Personality traits for ESFJ people include being extroverted, sensitive, emotional, and faithful. They are a walking contradiction. While they base decisions on feelings, they also like being well-organized.
According to psychologist David Keirsey, approximately 9 to 13 percent of the population has an ESFJ personality type.
ESFJ is one of the 16 personality types identified by Carl Jung.
The test 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 comfortable in their own skin and talkative.
- 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 extroverts, 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.
As with all personality types, ESFJs have a total of eight cognitive functions. These consist of four primary and four shadow functions; the shadow functions are not readily identifiable with ESFJ’s traits, as they only come out in stressful times.
The primary functions of an ESFJ are Extroverted Feeling, Introverted Sensing, Extroverted Intuition, and Introverted Thinking. This is the order of their dominance, so Extroverted Feeling, which makes the ESFJ sociable and quick to make decisions, is the most prominent. The rest of the functions are responsible for the rest of ESFJ’s traits, and they are active to different degrees in different situations.
The shadow functions are Introverted Feeling, Extroverted Sensing, Introverted Intuition, and Extroverted Thinking — exactly opposite to the primary functions. They are inextricably part of the ESFJ personality, but only rarely do they come out. They can make ESFJs self-centered and overly critical, though these characteristics are not usually associated with the generous ESFJ.
ESFJs are very passionate about their relationships. They put all of their energy into fulfilling their partner’s needs, often neglecting their own.
The best match for an ESFJ is an ISFP. Since they share Sensing and Feeling traits, these types have similar perspectives, while their varying traits bring balance to the relationship. ESFJs also do well with fellow extroverted types, since they are always willing to go on an exciting new adventure with someone.
The ESFJ’s worst match is INTJ. INTJs are often unwilling to go along with an ESFJ’s penchant for social engagements, and they need much alone time. Additionally, the INTJ prefers abstract concepts to decisive action, which can lead the ESFJ to feel neglected.
Women with the ESFJ personality type are compassionate, practical, and optimistic. It is a very common personality type for women which, combined with their outgoing character, means that you probably have one in your life.
ESFJ women are often found in careers involving education, healthcare, and religion. This is because they prefer to interact with people while preserving traditional structures.
ESFJ women’s favorite hobbies tend to include volunteering, cooking, and planning events. These tend to include just the right blend of organization and human interaction.
ESFJs are suited to a wide range of careers. Their passion for order in the workplace goes well with their skill at managing people, giving them great potential in many work environments.
An ESFJ typically does very well in careers like real estate where their desire for clear objectives is satisfied and they can exercise their charisma. They are also content in quieter positions such as education and healthcare, where they can be part of a time-honored team.
There are, however, a few career paths that most ESFJs would do better not to choose. Jobs in tech support, for example, often put ESFJs on the spot where they’d prefer not to be, and don’t give them enough of an outlet for their extraversion.
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