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  1. #1
    Senior Member Misty_Mountain_Rose's Avatar
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    Default How can I tell ESFJ from ESFP?

    I think a person I'm becoming very close to is an ESFP, but I've never really had an opportunity to 'study' either of these types and their descriptions seem similar. Would anyone be interested in helping an INTJ 'figure out' a ... a ... feeeeeeler?

    I've looked at the functions and he doesn't seem to ooze Fe that an ESFJ would have as primary (it usually scares me into a corner and makes me want to vanish in a very tangible and uncomfortable way). This makes me think ESFP... but conversations with him are littered with references to tradition, family and loyalty. From what I can understand, ESFP would be more 'in the moment' and not so very concerned with those things.

    I'll do the only thing I know how then and give you all 'the facts' and maybe someone can help me make sense of them? Some of these things overlap, which makes it confusing.

    Things that indicate ESFP (I'm leaning in this direction)
    - Not into 'drama'
    - Spontaneous and tons of fun
    - Was in a band and performing (all over the country!) at an early age. Has since settled down some
    - Seems a little negligent about money
    - Talks about things he's done, and frequently, to help someone who needed it
    - He had a difficult previous relationship that he says his 'stubbornness' helped him overcome... and he does seem oddly 'over it' for the amount of time he's had to process everything.
    - Works a hands-on and technical job
    - Loves animals, and has five children that he loves abundantly
    - Says a LOT that he is very 'happy' and 'wants to make me happy'
    - Does practical things for me like fixing small things on my car and around the house
    - Says he can be known to be 'scathing' at work and offend people but he makes things happen when he knows they need it and isn't afraid to speak up

    Things that indicate ESFJ?
    - Very serious about parental obligations
    - Seems shocked at the prospect of a non-traditional wedding
    - Opinionated, particularly about work and doesn't like to do anything less that the best work. Wants to make a name for himself and a reputation as a master craftsman at his profession.

    ... the overlap...
    - Talks about things he's done, and frequently, to help someone who needed it
    - Says a LOT that he is very 'happy' and 'wants to make me happy'
    - Does practical things for me like fixing small things on my car and around the house


    I also have not picked up on ANY of what I keep reading about ESFJ's being 'controlling'. I would think that my INTJ stubbornness at being told what to do would have picked up on that by now...

    On the surface they seem similar in their approach to life but I imagine like INTJ vs INTP, there are differences in the overall methodology, right? He could also have a low P/J preference and navigate between the two in different situations I suppose...

    Thoughts?
    Embrace the possibilities.

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    The best way to tell them apart is with a breathalyzer at a party.

  3. #3
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    I think a person I'm becoming very close to is an ESFP, but I've never really had an opportunity to 'study' either of these types and their descriptions seem similar. Would anyone be interested in helping an INTJ 'figure out' a ... a ... feeeeeeler?

    I've looked at the functions and he doesn't seem to ooze Fe that an ESFJ would have as primary (it usually scares me into a corner and makes me want to vanish in a very tangible and uncomfortable way). This makes me think ESFP... but conversations with him are littered with references to tradition, family and loyalty. From what I can understand, ESFP would be more 'in the moment' and not so very concerned with those things.

    I'll do the only thing I know how then and give you all 'the facts' and maybe someone can help me make sense of them? Some of these things overlap, which makes it confusing.

    Things that indicate ESFP (I'm leaning in this direction)
    - Not into 'drama'
    - Spontaneous and tons of fun
    - Was in a band and performing (all over the country!) at an early age. Has since settled down some
    - Seems a little negligent about money
    - Talks about things he's done, and frequently, to help someone who needed it
    - He had a difficult previous relationship that he says his 'stubbornness' helped him overcome... and he does seem oddly 'over it' for the amount of time he's had to process everything.
    - Works a hands-on and technical job
    - Loves animals, and has five children that he loves abundantly
    - Says a LOT that he is very 'happy' and 'wants to make me happy'
    - Does practical things for me like fixing small things on my car and around the house
    - Says he can be known to be 'scathing' at work and offend people but he makes things happen when he knows they need it and isn't afraid to speak up

    Things that indicate ESFJ?
    - Very serious about parental obligations
    - Seems shocked at the prospect of a non-traditional wedding
    - Opinionated, particularly about work and doesn't like to do anything less that the best work. Wants to make a name for himself and a reputation as a master craftsman at his profession.

    ... the overlap...
    - Talks about things he's done, and frequently, to help someone who needed it
    - Says a LOT that he is very 'happy' and 'wants to make me happy'
    - Does practical things for me like fixing small things on my car and around the house


    I also have not picked up on ANY of what I keep reading about ESFJ's being 'controlling'. I would think that my INTJ stubbornness at being told what to do would have picked up on that by now...

    On the surface they seem similar in their approach to life but I imagine like INTJ vs INTP, there are differences in the overall methodology, right? He could also have a low P/J preference and navigate between the two in different situations I suppose...

