The ESFJ MBTI type is recognized for being empathetic, warm-hearted, and sympathetic. They are very aware of their emotional environment and are sensitive to both others' feelings and others' opinions of them.
I. What Does ESFJ Stand For?
ESFJ stands for Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Judgement and is one of 16 personality types studied from the MBTI test (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The MBTI personality assessment developed by Isabel Briggs Myers, Katharine Cook Briggs, and David Keirsey from the work of psychiatrist Carl G. Jung, the types of psychology based on theories of cognitive functions. Keirsey named ESFJ The Provider/ The Consul because they are very interested in caring, protecting, and helping others in very practical ways, and ESFJ is one of the four personality types of The Guardian.
II. Personality Traits of The ESFJ Group
ESFJs tend to focus more on the outside world and assess their experiences subjectively. Much of their assessment is based on a belief system.
ESFJs love to be specific, they trust in the detailed and practical information based on physiological senses.
ESFJs are warm and interested in the well-being of others, content when witnessing others' happiness. They see the importance of traditional values and the guarantees it brings.
ESFJs may be less interested in the concepts behind rules and avoid abstraction and anthropomorphism.
ESFJs always try to find harmony in every possible field, they are easily annoyed because of the indifference or reluctance of others to participate in activities that ESFJs find brilliant and significant.
ESFJs pay great attention to appearance and are very sensitive about their social status – this personal subject is a “ticking time bomb” for those who decide to discuss it with ESFJs, especially with some criticism or ridicule involved.
ESFJs do not care about analyzing complex ideas or discussing causes and consequences, this is a stark contrast to the NT personality types.
The ESFJs tend to be very hearty, sensitive, and profound. These are great traits, but it can also make it difficult for them and those around them - People with this type of personality are likely to have difficulty coping with situations that involve criticism or conflict.
ESFJs dislike conflicts and criticism - they tend to be defensive and hurt if someone (especially someone close to them) criticizes their favorite habits, ideas, traditions.
III. The Cognitive Functions of The ESFJ Group
Dominant: Extraverted Feeling
ESFJs tend to make decisions based on their personal feelings, emotions, and concern for others. They tend to think more about the individual impact of a decision than looking at objective criteria. As a result, they often make quick decisions and immediately share their feelings and opinions. This trend can be very good in some ways. On the negative side, it can sometimes lead to overly harsh judgments from others.
Auxiliary: Introverted Sensing
ESFJs focus on the present rather than the future. They are more concerned with concrete and immediate details than theoretical or abstract information.
Tertiary: Extraverted Intuition
This cognitive function helps ESFJs connect and find innovative solutions to problems. They explore possibilities while looking at a situation and can often find patterns that allow them to gain a deeper understanding of people and experiences.
Inferior: Introverted Thinking
ESFJs are organized and like to plan things ahead of time which helps them feel more in control of the world around them. This personality aspect helps ESFJs analyze complex information, but it is usually a weakness, especially when it comes to the meaning of theoretical or abstract concepts.
IV. ESFJ Values and Motivations
1. ESFJ values
Similar to ENFJs, the value of ESFJs is more focused on social organizations. They excel in an environment that has high ethical standards because they tend to show generosity and kindness. They also appreciate the rules of law and expect others to do the same.
ESFJs also value the hierarchy and do their best to gain a position in government.
ESFJs like to engage in conversations that focus on the actual topic or the lives of others – however, they will try to get out of discussions once it relates to abstract or theoretical topics.
They highly appreciate promises and commitments so they always do their best to keep them. They put their guarantees and stability above everything else while still not forgetting the important things (even small) in their lives. This personality trait makes them very stable and loyal partners.
ESFJs prefer structure over spontaneity and favor clear values, predictability, and stability in all areas of their lives.
2. ESFJ Motivations
ESFJs really need to feel appreciated and be known to everyone that they've helped someone. People with this type of personality find it difficult to be satisfied with a job that they don't believe they are creating some value and giving it to others. This trait is a driving force behind many typical ESFJ careers, especially if they are in the religious, social, or psychological work fields.
ESFJs tend to be excited about working closely and advising others. They are highly skilled teachers who enjoy the process of helping others reach their full potential.
