ESFJs are known for being the most nurturing, responsible, and people-oriented personality type among the 16 Myers-Briggs personalities. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given their preferences are Extroverted (E), Sensing (S), Feeling (F), and Judging (J).
ESFJs make up around 12% of the population, so you probably have an ESFJ in your life (or you might be one yourself!). Aside from being extremely dependable, these individuals enjoy encouraging and inspiring others, and they have a distinct presence compared to other Extroverted or Feeling types. But what exactly sets them apart? How can you tell if someone’s an ESFJ or a completely different personality type altogether?
Even without asking someone to take a personality test, you can look out for tell-tale signs that they’re an ESFJ. In this article, we’ll weigh ESFJs against other MBTI personality types. Even MBTI types who only differ in one preference, such as ENFJs and ESFJs, can have very contrasting behaviors. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a deeper knowledge about what makes ESFJs so unique!
The ESFJ personality type is great at making first impressions. It’s common for ESFJs to have an active social life, and people are naturally drawn to them because they appear friendly, bubbly, and kind, even from afar. They’re easy to spot from across a room – but what gives them away? Here’s a short list of notable ESFJ characteristics:
- Extroverted and high-energy, with free time often spent socializing or joining group activities
- Considerate of others’ feelings and might say affirmations such as “I hear you” or “I can relate with that”
- Respects traditional institutions, hierarchy, and tried-and-tested systems
- More likely to choose familiar places and routines
- Likes taking on a leadership role and being in charge of planning
- Notices people’s physical needs, such as when they’re tired or thirsty
How Do ESFJs Compare to Other Personality Types?
You should be aware that each personality type is made up of a combination of different preferences. These preferences are:
- Extroversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
- Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
- Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
- Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)
Additionally, each personality type also has specific cognitive functions that they use the most, for example, Extroverted Feeling or Introverted Sensing. This means that no two extroverted personality types are the same, because their top cognitive functions differ from one another. By considering both cognitive functions and preferences, we can spot ESFJs more accurately. Read on to discover how to identify ESFJs as compared to the 15 other MBTI types:
ESFJs vs SJ Temperament Types
SJ temperament types (ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ, and ISFJ) are driven by their Sensing and Judging preferences. These personality types are very structured, and they like establishing and following rules. To them, careful planning and abiding by an organization’s norms are essential for society’s smooth existence. As a result, they’re responsible and dedicated, often fueled by a strong work ethic. All SJ types rely on Introverted Sensing to a certain extent, which makes them attached to the past and to established ways of doing things. Because ESFJs are part of the SJ temperament type, mistyping can happen frequently.
ESFJ vs ESTJ
The ESTJ personality type (also known as the Overseer) is practical, hard-working, and committed to traditional values. Their take-charge attitude makes them well-suited for leadership roles. With Extroverted Thinking as their dominant cognitive function, they’re typically very objective and logical when making decisions. They’re also compelled to organize people and processes for maximum efficiency, and they tend to be blunt when sharing their opinions. Although they take their responsibilities seriously, they also make time for connecting with others. Being part of a larger community is important for them, and they’re happy to bring people together, whether through spending time with their family or being active in local groups.
ESTJs and ESFJs can seem similar since both of these personality types value structure and social order. They have a pragmatic approach to life, and they thrive when in the company of others. Their main difference lies in whether they prioritize logic or emotions. ESTJs can disregard their own feelings in order to reach a rational conclusion. On the other hand, ESFJs wear their hearts on their sleeves, and they rely more on their gut feelings when making judgments. Unlike ESTJs, ESFJs would hesitate about choosing an otherwise sensible course of action if it meant hurting someone else’s feelings.
This difference can be observed in their communication styles. ESTJs rarely sugarcoat their words – they make straightforward statements focused on relaying information. Given their steadfast conviction, they can come off as strong-willed, changing their opinions only in the face of significant evidence. ESFJs, on the other hand, are more conscious about what other people think of them, so they might subtly adjust their attitude depending on who they’re with. They aim to be diplomatic and avoid conflict, so this can make it hard for them to be direct when needed.
