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Insights into Enneagram: What your type says about you

Unlike other personality tests that focus more on a person's attributes, the Enneagram personality test reveals a person's desires and fears. – Photo by Twisp / Wikimedia.org

Gone are the days of having just your Hogwarts house or zodiac sign down pat — MBTI, Enneagram and other indicators of personality are now in vogue, and if you don’t know yours, it’s time to learn it.

Focusing on basic fears and desires, the Enneagram personality test is a great insight into what makes you tick. Each person is 1 of 9 "types," or "enneatypes," that all connect to one another. You also have a wing, which is a modification of your first type based on one of the other types it’s next to on the interconnecting web of Enneagram numbers.

For example, someone who is a type two could be a type two, wing one (2w1) or a type two, wing three (2w3) — same for seven and six or eight, nine and eight or one, etc. If you connect more with fives than sevens as a six, for example, you would probably be a 6w5. 

Enneagram can be either self-typed based on what you know about yourself, or by taking a test — Truity has a good one, as does the site Crystal, which also has pretty good descriptions for each type. You can also learn directly from The Enneagram Institute itself. 

Here's what each type is like and what they value in a nutshell:

Type one

More than anything else, type ones value fairness, accuracy and things being orderly. They’re typical rule followers, and are most fearful about things being unjust or uncontrolled. Corruption, bad intentions and anything that doesn’t fit into a perfect ideal can send type ones into a tailspin.

That being said, they’re optimistic idealists that strive consistently to do the right thing. They’re only self-righteous to others because they hold themselves to even higher standards. 

Type two

Type twos most value being loved. Their greatest desire is to be desired and to be accepted by those around them. They’re warm-hearted and kind, but can become people pleasers who are paralyzed entirely by criticism — either giving it or receiving it. They need to recognize they have value outside of other people and that processing, experiencing and acknowledging negative emotions isn’t a bad thing.

Type three

Type threes are fixated on being valued. They want to be admired, accepted and welcomed into the fold for doing things right and being successful at what they do. Threes are typically charismatic and hardworking, but can have an incredibly difficult time accepting failure, whether it be their own or other people’s. They can be far too competitive, but they also can connect with and help motivate others. 

Type four

What type fours want most is to feel significant in the world. The idea of dying without leaving a big, lasting impact on the world and the people around them is scary to a four.

They’re individualists first and foremost, and they’ll sometimes go to excessive lengths to feel special or unique. They’re deeply intuitive and in connection with their own selves, but this can lead to them being pretentious, standoffish or self-important. They focus on what they want instead of what they have. Intensely creative and expressive, fours have the benefit of marching to the beat of their own drum. 

Type five

If you’re a type five, your priority is feeling competent. Knowledge is the most important thing to you, and how you can use it to help yourself and others. You prioritize intellect and like feeling competent, safe and able to take care of yourself. You’re observant and are incredibly calm in crisis situations, but can isolate yourself and value intellect over emotions, making some people believe that you’re condescending or aloof.

Type six

What a type six values is security. Their primary motivation is building a loyal group of people around them, so that they can feel safe and needed. Trusting others is important to a six, and losing their support system is their biggest fear.

Sixes are practical, protective and care a lot about others, but they’re oftentimes crippled by self-doubt, insecurity and fear. They balance logic and emotion well, but cowardice and anxiety can manifest itself in their decision-making.

Type seven

Type sevens want nothing more than to feel engaged and satisfied with what they are experiencing. They value excitement, love new adventures and experiences and are adaptable to handling changes as they come. Sevens are clever and are incredibly quick and attentive learners. But this also means they can be impulsive, rash and inconsiderate of other people’s feelings as they chase their own buzz.

Type eight

Type eights value control. They want to defend themselves and their loved ones and keep themselves protected from things that are unjust. Eights never have a problem standing up for themselves or advocating for how they want or what they feel, but this can lead to a reputation of being bullheaded or stubborn. Eights are logical and take charge, but can tend to be bulldozers or bossy. Overwhelmingly, though, eights get things done. 

Type nine

Type nines value peace and harmony — both within themselves, and in the world around them. They avoid discomfort and conflict like they’re paid to do it, and are oftentimes the peacemaker among their friend group, or any other group they’re in.

Nines are calm and capable of understanding multiple perspectives, but they can minimize other people’s feelings or fall into playing devil’s advocate in their efforts to create peace. While they’re kind and caring friends, nines should assert themselves more, and remember that sometimes things need to get a little rough so the dust can settle — repressing things isn’t the same as solving them.

The Enneagram personality types can not only give you insight into how your mind and personality works but also can help you see how you treat others. There are strengths and weaknesses to every single Enneagram type, and no one is better or worse than the rest: It’s all about how you use your knowledge of yourself to improve. 


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