How to Tell if You’re an ESTJ vs. ESFJ

ESTJ vs ESFJ blog cover

If you’re reading this post, there’s a high chance that you’re trying to work out if you’re an ESTJ vs. ESFJ personality type. These two types are often confused because they share many of the same characteristics. Both types are reliable, practical, and outgoing. They stick to their words, and you can count on them to be there for you when you need them.  

But there are also some core differences between how these types think and experience the world. In this post, we explore these core differences. If you’re unclear about your type, we hope this helps you.

So here are five differences between the ESTJ vs. ESFJ personality types:

1. Dealing with emotions.

ESTJs and ESFJs deal with feelings in very different ways. For starters, ESFJs tend to be more comfortable dealing with the irrational nature of emotions than ESTJs.

In addition, ESFJs tend to focus on other people’s emotions. They innately absorb the feelings of others in real-time. This means that they are highly empathetic and they truly feel other people’s emotions as if they are their own.

It can happen with anyone or anything. It could be a close family member, someone they are sitting next to on the train, or an animal in a book.

When they are around happy people, they naturally take on similar emotions, and the same goes for other scenarios such as when those around them are sad. However, ESFJs can struggle to understand their own emotions to the same degree.

On the other hand, ESTJs can find it harder to understand both other people’s emotions and their own. This is because they are so logical.

While ESTJs do feel things deeply, they often try to rationalize their emotions. This is because they can find it hard to accept anything that doesn’t have a logical explanation.

Seeing as emotions often don’t have an entirely rational origin, ESTJs can find them confusing or even overwhelming. ESTJs are most comfortable when dealing with facts and linear reasoning.

For example, knowing that they will lose 1kg if they have a 7,700-calorie deficit is comforting to an ESTJ. In order to accept something, they like to have evidence, but this just isn’t possible when it comes to emotions. The same goes for ESTJs dealing with the emotions of other people for similar reasons. 

2. Making decisions.

ESFJs and ESTJs focus on different criteria when making decisions. When deciding on the right path, ESFJs prioritize emotions while ESTJs place more of an emphasis on logic.

ESFJs primarily base their decisions on how they will affect others. They want to create win-win scenarios and avoid hurting anyone’s feelings.

Of course, this isn’t always possible and when they do have to take actions that involve hurting other people, it deeply affects them. ESFJs are often the peacemakers in their families or social groups.

They will try to see both sides of every issue and find a resolution that works for everyone. When making decisions, ESFJs ask: “How does this impact the group?” Ultimately, they are always looking to create harmony with the outer world.

ESTJs use deductive logic to make decisions. This means they start at the facts, then go to the theory, and then return to the facts.

Essentially, ESTJs use logic that is based on what is verifiable in the outside world. They tend to focus on the end result they are looking to achieve and work backward from there in order to decide on the best decision to get to that point.

When making decisions, ESTJs ask: “Does this make sense based on facts?” They are always thinking about what is the most rational and efficient path.

3. Sociability

As extroverts, ESFJs and ESTJs thrive when spending time interacting with the world. Both types are outgoing, but ESFJs tend to be more sociable.

ESFJs are one of the most people-oriented personality types. They have a strong need for deep connections, and they’re unable to feel fulfilled without them.

This need for connection motivates ESFJs to be more sociable than ESTJs. However, they are the ultimate dinner party hosts because they enjoy spending time with large groups, and they are exceptionally organized.

Ultimately, connecting with people is everything for ESFJs, and they always thinking about how to help others.

On the other hand, ESTJs are content with fewer close relationships and usually spend less time socializing. They feel more comfortable when they are self-sufficient, and they don’t like to rely on others too much.

At the same time, ESTJs can be very charming and thrive in groups. Theynaturally have an energetic and confident nature.

They are always on the go, and they like to fill their calendars with all kinds of things, from work to social events. Plus, they like to feel like they are working towards specific goals.

4. Communication style.

ESTJs and ESFJs tend to talk a lot, and they often come across as energetic. However, ESTJs are much more direct in the way they communicate, while ESFJs consciously think about how their words will impact others.  

ESFJs are warm in the way they communicate. It’s common for people of this type to ask a lot of questions because they are deeply curious about people and they are good listeners. ESFJs are more likely to be expressive and emotional in their communication style.

They may use anecdotes and personal stories to help explain their points, whereas ESTJs are more likely to use facts. ESFJs are more likely to be open about their emotions.

