When looking at ENFJ personalities and how they compare to ESFJs, how the two types are often confused with each other becomes apparent. The ENFJ and ESFJ share numerous traits. However, the two significantly differ in how they process information, and this large variance trickles down to a collection of smaller diversities.
Key Similarities and Differences between ENFJ and ESFJ
Both ENFJ and ESFJ are Extroverted, Feeling, and Judging. This means they generally have a similar perspective and approach in many situations. They differ in that ENFJs’ Intuition often causes them to be more adventurous and less comfortable with systems than ESFJs, who tend to prefer traditional structures.
Dominant Cognitive Functions
Each of the 16 Myers-Brigg personality types has four dominant cognitive functions. ENFJ and ESFJ personalities share Extroverted Feeling as their primary function and Introverted Thinking as their inferior function. This accounts for some of the similarities between the two types.
The personalities differ in Sensing and Intuition. An ENFJ has Introverted Intuition and Extroverted Sensing. The ESFJ has the opposite traits: their intuition is extroverted, while their sensing is introverted.
A Breakdown of MBTI Cognitive Functions for ENFJ and ESFJ
- Extroverted Feeling– For the ENFJ and ESFJ, using Extroverted Feeling means that both personality types lead with emotions, opinions, and feelings. Both of these personality types approach situations from an emotional point of view. This means that neither approaches issues from a primarily logical position.
- Introverted Intuition– ENFJ personality types use introverted intuition. This trait allows the ENFJ to develop innovative solutions to problems and creative ideas. They can instantly pick up patterns and make connections between events and situations. Because of introverted intuition, ENFJs comprehend unique and abstract concepts effortlessly.
- Extroverted Intuition– ESFJs operate with extroverted intuition. The trait equips this personality with exceptional communication skills. Extroverted intuition works exceptionally well with the ESFJ’s ability to turn to the past for present solutions.
- Extroverted Sensing– ENFJ personality types have extroverted sensing at their disposal. Because of this, their five senses are keenly aware of the world around them. Heightened senses allow the ENFJ to enjoy and absorb the best of the world around them. They relish new and exciting experiences.
- Introverted Sensing– ESFJ personalities rely on introverted sensing, which helps them to make sense of patterns based on the past. Using these patterns, the ESFJ will find established and tested ideas to help them solve problems.
- Introverted Thinking– The function of Introverted Thinking allows both personality types to try out their theories for various problems. The ENFJ and the ESFJ types will perfect this typical trait as they age and mature.
Strengths of Each
The ENFJ and ESFJ personalities have unique strengths, as do all other MBTI personality types.
The ENFJ personality abounds with strengths. They have a genuine warmth and a desire to organize and guide others. Additionally, the ENFJ personality type strengths include:
- Exceptional multi-tasking skills
- The innate desire to do good and assist others
- Highly energetic and enthusiastic
- Loyal to a fault
- Ability to visualize and conceptualize
- Attuned to the needs of others
- Able to thrive in the unknown
- Strive for harmony and equity
- Appreciative of social interaction and groups
- Highly creative and imaginative
Those with ESFJ personalities excel in many areas. They are naturally empathetic and can tune into the emotions and needs of others quickly. Along with the ability to feel for others comes a strong desire to support and help others. Other ESFJ strengths include:
- Love to make connections with people
- Loyal and committed to their relationships
- Tenacious and hardworking
- Thrive in a structured environment
- Can accurately recall past events and find patterns that are applicable in the present
- Stable and reliable individuals
- Hardworking and driven
- Detail-oriented and meticulous
- Strong regard for traditions
- Bring clarity and order to situations
- Excellent communicators
Weaknesses of Each
All personality types have weaknesses that can cause them to struggle in certain situations.
Because of their natural multi-tasking skills and the high energy levels that make long work hours possible, ENFJs risk taking on too much and burning out. Other areas of weakness that ENFJ personalities should be aware of include:
- A strong desire to please others and not to tune in to their own needs
- Struggle in a competitive environment
- Place undue pressure on themselves to maintain everyone’s happiness and well being
- React badly to criticism
- Rush forward without necessary consideration of all angles
- Struggle with routine
- Quickly become restless when uninspired
ESFJ personality types usually struggle without clear goals or expectations. They need to see the necessary outcome and do not do well in situations without structure. Additionally, ESFJs weaknesses include:
- Excessive attachment to past patterns and traditions
- Have a rigid sense of right and wrong
- Do not like to be questioned and often take questions as criticism
- Struggle to see the validity of other people’s opinions
- Lean towards controlling
- They can react badly if they feel someone is opposing their way of doing things
- Resistant to change
- Extreme need to feel appreciated
Similarities and Differences in Nine Key Areas of Life
Speaking abstractly regarding MBTI personalities only provides a framework for how the various personality types function. Here is a look at how ENFJ and ESFJ are similar and dissimilar in nine common areas of life
As both the ENFJ and the ESFJ are ‘feeler’ personality types, they have quite a few similarities in how they conduct themselves in romantic relationships:
- Both types are loyal, and once in a relationship, they are in it for the long haul.
- ENFJs and ESFJs care deeply about meeting their partners’ needs
- Each type expects the same degree of loyalty and commitment from their significant other as they offer
- Both types are deeply aware of their partners’ emotions and can push their own needs aside to give to their partner
Because the ENFJ and the ESFJ have cognitive skill sets that are quite different, each of these personalities will process and proceed in their way.
