawn INTJ who cherish their independence and privacy. However, despite the numerous differences between these two personality types, they do make their decisions in a similar way. Both Thinking types, ESTPs and INTJs will make choices pragmatically and logically. And while ESTPs will use logic to solve immediate issues, INTJs will apply it in various intellectual processes to come up with idealistic and futuristic solutions.


Often described as born leaders, ENTJs are organized, hardworking, and strong-headed personalities that tend to always be on the go. ENTJs’ self-confidence, direct approach to problems, and tendency to be in the center of the action are features they share with ESTPs. However, ENTJs especially tend to be authoritative and controlling, making sure that everybody follows their carefully devised plan for efficient solutions. If this fails to occur, ENTJs are at risk of being impatient and inconsiderate towards those who do not follow the rules. The ENTJs, however, do not do this intentionally; they simply do not recognize the importance of feelings unless they contribute to solving problems. Being Intuitive and Thinking types, ENTJs will be more likely to contemplate abstract ideas to accomplish their problem-solving.

ESTP personalities share the same drive for accomplishing set goals quickly and efficiently. And as action-oriented types, they will understand the ENTJ’s need to be on the go. However, as Perceiving types, ESTPs crave flexibility and like doing things their way. This may be one of the significant differences between them and organized ENTJs, who will insist that everyone follow strict and structured plans. This discrepancy in work ethics may lead to open confrontations between ESTPs and ENTJs, in which both personalities will not hold back from sharing their opinions. But as self-confident types who rarely take things personally, ESTPs and ENTJs may find these conflicts a constructive way to clear the air.

ESTPs vs. SJ Pragmatist Types

These four personalities base their core values on tradition. They care deeply about their families and friends, making sure that everybody is safe and sound. These personalities will always choose the safety of daily routine over the thrill of new adventures. SJ pragmatist types are reliable, hard-working, and self-sacrificing people. They are also perfectionists who tend to be overly self-critical when they fail to reach their own high standards.

Let’s see now what makes the ESTP personality type different from people with shared SJ preferences.


ISTJs are serious, reliable, and hard-working people who will stay behind the scenes, making sure everything runs smoothly towards their goal. As Judging types, they prefer following well-devised plans overtaking a flexible approach to problems. ISTJs are focused, determined, and persistent personalities that will make sure they finish what they have started. For all these characteristics, ISTJs are known by their colleagues, friends, and family as loyal people that will do the right thing in the safest and most efficient way.

Because they are so immersed in current tasks, ISTJ personalities may disregard their own needs or the needs of others. As private and diligent individuals, they will not thrive in fast-paced environments. Instead, they will perform best when left to work on their own, following a step-by-step plan from the beginning to the completion. For all these reasons ISTJ persons may come across as detached or cold individuals that cannot connect easily with others.

ESTPs, however, may consider it an exciting new challenge to form a lasting relationship with a serious and focused ISTJ personality. Even though they share Sensing and Thinking preferences, these two personalities have different principles and outlooks on life. Action-seeking and extroverted ESTPs will have a hard time understanding the ISTJs tendency to avoid risks and their need for stability and privacy. Furthermore, they would find it hard to accept a long-term, step-by-step plan, because they would get bored and move on to the next exciting project.


The proactive and practical ESTJ personality type likes to get things done in the right way. Natural-born organizers, ESTJ personalities can quickly get to the core of the problem and find the most efficient solution. With prominent Sensing and Judging features, they will make sure that they apply their practical solutions by following a detailed plan. They tend to do this with an admirable determination that motivates others to follow their lead. However, their strong work ethic and devotion to a cause may lead ESTJs to disregard other people’s feelings in order to complete projects effectively. Since they have prominent Extroversion preferences, ESTJs will not have problems sharing their opinions and expectations with others. They will tell others what they need to do, and if someone fails to follow the instructions, ESTJs will express their opinion without holding back.

Since they share almost all preferences except the Perceiving/Judging, it is expected that ESTP and ESTJ have a similar perception of the world around them. Both personality types are action-oriented and will not fear tackling difficult or dangerous issues. Furthermore, they rely on logic and facts (rather than feelings) when making decisions, implementing practical solutions to imminent problems. ESTPs and ESTJs also share a similar blunt style of expressing their opinions, often hurting someone’s feelings along the way. However, ESTPs, as free-spirited people who like doing things their way, may not accept the strict plans imposed by organized and often controlling ESTJs.


