Simply Psychology Logo


ESFJ: The Caregiver (Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging)

An Overview of the ESFJ Personality Type

By Julia Simkus, published May 27, 2022

by Saul Mcleod, PhD

ESFJ Personality Type

ESFJ (extraversion, sensing, feeling, judging) is a four-letter acronym used to represent one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. People with this personality type tend to be warmhearted, conscientious, and harmonious.

They wear their hearts on their sleeves and tend to see the best in others. They enjoy helping those around them and providing the care that people need, but want to be appreciated and noticed for their contributions.

They are careful observers of others and excel in situations involving interpersonal contact.

ESFJs are sometimes referred to as “the Caregiver,” “the Consul,” or “the Provider.” INTP is the opposite personality type of ESFJ.

ESFJ is the second most common type in the population. Around 9% to 13% of the general population has an ESFJ personality type.

  • 9-13% of the general population
  • 8% of men
  • 17% of women

Famous ESFJs include Martha Stewart, Sam Walton, Barbara Walters, Ariana Grande, William Howard Taft, and Sally Field.

Strengths Weaknesses
Loyal Needy
Outgoing and personable Approval-seeking
Organized Sensitive to criticism
Conscientious Reluctant to change
Strong practical skills Controlling
Moral Judgmental

Key ESFJ Characteristics

  • ESFJs are known to be outgoing, extroverted individuals. They are good at connecting with others and are energized by interacting with those around them.

    They enjoy taking an active role in their communities and opening their hearts to friends, family, and neighbors. They are sociable and admired and are well versed in small talk and following social cues.

  • People with an ESFJ personality type are true altruists. They care deeply about other people’s feelings and enjoy supporting and providing for their friends and loved ones.

    They tend to be highly attuned to the needs and emotions of those around them and will always do their best to provide impactful assistance.

    They take their responsibilities to give back and serve others seriously and can be counted on to show up wherever and whenever they are needed.

    ESFJs are often referred to as “the Caregiver” or “the Provider” because of their devotion to take care of others and their willingness to always put the interests of others before their own.

  • While ESFJs are exceedingly generous and thoughtful individuals. They do expect their selflessness and generosity to be noticed, acknowledged, and appreciated. They are eager to please, and they care deeply about the perception that others have of them.

    ESFJs are people pleasers who seek approval from others and want to be liked by everyone. They are highly sensitive to criticism and take rejection very personally. ng others and are carefully observant of the needs of the people around them.

  • ESFJs have strong practical and organizational skills. They have an appreciation for order, detail, and structure as ESFJs want to maintain a harmonious and well-structured environment.

    They are typically very routined, productive, and organized individuals who like to feel in command of the world around them and exert control in their communities. They are eager to preserve the status quo and want to make sure that those who are close to them are well cared for.

    Because of their outgoing, methodical nature and desire to make other people feel special and celebrated, ESFJs love to host parties or organize community events and fundraisers.

Cognitive Functions

The MBTI suggests that the four different cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensing) form a hierarchy where each function is either directed outwardly (extroverted) or inwardly (introverted). The order of these functions determines one’s personality.

MBTI test dichotomies

The dominant function is the primary aspect of personality, while the auxiliary and tertiary functions play supportive roles.

Dominant: Extroverted Feeling

  • ESFJs have their own system of values and beliefs that drive their judgements and decisions.
  • They approach experiences based upon how they feel about them in the moment and are more interested in personal concerns than objective information.

Auxiliary: Introverted Sensing

  • ESFJs are more focused on the present moment than on any future commitments.
  • They prefer concrete, factual information rather than abstract or theoretical details.
  • They are careful observers of others and are highly attuned to their surrounding environments.

Tertiary: Extroverted Intuition

  • This aspect of the ESFJ personality is less prominent but still helps people with this personality type to notice patterns and find creative solutions to problems.
  • It enables ESFJs to explore the wide range of possibilities when looking at a novel situation and make connections to gain insights into people and experiences.

Inferior: Introverted Thinking

  • While this aspect of the ESFJ personality tends to be weaker, it helps ENFJs to analyze complex information, specifically concepts that are abstract or theoretical.
  • ESFJs are planners and like to feel in control of their environment, but making sense of concepts that are not factual or concrete is often a point of weakness for ESFJs.

ESFJ Hobbies, Interests, and Careers

Because ESFJs are such conscientious helpers, they tend to thrive in careers that involve taking a caregiver role.

They are highly tuned into the needs of others and enjoy work that allows them to help and care for people in practical ways.

Social service and healthcare careers are two areas in which ESFJs typically excel as they appreciate knowing they have done something valuable for another person.

Popular ESFJs careers might include childcare providers, nurses, teachers, social workers, counselors, physicians, or religious workers.

