The ESFJ's fundamental desire in life is to inspire emotional well-being. Towards that end he is always in the process of creating an uplifting atmosphere and aesthetic/physical harmony, while generally making sure that people are happy and satisfied.
1. Fe: Extraverted Ethics
The ESFJ is quick to recognize and respond to passion and emotional involvement, stimulating it where there is none and fueling it where there is. He is well aware of his own and others' passions and tastes and likes to do and say things that stimulates and gives expression to these passions. The ESFJ likes to see people become lively and animated and show what they feel without thinking first. The ESFJ equally expects others to let out their negative emotions (despair, anger, sadness) in periods of distress, since he knows keeping them inside can only aggravate bitterness and discontent. His dual the INTP finds this openness liberating, and appreciates someone who can positively guide and influence the emotions he communicates.
The ESFJ is typically an engaging communicator, communicating a kind of naive excitement about whatever he talks about. He likes to playfully personalize discussion of topics by telling stories and sharing anecdotes drawn from his past.
The ESFJ sees reality through the prism of the emotional atmosphere around him, which is mainly, though not exclusively, influenced by the surrounding people and their moods. He will always have much to say about the "vibe" given off by various sensory stimuli.
He is not at all hesitant about steering the emotional environment in the direction he sees fit. He'll liven up the atmosphere with jokes if it's too gloomy, or get people down to business if they're being too frivolous.
The ESFJ makes inquiries into people's states based on cues given by their expressions.
The ESFJ will take great satisfaction in interacting with people who are receptive to emotional activation.
2. Si: Introverted Sensing
The ESFJ is naturally good at organizing recreation, and getting people to chill out and enjoy themselves—but only does so when he sees a specific need for it, rather than initiating relaxing activities all the time. Neither does a meandering, leisurely pace suit his natural temperament; he can engage it only for a limited amount of time, since he knows there are always things to be done and people to see.
ESFJs are aware of and attuned to people's tastes and personal preferences and they like to do things or give things to friends and family members that will let them enjoy themselves, such as creating a comfortable, clean, and spacious setting in the home, taking them out to do something they enjoy, or finding opportunities and people with whom they can pursue their hobbies.
The ESFJ is always cognizant of what needs are going unfulfilled, and likes to find the most refreshingly straightforward way to meet them. He is frequently a master of the sensual arts, and takes joy in finding new and exciting ways to make sexual and otherwise pleasurable experiences even more intense. Much like the ISFJ, the ESFJ can only enjoy an activity when everyone else is enjoying it too, so he always tries his best to make sure that everyone is having a good time.
In their super-ego, ESFJs tend to avoid taking decisions, or discussions, on evaluations of how efficient and productive such decisions will be in the longer run as a result of extrapolations of trends into the future. When taking decisions or speculating about the future, ESFJs are inclined to assume that circumstances of the present will simply remain the same.
3. Te: Extraverted Logic
ESFJs feel a need to appear efficient, productive and knowledgeable in their endeavours, as long as that does not conflict with priorities set up by their base function, extroverted ethics. For instance, they may end up defending a decision or action, even if it is not the most efficient, if it's the one they see as most desirable in order to achieve or maintain the emotional atmosphere they are aiming at (for instance, not be seen as hostile to a given person or group). They are able to participate in discussions involving exchange of factual information, or involving decisions as to the most efficient actions to take, for relatively short times; their inclination is to either try to lighten up the atmosphere if they see it becoming too heavy, or to become emotionally agitated, revealing their frustration. In such situations, if attempts by the ESFJ to lighten up an atmosphere they see as too "business-like" are met with factual counter-arguments, the ESFJ tends to perceive that as emotional hostility and react accordingly.
4. Ni: Introverted Intuition
ESFJs prefer to focus on immediate tasks, taking things as they come, rather than try to evaluate whether or not the task at hand will be very important in the longer run. A common consequence of this is an inclination to get stuck with last-minute tasks that keep the ESFJ distracted from later appointments or tasks, leading to being late for those.
They generally have a poor sense of how long things will take, and what the best amount of time to spend on things is. Therefore it is difficult for ESFJs to stay on schedule without extensive (even total) pre-planning. ESFJs very often have very precise agendas to plan their professional and personal lives, and yet be somewhat late when actually going about them.
