One of the biggest needs for ESFJs is the need for harmony. Much of their pleasure and satisfaction comes from solving other people’s problems and making them comfortable. ESFJs want to be liked not only for themselves but also for what they can do for other people. With their characteristic attention to detail, ESFJs are capable to anticipate needs of others and handle them with warmth and energy. ESFJ personality type accounts for about 9-13 percent of the general population.
ESFJ Personality Overview
Outgoing and gregarious ESFJs place a lot of importance on traditions and family. They never forget anniversaries, always attend special events and, generally, enjoy celebrations.
Their lives often follow a traditional pattern — quite predictable — but the ESFJ likes that. Men and women who belong to this personality type are not the only ones who do what society expects them to do, but the difference is that they truly enjoy it. Be that parenting, marriage or career, they take their roles seriously and stay committed. An ESFJ woman will quit her job or work part-time to stay home with kids; an ESFJ man will work hard to provide for his family. Both are likely to be very involved in community and enjoy inviting people over for dinner or to socialize.
What makes ESFJs special is that they are attuned to the needs of other people, even more than their own. Once they find a need, they are happy to give their time and energy to do what needs to be done to satisfy it. This is the reason why David Keirsey, American psychologist and a professor emeritus at California State University who also authored several books on 16 personalities, called the ESFJ “The Provider”. He also classified Providers as “Guardians” along with ESTJ, ISTJ and ISFJ. To define the ESFJ personality type in just a few words, it is useful to mention their most desirable self-image. Keirsey noted that ESFJs want to be seen as
Needless to say, ESFJs are liked for their helpfulness, loyalty and sincere interest in others. Regardless of their age, ESFJs make friends easily wherever they go. On the negative side, they may not always be able to tell the difference between friendships and business relationships and may end up hurt when this difference is pointed out to them.
The ESFJ can strike up a conversation with a stranger on any topic that comes to mind. However, these caregivers tend to think in concrete terms and don’t enjoy abstract topics, such as love, success, freedom, principles, good and bad. When forced to talk about these matters, they are likely to say whatever is considered to be politically correct or repeat what acknowledged authorities say about these subjects.
Other people’s opinions are very important for the ESFJ — they are not the type to take criticism lightly, and sticking to traditional ways of doing things is a good way to avoid it. Not only ESFJs want to be liked, they want to be needed, and may spend a lot of energy making sure that that’s the case.
Although ESFJs are generally friendly, kind and sensitive, it doesn’t mean they like everyone. Whenever they meet someone new, they make a snap judgement regarding that person, which they do not challenge later on. They see only good in whoever they choose to admire, and if they dislike someone, it is usually final.
ESFJs love their homes. Seen as the place for rest and entertainment, their homes are neat, orderly and well-maintained. When it comes to household chores, the ESFJ is far from being lazy. The ESFJ housewife can’t relax unless everything is fixed and done. Moreover, she will give assignments to other family members and will become upset if they don’t meet her expectations.
Much activity takes place in an ESFJ home — dinners, celebrations or simple “coffee” visits. However, the ESFJ dislikes spontaneity and wants everything scheduled and planned in advance. It’s a good idea to give him or her a call before visiting as simply dropping in may cause inconvenience.
When it comes to personal relationships, ESFJs are affectionate and expressive partners that go to great lengths to maintain harmony in the relationship. ESFJ men and women do not hide their emotions and, especially when it comes to love, they express their feelings in many tangible ways — expect flowers, gifts, romantic notes, you name it. It is important to keep in mind, however, that ESFJs expect their partners to reciprocate and may end up disappointed if they don’t.
Love-struck ESFJs commit quickly and easily and stay committed even when things get tough. Generally, they are very motivated to resolve conflicts and make a lot of effort to keep the relationship alive. The ESFJ is in love with the idea of marriage and sometimes may be more loyal to the institution of marriage than to the person. If, despite all efforts, the relationship fails, the ESFJ may see it as a personal failure (Sandra Hirsh, LIFETypes).
What the ESFJ wants from the relationship is this:
- mutual commitment,
- emotional connection,
- being listened to,
- shared traditional values,
ESFJ Compatibility with Other Personality Types
ENFP and ESFJ
ENFP and ESFJ men and women are attracted to each other gregarious and outgoing natures. Together they make very active and social couples with busy schedules with many events to attend and many things to do. Things get even better when they discover that they both share a desire for a strong connection as well as some important relationship values.
On the negative side, they might run into problems because of the ENFP’s nonconformism, which the traditional ESFJ doesn’t appreciate. In addition, the ESFJ may have a problem with the ENFP’s spending habits and approach to household chores.
INFP and ESFJ
Although INFP and ESFJ don’t have much in common, they both value relationships and work hard to make their partners happy. The INFP is thrilled by the ESFJ’s liveliness and warmth while the ESFJ is attracted to calm and loyal INFP.
