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Extraverted Sensing


Extraverted Sensing Se

Se doodle You use extraverted Sensing or Se when you're paying attention to your surroundings. When you're noticing how the warm breeze plays with the hairs on your bare forearm. When you close your eyes to the sun and feel the heat on your face. When you smell freshly-baked bread just out of the oven and start salivating. When you take a bite of that bread and feel the warm dough melt on your tongue. When you see your lover, fly into his arms, and kiss him. When you notice the different shades of green in an autumn forest or the colorful plumage of a colibri. It's experiencing and being fully present in the moment.

ESFP ESTPFor people with Se as their dominant function, it's a given: they cannot not pay attention to what's happening around them.

Expats preparing for an assignment using Se are likely to want to travel for a look-see trip before making up their minds. Companies may offer this for couples to explore potential living neighborhoods or schools for the children. If that's not an option, you might like to try a restaurant serving food from the country you're moving to, renting a movie made or set there, or meeting up with one of that country's nationals, e.g. at an Internations meeting or on campus of a university near you.

If Se is in different positions in your type dynamics, below is an overview pieced together with only a few items taken from Understanding Yourself and Others, An Introduction to the Personality Type Code, by Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi.

Let me say this again to be very clear: the description of how Se can be expressed in the different positions is not exhaustive and only meant to give you an overview. I would love to have you comment below how Se shows up for you.

Extraverted Sensing Se OverviewIf you'd like to practice your Se skills, pay more conscious attention to the facts and people in your environment.

For example, how many gas stations do you pass on your way to work? How are you choosing the clothes you will wear tomorrow? When was the last time you had a massage and truly felt your body?


Sensory Acuity


Sensory Acuity

Sensory acuity goes beyond sharpening your eye sight. It's a phrase mostly used in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) and describes how being aware of your surroundings with all your senses can impact your leadership and communication skills, among other things.

Effective non-verbal pacing can help resolve conflict 

When was the last time you paid attention to your body language, and that of the person you were talking with?

We're all generally involved, if not trapped, in our own little worlds. That's perfectly fine and normal. But when you're talking with others and actually want to make sure a correct and effective transmission of message is achieved, little things like posture have a big impact.

Situation: someone is coming at you yelling and arms flailing.

Try and resist the urge to also make yourself appear bigger. Standing up straighter and planting your feet in a wider stance indicates you're ready to engage, showing your strength.

Solution: drop your speaking volume to a reasonable level, open your arms and let them hang loosely by your sides, indicating willingness to communicate. This message will register subconsciously with the other person, and ideally they'll eventually try and match your stance and volume.

As with everything, practice makes perfect. Next time you enter a room, I invite you to try and pay attention to your surroundings. Check out how everyone is relating to one another. See the art on the wall. Is that wastepaper basket overflowing? How does the upholstery feel? What smells emanate from the kitchens?

In MBTI language, I would correlate this skill of being aware of one's surroundings with the Extraverted Sensing preference. If you are an ESxP type, it will be your dominant function and may therefore come quite easily to you. Others like IxxJ and ExxJ may need more practice. Still, the effort will be worth it, just consider how the awareness of another person's state of mind can benefit your mutual understanding. :-)

Image by Christopher Octa, Flickr, Creative Commons License.