ESFJs may be stimulated by the opportunity to patiently listen to different points of view before making a decision. Because they tend to find a solution that can help people, ESFJs often spend time thinking, rather than coming to conclusions. They want to make sure their decisions are compassionate and thorough.
When ESFJs can participate in energizing work, they will feel happier and more productive. They will be able to make good use of their abilities and enjoy the work they are doing, which will likely improve their overall level of engagement in the work environment.
V. Strengths and Weaknesses of ESFJs
1. ESFJ Strengths
ESTJs are very good at teamwork, they are always the ones who feel the tension and dissonance of the other members of the group.
They are very traditional, doing their best to support and protect the rights and the law.
People with this type of personality also tend to be very devoted, whether they are playing the host of a party or a social worker. It is quite easy to recognize ESFJs in social events – they will arrange enough time to chat with everyone.
ESFJs are people who notice details rather than the overall picture. They are down to earth and live in the present. ESFJs feel their worldview and make decisions according to what they feel is good for those around them. It can be said that ESFJs think and act based on emotion rather than reason. However, they are also courteous and know how to empathize.
ESFJ are skilled planners. They like to predict the future and plan in particular what they will do. Therefore, ESFJs don't expect surprises in life. They are also organized and disciplined human beings.
ESFJs have a high sense of responsibility, reflected in their efforts to fulfill their obligations, although this comes from a sense of social expectations rather than internal aspects.
ESFJs seek emotional harmony and show a deep concern for others. They are also careful not to offend or hurt anyone. In any group, ESFJs always show themselves as mature and independent people, wanting both sides to be happy and beneficial.
2. ESFJ Weaknesses
If losing control, this could be one of ESFJs’ weaknesses, therefore, people with this kind of personality should try to be aware of their behavior around people of different cultures, knowledge, or personalities.
ESFJs often take care and worry too much about others, which can also lead to their needs being forgotten. They need to know they are loved and their efforts are valuable. Therefore, people with this type of personality often seek praise or try to attract the attention of others.
It is also because of the above personality traits that ESFJs are quite sensitive to criticism and vulnerability. To overcome this, they must work harder to be able to wholeheartedly care for and support those they love regardless of criticism or unsatisfactory results.
For ESFJs, social acceptance is very important. So they become extremely cautious, work by organization and status, and can even criticize unusual things.
Many ESFJs only accept improvement in case of reluctance. They are not willing to step out of their comfort zone, which is largely due to their insecurity and uncertainty about what to do.
VI. Personal Relationships of ESFJs
1. Romantic relationship
ESFJs take each stage from dating to everything after very seriously because they value social admiration and a sense of security and stability. Everything about their relationship is based on satisfying common needs, from creating an early understanding to building mutual respect and supporting each other's opinions and goals.
People with the ESFJs personality type don't like conflict and criticism, which can make solving any problem that arises difficult in such situations. There is nothing more damaging or distressing to ESFJs than realizing that their partner does not respect their dreams or opinions. They can be tough and tireless in the face of difficulty surprisingly, as long as they have their partner behind them as mental support.
Less mature ESFJs, however, may lack the inner and intellectual strength to attract this in healthy ways. They may desperately need to compromise their principles and values in exchange for the approval of their partner, which can undermine their self-esteem.
ESFJs just need to make sure they take the time to build relationships that allow them to fulfill their own needs and dreams, with partners who appreciate their care and generosity and also are the ones who respond to them for such things.
As their relationships enter more sexual stages, ESFJs focus on the process and the tradition that continues with established gender roles and socially acceptable activities. Besides, they are quite engaged in the material aspect and tend to be very emotional and sensual, which makes them amazing lovers. When two partners become more comfortable with each other, they are often open to experimenting and trying new things, as long as their partner is willing to do the same.
ESFJs have specific needs for their relationships, and certain personality types can best meet those needs. In general, partners should share the ESFJs' Observant (S) trait, but could also help develop the inner feeling that an Introverted (I) partner can provide, with maybe one more opposing trait to help them focus on rational decisions or to be more non-judgemental in new situations.
ESFJs are truly loyal friends and are willing to spend a lot of time with people who are important to them. They are passionate, collective, and traditional. ESFJs seek durable and sustainable relationships, and they will do everything to make their friends happy. Not surprisingly, ESFJs are admired and loved by many people.
