You’ve heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (shout out to my fellow ENFPs!), but do you know your Enneagram type? Ennea means “nine” in Greek, while “gram” denotes something that is written or recorded. Therefore, the Enneagram of Personality is a theory or model of nine interconnected personality types. It’s unclear who came up with this journey of self-discovery, but it is as interesting as it is insightful.
Knowing your Enneagram type can aid in self-awareness, self-understanding, and self-development. The numbers aren’t ranked from best to worst, they just represent the personality type without any positive or negative connotation. You can pay for a test to determine your type, or just figure it out from the descriptions below.
Type One: The Reformer
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
Like Jimminy Cricket, you always let your conscious be your guide. Ones are moral and ethical pillars, with high standards and a strong sense of right and wrong. Often teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change, Ones are motivated by improvement. They are the Ghandis and the Joan of Arcs—heroes who would leave their comfortable lives to answer the calling of a higher purpose.
While Ones are orderly and organized, their idealism and need to reduce disorder can cause them to be critical, perfectionistic, and scared of making a mistake. At their best, Ones are wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Their worst fear is being evil, corrupt, or defective. Instead, they desire to be good, to have integrity, and to be balanced. They strive for perfection to justify their existence and avoid criticism. They need to be in the right and resent or become impatient others who do not share their ideals. Under stress, Ones can be moody and irrational, but at their best, they’re spontaneous and joyful.
Type Two: The Helper
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
You read The Giving Tree and thought “it me”. Twos are there with a helping hand, even when no one asked for it. They are as empathetic, friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing as they come. They are the people-pleasers and the flatterers. Twos are sincere, warm, and well-meaning, but when they express their feelings it can come off as saccharine sentimentality.
Do you go through your significant other’s phone? Typical Twos are possessive over their loved ones, which comes from a fear of being unwanted or unworthy of love. This can become aggressive and dominating under stress. Twos need to be needed, but it can be hard for them to acknowledge that they even have needs themselves. They are motivated by the desire to feel loved or to just get a response out of others. The best things in life to a Two are closeness, sharing, family, and friendship. At their best, twos are unselfish, altruistic, loving, helpful, generous, and considerate. At their worst, they can be prideful and can lie to themselves. To grow, Twos need to do the inner work of nurturing themselves and becoming emotionally aware.
Type Three: The Achiever
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
You’re so vain, you probably think this Enneagram type is about you. Threes believe that “the best they can be” is an attainable goal, and they strive to achieve it every day. Self-development is fun for them. They enjoy sharing their abilities with the world and motivating others to be successful. While threes are usually well-liked, they can be overly concerned with other people’s opinions of them and how they are being perceived.
Threes are diplomatic, pragmatic, ambitious, competent, energetic, self-assured, poised, attractive, and charming. Overall, they want to feel worthwhile, valued, and affirmed—to stand out and earn the admiration of others. These attention-seekers are motivated by the need to impress others, so they often become performers. Status-conscious “stars” are driven by advancement, to the point of being deceitful. When stressed, threes become disengaged and apathetic. But in a healthy state, they can cooperate and commit to others.
Type Four: The Individualist
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
Do you think you’re unique? Do you possess one-of-a-kind gifts? Then you might be a Four. Fours are focused on what makes them different. They think they are exempt from their culture’s conventions. Fours are extremely self-aware, even about their flaws and deficiencies, and can be honest with themselves about their feelings, motives, and inner-conflicts. Sometimes moody and self-conscious, Fours can become melancholy, slipping into self-indulgence and self-pity. Since they think they’re so special, they think their suffering is special too.
Sensitive, creative, and personal, Fours will reveal their flaws to others in order to figure themselves out. But they can also be reserved and withholding, avoiding vulnerability, and protecting their self-image. Fours want to create an identity and are terrified that they might be insignificant. Self-expression of their individuality is what motivates them. Fours want to create and surround themselves with beauty. They’re romantics—they want to attract a knight in shining armor, but no one can understand them or love them adequately because they think they are so exceptional.
Type Five: The Investigator
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
Ever the observer, you’d make a great detective. Fives are alert, curious, insightful, independent, innovative, and inventive. They have no problem concentrating and focusing on developing complex ideas and skills to the point where they become preoccupied by their thoughts. Fives desire to learn and know about everything so they are capable and competent enough to defend themselves from threats. They’re afraid of being useless, helpless, or incapable. Sometimes detached, Fives typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their best, they are self-confident and decisive Einsteins. While usually high-strung and intense, Fives can become hyperactive and scattered under stress.
Type Six: The Loyalist
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
Anxious much? Nothing in this life is certain, but Sixes sure wish it was. All they want is to have security and guidance and to feel supported. Because of their constant worrying, Sixes are pretty good at foreseeing problems, so they can be excellent troubleshooters. Sixes are dutiful, committed, reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy, but they can also be fearful, pessimistic, insecure, cautious, indecisive, defensive, and evasive. Some Sixes are rebellious and defiant and fight their anxiety by courageously facing their fears.
Sixes suffer from self-doubt and can be suspicious of others. Stressed out Sixes become competitive and arrogant, but at their best, they are relaxed, optimistic, and self-reliant.
Type Seven: The Enthusiast
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
FOMO is real for Sevens. “The Enthusiast,” will visit 58 cities when they go on a European vacay because they don’t want to miss anything. Sevens have difficulty making decisions because when they ask themselves what’s best, their inner knowing returns a question mark. Ever the optimist, Sevens have a joie de vivre—a desire to fully participate in their lives every day.
They don’t take themselves or anyone else very seriously. Sevens just want to have fun, looking for fulfillment around every corner. Their sense of adventure and curiosity can lead to physical, emotional, or financial ruin in their constant pursuit of satisfaction and freedom. They are so busy thinking about what’s next, it’s hard for them to enjoy the moment. Keeping their minds busy is a way of distracting themselves from anxious and negative emotions.
Type Eight: The Challenger
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
Challenge accepted. Eights are confident, strong, assertive, charismatic, protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive. Lascivious, ego-centric, and domineering, Eights want to control their environment and the people in it in order to protect themselves. They don’t want anyone to be able to control them psychologically, sexually, socially, or financially. “The Challenger” can be kind of a dick when they feel their authority is in question. They can have quite a temper and become confrontational and intimidating. This behavior comes from a place of wanting to retain and gain power.
Since Eights have built up an emotional armor in an attempt to protect themselves from physical and emotional pain, they can have problems being vulnerable. Relationships fall by the wayside as Eights diligently focus on working hard. However, they are able to affect change through their persistence and endurance and use their willpower to improve the lives of others. At their best, Eights can be generous, forgiving, inspiring, open-hearted, and caring, but when stressed, they can become secretive and fearful.
Type Nine: The Peacemaker
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
Nines go with the flow, sometimes to their detriment. All they want is internal and external peace for themselves and others—to the point of minimizing problems or becoming complacent. Accepting, trusting, and stable, Nines are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive. They desire harmony, inner stability, and peace of mind, and are super scared of loss and separation.
Stubborn Nines want to maintain the status quo, resisting disturbing and upsetting things and avoiding conflict and tension. They generally don’t have a very strong sense of their own identity and would prefer to meld into another human, which can lead to self-neglect. Usually complacent, Nines get worried and anxious under stress. At their best, slothful Nines find the energy and inertia to develop themselves and heal conflicts between others.