Meet Kimberly, an ESFP

woman eating on cooking pan
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Kimberly is a chef. She truly enjoys her work and tries every recipe personally before she serves it to her customers. She enjoys textile art as a hobby and has a poodle name Floopy.

She knows what she values and it is these personal values and interests that motivate her.

She detests long-term projects and likes to do things that bring immediate satisfaction to people, like good cooking, and putting together great outfits. She once worked as a school secretary but the stringent rules made her feel stressed. She likes a job with flexibility and being a chef gives her that and allows her room to be creative.

Kimberly is so much fun at parties and her friends are always inviting her. She is a fountain of jokes and entertainment and makes others feel good to be in her presence which makes her feel good, too. She wears bold clothing (and sometimes revealing) that many others could not get away with. She has a killer singing voice and can sing karaoke better than any of the friends. She is good at making plans but disdains strict rules. She wants the freedom to be herself and on her dating profile, she states that as a must. She is a master of selfies.

She is definitely a girl who sees the glass as half-full. She doesn’t like conflict and doesn’t like to be restricted by regulations. She has a creative, artistic streak, especially when it comes to practical things. She loves good food, good company and good times. Kids love her. Animals love her. She’s a fun, easy-going, out-going girl most of the time. Kimberly’s cognitive preferences are those of an ESFP.

***Kimberly is just one example of the ESFP blueprints. However ESFPs do have some basic things in common, regardless of the lives built upon those blueprints.

  1. ESFPs like to give tangible experiences to others.
  2. ESFPs are motivated by personal interests and know what their personal values are.
  3. ESFPs are more organized and smarter than they appear.
  4. ESFPs may change their minds and/or directions often.
  5. ESFPs are good at initiating or starting things but may struggle with completion.
  6. ESFPs have an uncanny ability to be in the moment and tend to be good at “physical” or mechanical things. For example, an ESFP might be a natural-born dancer or have a natural talent for musical and/or stage performances.
  7. ESFPs care what others think.


Meet Allie, an ESFJ

woman holding pink tulips
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Allie attends church nearly every Sunday.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services and prides herself in caring for others. She likes to keep things moving forward and she never wants for friends. In fact, she has a whole posse that she takes shopping with her because she is afraid that she will buy something ugly and look stupid in front of her friends at work.

She hosts Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for her family every year and her home looks like it should be featured on the front of a Southern Living magazine. She goes all out and keeps her Christmas decorations up to date and in vogue.

At work she is often the spokeswoman in meetings and is critical of anyone who is socially awkward, has bad hair, is too fat, or wears out-of-style clothing. She sometimes spends more than she intended to on clothing and often buys things only to later discover that she doesn’t even like them. In fact, she has closets filled with things with tags still on them. She doesn’t always know what she wants and so she buys things that are popular among people she respects and likes.

Allie puts in long hours and works as a volunteer for Relay for Life because she is a cancer survivor and she wants to help others survive, too. She cries during sad movies and is better at knowing what other people want than what she wants for herself. In fact, she feels happiest when she is making the people she loves happy. Her first marriage was bad as her husband was verbally and emotionally abusive toward her. Now, in her second marriage, she is extremely happy because her husband, an easy-going woodworker, is completely opposite of her previous partner. He is funny, quirky and kind to her, plus she always knows what he wants, he listens to her, doesn’t criticize her for having too much stuff and values her ideas and input and this makes her happy.

There is a woman at work who once devalued Allie and made her feel stupid. Allie wanted the woman gone, so she began highlighting the woman’s short-comings in front of others. Eventually, the woman was deemed lazy and incompetent by the administers at the center and she was fired. Allie received her job, which was a promotion for her. Allie rarely goes into her dark side but dismissing her idea as stupid made this woman Allie’s mortal enemy. Allie must be praised for her hard work. If she receives praise and recognition, she will sacrifice to the ends of the earth to make others feel happy.

Allie’s cognitive preferences are those of an ESFJ.

All ESFJs have these things in common:

  1. They honor tradition and the values of their circle.
  2. They want to do the “right thing.”
  3. They are past focused and compare the present to past experiences.
  4. They care about what you want.
  5. They must have someone listen to them.
  6. They like familiarity and comfort.
  7. They are thoughtful, generous and usually altruistic.

