July 12, 2012 by philipbullitthughes
Today I’d like to talk about the ESFJ personality. Two of the most beloved “Providers” in our culture today are Steve Rogers (from the recent Captain America and Avengers movie) and Wendy Darling (from the 1953 Disney film, Peter Pan).
Now some of you may ask how Captain America—Defender of the Stars and Bars, the First Avenger, America’s Pride and Joy—could possibly have anything in common with a little British girl in a night-gown. Well, he has quite a bit actually.
Steve Rogers is a friendly, unassuming kid from Brooklyn and is blessed with heart as immense as the Big Apple itself. Unfortunately, his body is the size of peanut. All Rogers wants in life is the opportunity to fulfill the duty of every American during WWII—to serve and protect his country from the evils of Nazi Germany. But weighing in at a whopping 90-pounds, and being rather sickly, Rogers cannot pass the physical fitness exam to enter the military. Now, of course this would bother any personality type to some extent to be told that they are inadequate physically, but Rogers is utterly devastated and plummets into a dark depression. This is because, more than any other type, Guardians are duty seekers, and to be denied what they see as their duty is denying them their true self. Fortunately, as you all know, Rogers is given a serum that rewards him a body that matches his heart, and the rest is superhero history.
So, obviously Rogers is a Sensing Judging type based on his duty seeking, but is he an extrovert? The answer, of course, is yes. When Rogers begins his tenure as Captain America, he is merely the face of the war—leading parades, strutting around on stage in an effort to raise support for the troops—and he loves it. ESFJs get a kick out of being center stage, and as long as they feel like they are contributing significantly to the group, this sort of role suites them. However, if their sense of justice or moral standards is violated, as Captain America’s are when he sees the greater need for him on the battlefield, they will become indignant and push to be placed in a role that will allow them to do what is “right.”
Now if you were to hop across the Atlantic Ocean over to England, you might come across a quiet little street in Bloomsbury where you would meet the Darling family. Two highly iNtuitive boys, whose imaginations run wild, fueled largely by their sister Wendy’s matter of fact storytelling. Wendy, the kind-hearted and dutiful sister, can be seen taking care of her siblings in a most practical fashion—providing them with drinks, buried treasure and the like, and wants nothing more than to live up in the nursery with them—a staple of the ESFJ. Guardians, especially the ESFJ, at a young age see their bedroom as their domain—their own house if you will—and Wendy feels no different. Not only that, but she feels a great sense responsibility towards her younger brothers, and actually enjoys taking care of them. Now, when Wendy is told that she must grow up and leave the nursery, she tearfully pleads with her father to let her stay. This is stark contrast to a Rational type who value their independence and would most likely celebrate their own living space, or an Artisan who doesn’t see their bedroom as their home and thus would not really care where they take up residence.
Perhaps the most telling indication of Wendy’s ESFJ-ness is her relationship with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Wendy keeps Peter, an imaginative leader whose head is constantly up in the clouds, firmly grounded. She reminds him of his responsibilities, and takes care of his practical needs, like sewing his shadow back onto his shoes, for example. But even more telling of her Provider-like qualities is that she is instantly adopted by the Lost Boys as their new mother, a role she readily accepts. Now there are few types in the world that make such wonderful and natural parents as the ESFJ, and they typically have a magnetic pull for those who might not have a parent. Unfortunately, Wendy is young and needs her own mother, and eventually gets homesick. However, she refuses to abandon her post as mother, and decides to take all of the Lost Boys home with her.
Now lastly, I’d like to talk about the romantic flair that exists within the Providers, even at an early age. Both Captain America and Wendy display a flirtatious side, as the Captain pursues Peggy Carter, and feels a deeply embarrassed when another woman kisses him in front of her. Wendy, likewise, attempts to flirt with an oblivious Peter Pan by offering him a kiss, to which Tinkerbell goes insane with jealousy. Make no mistake, just because these two have a flirtatious side does not make them unfaithful. On the contrary, they are one of the most faithful types, and would never dream of turning from the ones they commit to. Wendy remains faithful to Peter, even amidst his flirting with mermaids and Tiger Lily, and Steve Rogers remains faithful to Peggy until the very end. A wonderful quality in ESFJs is that they usually put up with quite a bit from their loved ones. However, a word of caution: above all else ESFJs expect faithfulness in return, and it is Peter Pan’s flirting that ultimately leads Wendy to leave Neverland forever.
In conclusion, both Captain America and Wendy share a tremendous sense of duty—they put others above themselves, are warm, considerate, and faithful. They are the epitome of the ESFJ, and are to be greatly admired.