ESFJ Function Stack (A comprehensive Guide)

In this brief guide, we will look at the ESFJ function stack, and some concepts related to this subject.

What is the ESFJ Function Stack?

The ESFJ function stack consists of the 4 cognitive functions that define this personality type according to the Jungian theory of personality, in which the Dominant function is extraverted feeling and the stack is usually abbreviated as FeSi, which gives us information about the other functions, listed below:

  • Dominant: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • Auxiliary: Introverted Sensing (Si)
  • Tertiary: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
  • Inferior: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

In the list given above, the dominant cognitive function seen in the ESFJ personality is the Extraverted Feeling, while the Auxiliary function or the function that supports the dominant one is the Introverted Thinking Sensing function, and apart from these the two other functions run predominantly in the subconscious.

The tertiary function usually develops when the person has grown up or crossed adolescence, and in the case of the ESFJ it is the Extraverted Feeling, and the Inferior function, which is Introverted Thinking, is the last to develop, and even when it does it stays mostly subconscious, and may not even be noticed by the person themselves.

Features of the ESFJ personality type

The ESFJ personality in MBTI stands for Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging, and this personality is also known as the Consul, due to their tendencies to be people-focused, engaging in their communities, and being quick to provide any guidance that people they are close to may need.

The ESFJ personality makes great use of their extraverted nature by being true altruists, and they feel an enormous sense of responsibility to help people around them as well as people in their community they may not necessarily be close to.

They also have a relatively strong moral compass, and they care a great deal about doing the right thing. 

The ESFJ moral compass, unlike other personality types, is based on established traditions and laws and upholding authority and rules, and makes for a more conventional kind of moral compass, rather than be based on abstract principles of right or wrong that one may find in say, an Enneagram 1 personality of the Reformer. 

The ESFJ, despite their strong moral compass and a strong sense of right or wrong, does not have their roots in concepts of philosophy or mysticism, rather, they are more about the real-world scenarios and real-life problems.

Sometimes the ESFJ might find it hard to remember that people may come from different backgrounds and perspectives and that sometimes there is no absolute truth and there may be some leeway in the staunch moral code that the ESFJ is sticking to so that it helps people.

The ESFJ personality is also known distinctly for loving the process of participating in a meaningful way in society, but at the same time, they also like to be valued and appreciated. 

The ESFJs are also very oyal and devoted, to their friends, partners, and other family members. 

This personality type is also likely to greatly respect hierarchy and authority, which may be a result of their respect for rules and regulations and their strong moral compass, and they may do their best to align themselves with authority whether at home or work or in any other situation.

They may also enjoy keeping things organized and proper, but not necessarily in a neurotic way, more in terms of making sure that things are running smoothly.

What is a Function Stack?

A function stack, or functional stack, as it is also known, is a collection of the cognitive functions that are found in the personality of any individual, and these four functions are arranged or are in control of the consciousness based on one of the two attitudes that the person has towards the rest of the world, which are Extroversion and Introversion.

Extraversion is defined by Carl Jung as, “a strong, if not exclusive, determination by the object. Consciously, in an extrovert, the four basic cognitive functions follow the extroverted ‘general attitude of consciousness”.

He continues, defining how this relates to the cognitive functions and their layering in the function stack, “Now, when the orientation to the object and to objective facts is so predominant that the most frequent and essential decisions and actions are determined, not by subjective values but by objective relations, one speaks of an extroverted attitude. When this is habitual, one speaks of an extroverted type. If a man so thinks, feels, and acts, in a word so lives, as to correspond directly with objective conditions and their claims, whether in a good sense or ill, he is extroverted”

According to Jung, Introversion may be defined as, “a turning inwards of the libido, whereby a negative relation of subject to object is expressed. Interest does not move towards the object but recedes towards the subject. Consciously, in an introvert, the four basic cognitive functions follow the introverted ‘general attitude of consciousness’”.

Bear in mind that when Jung talks about libido, it is not used in the form of the typical libido that people use in a general manner, but in terms of the Inner Energy that is said to drive the person’s motives and actions.

“Everyone whose attitude is introverted thinks feels, and acts in a way that clearly demonstrates that the subject is the chief factor of motivation while the object at most receives an only secondary value.”

According to what Jung says about extraversion and introversion seems to suggest that the decisive factors behind motivation and ideas are which direction the person’s world goes in, inner or outer.

Based on these two factors, one judges whether the four basic psychological functions, thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition, act to serve the inner world or the outer world, and their manifestation differs due to this orientation.

ESFJ Function Stack

Now that we have explored the meaning of function stack and what some main features of the ESFJ personality type are said to be, let us explore the ESFJ function stack in detail and see what the functions stand for.

Dominant Function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

The dominant function of the ESFJ function stack is Extraverted feeling or Fe, which is the reason behind their deeply altruistic and people-oriented attitude.

The ESFJ is seen as an empathetic and friendly individual who loves to help out and according to the Jungian theory, it is because their feeling function is heavily oriented to the outer world and the people in it.

