ESFJ is one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. People with an ESFJ personality type tend to be outgoing, loyal, organized and tender-hearted. According to psychologist David Keirsey, approximately 9 to 13 percent of the population has an ESFJ personality type.
The MBTI looks at personality preferences across four dimensions: 1) Extraversion and Introversion, 2) Sensing and Intuition, 3) Thinking and Feeling and 4) Perceiving and Judging. As you have probably already surmised, the ESFJ acronym represents Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling and Judging.
- Extraversion: ESFJs gain energy from interacting with other people. They are typically described as outgoing and gregarious.
- Sensing: ESFJs are more focused on the present than on the future. They are interested in concrete, immediate details rather than abstract or theoretical information.
- Feeling: ESFJs tend to make decisions based on personal feeling, emotions and concern for others. They tend to think more about the personal impact of a decision rather than considering objective criteria.
- Judging: ESFJs are organized and like to plan things out in advance. Planning helps people with this personality type feel more in control of the world around them.
Some common ESFJ characteristics include:
- Kind and sympathetic to others
- Fun and outgoing
- Highly organized
- Enjoys helping others
As extraverts, ESFJs love spending time with other people. Not only do they gain energy from social interaction, they are genuinely interested in the well-being of others. They are frequently described as warm-hearted and empathetic, and they will often put the needs of others ahead of their own.
In addition to deriving pleasure from helping others, ESFJ also have a need for approval. They expect their kind and giving ways to be noticed and appreciated by others. They are sensitive to the needs and feelings of others, and are good at responding and providing the care that people need. They want to be liked by others, and are easily hurt by unkindness or indifference.
ESFJ derive their value system from external sources including the community at large rather than from intrinsic ethical and moral guidelines. People with this personality type who are raised with high values and standards grow up to be generous adults. ESFJs raised in a less enriched environment may have skewed ethics as an adult and are more likely to be manipulative and self-centered.
ESFJs also have a strong desire to exert control over their environment. Organizing, planning and scheduling helps people with this personality type feel in command of the world around them. They typically feel insecure in situations where things are uncertain or chaotic. While this makes EFFJs well suited to positions that involve managing or supervising people, it can also lead to conflicts when they try to exercise control over people who do not welcome such direction.
Famous People With ESFJ Personalities
Some suggest that the following famous individuals exhibit characteristics of an ESFJ personality type:
- Terry Bradshaw, football player
- Sally Field, actress
- Bill Clinton, U.S. President
- William McKinley, U.S. President
- Nancy Kerrigan, figure skater
A few well-known fictional ESFJs include:
- Monica, Friends
- Molly Weasley, Harry Potter
- Leonard McCoy, Star Trek
Best Career Choices for ESFJs
ESFJs have a number of traits that make them ideally suited to certain careers. For example, their dependability and innate need to take care of others means that they often do well in jobs that involve supporting and caring for people such as nursing or teaching.
Some good careers for ESFJs include:
- Child care
- Social work
- Book keeper
- Office manager
Butt, J. (2009). Extraverted sensing feeling judging. TypeLogic. Retrieved from http://typelogic.com/esfj.html
Keirsey, D. (n.d.). Guardian: Portrait of the Provider (ESFJ). Retrieved from http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/provider.aspx
Myers, Isabel Briggs (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.