ESFj type description by function
(This post was originally under the alpha quadra heading ESFj uncovered)
I should preface this description with some of my background with ESFjs, and my experience with socionics.
I came across jungian type theory about 7 years ago in college. My initial introduction came through Myers-Briggs theory and Keirsey, which upon discovering socionics was quickly replaced. Since then I've tried to read about every article and book concerning thype theory that I could find, poor english online translations of russian articles included. This along with my own intellectual pursuits in understanding the various models and theories in existence has given me a fairly solid understanding of the socionics model, and how it applies to our everday personalities. As I am not the most fluid writer (I tend to be a little long winded), I'm going to break down the various functions and how they are often introduced to the outside. I lived with a female ESFj for a year in college who I was not romantically involved with (aside from a couple of weak moments). I also have worked with a couple and have seen them in action in an environment for which they are probably not best suited. Hopefully this article will be mostly accurate as well as thought provoking concerning the socionics ESFj type. (I should also mention that my own type is INTj).
Fe (Extraverted Feeling - Conscious) -
This is the ESFj's (ESE) dominant psychological function, and is very hard to miss, even by the most casual of observers. Their youthful enthusiasm for even the most mundane and trivial can give the appearance to others of superficiality and naivete. However, it should be said that their enthusiasm does not stop at the superficial, but rather extends to almost anything that attracts them. With this in mind, it could be said that ESFjs fall in love more easily, and more often, than any other type as they often confuse their enthusiasm for a new person as love. This in conjunction with their active social life can often give rise to an extensive assortment of lovers, particularly in males. Their success stems from the ESFj's apparent trustworthiness and ability to demonstrate strong, genuinely positive feelings towards relative strangers. These qualities make them excellent salespeople, public relations managers, and others dealing with people on a regular basis.
Their strong emotions can also run the ESFj into trouble, as they have difficulty in being objective about those they love. They easily overlook the faults of others, giving their feelings towards others the final say in their actions concerning them. They live to love, and are therefore prone to keeping bad relationships much longer than would be otherwise healthy. The ESFj is willing to work hard at any relationship, no matter how much emotional pain they must endure. (I should add that I observed very closely the friendship between an ESFj and an INTp (conflicting types), and it was amazing at how long this friendship endured, despite the extreme degree of hostility that defined much of their relationship. I have also observed this between an ESFj and an ENTj (super-ego), although not as hostile, nevertheless an objectively poor relationship kept alive by the efforts of the ESFj).
Si (Introverted Sensing - Conscious) -
This is the ESFj's creative function, and is observed more intermittently due to the second function's spontaneous nature. It takes many forms, but it is particularly noticeable in their physical interactions with others. They are very sensuous and earthly in their physical interactions, which also adds to their ability to seduce others quickly. They have excellent aesthetic taste, but their tastes are not usually mainstream, and they know well what works for them as individuals. One can observe two extremes in ESFjs when it comes to their second function in regards to their sexuality. They are either very promiscuous, liking to share their creative sensual gifts with many (for their own pleasure as well, it should be added), or almost frigid, stemming from a lack of experience in this realm, and therefore creating a fear of incompetent performance. This can become a very painful issue in their lives, as sex is extremely important, and they strive to be competent in this area because they recognize it as a potential strength unrealized. However, there is also the pain that more developed ESFjs experience when trying to balance the spiritual world and the guilt that comes with religion in this area of life, causing the ESFj to view themselves with contempt for their own perceived lack of sexual-control. It is not until they find someone they can be monogomous with that this pain starts to subside. It should be added that this conflict is not gender specific, although many societies tend to make it more unacceptable for a female to act like this, making the struggle between Si-Ni generally more painful (and noticeable) in women. In extreme cases, the ESFj can become so sexually dissatisfied that they will attempt relationships with anyone, regardless of the relationship dynamic, in order to satisfy this urge, causing more conservative types, like their dual (INTj), to view them with contempt.
Te (Extraverted Thinking - Conscious) -
The ESFj's third function is particularly noticeable in a business environment, where they are forced to use this more often than their first. As "Te" is associated with raw knowledge and the accumulation of facts and figures, ESFjs therefore love to excercise what knowledge they have. However, as the third function is a weak function, and is underdeveloped at the expense of the first, ESFjs have a limited capacity for knowledge in comparison to types with "Te" as a dominant function (intelligence level being equal), making them insecure about their intelligence. Exceptionally intelligent ESFjs can suprise you with their knowledge of many different subjects, and will not hesitate to demonstrate this. However, even the smartest of ESFjs has difficulty in applying this knowledge, which can cause them problems in a situation in which this is consistently required. Unless an ESFj has learned how to apply a certain type of knowledge before, they have great difficulty in figuring out how to apply it on their own. More developed ESFjs can have a great business sense developed from experience, and they are able to remember procedures very well. However, they will never be able to put their feelings aside completely in a business situation, making them prone to poor judgement where objectivity is required. Their ego concerning this function is also easily bruised, causing them to be obstinant and unreasonable when their ideas are not utilized or followed.