ESFJ vs ISTJ
The ISTJ personality type (also known as the Examiner) is decisive and orderly, with a keen sense of right and wrong. Their no-nonsense attitude makes them very reliable since they constantly put work before play. ISTJs are upholders of rules, standards, and social conventions, and they seek to embody integrity in their actions. They keep their promises and stand up for their principles. With Introverted Sensing as their dominant function, ISTJs are very observant of their surroundings. This gives them an excellent grasp of details, and they trust lived experiences and facts above all else. ISTJs are in their element when they can accomplish tasks for the sake of a clear objective. They strive to be independent, relying on themselves rather than playing to others’ whims.
ESFJs are much more people-oriented. They’re willing to devote significant time and energy to achieving their goals, but they need emotional feedback in order to feel satisfied. ESFJs don’t focus on goals for their own sake. Their motivations typically involve helping other people, whether it’s contributing to a cause, providing for their family, or eliciting positive emotions in someone. If they don’t receive acknowledgment in the long term, ESFJs can become deflated and unenthusiastic.
ISTJs may also want recognition, but a job well done is validation enough for them, even without explicit attention from others. Unlike ESFJs, ISTJs aren’t as attuned to people. They respect societal conventions, but they would rather be doing things on their own when possible. ISTJs are more protective of their private time, and they aren’t as comfortable interacting with strangers as ESFJs are. Their emotions are well-hidden, to the point that they can have a hard time expressing them and being vulnerable. Still, ISTJs don’t hold back when asked for their honest opinion, and they put truth before tact.
ESFJ vs ISFJ
The ISFJ personality type (also known as the Defender) is compassionate, methodical, and quietly supportive, preferring to work behind the scenes. While ISFJs can be shy, requiring plenty of alone time to recharge, they cherish their personal relationships. They feel satisfied when they can be of service to others. Their dominant function is Introverted Sensing, which makes them prone to focusing on details and concrete information. Because of this, ISFJs usually look to their past experiences when deciding what to do. They hold traditions in high esteem, and routine is stabilizing for them. Given their perfectionistic streak, they’re also dedicated to their tasks, setting high standards for themselves.
There are many similarities between ESFJs and ISFJs. In fact, these two personality types often get along well because their values align. However, ESFJs are more outgoing and chatty. As extroverts, ESFJs have to be around other people regularly. Although they can focus well when they’re alone, too much solitude is draining for them. Both ESFJs and ISFJs care deeply about their relationships, but ISFJs tend to stick with a smaller circle of close friends. In contrast, ESFJs are likely to maintain a wider network of contacts, keeping in touch with acquaintances as well. They are more active at initiating social gatherings and may even enjoy hosting them.
ESFJs and ISFJs also behave differently when they enter a room or join a group of people. ISFJs are more reserved, sitting back at first and surveying their environment before taking action. Despite being deeply emotional, they rarely let it show to those that they aren’t close to. ESFJs can jump into a social situation quickly, and they’re more open about personal information. ISFJs also seek appreciation and loyalty for their efforts, while ESFJs want outright verbal affirmation and don’t usually shy away from the spotlight.
ESFJs vs SP Temperament Types
SP temperament types (ESTP, ESFP, ISTP, and ISFP) are driven by the Sensing and Perceiving preferences. These personality types are very spontaneous and are good at thinking on their feet. They often like to tinker with various gadgets and tools and make for great artists. ESFJs can occasionally seem like SP types because they’re vivacious and usually willing to participate in whatever friends or family are doing. However, having fun takes center stage for SP types, while fulfilling duties is more important for ESFJs.
ESFJ vs ESTP
The ESTP personality type (also known as the Persuader) is charming, talkative, and thrill-seeking. A fast-paced life suits them well because they’re constantly looking to push boundaries and jump right into the action. Regardless of what situation they’re in, ESTPs make quite an impression because of their raw energy and passion. Their dominant function is Extroverted Sensing, which means they get energized the most when interacting with people and living in the moment. Although they’re primarily logical thinkers, ESTPs have a knack for persuasion because they can interpret nonverbal communication very well. They are usually defiant when it comes to rules, and they’re at ease with thinking fast on their feet and coming up with practical solutions.
