The Peacock – ESFP

There is no type that shines brighter in the spotlight than the fun-loving, gregarious Peacock. All SPs love to be excited, but there are two that stand out for their capacity to fully appreciate the world’s sensory pleasures, and no one would ever confuse the flamboyant Peacock with its gentle sibling, the Butterfly. Peacocks demand to be seen and heard, and with their performing talents, they rarely have a problem achieving either.

The Performer

Marilyn Monroe

I’m a failure as a woman. My men expect so much of me, because of the image they’ve made of me — and that I’ve made of myself — as a sex symbol. They expect bells to ring and whistles to whistle, but my anatomy is the same as any other woman’s and I can’t live up to it.

– Marilyn Monroe

At face value, the attention-starved Peacocks’ talent for entertaining can seem a tad superficial, especially when compared to the transcendent artistic powers of the equally sensitive Butterflies. However, Peacocks are no slouches in the creativity department, and unlike the Butterflies, who hide away in their private creative spaces composing art on their own schedule, Peacocks are often expected to—by virtue of their exhibitive nature—create performance art on the spot. And while this might seem like the Peacocks are just hamming it up for their audience, it goes beyond that; they are striving for immortality. They want to be remembered. They want each glorious moment of their life, of which there are many, to be catalogued, examined, and even over-examined. And to do this, they need to be larger than life. Not just an everyday, regular person, but a symbol, an icon, an image for that ordinary person to hold up as something to aspire to. Peacocks have a feel for the dramatic that is second to none, and this ability is expressed in the way they dance, sing, or go about their everyday business—Peacocks are the most likely type to “whistle” while they work. The boldest of the SPs, Peacocks throw themselves completely into whatever they do. Their courage surpasses even that of the aggressive Foxes and Sharks, both of whom take their calculated risks in situations of objectivity, whereas Peacocks, in order to achieve success, are required to subject themselves to the mercy of an, often fickle, subjective audience. Perhaps this is what makes Peacocks so irresistible. As opposed to the Butterflies, who are free to “hide” behind their art, there is no such hiding for the Peacocks because they are the art. And to constantly open themselves up to scrutiny and brave rejection time and time again is not only a boldness that transcends the mere desire for attention, it is a requirement for immortality.

The Life of the Party

Jack Black

Hey guys, there isn’t gonna be a Plan B. You called me in to bring the thunder and that’s what I’m gonna do.

– Jack Black

Peacocks love to have fun and spread that good cheer to their loved ones, their coworkers, or random strangers they just met on the subway. They are warm and full of life, and their energy can be infectious in social situations. The same over-the-top expressions that make them such entertaining performers also make Peacocks one of the more engaging types to interact with. Their idea of comedy is filled with slapstick, well-practiced impressions, dirty jokes, and bodily humor. It’s not uncommon to hear them let out a huge belly laugh or giggle uncontrollably; when a Peacock is feeling anything, you’ll know it, as will everyone within a hundred foot radius. Whether it’s at a party, club, bar, or other social event, the Peacock is usually the center of attention. Unfortunately, their fun-loving demeanor can sometimes take on a “look at me” vibe that alienates friends, and irritates anyone within their vicinity. What was once hilarity turns into loudness. That pearly white smile? Narcissism. At the end of the day, however, these foibles are usually laughed off by most as completely harmless and, when considering the ESFP’s big heart, quite endearing.

The Acrobat

Shawn Johnson

Everything is about your movements and precision and timing, which is what gymnastics is about.

– Shawn Johnson

Of all the types, Peacocks are the most in touch with their physical bodies. Differing from the Sharks, who, with workmanlike precision, practice to perfection their superior hand-eye coordination, Peacocks prefer to revel in their gross motor skills, dancing, skating, running, and just plain moving through the physical space of our concrete world with an effervescence that defines beauty in motion. This is not to say that Peacocks are unwilling to practice. It’s just that with their grace, and the clearly visible joy they feel when moving, Peacocks have a way of making it appear so fun that we all want to participate. Sharing the pleasure of physical touch is important to Peacocks. They are the most “touchy-feely” type, and a constant initiator of physical contact: a gentle caress, a slap on the back, and everything in between. If Butterflies are the maestros of figurative balance than Peacocks are the maestros of actual balance, the connection between their mind and body so finely-tuned that they are capable of performing all manner of flips, twirls, jumps, and pratfalls. Whether it’s in dance, physical comedy, or competitive sports such as gymnastics, diving, and figure skating, Peacocks always move with such poise and fluidity that it makes other types appear almost clumsy, and in the case of Intuitives, physically inept.

The Hedonist

Cookie Monster

Today, me will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie.

– Cookie Monster (“Sesame Street”)

There is a tragic irony in striving for the immortality of the moment. Regardless of however many times they bask in glory, Peacocks always find that those moments never last as long as they want them to, and there will always be other people—usually more Peacocks—seeking sole possession of the spotlight. To compensate for any lost attention, Peacocks resort to various forms of consumption, often leading to over-consumption. Vices like over-eating, alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling, and sex addiction, turn the Adonis and Aphrodite-like figures of the Peacocks into shadows of their former selves. They are the former high school quarterback who’s now overweight, jobless, and still fantasizes about his glory days. Or the diva, past her prime, who has to wear more and more make up to hide an aging process sped up by cocaine. Fortunately, mature Peacocks learn to harness their need for attention in a way that doesn’t lead them to self-destruct in a blaze of hedonistic glory, and in the process, they teach the rest of us how to enjoy life.