    Thoughts?
    Sounds more ESFJ than ESFP imho, ESFP's are renowned for liking drama, but then everyone is different. What is their job? how are they with family/friends?
    that might help
    "We knew he was someone who had a tragic flaw, that's where his greatness came from"

  4. #4
    PEST that STEPs on PETS stellar renegade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    I've looked at the functions and he doesn't seem to ooze Fe that an ESFJ would have as primary (it usually scares me into a corner and makes me want to vanish in a very tangible and uncomfortable way). This makes me think ESFP...
    First of all, this is pretty much bunk in my opinion and isn't an efficient way of looking at personality. If it truly helps you, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    but conversations with him are littered with references to tradition, family and loyalty. From what I can understand, ESFP would be more 'in the moment' and not so very concerned with those things.
    Yes, for the most part, but you can't absolutely stereotype.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    I'll do the only thing I know how then and give you all 'the facts' and maybe someone can help me make sense of them? Some of these things overlap, which makes it confusing.
    YES, thank you!

    My notes inside:

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    Things that indicate ESFP (I'm leaning in this direction)
    - Not into 'drama' - actually, it'd probly be ESXPs who are more into drama, I'm the more dramatic one between my ISFJ and I, and although my ESFJ mom would argue back to me it was mostly reactive
    - Spontaneous and tons of fun
    - Was in a band and performing (all over the country!) at an early age. Has since settled down some
    - Seems a little negligent about money
    - Talks about things he's done, and frequently, to help someone who needed it
    The previous four sound perfect for an SP, the last one for an expressive SP
    These ones in blue sound more like ESTP, particularly the part about making things happen, although they could mostly still be ESFP, too:

    - He had a difficult previous relationship that he says his 'stubbornness' helped him overcome... and he does seem oddly 'over it' for the amount of time he's had to process everything.
    - Works a hands-on and technical job

    - Loves animals, and has five children that he loves abundantly
    - Says a LOT that he is very 'happy' and 'wants to make me happy' - ESFP, yes
    - Does practical things for me like fixing small things on my car and around the house
    - Says he can be known to be 'scathing' at work and offend people but he makes things happen when he knows they need it and isn't afraid to speak up

    Things that indicate ESFJ?
    - Very serious about parental obligations - can still be an SP, depending on how he was raised
    - Seems shocked at the prospect of a non-traditional wedding - ditto
    - Opinionated, particularly about work and doesn't like to do anything less that the best work. Wants to make a name for himself and a reputation as a master craftsman at his profession. - DEFINITELY SP.

    ... the overlap...
    - Talks about things he's done, and frequently, to help someone who needed it - the subtle variation here is that he "talks about things he's done". An SJ would just talk about what needs to be done, and then maybe add their own experience (for the most part) instead of talking about things they've done which sounds like subtle boasting - again, VERY ESTP!
    - Says a LOT that he is very 'happy' and 'wants to make me happy' - well, SPs are the supreme optimists, and XSFJs are duty-fulfillers, often pessimistic but they do those things because you need it, not necessarily because they are joyful or spontaneous like he seems to be
    - Does practical things for me like fixing small things on my car and around the house - could be either ESFP or ESFJ, yes, but then again SPs are better with their hands

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    I also have not picked up on ANY of what I keep reading about ESFJ's being 'controlling'. I would think that my INTJ stubbornness at being told what to do would have picked up on that by now...
    Actually, ESFJs aren't that controlling at all. They're more helpful and accommodating like my ISFJ girl. Of course, there's a sense in which they do seem to have a "my way or the highway" attitude simply by virtue of being SJ, but only because they're convinced that it's the WAY to do it, nah mean? It feels a bit off-putting to me when my reserved, timid, kind ISFJ says things like that since she's usually so open to suggestion, but when I don't follow through she doesn't even come close to yelling at me, but she'll sulk and just not talk. My ESFJ mom would give up after arguing for a little bit, grunt and walk off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    On the surface they seem similar in their approach to life but I imagine like INTJ vs INTP, there are differences in the overall methodology, right? He could also have a low P/J preference and navigate between the two in different situations I suppose...

    Thoughts?
    Possible but I think it's harder to phase between temperament (SP or SJ) than it is types within a temperament. Each temperament has its own completely different paradigm of worldviews, automatic actions and response and interpretations of events that are mutually exclusive from each other. Within each temperament there's an interlocking flow between all of the traits that keeps the distinctions pretty neat and clean. I think of it kind of like a magnet that each temperament has that keeps the people who share that temperament locked inside that mindset.

    Not that an SP can't have some J qualities, it's true we do sometimes and hopefully we develop the more necessary ones sooner than later, but to share tons of traits between temperaments? Nah. We're more than just the sum of our parts - we're also the glue that holds them together. And SJ and SP parts just don't fit well together.
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    coo-oo-ooool this madness down,
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    I think a person I'm becoming very close to is an ESFP, but I've never really had an opportunity to 'study' either of these types and their descriptions seem similar. Would anyone be interested in helping an INTJ 'figure out' a ... a ... feeeeeeler?
    No need to be scared of all feelers... Just because we are feelers doesn't mean we want to be all touchy feely with you all the time and we don't want to know everything you are feeling all day long.