Meet Mark, an ESTJ

police motorcycle in middle of road
Photo by Jimmy Chan on

Note to my family: although I have a brother named Mark, this is NOT him. 

Mark is a jailer.

He is also objective, organized, punctual, practical and more than a little on the blunt side, but after all, he says he works with criminals, so why should he be all cuddles and rainbows?

His wife says he never turns it off and sometimes forgets that the kid on the bike across the street is not a hoodlum, just a kid on a bike. She sometimes thinks he is insensitive to her feelings and the feelings of their children. But then he goes and does something totally sacrificial to provide them with a nicer car or a better school. She knows that he shows his love in practical ways. He has been married to the same woman for twenty years and plans to be with her until they both die. He endured extreme poverty as a child, often going to school hungry and tired (from a lack of sleep due to his parents fighting in the next room) and the early death of his mother when he was eighteen. His father, an alcoholic, abandoned Mark and his three younger siblings.

However, through his fortitude and determination, he went to work at several part-time jobs and earned enough money to keep his siblings together and put them all through high school.

Mark does his best to follow proper protocol. He works out at the gym several times a week and eats healthy. He is fit and trim and an excellent dresser. He always looks sharp in his uniform and even in his lounge clothes.

Mark doesn’t throw things away. He washes them, organizes them and donates them to a facility for the elderly or to the children’s hospital where he knows his hard-earned purchases will be treated with respect and receive a new purpose.

He appreciates people who take pride in the order and cleanliness of their workspace, home and personal appearance.

He doesn’t like long theoretical discussions and wants you to get to the point when speaking to him. If you take too long to respond, he will consider you a “slow thinker.”

He once gave a bike that his son outgrew to a cousin’s child. The next time he went to visit, he saw the bike had been left out in the rain. He has decided not to give that cousin’s child anything else. Another time he gave a coffee pot to his niece. When he went to visit again, he noticed the coffee pot hadn’t been cleaned very well. He decided she wasn’t responsible enough to receive any more gifts from him. He sometimes hurts his wife’s feelings when she is getting dressed to go out because he will say, “That dress makes you look fat. You shouldn’t wear it.”

He disdains fat people and he worries that he might have Jewish ancestry because he read a document detailing all the diseases that Jews can inherit. He has been researching his ancestry feverishly ever since and is concerned because he found a great-great-uncle who died from throat cancer.

He enjoys taking random drives on the weekend along well-established routes and occasionally surprises his wife and kids with a weekend camping trip. Mark isn’t overly emotional and worries that there may be something wrong with his son because he cried at school when other kids accused him of lying. Mark worries that his daughter may be ADHD, even though the doctor said she wasn’t. He’s looked the symptoms up online and he is sure he knows more than the doctor because that doctor is too young to know much anyway.

Sometimes, he hires a babysitter and takes his wife out on the four-wheeler out for a spin, making a day of it and stopping at places that look nice and clean to eat. Mark does things at his own pace and doesn’t like people who slow him down by being late nor does he like to be rushed. Mark’s cognitive presences are those of an ESTJ.

***Mark is only ONE example of the ESTJ type. ESTJs can present themselves in many different ways and each will have their own unique lives and habits, but all ESTJs do have some things in common that are fundamental to the ESTJ cognitive preference.

  1. ESTJs are orderly, punctual, dependable, responsible and practical.
  2. ESTJs are objective and make decisions based on what seems practical. They may not consider your feelings at all when making a choice but will always consider what you think. They care about what you THINK.
  3. ESTJs are safety focused and take comfort responsibly. They don’t want others to make stupid mistakes because they don’t want to have to rescue them from the consequences later on, which is what often happens.
  4. ESTJs know what they value and assume that others value the same thing.
  5. ESTJs want you to think of them as good people. They show love through acts of service and/or gifts. That is why in the example above, Mark was upset by the bike being left in the rain. It was a devaluation of his values.
  6. ESTJs are resilient, hard-workers who want to do the things they have been taught are right.
  7. ESTJs are opinionated and at times, can be a bit elitist.

Meet Tom, an ISTJ

man in black holding phone
Photo by Snapwire on

Tom is an accountant.

He likes his job, because he always knows what is expected of him and he has a set way of accomplishing everything. He feels good when he has an itinerary to follow.