ESTPs and ESFJs are very perceptive when it comes to people, but ESFJs are more sensitive about others’ feelings. For example, ESTPs might notice that someone’s upset and say it out loud in front of everyone. Whereas ESFJs are more likely to assess the overall situation first, checking what would be socially appropriate to do. They would end up possibly asking the other person about it in private if that seems more considerate. While ESFJs are very comfortable with emotions, ESTPs pay less attention to them. They would rather talk about more factual topics or inject light-heartedness into the conversation.
Another major difference is their attitude towards risk. ESTPs deliberately go beyond their comfort zone and seek out the unknown. Structure and hierarchy are very unappealing to them, and they can be contrarian on purpose. In a sense, ESTPs need frequent sources of excitement in their lives. ESFJs may have a hard time understanding this because they build their lives around security and stability, minimizing risk. They do their best to adhere to rules and fulfill the roles that they’re assigned to.
ESFJ vs ESFP
The ESFP personality type (also known as the Entertainer) sees life as an adventure. They’re fun-loving, curious, and original, and there’s nothing they enjoy more than having a good time with their friends. As social butterflies, ESFPs enjoy being the center of attention. Since Extroverted Sensing is their dominant function, they like taking action and experiencing life viscerally through their five senses rather than being stuck in their heads. They’re also creative and willing to break the mold, with a strong aversion for routine. At the same time, ESFPs can be very emotional people. They ultimately follow their hearts, and they can make empathetic and caring friends.
ESFJs and ESFPs may easily get mistaken for each other at a first glance. Both personality types can be the life of the party, and they may have their calendars booked nearly full with different activities. They also tend to be well-liked, making friends quickly. Still, one of ESFPs’ weaknesses is long-term planning, something ESFJs excel at. ESFPs live in the moment, and they’re more prone to making impulsive choices, only seriously considering the consequences of their actions later on. In addition to being easily distracted, they may occasionally delay their responsibilities or avoid making commitments.
ESFJs are the opposite. They make meticulous plans, and improvising can actually be stressful for them. Unlike ESFPs whose motto would probably be about living life to the fullest, ESFJs are more willing to set aside their own preferences to meet their obligations. Commitment is rarely an issue for them, as long as they’re given the time to think things through. They’re more likely to advocate for sticking with what’s already working, as opposed to ESFPs, who are rarely attached to tradition.
ESFJ vs ISTP
The ISTP personality type (also known as the Craftsman) is curious, analytical, and spontaneous, with a penchant for working with their hands. It’s common for ISTPs to have an aptitude for mechanics. These people enjoy deconstructing things to see how they work and then putting them back together. Guided by Introverted Thinking, they’re skilled problem-solvers with an analytical approach to life. Because they tend to go with the flow, they usually have a laid-back, quiet demeanor. At the same time, they’re fast to act, adapting well even to high-risk situations. Ultimately, ISTPs have an individualistic streak, and they need the space and freedom to do their own thing.
ESFJs and ISTPs don’t have a lot of similarities, but they do have a shared preference for sensing. Both of these personality types are interested in the practical application of ideas, and they find hands-on activities more engaging. Beyond this, their differences can cause them to clash. ISTPs are extremely proficient in detached, logical thinking. Their forte is typically in tinkering with products and devising creative solutions. On the other hand, dealing with their emotions – or anyone else’s – can be a struggle for them, and they’re not as compelled to connect with people. This can make them seem more distant and stoic.
It’s the opposite with ESFJs though. They navigate social situations with ease, and constant interaction with people is essential for them. ISTPs would rather offer practical advice to friends, whereas ESFJs don’t mind listening compassionately and giving emotional comfort. Compared to the reserved ISTPs, ESFJs are more transparent with their emotions. The catch, though, is that objective problem-solving can be challenging for them. ISTPs also dislike schedules, rules, and obligations, while ESFJs try to uphold and enforce these.