Because they tend to contemplate decisions and mull over past experiences, ESFJs are cautious when considering a relationship. This tendency shows itself clearly if the ESFJ has a history of painful relationships. If this is the case, an ESFJ will observe their potential partner and perhaps put them through a few tests to see if they are safe.
ENFJs are far more eager to take part in new and exciting relationships and will approach with much less caution than the ESFJ.
As we see in both personality types’ romantic relationship similarities, the ENFJ and the ESFJ are ‘feelers’ with high emotional intelligence that allows them to understand those around them. This leads to several similarities regarding friendship:
- Both types are emotional and empathetic toward their friends
- Both personalities are loyal and highly supportive of their friends
- The ENFJ and the ESFJ thrive in harmonious environments and struggle with conflict. They work hard at avoiding or diffusing conflict
- Friendships mean a great deal to the ENFJ and ESFJ personality types, as both crave connections
Even though both personality types place great importance on friendships, they tend to relate to their friends in different manners.
ENFJs are energetic and tend to become impatient if their friends cannot keep up with their pace. They also enjoy talking about the future and abstract plans with friends. A willingness to go into the unknown with an ENFJ is necessary for a long-term friendship. This is because they tire of routine and are energized by exploring unfamiliar territory.
ESFJs enjoy long-term friendships where there are few changes. They like to have a few friends who tend to reminisce about past events. They do best in stable situations where things are predictable and reliable. This is not the friend who will pack a bag at a moment’s notice and head off for the islands.
Best Careers for an ENFJ
A meaningful career is essential to the ENFJ. This personality type must see that their work impacts the world around them to be happy in their work life.
Some examples of potentially satisfying careers for the ENFJ include:
- Social Worker
Best Careers for an ESFJ
Because they are action-oriented, ESFJs do best in careers that allow them to work within a set parameter or follow an established routine. They have amazingly strong work ethics. And once directed to the necessary path, ESFJs will put all their efforts into doing the best job possible.
Some examples of satisfying careers for the ESFJ include:
What Do These Personality Types Love?
The ENFJ personality type enjoys challenges and situations where they can help make a difference. They can empathize with others and sense their emotions in any room. ENFJs appreciate a challenge and are up for adventures.
The ESFJ personality prefers stability and familiarity to challenge and adventure. At the same time, they care deeply about others—ESFJs like reminiscing with friends in a comfortable and familiar location to a night on the town. ESFJs are happy when they feel a part of a community and can help those around them.
What Do These Personality Types Hate?
The ENFJ personality has an immense disdain for selfish people. Because they are natural givers and feel responsible for the world’s well-being, selfishness is abhorrent to them. They also have no time for dishonest people who would take advantage of the weak and helpless of the world.
Additionally, they dislike feeling stuck in a rut or the sense that they are ineffective. ENFJs are sensitive to criticism and often blow simple comments out of proportion. Conflict is disturbing to the ENFJ, and they will do all they can to avoid it.
ESFJs hate selfish, cold, and critical people and argumentative or uncooperative people. Working alone or feeling left out is troubling, as is needing to share bad news with others.
ESFJs have no patience for ambiguity and no passion for the unknown. Additionally, they loathe criticism directed their way, half-baked efforts, and anything of obviously poor quality.
How Do These Personality Types Like to Spend Their Time?
ENFJ personality types spend a great deal of time and energy meeting the needs of others. They don’t mind this at all.
Additionally, ENFJs enjoy spending time with their significant other or with friends. They enjoy abstract discussions, exciting adventures, and mulling over theories in their very active minds. An ENFJ is happy to socialize in groups as this generally energizes them.
ESFJs enjoy being with others one on one or in groups. They are happiest when they understand the structure of an event or gathering and prefer familiar venues to the latest hot spot.
The ESFJ is quite at home as host or hostess and slips into planning mode without a second thought. They take a great interest in the lives of those around them and have a taste for gossip.
How Emotional Are These Personality Types?
ENFJs are exceptionally emotional. However, they tend to focus on the emotions of others and push back their own feelings.
ESFJs are susceptible and emotional people. They love to help others, but a consequence of helpfulness is absorbing the emotions of others. They struggle to let go and allow others to make their own decisions.
How Logical Are These Personality Types?
ENFJs are intelligent thinkers but lean towards the abstract and theoretical instead of the logical or critical side of situations. They examine what could be or how things might come together but give little effort to practicalities, especially if the ENFJ sees these as mundane.
ESFJ personalities are emotional but not at the cost of their logic. Because they prefer routines and the sensible order of projects, the ESFJ can be exceptionally logical. They will find logic helpful as long as it helps to define their role in a given situation.
How Do These Personality Types Like to Communicate?
The ENFJ personality tends to enjoy communicating using metaphors and abstract language. They are clever conversationalists with sharp wit. However, their preferred style of communicating may not resonate with those around them.
ESFJs prefer concrete communication and have little use for theories, abstractions, or vague ideas. They prefer conversations to be fact-based, always taking place in the here and now. They struggle with criticism and react badly if another person corrects or proves them wrong.
Using the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator can help you to unlock interesting sides and motivations in your personality as well as those in your inner circle. Remember to allow room for individual influences over personality traits. Environment, family, and events also shape our personalities and are essential pieces to consider.