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What is an ESFJ?

ESFJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. ESFJ indicates a person who is energized by time spent with others (Extraverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). ESFJs are sometimes referred to as Provider personalities because of their interest in taking care of others in practical ways.

What are ESFJs like?

ESFJs are conscientious helpers, sensitive to the needs of others and energetically dedicated to their responsibilities. They are highly attuned to their emotional environment and attentive to both the feelings of others and the perception others have of them. ESFJs like a sense of harmony and cooperation around them, and are eager to please and provide.

ESFJs value loyalty and tradition, and usually make their family and friends their top priority. They are generous with their time, effort, and emotions. They often take on the concerns of others as if they were their own, and will attempt to put their significant organizational talents to use to bring order to other people's lives.

What are the core values of the ESFJ?

ESFJs act according to a strict moral code, and look for others to do the same. They often see things in terms of black and white, right and wrong, and they are typically not shy about sharing their evaluations of others' behavior. ESFJs seek harmony and cooperation, and feel this is best accomplished when everyone follows the same set of rules. They have a sense of order in the way people relate to one another, and often take on roles that allow them to help enforce that social order.

ESFJs feel a sense of personal responsibility for other people's needs, and are usually eager to get involved and help out. They tend to be serious and practical, dutifully putting business before pleasure—especially the business of caring for others. They typically enjoy routine and often keep a regular schedule that allows them to be organized and productive.

How can I recognize an ESFJ?

ESFJs may often be found playing host or hostess. They tend to take on the role of organizer without hesitation, and want to be sure that everyone is taken care of. Roles such as committee leader, event planner, and church volunteer suit the ESFJ well. They are typically engaged with their communities and work hard to do their part in maintaining the social order. ESFJs are interested in other people and like to know the details of their lives. Gossip is a favorite pasttime of many ESFJs; they love to share stories about the people around them.

ESFJs have a clear moral code that guides their behavior and their expectations from others. They often have strong opinions about how people should behave and the proper thing to do. Manners and other codes of social interaction are often of great interest to ESFJs. They may think in terms of black and white, right and wrong. They can be judgmental of others who they do not think are acting appropriately, but they have the best of intentions: they simply want everyone to follow the rules so they can all get along. The ESFJ wants things to be all right with the people around them, and may become very involved with others’ problems and concerns.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

Who are some famous ESFJs?

Famous ESFJs include Martha Stewart, Dave Thomas, Sam Walton, Barbara Walters, William Howard Taft, JC Penney, Sally Field, Mary Tyler Moore, and Ray Kroc.

For more information: Famous ESFJs

How common is the ESFJ personality type?

ESFJ is the second most common type in the population. ESFJs make up:

  • 12% of the general population
  • 17% of women
  • 8% of men

What do ESFJs like to do?

Popular leisure activities for ESFJs include volunteering in community, charity, or religious organizations; celebrating holidays and family traditions; cooking; entertaining; and social sports.

What the experts say

"ESFJs are primarily concerned with the details of direct experience—their own, that of their friends and acquaintances, even the experience of strangers whose lives happen to touch theirs."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"Wherever they go, Providers take up the role of social contributor, happily giving their time and energy to make sure that the needs of others are met, that traditions are supported and developed, and that social functions are a success."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"The ESFJ's strengths are many and varied. They are punctual, neat, responsible, and highly productive, with a great concern for others."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

Facts about ESFJs

Interesting facts about the ESFJ:

  • Underrepresented among people suffering from substance abuse
  • Among types highest in resources for coping with stress
  • Second most likely of all types to report believing in a higher spiritual power
  • Highest of all types in reported satisfaction with their marriage or intimate relationship
  • Among most likely of all types to stay in college
  • Most likely of all types to be satisfied with their co-workers
  • Values at work include clear structure, security, and the ability to be of service to others
  • Among the types most satisfied with their work
  • Commonly found in careers in education, health care, and religion

Source: MBTI Manual

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Check out the ESFJ Discussion Forum

Want to have a more in-depth conversation about being an ESFJ? Head on over to our discussion forum and post your questions, comments, and/or general musings!


Liz Chou (not verified) says...

Very accurate!! I also read that Tylor Swift is also ESFJ! Lol

schuyler weatherly (not verified) says...

I found this very interesting about my personality type but i would like to talk to someone about this that has the same type of personality. If anyone would like to email me feel free because i would love to get to know more about my personality type from someone elde. 

Ted says...

This test is very accurate.  Unfortunatley I am split between I and E, F and T, and J and P.  This makes it much more difficult to put me into one hole or the other.  Some online tools reflect the percentages of each of the types more than this tool does.  It might be helpful to add that to the results of this appraisal.

Stuart (Scotland, UK) (not verified) says...

Load of crap! I am an ESFJ and despite what nonsense this says, I have been working as an Electrical Engineer for 11 years  ans I LOVE my job! Honestly, I can't think of a job I'd enjoy doing more, and, aside from other electrical engineers, I can't think of a better bunch to work with than civil and mechanical engineers, which I do in work on a daily basis. Not a single one of the jobs listed in the "good careers" even remotely interest me, and many I would just run a mile from.

This just furthers by belief of how poor the MBTI really is.

Stuart Haig (not verified) says...

I'm an ESFJ, and the careers section of this could not be more inaccurate (for me at least) if it tried to. Not a single one of the "good careers" listed intrest me in the slightest. In fact, I would run a mile from many of them (Teacher and Surgeon), and would simply destest doing others (HR Manager).

Oppositely, the carrers you list as to be avoided, are the ones I find the most interesting. I actually work as an Electrical Engineer (have been now for over 10 years) and absolutely love my job. I also like working with other engineers (Mechanical Engineer I note are also listed), and would be fascinated to listen to a Power Plant Operator or/and an Airline Pilot. 

Employer Guest (not verified) says...

We've been interviewing for painters (specifically industrial painters, but many still have a background of sorts in commercial and residential painting) and part of our application process now (after previously hiring "on the fly") is to have candidates take an MBTI personality test. Time and time again a great majority (good and bad) come back as ESFJs with a smattering of ISFJs worked in.

Unfortunately many painters are notorious in their industry for having a combination of bad work habits/ethics in combination with a highly desired/well-paid/marketable trade (especially in the current economy). We've noticed a trend that when the scored percentage is low in the Judging (under 70%), that it really eflects in their work habits and even application follow ups. Just thought this was interesting enough to share based on our experience.

Lessin says...

I feel that this personality type is the most likely to be taken advantage of. How can I do things to check myself to keep from being a door mat or being sucked in by a narcissist? In my immediate family, I think my mom is an ESFJ and I am an ESFJ and my sister is an ISFJ and we have all married and divorced narcissists. What can we do to be less likely to draw those people in?’

RyanMitchell5 (not verified) says...

Definitely me ! 

Brody (not verified) says...

This test is so inaccurate and was originally was made to be a bar game and then two people Mrs. Mires and Ms. Briggs made this test with no scientific background.

JohnnyJohnny (not verified) says...


Judith Norman (not verified) says...

wow so accurate ..amazing and I work in the medical feild go figure, I love people and helping them brings me JOY !!!

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