ESFJs like to make their friends feel comfortable, but they also expect reciprocity. People with this type of personality don't like strong criticism, especially negative comments that come from people they trust. Importantly, ESFJs do not like to be judged when it comes to dealing with people who do not share the same opinion.
People with ESFJ personality types should also note that their sensitivity allows them to recognize what motivates their friends – this knowledge can be used for both sides, the good side (encouraging and inspiring others) and the bad side (manipulating and controlling others). Many ESFJs trust their friends excessively and always protect them regardless of the situation.
ESFJ friends always try hard to keep good personal relationships and other social relationships. Approachability and sincerity are two personalities that help them easily make many acquaintances and friends.
In family life, ESFJ parents always seriously take on the role of Provider both physically and mentally. They will always create a safe and secure home atmosphere filled with delicious food, nice clothes, and property. Besides, they are also very dedicated to their family responsibilities such as strictly following the discipline in the house and desiring everyone to be treated equally.
ESFJs always want all family decisions to be made quickly and noiselessly. They require their whole family members to live and work according to a particular schedule. They are parents who are said to be dedicated themselves to the traditional values of the family and home.
ESFJs will be lovely and loyal life partners. They are always ready to be with their spouse whether comfortable or miserable, excellently be in all charges to maintain their marriage and joyful laughter in the house, although the road ahead is still very challenging. They like to socialize, have entertainment, organize ceremonies that include serving food and beverages. They adore traditional festivals and seem to know how to properly express their emotions at these predetermined social events. The thing that makes ESFJs the most delightful is that family members organize grand and warm birthday parties or celebrations with them.
As parents, they have a great opportunity to show their enthusiasm, affection, and dedication in ways that have a real and positive impact on their children. They can set rules and powers without being completely overbearing, using their compassion and support to resolve misunderstandings or differences of opinion.
As their children grow up and begin to explore more, the love and concern of ESFJ parents also grow with them, but towards overprotection. They not only keep their children safe physically but also socially with the aim that their children are not free to make mistakes that lead to emotional development and social independence.
When ESFJ parents are confronted with their child's apparent misdeeds, they become tough and expect their words to be respected. As their children grow into adolescence and begin to become independent, ESFJ parents can take on this transition individually. They try to prolong dependency for as long as possible because they fear their children will leave them.
However, they should remember that this leaving is due to their success in preparing their children for the next stage of life, which is an achievement that ESFJ parents can be proud of. Their children will always appreciate the sensitivity and warmth that they grow as time passing by with those who love and care for them unconditionally.
4. Relationship with other personality groups
ESFJs are inherently outgoing so they are always enthusiastic in communicating, trying to create connections and understanding with people around them. They are always friendly, attentive, and harmonious with people to make a common contribution to the collective.
For ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFP groups: they have similar characteristics and many things in common so it is easy for ESFJs to share values, interests, and approaches with these groups
For ISTJ, ISFP, ESTP, ENFJ groups: they have some differences but these differences are attractive to ESFJs. They still have something in common to create a balance in their relationship with each other
For ISTP, INFJ, ENTJ, ENFP groups: at first, ESFJs may have some difficulty accessing and connecting with these personality groups. However, after interacting for a while, they will discover commonalities as well as other points of view that can complement each other
For INTP, INTJ, INFP, ENTP groups: these personality groups are opposite and conflicting with ESFJs, but if it is possible to develop a relationship, this is an opportunity for ESFJs to learn and grow themselves, the challenges always come along with a great opportunity
In short, ESFJs are very emotional and always appreciate close personal relationships. ESFJs want to serve others, and they are happy to see their loved ones living joyfully. They are praised for their warmth, sincerity, and caring nature, as well as their special ability to recognize and develop the strengths of others. They are often not good at resolving conflicts but tend to be very calm and persuasive. Relationships are central to their lives, and they make every effort to develop and maintain personal relationships. The ESFJs are also eager to get this from others.
VII. Career Paths and Development Areas of ESFJs
The typical careers of ESFJs revolve around three traits: practical, selfless, and sociable. The jobs that ESFJs choose tend to reflect those traits as well – those with this personality group are absolutely extroverted and highly vigilant (SJ), these traits are often clearly expressed and pushed them towards certain career paths.
