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Portrait of an ESTP

ESTPs are men and women of action. When someone of this personality is present, things begin to happen. The lights come on, the music plays, the game begins. And a game it is for the ESTP, the outstanding entrepreneur, the international diplomat, the conciliator, and the negotiator par excellence. Approximately 13 percent of the general population are of this extraverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving type, and if only one adjective could be used to describe ESTPs resourceful would be an apt choice.

Life is never dull around ESTPs. Their attractive, friendly style has a theatrical flourish which makes even the most routine, mundane event seem exciting. ESTPs usually know the location of the best restaurants, and headwaiters are likely to call them by name. ESTPs are socially sophisticated, suave, and urbane and are master manipulators of the external environment .

ESTPs are uncanny at observing people's motivations, somehow hypersensitive to minimal nonverbal cues which other types might miss. And they are masters at using these observations to "sell" the "client." The eye of the ESTP is ever on the eye of the beholder, and all actions are directed toward this audience. Witty, clever, and fun, ESTPs seem to possess an unusual amount of empathy, when in fact this is not the case; rather, they are so acutely aware of minimal signals from others that they are usually several jumps ahead in anticipation of another's position. And ESTPs can use information gained to the ends they have in mind -- apparently with nerves of steel, engaging in what seems to others to be suicidal brinksmanship. Other types may find this exhausting, but ESTPs are exhilarated by working close to the edge of disaster. ESTPs are ruthless pragmatists and often offer the ends as justification for whatever means they see as necessary -- regrettable, perhaps, but necessary. Usually, however, ESTPs do not care to justify actions, but prefer instead to get on to the next action.

ESTPs are outstanding as initiators of enterprises that bring people together to negotiate. They make invaluable itinerant administrators who can pull troubled companies or institutions out of the red very quickly, and with style! They can sell an idea or project in a way no other type can, but won't follow through on the tedious administrative details of a project. This characteristic often causes ESTPs to be unappreciated for the extraordinary talents they have, for people lose sight of the idea contributed and focus on the details left undone, becoming critical of ESTPs' weaknesses rather than appreciating their strength. Few enterprises which are institutionally based use ESTPs as they should be used. When they strike out on their own, however, they do not always succeed, for their unwillingness to bother with follow-up details may cause an otherwise excellent project to fail. ESTPs need to be sure they have someone who will take care of follow-up if at all possible.

If the promotional, entrepreneural capabilities of ESTPs are used to constructive ends, an institution is fortunate for their presence. If their desire for excitement is not met constructively, however, these energies may be channeled into destructive, antisocial activities such as those of the confidence rackets --  counterfeiting, bad-check artistry, safecracking, and swindling. A movie of the early 1970's which caught this use of the ESTP's talents was The Sting.

ESTPs live in the immediate moment and as mates lend excitement -- and unpredictability -- to the relationship. The ESTP mate is usually extremely attentive in public and smooth in social rituals. They carry on amusing repartee, and laughter surrounds them as they recount from their endless supply of clever jokes and stories. Charm radiates from ESTPs. Nothing is too good for their friends, although family responsibilities may, at times, be given second priority. The ESTP's mate may in time come to feel like an object -- the female a chattel and the male a negotiable commodity. Deep commitments do not always occur in the lives of ESTPs, although they are always popular and know many, many people by name. Relationships usually are conditional, and the condition is the consideration of what the ESTP has to gain from the relationship. Anything gained, however, is shared freely and generously with the mate. The unexpected gift, the impulsive trip to Paris, the extravagant surprise at Christmas -- all these an ESTP brings to a mate. Fun, excitement, laughter, and that element of unpredictability are characteristic of their relationship. The ESTPs have a low tolerance for anxiety and are apt to avoid or leave situations that are consistently filled with interpersonal tensions. ESTPs are usually somewhat of a mystery to their mates and to others. Few people comprehend this unique personality. ESTPs themselves understand well the maxim, "He who travels fastest, travels alone." Still, ESTPs are not likely to be lonely for long. ESTPs meet life with a hearty appetite for the good things of the world, searching out excitement, perhaps as a warrior, an athlete, an adventurer, or as a professional gambler, but always seeking the thrill of courting Lady Luck in one fashion or another. A theme of seeking excitement through taking of risks runs through the lives of ESTPs.