Rachel Green: ESFJ

Extraverted Feeling (Fe): Rachel wants to fit in. She is a natural at picking up on social expectations, and frequently complies with them to blend into her context. She plans to marry rich because it’s what her upper class friends are doing prior to the series, and soon adapts to a working lifestyle after moving in with Monica because she knows it is the norm in her new group of friends. As Phoebe puts it, Rachel can be something of a “pushover” (The One with the Joke, 6x12). She starts smoking because she feels pressured by her colleagues (The One Where Rachel Smokes, 5x18), lets a mean woman take her washing machine because she doesn’t want to cause a fuss (The One with the East German Laundry Detergent, 1x05), and agrees to go where Monica wants for lunch because she wants to avoid a disagreement (The One with the Joke, 6x12). She is uncomfortable with social conflict, and often puts her own views on hold to maintain group harmony, such as deciding to not tip a waiter because she knew it would anger her father (The One with the Race Car Bed, 3x07). Rachel is concerned about what other people think of her – she is embarrassed by Phoebe’s strange running style, worrying that spectators will think she is “weird” (The One Where Phoebe Runs, 6x07), and is humiliated when Ross sends a singing quartet to her work, worrying about how it would look to her colleagues (The One with all the Jealousy, 3x12). Rachel often bases her decisions off what other people want – she checks to see whether Chandler and Ross like her shoes before deciding to wear them for her first day at Bloomingdale’s (The One with all the Jealousy, 3x12), and pretends to be married to Ross because she knows it would make Jack and Judy more comfortable during their wedding anniversary (The One in Massapequa, 8x18). Rachel’s willingness to adapt to what other people want often leads her to have trouble understanding what she wants. She is unaware that she doesn’t want a life with Barry until the last minute (The Pilot, 1x01), spends two years working in the coffee house before realising she wants a career in fashion (The One Where Rachel Quits, 3x10), and spends most of the series pursuing casual romantic interests before realising she wants to settle down with Ross (The Last One: Part 2, 10x18). Rachel often needs to talk things through with others before she can make sense of how she’s feeling. She only realises she is still in love with Ross after discussing her feelings with Phoebe (The One with Ross’s Wedding: Part 1, 4x23), and only becomes conscious of wanting to have a baby after expressing her disappointment to Monica and Phoebe that the test is negative (The One After ‘I Do,’ 8x01). She is always happy to share her feelings with others, such as the details of her crush for Joshua (“I felt his pulse!”), and frequently makes feeling-based decisions, such as leaving Barry at the altar because she didn’t love him (The Pilot, 1x01), or choosing not to go to Paris because she was still in love with Ross (The Last One: Part 2, 10x18).

