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ESFJ (Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judgment) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of sixteen personality types. The MBTI assessment was developed from the work of prominent psychiatrist Carl G. Jung in his book Psychological Types. Jung proposed a psychological typology based on the theories of cognitive functions that he developed through his clinical observations.
From Jung's work, others developed psychological typologies. Jungian personality assessments include the MBTI assessment, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey. Keirsey referred to ESFJs as Providers, one of the four types belonging to the temperament he called the Guardians. ESFJs account for about 9–13% of the population.
By using their preference in each of these areas, people develop what Jung and Myers called psychological type. This underlying personality pattern results from the dynamic interaction of their four preferences, in conjunction with environmental influences and their own individual tendencies. People are likely to develop behaviors, skills, and attitudes based on their particular type. Each personality type has its own potential strengths as well as areas that offer opportunities for growth.
The MBTI tool consists of multiple choice questions that sort respondents on the basis of the four "dichotomies" (pairs of psychological opposites). Sixteen different outcomes are possible, each identified by its own four-letter code, referred to by initial letters. (N is used for iNtuition, since I is used for Introversion). The MBTI is approximately 75% accurate according to its own manual.
ESFJs focus on the outside world and assess their experiences subjectively. They largely base their judgments on their belief system and on the effects of actions on people. ESFJs are literal and concrete, trusting the specific, factual information gathered through their physiological senses.
ESFJs project warmth through a genuine interest in the well-being of others. They are often skilled at bringing out the best in people, and they want to understand other points of view. They are serious about their responsibilities, seeing what needs to be done and then doing it. Generally proficient at detailed tasks, they enjoy doing little things that make life easier for others. They value tradition and the security it offers.
Easily hurt, ESFJs seek approval. They take pleasure in other people's happiness. They give generously but expect appreciation in return. Sensitive to the physical needs of others, they respond by offering practical care. As expert people readers, ESFJs often adapt their manner to meet the expectations of others. However, they may have difficulty recognizing the shortcomings of loved ones.
ESFJs tend to be vocal in expressing their sense of right and wrong. Their judgments in regard to the external world are often based on interpersonal ethics, with attention to social give and take. Compared to their ENFJ counterparts, ESFJs' values tend to be based more on those of their social group than on an independent internal set of ethics. ESFJs raised in an environment of high ethical standards tend to display true generosity and kindness. However, those who grow up surrounded by a skewed set of values may develop a false sense of integrity and use their people skills to selfishly manipulate others—particularly if their intuition is poorly developed, leaving them unable to foresee the consequences of their actions.
ESFJs seek structured, controlled environments, and tend to be good at creating a sense of order. They generally feel insecure in an atmosphere of uncertainty. They value the rule of law and expect the same of others. ESFJs may be less interested in understanding the concepts behind the rules, tending to shy away from the abstract and impersonal.
Drawing upon Jungian theory, Isabel Myers proposed that for each personality type, the cognitive functions (sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling) form a hierarchy. This hierarchy represents the person's default pattern of behavior.
The Dominant function is the personality type's preferred role, the one they feel most comfortable with. The secondary Auxiliary function serves to support and expand on the Dominant function. If the Dominant is an information gathering function (sensing or intuition), the Auxiliary is a decision making function (thinking or feeling), and vice versa. The Tertiary function is less developed than the Dominant and Auxiliary, but it matures over time, rounding out the person's abilities. The Inferior function is the personality type's Achilles's heel. This is the function they are least comfortable with. Like the Tertiary, the Inferior function strengthens with maturity.
Jung and Myers considered the attitude of the Auxiliary, Tertiary, and Inferior functions to be the opposite of the Dominant. In this interpretation, if the Dominant function is extraverted, then the other three are introverted, and vice versa. However, many modern practitioners hold that the attitude of the Tertiary function is the same as the Dominant. Using the more modern interpretation, the cognitive functions of the ESFJ are as follows:
Fe seeks certain social connections and creates harmonious interactions through polite, considerate, and appropriate behavior. Fe responds to the explicit (and implicit) wants of others, and may even create an internal conflict between the subject’s own needs and the desire to meet the needs of others. 
Si collects data in the present moment and compares it with past experiences, a process that sometimes evokes the feelings associated with memory, as if the subject were reliving it. Seeking to protect what is familiar, Si draws upon history to form goals and expectations about what will happen in the future. 
Ne finds and interprets hidden meanings, using “what if” questions to explore alternatives, allowing multiple possibilities to coexist. This imaginative play weaves together insights and experiences from various sources to form a new whole, which can then become a catalyst to action.
Ti seeks precision, such as the exact word to express an idea. It notices the minute distinctions that define the essence of things, then analyzes and classifies them. Ti examines all sides of an issue, looking to solve problems while minimizing effort and risk. It uses models to root out logical inconsistency. 
Later personality researchers (notably Linda V. Berens) added four additional functions to the descending hierarchy, the so-called "shadow" functions to which the individual is not naturally inclined but which can emerge when the person is under stress. For ESFJ these shadow functions are (in order):