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The 9 Enneagram Types: Differences, Explanations, History, and Tests 

The 9 Enneagram Types comprise the Enneagram, a personality typing system that analyzes a person’s motivations, tendencies, and levels of development. Each of the 9 Enneagram Types is defined by a unique set of virtues, ideals and desires that push it along the path of growth and integration. Correspondingly, every Enneatype has specific fixations, traps, and fears which disintegrate the personality into unhealthy behaviors. Understanding the push-pull dynamics of your Enneagram Type’s positive and negative aspects helps you to become better aware of your tendencies and strive to become the healthiest version of yourself.

Nine Enneagram Types

The question “Who found Enneagrams?” generates a layered response. The original inception of the nine-pointed figure of the Enneagram traces back to Pythagoras. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the Enneagram figure came to symbolize personality typing. Bolivian philosopher Óscar Ichazo is widely regarded as the father of the Enneagram, and it was he who first developed the modern meanings of the nine Enneatypes throughout the 1960s.

The nine Enneagram Types and their character archetypes according to Ichazo are as follows.

  • Enneagram Type 1: “The Idealist” and “The Perfectionist”
  • Enneagram Type 2: “The Helper” and “The Giver”
  • Enneagram Type 3: “The Achiever” and “The Performer”
  • Enneagram Type 4: “The Individualist” and “The Romantic”
  • Enneagram Type 5: “The Investigator” and “The Observer”
  • Enneagram Type 6: “The Loyalist” and “The Skeptic”
  • Enneagram Type 7: “The Enthusiast” and “The Epicurean”
  • Enneagram Type 8: “The Challenger” and “The Protector”
  • Enneagram Type 9: “The Peacemaker” and “The Mediator”

All of these Enneagram Types have their own unique characteristics. However, functional analysis of a given Enneatype requires a deeper understanding of how each type relates to one another. The Enneagram figure provides a visual representation of these relationships consisting of points, arrows, and wings. Each of the nine points on the figure of the Enneagram corresponds to an Enneatype. Additionally, every point has two lines connecting it to two other Enneagram Types. These pairs of lines run in opposite directions indicated by arrows that point toward and away from its respective Enneatype. Incoming arrows represent the integrative, growth-oriented dynamic between two Enneagram Types. On the other hand, outgoing arrows represent the disintegrative, stress-oriented dynamic between two Enneagram Types. Finally, the Enneagram figure shows that each Enneagram Type has two neighboring wings. Each wing exerts a specific influence on its respective Enneatype, and functions as a distinct facet of that personality type. Both wings and lines are critical to forming a cogent analysis of a given Enneagram Type.

The system of Enneagram Types has grown dramatically in popularity since its inception in the 1960s. This personality typing system has found favor in employment, academic, mystic, and common usage alike. Of course, The Enneagram is not without its critics, and there are ongoing debates about its utility as a tool for clinical personality psychology. However, there exist scientifically validated Enneagram testing methods, such as the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI), developed in 1993 by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. RHETI was validated by Rebecca Newgent in 2004 at the University of Akron, who compared the test against the Five Factor Model used extensively by therapists, counselors, and psychologists. Furthermore, peer-reviewed studies exist that demonstrate the usefulness of the Enneagram as a tool in postgraduate medical education, such as “The Enneagram and its application in medical education”, published in 2022 by Blose et al. for the journal Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings.

1. Idealist and Perfectionist Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 1)

Enneagram Type 1 is the first of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 1 is known as The Idealist and The Perfectionist because of its responsible, perfectionistic, and ethical tendencies. The Idealist desires to act and exist in a state of perfection, and fears corruptive influences that undermine Type 1’s sense of control over its outcomes. Enneagram 1 is highly motivated to be honorable and forthright as a result of these desires and fears. The advantage of Type 1’s quest for flawlessness is that they tend to become highly disciplined and just.

Enneatype 1 has a line of integration that points inward from Type 7. This line of integration denotes Type 1’s growth towards the most positive traits of Type 7. A Perfectionist in a growth state becomes more accepting of themselves and others, more flexible and less morally rigid, as well as less hyper critical. On the other hand, Type 1 has its disintegration line pointing towards Type 4. Type 1’s personality disintegrates under stress and takes on Type 4’s negative characteristics. A stressed-out Idealist hews to its Ego Fixation, and becomes judgmental of perceived imperfections and even resentful of them.

Enneagram Type 1 gains more fixed characteristics from its two wings in addition to the tendencies of its growth and stress lines. The Enneagram defines wings as the two neighboring Enneatypes on either side of Type 1 on the Enneagram figure. The Idealist’s wings are 1w9 and 1w2 as a result. A 1w9 wing derives their dominant traits from Enneagram 1, but filtered through the calm, reserved, diplomatic qualities of Type 9. On the other hand, 1w2 wing personalities become more empathetic, caring, and giving due to the influence of Type 2 on Type 1. According to psychotherapist Dr. Beatrice Chestnut in her 2013 book “The Complete Enneagram”, Type 1 Perfectionists (regardless of wing) share a tendency for harsh self-criticism. Type 1’s label their negative emotions as “wrong”.

Enneagram Type 1 is most romantically compatible with Type 2 and Type 7. A relationship with Type 2 features shared optimism for the world, and a balanced drive to make it better. Type 7 and Type 1 is more a case of opposites attracting, with Seven’s easygoing nature counterbalancing One’s industriousness. Type 1s lean on their strengths in either relationship to cooperate with their partners to achieve great things.

The Perfectionist is a moral leader in society, occupying roles such as judges, conservationists, and social workers. High profile Enneagram Type Ones include Angela Merkel, Warren Buffet, and Anthony Hopkins. Enneagram Type 1 is relatively uncommon in the general population, representing 8.9% of respondents to the Enneagram Population Distribution.