Simultaneously introverted and people-oriented, ISFJ personalities will work hard behind the scenes to make sure that people’s needs are met. Given that ISFJs tend to stay away from the limelight, their numerous values may easily be overlooked. However, ISFJs’ prominent Sensing preference enables them to be deeply in tune with their environment, memorizing relevant facts and experiences for future reference. As Feeling types, ISFJ personalities care deeply about their core values and may be easily hurt when someone calls them into question. This can be a serious deal-breaker for an ISFJ person, but since they are introverted, they may struggle with showing others how they feel. On the other hand, ISFJs will be devoted to a specific cause especially if it gives them a sense of belonging.

ESTPs, as action-focused extroverts, will struggle to understand the ISFJ’s way of life. They tend to act as quickly as possible, sometimes disregarding other people’s feelings and needs. Furthermore, they tend to follow logic rather than emotion when making decisions, relying instead on their rational judgment on facts and data they have gathered. Also, they lack the ISFJ’s long-term loyalty, easily losing interest in projects or people and swiftly moving on to seek new experiences.


ESFJs are energetic personalities and hard workers, driven by what they see as their duty to help others. As Sensing types, they will invest their energy into finding practical solutions for real-life problems. They do not want to waste time contemplating abstract (and therefore unhelpful) ideas. And although ESFJs will jump into action to improve a situation, they will also follow well-organized structures, preferring not to leave anything unfinished (unlike ESTPs). They also prefer routine because they find stability in it, fearing the change that the unknown and unexpected can bring. Because of their Feeling preference, they may shun objective and logical thinking when making decisions, relying instead on their inner feeling to show them the right thing to do. Also, as Feeling types, they will have a deep appreciation for their core values and will demand the same from others. They will make sure that everybody is treated with respect, continually seeking harmony.

Even though half of their preferences clash, ESTPs may find common ground with ESFJs. Both personality types are extroverts, but ESTPs tend to spend their energy dealing with difficult problems, while ESFJs invest theirs into helping others. An ESTP personality may not understand the ESFJ’s ability to tune in to other people’s feelings, because they are rational and logical thanks to their Thinking preference. ESTPs like to work in flexible and dynamic environments and may struggle to understand the ESFJs constant need for order. After all, The Daredevil doesn’t fear the challenge of the unknown or unexpected. But, ESTPs will dread routine. For these reasons, ESTP personalities are quite different from ESFJs, despite their shared Extroversion and Sensing preferences.

ESTPs vs. NF Empath Types

Personality types that share Intuition and Feeling preferences are people deeply connected with the inner, spiritual world. They are often perceived as deep, sympathetic, and relaxed personalities. As people highly in sync with the feelings of others, they strive to make everyone feel good and will worry – may be too much – when the harmony is disrupted. Thus, they tend to avoid conflicts, tending to keep harmonious relationships at all costs. Let’s make some comparisons between the ESTP personality and the four NF empath types to see their differences and similarities.


Gentle, private, and harmony-seeking INFP personalities appreciate their values deeply. Accordingly, INFPs will make sure their actions are always in alignment with their beliefs. They will take action only when they are completely convinced that they are doing the right thing. Shy and withdrawn, INFPs will struggle with sharing feelings or opinions, unless they think their values are in danger of being violated. If this occurs, they will turn into fierce defenders of their principles and true fighters for the cause. INFPs possess two seemingly contrasting preferences, Introversion and Intuition, which make them both shy and curious. They like to be well-informed about happenings around them, even though they may not participate in them. Simply put, they like to feel included, and someone who overlooks this may easily hurt their feelings.

The differences between an ESTP and INFP personality are obvious. Action-oriented ESTPs will not waste time immersed in their inner world. They will seek to fill the present moment with energy, excitement, or risk. As people who use their Thinking preference to make logical, fact-based decisions, they will struggle to understand the INFP’s need to act upon their feelings. Since they act quickly in pursuit of solutions, they may see the need to contemplate every action as unnecessary stalling. As personality types that do not take things personally and do not prioritize emotion, ESTPs may be overwhelmed by INFPs’ emotional outbursts.


Often described as one of the friendliest personality types, ENFP personalities are future-oriented, optimistic, and full of energy. They are curious people who see possibilities wherever they go. Having an Intuitive preference, ENFPs will be inexhaustible sources of fresh ideas. However, they tend to be easily distracted and may leave current projects undone because they have found other interests. Also, they may get easily bored with routine and repetitive tasks, so they will be most productive in flexible, dynamic environments where they can share their ideas freely. In any social setting, they will easily be able to engage others to follow their lead and implement their innovative ideas. Yet, as Feeling types, they will make sure everybody’s opinion is heard and appreciated, striving to make people around them feel special.

Even though one may think that an ESTP does not have many things in common with the ENFP, this is not completely true. Similar to ENFPs, ESTP personalities like to be on the move, constantly seeking excitement. They are also fun-loving, charming, and friendly in social interaction, even though they may not engage emotionally with others like an ENFP. Furthermore, ESTPs also share ENFPs’ boredom for routine, and they may not finish what they have started due to their limited attention span.