ESFJ vs ISFP
The ISFP personality type (also known as the Artist) is gentle, open-minded, and passionate. They draw inspiration from new experiences, and they’re sensitive to the physical details and nuances of their surroundings. In fact, ISFPs are so-called practical dreamers. They’re in touch with their imagination, but they’re also firmly grounded in the here and now. Their curiosity and strong sense of aesthetics are typically expressed through tangible creative projects. With Introverted Feeling as their dominant function, they’re guided by their inner values and a desire to be authentic. Quiet and low-key on the outside, ISFPs have a “live and let live” philosophy that makes them relaxing to be around.
ESFJs can relate to ISFPs in that they can both be very empathetic. ISFPs can naturally put themselves in other people’s shoes, while ESFJs are hyper-aware of how people around them may be feeling. Both of them can also be sympathetic to a fault, giving their loved ones the benefit of the doubt. This is because ESFJs and ISFPs are both led by their Feeling functions. However, ESFJs’ dominant cognitive function is Extroverted Feeling, while ISFPs have Introverted Feeling.
This leads to several differences. As Extroverted Feelers, ESFJs are extremely attentive to the feelings of those around them, and they aim to maintain social harmony. Given that they want everyone to get along, they may overlook their own emotions to favor those of the group. This makes them more likely to be self-sacrificing as well as protective of societal expectations. On the other hand, ISFPs’ Introverted Feeling orients them differently. They believe in being true to themselves regardless of what other people think. ISFPs are more aware of their own emotions, and they resist conforming or being boxed in. Since living spontaneously suits them better, they can also be wary of long-term commitments, something ESFJs don’t have a problem with.
ESFJs vs NT Temperament Types
NT temperament types (ENTJ, ENTP, INTJ, and INTP) are driven by their Intuition and Perceiving preferences. These personality types are very intelligent, determined, and independent. They are driven by their desire to master as much knowledge as possible and are considered high-achievers. They value reason and logic, and they have a low tolerance for people who can’t keep up with their intellectual wit. Out of all the four temperaments, ESFJs are the least like the NT types. Emotions always color and influence the world of ESFJs, while NT types filter everything through the lens of rationality.
ESFJ vs ENTJ
The ENTJ personality type (also known as the Chief) is a natural-born leader who’s decisive, rational, and charismatic. Motivated by accomplishment, ENTJs can take a larger-than-life vision and break it down into its necessary steps. They will then waste no time in executing their plans, using their strategic thinking and sharp rationality to find the most efficient path possible. Friendly and energetic, they have an inspiring presence, and they’re excellent at marshaling and directing people. Since their dominant function is Extroverted Thinking, they instinctively organize resources and delegate when they implement their plans. Challenges invigorate them, and they set a high bar for themselves as well as others.
ESFJs can be similar to ENTJs in their tendency to take on leadership roles. Like ENTJs, ESFJs are compelled to bring their environment into order – which includes people. They can delegate and oversee the day-to-day management of projects. They also have the drive and focus to pursue difficult goals for a long time, and competence matters a great deal to them. With ESFJs, though, their leadership style is more subtle. While ENTJs display dominance in a variety of situations, even when socializing freely, ESFJs are more flexible. They have a softer presentation compared to ENTJs, who can appear brusque.
ENTJs have little patience for people who slow them down, and they may see emotional displays as a weakness. In comparison, ESFJs try to be sensitive to others’ feelings, factoring in everyone’s needs when making decisions. ENTJs also find their strength in logical analysis and problem-solving, whereas ESFJs shine in terms of emotional intelligence and understanding other people. Each type’s strength is the other’s weakness. Finally, the way they process information varies. ENTJs are drawn to innovation and abstract concepts, due to their focus on the big picture. ESFJs tend to deal better with immediate, concrete tasks and proven methods.