2. Helper and Giver Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 2)

Enneagram Type 2 is the second of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 2‘s tendencies towards altruism and philanthropy earns it the nicknames Giver and Helper. The Giver’s greatest desire is to improve the lives of others through acts of selflessness. However, Type 2’s unhealthy fear is for their altruistic nature to go unnoticed and unappreciated. Ultimately, The Helper’s core motivation is to feel useful and create security around them. The advantage of Enneagram 2’s quest for reciprocity and appreciation is that they tend to become strong team players and beloved community members.

Enneatype 2 has a line of integration that points inward from Type 4. The Helper’s line of integration shows the direction of growth towards Type 4’s most positive traits. A Giver in a state of growth learns Type 4’s self awareness and introspection, and is less likely to ignore their own problems in the pursuit of solving those of others. On the other side of the coin, Type 2 Helpers disintegrate along their line of stress, which points towards Type 8. A stressed-out Type 2 becomes arrogant about their contributions, and highly resentful for those who don’t appreciate or give back.

It is possible to further understand Enneagram Type 2 through analysis of its two wings in conjunction with its growth and stress lines. The Helper’s neighboring influences on the Enneagram are wings 2w1 and 2w3. The 2w1 wing has a tendency to overwork itself in a bid to appear righteous and moral, but is ultimately a charming and virtuous character. Wing 2w3, on the other hand, gains Type 3’s gregarious ambitious characteristics, supercharging Type 2’s instinct to improve the world. According to Dr. David Daniels’ 2000 book “The Essential Enneagram”, Type 2’s of any wing all fear falling short of their goals to help people and win approval.

Type 2 is one of the most amiable Enneagram Types, and as a result pairs well with any other type. Enneagram 2 is especially attracted to the energies of Type 3 and Type 8, however. Type 2 and Type 3 cultivate a mutual respect and admiration, and thrive on the optimism of their partner. Type 2 and Type 8 are compatible because they share a sense of concern for others, taking generous action to show this consideration. The closest thing to an opposite for Type 2 is Type 5, because Type 5 is aloof while Type 2 thrives on nurturing their loved ones.

Enneagram Type 2 thrive as members of society, and are not antisocial. Enneagram 2 excels in altruistic careers such as teaching and nursing (although they need to carefully avoid ignoring their own needs in rendering service). The spirit of The Giver is exemplified in celebrities like Dolly Parton, Terry Crews, and Maya Angelou. The Enneagram Population Distribution shows that Type 2 is uncommon in the general population, accounting for just 8.5% of all respondents.

3. Achiever and Performer Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 3)

Enneagram Type 3 is the third of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 3 earns the monikers The Achiever and The Performer through its sheer determination and thirst for peer approval. Type 3 desires above all to be the best, and correspondingly fears to be labeled worthless or disappointing. Thus, The Achiever is highly motivated to carve out distinction for themselves by earning the attention and admiration of their peers. The advantage of Enneagram 3’s relentless drive is that they make efficient leaders.

Type 3 Performers have a line of integration incoming from Type 6. The growth path of Threes intersects with the healthiest attributes of Type 6, which temper The Achiever’s personal ambition and refocus that energy on cooperation with others. However, Type 3’s stress line points towards Type 9, indicating a tendency to to fall into isolation and alienation. After all, it’s lonely at the top, and an unhealthy Type 3 wields its superiority complex like a rapier against anyone who doesn’t measure up.

Enneagram wings offer further nuance to predicting Type 3’s behavior, integration, and disintegration. The Performer’s wings are 3w2 and 3w4. Wing 3w2 puts a benevolent spin on Type 3’s drive to be the best, pushing them to be the best at helping others (in exchange for praise). The 3w4 wing contrasts in that it is more inwardly focused on self-improvement, and tends to be in competition with itself first and foremost. Nathans and Van der Meer’s July 2009 submission to The Enneagram Journal, “The Enneagram and Styles of Problem-Solving”, posits that all Type 3s have a penchant for innovation as a means to achieve their goals.

Type 3s typically find their best romantic matches in Type 9s as well as other Type 3s. Type 9’s push to keep the peace acts as a salve to the fires of Type 3’s ambition, helping The Achiever find self forgiveness. Type 3, in turn, motivates Type 9 to overcome their passivity. A pair of Type 3s are truly kindred spirits, and innately understand the drives and motivations of their partner that might mystify or alienate them from other types. On the other hand, Type 4 starkly contrasts with Type 3’s proactive nature. Type 4s prefer to ponder an issue than take action, making a relationship with volatile Type 3 difficult.

Type 3 Achievers are naturally predisposed to accomplishment-focused careers like lawyers, entrepreneurs, and surgeons. Such occupations demand the highest degree of skill, and Performers need no coaxing to oblige. Highly ambitious celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Muhammad Ali exemplify Enneagram 3’s superlative bent. Only a few reach such heights, but Type 3 is nevertheless fairly common in the general public, representing 10.5% of respondents in the Enneagram Population Distribution study.

4. Individualist and Romantic Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 4)

Enneagram Type 4 is the fourth of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 4 is known for its passionate idiosyncrasies, resulting in The Individualist and The Romantic labels being applied to it. The Individualist’s core desire is for authenticity, and fears nothing more than to be rejected for who they really are. Enneagram Type 4 is highly motivated towards creative endeavors, giving them a distinct advantage in coming up with innovative ideas and solutions.

Type 4’s line of integration steams from Type 1 on the Enneagram figure. A Type 4 experiences growth when it aligns with Type 1’s most positive personality traits. Type 1’s sense of righteousness lends confidence to Type 4’s tumultuous relationship with its own creative worth. The Romantic’s line of disintegration points towards Type 2’s negative aspects. Type 2 has a need for validation in the good they bring to the world, and this amplifies Type 4’s own insecurities.