However, unlike ENFPs who love to engage with innovative ideas and focus on the future, ESTPs are occupied with tackling difficult situations in the here and now. Furthermore, they may not understand ENFPs’ need to take care of others, because caring about other people’s feelings is not on the ESTP’s top list of priorities.


The INFJ type fosters values and perception of the world completely opposite to those of the ESTP. As Introverted and Intuitive personalities, INFJs will tend to stay behind the scenes and work hard to maintain harmony. INFJs are serious, caring, and deeply devoted to core human values. Even though they are gentle and withdrawn, they will speak their mind when they feel these values are disregarded. INFJs are thought to be the rarest personality type and may seem enigmatic and unapproachable to others. For this reason, people may often misunderstand INFJs intentions and actions.

ESTPs, who possess starkly opposite preferences to INFJs, may struggle to understand INFJs principles. On the other hand, they may think of them as interesting and mysterious people worth attention. However, fast and furious ESTPs may eventually get impatient with quiet and private INFJs. Finally, ESTPs have a flexible and hands-on approach to problems and thus, may not cope with INFJs’ tendency to follow strict schedules.


ENFJ personalities are both action-oriented and people-centered. As amazing communicators, always in tune with the feelings and needs of others, ENFJs will do their best to organize and motivate people to change the world for the better. They are charming and engaging in any social interaction, always striving to make people feel special. Since they tend to carefully plan all their activities, ENFJs will be great multitaskers that people can rely on. These caring and selfless personalities will make sure that everything is done to perfection and according to plan.

ESTPs may share the urge for action with ENFJs, but that is where their similarities end. Namely, ESTPs crave action to satisfy their need for excitement. On the other hand, ENFJs take action to meet other people’s needs and change their lives for the better. Both ESTPs and ENFJs are charming and outgoing personalities. However, while ENFJs tend to create longer-lasting emotional connections with others, ESTPs enjoy being in the center of attention until they lose interest and move on to the next interesting group of people.

ESTPs and SP Originator Types

The four types from the 16 personalities spectrum that share Sensing and Perceiving preferences fall into the SP originator temperament group. Since ESTPs are in this group, it will be interesting to see how they differ from other SP types.


ISTP personalities enjoy diving into challenging situations. However, they will tend to take things to extremes. One moment they may be in the heat of the action, only to become disinterested and withdraw to the background the next minute. Once a crisis is handled, they will not see the need to stay around and follow through. In addition, as private and introverted personalities, ISTPs will struggle with revealing emotions. For this reason, other people may think of them as unfriendly and hard to reach.

ESTPs, on the other hand, will enjoy being in the spotlight, sharing their sense of humor with others, and keeping the atmosphere light and friendly. However, they share the ISTP’s desire for tackling challenging situations. Same as the ISTP personality type, ESTPs may find it difficult to stay focused on current tasks and complete them. They will instead seek something new to experience before they let routine get the best of them.


Often described as the keen observers of life, ISFPs are introspective people who tend to savor every moment, appreciating everything around them. Their Sensing preference enables them to absorb the beauty from their environment and turn it into creative work, like painting or drawing. ISFPs deeply respect their values and tend to cultivate harmonious relationships with others. Getting to know the ISFP personality may be a demanding task, but once they decide to let someone into their world, they will become loyal and reliable friends.

ESTPs may see getting closer to an ISFP personality as an exciting challenge. However, they may become impatient easily and move on before they succeed in gaining an ISFP’s trust. Although they share the Sensing preference, ESTP tends to use this personality trait to seek the most practical solution to real problems. Furthermore, they tend to make choices using logic and facts, failing to understand the ISFP’s prominent Feeling side. They are all for taking immediate actions, rather than contemplating values and emotions.


ESFPs are adventure-seeking, people-oriented enthusiasts who tend to live in the moment. They will enjoy being the star of the party, making sure everyone around them is comfortable and satisfied. They are also action-oriented personalities that love to share new experiences with others. They will also be able to anticipate what other people need, and they will do their best to make someone’s life better.

ESTPs and ESFPs both despise routine and boredom and may get easily distracted by new exciting prospects. Same as ESTPs, ESFPs are practical problem-solvers who like to come up with efficient solutions to problems. However, while ESTPs will move on quickly towards set goals, ESFPs will make sure that everyone’s idea is heard and appreciated. Overall, ESFPs and ESTPs may get along just fine, if they accept each other’s differences.

We hope that people will have a better understanding of ESTP personality traits, motivations, and perceptions of life after reading this article. By comparing them with each of the 15 other personality types, we have shown the features that make ESTPs stand out in the crowd, so they can be easily spotted wherever they may go.