The Elephant – ESFJ

Rivaling the Peacock for the title of “Most Outgoing Type”, Elephants are well known for their warmth, chattiness, and generosity. Unlike the Peacocks, who are socially aggressive to the point of brazenness, Elephants exude an easygoing friendliness, an air of social comfort that enables those around them to feel comfortable. On a grander scale, the collective work of Elephants helps create and maintain the social structure that our civilizations are centered around.

The Head of the Family


Everything I think and everything I do is wrong. I was wrong about Elton, I was wrong about Christian, and now Josh hated me. It all boiled down to one inevitable conclusion, I was just totally clueless. Oh, and this Josh and Tai thing was wigging me more than anything. I mean, what was my problem? Tai is my pal. I don’t begrudge her a boyfriend. I really… oooh I wonder if they have that in my size.

– Cher, Clueless

Herders by nature, Elephants share many traits with the other herding types, the Stags and Dolphins. However, unlike their fellow Gatherers, the authoritative, bossy Stags, Elephants tend to herd their companions using a lighter touch; so much so, that it’s easy to confuse them with the sensitive, Shaman Dolphins. Still, whereas Dolphins stress self-empowerment and individuality, Elephants emphasize compassion and togetherness, and above all else, seek to create a family environment for every person they come in contact with. It cannot be stressed enough how crucial the idea of family is to Elephants, whether it refers to their spouse and children, their extended family, their tightly knit group of friends, or the menagerie of pets they are likely to have roaming around the house. Just as society relies on them for social stability, Elephants rely on a strong, familial support system that they can turn to in times of need.

Let’s not forget that Elephants are Gatherers; safety is paramount, and the greatest benefit of being safe is living a life of comfort. For this reason, abstract musing tends to disinterest them. It’s not that they’re incapable of introspection, it’s just that time is precious, and they’d rather spend their life kicking back on their front porch playing with their grandchildren than combing the back alleys of their subconscious. Being in an ivory tower is like detention for an Elephant; they suffer in solitude while all their friends get to go out and play. In an Elephant’s mind, what’s the point of gaining a better understanding of the world—or yourself for that matter—if you don’t have time to share it with anyone?

The Optimist

Tom Hanks

Humans are, by nature, too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism and a great deal of candor.

– Tom Hanks

Elephants see the very best in people. Staying true to their Gatherer roots, this optimism is grounded in their belief in the sanctity of the community. They are not ignorant to the fact that negativity exists. They just choose to live their lives in a positive manner, believing that positivity breeds positivity, and that any goodwill they throw into the world will come back tenfold. Insults and slights slide off them like water off a duck’s back—when the hell did I start using folksy idioms? Anyway, Elephants are usually the first person to initiate social interaction and, in contrast to the freewheeling Peacocks and Foxes, and the business-like Killer Whales, they do it with a polite, unpretentious style, turning strangers into acquaintances, and acquaintances into friends, all in a matter of minutes.

Once they have established friendships, those connections tend to last, strengthened by the Elephant’s silly musings, good-natured ribbings, and habit for laughing. Rejection does not deter them—they’re social juggernauts, bitch (a childish X-Men animated series reference I was too tempted to not rewatch on YouTube)—as they are relentless when it comes to bringing new people into the group. Whether it’s the kid sitting by himself during lunch, or the coworker hiding away in the corner cubicle, Elephants make it their mission to ensure that every single individual feels like part of the team. Their archnemesis is loneliness, a villain they would love to eradicate from the Earth.

The Gossip

Barbara Walters

Show me someone who never gossips, and I will show you someone who is not interested in people.

– Barbara Walters

The downside to an Elephant’s social maneuvering is that they can often be viewed as busybodies. They routinely involve themselves in other people’s affairs, applying a tremendous amount of pressure on individuals who aren’t on the right social track. Elephants are popular, and they want you to be popular too. It never occurs to them that what makes them happy, their dream of idyllic social bliss, is not particularly high on the list of priorities for other types—the reclusive Owls and calculating Spiders are particularly annoyed by Elephants. What if John from HR really does just want to be left alone? Perhaps cousin Margaret doesn’t want to be reminded of her “unsuccessful” marital status every Thanksgiving or set up with some random guy you met in the wine aisle at your local Whole Foods.

The type most likely to know everything about everybody, Elephants can usually be found heading various societal institutions, like church groups, PTAs, social clubs, reunion committees, etc. Even though they’re extremely outgoing and avid party-throwers, Elephants are not really “party animals” per se. For them, parties are an extension of the community, and you’re more likely to see them organizing a baby shower or planning a game night than doing body shots in Cabo—though it’s worth noting that, of all the Gatherers, Elephants are far and away the most adventurous. They love trying new things and traveling to new places, as long as the novelty of the experience is grounded by the companionship of familiar, trusted faces.

The Host

Jimmy Fallon

Honestly, it’s the greatest show on television. It’s live. It’s topical. It makes you laugh. It’s just a great vibe.

– Jimmy Fallon

Generally speaking, the humor of an Elephant is based on their vast collection of silly expressions, coupled with a playful, bubbly, “nice guy/gal” demeanor. This engaging behavior serves them well in the workplace, where they tend to work best in fields that provide ample opportunities for bonding between themselves and their coworkers. Thus, Elephants frequently hold management roles in the healthcare, education, or non-profit sector. Because they’re so conscious of the welfare of others, Elephants make the best hosts; they always seem to know what their guests need at any given moment.

That same busybody approach that might annoy others in a different context, is almost necessary as a host—how else can Elephants pull shy guests from out of their shells and ensure that modest visitors take full advantage of their Elephant generosity? Unfortunately, Elephants will occasionally go overboard with the affable host routine. When this occurs, they may be accused of being, at best, smothering, or at worst, overly pleasant and uncritical to the point of being weak. Mature Elephants, however, realize that not everybody can—or should—be their friend, and that sometimes, to understand a loved one’s needs for privacy and personal space is the best way to love them.