Ni (Introverted Intuition - Conscious) -
The ESFj's fourth and weakest conscious function is their ability to find spiritual harmony within themselves. It also contributes to a horrid sense of time, making them late for everything on a regular basis. They especially struggle with religious principles, which is something they are constantly adopting and abandoning throughout their lives. Reconciling the needs of the physical with need for internal spiritual balance and principles, causes much pain as mentioned earlier, and ESFjs will either be extremely religious, or extremely aetheistic. Their ability to delve into the realm of the abstract is very limited, which causes them to search externally for a way to satisfy this function's needs. They will adpot many different principles at once, and are able to maintain an extremely principled lifestyle for a time. However, eventually they grow weary and in cases where an ESFj lived an extremely rigid and non-physical lifestyle, they will revert to an overly hedonistic one in order to balance themselves psychologically. Listening to an ESFj speak about their spirituality and principles can be somewhat frightening due to the hypocritical and primitive nature of their "Ni".
Ti (Introverted Thinking - Unconscious) -
For an ESFj, theoretical logic is extremely fascinating. They love listening to reason and logic, and they will seek out people and situations in which they can experience others who provide this well. Their own abilities here are very limited, and they have a difficult, if not impossible time understanding things on their own, although they are quite capable of reaching an understanding given the right teacher and enough time. They are insecure about their own understanding of complex issues, and are appreciative of those that are willing to take the time to simplify them. They are very attracted to types with this as a strength, although it can run them into trouble, as they fall easily for ISTjs and ESTps, who are not a good match for them. They willingly adopt the ideas and theories of others, which can make them susceptible to bad ideas and bogus theories. However, they somehow know if something is logical or not, and are able to extricate themselves from people who promote ideas that are not good for them.
Ne (Extraverted Intution - Unconscious) -
The ESFj's weakest unconscious function is where they are most vulnerable, and one can easily see this when they are in a situation of negative potential. They always try to look on the brightside, and will always hope for the best, regardless of what others may tell them. This makes them poor at predicting the outcome of events, which can run them into bad situations, especially romantically. Their desire to be perfect stems from this function, and one only need ask an ESFj to know that this is most definitely their hidden agenda. In the case of young ESFjs, their lack of experience here will cause behavior that will appear to be self-destructive and detrimental to their desires for a "perfect" life. Obsessing over others, fantisizing about relationships that can never be, and especially ignoring reality, all stem from this function, and in the worst cases, can have long term negative effects on their ability to be happy. This happens particularly in the cases of ESFjs who find themselves in semi-dual relationships with ISTjs, who suppress this function by nature, and therefore supress the ESFj's normally optimisitc attitude causing deep-seeded depression. Only with a type that stimulates this function positively, helping them recognize their own potential and the potential happiness associated with life will the ESFj feel energized and ready to live life.
Fi (Introverted Feeling - Unconscious)
Introverted feeling for an ESFj can be observed in their numerous friendships, and the ease with which they can develop them should they choose. They are able to maintain even the most difficult of friendships, although at times their relationships may seem superficial because they are unable to verbalize the dynamic, and therefore unable to explain why they have a relationship with someone. In more unstable types, this function can help contribute to their willingness to engage in unhealthy relationships by creating a rigid emotional disposition towards the other person in the relationship, which is often difficult for them to break.
Se (Extraverted Sensing - Unconscious)
This function is noticeable in the ESFj's ability to be aggressive and extremely unyielding when they feel that they, or someone they love has been wronged. They are not outwardly aggressive, but they are able to be persistent when the situation calls for it, often suprising people who may not know them well. As it is an unconscious, and uncontrollable function, it simply assists in their day to day affairs when necessary, and contributes to their success, particularly in sales. As this function is not something they particularly need to pay much attention to, they rarely if ever find the need to seek out thrills and dynamic sensory experiences, making them appear to others who do enjoy this, a little soft. Male ESFjs will often compensate for this by playing a lot of contact sports where they can be somewhat successful, but rarely enjoy the game for the reasons they might state. For them it is a matter of showing that their emotional softness does not translate into physical softness. At times however, they can overdo this, trying to appear stronger and more aggressive than they really are, which can cause annoyance on the part of others leading to the occasional altercation.
I hope this article was enjoyable. Please let me know what you think as I am constantly refining my understanding. Keep in mind that this comes mostly from my own observations as well as literature on ESFjs that I have read. I tried not to repeat what I have read elsewhere, but that is somewhat inevitable as I have read quite a bit and forget what is mine and what is someone elses at times. So I apologize to those I may have inadvertently plagiarized.