He gets to work every day at 7:05 a.m., exactly twenty-five minutes before he is required to be there. He always leaves home early in case of something unexpected, like a flat tire or icy roads. Every Monday he wears his red tie and every Thursday he wears his gray jacket.

He eats two sausages, one egg and two pieces of toast with a cup of coffee for breakfast every morning and he has done his entire adult life.

He always puts his left shoe on first. At lunch he either goes to the cafeteria across the street or to the fast food place two blocks away. He takes a break at 9 every day and goes to the break room and talks to his friend, Joe, for fifteen minutes. He enjoys talking about UFO sightings, comic books and superhero movies. His co-workers know him for his corny jokes and honest mannerism. Tom is practically incapable of deception or lies.

His boss is talking about retiring and Tom is apprehensive. He has seen the new guy but he is suspicious of him. He thinks this new guy is the type that will change things just to shake people up and that disturbs him. He questions the incoming boss’s intentions and worries that he might be like a pastor he once had who looked similar to him and had similar mannerisms. That pastor embarrassed Tom in front of the entire congregation, so Tom quit going to church. Tom does not like public displays of emotions, especially his own.

When at home, he likes to watch his favorite television shows, sometimes, he even watches reruns of the best episodes. Every night he calls his girlfriend around 7. He also likes a nightly bowl of popcorn and to read for about an hour before he goes to bed. Tom likes to keep things moving forward, doesn’t like sudden plan changes and needs to know what’s next on the agenda. Tom’s cognitive preferences are those of an ISTJ.

***Tom is just one example of the many faces an ISTJ may take. Although no two ISTJs are the same, they all have certain things in common.

  1. They are safety and comfort focused. They prefer the familiar over the changing and unexpected.
  2. They have a systematic way for doing everything and are responsible to do what they should do. They rely on structure and are responsible. If an ISTJ borrows something from you, they will return it in good condition and if you borrow something from them, they expect the same.
  3. They are collectors of information and may accumulate vast libraries on whatever subject they are interested in. They may also collect items, such as comic books, CDs, old records, magazines, etc. Being surrounded by the familiar brings them comfort.
  4. They have a childlike adherence to their personal values and may be unaware of the values of others. They may follow you to the bathroom door dispensing information about something that is important to them, believing that you are also excited about it.
  5. They have a hard time recovering from wrongs done to them and have a hard time understanding why people don’t just do what they say and keep their promises. They like life-long partners and as little change as possible.
  6. They will go outside their comfort zones for those that they love, but will likely complain the entire time they’re doing it.
  7. They fret and worry over the intentions of others.

Meet Kallie, the ISFJ

photo of woman teaching
Photo by nappy on

Kallie’s a kindergarten teacher.

She’s neat.

She’s organized.

She’s punctual.

She dresses conservatively, attractively and responsibly. Her classroom is filled with colorful totes, all labeled and periodically dusted. The totes contain things that she has used in past lessons and may use again in future ones.

She eats lunch with her coworkers and enjoys talking about her children, her husband, her church and her students. She has a shoe collection at home and loves cute shoes and secretly enjoys it when her co-workers comment on how much they like her shoes or her clothes or her hair. She has a quiet demeanor and a soft-spoken gentleness about her yet she will stand up for her family or her students in a heartbeat.

She loves Thanksgiving and Christmas and enjoys reliving special moments from her childhood and the childhood of her children.

Sometimes, she worries about her students at night and prays for them before she goes to sleep. She can be counted on to do things right, to do her job well and to keep accurate records. She wants to do the things that she was taught that she should do in order to be a good person.

She gets nervous when people start changing things without a real explanation as to why they’re changing.  Sudden changes make her uneasy and uncertainties make her feel overwhelmed and nervous. She is aware of how other people feel and of their values. She doesn’t want to hurt people’s feelings unless she has to, but if you mess with her loved ones, or fail to come through on your end of a deal (meaning that after she has done so much for you and not asked anything in return, she expects you to live according to her standards), she may go into panic mode and start talking fast, crying and accusing you of whatever she has imagined you’ve done. Her facebook posts consists of cute pictures of her children doing things, like playing with a pony or feeding the horse or in their adorable Halloween costumes, of her husband (whom she will often praise) and her dog. It’s important to her that she have a great family and that other people think she has a great family.  Other peoples’ feelings and perceptions matter to her, even if their thoughts or personal experiences don’t. She cares more about how you feel than what you think or what you’ve done. Don’t tell her what you think. Tell her how you “feel” and you will reach Kallie’s heart. She is the true embodiment of not caring what you know until she knows that you care.  Kallie’s cognitive preferences are those of an ISFJ.

