The ESFJ is described as the “caregiver”, “consul” and “provider”. These helpful souls have a desire to support others and foster cohesion and teamwork to achieve a common goal. Practical skills like organization and social intelligence are among their positive characteristics but this personality also comes with its share of struggles. Here is a look at 7 of the weaknesses associated with the ESFJ personality.
1. ESFJ Need For External Validation
As an Fe-dom type, ESFJs place much importance on what other people think. Their desire for acceptance and inclusion can lead them to sometimes compromise their own self interests in order to accommodate and fit in and ingratiate themselves with others. Furthermore, ESFJs may have insecurity about the strength of their own ideas and opinions and may feel reassured only when others concur with them. Additionally, ESFJs are noted for their concern with garnering social status and good reputation. Their self-esteem is strongly influenced by their popularity and how valued they are as a contributor or member of a group.
2. ESFJ Codependency
Extending on the previous point, ESFJs can be very codependent and emotionally needy. They can seem desperate for companionship and attention in addition to acceptance by others. ESFJs are prone to being heavily dependent on their partners, friends and loved ones for emotional and moral support, without which they can feel deeply insecure. They can be clingy and seek frequent affirmations of their partner’s love and evidence of their loyalty. Moreover, ESFJs don’t like being by themselves for extended periods and will often feel compelled to include other people in on whatever they are doing. When it comes to problems, rather than figure things out themselves, they are often too quick to seek help from others upon whom they may become over-dependent. ESFJs may have an emotional need to feel needed and they will even go so far as to try and stimulate that need in others.
3. Fear of Going Against the Grain
ESFJs have a social consciousness that leads them to act and behave in accordance to what they believe is socially acceptable. Moreover, they can often try to push their idea of what is acceptable onto others and perceive those who display unusual and unconventional behavior in a negative light. ESFJs are uncomfortable with exercising their individuality at the risk of being alienated and ostracized for it. They would rather position themselves as a team player but in the process can become a herd-following sheep who doesn’t think outside the box.
4. Critical Thinking
ESFJs tend to accept many rules and traditions blindly. They generally pull their values and principles from the collective, and typically accept them without question. Being that Ti is their inferior function, ESFJs are inclined to come up short when it comes to analyzing the justification or reasoning for something. Ti is all about logic and introspective analysis that yields a stronger, more consistent understanding of how and why things work. As an introverted function, Ti formulates principles according to the subjective rationale of the individual, but it’s aim is to build a model of understanding that represents the objective world accurately. Therefore, the thinking process for Ti-doms like INTP is always checking for logical consistency. As the functional opposite of the INTP, ESFJs are not as keen at recognizing, challenging and refuting logical inconsistencies.
5. ESFJ Sensitivity to Conflict & Criticism
ESFJs are harmony seeking individuals who generally avoid dealing with conflict directly. They are sensitive to criticism and can feel very attacked when they are subjected to the negative judgments and opinions of others. This vulnerability to conflict and criticism may often lead the ESFJ to resort to all kinds of deflections and manipulations to take the heat off of them. Their response to criticism can often be one of denial and excuse-making. They can go into victim mode and utilize any number of defense mechanisms including guilt-tripping others and finding ways to shift the blame back onto their critics. ESFJs have a harder time being objective about themselves when their attention and energy is so often directed outwards. Accepting inconvenient truths about them and those close to them can be a tough pill for ESFJ to swallow. More self-reflection and development of their Ti can help them in this area.
6. Clinging to the Past
ESFJs lean towards conservatism in their views and attitudes. They can have difficulty parting ways with outmoded traditions and values that are no longer viable. Furthermore, ESFJs may have a fondness for the familiar that can extend to an unhealthy attachment to their comfort zones. This may include an unwillingness to let go of people and relationships no longer good for them. Additionally, even though ESFJs like to keep up with the world, they can be slow to adopt the new technologies and innovations designed to improve their life. They are likely to feel intimidated by the prospect of having to learn a new and better process that is technical. ESFJs will often leverage any excuse they can find to preserve the status quo and avoid the pains of upgrading their knowledge and saying good-bye to an outdated modality they are accustomed to.
7. ESFJ Being Too Selfless
ESFJs are very hospitable and friendly but sometimes their eagerness to please others can be to their own detriment. ESFJs have a propensity for bending over backwards for others while too often neglecting or denying their own needs as an individual. Their desire to help others is commendable, but they may need to guard against doing too much to the point that they get taken for granted or overtax themselves. ESFJs may often acquire the appreciation they desire from others by lavishing them with sycophantic praise and compliments some of which may seem unwarranted or disingenuous.
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