Portrait of an ESFJ:
ESFJs, the most sociable of all types, are energized by interactions with people, tending to idealize whatever or whoever they admire. Harmony is a key to this type, which is represented in about 13 percent of the general population.
ESFJs are the great nurturers of established institutions such as the home, the school, the church, and civic groups. Wherever they go, they promote harmony and harmonious relationships. They are outstanding hosts or hostesses, able to call people by name, usually after one introduction. At a social gathering they can be observed attending to the needs of others, trying to insure that all are comfortable and involved. Social ties matter to the ESFJs, and their conversations often drift to nostalgic recounting of past memories. Traditions are developed, supported, and carefully observed by the ESFJ.
ESFJs are hurt by indifference and need to be appreciated both for themselves and for the abundance, typically in the form of services, they give to others. They are conscious of appearances and take the opinions of others regarding social standards very seriously. Values in an ESFJ may take the form of shoulds and should nots and may be freely expressed. Conscientious and orderly, ESFJs may become restless when isolated from people.
Career selection by ESFJs may lean toward service occupations. They have such outgoing personalities that they are outstanding at selling, being an invariable winner in sales contests. They are apt to have seniority in any sales group within an organization. Observation of ESFJs at work in a sales transaction will demonstrate how this type personalizes the sale: The customer is not buying the product; he or she is buying personally from the ESFJ. This same characteristic causes ESFJs to be good in teaching, preaching, supervision, administration, coaching, and, in general, people-to-people jobs. They seldom become a source of irritation to their superiors, for they respect and obey the rules and regulations, are duty- and service-oriented. They are loyal to their bosses. ESFJs are likely to be aware of and enjoy discussing events and problems in the lives of their colleagues; but when conversations turn to abstractions of philosophy or science, the ESFJ may become restive. Analysis of the complex -- for example, an attempt to find an explanation of events through an analysis of principles -- does not excite their interest, as it does the NTs'.
ESFJ mates have a set of values which contain clear shoulds and should-nots, and they expect their family to abide by these. They are conscientious about home responsibilities, are orderly about the home, and prefer that other occupants be the same. They enjoy socializing and entertaining. ESFJs want family decisions settled efficiently and quickly and want family living routinized, scheduled, and correctly executed. They do not rebel against routine operations, are devoted to the traditional values of home and hearth, respect their marriage vows, and are the most sympathetic of all types. They tend to be dependent on their mates and may marry to insure that they have a proper place in the social strata. They enjoy the rituals connected with serving of good food and beverages, thrive on festive occasions, respect and accumulate a goodly store of material possessions. They take their role in the community seriously and are sensitive to the acknowledged, official decision-makers and identify with them. They are aware of status, and often depend on higher authority as the source of opinions and attitudes.
ESFJs wear their hearts on their sleeves and are outgoing in their emotional reactions. They need to be needed, loved, and appreciated and may spend much energy reassuring themselves that this is the case. They can become melancholy and depressed and even suicidal if they take the blame for whatever might be wrong in their institution or their personal relationships -- as they are prone to do.
ESFJs usually respect and revere their parents, and as children were responsive and obedient pupils. They seem able to express the right feeling for a given situation. They are soft-hearted, sentimental, and usually observe with gusto and a flourish birthdays, anniversaries, and the like, making of the event a delightful, important occasion. At the same time, however, ESFJs can cause others undue tension by expressing anticipations of gloom and doom, exhibiting a bent toward the pessimistic that can be contagious. They need to control their fears that the worst is sure to happen and suppress their tendency toward crepe-hanging and anticipating disasters.
The children of an ESFJ are seen as an extension of the family, and
all they do reflects on the ESFJ. If things do not go well, the ESFJ may
be critical, even carping toward his or her mate and children. This type
may marry alcoholics or others who are particularly needy. If a female
ESFJ is married to a mate who is not a good provider, she can become nagging
and brood over a comparison of her possessions and status with that of
others. ESFJs, male or female, live in terms of people and things rather
than in terms of ideas and principles. They enjoy the process of decision-making,
particularly when focus is on the usefulness of things and people.