ESFJs love 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 of anticipating the needs of others and handling them with warmth and energy.
The ESFJ personality type accounts for about 9-13 percent of the general population. Not sure about your personality type? Take our 16 personalities test here.
The ESFJ Personality Type Overview
Outgoing and gregarious ESFJs place a lot of importance on traditions and family. They never forget anniversaries, attend special events, and for the most part, enjoy celebrations.
Their lives often follow a traditional pattern — entirely predictable — but ESFJs like that. Not only do they do what society wants them to do, they actually enjoy that.
Whether in 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 the kids. An ESFJ man will work hard to provide for his family. ESFJs are usually very involved in the community. They enjoy entertaining people in their homes and socializing in general.
One defining characteristic of ESFJs is their focus on other people’s needs. At times, it may seem that they are more concerned about others than themselves. Once they find a need, they are happy to give their time and energy to do what needs to be done to satisfy it.
Because of this ESFJ quality, David Keirsey, an American psychologist and a professor emeritus at California State University who also authored several books on the 16 personalities, called the ESFJ personality type “The Provider.”
He also classified Providers as “Guardians” along with the ESTJ, ISTJ, and ISFJ. If you want to really understand a personality type, you need to understand what kind of image they want to project. Keirsey noted that ESFJs want to be seen as
These are exactly the same qualities ISTJs want to project. These two personality types are very similar.
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.
Striking up a conversation with a stranger is easy and natural for ESFJs. However, people with this personality type tend to think in concrete terms and don’t enjoy abstract topics, such as love, success, principles, etc. 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 ESFJs. They are not the type to take criticism lightly, and sticking to traditional ways of doing things is a good way to avoid it. ESFJs want to be needed just as much as they want to be liked, and they spend a lot of time and energy fixing things for others.
Although ESFJs are generally friendly, kind, and sensitive, it doesn’t mean they like everyone. Whenever they meet someone new, they make a snap judgment regarding that person and stick to it. They do not challenge this judgment even after they have more information. If they dislike someone in the beginning, it is usually final.
ESFJs love their homes. Their homes are typically neat, orderly, and well-maintained. When it comes to household chores, ESFJs are far from being lazy. An ESFJ homemaker can only relax if everything is fixed and done. Moreover, they assign tasks to other family members and become upset if they don’t meet their expectations.
ESFJ homes are always buzzing with activity — from formal dinners to casual coffee chats, there’s always something going on. However, ESFJs dislike spontaneity and want everything scheduled and planned in advance. Make sure to call before your visit; dropping in without warning 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 feelings and express them in many tangible ways — expect flowers, gifts, romantic notes, you name it. It is important to remember, 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.
ESFJs are in love with the idea of marriage. If, despite all efforts, the relationship fails, ESFJs 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,
The ESFJ Compatibility with Other Personality Types
ENFP and ESFJ
ENFPs and ESFJs are attracted to each other’s gregarious and outgoing natures. They make very active and social couples with busy schedules. There are so many events to attend and many things to do! They both desire a strong connection and have similar relationship values.
On the negative side, they might face 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 their approach to household chores.
INFP and ESFJ
Although INFPs and ESFJs have little 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 the 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 levels — the INFP is more reserved and private than the ESFJ; they are 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 ESFJs and INTJs 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:
1. ESFJs tend to have too many social commitments, leaving them little energy for their partners. At the same time, INTJs are busy with their projects and have little desire to participate in social and family activities with their partners.
2. 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.
3. The ESFJ is conservative and traditional, while the INTJ isn’t interested in conforming to social conventions.
Yet, the relationship can work if both parties 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?
Extroverted (E). Being extroverted means people with 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 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 cognitive functions, representing each type’s default pattern of behavior. In the 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 they grow and gain wisdom and experience.
To understand the concept of cognitive functions better, read this page.
- Need approval from others;
- Because they tend to form quick judgments without challenging and investigating them properly, ESFJs may be biased toward certain people;
- May become too emotional;
- May have difficulty thinking outside the box;
- Can be very critical of those who don’t follow the rules.
Other Names for ESFJ
Their Enneagram personality type is usually Type 2. See Enneagram Test Type 2: Top 100 Signs You Are a TWO.
The name “ESFJ” was given by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, who first developed 16 personality 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.
Here are the alternative names for the ESFJ type:
- 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 directly and personally. Occupations such as teacher, family doctor, receptionist, and other similar careers 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.
ESFJ Job List
Advertising Sales Agent
Child Care Worker
Community Welfare Worker
Customer Service Rep
Health Care Administrator
Public Relations Manager
Real Estate Agent
The Famous People
The 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
ESFJ Fictional Characters
- Rabbit from “Winnie the Pooh”
- Effie Trinket from “The Hunger Games”
- Monica from “Friends”
- Donald Duck
Online CBT Platform to Help Deal with Relationship Problems, Anxiety, Depression, Addiction, and More. Includes professional follow-up by a CBT therapist. Click here to get started.