When reading type descriptions, remember that "type portraits" can never accurately describe all people of a given type. Descriptions and portraits like these can only describe the types as they typically are.
ESFJs are lively, yet diplomatic and gracious individuals. They tend to take a very sincere interest in people, to find people fascinating and to seek to harmonize greatly with others as a way of getting to know them. People are their medium and they tend to learn much about the world and its affairs through the people that they know and through understanding what is important to them. ESFJs gain a sense of energy from experiencing the emotional states of others and being involved in their lives. The world around them feels like a living, breathing organism, a play unfolding all at once.
ESFJs often seek out harmony by aligning themselves so as to become emotionally in tune with others. They tend to place a premium on contributing to meaningful projects and meeting others’ expectations of them. In fact, many ESFJs tend to get a kick out of over-delivering on their promises and obligations when engaged in activities that they truly find worthwhile.
ESFJs tend to enjoy structure and organization as these things grant them a means of understanding the world and the people that fill it. They will often take the time to really try and understand the various communities and cultures that they are surrounded by in depth, and they will often feel uneasy giving an opinion or formulating thoughts that will affect the various groups before having come to a point where they really understand what the members of each group are thinking and what is really important to them.
ESFJs are often adept at learning and remembering facts surrounding people: What they do, who they are married to, who their family is, when their birthday is, what role they play in society, what they are good at, and what they wish to do. Their natural awareness of the social networks that exist between people very often lead the ESFJ to form a set of inner values and expectations concerning how we should all do more to cooperate and care for one another. Everyone should take care to behave in a way where they avoid hurting others, and each person should ideally have a part to play in the social whole so that society doesn’t leave anybody behind. It is the obligation of the individual to help the community just as much as it is the obligation of the community to make sure that the individual has a place in it. Everyone must help each other out.
While sometimes unfairly stereotyped as stick-in-the-muds, ESFJs also have an inquisitive and adventuresome side, where they enjoy acquainting themselves with unusual lifestyles, foreign cultures and unfamiliar belief systems. They use this knowledge to broaden their understanding of how humans function, and to cast new light on the predicaments and challenges facing their own culture. Becoming acquainted with atypical social mores can often fulfill the same function for ESFJs as purely analytical knowledge can fulfill for the ENTP and INTP types.
ESFJs are social creatures and social cues and gestures tend to mean a lot to them. They are often very good at picking up on the social and emotional cues of others as if, to them, the emotions we express to each other and the ways in which we do so is a language in and of itself. They tend to care deeply that everyone should feel at home in their presence, feel accepted, and that they are treated with dignity and an open-faced welcome. They seek to be part of a community through words and actions that show they are cognizant of the needs of others and seek to strengthen the bonds that exist between individuals.
At heart, ESFJs truly want to help people – to smooth over awkward situations and minimize social tensions within the group. They often take care to help others come to a place where they can voice the issues that they may be struggling with, and where they feel it’s okay to talk about them with others without being socially excluded or rejected because of it. ESFJs tend to believe that when people feel supported by others and are allowed to grow and prosper, then that well-being will benefit not just that specific individual but also, in turn, the group as a whole. For this reason, they often serve as natural liaisons or consolers to others, intuitively picking up on what others are trying to say, even if these others cannot find the right words to express their meaning. This often has them coming across as supportive rather than interrogative, and genuinely interested in helping the other person arrive at a conclusion that is genuinely their own, but which nevertheless helps them feel reassured through having achieved a sense of wholeness through their complementarity and connection with others.