How to Spot an ESTJ
What follows is a small selection of raw observations that can help you more quickly and accurately type ESTJs. Not all descriptions will be noticeable or perfectly capture the impression of all types of observers – often, the nuance of a word changes depending on the person reading it. However, this page will be regularly updated with new descriptions, photographs, and videos to provide examples and evidence supporting the observations provided below. Please enjoy!
In most situations, ESTJs hold their eyes wide open with the upper eyelid fully retracted, often to the extent that the entire iris is visible. The lower eyelid is left unengaged, unless smiling or purposefully squinting (out of anger, in the sun, in a photoshoot, etc.). Whereas ISxJs often hold their eyebrows in a raised position, even during periods of neutral emotion, ESTJs usually hold their eyebrows in a relaxed or furrowed position and only raise them to express surprise, fear, or confusion.
– Keep in mind the person’s structural eye shape. For instance, people of Asian descent may have partially obscured irises and older people may have drooping upper eyelids, but these variations are structural and not postural.
– ESFJ eye posture is very similar to ESTJs, and the two types are best differentiated by other visual features.
Here are some close-ups on the eyes of actual ESTJs. Can you spot the postural eye features mentioned?
The aforementioned eye posture is accompanied by a sharp focus on the object of attention, creating a sense of direct and clear connection between the object and the person. ESTJs are more expressive than average, so emotions of anger, joy, confusion, etc. often outweigh the “wide eyed and focused” tell. What is consistent is a noticeable connection to the present moment – it is rare for the gaze and the object of attention to be separated for long.
In conversation, the eyes of ESTJs stick like glue to their conversational partner, whether they’re speaking or listening, except for occasional moments when they’re thinking of what to say next. Even when looking away, they will typically remain fixed on one particular point until they look back (rather than wandering or switching between different objects). This point that the eyes linger on is usually down and to one side.
Watch these clips of ESTJs to observe their eye movements in conversation.
Due to their role Fe, it’s rare to find ESTJs displaying a truly neutral mouth-shape in public. Most often, the corners of their mouths are upturned in a slight smile. Otherwise, both their upper and lower lips are generally relaxed, sometimes with lips slightly parted.
ESTJ smiles are very distinctive and, along with their laughs, are some of the easiest visual markers of their type to spot. They are very open and toothy, often displaying their entire row of top teeth and much of their bottom teeth. They’re completely uninhibited, even appearing stretched or forced in some circumstances.
The ESTJ laugh is another defining characteristic that’s hard to miss. Although it is not exclusive to ESTJs – many ENTJs do it as well, as do some ExFPs – it is nearly universal, except in particularly serious individuals. The laugh is very loud, often carrying across a room, and somewhat staccato. It may seem a bit oversized or inappropriate to the context – Hillary Clinton’s laugh is (in)famous for this quality. It is often accompanied with a wide mouth and the display of both upper and lower teeth.
ESTJs are also capable of more subtle or restrained laughter, and many of them (especially men) have an excellent poker face in humorous situations, but this trademark laugh most often comes out in novel or uncomfortable social situations (such as at parties or in interviews), and for certain individuals it’s one of their most memorable qualities.
The most common body type among ESTJs is a sturdy, even stocky, build. They put on both muscle and fat quite easily. In general, those who exercise will appear well-balanced, broad, and strong, with most of them avoiding the ‘bulging muscles’ bodybuilder look.
Fat accumulation increases with age such that there are plenty of thin ESTJs in their teens and twenties – especially in social circles or professions that value a lean body shape – although it is very rare for them to be skeletal or wispy. Obesity is common among ESTJs, including morbid obesity, although they do tend to accumulate enough muscle in proportion to their fat such that they can still continue to perform everyday activities comfortably. Out of all the types, ESTJs are probably the least comfortable with the idea of being bedridden for long periods of time. They will push their bodies rather than giving themselves time to rest, and this is often observable in their physical condition, especially as they age.
ESTJs tend to have a very stiff posture, with a straight back from waist to shoulders (though they may be sitting upright or leaning forward, backward, or to one side). For those who’ve had media or etiquette training, this often looks exceedingly elegant or poised. Some men adopt a hyper-masculine posture, with spread legs, crossed arms, and other markers of strength or power. Others – especially those in media or from upper class backgrounds – may have a very genteel, almost metrosexual look. Regardless, it is universally grounded and firm, usually with squared shoulders and often with feet flat on the floor. They unapologetically take up space and announce their presence, and rarely slouch or look awkward or uncomfortable.
ESTJs generally stand and walk erect, with shoulders squared and very little bouncing or swaying. They’re not prone to excessive movement, but they do generally swing their arms naturally, swivel their heads in response to stimuli, etc. Their movements may seem imposing or unconcerned with the comfort of others (standing too close to someone, for instance, or holding a child’s hand too tightly), but they will rarely bump into people or objects or otherwise disrupt the environment – in short, any disturbance they might cause is one of Feeling rather than Sensing.
Many of the traits referenced in the ‘sitting’ section, such as refinement in response to training or an emphasized masculinity or femininity – are carried over into walking posture as well.
As noted earlier, ESTJs often smile and laugh broadly in conversation, especially when in a novel or uncomfortable situation. They may also nod repeatedly to show they’re listening, grunt in disapproval, and even engage in direct symbolic body language, such as a thumbs-up sign for encouragement (or flipping a bird for anger!)
