ESFJ’s interest in people flows inevitably from the fact their favourite process is feeling and they prefer to use this in their outer world. It is the most natural thing in the world for ESFJs to pay quality attention to the people round about them. This interest in other people and their lives is particularly evident in ESFJs’ conversations. They are particularly adept at putting people at their ease and asking them questions about themselves. As a result, ESFJs tend to be very popular and have lots of friends.
“Stories” feature prominently in ESFJs’ lives. It is very important for ESFJs to tell their “story”. This means recounting their life story in ways which reveals their identity and uniqueness as an individual. They are naturally very good at soliciting other people’s stories and in treating each person they meet as a unique individual.
As sensing types, ESFJs are inherently feet on the ground, practical people. Unlike ENFJs who are interested primarily in possibilities for people, ESFJs are much more interested in the here and now. They devote quality time to observing other people’s lives and spotting ways they can be of help. This may be as simple as making a cup of tea for someone or it may be the offer to provide some kind of service or support. Supporting other people in some ways is very important to ESFJs and even when they are in management positions, for example, they will still see their role as primarily “supporting” their staff.
This interest in being of practical service to others naturally leads ESFJs into occupations such as nursing and teaching or jobs involving customer care. They can, however, be found in all sorts of careers. They are one of the most organised of all the types. As sensors they are incredibly practical. When this is allied with their preference for judging it leads to really robust organisation. They find it easy to work methodically, they are good with details and they don’t easily lose track of things.
However, it is not uncommon for ESFJs to simply want a job rather than a career. In other words, they may want to do something stimulating but which doesn’t take over their lives and leaves them time to devote to their families. ESFJs usually take great pleasure in family life. Female ESFJs often say they love nothing better than seeing others enjoying a meal they’ve cooked or a party they’ve organised.
ESFJs can also derive great satisfaction from their involvement in community or voluntary organisations or the church. What is important to them is seeing that their work is actually meeting others’ needs and having an impact.
For ESFJs, sensing is something they prefer to use in their inner world. It is when they go inside their head that they tap into their huge reservoir of personal experience. ESFJs also store a huge amount of facts and information about people.
ESFJs are one of the types who find routine comforting. It is common for ESFJs to say they need to know “where they are”. Indeed ESFJs tend to be fairly conservative in their outlook and often have traditional values. They can cope with change if they have to but they would tend not to seek it out. They always prefer what they know now to some uncertain future.
ESFJs sometimes make black and white judgments about others. They may not say so but they can be very dismissive of other people and their views or behaviour and can sometimes find it difficult to adopt a “live and let live” mentality.
ESFJs can be very courageous and challenging if they feel other people are being badly treated but generally speaking ESFJs will avoid conflict at all costs. In fact, their desire for harmony and the avoidance of conflict is so strong in them that they will often not stand up for themselves or their rights. This can lead some ESFJs to play “the martyr”. This desire to avoid conflict can be irritating to others who pick up on the ESFJs’ underlying annoyance and hostility yet the ESFJ wont allow their dissatisfaction to be brought out into the open for fear of conflict.
Ultimately ESFJs must learn to pay less attention to other people and their needs and start to consider what they want for themselves and their own needs and feelings. It is usually important for ESFJs to work on their own self-confidence. They can be very self-deprecating and will readily defer to other people. They must learn to recognise their own abilities more and to see their emotional intelligence and practical abilities as every bit as important and clever as more abstract or logical types of intelligence.
Words to describe ESFJs
energetic sociable down-to-earth
practical factual committed
traditional empathetic supportive
co-operative nurturing resourceful
organised purposeful modest
Careers attractive to ESFJs
Nursing, teaching, religious occupations, customer care, secretarial, administration, catering, office management.
Needs at work
Anticipated work/team strengths
Potential problem areas
Likely areas for improvement
Common relationship Issues for ESFJs
ESFJs show caring by sympathising with others and offering them practical support.
ESFJs like others to listen to them sympathetically and validate their experiences and views.
ESFJ Type Dynamics
Dominant – feeling – extraverted
Auxiliary - sensing - introverted
Tertiary - intuition
Inferior - thinking
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© Carol Craig
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