The wings of Enneagram Type 4 divide this personality type into two more nuanced facets. Individualists have the wings 4w3 and 4w5. A wing of 4w3 lends Type 3’s ambitious self-confidence to Type 4’s creative pursuits. Wing 4w5s are more aloof, preferring instead to focus on cultivating their rich inner world at the expense of socialization. However, the antisocial 4w5 gains in its keen ability to express emotions through artistic or other abstract means. Fauvre and Fauvre’s paper “Exploring Enneagram Tritype: Theory and Practice” maintains that Type 4 has highly developed emotional intelligence despite all appearances of introversion and social withdrawal.

Type 4’s most compatible matches are with Type 5 and Type 9. Type 5’s insatiable curiosity meshes well with Type 4’s creativity, but Type 4 needs to be careful not to become overly dependent on Type 5’s approval. Type 9 is more sensitive to Type 4’s needs, allowing this pairing to flourish in an emotionally fulfilling way. However, Type 9 is more logical than Type 4, which can present difficulty facilitating communication. Relationships with outgoing Type 7s are often difficult, beset by Type 4s diametrically opposed introversion.

Type 4 Romantics make natural artists and writers. Fours are highly adept at representing their emotional perspectives through their preferred media. Individualists are not always shut-ins, however, and may channel their creativity through an outgoing persona. Lady Gaga, Bo Burnham and Willow Smith are classic examples of introverted Type 4s with extraverted public faces as conduits for their art. Enneagram Type 4 is one of the more common Enneatypes, representing roughly 15% of survey results in the Enneagram Population Distribution study.

5. Investigator and Observer Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 5)

Enneagram Type 5 is the fifth of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 5 prioritizes logic and rationality over emotionality, and fits the archetypes of The Investigator and The Observer. The Investigator’s core desire is for understanding. Type 5’s quest for knowledge is partially rooted in their basic fear of incompetence. Avoiding failure and helplessness is a major motivation for Enneagram 5’s near-obsession with preparedness and autonomy. Type 5s tend to anticipate their needs well in advance, enabling them to retain the advantage in most situations.

The line of integration for Type 5 runs from Type 8 on the Enneagram figure. Type 5 experiences growth when it adopts Type 8’s best traits. A healthy Type 5 taps into Type 8’s boldness to take action where they otherwise might be stuck in analysis paralysis (especially when it comes to self-improvement). The Observer disintegrates along its stress line, which points towards Type 7. A stressed-out Type 5 loses discipline and focus, indulging in things they know not to be for the best.

Greater understanding of Enneagram Type 5 comes from analysis of its two wings. The Investigator’s wings are 5w4 and 5w6. Wing 5w4 is the more extraverted wing, despite borrowing energy from the inward-focused Type 4. Type 5 combines Type 4’s emotional intelligence with its own raw logic to become highly adept at navigating social situations. On the other hand, the 5w6 wing is more introspective due to Type 6’s focus on security. 5w6 is even more prepared than the base Type 6 Enneatype, but this may lead to risk aversion tendencies.

Type 5’s best relationships tend to be with Types 1 and 2. Type 5 and Type 1 are both highly industrious and disciplined. However, conflicts may arise between what Fives see as logical versus what Ones sees as morally right. Five-Two relationships are opposites whose contrasts complement the other’s weaknesses. Type 2 energizes Type 5’s somewhat stoic social tendencies in a positive direction, while Type 5 fosters the self-reliance and competence that Type 2 sometimes lacks.

Type 5 Observers excel in technical fields such as engineering, computer science, and scholarship. Fives are intellectually rigorous, and hold a natural curiosity to collect and evaluate evidence. Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking are classic examples of the cerebral Type 5 at its height. Type 5 is perhaps most notable for its singular brilliance, which corresponds to it being the rarest Enneatype. According to the Enneagram Population Distribution study, just 4.8% of the population identifies as Enneatype 5.

6. Loyalist and Skeptic Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 6)

Enneagram Type 6 is the sixth of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 6 is vigilant and cautious, as befitting The Loyalist and The Skeptic archetypes. Loyalists desire security in their position, and forge dependable alliances with people they can trust. Type 6 fears uncertainty above all, and unhealthy Skeptics overly fixate on risk aversion. Enneatype 6’s powerful motivation to hedge against the unknown gives them a distinct advantage in leadership roles.

Type 6 has its integration line running from Type 9. Type 9’s best attributes inform Type 6’s path of growth. A healthy Enneatype 6 greatly benefits from Type 9’s sense of harmony and peace, relieving the burden of hypervigilance. Type 6’s line of disintegration directs it towards Type 3’s worst attributes. Unhealthy Loyalists react to stress with suspicion or even paranoia, fueled by Type 3’s sanctimonious tendency.

A deeper understanding of Enneagram Type 6 is found in its two wings, 6w5 and 6w7. These wings occupy neighboring spaces to Type 6 on the Enneagram figure, subtly exerting their influence. Wing 6w5 takes cues from the hyper-analytical Type 5, transforming Skeptic into an expert troubleshooter. The 6w7 wing hones Type 7’s social intuition, making them more compassionate and expressive when forming bonds.

Enneagram 6’s most compatible matches are with Type 9 and other Type 6s. Type 6 seeks security in its relationships, and finds comfort in Type 9’s focus on diplomacy and peacemaking. Similarly, two Loyalists will have an innate understanding of the other’s caution, and not take it personally. In both pairings, Type 6 establishes firm boundaries, cherishing the partner who not only cooperates, but contributes to the structure of the relationship. Type 7’s optimism is the closest thing to an opposite to Type 6, but these two can make a balanced pairing with effort and communication.

Type 6 Skeptics are thorough, observant, and careful, making them naturals in the fields of law enforcement, academia, and healthcare. Famous examples of Type 6 include Joe Biden, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Princess Diana. Type Six is the second-most common Enneagram type, accounting for 16.1% of the Enneagram Population Distribution survey.