ESFJ vs ENTP
The ENTP personality type (also known as the Originator) is quick-witted, unconventional, and enthusiastic. ENTPs are guided by the Extroverted Intuition cognitive function, which forges connections between seemingly unrelated concepts and fields. On a never-ending quest to understand the world, they love playing with ideas, questioning assumptions, and coming up with unusual perspectives. Charming and confident, ENTPs can be very entertaining conversationalists. They take pleasure in striking up debates and playing devil’s advocate. However, they don’t always take the stances they argue for seriously, instead, they engage in debates for fun. Beyond debating, they’re non-judgmental and happy to let people make their own decisions, even though ENTPs will still be brutally honest. New ways of thinking appeal to them.
ESFJs interact with the world in an opposite way to ENTPs. For one, they’re not huge fans of excessive debating, even if it’s not personal and only on the level of ideas. In conversation, ESFJs lean towards talking about their own or other people’s experiences as well as situations that are actually happening in reality. They aren’t as interested in quirky ideas, imaginary scenarios, or more abstract topics like philosophy – all of which can be engrossing for ENTPs. ESFJs can actually avoid debating outright because they’re wary that it might lead to conflict.
Unlike ENTPs who can change their opinions frequently, ESFJs are more firm in their beliefs, and they don’t appreciate them being questioned. They dislike reinventing the wheel unless it’s absolutely necessary. If there’s an existing system or belief that’s already effective, they don’t feel the urge to change it. Differences between the two types are also evident in how they work. ENTPs thrive when they’re brainstorming or generating new visions and possibilities, but they can get bored quickly when trying to implement these. In contrast, ESFJs struggle with keeping a larger vision in mind, but they’re patient with routines and details.
ESFJ vs INTJ
The INTJ personality type (also known as the Strategist) is private, analytical, and perfectionistic, with a talent for predicting logical outcomes. They are drawn to intellectually challenging environments where they can solve problems and improve existing systems on their own. Self-assured and independent, INTJs are single-minded when they have a specific purpose in mind. Guided by Introverted Intuition, they are gifted with a rational yet creative mind that can easily interpret meaning from patterns. They pragmatically assess everything through the lens of data or effectiveness and aren’t easily swayed by authority, emotions, or convention. INTJs are confident in their abilities, and they thrive on discipline and knowledge.
It’s rare to mistype ESFJs and INTJs because they don’t have much in common. INTJs constantly process information using logic and reason. Their thought process is often complex – it can take them longer to reach conclusions, but they meticulously read between the lines and try to discover deeper meaning. This works stunningly well if they’re handling facts or strategizing about how to achieve a goal. However, INTJs can falter when they’re dealing with human relationships or emotions, which are messier and less predictable.
Compared to INTJs, ESFJs are much more attuned to their five senses, and relationships are primary for them. They do their fair share of planning too, but they don’t spend as much time trying to deconstruct situations in their heads or attempting to foresee outcomes and possibilities. In fact, the ruthless, objective analysis that INTJs engage in can feel draining for ESFJs. Instead of basing their choices and opinions solely on data, ESFJs are more emotion-driven. INTJs may also disregard many social rituals, but ESFJs hold these sacred. Making small talk, extending friendliness towards nearly anyone, and attending important events such as reunions are all important for ESFJs. While INTJs might fill up their free time with solitary, mentally oriented hobbies or projects, ESFJs are more likely to join shared activities and focus on cultivating relationships.
ESFJ vs INTP
The INTP personality type (also known as the Engineer) is easygoing, contemplative, and very logically inclined. They revel in dissecting complex problems and figuring out how things work, with ideas continuously running through their minds. INTPs are guided by Introverted Thinking, which compels them to form a flexible mental framework of the world. They then adjust this for logical consistency whenever they receive new information. Their imaginative bent enables them to see connections between concepts that most other people would miss. Withdrawn yet laid back, INTPs devote most of their energy to delving on ideas. They light up when they talk about their interests, and they prefer unstructured environments where they have a lot of autonomy.
