What follows is a brief description of the ESFJ personality type, including:
• Natural Strengths
• Common Tendencies
• Interaction Styles
• Stressors and Coping Mechanisms.
• Ideal and Corrupt versions of the ESFJ
Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. ESFJs are very caring by nature (they have a strong desire to “be wanted”). Often they will “attach themselves” to specific people and possessively cling to “their role” as helper (becoming confrontational if someone else tries to usurp their role).
ESFJs are very “driven by duty.” They do “want things,” but they often don’t feel comfortable asserting themselves until they have fulfilled their duty to others. In some cases they may need to “earn what they want” or else they will struggle to enjoy it.
In terms of “what they want,” ESFJs can struggle to answer that question. They may imagine “many possibilities” but remain uncertain “what to choose.” In many cases they “like to wander” but also like to have a “guide” and/or “safety net” who will lead them to “good things” (even as they allow the ESFJ to wander). However, the slightest hint of “need’ or ‘want’ in someone else” can easily reawakening an ESFJ’s sense of “duty” and “role as ‘caregiver.”
And yet, even as ESFJs “rush to help,” they can (sometimes) want to be free of it. If they feel that their efforts are not appreciated (and sufficiently rewarded), they may “cut ties.”
ESFJs also have to be careful of “other people” because they are “easily influenced.” They have a tendency to “agree with” and “adopt the values” of the people around them. Part of this is their strong desire to “avoid conflict” and their need to “be needed,” but they are also prone to “doubting their own ideas” and can easily come to believe that “I can’t trust my own thoughts or ideas. I need to rely on others to ‘tell me what to believe.”
It’s easy to believe that “ESFJs are ‘low maintenance,” but the truth is they can be very needy. It’s just that their “need” takes the form of “need me” and “reward me for my efforts.” ESFJs can struggle to “assert themselves” and “communicate their needs,” but those “needs” do “build up.”
ESFJs thrive in “clear and concrete roles and expectations.” They struggle with “possibilities,” lack of organization, lack of appreciation, and “too much conflict.” When stressed, they “try extra hard” to please others. They may become “extra sensitive (or critical)” and seek out the safety of “well established/familiar relationships” (like a ship seeking safe harbor in a storm).
If problems persist, they may become critical of “everything,” shifting from one “focus” to another (trying to find the root cause of the problem). In an effort to escape their own turbulent emotions, they may try to focus on “logic” (as a grounding strategy).
Reducing stress is key. Often ESFJs need to “take a break from ‘problem solving’ and ‘caring,” and instead focus on simple things like nature, exercise, and simple/light-hearted activities (often detail oriented) that are likely to provide “quick bursts of positive emotion.”
ESFJs are hard workers who focus on “caring for others.” They frequently place the needs and “emotional well being” of others above their own, striving to create a community of acceptance and understanding for those in their charge. They are honest, practical, and “down-to-earth,” focusing on the concrete and “hands on” needs and wants of others. (They may struggle with letting someone “outgrow their need for care.”)
The ESFJ’s strong emphasis on “caring for others” can lead to a form of “codependent caretaking,” where they “care for others” as a way of “manipulating” and “obligating” people. This stems from the ESFJ’s reluctance to assert themselves and openly declare “what they want.” When the “want” grows intense enough, they may (in an almost passive-aggressive way) try to make others “so grateful” that the emphasis shifts to “what does the ESFJ want?”).
Corrupt ESFJs are desperate for affirmation, acceptance, and “to be regarded as ‘special’ by someone else (particularly an authority figure).” They will “change themselves” in any way that might lead to attention and approval (changing their appearance, behavior, even their values).
Corrupt ESFJs often try to “isolate people,” to create a sense of that “the ESFJ is the only one (someone else) can rely on and trust.” They will gossip, spread rumors, perhaps even sabotage others (who may also be helping the authority figure). It’s not enough that the “authority figure” gets what they want. “Everything good” has to come from the ESFJ (to ensure that the ESFJ and only the ESFJ receives positive attention).
If the ESFJ “doesn’t get the attention they seek,” they may become “self-pitying” or “intensely angry.” They may even shift their focus from “seeking approval from the authority figure” to specifically trying to “tear down” the rival who has repeatedly “interfered.”
But even as they’re “trying to tear someone down” or “manipulate them,” corrupt ESFJs still tend to be “generous” (on a small scale). They will often manipulate by “giving generously,” and “if someone can shift the focus from ‘large scale manipulation’ to ‘small scale caregiving,’ they may be able to help the corrupt ESFJ “reclaim their good nature.”
The stack is essentially “what distinguishes one personality type from another.”
1. Fe (Harmony)
2. Si (Memory)
3. Ne (Exploration)
4. Ti (Accuracy)
5. Fi (Authenticity)
6. Se (Sensation)
7. Ni (Perspective)
If you would like some basic information about what the 8 skills and 8 roles mean (in general, please click the button below.