7. Enthusiast and Epicurean Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 7)

Enneagram Type 7 is the seventh of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 7 is one of the most social Enneatypes, demonstrating a spontaneous and optimistic nature befitting The Enthusiast and The Epicurean archetypes. Epicureans relish in the delights of life, and seek the fulfillment of their desires. Pain, monotony, and apathy are anathemas to the lively Type 7 to be feared and avoided at all costs. Enneagram 7 is thus highly motivated to thwart the mundane aspects of life and fill theirs with pleasure.

Type 7’s integration line stems from Type 5. An Enthusiast experiencing personal growth will take on Type 5’s best qualities. For example, a healthy Seven can finally find freedom in logic, viewing it as a means to rationalize its decisions. However, an unhealthy Type 7 following its line of disintegration arrives at the worst aspects of Type 1. An Epicurean under stress becomes preoccupied with the things it has left undone in the pursuit of pleasure, and overcompensates in an attempt to shore up its irresponsibilities. Unhealthy Type 7 is judgmental, critical, and argumentative. According to Dr. Beatrice Chestnut in her book “The Complete Enneagram”, Type 7 should always work on self-awareness (in both good times and bad).

Type 7 Enneatypes can learn more about themselves by analyzing their wings on the Enneagram figure. All Sevens are influenced by both their wings 7w6 and 7w8, but one will be more dominant than the other. A dominant 7w6 experiences Type 6’s sober influence. The tendency to pleasure seek is still strong, but wing 7w6 proceeds with caution. Wing 7w8 has a similar positive in that it offers temperance and self-control as a buffer against hedonism.

Enneatype 7 Epicureans have rich, fulfilling relationships with Type 4, Type 9, and especially other Type 7s. Type 4 and 7 are opposites in their inward and outward focus, respectively. However, Type 7 finds the artistic vision and emotional depth of Type 4 fascinating (if somewhat alien). Type 4 in turn appreciates Type 7’s enthusiasm for their work. Both Sevens and Nines enjoy a more immediately facile relationship rooted in their mutual appreciation for going with the flow. Type 7’s flexibility meshes well with Type 9’s diplomacy, though together they may have trouble confronting difficult issues head on. A pair of Type 7s are full of mirth and merriment, as both delight in their partner’s spontaneity and sensuality. Seven-Seven relationships are, however, prone to flights of fancy and occasionally lose touch with the more mundane requirements of life.

Type 7s thrive in careers that allow them to experience the variety of life. Epicureans make excellent travel bloggers, news anchors, and chefs for this reason. Freddie Mercury, Miley Cyrus, and Doja Cat all famously share Enneatype 7’s hallmark lust for life. Enneagram Type 7 is quite common, making up 13.7% of the population according to the Enneagram Population Distribution survey.

8. Challenger and Protector Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 8)

Enneagram Type 8 is the eighth of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 8 is defined by its stalwart dedication to fighting the good fight, earning the nicknames The Challenger and The Protector. Challengers are motivated by a deep-seated desire to help those in need. Type 8’s sense of justice and force of will drive them to exert control over difficult situations. However, a lack of control is the biggest fear of The Protector, and they do whatever it takes to avoid being vulnerable (and thus, unable to render help to those whom they perceive as in need).

Type 2 points towards Type 8 on the Enneagram figure, indicating The Challenger’s line of integration. Type 8 grows under the influence of Type 2’s best qualities, which has the effect of mellowing out and softening The Challenger’s zealous side. A healthy Type 8 still has all the impetus to help people, but tempers its idealism with Type 2’s compassion. An unhealthy Enneagram 8 follows its line of disintegration towards Type 5. Stress makes The Protector borrow Type 5’s penchant for overanalysis and hesitation, which subverts Type 8’s modus operandi to take positive action.

Enneatype 8 has two wings on the Enneagram figure: 8w7 and 8w9. These wings both exert influence over The Challenger’s core traits, and most people will identify with one wing more than the other. Dominant wing 8w7 seeks the thrill of adventure, treating their desire to do good as a quest. Wing 8w9 is more reserved in contrast to 8w7’s enthusiasm. However, an 8w9 wing combines the sheer power of Type 7 with the empathic, social aspects of Type 9.

The best matches for Type 8 are other Type 8s, along with Type 9. Twin Eights make for one of the most harmonious double-number Enneagram matches. An 8-8 pairing makes an unstoppable team when they can agree on a common cause. Type 8 may be headstrong, but their natural diplomatic tendencies allow for two Eights to reach accord more often than not. Additionally, Type 9’s healing hands make an ideal party member on Type 8’s quest, as both types are singularly focused on quelling injustice and helping others.

Enneagram 8 is best suited to roles serving the public interest or a higher cause. Challengers make natural public defenders, politicians, and advertising executives due to their gusto and chutzpah to champion a cause. These traits are evident in some of the most famous Enneatype 8s: Bernie Sanders, Martin Luther King Jr., and Winston Churchhill. Enneagram Type 8 is rare, comprising just 6.3% of the population according to the Enneagram Population Distribution.

9. Peacemaker and Mediator Enneagram Type (Enneagram Type 9)

Enneagram Type 9 is the ninth of nine personalities defined by the Enneagram of Personality. Enneagram Type 9 is known as The Peacemaker and The Mediator due to its agreeable, compassionate nature. Enneatype 9’s greatest desire is to achieve harmony and stability in all things. This desire stems from Type 9’s fear of loss and discord, which The Mediator views as an existential threat. Type 9 is highly motivated to resolve disputes peacefully, employing diplomacy and empathy in equal measure to achieve this end.