ESFJs are very organized, trustworthy, and sensible people. They are excited about making their environment more structured and predictable. Some of the best career paths for ESFJs revolve around these traits as excellent accountants or administrators.
Besides, ESFJs pay attention to what they like to do the most, which is helping others in practical ways, being able to follow observations and see results. The perfect working environment for them is when their values and communication skills are standardized to organize people and processes. ESFJs are suitable for the following career fields:
Community and social services (Health Education, Counselors);
Social Media (Editor, Public Relations, Author);
Education (Teachers, Administrators);
Business, Management, and Sales (Marketing, Human Resource Management, Business Management);
Entertainment, Art, and Design;
Personal care services (Personal trainer, Nanny);
Science (Psychologist, Sociologist);
Laws (Police, Court);
Health care (Dietitians, Doctors, Nurses);
Office and Administration.
VIII. How ESFJs perform in the work and learning environment
In the workplace and learning environment, the ESFJ group's personality is always evident no matter where they work or which role they play. They always value order and social harmony, and at the same time, use their wits to make sure each person knows their responsibilities and the tasks to be completed.
ESFJs are always comfortable in the workplace, even somewhat dependent on their position and hierarchy. It can be said, whether the position of an employee or a boss, just let them know where they are and that they are respected and supported on time by working principles and standards, ESFJs will complete the assigned tasks.
With a clear sense of responsibility and working purpose, ESFJs are patient, hard-working, and efficient people. As employees, they understand their role and position and always respect the authority of the manager. ESFJs will be suitable for work environments with clear structure and responsibilities, not afraid of the work that requires a large workload. The dedication and loyalty of ESFJs make them earn the respect of their boss.
As colleagues, ESFJs do not find it difficult to work in groups because they often look for friends at work. They are sociable and always willing to help people when needed, so they are quite active when working in groups – where members need mutual support and connection. ESFJs know their roles and charges in the group, they always try to complete their part.
However, having to do paperwork day by day can make ESFJs feel tired and discouraged. When group opinions are rejected, ESFJs can be stressful and dismayed. At this point, they need the support of their colleagues to progress and be recognized.
For them, being responsible for issues related to human management can make them feel excited because they know this is a job they can do well. As a team leader, ESFJs will find ways to make people feel like they are part of the team and be able to connect with other team members. They also know how to alleviate the stresses in groups to get work done.
ESFJs respect the order and hierarchy of the organization, so they are also sensitive when it comes to pecking-order issues and can be anxiety-ridden in case of noncooperation. ESFJs don't not like disagreements and will find ways to avoid them over roles within the organization. Therefore, if there are no conflicts about ranks and roles in the organization, ESFJs are reliable and equally interesting managers.
IX. 10 Things you might not know about ESFJs
1.This is the second most popular personality group in the world and accounts for about 9-13% of the world's population.
2. By gender, only 8% of ESFJs are men and 17% are women.
3. ESFJ women are often considered to be extremely feminine and are often described as role models in both real life and movies or television shows, whereas ESFJ men often show and use these characteristics differently.
4. ESFJ feels danger everywhere – parasites, weather, human vices, cunning – all are suspicious. ESFJs are super-vigilant. Thanks to these qualities, ESFJs can be extremely successful in the medical or education profession at the elementary level.
5. ESFJs are traditionally-minded and roots-oriented, who often organize special traditional family events.
6. ESFJs may tend to do the wrong things to get what they want.
7. ESFJs tend to have difficulty accepting a broken relationship and they always consider it their fault.
8. ESFJs take fame too seriously and care too much about how people see them due to their obsession with social status.
9. An ESFJ will not care much about somewhat rigid issues such as the views of science or politics of newcomers. They prefer to learn about the other person's fashion sense, appearance, status, and stance more than the knowledge that the other person has.
10. In daily life, ESFJs manage their quality of life very well and make sure their loved ones are well cared for.
X. ESFJ famous people
- Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States;
- Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States;
- Desmond Tutu, a South African Anglican cleric, theologian, anti-apartheid and human rights activist;
- Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist;
- Sam Walton, an American businessman and entrepreneur, the Founder of Walmart
- Andy Rooney, an American radio and television writer;
- Francis, the bishop of Rome, the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City Stat;
- Rick Santorum, an American politician, attorney, and political commentator;
- Monica Geller, one of the six main characters on Friends (1994–2004).