Have you ever noticed how every person has his or her own unique quirks, antics, strengths, trigger points, and coping and defense mechanisms? Back when we were younger, we probably perceived this as an unexplained phenomenon, or some of us may have not even noticed it. Everyone reacts to certain situations like death, failure, and stress in different ways, so it is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to react when something happens.
In this day and age, people are all about self-improvement, which is why personality types have gained popularity over the past few years. Most of us have heard of terms such as “ENFJ, ENFP, ISTJ, and INTJ”, but all these fall under the Myer-Briggs concept. In this article, I am going to delve into the different Enneagram types, so we can all take a step to better understand ourselves.
You are probably wondering, “What exactly is an Enneagram type?” There is a much more complicated explanation, but the bottom line is an Enneagram is a model or structure that has nine points. Each point is directed to a different personality type. It does not necessarily mean that the Enneagram one gets to shape who they are, but what sets these Enneagram types apart are their core values, motivations, and fears (Cherry, 2020).
Before we talk about the different Enneagram types, it is important to note that no one can say that they just fall under one Enneagram type. Although everyone has their main or dominant type, there is something called a “wing”. Think of wings as the subtype that plays a role in your personality. Your “wing” can only be one of the two numbers that go before or after your basic type. Let’s say you’re an Enneagram 7; your wing can only be 6 or 8 because those are the numbers that sandwich 7. This concept or rule applies to all Enneagram types. Although the wings influence the way your personality works, the Enneagram theory states that you cannot hop from one basic type to another (Cherry, 2020).
The nine Enneagram types
Enneagram 1 (The Perfectionist)
Enneagram ones are usually those who extremely value morals, attention to detail, rules, and regulations. For them, it is either the right way or the highway. They strive for nothing short of perfection, and they appreciate it when people call them responsible. Not only are enneagram ones detailed, but they often put pressure on themselves to be “good” and self-disciplined. Ones are afraid of showing any flaws and falling short. Oftentimes, they combat this fear by being overly critical of themselves and others. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “Ones strive to be good and honorable - and to live a life with purpose. They seek the best and most correct way to do things.”
Enneagram 2 (The Giver)
Enneagram twos love caring for others because they want to feel loved, too. They are kind, sacrificial, warm, and empathetic. They want to be there for their loved ones as much as they can, so they are always there to lend a helping hand. Twos are afraid of being pushed away by those close to them, so they combat this fear by making it a point to selflessly love others and be involved in their lives. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “Enneagram Twos want to feel loved and appreciated, which motivates them to express love toward others in their words and actions.”
Enneagram 3 (The Achiever)
Enneagram threes find their worth and validation through achievements and accomplishments. They value ambition, success, and the way society views them, and they exude confidence. Threes set goals and do everything they can to reach those. They are conscious about their image, and they are afraid of failure because this makes them feel insignificant and worthless. To combat this fear, they always try to find the next big thing they can succeed at. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “Type Threes are motivated by a need for attention and admiration. They strive to be successful and significant to avoid feeling worthless.”
Enneagram 4 (The Individualist)
Enneagram fours value their identity and the things that set them apart from the rest of society. They take pride in their creativity, self-awareness, sensitive nature, and authenticity. Fours are usually better at connecting with themselves than with others. They are afraid of being misunderstood and not having their own personal identity. Type fours augment their fortes and all of the things that make them unique. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “Fours are motivated by their desire to express their individuality and to be unique. They do this through creative endeavors and by over-identifying with the aspects of their personality that they view as lacking or deficient.”
Enneagram 5 (The Investigator)
Enneagram fives have a curious, observant, and independent nature. They do not like wasting most of their energy interacting with others because they would rather invest it to find ways on how to be self-reliant. Fives crave for knowledge and would like to expand their intellect as much as they can. They are afraid of having to deal with all of the emotions that come with the needs of themselves and those around them. To combat this fear, they focus more on developing their minds rather than their relationships. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “Fives are motivated by a desire to be competent and possess a strong understanding of their environment. This motivation drives them to a nearly constant state of learning and knowledge accumulation.”
Enneagram 6 (The Skeptic)
Enneagram sixes value their security and safety above all else. They try their best to avoid unforeseen problems, and they strive to build connections with people that they think are trustworthy. However, they are cautious while doing so. Sixes are hard workers and reliable individuals. They are afraid of being exposed to danger without any sort of defense. To combat this fear, they try to think of every single possible turnout of the situation they are currently in. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “This type is motivated by their need for safety and security. They seek support and reassurance from other people and are extremely loyal to people and groups that they trust.”
Enneagram 7 (The Enthusiast)
Enneagram sevens are known to be adventurous, free-spirited, energetic, and spontaneous. They seek enjoyment by living their lives to the fullest. Sevens are very playful, optimistic, fun-loving, and versatile. Since they are always doing something, they can get scattered and drained. They are afraid of experiencing pain, boredom, and not being able to experience the exciting parts of life. To combat this fear, they are always on the go and are ready to immerse themselves in adventure and new experiences. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “More than anything, Sevens want to avoid feeling bored, sad, or uninspired.”
Enneagram 8 (The Challenger)
Enneagram eights appear as powerful, strong, confident, self-assured, and decisive leaders. They do not shy away from arguments and debates because they believe in standing up for what they believe in and for those who cannot do it for themselves. Eights shield others who are “weaker” than them, and they do this to reassure people that they are protected. They are afraid of vulnerability and being seen as weak and incapable. Apart from that, they are also scared of being powerless. To combat this fear, they always try to be strong, assert dominance, and be in control. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “Eights are motivated by their desire to be independent and in control. They resist appearing or feeling weak and reject any authority that restricts them.”
Enneagram 9 (The Peacemaker)
Enneagram nines are harmonious and value peace because they wish to avoid conflict with others. Oftentimes, they are accommodating and accepting because they believe that this will allow things to flow smoother. Nines are easy to get along with, and the times that they disagree with others are rare. While they typically just follow and go with whatever, they tend to respond in a passive way when they are being controlled way too much. They are afraid of being seen as indigent in any aspect of their life, so they have tendencies of closing their doors. Nines usually just agree with what the people around them are saying to make things as peaceful as possible. They do this because according to Owens (n.d.), “Nines are motivated by their need for peace and harmony in their environment, and they desire to avoid conflict and deal with unpleasant emotions.”
Road to self-understanding and self-improvement
Knowing your Enneagram type is helpful in more ways than one because it helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can be self-aware and take steps to be a better individual. Enneagram types are also a guide to help you understand what you need to do to grow and progress and how to deal with yourself and respond to others in a healthy way during times of stress. It is important to recognize the signs when you need to take a step back because this will save you from unnecessary burnouts. All of the things mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg for all enneagram types, so it is possible for you to relate to other Enneagram types even though it is not your basic type.
If this article sparked your curiosity, take the free Enneagram tests online and read more about it to know how you are at your best and at your worst. I guarantee you that the online websites will provide you with much more in-depth explanations about the nine Enneagram types, and they will also help you learn more about yourself. Lastly, it is important for all of us to not stereotype people based on their enneagram types. Don’t let your enneagram type define you, and don’t let it put you in a box because there is room to grow and change as a person. We are all on the road to self-understanding and self-improvement, so cut yourself some slack because you are making progress every day!
Cherry, K. (2020, June 23). What is the Enneagram? Retrieved from
DePover, M. (2020, October 14). Enneagrams: Why they are helpful for everyday life.
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Owens, M. (n.d.). What are the nine enneagram types?. Retrieved from