In addition, ESFJs are often very persuasive because they know exactly what makes people tick. ESFJs are exceptionally thoughtful and tend to filter what they say through a lens of how their words will impact others. This means they consider their audience’s life experiences and perspectives before speaking so they can tailor their communication to meet their audience’s specific needs.

ESTJs are straightforward and detached when they communicate. Seeing as they focus heavily on facts, they see the world as relatively black and white. This means they are clear about what they think and, in turn, what they say. ESTJs often look for one answer based on facts.

Additionally, they like to get to the point when they communicate because they are so focused on efficiency, particularly in a work setting.

This also means that they can feel like it’s a waste of time going back and forth discussing different points of view. Ultimately, ESTJs tend to be articulate but can struggle when it comes to verbalizing their emotions.

5. Showing love.

ESFJs and ESTJs take different approaches with regard to how they show love. In general, ESFJs are more open about showing someone they care.

ESFJs are always looking for ways to help their loved ones, and they feel happiest when they are able to do so. They are naturally aware of the needs of others, and they try to meet those needs in whatever way they can.

As a result, ESFJs make a conscious effort to let people close to them know that they are loved. They often do this in many ways, depending on what they think that person needs at that specific time.

Ultimately, you won’t be left wondering whether an ESFJ cares about you or not. They will make it known.

ESTJs, on the other hand, are not as naturally inclined to show their love and care in such overt ways. For ESTJs, actions speak louder than words, and they often express their love through thoughtful gestures.

This doesn’t mean that ESTJs don’t care about their loved ones; it’s just that they tend to express it more subtly. At times, they can come across as cold, and this tends to be unintentional.

ESTJs are naturally so logical and efficient that they sometimes forget to show their softer side, especially if they are feeling tired or stressed.

ESTJ vs. ESFJ frequently asked questions

So now we have explained the key differences between the ESTJ vs. ESFJ personality types. Even for those who have explored personality types in depth, it can still be hard to tell the difference between these two types.

Let’s now look at some frequently asked questions about each personality to help make it clearer for you.

Are ESTJs vs. ESFJs more practical?

ESTJs and ESFJs are two of the most practical personality types. It’s a close call, but when it comes to practicality, ESTJs just about edge out ESFJs.

Here’s why: ESTJs are all about efficiency and getting the job done right the first time. They’re logical and methodical, and they’re not afraid of hard work. ESFJs, on the other hand, are more concerned with caring for others and making sure everybody is happy.

While this is certainly a noble goal, it doesn’t always lead to the most efficient use of time and resources. So, in a way, you could say that ESTJs are more practical because they’re more focused on results.

But at the end of the day, both types are highly capable individuals who are dedicated to getting the job done.

Are ESTJs people-pleasers and ESFJs selfish?

There is a common misconception that ESFJs are people-pleasers and ESTJs are selfish. Of course, as with any type, there are people out there of these types who display those characteristics. But healthy ESFJs have strong boundaries, and healthy ESTJs care about other people’s needs.

ESFJs are able to find a balance between making sure people around them are happy and looking after their own needs. It’s true that they’re naturally more aware of other people, but they are able to access different aspects of their personality to work out when it’s time to shift the focus to themselves. 

ESTJs are not innately selfish. Yes, they are direct, and they know what they want, but they also have a generous side. It’s just not always obvious. ESTJs are more likely to make decisions based on logic, and this can be viewed as selfish by some people, but they see it as choosing the path that makes the most sense.

Are ESTJs vs. ESFJs more extroverted?

Both ESTJs and ESFJs are extroverts, but they sit at different points of the extroversion spectrum. In fact, ESFJs are one of the most ‘extroverted extroverts.’

It’s worth noting that while these two types are at their best when they’re able to spend a significant amount of time interacting with people and the world more broadly, they do need alone time, too.

ESFJs have more of a tendency to focus their energy on the outer world because they are more people-oriented. For ESFJs, their loved ones play a significant role in their life, and they strive to make them happy. In addition, they are just innately interested in human psychology.

ESTJs are driven by logic and are more likely to spend time alone. While they appreciate deep connections, they don’t have a need for as much socializing as ESFJs.

Final thoughts on ESTJ vs. ESFJ differences

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our individual ESTJ and ESFJ posts, which delve deeper into each personality type. Last but not least, if you enjoyed this blog post, you might also like ENTJ vs. ESTJ and ENFJ vs. ESFJ.

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