What is the meaning of ESFJ?
Each of the 16 Personality types consists of four letters corresponding to a fundamental personality trait for the type. Tailored questions find your combination of four sets of opposing traits—introverted versus extroverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging. ESFJ stands for Extroverted (E), Sensing (S), Feeling (F), and Judging (J) personality traits.
What are ESFJs like?
ESFJs (Consuls) are outgoing, accommodating, and responsible individuals who are often deeply dedicated to not only their families but also their communities. They strive to bring people together, create a sense of belonging, and ensure that everyone’s needs are met. Hospitable and organized, Consuls often volunteer to plan and host parties and get-togethers.
Although ESFJs prioritize their family and friends above everything else and are thus surrounded by lots of people, they seek to build close bonds with everyone in their circle. Cooperative and caring, they’re eager to help others work through any challenges they’re facing. As long as their efforts are appreciated, ESFJs are happy to provide emotional and practical support to others.
Besides being friendly, generous, and nurturing, ESFJs also usually have deeply ingrained traditional values. They respect rules and organize their lives and environments to minimize chaos. However, they might struggle with people who refuse to take their advice and want to do things differently. After all, they like to be in control and can be prone to taking things personally.
Caring and supportive
ESFJs are not labeled the Caregiver or Consul for nothing. ESFJs have a strong sense of wanting to help and support those around them. ESFJs are empathetic to others and genuinely like to see them feel good about themselves. The care and attention ESFJs show to others draws people to them, making ESFJs well-liked and desirable friends to have.
Trustworthy and reliable
At their core, ESFJs are traditionalists who do not like to rock the boat. They usually have a strong sense of responsibility and a desire to do the right thing. ESFJs are also driven by social expectations and a need to belong, which means they are unlikely to challenge social norms or break any rules. ESFJs feel strongly about not letting people down or failing to achieve what they said they would. These qualities make ESFJs friends, partners, and employees that can be trusted to get the job done and not cause any unnecessary drama.
Practical and organized
ESFJs are task-oriented, conscientious, and detail-oriented people. Their practicality means they are great at managing routines, accomplishing tasks, and helping those around them. ESFJs take pride in their work and find it difficult to give anything less than 100% effort. To-do lists, schedules, and planning help ESFJs to assert control over their environments and take care of those around them.
Social and well-liked
ESFJs are the type of person that others want to be around. ESFJs enjoy social interactions, small talk, and providing sensible advice when asked. They enjoy lifting others up and seeing those around them, not just themselves, do well. They form strong empathetic connections with people, which often leads them to stand up and lend a hand when they see a need or are asked for help. They are the type of person who does not hesitate to volunteer, support causes, or take action to improve their community.
Judgmental and closed-minded
The way in which ESFJs view the world often means they struggle to accept behavior that conflicts with their belief system. They are preoccupied with following social norms and established traditions, which makes them reluctant to accept views that fall outside of the mainstream.
ESFJs tend to see the world in black and white, with right and wrong choices and clear guidelines for what is acceptable and what is not. This leads to ESFJs to often be resented for aggressively trying to persuade others that their worldview is correct and that their thinking should be mainstream. ESFJs can also be guilty of judging others based on short interactions and initial impressions. So, while they are friendly and caring people, their value system is reluctant to accept new ideas or thinking that challenges their worldview. As a result, ESFJs can come across as judgmental and closed-minded.
Sensitive to criticism
ESFJs are not consumed by what other people think of them, but when criticized or rejected, it tends to affect them personally. In particular, ESFJs do not take kindly to their beliefs, habits, or traditions being criticized, particularly by those who are close to them. Criticism or rejection tends to make ESFJs defensive and upset, and it can take time for them to get over it.
ESFJs need to feel appreciated and recognized. When ESFJs do not receive the positive feedback that they believe they deserve, they will often do more to show off their value to get the reaction they want. ESFJs can be guilty of helping people too much, as they try to impress on people how valuable they are. This kind of behavior tends to overwhelm and annoy people. To get the feedback they require, ESFJs will also often fish for compliments, which also tends to rub people the wrong way. ESFJs need to be noticed and accepted.
