The ESFJ Personality Type
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 does ESFJ stand for?
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.
ESFJ Values and Motivations
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 Others See the 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.
How rare 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
Famous ESFJs include Martha Stewart, Dave Thomas, Sam Walton, Barbara Walters, William Howard Taft, JC Penney, Sally Field, Mary Tyler Moore, and Ray Kroc.
"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
ESFJ Hobbies and Interests
Popular leisure activities for ESFJs include volunteering in community, charity, or religious organizations; celebrating holidays and family traditions; cooking; entertaining; and social sports.