ESFP vs. ENFP, Part 1

Boye Akinwande is a contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Akinwande’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site.

By Boye Akinwande

ESFPs are Se/Ni types and ENFPs are Ne/Si types.

Se/Ni types tend to be more direct and convergent in their cognition than Ne/Si types whose cognition is more indirect and divergent.

However, almost every creative artist, movie maker, or storyteller that’s EFP seems to get typed as an ENFP by typologists, even if they’re actually an ESFP. This is unfortunate. I agree with CelebrityTypes and Jung that the functions don’t inform a person’s level of creativity, but rather the way in which that person is creative.

Now, concerning the way in which ESFPs are creative, ESFPs often have a knack for entertaining and telling stories. They’re well equipped to bring the most thrilling aspects of real life into a story and can generally make that story feel very real and gripping.

ESFPs are also, all else being equal, just as good at making art as ENFPs. Where they tend to show less of an interest is in sorting through the hows and the whys – adopting meta perspective and trying to figure out what it all means from some third-person perspective that would detract from the intensity of what they are doing. This is not to say that they can’t, but simply to say that they usually don’t have a preference for it.

ENFPs tend to be more inclined to sort out all the meta-level perspectives on what they are doing. To Se types, they can often seem to be whiffling through pointless considerations, or even to come across as long-winded when trying to sort things out.

ENFPs and ESFPs tend to have many of the same qualities: They are both very perceptive and quick idea generators. Generally speaking though, here is a good way to tell the difference:

ENFPs have Ne/Si. They are continually in search of conceptual novelty, which they seek out in order to broaden the sum-total of possible perspectives on the world. On the other hand, ENFPs can also have a tendency towards the impractical, to be divorced from the empirical world – to neglect their everyday duties and to ignore established reality.

ESFPs, on the other hand, have Se/Ni. They are very quick to adapt and size up the immediate situation, and determining their course of action from there. But on the other hand, they can also be quick to dismiss or neglect perspectives that have no immediate utility value, since staying with these perspectives would hamper their quickness. Where the ENFPs tend to be divorced from the empirical world, the ESFPs are to a greater extent married to it.

4 Comments

  1. Se/Ni vs Si/Ne is probably the hardest dichotomy to pinpoint in typology. Take Tarantino for example. He is a walking library of cinema and uses said knowledge in new ways to make a movie that looks more like a jigsaw puzzle than an original concept. It is understandable why some people would consider him an Ne user. I hope there is more written about this topic.

  2. CV, maybe it was this site or elsewhere, (sorry, can’t remember). But I seem to remember reading somewhere that a filmmaker like Tarantino — an Se/Ni — would be more likely to learn everything about the craft of filmmaking, whereas someone like Oliver Stone — Ne/Si would be more apt to learn everything about the subject matter of his film. Interesting distinction.

  3. Interesting. But how would that work in non-artistic fields? Politicians, business, and philosophers for example.

  4. I believe that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, is an ESFP. It would be good to include him.

    Here is a quote of him I especially like:

    “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”

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