Preoccupied with social status
ESFJs derive a lot of their self-worth from how they are perceived in the social hierarchy. This can lead to a fear of being seen as different and of wanting to stay in their comfort zone. Worrying about their social status also impacts the decisions that ESFJs make. ESFJs can lack confidence to think outside the box and may limit their creativity, out of a fear of being judged and losing face in front of their peers.
When outside-the-box thinking or improvisation is required, ESFJs are often slow to recognize it and will hesitate and drag their feet. Their desire to be liked and be at the top of the social hierarchy can also mean they miss out on opportunities and new life experiences. When ESFJs feel their social position is threatened, their sense of self-worth can quickly deplete.
What are the special interests of ESFJs?
While everyone is unique and has their own preferences, you’ll often see ESFJs enjoying similar hobbies. Consuls generally gravitate toward hobbies and interests that involve their two favorite activities, taking care of others and socializing. ESFJs also like to be involved in the community, which often leads them to take up community roles in their spare time, such as event planning or volunteering.
- Community work
- Church and school volunteering
- Gardening (if people will be walking by)
Interacting with ESFJs
ESFJs are extroverts that love spending time with other people. When interacting with ESFJs, they enjoy small talk and are good listeners and problem solvers, as they are genuinely interested in the well-being of others. Consuls are highly sensitive to the feelings of others and the perceptions that other people have of them. If you want to avoid conflict with ESFJs, make sure to show that you appreciate them and be careful when providing feedback not to make ESFJs feel criticized. ESFJs desire cooperation and harmony with their interpersonal relationships.
In a relationship
When it comes to romantic relationships, Consuls are in it for the long-haul. They are not the type to seek out casual flings. Consuls are looking for a life-partner and will take each stage of the relationship very seriously. Consuls want a romantic relationship that is built on trust and mutual respect. When Consuls feel loved and appreciated, it has a significant effect on their mood and self-esteem.
For people with the Consul personality type, a special level of importance is given to having strong and supportive romantic relationships. Consuls are very conscious of their social standing, so one of the reasons they desire a romantic relationship is because it adds to their social validation. ESFJs will also desire a romantic relationship because it conforms to the social norms that they like to follow. Consuls also desire a strong sense of belonging, security, and stability. It is through their romantic relationships that Consuls like to get much of the support and love that they require.
Marriage and family are the ultimate relationship goals for Consuls. For partners of Consuls, if they can give the ESFJ what they need, they will have a devoted partner who offers unconditional support. However, if ESFJs do not feel the support and devotion they are willing to give their partner, Consuls will start to question the relationship. Consuls are sensitive to criticism, which often leads them to feeling extremely hurt if they feel their partner is not supporting or validating them.
Consuls need their partners to respect their dreams and opinions; when they do not feel this, Consuls will feel rejected and hurt. When a Consul is in a relationship, they need to know their partner is 100% behind them. Consuls value their partner’s opinion and want to work with them to help them reach their goals. Consuls have a lot of strength and perseverance when faced with challenges, but if their partner is not by their side and on the same page, ESFJs will find it difficult to continue with the relationship. When ESFJs’ partner and relationship ideals are met, their loyalty, commitment, support, and empathy, make ESFJs great people to be in a relationship with.
Living with an ESFJ
ESFJs like things to be organized, which includes their home life. If you live with an ESFJ, it is likely that chores always get done and bills are paid on time. ESFJs are naturally empathetic, and they use their empathy to understand others and make them feel comfortable. ESFJs do not like conflict or seeing that others are unhappy. As ESFJs seek harmony and want to help those around them, living with an ESFJ is usually a conflict-free, supportive environment.
Consuls’ traditional, conservative aspects of their personality generally cause ESFJs to hold back in the beginning stages of a sexual relationship. However, once they feel connected to their partner, their affectionate, people-pleasing nature generally translates to ESFJs making for great sexual partners. Consuls seek a deep, meaningful relationship with their partner, and once they feel this, they have a lot of sexual energy they will enjoy expressing with their partner – as long as it is reciprocated.