Since INTPs and ESFJs don’t share any preferences at all, these two personality types can have a hard time understanding each other. Mistyping one for the other is rare. Even from a distance, they already behave quite differently. INTPs are frequently likened to absent-minded people who can lose track of practical matters when they get excited about an idea. ESFJs are hardly ever absent-minded. They’re usually attentive towards their surroundings, and they often stay on top of day-to-day concerns, from filing paperwork to keeping their living spaces tidy.
When around other people, ESFJs are warm, expressive, and outgoing. They gravitate towards more down-to-earth topics, and they’re at ease with listening to others’ personal concerns and sharing about their own lives. Unless they’re upset, ESFJs are unlikely to say anything inappropriate or insensitive, especially in public. In contrast, INTPs are much more shy and selective with their attention. Unlike ESFJs who have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, INTPs tend to stick with a few close friends who are like-minded. INTPs also act blunt and detached most of the time, but they can get very excited when engaged in debates or explaining their passions. They may feel uncomfortable when conversations become too emotional.
ESFJs and NF Temperament Types
NF temperament types (ENFP, ENFJ, INFP, and INFJ) are driven by their Intuition and Feeling preferences. These personality types are empathetic and generous, and they dwell more deeply on their emotions. One of their biggest aspirations is to know themselves better and be accepted for who they are. They are good at sensing and identifying the feelings of those around them and are very caring individuals. Something that often guides NF’s is their natural idealism and unique perception of the world. ESFJs can blend well with NFs on the surface, but their attention is held more by practical, down-to-earth matters rather than abstract ideas and concepts.
ESFJ vs ENFJ
The ENFJ personality type (also known as the Mentor) is passionate, driven, and deeply caring. They feel it’s their calling to make altruistic contributions to the world, and they see the potential in people. Because of their inspiring vision and idealism, they may end up as leaders who can bring others together for a common cause. They are guided by Extraverted Feeling, which means that other people’s feelings and needs resonate strongly with them. Sensitive and affectionate, ENFJs take a holistic view when making decisions, and they deftly adjust their communication based on their audience. Aside from being willing to stand up for their beliefs, they’re also action-oriented people who will work hard to generate positive changes.
ESFJs have a similar energy to ENFJs. They’re charismatic and typically likable, and they’re drawn to supporting and nurturing others. Both personality types are also dependable, constantly looking out for their loved ones, to the point of sacrificing their own needs. Still, they do have a differing preference: ESFJs are Sensing types, while ENFJs are Intuitive types. This shows in the way that they take care of people. ESFJs are more attentive to people’s practical needs, and they’re very thoughtful with physical details that ENFJs might miss. On the other hand, ENFJs are more preoccupied with people’s personal development or their potential needs.
ESFJs are also more attached to the past. They typically have a very good memory, and they’re more inclined to act based on tradition as well as their previous experiences. While they do make long-term plans, they approach this from a pragmatic perspective: given a specific objective, what concrete steps can they take?
In contrast, ENFJs are future-oriented. They’re more enthralled by possibilities than by what has happened before. When ENFJs plan, it’s the overall vision or concept that captures their attention.
ESFJ vs ENFP
The ENFP type (also known as the Optimist) is free-spirited, energetic, and open-minded, with an enthusiasm for life that’s contagious. ENFPs want to experience the full spectrum of life, and they look for inspiration, novelty, and meaning. With Extraverted Intuition as their dominant cognitive function, they tend to discover patterns and links between ideas, people, and events. For ENFPs, everything is interconnected. Emotional yet accepting, ENFPs appreciate the complexity of their fellow human beings, and they enjoy having a good time with people as well as getting to know them in-depth. They are advocates of individuality and self-expression, believing that everyone must follow their own path in life.
ESFJs can occasionally be mistyped as ENFPs based on initial impressions. Both ESFJs and ENFPs are friendly and approachable, and it’s not uncommon to see them chatting animatedly with others or mingling comfortably at parties. On a deeper level, though, their worldviews are quite different. ENFPs are more carefree and experimental, while ESFJs have more stable and traditional values. Although ENFPs are prone to get distracted and changing their mind halfway through a project, ESFJs commit to their decisions, and they consistently put their responsibilities first.