If Kallie has a dark side it would be that she could become irrational and accuse someone of bad intentions. She could carry this to the extreme, becoming neurotic and lashing out verbally or by doing something out of character for her. She may hold covert contracts and collect on them as a means of manipulation if she feels her version of the ideal relationship or family is slipping. However, Kallie is a stable and mature ISFJ, who has a handle on her shadow functions most of the time.  She is witty, cute, nurturing and inventive. She prides herself in having common sense. Kallie is respected in her community, and even though she often feels alone, is widely liked.

***Keep in mind that the cognitive types are merely blueprints and Kallie is only one representation of millions of variations of the ISFJ type. However, there are certain “Core” elements that all ISFJs share in common. They are:

  1. All ISFJs are safety and comfort focused.
  2. They all compare the present to past similarities and are quick to spot discrepancies.
  3. They are responsible to uphold the values of those within their circle. They care deeply about tradition and time-honored values, about family and legacy. They worry about being good people and don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings (at least not normally.) However, on a negative note, they can care more about the image of a perfect family than they do about the actual people in the family.
  4. They are structured.
  5. They often provide subtext when communicating, leading up to their actual point, or they may simply give your information and let you derive your own “points” from it.
  6. They want to do the the right thing, play by the rules.
  7. They tend to be kind most of the time and aware of how they come across.

Meet the “Free Spirits” (SPs)

man riding white surfboard
Photo by Oliver Sjöström on

SPs do what works, pragmatic.  They deal in “what is” more often than in “what if.” They like to test the rules, push the boundaries, live in the moment and have an aptitude for mechanical, tactical or physical type things. They have a sensual bent and sometimes come across as daredevils. They don’t usually like restrictions, detailed itineraries and rules that impede their adventure and creativity. They are artists, craftsmen, technicians and tacticians, regardless of what their occupational title actually is.


Ego: Se, Ti, Fe, Ni


Si, Te, Fi, Ne



Ego: Se, Fi, Te, Ni


Si, Fe, Ti, Ne



Ego:  Ti, Se, Ni, Fe


Te, Si, Ne, Fi



Ego: Fi, Se, Ni, Te


Fe, Si, Ne, Ti



ESTPs in a word: PRAGMATIC. ESTPs are directive in their communication. They give orders but don’t enjoy taking them. They are great at starting things but lag behind when it comes to getting them finished. They move at their own pace and don’t appreciate being rushed. They take their time and do things their own way. They live in the here and now more often than not. They are pragmatic, wanting to do what works above what’s always been done. They like to give those around them a great and memorable experience. They need to be given freedom to make their own choices and the time in which to do them. Understanding which direction they really want to go in their great weakness and they need patience from others in regards to that weakness.  They are motivated by interested more often than external systems.

ESFPs in a word: ENTERTAINING. ESFPs are informative in their communication which means there is a lot of subtext. They want to inform you and leave the decision of what to do up to you, much in the same way that ISFJs and ESFJs do, except there is no “should” attached to the information you’re receiving. ESFPs are spontaneous and funny and fun-loving. They are creative and aware of “what is” more often than “what if.” Like all Artisans, they will test the rules, push the boundaries. They make decisions based more on their interests or personal motivations than they do on an accepted system. Like the ESTP, they need the freedom to choose.

ISTP in a word: SURVIVAL.ISTPs need to know that they are valued for their expertise in an area. If ISTP is a musician then he wants to be acknowledged for his incredible skill which he may have spent untold hours perfecting. He is in the moment, logical, analytical, concrete (what is) and relaxed. He is movement oriented and likes to keep things going. He doesn’t like to stall or piddle. He is the ultimate tactician and survivalist with uncanny mechanical and physical aptitude. ISTPs are direct in their communication, not using anymore words than necessary (the silent grunters). They sometimes lack patience with others who don’t learn as fast as they do and may label highly intelligent people as stupid if the other person doesn’t catch on to a concept as quickly as they do. They live in the moment, are extremely aware of their physical environment and are highly analytical.