In general, ESTJs are pretty emotionally expressive, despite not being particularly sensitive or sentimental people. Other than the over-the-top expressions of joy (which is more common among women), the most common emotional expression (especially among men) is anger or frustration. Huffing, puffing, yelling, waving the arms about, etc. are not uncommon, especially among children and less mature ESTJs. The stereotypical angry little man (“Why I oughta…!”) is usually portrayed as an ESTJ. Some – though not all – ESTJs are more easily moved to tears than most Thinking types. ESTJs are usually quite good at sincerely offering condolences, preparing gifts, congratulating people, and other appropriate reactions to common life events, despite generally feeling uncomfortable in such situations. That said, many find themselves suffering from “foot-in-mouth” disease and inadvertently offending people by saying the “wrong” thing, especially in unusual or awkward situations.
ESTJs are usually pretty talkative and have a habit of interrupting others. However, if they are quiet and making eye contact, they’re usually listening attentively, and not distracted by their own thoughts or daydreams like many other types might be. Mature ESTJs are very good listeners, in addition to being confident speakers.
ESTJs generally have loud, projected voices that can be heard over everyone in the room (or from another room!). They often don’t realize how forcefully they’re speaking and may get told to, “Keep it down,” or even to, “Calm down,” when they feel perfectly neutral. They speak clearly and with precise articulation, rarely stumbling over their words (although they may draw attention to it and get frustrated when they do). However, they often use words and phrases idiosyncratically. Business jargon (“deliverables”, “thinking outside the box”, etc.) is often originated and perpetuated by ESTJs.
ESTJs do not usually fidget or display discomfort externally. They almost never move without intention, and it’s very rare for them to bump into or spill things. They’re often quite physical when speaking, but always intentionally and with clear meaning.
ESTJs rarely shift in their seats or seem uncomfortable. They may, however, take up quite a bit of space compared to average, especially men, but this is almost never a conscious choice. They’re very willing to perform physical touch with a clear purpose (a hug in greeting, a pat on the butt in a football game), but they’re not otherwise touchy or cuddly people.
Most ESTJs are extremely hard workers – in fact, “work” seems to be the primary form of leisure for them. A woman who complains about wanting to go back to work two days into her maternity leave is likely an ESTJ. In the absence of concrete, measurable tasks to perform, they often find themselves bored and listless, struggling to relax or immerse themselves in a passive activity. This is especially noticeable in extraverted subtypes.
Socially, ESTJs are very frank and straightforward, rarely hiding their true reactions or intentions. They have a reputation for being bossy, especially when they’re young or immature. They not only have clear ideas of what they want done and when, they also often struggle with more subtle forms of social influence, preferring instead to state exactly what they want done and how. With maturity and experience, some ESTJs have made an effort to combat this tendency and come across more measured and stable, taking charge easily but only when appropriate. ESTJs usually jump at the chance to make commitments, and are reliable at following through with them. They generally show friendliness or love through physical actions, such as bringing gifts or doing favors.
ESTJs are generally fairly impatient and get frustrated by what they see as an overly cautious approach. They like to charge in and get things done. They are also often frustrated by obstacles in their path, whether that be traffic or poor health. An ESTJ who badly sprained their ankle in the morning will be up and gardening in the afternoon – if pleaded with to rest, they may respond, “I already did, for an hour!”
ESTJs lose their temper quite quickly, and are prone to holding grudges if they feel they’ve been wronged. Otherwise, they tend to be fairly jovial and friendly, rarely acting suspicious or unkind on an individual basis. They do, however, have a tendency to over-apply both personal experience and ideological beliefs, such that they may unknowingly react out of prejudice or misunderstanding, particularly in novel situations.
Most ESTJs are fairly conservative in their social behaviors, meaning that they are not prone to taking unnecessary risks or drawing unusual amounts of attention to themselves. However, ESTJs have a predisposition toward addictions of all sorts, and those that follow that path often find themselves suffering greatly for it. Many of them are able overcome these struggles and become dedicated to helping others avoid them going forward.
ESTJ clothes can run the gamut from very sloppy and frumpy, to very fashionable and put-together. However, they are generally neither trend-setters nor attention-seekers, unlikely to stand out in a crowd for their clothes alone – think “classic all-American”. Unless they’ve dedicated a lot of time to studying the art of makeup or fashion – and sometimes even then – they do not generally pay attention to nuance in aesthetics. For instance, they may wear two pieces that look okay individually but in combination give the impression of strange body proportions. Most of the time their clothes are tidy and in good condition, and they do not wear clothes with stains, rips, etc.
Many ESTJs are sports fans and demonstrate this with their clothing. Additionally, pop stars or those in the fashion world may wear slightly more fashion-forward or unusual clothing (although never truly avant-garde). Otherwise, they are very underrepresented in subcultures and are unlikely to be easily categorized by their aesthetics.
ESTJ homes are generally quite neat and tidy, often with several elegant or attractive touches, They tend toward light, airy, and streamlined vibes. They often put a lot of time and effort into curating their spaces, although they may feel somewhat formal or cold and less “homey” as result (although opinions, of course, will vary).
Music is not a common career choice for ESTJs, but those that do choose that path tend toward pop or top 40 music.
ESTJs are not well-represented among movie or TV writing or directing, although there are a few notable exceptions, particularly in historical or realistic fiction. However, many ESTJs host reality TV and news programs, and I suspect they are often involved in their production as well.
I am not currently aware of any ESTJ artists.
The only ESTJ writing I have identified comes in the form of nonfiction, including how-to guides (ranging from home repair to parenting) and political commentary.