ESFJs like to feel that the care and attention they pay to their partner is reciprocated and appreciated. Their aversion to criticism can also mean they crave compliments and attention to make them feel valued. In some circumstances, this can lead ESFJs to come across as needy, which can be a turnoff for a lot of people. The need for their partner’s approval can also become unhealthy if ESFJs decide to compromise their values and principles to please their partner.
Consuls view social status as very important and will often put too much emphasis on what other people might think. ESFJs’ desire to please and to be seen as high up on the social hierarchy can lead ESFJs to allow their social circle, family, and friends to influence them when deciding who they should date. When ESFJs place too much emphasis on where their partner fits in the social hierarchy, how dating them will affect their social position, and what their social circle thinks, ESFJs risk ending up with a partner who does not truly reflect their values and relationship aspirations.
ESFJs like to avoid conflict, which can lead to them being unwilling to discuss issues that arise in the relationship. Depending on their partner, issues arising from criticism or conflict can build up and cause cracks in the relationship. ESFJs are also more feeling-centered than logical in their thinking. If a partner is more logic-based in their thinking, an ESFJ can feel hurt or intimidated when their partner talks to them using logic to support their point of view. ESFJs typically do not respond well to the unexpected, so when things change in a relationship, they can find it difficult to accept and may push back and try to return things to how they were.
While two emotionally healthy individuals of any personality type can enjoy a fulfilling relationship, some are more complimentary to the Consul than others. A healthy, long-term relationship is very important to ESFJs, so when choosing a partner, some specific personality traits matter more to them than others. To meet their needs, ESFJs are more suited to personality types that share the observant S trait. ESFJs can also benefit from having a partner who can provide balance to their personality, such as a partner with Introverted (I) traits or someone who is more open-minded or logical. The personality type best suited to an ESFJ is an ISFP personality, as they both have Sensing and Feeling traits. The personality type less suited to ESFJs are INTJs, who are not social enough for ESFJs.
As a parent
The Consul’s caring nature and family-oriented traits translate to Consuls typically being great parents. Indeed, the warmth, commitment, and affection that children need comes naturally to ESFJs. Being natural “caregivers,” Consuls enjoy having an infant depend upon them, and their desire to ensure their children are safe and happy continues as they grow older.
With their empathetic and supportive nature, Consuls can keep the peace and respond appropriately to issues that arise when parenting. ESFJs expect their children to follow their traditional values and be respectful, obedient children. Consuls are believers in traditional roles, so when their children cross the line, ESFJs will usually respond firmly and try to emphasize the traditional parent-child relationship where their authority is final.
ESFJs’ inclination to follow society’s rules and norms means ESFJ parents are acutely aware that their children need to follow society’s rules, and they will make sure their children understand this. ESFJs will feel stressed if their children break from these norms or form beliefs that are different to theirs. ESFJs will find it easier to understand children with Sensing or Feeling traits, as opposed to Thinking or Intuition traits.
ESFJs must be careful that their caring and supportive traits do not result in being over-protective or controlling. An ESFJ will find it hard to resist organizing their children’s social lives and activities so much so that the children are not free to make mistakes that they can learn from or cause the children to rebel.
As a friend
ESFJs are naturally social people, extroverted, and good at connecting with people. These qualities mean people are drawn to ESFJs, and ESFJs will often have large circles of friends. Consuls are also likely to be the lynchpin in the group, often planning and organizing and staying in frequent contact with their friends.
Consuls, with their “caretaker” personality trait, enjoy providing emotional support and encouragement to their friends, while also being conscious of traditional notions of friendship, which sees them feel a responsibility to help and support their friends no matter what. Consuls want their friends to succeed and be happy, which helps ensure that their friendships are strong and long-lasting.
Friendships with ESFJs can become strained if ESFJs feel their friends’ views do not conform to theirs. If Consuls discover that a friend is critical of their beliefs or lifestyle, they will often find it very hurtful and difficult to deal with. However, if their friends need defending, Consuls will often step up to defend them, irrespective of the circumstances. As long as their friends show them the same support, Consuls can overlook the circumstances and the friendship may even grow stronger. ESFJs can feel rejected if their friends do not reciprocate their support or get excited about traditions that are important to them.
