The Enneagram is a personality typing system that consists of nine different types. Everyone is considered to be one single type, although one can have traits belonging to other ones. While it’s uncertain whether this type is genetically determined, many believe it is already in place at birth.
The nine types (or “enneatypes”, “ennea” means “nine”) are universally identified by the numbers 1 to 9. These numbers have a standard way of being placed around the Enneagram symbol.
Usually one has characteristics of one of the types that lie adjacent to one’s own that are more prominent. This is called the wing. So someone who is a type 5, might have a 4 wing or a 6 wing. This may be abbreviated to “5w4” and “5w6”. If one doesn’t have a dominant wing, it is said that the wings are balanced.
1.Type One/The Perfectionist
Perfectionists believe they must be good and right to be worthy. Consequently, Perfectionists are conscientious, responsible, improvement-oriented and self-controlled, but also can be critical, resentful and self-judging.
They are precise, clear, direct, honest and detail-oriented. Others may perceive Ones as judgmental, critical, sermonizing or closed-minded.
Honest, responsible, conscientious, hard-working, dependable, practical, self-reliant
Resentful, rigid, judgmental, non-adaptable, overly critical
2.Type Two/The Giver
Givers believe you must give fully to others to be loved. Consequently, Givers are caring, helpful, supportive and relationship-oriented; they also can be prideful, intrusive and demanding.
Twos are friendly, open, expressive, focused on others, and quick to support or give advice. Others may perceive Twos as overly helpful, nagging, controlling or resentful.
Twos excel at making connections and empathizing with the needs and feelings of others. Focused on relationships, they are good at supporting others, but find it difficult to turn their attention toward themselves and their own needs. Emotionally sensitive, they want to be accepted and liked by others, and will adapt or change to earn this approval. Setting personal boundaries can be challenging, and they sometimes relieve the pressure through emotional outbursts.
Caring, helpful, relationship-oriented, generous, sensitive to others’ feelings, supportive and exuberant
Prideful, dependent on approval of others, intrusive, demanding, privileged
3.Type Three/The Achiever
Performers believe you must accomplish and succeed to be loved. Consequently, Performers are industrious, fast-paced, efficient and goal-oriented; they also can be inattentive to feelings, impatient and image-driven.
Threes are enthusiastic, direct, topic-focused, fast-paced and confident. Others may perceive Threes as impatient, overly efficient and restrictive, and overriding of others’ views.
Enthusiastic, action-oriented, problem-solving, successful, efficient, practical and competent
Image-driven, over-worked, impatient, competitive, out of touch with feelings
4.Type Four /The Individualist
The Sensitive, Introspective Type:Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living.
They are expressive of feelings, personal, self-focused and have a flair for originality. Others may perceive Fours as overly expressive, unsatisfied with responses and emotionally intense.
Creative, empathetic, idealistic, capable of emotional depth, compassion
Moody, withdrawn, self-absorbed, over-sensitive, demanding, unsatisfied with what is
5.Type Five/The Observer
Observers believe they must protect themselves from a world that demands too much and gives too little. Consequently, Observers seek self-sufficiency and are non-demanding, analytic, thoughtful and unobtrusive; they also can be withholding, detached and overly private.
Fives are content-focused, clear, analytical and wordy, but not big on “small talk.” Others may perceive Fives as emotionally disconnected, aloof, over-analytical and distant.
Scholarly, perceptive, thoughtful, self-reliant, dependable, respectful, calm in crisis
Detached, isolated, overly intellectual, withholding, hoarding
6.Type Six/The Loyal Skeptic
Loyal Skeptics believe you must gain certainty and security in a hazardous world that you just can’t trust. Consequently, Loyal Skeptics are intuitive, inquisitive, trustworthy, good friends and problem-solvers, but also can be doubtful, accusatory and fearful.
They’re Thoughtful, questioning, engaging and information-oriented. Others may perceive Sixes as pessimistic, contrary, challenging, doubting or controlling.
Perceptive, sensitive, loyal, warm, witty, courageous and strategic thinking
Anxious, hyper-vigilant, pessimistic, contrary, over-active imagination
7.Type Seven/The Epicure
Epicures believe you must stay upbeat and keep your possibilities open to assure a good life. Consequently, Epicures seek pleasurable options, and are optimistic and adventurous; they also avoid pain, and can be uncommitted and self-serving.
Sevens are exuberant, fast-paced, spontaneous, analytical and idea-oriented. Others may perceive Sevens as quickly shifting topics, making excuses, self-absorbed and indifferent to others’ input. Strengths
Adventurous, playful, imaginative, energetic, optimistic, quick-thinking
opportunities and adventures.
Adventurous, playful, imaginative, energetic, optimistic, quick-thinking
Self-absorbed, dispersed, uncommitted, impatient, unrealistic
8.Type Eight/The Protector
Protectors believe you must be strong and powerful to assure protection and regard in a tough world. Consequently, Protectors seek justice and are direct, strong and action-oriented; they also can be overly impactful, excessive and impulsive.
Eights are direct, authoritative, zestful, firm, and oriented to truth and justice. Others may perceive Eights as confrontational, intimidating, loud and controlling.
Courageous, strong, fair, truthful, determined, generous, protective of others
Excessive, angry, dominating, lustful, afraid of vulnerability
9.Type Nine/The Mediator
Mediators believe that to be loved and valued, you must blend in and go with the flow. Consequently, Mediators seek harmony and are inclusive, amiable, easygoing, comfortable and steady; they also can be self-forgetting, conflict-avoidant and stubborn.
Nines are non-confrontational, friendly, other-focused and inclusive of both feelings and facts. Others may perceive Nines as indecisive, scattered, unclear and overly conciliatory.
Excellent mediators, caring, supportive, adaptive, steady, receptive, non-judgmental
Stubborn, ambivalent, self-forgetful, indecisive, conflict-avoidant
The first use of the Enneagram was in the teachings of Oscar Ichazo on spiritual development in the 1950s. In 1980s and 1990s a string of popular self-help books were published that centred on the Enneagram.
The test has 72 items. Each is a statement that you must rate on how much you agree with it on a five point scale where 1=Disagree, 3=Neutral and 5=Agree. It should take most people 5 to 15 minutes to complete.
To learn more: enneagraminstitute
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