The 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types
S = Sensing Types - SJ & SP N = iNtuitive Types - NF & NT
analytical gif Drivers Gif
amiables.gif Expressives GIF

What Do The Letters Mean?


"The Providers"

Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judgement


ESFJ's the most sociable of all types, are energized by interactions with people, tending to idealize whatever or whoever they "admire". Harmony is the key to this type.

Guardians of birthdays, holidays and celebrations, ESFJs are generous entertainers. They enjoy and joyfully observe traditions and are liberal in giving, especially where custom prescribes.

All else being equal, ESFJs enjoy being in charge. They see problems clearly and delegate easily, work hard and play with zest. ESFJs, as do most SJs, bear strong allegiance to rights of seniority. They willingly provide service (which embodies life's meaning) and expect the same from others.

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 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.

ESFJs are easily wounded. And when wounded, their emotions will not be contained. They by nature "wear their hearts on their sleeves," often exuding warmth, but not infrequently boiling over with the vexation of their souls. 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. Some ESFJs channel these vibrant emotions into moving dramatic performances on stage and screen.

Strong, contradictory forces consume the ESFJ. Their sense of right and wrong wrestles with an overwhelming rescuing, 'mothering' drive. This sometimes results in swift, immediate action taken upon a transgressor, followed by stern reprimand; ultimately, however, the prodigal is wrested from the gallows of their folly, just as the noose tightens and all hope is lost, by the very executioner!

An ESFJ at odds with self is a remarkable sight. When a decision must be made, especially one involving the risk of conflict (abhorrent to ESFJs), there ensues an in-house wrestling match between the aforementioned black-and-white Values and the Nemesis of Discord. The contender pits self against self, once firmly deciding with the Right, then switching to Prudence to forestall hostilities, countered by unswerving Values, ad exhaustium, winner take all.

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 conscientous 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 quickly and efficiently and want family living routinized, scheduled, and correctly executed. The 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 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 them. The are aware of status, and often depend on higher authority as the source of opinions and attitudes.

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 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 this or her mate and children. This type may marry alcoholics or others who are particularly needed. 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.

As caretakers, ESFJs sense danger all around--germs within, the elements without, unscrupulous malefactors, insidious character flaws. The world is a dangerous place, not to be trusted. Not that the ESFJ is paranoid; 'hyper-vigilant' would be more precise. And thus they serve excellently as protectors, outstanding in fields such as medical care and elementary education.

Career selections 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. Observations 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. The 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 supervisors, 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 their lives of their colleagues; but when the conversations turn to abstractions of philosophy or science, the ESFJ may become resistive.

ESFJs live in their Extraverted Feeling functioning. Feeling, a rational (i.e., deciding) function, expresses opinions easily in the E world of objects and people. ESFJs have the ability to express warmth, rage, and a range of other emotions. Actions are encouraged or rebuked based on how they affect other people, especially people near and dear to the ESFJ. This type's vocal decisiveness predisposes many of its number to facility with administration and supervision.