If You're an Extrovert, Here Are The Personalities You Are Compatible With

If you're an extrovert who's pragmatic and focused on the here and now, a Myers-Briggs personality test will likely find that you are an ESTP type.

ESTP is one of the 16 distinct categories identified by two American writers—Isabel Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs—in the middle of the 20th century. Their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is now widely used in corporate settings and elsewhere, although some psychologists have questioned the usefulness of its personality profiles. (For more on this debate, see the section "Limitations of the MBTI Tool" below.)

Below, experts explain what it means to have an ESTP personality and who is most compatible with this type.

What Does ESTP Stand For?

Each MBTI personality type is based on an individual's four psychological preferences. ESTP stands for "extraversion, sensing, thinking, perceiving," according to John Hackston, head of thought leadership at the Myers-Briggs Company.

He told Newsweek that a person with an ESTP personality prefers:

  • To focus their attention on the "outer world of people and things" rather than on their inner thoughts and reflections (extraversion)
  • To pay more attention to the "evidence of their senses in the here and now" and practical, solid data, rather than possibilities and connections (sensing)
  • To base decisions on objective logic (thinking)
  • Not to have their life too planned and organized (perceiving).
A man with backpack on sunset beach.
A man with a backpack on a beach at sunset. ESTP personalities are keen to experience all that life has to offer. iStock/Getty Images Plus

What Are Some ESTP Personality Traits?

Hackston said people with an ESTP personality:

  • Live in the moment
  • Want to experience everything that life has to offer
  • Are sociable
  • Enjoy a challenge
  • Love new things
  • Tend to ignore rules
  • Tend to jump head-first into new situations
  • May sometimes be unaware of the impact their actions can have on others
  • May sometimes neglect to treat relationships seriously.
A woman working on wires, circuit boards.
A woman working on wires and circuit boards for a robotics project. ESTP personalities love challenges and new things. iStock/Getty Images Plus

Who Are ESTP Personalities Compatible With?

ESTP people are likely to have a lot in common with ISTPs (introversion, sensing, thinking, perceiving), Hackson said, "provided they allow the latter some quiet time every now and then."

An ESTP personality wants a person with whom they can have fun and share new experiences, but not necessarily someone looking for "a deep emotional connection"—at least not initially—or someone who is "easily hurt when they are forgetful," he added.

Aqualus Gordon, associate professor of psychological sciences at the University of Central Missouri, told Newsweek that there is a lot of talk about "golden pairs"—highly compatible matches—of MBTI types. "To my knowledge, this hasn't been researched directly, but there is a lot of buzz about it."

Gordon explained that a type's golden pair is generally determined by "changing every letter except the second." The second letter, the "perceptive trait," is how an individual sees the world.

"Having this trait in common will minimize differences in understanding one another. The flipped letters are said to help compensate for the weaknesses/blindspots of the other person," he said.

For example, one partner might consider how moving home would affect their family's income, drive to work and so on, while the other focuses on the impact on friendships and time spent with their children.

Using the second-letter formula, the match for an ESTP type would be an ISFJ (introversion, sensing, feeling, judging) personality.

"ESTPs are a type that tends to fit pretty well with their formulaic golden pair," Gordon said. "ESTPs are often direct, fun-loving, sometimes carefree. They are known to love a good time, sometimes loudly and crassly.

"ISFJs are quiet caretakers—for example, very commonly found among nurses—and provide the balance, caring outlook and attention to details/outcomes that ESTPs can overlook, without stealing their spotlight."

Friends posing together for a picture.
A group of friends posing for a photo. People with an ESTP personality are social and love to live in the moment. iStock/Getty Images Plus

Which Celebrities Have an ESTP Personality?

"Assigning MBTI types to famous people is a fun game but has its pitfalls," warned Hackston. "First, because anything I said would be a reflection of the public face of that celebrity, which could be quite different from who they really are."

More importantly, he added, a person's type "belongs to them. It's not for me, or anyone else, to tell someone their type."

People take an assessment, get feedback on the results and then "decide for themselves what personality type fits them best—and, at least in this case, I'd class celebrities as people."