Type 9’s line of integration comes from Type 3, The Achiever. The Peacemaker is at its highest level of development and most capable of helping others when it learns to be proactive like Type 3. On the other hand, Type 9 suffers from the disintegrating influence of Type 6, which lies on the other end of its stress line. An unhealthy Mediator beset by The Skeptic’s doubt and over rationalization becomes cold and ineffective at finding the middle ground in emotional conflicts. Dr. Beatrice Chestnut’s book, “The Complete Enneagram”, maintains that Type 9 finds their most fulfilling purpose in assisting others in completing their most noble goals.

Enneatype 9’s two wings on the Enneagram figure are 9w8 and 9w1. People with Type 9 tend to identify more strongly with one wing than the other. However, both wings always exert their influence over The Peacemaker’s core traits to some extent. Wing 9w8 utilizes the leadership skills and initiative of Type 8 without falling prey to The Challenger’s tendency for zeal. The 9w1 wing similarly retains The Peacemaker’s core motivation, but augments it with Type 1’s higher idealism. Thus, 9w1 may seek to resolve larger, more complex problems on a larger scale.

Type 9 has an agreeable nature by default, and as such pairs harmoniously with any other Enneagram Type. However, Type 9’s best attributes are enhanced in a relationship with types who serve something greater than themselves, such as Type 2 and Type 1. Type 1’s strong moral compass and Type 2’s penchant for altruism both resonate strongly with Type 9’s peacemaking ethos. A 9-1 relationship is defined by mutual respect and admiration. 9-2 relationships feature a Type 2 who is well-pleased by Type 9’s love and validation, as well as a Type 9 who learns not to neglect their own needs. In both cases, though, there is a tendency for both types to avoid direct confrontation when it is necessary. Type 5 is the most different to Type 9, as it is assertive, autonomous, and often coldly logical even at the expense of others.

The Peacemaker is best suited to careers that require mediation and emotional problem solving skills. Type 9s make excellent therapists, life coaches, social workers, and even veterinarians due to their empathy. Celebrities like Keanu Reeves, Abraham Lincoln, and Billie Eilish typify Type9’s concern for helping others. The Enneagram Population Distribution shows that Enneatype 9 is common, comprising 16.2% of the surveyed population.

How to compare Enneagram Types to each other?

To compare Enneagram Types to each other, it is important to consider their characteristic values at a high level. The table below lists all of the values for each Enneagram Type.

Comparing Enneagram Types to each other (scroll horizontally)
Enneagram Type Enneagram Type Characteristic Enneagram Type Ego Fixation Enneagram Type Holy Idea Enneagram Type Trap Enneagram Type Basic Fear Enneagram Type Basic Desire Enneagram Type Temptation Enneagram Type Passion Enneagram Type Virtue Enneagram Type Stress and Disintegration Enneagram Type Security and Integration Enneagram Type Example People
Type 1 Performer and Perfectionist Resentment Holy Perfection Perfection Corruption Righteousness Obligation Anger Serenity Type 4 Type 7 Emma Watson, Angela Merkel, Warren Buffet
Type 2 Helper and Giver Flattery Holy Will and Holy Freedom Service Rejection Love and Appreciation Manipulation Pride Humility Type 8 Type 4 Dolly Parton, Maya Angelou, Jill biden
Type 3 Achiever and Performer Vanity Holy Law and Holy Hope Efficiency Worthlessness Esteem Competitiveness Deceit Truthfulness Type 9 Type 6 Oprah Winfrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muhammed Ali
Type 4 Individualist and Romantic Melancholy Holy Origin Authenticity Insignificance Authenticity Fantasy Envy Equanimity Type 2 Type 1 Robert Pattinson, Björk, Frida Kahlo
Type 5 Investigator and Observer Stinginess Holy Omniscience and Holy Transparency Knowledge Helplessness Competence Overanalysis Avarice Non-Attachment Type 7 Type 8 Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates
Type 6 Loyalist and Skeptic Cowardice Holy Faith Security Abandonment Protection Dependence Fear Courage Type 3 Type 9 Princess Diana, Joe Biden, Sigmund Freud
Type 7 Enthusiast and Epicurean Planning Holy Wisdom and Holy Plan Idealism Deprivation Contentment Dissatisfaction Gluttony Sobriety Type 1 Type 5 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Amelia Earhard, John F. Kennedy
Type 8 Challenger and Protector Vengeance Holy Truth Justice Manipulation Independence Stoicism Lust Innocence Type 5 Type 2 Clint Eastwood, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr.
Type 9 Peacemaker and Mediator Indolence Holy Love Self-Abasement Disconnection Harmony Avoidance Sloth Action Type 6 Type 3 Abraham Lincoln, Billie Eilish, Keanu Reeves

The above Enneagram characteristic values are less for describing static personality traits (as in the MBTI), but instead dynamic motivations, tendencies, and paths of development. Moreover, these values exist in cyclical relationships with one another. For example, the Ego Fixation is an emotional tendency formed to cope with the loss of the Holy Idea. However, a person’s development is shaped by the Holy Idea in order to overcome negative Ego Fixation-based behaviors and improve their overall level of personality integration.

How do Enneagram Types explain Ego Fixation?

Enneagram Types explain Ego Fixation as a preoccupation developed in reaction to the loss of the Holy Idea. Ego Fixation is a persistent, unhealthy belief that manifests in response to traumatic or stressful experiences. An Enneatype’s specific Ego Fixation comes into play as a coping mechanism whenever the world seems at odds with their highest ideals.

According to Koole et al. in their “Ego Fixation Hypothesis” research, the Ego Fixation overrides an individual’s awareness of their own emotional reactions, driving them to disregard consciously formed habits and resort to instinctual patterns of behavior. This is sometimes beneficial in a purely survivalistic sense. But for Enneagram analysis, Ego Fixation is in itself a struggle to overcome. After all, Fixation is the mechanism by which an Enneagram Type becomes “stuck” in fixed, unyielding ways of thinking. However, this struggle is the arena that provides growth opportunity in a bid to regain the enlightenment of the Holy Idea.

