November 23, 2013


Some time ago, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test and discovered that I am an ESFJ (that's Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging) Personality Type.

"The Supporter"
Photo via PersonalityMax

Some descriptions of this personality type attach positive-sounding names to it like, "The Caregiver," "The Helper," or "The Supporter" to summarize our altruistic qualities. But, if these same assessors were to observe actual people who are identified as ESFJs, such as me, they'd probably assign us the more accurate label of, "The Pain in the A**" or "The Dream Crusher."

For instance, here's a positive-spun ESFJ trait:
ESFJs feel a sense of personal responsibility for other people's needs, and are usually eager to get involved and help out. Typefinder, ESFJ

Lovely! Who wouldn't want to know this person? I'll tell you who, the people who know this person:
"I'm currently helping my parents with some personal business - and by "helping" I mean stressing them out and dashing their hopes of achieving their dreams."

And another "positive" trait as outlined by Wikipedia, ESFJ:
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. 

Yup, that rings a bell with me, but I can tell you it doesn't always elicit the sunny outcome you might imagine:
"I've 'supported' my daughter and her husband on occasion by doing some unsolicited 'light' cleaning and rearranging 'a few' objects in their house with the intention of making life easier for them...and by 'making life easier' I seem to have meant...making them feel inadequate in their housekeeping and decorating skills."

To be sure, I don't intend for these negative outcomes to the time I'm dispensing my "services" I actually believe I'm helping these people I care about!  In fact, if I had to guess, I'd bet money that the saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," was inspired by an ESFJ!

Oh well, they say the first step to recovery is discovery... wish me luck!

If you'd like to start your own journey of discovery, you can take this 98-question version of the test here at Typefinder to learn which Personality Type you are!

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