When an INFJ and ESFJ are drawn to each other, the attraction becomes obvious fairly quickly— although the ESFJ is usually the more transparent of the two and is likely to make the first overtures. INFJs are generally cautious until they’re sure of a relationship.
ESFJs are generous and outgoing, giving without any thought of return. If someone expresses a need, they’re among the first to try to satisfy it. They place a high value on harmony. They’re at their best organizing people for family, community or work events. INFJs are generous, too, but they’re reserved and shrink from being in the public eye.
As traditionalists, ESFJs rely on tried-and-true methods of solving problems. For this reason, they can overlook newer, better approaches that are obvious to others—a habit that may prove annoying for inventive friends and relatives who are reluctant to endanger their relationship with the ESFJ by being critical. This is especially true of INFJs, who usually have innovative ideas but are too tactful to hurt the feelings of less adventurous folks.
ESTJs are steadfast friends. They will disrupt their work schedules to accommodate others. If a friend’s car is in the shop, the ESFJ doesn’t hesitate to provide transportation. But when the ESFJ is in the same boat a month later and a friend isn’t willing to reciprocate, hurt feelings are likely to result. Underneath it all, ESFJs need evidence that others care about them, too.
Sometimes ESFJs go to lengths that aren’t healthy in order to make others happy. Being warm and sympathetic is a top priority. If INFJ and ESFJ friends go to a restaurant that serves delicious French pastries, the overweight INFJ might say, “I can have the entrée, but don’t let me have any dessert!” When they’ve finished the main dish, the server comes around with a tray of petit fours. The ESFJ sees the look of longing in the friend’s eyes, knowing that the friend will regret the indulgence later on. What does the ESFJ say? “Go ahead. One dessert can’t hurt you.”
ESFJ partners are drawn to the rich imaginations and agile minds of INFJs. Falling in love is a totally absorbing experience. If an INFJ encourages the relationship, ESFJs show their affection with gifts, notes, and other symbols of commitment. Even when doing extra favors is inconvenient or expensive, ESFJs go out of their way to satisfy a partner’s desires. Some ESFJs may be more in love with love than with their partners per se.
Unfortunately, ESFJs are not always aware that a relationship is starting to fail. Their outgoing, optimistic natures may lead them to believe that everything is fine. In the meantime, the INFJ may continue a partnership that’s going downhill without airing his or her dissatisfaction. If the truth be known, the INFJ may not want to risk losing the intimacy with the ESFJ without another prospect standing in the wings.
This can be devastating for ESFJs who didn’t see the signs. They tend to deal with these crises by looking for their own mistakes and shortcomings. They think about the times when they were less generous or thoughtful than they might have been, even though this assessment may be baseless. They suffer a period of lowered self-esteem.
In their efforts to keep family life harmonious, both INFJs and ESTJs often sweep problems under the rug rather than air them and resolve the conflict. Partners who swallow their irritation and/or underestimate their own needs tend to wear themselves out or become resentful. They need to risk the good will of others by saying “no” sometimes.
While ESFJs are easygoing and warm at home, they usually have set ideas about social matters—unlike unconventional INFJs. Their expectations are tied to tradition. Often they’re the ones in charge of family get-togethers such as Thanksgiving dinner. Also, they generally take responsibility for buying birthday, anniversary, and holiday gifts.
INFJs don’t understand all the fuss about family celebrations. They’ll go along to keep the peace, but they don’t want to be drawn into a lot of complicated arrangements. They can’t fathom why anyone would like to collect so many people around them over the holidays. INFJs prefer intimate gatherings with just the immediate family present.
ESFJs are involved in school and community activities more than their reserved INFJ partners. They plan educational or character-building social activities for their children, such as after-school sports. The children may accompany them to events at retirement communities or volunteer at animal shelters. INFJs are less group-oriented and have more reserved ways of demonstrating their ideals and desire to help others.
Secrets of Success
When an INFJ and ESFJ stay together and adjust to each other’s styles, they often find that each benefits from the influence of the other. ESFJs help INFJs expand their social horizons and avoid becoming isolated. With their warm personalities, ESFJs attract a circle of friends that can prove stimulating to the INFJ. INFJs can bring more warmth and intimacy to the relationship by initiating activities they share as a twosome, often strengthening their bond.