MBTI: Henry Hill- ESFP
If there’s one thing Martin Scorsese seems to have a thing for, whether he realizes it or not, is destructive SP personalities. With his most recent Wolf of Wall Street back to Taxi Driver and whatever else, he’s always had a knack for following the lives of those that would rather burn twice as bright than twice as long. And doing so in a way that walks the line between putting you in the moment and making you wish your life were so miserable.
Henry Hill may be the best representation of that lifestyle- fast, dangerous, and greedy. And I though ESTP was a close match, Joe Pesci’s Tommy filled in those shoes nicely, with a much more aggressive demeanor. Henry just wants to be a gangster. And has wanted to, as far back as he could remember.
Henry makes it very clear from the beginning of the film that the life he chooses isn’t on out of necessity but want; wanting to be the coolest thing he can think of. Which is of course, a gangster. ESFPs themselves aren’t all going to want to be killers or dealers of some sort, but talk to one for just a few minutes and the conversation will turn into what they think is cool.
This, as opposed to life goals, the weather, current events, movies, etc.- the ESFP, especially the male, will feel the urge to discuss what they’re interested in. Not out of selfish motive mind you, it’s just what’s on their mind. Henry’s love of the gangster life begins and ends with what he finds appealing.
“To me, being a gangster was better than being president of the United States”
And this shouldn’t be a surprise. With Extroverted Sensing (Se) as their dominant function, ESFPs are drawn toward the immediate physical experience while their Introverted Intuition (Ni) is inferior. So you’ve got a type that lives in the here and now, and they’re poor planners. Any ESFPs reading this might hate this, but only because it’s true.
Yet even living the lifestyle that he does, Henry still show himself to be sentimental at times, even if it’s not shown in the most sympathetic of ways. Morrie bugs the crap out of him and Jimmy for his money and while Jimmy doesn’t suffer a fool lightly, Henry goes out of his way to keep the two from running into each other for Morrie’s sake.
You would think that growing up around all the murder and mayhem that Henry would have grown “thicker skin” and see murder as a part of the job, but for all the crimes he’s a part of, murder isn’t his strong suit and he shows a particular aversion(!) to it throughout the film. Not that he’s above it, definitely not, but that he’s not the main antagonist unless something personally offends him.
And that’s not to say that it means he’s weak or anything. But those with a higher feeling preference are naturally going to be more in tune with the plight of others around them, even if they ignore their empathic notions.
Notice that Jimmy and Tommy are always the ones to carry out the more violent aspects of the job while Henry is always the one trying to talk sense into the potential victim, be it theft or murder. If there’s one thing ESFPs know, it’s people. It may not be in the sense that they can read them like books, but a general innate knowledge of how they need to be talked to or what they want to hear. He knows exactly what to say to ease Karen’s mind about him getting caught. he knows what to tell Paulie to have him believe he’s not involved in the coke business, so on and so forth.
As we’ve mentioned with this type, they have a tendency to act now, and never look back…unless you drag them down of course. ESFP have a way of doing whatever they want and justifying it to everyone later. You know that. But what’s not as widely discussed is that they have a way of actually convincing those around them too. This can make you question yourself, or whether or not the ESFP believes what they’re saying.
And this works in reverse too. With ESFPs being so aware of what others want to hear comes from their dominant Fi knowing what they would believe. This, and the ESFP’s way of simplifying things makes them great at reading people on the whole. For instance, the scene where Henry meets with Jimmy at the diner and knows Jimmy is thinking about having Henry killed.
Despite Jimmy’s casual demeanor, Henry sees through it and knows how the business works. If there’s one thing to be said about ESFPs, you could easily call them survivors.
And if it seems like we only go over the negative aspects of the ESFP, it’s not intentional. But the ESFP characters that are usually worth typing happen to be those going through some serious issues and that’s what the film/show/game they’re in is about in the first place. There can’t be a story without conflict, right? And ESFPs are magnets of conflict.