How do Enneagram Types explain the Holy Idea?

Enneagram Types explain the Holy Idea as a person’s intrinsic understanding of reality. An Enneatype’s Holy Idea describes its subconscious modus operandi–the highest abstract ideals that govern a person’s perceptions and motivations. In practice, however, the Holy Idea does not actually exist unmolested by lived experience, and is not necessarily a predictor of behavior in Enneagram analysis. Instead, it is most useful to understand the Holy Idea as an instinctual point of reference for an Enneagram Type’s growth and development. An Enneatype strives to return to its Holy Idea in its struggle with Ego Fixation.

How do Enneagram Types explain the Trap?

Enneagram Types explain the Trap as a pitfall that keeps a person stuck in Ego Fixation. Óscar Ichazo held Traps as a mechanical cornerstone of his ego-type theory. Traps describe the specific socio-psychological obstacles an Enneatype must overcome in order to subdue Ego Fixation and move closer to the Holy Idea. A person who falls into their Traps exhibits behavior detrimental not only to themselves, but to their relationship with others. Although Traps often have their root in good intentions, unchecked Temptations drive excessively fixated behavior towards unhealthy ends.

How do Enneagram Types explain Basic Desire?

Enneagram Types explain the Basic Desire as the most motivational trait for behavior. The Basic Desire is the dominant force that drives actions and reactions to socio-emotional situations. Understanding the Basic Desire helps for Enneagram Type analysis because it points to why people behave the way they do, rather than just describing how they act. The Basic Desire functions in tandem with and in opposition to the Basic Fear, which lends a sense of urgency and self-preservation to the Desire motivation.

How do Enneagram Types explain Basic Fear?

Enneagram Types explain the Basic Fear as the specific concept that most scares a given Enneatype. This fear is the negative aspect of a person’s core motivation, and exists in opposition to their Basic Desire. Although any Enneagram Type may experience any type of fear, it is the Basic Fear that prompts the most profound action to defend against. In Alexander and Schnipke’s “Primer for Psychiatry Residents” published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the authors posit that the dynamic of the Basic Fear and Basic Desire is useful to psychotherapists as a predictor of behavior.

How do Enneagram Types explain Temptation?

Enneagram Types explain Temptation as the means by which a person falls into their Enneatype’s Trap. A Temptation describes the potential energy of the personality as well as the logical endpoint of unchecked impulse. Temptations may entail positive or negative behavior in moderation, but Enneagram Types that give into Temptations fall into Traps through excess.

How do Enneagram Types explain Virtue?

Enneagram Types explain Virtue as an achieved state of being that aligns with the Holy Idea. Additionally, an Enneatype in a state of Virtue has placated the tumultuous drive of Passion (if only temporarily). Typically, Enneagram Types experience their respective Virtue as something lacking in themselves or their surroundings. Thus, Virtue is an active motivational force for self-development and growth. In Sandra Maitri’s 2005 book “The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues”, the author describes Virtue as the set of implicit and explicit attitudes towards our lived experience that create the conditions necessary for personal transformation.

How do Enneagram Types explain Passion?

Enneagram Types explain Passion as a throughline of energizing emotion that seeks to restore lost Virtue. An Enneatype’s Passion is goal-oriented and responsive to perceived ills, but not always in a constructive way. An unhealthy, unchecked passion channels the worst aspects of Ego Fixation into harmful action. According to Sandra Maitri’s explanation of Claudio Naranjo’s Enneagram teachings, the relationship between Ego Fixation and Passion is cyclical because a person’s perception of reality shapes their emotions, and vice versa. Similarly, a healthy Enneagram Type is aware of both Passion and Virtue, and uses Virtue as a constructive developmental outlet for the turbulent energy of Passion.

How do Enneagram Types explain Security?

Enneagram Types explain Security as a catalyzing stimulus that spurs on growth. Hence, Security is intrinsically linked to an Enneatype’s growth line on the Enneagram figure. Moments of Security bring an Enneagram Type closer to its healthy counterpart Type and provide opportunity for integration between the two. Security is thus one of the main vehicles for achieving higher levels of overall personality development.

What is the figure of the Enneagram?

The figure of the Enneagram is a geometric symbol with ancient origins and layered meaning for personality typing. Proponents of the Enneagram posit that the symbol has its roots in Pythagorean geometry. However, it is difficult to trace a direct link between the ancient usage of the Enneagram figure and its modern usage. Russian mystic P.D. Ouspenksy was the first to credit the Enneagram’s relationship with Pythagoras to his mentor, G.I. Gurdjieff, who also first coined the term “enneagram” in 1916. This term stems from the root words “ennea” (nine) and “gramma” (a drawn figure).

The Enneagram figure consists of three primary geometric components, each of which carries specific meaning for understanding personality psychology. The first Enneagram component is the unbroken circle, which represents the infinite wholeness of universalist thought. The second main component of the Enneagram are the nine points that represent each Enneagram Type. Every point exists at the intersection of two lines which connect the various Enneatypes together. The positioning of the nine points within the circle represents continuity and interconnectedness of the various Enneatypes. The third component of the Enneagram is the direction of these line connections, represented by arrows. Each Enneagram type has one arrow pointing towards it, and a corresponding arrow pointing away from it. The incoming arrow is known as the stress arrow, which represents how the Enneatype will behave under stress. For example, a Type 5 will demonstrate the unhealthy traits of a Type 7 during times of stress. On the other hand is the outgoing arrow, known as the growth arrow. The contrary orientation of the growth arrow represents aspects the Enneatype struggles against which catalyze healthy development and integration of their personality. For example, a Type 5 naturally strives to develop the healthy traits of Type 8.