ISFP in a word: FREE-SPIRITED. ISFPs go at their own pace, make decisions based on their own interests and wait for you to make the first move. They are pragmatic and you can bet they will do what they want to do when all is said and done. They are quietly stubborn and have a hard time getting their ideas across sometimes. However, they are usually excellent at mechanical and physical things, just as the ISTP is. They need to be valued for their input and not to be written off because they struggle to get it across to you. They are more intelligent than most people realize. They are often gifted with an aptitude for art and music and many of the world’s famous artists and musicians have been ISFPs. They may also struggle with anger outbursts and tend to live on the edge at times.

Meet the Shoulds

Continuing with the 16 Sets of Cognitive Blueprints

family having meal at the table
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SJs come in four basic blueprints. They are keepers of tradition, deal in “what has always been” more often than “what if”. They are more likely to adhere to a system most of the time (systematic) but occasionally can be pragmatic. They play by the rules and what to do what is lawful. They do what they SHOULD do and expect you to do the same. They tell lots of stories of the way things used to be and are very aware of their physical bodies. They are safety-focused and may talk a lot about their health. They NEED things to be planned and organized. An itinerary, color-coded binders, closet organizers, filing cabinets, clocks, calendars and sticky notes are their best friends.


Ego: Te, Si, Ne, Fi


Ti, Se, Ni, Fe


Ego: Si, Te, Fi, Ne


Se, Ti, Fe, Ni


Ego: Fe, Si, Ne, Ti


Fi, Se, Ni, Te


Ego: Si, Fe, Ti, Ne


Se, Fi, Te, Ni

ESTJs in a word: ORDER. They are orderly, objective, lawful, keepers of tradition, often blunt go-getters who start things and move at their own pace. They are directive when they speak more often than they are informative and even when they are informative, they sound directive. They are often seen as unyielding and “by-the-book” but there is far more to them than that. They need to know you appreciate their hard work and see them as compassionate people, because understanding other people’s values is their greatest area of struggle. Their decisions are often based on the “system” of which they are a part.

ISTJs  in a word: SAFE. ISTJs are safety-conscious keepers of tradition with a penchant for details and sometimes, conspiracy theories who like to see things get done (they may not be the ones doing them but they will dutifully and systematically remind the “doers” until the thing is accomplished.) They are orderly collectors of information and knowledge. They are systematic and direct in their communication. They appreciate being told what they should do and they like to have a precise order to do it in. ISTJs are inventive in practical ways and can come up with mechanical inventions that make life more comfortable and easier. They need to know your intentions and that you want to be with them, because feeling afraid of other people’s intentions and feeling unwanted are their greatest struggles.Their intuition works to  make them suspicious and causes them to imagine what others might be doing or intending to do.

ESFJs in a word: SUPPORTIVE. ESFJs are duty-conscious, self-sacrificing, caring, hard-working traditionalists who go the extra mile to help those in their circle of influence. They are informative in their speech, aware of what’s accepted in their culture and live by their “shoulds” doing what they “should” do. They need you to listen to their ideas and assure them that you find them useful and intelligent because they doubt their own intelligence and when you don’t listen to them you reinforce their doubts. They need to know that you value them enough to listen to their ideas. They make excellent community leaders and event organizers.

ISFJs in a word: PLANNING. ISFJs need to be safe and comfortable. They dislike the unfamiliar and being in situations where they don’t know the intentions of others or where there is an element of danger.  Like the ESFJ, they are informative in their speech. ISFJs are masters at dropping “hints” which they expect you to pick up on and act accordingly to what you “should” do. They are usually neat, tidy and organized. Trust an ISFJ to plan your family vacation and pack snacks for everyone. They may fix your hair or pick lent off your clothing. Tradition is everything to them; it provides them with the comfortable, predictable and familiar. They are all about what they “should” do and about feeling safe. ISFJs are behind-the-scenes kind of people and don’t enjoy being put in the public spotlight. This is often uncomfortable for them. They need to know your intentions. They make excellent managers and come up with wonderful inventions for use in their work environment and in their homes. Their intuition works to  make them suspicious and causes them to imagine what others might be doing or intending to do.