ESFJ Relationships: Saluting the Supporter

esfj relationshipsWhile appearance can have a vast impact on the choice of a mate, the most important item that should be sought out is a personality style that coincides with or, at the very least, complements your own. Whether you adhere to the concept of “opposites attract” or “birds of a feather flock together”, a potential partner’s characteristics should be taken into account before pursuing a relationship. The Myers-Briggs Type indicator assesses a variety of personality traits to determine which type an individual fits most appropriately into. In the sections to follow, we will discuss one particular personality type, the ESFJ.

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ESFJ Personality

ESFJs, who view altruism as one of the most essential values, can often be found offering a helping hand to those around them, whether it be a friend, stranger, relative, or acquaintance. Whatever their current cause célèbre may be, ESFJ types are sure to stay devoted to assisting the best they can. If you encounter an ESFJ at a social gathering, prepare to engage in just a short conversation, since these types are likely to have a word with everyone in the place before the night is through. Because of the outgoing nature of ESFJs, they are often described as “social butterflies”. However, when it comes to negative emotionally charged situations, ESFJs are likely to be the first out the door since they struggle when it comes to dealing with conflict.

ESFJs tend to be quite traditional in nature, which works to their advantage when it comes to respecting members of authority, as well as the law; unfortunately sustaining a conventional state of mind has its drawbacks when it comes to acknowledging and accepting the way of life of different cultures as just as valuable as the ESFJ’s own. In addition to this, ESFJs may often unintentionally reinforce stereotypical gender roles by dressing and acting in ways that have been customarily appropriate for either men or women. For example, a female ESFJ may dress in traditionally female ways and choose a career path that involves childcare or a position that is subordinate to a man.

Individuals who fall into this personality type tend to be very conscious of their physical appearance and social standing, often working hard to attain a position of authority that places others under their care. However, since ESFJ types are typically warm, sensitive, and perceptive, they make wonderful supervisors.

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Advantages of Dating an ESFJ Type

There are many benefits that come with engaging in a relationship with an ESFJ personality type mainly due to attributes such as:

  • Tendency to Look for Win-Win Situations. Since this personality type appreciates harmony and peace within their relationships, compromises are quite prevalent and sought out in the lives of ESFJs.
  • Loyalty. ESFJ types take commitments and relationships very seriously, working to ensure that they contain a great deal of stability and comfort. Because of this, individuals within this type often make very trustworthy employees and partners.
  • Sensitivity and Warmth. The ESFJ is constantly aware of the impact his or her words and actions can have on peers or acquaintances, often acting and speaking in ways that promote positivity in others and decrease any negative thoughts that may be present in the other’s mind.
  • Ability to Connect with Others. As mentioned in the personality section, ESFJs are “social butterflies”, which allows them to easily establish a rapport and connection with those around them. In addition to connecting with others on a micro level, ESFJs often pledge their loyalty to organizations in an attempt to identify with people on a more macro level.
  • Solemnity About Commitments. ESFJs take their obligations extremely seriously, continuously functioning to ensure that they are met to the fullest extent. This often causes individuals who identify with this type to be hard workers and place the needs of the group above their own.
  • Practicality. The ESFJ prefers to deal with matters that take place in the real world rather than some theoretical universe. Because of this, they are typically very focused on the needs of those around them and do not mind committing to more routine duties or responsibilities that involve blue-collar work.

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Disadvantages of Dating an ESFJ Type

Despite all of the positive traits listed above, there are several characteristics that may become a deal-breaker within a relationship, such as:

  • Obsession with Social Standing. Moving up on the social ladder is a top priority for the ESFJ, which may cause strain on the relationship when the ESFJ’s efforts begin to appear futile.
  • Inflexible. Since the ESFJ is often characterized by a strong adherence to tradition, they may be inflexible when it comes to ideas and solutions that veer away from the norm.
  • Unwilling to Improvise. The ESFJ lives inside his or her comfort zone and dreads the instances when they are forced to remove themselves from it.
  • Vulnerable to Criticism. Because the ESFJ places so much emphasis on their social standing, these types often do not take well to criticism and may even react in an outburst of negative emotion and denial in response.
  • Selflessness. While selflessness may be viewed as a positive trait, an ESFJ being too altruistic may pose difficulties within the relationship due to the ESFJ’s tendency to put the needs of the relationship above his or her own.
  • Neediness. Though this trait is not present in all ESFJ types, it does appear quite often. ESFJs may appear needy when they fish for compliments or attempt to persuade others to appreciate their efforts.

If you’re currently in a relationship with a type that does not match your own and are experiencing the discomfort of compromising between contrasting qualities, take a look at this course on living with differing personality styles. Also, if you’d like to learn more about the ideal match for the ESFJ, check out this article on ISFP relationships.