ESFJs are warm people who are naturally interested in personalities and how people fit together. The MBTI system can be very useful for this type as it can help them connect to people on a deeper level. However, they need to be aware of the issue of mistyping and how this can affect their attempts to interact with others and give them what they want and need.
ESFJ General Strengths and Weaknesses
ESFJs are very good at the day to day tasks that keep the world, their families and their workplaces running. Their strong practical skills and in depth understanding of the emotions of other people mean that they’re usually very happy to take on these kinds of roles in every part of their life. ESFJs use extraverted feeling as their dominant function, which gives them this emotional intelligence and an acute awareness of the social expectations that govern everyday life. Because of this, they’re often naturally warm and nurturing people who find great satisfaction in taking on the roles they’re naturally suited for and doing them to the best of their ability.
Because ESFJs want to help others and obey all of the social expectations in their lives, they can become overloaded and burn out. Their dominant function is so focused on making others happy, they sometimes run themselves ragged trying to meet others needs and neglect their own in the process. This can lead to exhaustion, which is a big problem for this type. This focus on other people can also make ESFJs a little inflexible. They often see social expectations and conventions as the only right way to do things, and this can lead to them ignoring other points of view or other possibilities. For some ESFJs, this can result in a refusal to innovate or try new things, so ESFJs need to be careful if they move into a career path that requires these elements.
Common Type Confusions
ESFJs frequently mistype as ENFJs. This is because of their amazing emotional intelligence, which gives them a really extensive understanding of the emotions and needs of the people around them. This emotional awareness comes from their extraverted feeling function, which focuses on making other people happy and on obeying social conventions. This deep understanding often causes ESFJs to test as the intuitive ENFJ. ENFJs share a number of functions with ESFJs, including the use of extraverted feeling as the dominant, so it’s quite natural that these two look fairly similar. However, typing people based on their behavior is a misuse of the MBTI system and often leads to these kinds of mistakes.
Common Confusions Comparisons
Distinguishing an ESFJ from an ENFJ is a matter of examining the use of the auxiliary functions. ESFJs use introverted sensing as their auxiliary. This gives them a strong attachment to the past as a means of establishing how the present should be. They use this in conjunction with their extraverted feeling dominant, to remember the emotional details from the past and store them ready for use in the present. In contrast, ENFJs use introverted intuition as their auxiliary. This function is focused on mapping and understanding the emotional patterns of the people around them in the present and using them to predict the future. The very different focuses of these two functions makes it fairly easy to tell the difference between an ESFJ and an ENFJ as long as the typing is performed based on the cognitive functions and not the behaviors.
Unusual Type Confusions
Some ESFJs are mistyped are ESFPs. This seems like a strange match. After all, ESFPs share no functions with ESFJs and usually have a very different focus and way of life then ESFJs. ESFJs are focused on the past and are also very strongly tied to social conventions. This means that they often have a deep distrust and dislike of innovation and novelty. In contrast, ESFPs use extraverted sensing as their dominant and this means that they seek out novelty and dislike and avoid the restrictions and boundaries that usually comes with social conventions.
However, ESFJs are extremely adaptable people and will often bury their own needs and wants in order to get along with the people around them. This doesn’t come naturally for them. ESFJs are judging types, which means they naturally want to control and organize their external world. But in their quest to make others happy they’ll often ignore this urge. This can make them look like the more free-spirited and easy going ESFP. This is the type of mistake that’s often made when people are typed based on their behavior rather than on the functions they use. It’s also proof that this shallow use of the system isn’t as helpful as a deeper understanding can be.
Unusual Confusions Comparisons
Once you start to understand the cognitive functions and how they interact to make different personalities these two types actually look nothing alike in their behavior or in the way their minds function. ESFJs prefer routine, stability and consistency, even if they are willing to ignore these wants in favor of other people’s preferences. But these traits will always show through in their lifestyle and how they structure their days when they don’t have to accommodate others. In contrast, because ESFPs prefer novelty and the unexpected, their lives are usually much more unpredictable and less structured. This too is usually obvious in every part of their life and makes the fundamental and extensive differences between these two types hard to miss.
ESFJs are naturally interested in people and the MBTI system is a good way to pursue and deepen that interest. But it can also teach ESFJs how to better understand and look after themselves. This is a valuable lesson for this type, who are often so wrapped up in others that they can forget the importance of personal growth and development. Because this can lead to burnout, this is something that ESFJs need to work on throughout their lives.