As an ESFJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion.
ESFJs are people persons - they love people. They are warmly interested in others. They use their Sensing and Judging characteristics to gather specific, detailed information about others, and turn this information into supportive judgments. They want to like people, and have a special skill at bringing out the best in others. They are extremely good at reading others, and understanding their point of view. The ESFJ's strong desire to be liked and for everything to be pleasant makes them highly supportive of others. People like to be around ESFJs, because the ESFJ has a special gift of invariably making people feel good about themselves.
The ESFJ takes their responsibilities very seriously, and is very dependable. They value security and stability, and have a strong focus on the details of life. They see before others do what needs to be done, and do whatever it takes to make sure that it gets done. They enjoy these types of tasks, and are extremely good at them.
ESFJs are warm and energetic. They need approval from others to feel good about themselves. They are hurt by indifference and don't understand unkindness. They are very giving people, who get a lot of their personal satisfaction from the happiness of others. They want to be appreciated for who they are, and what they give. They're very sensitive to others, and freely give practical care. ESFJs are such caring individuals, that they sometimes have a hard time seeing or accepting a difficult truth about someone they care about.
With Extraverted Feeling dominating their personality, ESFJs are focused on reading other people. They have a strong need to be liked, and to be in control. They are extremely good at reading others, and often change their own manner to be more pleasing to whoever they're with at the moment.
The ESFJ's value system is defined externally. They usually have very well-formed ideas about the way things should be, and are not shy about expressing these opinions. However, they weigh their values and morals against the world around them, rather than against an internal value system. They may have a strong moral code, but it is defined by the community that they live in, rather than by any strongly felt internal values.
ESFJs who have had the benefit of being raised and surrounded by a strong value system that is ethical and centred around genuine goodness will most likely be the kindest, most generous souls who will gladly give you the shirt off of their back without a second thought. For these individuals, the selfless quality of their personality type is genuine and pure. ESFJs who have not had the advantage of developing their own values by weighing them against a good external value system may develop very questionable values. In such cases, the ESFJ most often genuinely believes in the integrity of their skewed value system. They have no internal understanding of values to set them straight. In weighing their values against our society, they find plenty of support for whatever moral transgression they wish to justify. This type of ESFJ is a dangerous person indeed. Extraverted Feeling drives them to control and manipulate, and their lack of Intuition prevents them from seeing the big picture. They're usually quite popular and good with people, and good at manipulating them. Unlike their ENFJ cousin, they don't have Intuition to help them understand the real consequences of their actions. They are driven to manipulate other to achieve their own ends, yet they believe that they are following a solid moral code of conduct.
All ESFJs have a natural tendency to want to control their environment. Their dominant function demands structure and organization, and seeks closure. ESFJs are most comfortable with structured environments. They're not likely to enjoy having to do things which involve abstract, theoretical concepts, or impersonal analysis. They do enjoy creating order and structure, and are very good at tasks which require these kinds of skills. ESFJs should be careful about controlling people in their lives who do not wish to be controlled.
ESFJs respect and believe in the laws and rules of authority, and believe that others should do so as well. They're traditional, and prefer to do things in the established way, rather than venturing into unchartered territory. Their need for security drives their ready acceptance and adherence to the policies of the established system. This tendency may cause them to sometimes blindly accept rules without questioning or understanding them.
An ESFJ who has developed in a less than ideal way may be prone to being quite insecure, and focus all of their attention on pleasing others. He or she might also be very controlling, or overly sensitive, imagining bad intentions when there weren't any.
ESFJs incorporate many of the traits that are associated with women in our society. However, male ESFJs will usually not appear feminine at all. On the contrary, ESFJs are typically quite conscious about gender roles and will be most comfortable playing a role that suits their gender in our society. Male ESFJs will be quite masculine (albeit sensitive when you get to know them), and female ESFJs will be very feminine.
ESFJs at their best are warm, sympathetic, helpful, cooperative, tactful, down-to-earth, practical, thorough, consistent, organized, enthusiastic, and energetic. They enjoy tradition and security, and will seek stable lives that are rich in contact with friends and family.
The ESFJ has two primary traits which will help define their best career direction: 1) they are extremely organized and enjoy creating order, and 2) much of their self-satisfaction is gotten through giving and helping others. Accordingly, they will do well at tasks which involve creating or maintaining order and structure, and they will be happiest when they are serving others.
ESFJs generally have the following traits:
Possible Career Paths for the ESFJ:
The Dominant function is the judging one of Feeling. Characteristics associated with this function include:
The judging Feeling function is extraverted. That is, Feeling is used primarily to govern the outer world of actions and spoken words. The ESFJ will therefore:
The Feeling function is primarily supported by introverted Sensing perception, That is, Sensing perception is used primarily to manage the inner world of thoughts and emotions. This will modify the way that the Feeling is directed, by:
The classic temperament of an ESFJ is Epimethean, or Melancholic, for whom a basic driving force is duty, service and the desire to belong.
In a team environment, the ESFJ can contribute by:
The potential ways in which an ESFJ can irritate others include:
As with all types, the ESFJ can achieve personal growth by developing all functions that are not fully developed, through actions such as:
As stress increases, 'learned behaviour' tends to give way to the natural style, so the ESFJ will behave more according to type when under greater stress. For example, in a crisis, the ESFJ might:
Under extreme stress, fatigue or illness, the ESFJ's shadow may appear - a negative form of INTP. Example characteristics are:
The shadow is part of the unconscious that is often visible to others, onto whom the shadow is projected. The ESFJ may therefore readily see these faults in others without recognising it in him/her self.
Click here to explore the other personality types.