That said, the websites Personality Max and Truity Psychometrics—both set up by women with master's degrees in psychology—have suggested that a number of world leaders and renowned entertainers appear to have ESTP personalities. They include:

Presidents and Other Leaders

  • Silvio Berlusconi
  • George W. Bush
  • Winston Churchill
  • Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Nicolas Sarkozy
  • Donald Trump
Donald Trump at October 2021 Iowa rally.
Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, in October 2021. He is one of several former presidents thought to be ESTPs, including George W Bush and both Roosevelts. Getty Images

Actors

  • Ben Affleck
  • Lucille Ball
  • Antonio Banderas
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Milla Jovovich
  • Mila Kunis
  • Helen Mirren
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • John Wayne
  • Mae West
  • Bruce Willis
Samuel L. Jackson at 2022 Governors Awards.
Samuel L. Jackson, seen at the 2022 Governors Awards in Hollywood, has been described as an ESTP type. However, some experts think it's difficult to categorize celebrities as we only know their public personas. David Livingston/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Musicians

  • Miley Cyrus
  • Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit
  • Iggy Pop
  • Madonna
  • MC Hammer
  • David Lee Roth from Van Halen
  • Robin Thicke
  • Vanilla Ice
  • Amy Winehouse
Madonna performing at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
Madonna performs at the 2015 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. She is thought to be in the same MBTI category as John Wayne and Bruce Willis. Michael Tran/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Limitations of the MBTI Tool

John D. Mayer, a psychology professor at the University of New Hampshire, told Newsweek that "the MBTI has a fascinating history," but there was "a gap between the relatively high public interest in the MBTI and its high level of use, on the one hand, and research on the scale, on the other."

Mayer explained: "A number of cautionary reviews about the MBTI came out in scientific journals during the period 1990-2010. Since that time, with a few exceptions, there have been relatively few peer-reviewed publications that use the test and have appeared in customary psychology journals."

Other researchers such as Gordon defend the tool, saying MBTI and "associated type theories" receive a lot of critical scrutiny, "most of which I would call baseless."

Gordon added: "I haven't found any arguments against these types of tests that are based on actual research"—except for a 2005 study published in the Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research.

That research found that "conclusions regarding the superiority of either the MBTI or other instruments are, at present, premature," he wrote in a 2020 article for Psychology Today. In his article, Gordon also suggested that the academic community did not take the work of Myers and Briggs seriously at first, because they were women and did not have graduate degrees.

The available research, Gordon told Newsweek, "actually demonstrate[s] that the MBTI is equal to or more valid than academically respected personality tests" such as the "big five," also known as the five-factor model.

However, Mayer suggested that the MBTI was "out of step relative to contemporary work in the field of personality psychology." Its four dimensions "fail to map onto dimensions of personality studied today," with the partial exception of extraversion-introversion, he said. "For that reason, scientific evaluation of the instrument has fallen off."

John A. Johnson, professor emeritus of psychology at Penn State University, told Newsweek that while he is "more sympathetic toward it than most academic psychologists," he does have reservations about the MBTI's categories.

He said the "fundamental problem" with placing people into categories is that a vast number are in the middle ground between opposing types. But the MBTI "insists on forcing people into a type or its opposite, such as 'extrovert' or 'introvert.'

"This throws away a lot of information about people in the middle. Someone who is barely above the line will be more similar to someone barely below the line than [to] people in the same type category with more extreme scores."

The MBTI tool "compounds this problem with four forced categorizations and then claims, incorrectly, that there is qualitatively distinctive information in each of the 16 four-letter type categories beyond what can be known from a person's separate scores."

Richard W. Robins, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, agreed, telling Newsweek that the MBTI approach is "analogous to measuring people's height and then classifying them as either tall or short and ignoring more precise differences in height."

He suggests there are other "fundamental problems" with the tool:

  • A person's personality type (or score on each of the four dimensions) is "often quite different" when the person retakes the test, even a few weeks later when "no real personality change is likely to have occurred."
  • The MBTI scores "do not consistently predict success in school, job performance, health or other life outcomes that we know are related to personality."
  • It omits an important aspect of personality. The neuroticism-emotional stability domain, which is one of the "big five" traits, is not considered.
  • Some type descriptions are so vague they could apply to almost anyone—for example, "concerned with how others feel about you" or "bored by routine".

The academic debate continues, but Gordon pointed to the MBTI's "widespread use in business and among organizations and casual users." He added: "People understand and identify with their results in ways that they cannot or do not with other tests or theories."

A clipboard with a personality test sheet.
A clipboard with a personality test sheet and pen. Some critics say the MBTI tool is flawed because it omits an important aspect of personality: the neuroticism-emotional stability domain. iStock/Getty Images Plus