Unlike ENFPs, who have a longing for new experiences, ESFJs may set up daily routines for themselves because these feel soothing for them. In fact, ESFJs can be wary of the unknown, and they may have a hard time pushing themselves out of their comfort zones. The passion, drama, and excitement that ENFPs occasionally seek out can be unpleasant for ESFJs. They can also have contrasting styles when they communicate. ENFPs may jump around from topic to topic because of their free-wheeling ideas, and their sense of humor can be more random or silly. ESFJs have a more literal, linear way of talking, so they go straight to the point rather than getting sidetracked by tangents.
ESFJ vs INFJ
The INFJ personality type (also known as the Confidant) is principled, insightful, and sensitive. They possess a profound sense of idealism that makes them disturbed by injustice. Because they’re compelled to find a personal mission that goes beyond day-to-day living, they often put their energy behind helping others rather than working for their own gain. Guided by Introverted Intuition as their dominant function, INFJs have a complex, nuanced perspective. They can have surprisingly accurate insights that come out of nowhere, especially when it comes to other people’s motivations and feelings. Emotional intimacy is a need for them, but they also need plenty of alone time to recharge.
ESFJs can relate to INFJs’ deep-seated concern for others and conviction in their values. Both types also emphasize interpersonal harmony, and they need to have goals that they’re working towards. However, INFJs are much more theoretical and inward-oriented than ESFJs. INFJs are preoccupied with a variety of abstract subjects, ranging from time travel to broad ethical dilemmas. ESFJs may see this as pointless introspection or overanalyzing. INFJs can also get carried away with their sense of a larger purpose, overlooking the logistics for how they can get there. ESFJs are much more attentive to logistics, and they derive their sense of meaning from fulfilling their immediate obligations or making other people feel happy.
INFJs can act like an extrovert when they need to, but they’re ultimately introverts who appreciate having the space to reflect on their own. ESFJs have much more energy to socialize, and they’re more well-suited to spending most of the day interacting with others. INFJs may also have opinions and ideas that are seen as unusual by others. Many INFJs feel different and sometimes misunderstood. ESFJs’ beliefs are more aligned with the status quo, and they have a strong urge to belong, with interests that usually mirror those of their peer groups.
ESFJ vs INFP
The INFP personality type (also known as the Dreamer) is reserved, imaginative, and intensely emotional. INFPs are among the most idealistic of personality types, and they’re much more enchanted with what could be rather than what is. Guided by Introverted Feeling as their dominant cognitive function, INFPs are very aware of their own emotions and personal values. They’re on a lifelong search for meaning and authenticity, crafting their unique life philosophy rather than conforming to expectations. Despite seeming private and distant from afar, they feel everything deeply. They tend to reveal their colorful inner life only to people that they’re close to or through creating works of art.
ESFJs and INFPs both have Feeling as their dominant cognitive function, but this manifests differently for them. INFPs’ Introverted Feeling leads them to prioritize their personal emotions above those of others. Although they’re kind-hearted and considerate, INFPs value their individual wishes more than what the collective group wants. They can disregard what’s socially appropriate or what they’re obligated to do in favor of acting authentically. On the other hand, ESFJs’ Extroverted Feeling is geared towards other people. ESFJs have a visceral sense of how others feel, but their own emotions can be less clear to them. They are more inclined to think about what would be good for everyone in general. They may feel responsible for others’ well-being and even put aside their own needs.
Since Introverted Feeling is turned inwards, INFPs are more secretive about their emotions, so they may seem impassive and even stoic on the surface. ESFJs are more open and expressive, and they’re more at ease with being the center of attention than shy INFPs. Another point of difference is their attitude towards structure. ESFJs are creatures of habit who often have superb time management and organizational skills. In comparison, INFPs are more prone to procrastination and working in spontaneous bursts of energy.
As you can see, ESFJs have unique personality traits compared to other MBTI types. Still, because of their approachable and accommodating nature, they can find common ground with nearly anyone. Although ESFJs tend to gravitate towards personality types that are similar to them, other types can balance them out and help them expand their perspective.