ESFP Development
The Unique Growth Path of the ESFP

This section ESFP Development is about the unique developmental path of the ESFP personality from birth to midlife. While an individual’s personality development is unique, personality type provides a good general framework for you.

To understand the ESFP’s development, we have to understand the hierarchy of mental functions for the ESFP. The hierarchy of mental functions for the ESFP is about which mental function (Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking or Feeling) the ESFP is most comfortable with using and which they are least comfortable in using.

Without going too much into Type dynamics, let’s look at the ESFP’s hierarchy of mental functions:

ESFPs will be most comfortable with the Dominant Function Extraverted Sensing and least comfortable with the Inferior Function Introverted Intuition.

From Childhood to Puberty:
Development of Extraverted Sensing

As a child, the ESFP will develop the Extraverted Sensing function. They are extremely observant of their surroundings, noticing small details in colour, shape, smell, taste and more.

They will also prefer doing activities and playing games as compared to reading and listening to fairy tales. Even when listening to stories, they prefer those that are rich in detail and deal with facts and actual events.

If they have not properly developed this function in their youth, they make grow up to know only to succumb to instant gratification of their senses and it usually manifests itself in relationships with others.

From Puberty to about Age 30:
Development of Introverted Feeling

During puberty, the ESFP will start developing the auxiliary function, Introverted Feeling. They will show this development by becoming extremely sensitive, kind and encouraging to the needs of those around them.

Their care and concern for those around them coupled with their extroverted nature usually makes them very popular people. They may also start developing a core set of values that they will stand for vigorously.

If they have not been allowed to develop this function, they may succumb to peer pressure very easily, not considering what is important to them or their values but rather get caught up in the interactions with others.

Areas for ESFP Development

Assuming an environment is supportive to their development; most ESFPs would have developed Extraverted Sensing and Introverted Feeling by 20 years old or so.

Their areas of improvement will most likely come from the underdeveloped sides of Extraverted Thinking and Introverted Intuition.

Here are some suggestions for improvement:

  • Learn to state your stand assertively without getting too emotional
  • Be patient with policies and procedures and work within them
  • Follow through on your commitments
  • Give and receive negative feedback constructively
  • Organize and schedule your life 

From Age 30 to Midlife:
Development of Extraverted Thinking

If these behaviours are not developed by the age of 30, the ESFP will feel the need and tension to continue growing, firstly to start developing the tertiary function Extraverted Thinking.

The ESFP may start to use objective and logical thinking to approach situations that they used to take a personal stand on. They may also start to learn the value of being straightforward and frank in their language when the time is necessary.

The ESFP can further develop the Extraverted Thinking function through these simple exercises:

  • When conducting a meeting, stay task-oriented. Run through the agenda in a logical way and stick to the task at hand. Identify things to be done and allocate clear-defined tasks to individuals with deadlines.

  • Use cost-benefit analysis to make decisions. Consider pros and cons of each using a list. What are the consequences of each decision?

  • Take an objective approach to managing conflict. Explain the logical basis of your point of view and ask the other party to do the same. Do this without bringing in emotions or values.

From Midlife onward:
Development of Introverted Intuition

From midlife onward, the ESFP’s focus turns toward the inferior function, Introverted Intuition. The underdeveloped Introverted Intuition comes out in a childish way when ESFPs are under stress, leading them to worry or conjure up the worst case scenarios in their head.

But in midlife, there is an unconscious shift and desire to develop that inferior function in order to achieve wholeness and continual growth. It is an uncomfortable but necessary transition.

Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Introverted Intuition function:

  • Take up a class on meditation.

  • Read into world affairs across countries and consider global patterns and trends that may link all of these together.

  • Write a poem about something from nature without using physical attributes to describe it. (i.e. don’t talk about its colour or shape or size)


The developmental paths of individuals are unique depending on the environment, culture and social norms they were brought up in.

Some cultures value certain personality traits more than others, affecting the personality development of an individual.  Lastly, it is good to remember that no two people need to develop the same way, and hence only some of the above may apply to you.

This page only serves as a general guide for anyone using it as a reference. If you like to learn more about your unique developmental path, please contact me.

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