Introverted Sensing (Si): Rachel is aware of her past, and frequently uses it as a referential framework for her decisions in the present. She trusts things that have worked for her before, such as her “lucky” cheerleading outfit (The One with the Fake Party, 4x16), and continues to be influenced by past negative experiences, such as getting her hair caught in the swing set as a child (The One with the Home Study, 10x07). She has a good memory for specific details, being able to remember the correct names for all parts of a boat from her sailing lessons as a child (The One with the Cookies, 7x03), and frequently uses past memories to influence her present decisions, such as buying a cat that looked like one her grandmother had (The One with the Ball, 5x21). Rachel is a very sentimental person, and frequently recounts stories from her childhood in loving detail, such as riding in her boat (The One with the Cookies, 7x03), skiing with her family (The One Where Underdog Gets Away, 1x09), or playing with her grandmother’s cat (The One with the Ball, 5x21).  She gets attached to objects that have sentimental value, keeping a box full of items from her relationship with Ross that have personal significance (The One with Chandler in a Box, 4x08), and enjoys collecting memories, putting aside a bag of sentimental tokens for Monica’s wedding in the event that she would be maid of honour (The One with the Nap Partners, 7x06). Rachel gets refunds for most of her gifts, but “keeps the things that matter” – when Ross gives her a brooch that resembles one her grandmother had, she is deeply touched (The One Where Rachel Finds Out, 1x24). Rachel can struggle with change. She adapts to her life in New York slowly at first, struggling with doing her own laundry (The One with the East German Laundry Detergent, 1x05), emptying the rubbish (The One with the Ballroom Dancing, 4x04) and gaining paid employment (The Pilot, 1x01), but warms to the lifestyle when she is able to fit in with a new social group (Fe) and senses the possibility for future change (Ne). Though she adapts well to her new life, Rachel’s struggle with change persists into later seasons – she cries when learning she has to move out of Monica’s apartment, for example, calling it “the end of an era” (The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel, 6x02). At times, Rachel has difficulty facing the present, and turns to things from her past for comfort – she spends time with Barry, for example, because he is a “familiar” figure in her new life of uncertainty (The One with the Evil Orthodontist, 1x20), and initiates sex with Ross, an ex-boyfriend, because she feels depressed about being alone (The One with Monica’s Thunder, 7x01). Though by no means up to Monica’s level, Rachel is fairly good with details. She deals with the logistics of orders and shipments every day through her job in fashion, and is able to organise a bridal shower for Monica practically overnight with attention to the details of food, guests and decorations (CITATION). Rachel also has a keen interest in the details of clothes, staying wide awake through a forty five minute lecture about “backless dresses” and “oversized earrings” which Ross slept through (The One with Phoebe’s Ex-Partner, 3x14).

Extraverted Intuition (Ne): Before the commencement of the series, Rachel lives a life that is decided for her. She plans to be an upper class socialite through marrying Barry, and is reassured by the security it provides, later reflecting, “It was a plan! It was clear! Everything was figured out!” (The One with George Stephanopoulos, 1x04). When Rachel runs out on her wedding, she can no longer see life as one clear, predetermined path (Si), and is instead forced to re-evaluate it through a range of possibilities (Ne). The shift scares her at first (“what if it doesn’t come together?”), but she grows to like the uncertainty by season two, remarking, “I do not want to have everything decided for me! I spent my whole life like that! […] I like not knowing right now!” (The One Where Old Yeller Dies, 2x20). Rachel continues to display an increased openness to possibility for the remainder of the show – she quits her stable job as a waitress to pursue an uncertain career in fashion (The One Where Rachel Quits, 3x10), decides to have a baby despite not feeling completely prepared (The One After ‘I Do,’ 8x01), and chooses to accept a job in Paris even though she feels scared about the change (The One Where Estelle Dies, 10x15). Despite this, her top two functions often win out in a desire for closure - she feels anxious about not knowing what the future holds when she first moves to New York (The One with George Stephanopoulos, 1x04), and creates a specific plan for the future to ease her worry about not having her life figured out when she turns thirty (The One Where They All Turn Thirty, 7x14).

Introverted Thinking (Ti): Rachel prefers to make decisions through her emotions, and is uncomfortable using hard logic. When Ross makes a list comparing her qualities to Julie, she is deeply upset and can’t believe he can view her in such a cold, unemotional way (The One with the List, 2x08). Her internal logic is usually coloured by her other functions, which can make her decisions rather irrational – she purchases a cat for a thousand dollars when she owes Monica three hundred dollars out of sentimentality for her grandmother (Si), and plays hard-to-get with Danny because she believes this is what is expected through the social situation, despite Monica pointing out that her actions make no sense (Fe).  Rachel becomes a little more rational as the series goes on – when Ross throws a party to win the regard of the people in his apartment, Rachel points out that paying “the hundred bucks” would be easier way of making people like him than going to the trouble of organising a party (The One with the Girl Who Hits Joey, 5x15).

Note: The inspiration for this analysis should be fully credited to mbtiinpopculture, who makes an excellent case for Rachel as an ESFJ here. I have drawn on many of the points they have made to inform this analysis, so please read it if you have the chance and like/reblog to give them the credit they deserve. For a justification for my typing of Rachel as ESFJ, please read my post here.

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