A video I posted on YouTube which showcases a wonderful ESFJ received the following comment.

I test as an ESFJ. However, I can also be an ISFJ depending up on the situation. Anyone else feel like this?

Because this idea comes up so often I wanted to address it. So here goes the short answer and the “more than you asked for” response.

The Short Answer
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment inventory sorts your responses so that the end result is one preference or the other. Think ON or OFF – like a light switch you are either this/ or you are that. This means that for each of the four preferences you are either Extraverted or Intraverted, Sensing or Intuitive, Thinking or Feeling, Judging or Perceiving. (BTW the official MBTI tool has been tested for reliability and validity whereas the quizzes you can find free online may not be reliable.)

Of course we all use all of aspects in these pairs. We simply have a preference for one of each pair. Your environment, interests or life experience may call on you to develop the other side of the preference pair but that doesn’t mean that you switch from being one type to another. That is you don’t go from being ESFJ one day to ISFJ another, You are still ESFJ – only one with more versatility.

If you are still with me and want to know why this matters read on…

More Answer Than You Asked For
In the 4 letter code that describes your type eg ESFJ the 4 preferences work together like the ingredients in a recipe.

Just as flour, sugar, eggs and butter mix together to produce cookies, cupcakes, or tarts. Once these are mixed and baked you can’t go back and switch from one raw ingredient to another.

What the 4 letter code does is identify the order of the use of the functions. For instance the dominant function for the ESFJ is Extraverted Feeling. Feeling indicates that people with this preference make decisions based on values and the effect on the people. When Sensing is Extraverted as it is with ESFJ the focus is on the outer world – deciding if something is acceptable or will work for others.

Contrast that with ISFJ who has a dominant function of Introverted Sensing. Those with a preference for Sensing prefer to take in information using tangible experiences and data. When Sensing is Introverted as it is with ISFJ the person will first review past experiences and what detailed information will allow them to accumulate all the known data.

You can see that there is a different kind of energy between and ESFJ and ISFJ . They will focus their time, energy resources in different ways that go well beyond sometimes being a little more Introverted than Extroverted.

Fascinating stuff if I do say so myself!!!

Category: MBTI Facts / Video
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