    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    Things that indicate ESFP (I'm leaning in this direction)
    - Not into 'drama'
    - Spontaneous and tons of fun
    - Was in a band and performing (all over the country!) at an early age. Has since settled down some
    - Seems a little negligent about money
    - Talks about things he's done, and frequently, to help someone who needed it
    - He had a difficult previous relationship that he says his 'stubbornness' helped him overcome... and he does seem oddly 'over it' for the amount of time he's had to process everything.
    - Works a hands-on and technical job
    - Loves animals, and has five children that he loves abundantly
    - Says a LOT that he is very 'happy' and 'wants to make me happy'
    - Does practical things for me like fixing small things on my car and around the house
    - Says he can be known to be 'scathing' at work and offend people but he makes things happen when he knows they need it and isn't afraid to speak up
    The statements in bold are what I can relate to....as an ESFJ.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    Things that indicate ESFJ?
    - Very serious about parental obligations
    - Seems shocked at the prospect of a non-traditional wedding
    - Opinionated, particularly about work and doesn't like to do anything less that the best work. Wants to make a name for himself and a reputation as a master craftsman at his profession.
    And again, the bold is what I relate to... While I do like traditions, I do like to branch away from FULL tradition... At my wedding we're going with traditional, but incorporating some non-traditional ideas too. I'm opinionated, but for the most part keep my opinions to myself unless I feel that someone is being really unethical. The last part of that statement feels like a need for claim to fame, and I have zero desire for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    ... the overlap...
    - Talks about things he's done, and frequently, to help someone who needed it
    - Says a LOT that he is very 'happy' and 'wants to make me happy'
    - Does practical things for me like fixing small things on my car and around the house
    I do a lot to help people....but I rarely talk about it. I'm a very modest person, and rarely take compliments on anything well, so talking about myself is not something I'm a pro at. I am most happy when I am making others happy... But I also know that my fiance likes to know that I'm happy, so I tell him that I am because it's a pretty easy way to make him happy! I'm all the time fixing my fiances laptop and other stuff he needs help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    I also have not picked up on ANY of what I keep reading about ESFJ's being 'controlling'. I would think that my INTJ stubbornness at being told what to do would have picked up on that by now...
    I still think this is a big misconception about ESFJs. I am not controlling of people at all. I am controlling of situations... Like my wedding planning, I'm pretty well doing it all on my own. My fiance has a say in certain things obviously, but aside from him, I've pretty well decided everything else with the help of only my mom. In fact, my bridesmaids all selected their own dresses, the only requirement I had was that they must be navy blue. So, I'm pretty sure a controlling person would not have been that way. Another instance of me not controlling things is... My fiance has to have knee surgery, and asked me when to do it. I told him that was up to him. I don't know what kind of pain he is in, so I don't want to be the one to make that decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post
    On the surface they seem similar in their approach to life but I imagine like INTJ vs INTP, there are differences in the overall methodology, right? He could also have a low P/J preference and navigate between the two in different situations I suppose...

    Thoughts?
    Those are all the thoughts from this ESFJ. I hope I cleared some stuff up. Oh yeah, and as an ESFJ I'm not all that into affection at all. I also don't open up much about my feelings.


  6. #6
    PEST that STEPs on PETS stellar renegade's Avatar
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    Yep, she pretty much just confirmed everything. At least all the sweeping concepts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbirleigh View Post
    Oh yeah, and as an ESFJ I'm not all that into affection at all. I also don't open up much about my feelings.
    What is it with you SJs and not being big on physical affection!? :steam:

    I swear... I don't know how you can resist it.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stellar renegade View Post
    What is it with you SJs and not being big on physical affection!? :steam:

    I swear... I don't know how you can resist it.


    Okay, so truth be told, I'm a little bit better in private when it's just me and my fiance... But if anyone else is around he might get lucky enough to hold my hand. I blame mine on being an only child... I really don't like people I don't know well touching me at all.


  8. #8
    PEST that STEPs on PETS stellar renegade's Avatar
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    That's better. My ISFJ lets me kiss her on the lips in public, though.

    What's your SO's type?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member tinker683's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stellar renegade View Post
    Yep, she pretty much just confirmed everything. At least all the sweeping concepts.


    What is it with you SJs and not being big on physical affection!? :steam:

    I swear... I don't know how you can resist it.
    Erm...I *love* affection personally! My thing is I have to know it's desired. I'm very timid about that kind of thing but once I get the "go-ahead" I usually have a hard time not being affectionate at that point. I used to practically hang all over my ex (she didn't mind though, which was really nice )
    "The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."
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  10. #10
    PEST that STEPs on PETS stellar renegade's Avatar
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    Well yeah, but you guys have boundaries, and then there's the whole "don't touch me" mode that you go into, at least mine does. Maybe it's different for a guy, too.

    But yeah, she really does love physical affection for the most part, and she often initiates the makeouts. I'm happy.
    -stellar renegade
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