Additionally, ESFJs tend to succeed in administrative or managerial roles because of their strong practical and organizational skills.

ESFJs are comfortable with authority and they want to be given the power to organize both the people and processes in the workplace. They pay close attention to order and detail and seek to create structure for others.

In their free time, ESFJs enjoy volunteering in community, charity, or religious organizations; celebrating holidays and family traditions; cooking; entertaining; and participating in social sports.

ESFJ Work Environments

ESFJs prefer workplaces that have a high degree of structure and organization and that are dependent on distinct hierarchies and roles.

They work best in environments with clear expectations and little ambiguity. They also thrive on social order and harmony and feel most comfortable in environments that are free of conflict or criticism.

Whether in a managerial role or subordinate position, ESFJs expect that authority figures are well respected and appreciated.

As extroverts, ESFJs are energized by participating in a team. They value human interaction and group collaboration and make good listeners and enthusiastic team members.

They enjoy working with others as long as their co-workers are just as motivated, cooperative, and action-oriented as they are and can provide the ESFJ with positive, supportive feedback.

ESFJ Personal Relationships

ESFJs enjoy spending time with people and tend to build strong relationships with others.

They are friendly, empathetic individuals who will often put the needs of others ahead of their own.

They make supportive and loyal friends and partners and are known to stand by their loved ones no matter what.

ESFJs tend to surround themselves with a large circle of friends and they typically can get along with just about anybody.

They are willing to expend significant time and effort to maintain their relationships and ensure their friends are happy.

ESFJs are prone to feeling insecure when things feel uncertain, though. Because of these insecurities, ESFJs expect their efforts to be appreciated and reciprocated by their close friends.

In relationships, ESFJs make loving and devoted partners. They take their relationships very seriously, typically avoiding casual flings and non committed dating.

They want to follow the traditional standards and established dating rules of a relationship (ie. the man should call first; no kissing until the third date) and want to provide practical support to their partners based on whatever those traditional ideals might look like.

ESFJs dislike conflict and criticism and want to resolve any disagreements quickly and calmly. They prefer stable, harmonious relationships with mutual appreciation and unwavering support.

They are happiest when they feel trusted and valued and admire those who notice their efforts to provide for others.

Tips for Interacting With ESFJs

Relationships

Additionally, ESFJs are conflict averse so they tend to avoid relationships where they might face a great deal of criticism.

Friendships

As the friend or partners of an ESFJ, it is important you express your appreciation and gratitude for their selflessness and giving nature. ESFJs want to feel valued and acknowledged and get along best with those who are understanding of that.

ESFJs take their relationships seriously and tend to maintain lasting friendships. ESFJs are focused on developing long term commitments, both with friends and partners.

You can support ESFJs by showing them how much you love and appreciate them, reciprocating their kindness, and returning gestures of love.

Parenting

As parents, ESFJs are most interested in providing a safe home and loving environment for their families.

They instill high moral values and work ethics in their children and can become critical of children who do not behave as expected. They are able to establish rules and authority without being too overbearing or harsh.

They are extremely devoted to their children and enjoy feeling dependent on, often becoming overprotective as their children grow.


Take the MBTI (Paper Version)

Fact Checking
Simply Psychology content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication.

About the Author

Julia Simkus is an undergraduate student at Princeton University, majoring in Psychology. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology upon graduation from Princeton in 2023. Julia has co-authored two journal articles, one titled “Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions During the COVID-19 Pandemic and COVID-19-Related Restrictions," which was published in Frontiers in Psychiatry in April 2021 and the other titled “Food Addiction: Latest Insights on the Clinical Implications," to be published in Handbook of Substance Misuse and Addictions: From Biology to Public Health in early 2022.

How to reference this article:

Simkus, J. (2022, May 27). ESFJ: The Caregiver (Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging). Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/ESFJ-personality.html

Sources

King, S. P., & Mason, B. A. (2020). Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator. The Wiley Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences: Measurement and Assessment, 315-319.

Myers, I. B. (1962). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Manual (1962).

Myers, K. D., & Kirby, L. D. (2015). Introduction to type: A guide to understanding your results on the MBTI assessment . Sunnyvale, CA: CPP.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (2019, May 28). New World Encyclopedia, . Retrieved from https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator&oldid=1020015.

Myers, Isabel B.; Myers, Peter B. (1995) [1980]. Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type. Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89106-074-1.

Pittenger, D. J. (2005). Cautionary Comments Regarding the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 57(3), 210-221.

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. The Myers & Briggs Foundation: MBTI Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/

Home | About Us | Privacy Policy | Advertise | Contact Us

Simply Psychology's content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

© Simply Scholar Ltd - All rights reserved