All components of the Enneagram have existed throughout history, but it is only in modern times that the various symbolism has converged to represent personality. Contemporary usage of the Enneagram figure denotes the relationship between a person’s essence and ego. Although the essence of humankind is pure and in harmony with the universe, the superimposition of the ego creates dissonance and ultimately, growth.

There are two symbols that hold meaning relevant to the Enneagram in addition to the three geometric components above. The first symbol is the triangle (also known as the Trine), which connects to Enneagram Types 3, 6, and 9. Trines represent a metaphorical break from rigid polarities that lock us into binary decisions. Moreover, the number 3 is highly auspicious in both Western culture and mysticism–especially evident in the Christian Trinity. Second is the Hexad, which forms inside the Enneagram figure through lines connecting Types 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8. The Hexad has its roots in Sufi tradition, feeding into the common misconception that the Enneagram comes from Sufi symbology. The Hexad is an irregular, unstable shape that reflects the entropic nature of the universe. The Hexad ties into the dynamic nature of Enneagram personality analysis, which views personality in varying levels of development rather than having static characteristics.

What are the wings for Enneagram?

The wings for the Enneagram are the two numbers immediately adjacent to a specific Enneatype. The wings of each of the nine Enneagram Types are as follows.

  • Type 1: 1w9 and 1w2
  • Type 2: 2w1 and 2w3
  • Type 3: 3w2 and 3w4
  • Type 4: 4w3 and 4w5
  • Type 5: 5w4 and 5w6
  • Type 6: 6w5 and 6w7
  • Type 7: 7w6 and 7w8
  • Type 8: 8w7 and 8w9
  • Type 9: 9w8 and 9w1

The Enneagram wings are similar to the growth and stress lines in that they represent an exertion of influence by one Enneatype’s qualities on another. However, the influence of either wing is more fluid than the strict relationship of growth and stress lines because either wing can spur character growth. Typically, a person will have a dominant wing that denotes a greater ease expressing that wing’s traits. Thus, it is from the less dominant wing that challenging aspects of a personality tend to arise. Individuals typically identify with their dominant wing, and learn from their lesser wing.

How does the Enneagram figure help for wing analysis?

The Enneagram figure is designed to help understand wing analysis at a glance. One of the core components of the Enneagram is the circle, which denotes the interconnectedness of all nine Enneatypes. Additionally, the circle poses a frame of reference, allowing one to easily analyze Enneagram Types and wings in relation to one another. One need only follow along the circle of the enneagram to quickly determine the wings of their Enneatype.

Here is an example of how to use the Enneagram Types and figure for wing analysis. First, consider the results of a hypothetical enneagram test that yields Enneagram Type 3 for the test taker. This person fits The Achiever archetype, and at their best demonstrate a magnetic charisma as well as a pragmatic drive for success. Next, consider that The Achiever has two wings, 3w4 and 3w2. Enneagram Type 4 carries an intense introspective emotional energy, so a dominant 3w4 (also known as “The Professional”) is likely to construct their entire persona around the pursuit of professional success. Type 3’s charisma is a means to an end for The Professional. On the other hand, a dominant 3w2 (also known as “The Charmer”) who taps into Type 2’s gregarious nature is more likely to view social success as an end unto itself.

Do Enneagram figure lines add a meaning for the personality?

Yes, Enneagram figure lines add important meaning to personality analysis because they represent the personality as a dynamic (rather than static) construct. Human beings almost always experience periods of stress and growth, and the Enneagram lines illustrate what course the personality is likely to take in either case.

Returning to the aforementioned example of Enneagram Type 3, The Achiever has 9 as a stress line and 6 as a growth line. During periods of stress, underdeveloped Type 3s demonstrate Type 9’s unhealthy tendency to feel disconnected and powerless. This feeling of apathy amplifies Type 3’s fear of worthlessness, and represents a critical point of improvement for The Achiever. On the other hand, Type 3’s growth path intersects with the responsible, committed energies of Type 6. A healthy Type 6 seeks to foster social cooperation through earnest engagement with their peers, which appeals to The Achiever’s core desire to feel valued and useful.

What are the Instinctual Subtypes of Enneagrams?

The Instinctual Subtypes of Enneagrams are motivational distillations of one of three centers of intelligence that augment the qualities of each Enneatype. The triad of centers of intelligence are mind, heart, and body. Instinctual Subtypes arise from the primal drives of the body center of intelligence, and describe three governing subconscious motivations. The first motivation is the self-preservation instinct, which drives behavior seeking physical necessities such as sustenance, security, and family. The second motivation is the social instinct, which drives behavior seeking social membership and acceptance. The third motivation is the one-to-one instinct, which drives behavior seeking intimacy and partnership.

Instinctual Subtypes subdivide each of the nine Enneatypes into 27 total subtypes (unlike the basic emotional triad of the Enneagram). Analyzing Enneagram Types through the lens of Instinctual Subtypes offers deeper insight into a person’s major points of concern, emotional habits, intuitions, and automatic reactions.

What are the criticisms of Enneagram Types?

The three primary criticisms of Enneagram Types are as follows.

  • Enneagram has its roots in mysticism, rather than science. The first person to link the Enneagram to personality was Bolivian philosopher and occultist Óscar Ichazo. Critics express doubt in Ichazo’s credibility because he claims to have learned about the Enneagram’s properties from the Archangel Metatron during a mescaline hallucination.
  • The Enneagram lacks empirical evidence to support its assertions. Mental health and psychological professionals regularly cite a lack of objective evidence to support usage of Enneagram Types in clinical practice. Although many studies are published on a regular basis, few are peer reviewed for scientific rigor. Some critics go so far as to call the Enneagram (along with other personality typing systems like the MBTI) a pseudoscience.
  • Enneagram Type tests are unreliable. Psychological assessments must have repeatable results in order to reach confident conclusions about a person’s personality. The majority of Enneagram tests utilize a forced-choice format, which lacks a mechanism to accommodate for variations in examinees’ answers over time. Thus, a test taker may obtain radically different Enneagram Type results upon successive test attempts.