Extraverted Feeling cannot be boiled down into a single concept of described as one process or method due to its complicated nature, which does not allow for it to be summed up neatly and efficiently, and it has been observed that it involves many processes and methods, that are constantly in motion. 

The feeling function of the function stack is the one that is used for judging or decision making, and therefore, it may be seen often in the process where quick, in-the-moment decision making is in play. 

An ESFJ is able to help people so effectively because of their Extraverted feeling function which allows them to be able to pick up on the vibes of everyone in the room, and they can easily gauge how everyone is thinking and feeling, and therefore act accordingly to alleviate the problems or maintain the good mood.

The extraverted feeling function also allows them to ask themselves “What can I do that will benefit the most people?”, and then execute the solution they deem necessary.

The ESFJ also has socially-oriented mannerisms, expressions, emotions, and capabilities that also come from the extraverted feeling function, which they may use to influence and help others around them. 

To summarise, the Extraverted feeling function essentially allows the ESFJ to stay in tune with people around them and allows them to be acutely aware of their external world due to their extrovert tendencies, and they are likely to help other people using this ability.

At the same time, the ESFJ might also find themselves somewhat distracted by all the things they have to focus on and forget to stay in touch with their own thoughts and feelings and in rare cases, ignore their own inner world to focus on the external one.

Auxiliary: Introverted Sensing (Si)

The auxiliary function of the ESFJ function stack, which is introverted sensing, is responsible for the service if the dominant function and all the challenges it faces while making judgments, as well as the ability to organize and assess all the information they are receiving from the outer world into usable ways in their mind.

The ESFJ individual may come across as somewhat ritualistic too, due to their need to find the positive things in everyday life and make sure they do it over and over to get the same result, and this is something in which the introverted sensing Se plays a huge role.

The introverted sensing function, due to its tendency to create organized maps in the person’s cognition using the information they collect from the outside world, makes the ESFJ value “traditions” rather highly. 

The ESFJ may have oddly sentimental approaches to the most innocent things, and they may try to make sure that they get, for instance, a certain kind of cake on their birthday every single year, or go to the same place for lunch every day because the food was so great the first time around.

This function may also serve to make the ESFJ a very compassionate and sentimental romantic partner, who doesn’t forget anniversaries or birthdays and tries to recreate the initial magic after years of togetherness, but on the other hand, it may also make them somewhat rigid and prone to living in the past and doing outdated things that mean nothing and serve no purpose simply for the sake of tradition.

The introverted sensing function also allows for the subjective feeling based data that the extroverted feeling function gathers in a concrete way internally and makes for proper processing of this information as well.

However, due to their value and tradition-oriented attitude, they may not be very open to doing things in any new ways and may prefer to try the old stuff that has been working, and as a result, find themselves at odds with the more creative and new-age workers.

Tertiary: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

The tertiary function of extraverted intuition in the ESFJ function stack allows this person to be capable of exploring many abstract possibilities and ideas, and one may find them going from one idea to another without much thought to the possible resolution, as they depend heavily on the tradition for it anyway.

The extraverted intuition function provides the ESFJ with the ability to imagine what could be, based on a single idea they may see in the present, and this function makes sure that the introverted sensing function does not make the ESFJ too stuck in the old ways, keeping them on their toes.

Inferior: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

The last function in the ESFJ function stack is the Introverted Thinking, which is rarely seen on younger ESFjs, at least overtly, as it runs in the background and makes for more of a subconscious process.

This layering of the ESFJ function stack means that for this person, complex logic-based analyses of things is usually not a priority, and they may often struggle with thinking about complex, theoretical ideas, at least for extended periods.

They may sometimes be okay with doing so if presented with a practical application for those types of concepts, but generally, they will focus more on the feeling and intuition side of things rather than organizing and thinking based solely on facts.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at the ESFJ function stack, and some concepts related to this subject. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): ESFJ Function Stack

Who is ESFJ attracted to?

The ESFJ may be attracted to the INTP personality type, or the INFP, given the fact that they are the opposite of the ESFJ and may have the introverted and other functions to balance out the ones in the ESFJ.

How rare is ESFJ?

The ESFJ is not very rare, in fact, it is one of the commonest personality types, making up about 12.3% of the population.

The rare personality types include ENTJ (1.8%), INTJ (2.1%), and ENFJ (2.5%).

What is the difference between ESFJ A and ESFJ T?

The difference between the ESFJ A and the ESFJ T is that while both may show practical and outgoing personality traits, but the difference may be in how they approach challenges and how they think of their past and present.

The primary difference between the ESFJ A may be more the type of person who does not focus on the past and have too many regrets, focusing more on the present and future, the ESFJ T may dwell more their regrets, and think about the mistakes they have made more often than the ESFJ A.

Citations

Jung, C. G. (1971) [1921]. Psychological Types. Collected Works of C. G. Jung. 6. Translated by Adler, Gerhard; Hull, R. F. C. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-5086-0. JSTOR j.ctt5hhqtj.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/personality/esfj

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.