ESFJs are more confortable narrating events or stories, or making a point, on a sequential basis - "this happened, and then this, and then that" - since they are not confident that others will connect the dots as to how one event leads to the other, since the ESFJs do not feel confident when doing that themselves.
They perceive time in an undifferentiated manner: the past, present, and future are all perceived as being in or near the present. When talking about the future (especially one's longer-term plans), ESFJs treat it as if it were accessible today and often they are not aware of all the developments that must happen first, and how long those can take.
ESFJs are attracted to people who are creative and full of ideas, but at the same time who can give them a "center" from which to view the world in a consistent way. ESFJs appreciate clear and straightforward analyses of the often huge amount of information they accumulate on an everyday basis.
5. Ti: Introverted Logic
The ESFJ often feels like he wants to go in many different directions at once, and hence desperately needs someone to cut out all the irrelevancies and select the proper course of action, rather than providing even more "helpful" information that is of ambiguous relevance to the situation. The ESFJ will greatly admire people who can analyze everyday situations and put them in context, as well as introduce them to exciting new concepts or "research". The ESFJ wants his actions to make sense, but is almost always too caught up in his emotions to make very methodical, introspective, and impersonal judgments. If he cannot find a source of certainty, he may become insecure and unable to act rationally. The ESFJ loves to learn about new things, and is especially intrigued when the teacher appears confident and knowledgeable.
6. Ne: Extraverted Intuition
ESFJs deeply appreciate people who are full of ideas and imagination, and who give them a sense of connectedness to what is happening "out there in the world," even if this information cannot be applied practically at the present moment. They are even more grateful for people who provide insightful ideas and unconventional analysis to enhance what they are working on or going through at the present moment. However, they are a bit put off by people who are too "out there" in their ideas and creativity, if they don't think they connect to the present world or moment.
ESFJs try to discover, and point out, the unexpected, funny and bizarre side of things, as long as it is in an emotionally-positive way (rather than dark and gloomy), and appreciate the company of people who do so easily.
ESFJs cannot relate to concepts such as "solitary achievement" or achieving long-term material goals in life in solitude or in the company of very select few, if it is at the cost of present-day happiness and comfort. They are repelled by concepts such as revenge or defending personal morals in a way that might seem nasty or unforgiving.
7. Fi: Introverted Ethics
The ESFJ cares very strongly about maintaining personal bonds with friends and family, but always does so by creating clear and colorful displays of affection. Such expressions include smiles, compliments, affectionate expressions, and the like. If he thinks attraction is present, he will try to bring it out into the open, since he believes that it is a person's right (as well as a necessity of emotional well-being) to express and to realize his love in all its fullness. ESFJs take for granted that feelings will result in external demonstrations of emotions and be welcomed gladly when expressed. For instance, ESFJs will be inclined to regard a person's lukewarm response to an enthusiastic greeting as lack of interest, or even hostility.
Accordingly, ESFJs have a good understanding of discussions or explorations of one's own inner feelings regarding other individuals, but will become skeptical or bored if the style is too "matter-of-fact".
8. Se: Extraverted Sensing
Some ESFJs will occasionally become very outspoken or intense, putting people on the spot (while usually maintaining a sense of humor about the situation) if they feel they are being too timid or dishonest. An INTP will in turn be forthright, but see through the act, knowing the ESFJ is not totally serious about it; he will sustain the innuendo using. If emotionally excited ESFJs will express themselves through confident physical gestures such as hearty laughter or song, tickling people, or giving smothering hugs. They will stop any physically invasive action if the other person asks them to — unless the person is secretly enjoying it.
ESFJs have a strong understanding of how desires are communicated. The ESFJ will never do something just to assert his authority; he prefers to gain attention and respect using his natural charisma.
Common social roles
- The social organizer who is always getting everyone together to do fun things and is so enthusiastic about everything that it's embarrassing.
- The doting grandmother or aunt who is always ready to spoil the kids with some food.
- The arbiter of fun who has a highly developed sense of what is (objectively) enjoyable and is willing to force it down people's throats if need be (because who doesn't like fun?).