Are Enneagram Personality Types scientific?

Enneagram Personality Types are not generally accepted as scientific. However, the popular understanding of the Enneagram has its roots in academic rigor. In 1984, Dr. David Daniels of Stanford University conducted a study of 970 Stanford students and staff. The analysis of this study comprised the publication of the Stanford Enneagram Discovery Inventory and Guide (SEDI). SEDI laid the groundwork for Dr. Daniels’ Essential Enneagram Test, which remains one of the most scientifically rigorous Enneagram Type tests. Nevertheless, professional skepticism of the Enneagram depresses interest in peer-reviewed publication. Until such time as a larger scientific corpus comes to fruition, Enneagram Types are best for self-reflection and a deeper understanding of one’s emotional drives.

What is the most important research about Enneagram Types?

The most important research about Enneagram Types focuses on the system’s objectivity and potential use for evidence-based psychology. Additionally, there is a wealth of research geared towards exploring and expanding facets of the Enneagram system. Prominent examples of both types of research are as follows.

  • “The Enneagram: A systematic review of the literature and directions for future research”, Hook et al., Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2021: Hook et al. explore the validity of the Enneagram for use in clinical psychology. Their systematic review collates findings from 104 empirical studies on Enneagram Types to review its strengths, weaknesses, and the fidelity of its derivative constructions.
  • “But is it real? A review of research on the Enneagram”, Anna Sutton, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, 2012: Sutton deconstructs the main factors of an effective personality assessment, and analyzes the Enneagram against these criteria. Additionally, Sutton explores academic prejudice against the Enneagram as a barrier to rigorous research, citing the relative dearth of peer-reviewed study as evidence.
  • “The enneagram: An innovative approach”, Matise, Journal of Professional Counseling: Practice, Theory & Research, 2007: Matisse explores the Enneagram as a therapeutic counseling tool. The author analyzes similarities between Enneagram Types and psychological diagnostic criteria found in the DSM-IV.
  • “Personality type and work-related outcomes: An exploratory application of the Enneagram model”, Sutton, Allinson, and Williams, European Management Journal, 2013: The authors conduct a survey assessing correlations between workplace attitudes and Enneagram Types (among other personality motives). This study proposes that workplace efficiency can improve through use of the Enneagram typology due to its emphasis on personal challenges and development.
  • “Exploring Enneagram Tritype Theory and Practice”, Fauvre & Fauvre, The Enneagram Journal, 1995: Fauvre and Fauvre assert that people actually tap into three (as opposed to one) primary Enneagram Types from one of each of the triads Head, Heart, and Body. A person’s tritype represents three distinct emotional strategies ranked in descending order of preference to solve psycho-social problems. The second strategy comes into play when the first strategy fails, and so forth. The Tritype Theory represents a significant (if controversial) evolution of the original Enneagram Type system.

As illustrated above, a large portion of the research corpus for Enneagram Types is meta-focused on the system’s clinical viability. However, the first instance of academic Enneagram research (Stanford professor Dr. David Daniel’s 1984 SEDI) was scientifically rigorous. Nevertheless, new studies of the Enneagram are published with high regularity around the world. The focus of modern Enneagram research is usually tied to its implications for vocational concerns. An example of this type of research is Jong Hyun Yang and Jeong Ah Yoon’s 2023 study “Comparative Analysis of the Effect of Job Satisfaction on Customer Oriented Behaviors by Personality Type of Nurses”, published in the Journal for ReAttach Therapy and Developmental Diversities.

Do Enneagram Types help for Personality Psychology?

Yes, Enneagram Types are helpful for performing informal Personality Psychology. Professional personality psychologists make analysis and diagnosis of individual personality, comparing demographic similarities with individual social adjustments. The Enneagram puts a similar emphasis on individual psycho-social development, but it lacks the level of objectivity necessary to conduct evidence-based Personality Psychology. Thus, Enneagram Types are most helpful for personal understanding of one’s own challenges, impetus, and growth opportunities.

What is the difference between Enneagram and Myers Briggs (MBTI)?

The difference between the Enneagram and Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) boils down to emotional motivation versus mental traits. Enneagram types describe dynamic socio-psychological factors that change and evolve based on levels of development and exposure to stress. On the other hand, MBTI personality types are more static and inherent, describing tendencies to react in specific ways to social stimuli. In short, MBTI explains how people behave, whereas Enneagram explores why they behave that way.

Neither the Enneagram nor the MBTI is strictly superior to the other. In fact, it is beneficial for individuals to take both tests to discover different facets of their personalities specifically because the two typing systems don’t fully overlap. Although it is possible to identify challenging personality aspects with the MBTI, the Enneagram describes the path of personal growth and development in a more efficient way. This efficiency is due to the Enneagram’s sensitivity to one’s own specific level of development. However, MBTI is more useful for typing others for whom personal development levels are unknown. Additionally, MBTI offers more accurate predictions for behavioral analysis due to the inherent nature of the system’s personality traits.

The Enneagram analyzes personality through nine basic Enneatypes. Each of these nine Enneatype gains definition through three things. First, Enneagram types fall under one of three triads (heart, head, and body) which generally represent three distinct categories of emotional function and impetus. Second, Enneatypes have arrows pointing to and from two other types, which represent aspects of growth and stress. Third, the nine Enneagram types have two wings each, representing bleed

Every Enneatype gains further definition through the emotional influence of its two wings, as well as its categorization into one of three triads (heart, head, body). These triads represent three distinct modes of functioning and development, especially under stress.