Because these two personality types are so different, misunderstanding and disagreements are not only possible but likely. To begin with, the two have very different energy level — the INFP is more reserved and private than the ESFJ; he or she is not as expressive as the ESFJ partner and may need to take time to think things over before discussing them with anyone, which may frustrate the ESFJ. The ESFJ may see the INFP partner as slow and lazy while the INFP may feel constantly criticized and controlled.
ESFJ and INTJ
Both ESFJ and INTJ are Judgers, which means they both want a certain degree of structure and order in their lives. The ESFJ is attracted to the INTJ’s intelligence and ability to understand complex concepts while the INTJ appreciates the ESFJ’s warmth and social skills.
Because the two share only one type preference (J for Judging), they have many differences:
- ESFJs tend to have too many social commitments, leaving them little energy for their partners while INTJs are busy with their own projects and have little desire to participate in social and family activities with their partners.
- The ESFJ doesn’t like unfinished emotional business — as soon as a problem arises, they want to talk everything out and clarify everything. The INTJ, however, needs time to think about everything carefully first.
- The ESFJ is conservative and traditional while the INTJ isn’t interested in conforming to social conventions.
Having said that, the relationship can work if both can find a way to embrace each other’s differences instead of trying to change each other (Source: “Just Your Type” by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger).
What is ESFJ
ESFJ is one of the 16 personality types developed by Myers Briggs based on Jung’s personality theory. ESFJ stands for four type preferences:
- Extroverted (E). Being extroverted means that people who belong to this personality type prefer to focus on the world around them rather than internally. They energize by spending time with other people in active surroundings.
- Sensing (S). People who are classified as Sensors focus on facts and details rather than abstract concepts.
- Feeling (F). Feeling type preference is common in those who prioritize relationships and emotions.
- Judging (J). Having a judging type preference means that ESFJs like structure and prefer making plans rather than acting spontaneously.
ESFJ Cognitive Functions
According to Carl Jung, extroversion and introversion cannot be demonstrated in isolation and should be paired with one of the four functions — thinking, sensation, intuition, and feeling. Each of the 16 personalities has a unique set of the cognitive functions, which represents each person’s default pattern of behavior. In case of the ESFJ, the pattern is as follows:
- Extroverted Feeling (Dominant)
- Introverted Sensing (Auxiliary)
- Extroverted Intuition (Tertiary)
- Introverted Thinking (Inferior)
The dominant function, which is in our case Extroverted Feeling, is the ENFJ’s natural operation mode. The auxiliary function (Introverted Sensing) helps support and extend the dominant function. The tertiary function (Extroverted Intuition) is less developed and usually matures over time as a result of personal growth and development. The inferior function, Introverted Thinking, is the ESFJ’s ultimate weakness, but may strengthen as he or she grows and gains wisdom and experience.
To understand the concept of cognitive functions better, read this page.
- Need approval from others;
- Because of their tendency to form quick judgement without challenging and investigating them properly,
ESFJs may be biased towards certain people;
- May become too emotional;
- May have a hard time thinking outside the box;
- Can be very critical of those who don’t follow the rules.
Other Names for ESFJ
When compared to the four classical personality types, ESFJ is the equivalent of mixed Sanguine-Melancholic temperament. The name “ESFJ” was given by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs who first developed 16 personalities descriptions based on Jungian psychological types. Later other prominent personality researchers who expanded on the subject introduced their own descriptive names for each of the 16 types. Following are the alternative names for ESFJ:
- Facilitator Caretaker (Linda Berens),
- Harmonizer (Alan W. Brownsword),
- Seller (David Keirsey, in his earlier work),
- Provider (David Keirsey, in his later work “Please Understand Me II),
- Host of the World or Hostess of the World (Otto Kroeger),
- Friendly Facilitator (Jonathan P. Niednagel),
- Supportive Contributor (official MBTI website).
Common online names include “The Consul”, “Supporter” and “The Caregiver”.
ESFJs want a friendly work environment that is sensitive to human needs. Ideally, they want to be able to provide help to others in a direct and personal way. Occupations such as teacher, family doctor, receptionist and other similar occupations appeal to this personality type because they allow them to use their natural type preferences (extroversion, sensing, feeling, judging) while making a positive impact on others.
- Advertising Sales Agent
- Bank Employee
- Child Care Worker
- Community Welfare Worker
- Corporate Trainer
- Customer Service Rep
- Event Coordinator
- Exercise Physiologist
- Family Physician
- Flight Attendant
- Health Care Administrator
- Hotel Manager
- HR Manager
- Medical Secretary
- Office Manager
- Personal Banker
- Physical Therapist
- Police Officer
- Public Relations Manager
- Real Estate Agent
- Retail Owner
- Sales Representative
- School Administrator
- Social Worker
Following famous people and celebrities are likely to belong to the ESFJ personality type:
- Bill Clinton
- Taylor Swift
- Andrew Carnegie
- Harry Truman
- Sarah Palin
- Larry King
- Penelope Cruz
- Mariah Carey
- Celine Dion
- Prince William
- Rabbit from “Winnie the Pooh”
- Effie Trinket from “The Hunger Games”
- Monica from “Friends”
- Donald Duck
Image source: Freepik @teksomolika