Having a large circle of friends is also a part of the ESFJs’ fixation with social status, which acts as an added motivation to make their friendships work.
ESFJ personality growth tips
To round out their personalities and maximize the quality of their lives, ESFJs should:
- Embrace solitude. Since ESFJs tend to rely on external validation, they can reconnect with themselves by spending time alone, pursuing solitary hobbies, and similar.
- Become more open-minded. Instead of jumping to conclusions and judging others, Consuls should make the effort to understand their perspective and motivations to expand their perspective.
- Realize they can’t please everyone. Criticism and rejection can affect ESFJs’ self-worth, so they should work on accepting that they can’t make everyone happy no matter how much effort they put in.
- Learn to live and let live. Consuls should realize that it’s okay to let others make their own decisions. After all, mistakes are not only a natural part of life but also an opportunity to learn and grow!
Consuls are best suited to occupations that allow their organization, social skills, caretaker traits, and detail-oriented skill set, to thrive. ESFJs enjoy a busy workplace and will feel fulfilled and closer to their work colleagues when supporting and interacting with them. Being asked to improve the workplace culture or help a coworker are tasks that an ESFJ will enjoy. ESFJs gain further job satisfaction when they feel their ideas and contributions are valued. Feeling valued and connected to their colleagues often increases ESFJs’ productivity. Consuls are not put off by mundane or routine tasks, as they are happy to do what needs to be done.
Having a Consul or Caretaker personality type means that ESFJs will enjoy a career where they help and support others, such as teaching, nursing, or social work. Careers in administration or management also appeal to ESFJs, as they get to use their organization and people skills.
Most important to Consuls in their careers is to feel appreciated and valued. ESFJs also get the most pleasure from knowing they have helped someone. ESFJs will naturally gravitate to careers that provide the emotional feedback and social interaction that they thrive on.
While they are detail-oriented, ESFJs can become overwhelmed and bored by work that involves paying close attention to facts and figures, especially if there is no social interaction. Criticism and overly assertive managers can also reduce ESFJ work satisfaction and lower their productivity. Jobs that lack human contact or are largely impersonal will likely frustrate ESFJs, as will roles that are inconsistent and unstructured.
Best ESFJ career matches
Ideally, Consuls want their work to bring positive change to others. With this in mind, some of the best career choices for ESFJs are:
- Administrative Assistant
- Customer Success Representative
- Event Planner
- Fitness/Dance Instructor
- Flight Attendant
- Fundraising Manager
- Health Coach
- Human Resources Manager
- Public Relations Specialist
- Retail Manager
- Social Worker
Worst ESFJ career matches
Since ESFJs are people persons and thrive in social situations, they should avoid jobs such as:
- Data Entry Clerk
- Web Developer
Celebrities with the ESFJ personality type
ESFJs are keen to help others and interact with people, so it makes sense that many famous ESFJs are either talk show hosts or politicians. ESFJs typically grow up being the popular kid, the quarterback, or cheerleader, with the charisma to be well-liked by most of their peers. Interestingly, most of the world’s most famous and influential female singers, such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carrey, Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton, and Jennifer Lopez, are said to have the ESFJ personality trait. Many singers who are ESFJs also have a reputation for being a diva or a prima donna, including Elton John.
Talk show hosts
- Oprah Winfrey
- Larry King
- Ellen DeGeneres
- Taylor Swift
- Ed Sheeran
- Elton John
- Joe Biden
- Bill Clinton
Actors and entertainers
- Hugh Jackman
- Vin Diesel
- Margot Robbie
The bottom line
ESFJs, also known as Consuls or Caregivers, are people-focused, supportive, helpful, outgoing, social butterflies. ESFJs seek stability and long-lasting relationships, where their passion for helping others is acknowledged and they feel appreciated. Sticklers for traditions and social norms, ESFJs must be careful not to limit their thinking or tolerance for alternative points of view. Everyone knows an ESFJ, and the chances are you are happy that you do!