Discover the 9 Types

The Enneagram system consists of 9 distinct personality types, or ways of interpreting the world.

By expanding your knowledge of the Enneagram, you will be able to reach a profound new level of empathy and compassion for how you tend to interpret situations, events, encounters, and experiences, thus shattering individual judgements and dramatically enhancing the relationship you have with yourself, those you work with, and those you love most dearly. You’ll truly transform your perspective.

Type 1

The Perfectionist

BASIC ASSUMPTION: I must gain worthiness and love through being good and perfecting both myself and the world. 

ATTENTION GOES TO: errors, mistakes, and things to correct (as I see them)

STRUGGLE: striving for perfection, judging self and others 

HIGHER EMOTION: serenity – accepting what is as it is 

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • contained or righteous anger (tension, frustration) 
  • repression of impulses/desires (sometimes with “trap door”) 
  • rigidity – over-control 
  • virtue as own reward 
  • good/bad, right/wrong thinking 
  • high standards 
  • hard-working, responsible, conscientious
Type 2

The Giver

BASIC ASSUMPTION: I will get love and appreciation only by giving to others the help and support they need. 

ATTENTION GOES TO: the needs and desires of others; being indispensable 

STRUGGLE: getting own needs met through being needed and giving to others – confusion with identifying personal needs 

HIGHER EMOTION: humility – recognizing own value, finding balance in relationship

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • strong, inflated sense of pride in ability to know others’ needs 
  • giving with “strings attached” (to get approval and acceptance) 
  • resentment/anger when giving is not reciprocated 
  • vulnerable to having sudden emotional outbursts 
  • manipulative (indirect expression of own needs) 
  • importance of feelings (sometimes histrionic)/not recognizing own needs or wants
  • warm, caring, kind, generous
Type 3

The Performer

BASIC ASSUMPTION: I am loved for what I achieve and accomplish. People are rewarded for what they do. 

ATTENTION GOES TO: tasks, goals and things to accomplish, performance, doing, moving forward and winning 

STRUGGLE: efficiency (cutting corners), competing and winning, rewards, inattention to feelings, impatience in dealing with own and others’ feelings 

HIGHER EMOTION: truthfulness – willingness to be real, authentic, not just image-driven

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • identification with accomplishment and success 
  • belief that I am my image and my image can alter when needed 
  • self-deception – Who am I if not this image that can alter?; What are my real feelings?
  • earned rewards and resulting benefits (status, recognition, etc.) 
  • anger at obstacles to tasks when getting things done 
  • can-do attitude, fast-paced, success-oriented 
  • caring – sees potential in others
Type 4

The Romantic

BASIC ASSUMPTION: I lost what made me feel loved and special – something is missing in me – and the only way to feel lovable again is to find an ideal love (or situation) or win back the original lost love. 

ATTENTION GOES TO: what is missing/perceived unattainable 

STRUGGLE: being seen as special, finding ultimate love 

HIGHER EMOTION: equanimity – finding grounding and balance while also being open to feelings 

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • sensitive, comfortable with intense feelings 
  • project image of being creative, different, unique 
  • push/pull – what is present is inferior or what is absent is attractive, a setup for longing
  • ultimate idealist – longing for “X” (intensity, uniqueness, authenticity) 
  • abandonment theme – not loveable – not fitting in yet wanting to be unique
  • empathetic, especially for suffering of others 
  • romantic and artistic and sometimes moody 
  • rejects being ordinary
Type 5

The Observer

BASIC ASSUMPTION: The world demands too much and gives too little, and the only way to protect myself is through privacy and self-sufficiency (minimize material needs; acquire all knowledge). 

ATTENTION GOES TO: intrusion, or to detaching and observing, compartmentalizing, retreating into the mind 

STRUGGLE: privacy, self-sufficiency to avoid needing others 

HIGHER EMOTION: non-attachment – opening, available for giving and receiving

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • intellectualism: thinking or research replace or delay doing – knowledge is perceived as power
  • greedy for or hoarding time, space, energy, knowledge 
  • the move away, secrecy and wanting privacy (“secret life”) 
  • appearing superior (or aloof), but feeling inferior inside 
  • keeping confidences 
  • calm in crisis 
  • thoughtful 
  • steady
Type 6

The Loyal Skeptic

BASIC ASSUMPTION: The world is threatening, dangerous, and untrustworthy and I can minimize the danger by being skeptical (questioning everything), and by doing whatever needs to be done to avoid harm. 

ATTENTION GOES TO: creating safety 

STRUGGLE: seeking certainty, safety in an uncertain world 

HIGHER EMOTION: courage – acting despite fear

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • scanning and vigilance 
  • away from fear (phobic-flight) or against fear (counter-phobic-fight) 
  • loyalty 
  • ambivalence regarding authority 
  • trustworthy 
  • responsible 
  • dutiful 
  • collaborative
Type 7

The Epicure

BASIC ASSUMPTION: It is a frustrating and painful world that I can escape by living in my imagination and fantasy and rejecting pain.

ATTENTION GOES TO: positive options, future possibilities and keeping life “up”

STRUGGLE: avoiding pain and limitations, feeling good 

HIGHER EMOTION: sobriety – setting limits, staying present

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • multiple options – optimism – positive possibilities 
  • “monkey mind” 
  • ability to synthesize divergent ideas 
  • reframing negatives into positives 
  • difficulty with commitment 
  • not wanting limits and equalizing authority 
  • feeling entitled – superior position, narcissistic 
  • optimistic – joyful – spontaneous
Type 8

The Boss/Protector

BASIC ASSUMPTION: It is a hard and unjust world in which the innocents are taken advantage of by the powerful, and the only way to protect myself (and other innocents) is to be strong and powerful, a force to be reckoned with. 

ATTENTION GOES TO: power, things needing control or assertiveness, injustice 

STRUGGLE: control, being in charge 

HIGHER EMOTION: innocence – open to life, vulnerable 

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • denial of vulnerability and weakness 
  • aggressive, intimidating, impulsive 
  • lust for life – “too much, too long, too big” 
  • all or nothing relating 
  • protective of others – innocents 
  • anger expressed easily; anger represents strength, respect 
  • action-oriented 
  • can be generous and kindhearted
Type 9

The Mediator

BASIC ASSUMPTION: It is a world that makes many competing demands on my attention and seems to control me from every side; the only way to maintain a reasonable level of comfort and to keep things peaceful is to go along with the demands made on me. 

ATTENTION GOES TO: others, environmental distractions and comfort seeking 

STRUGGLE: finding sense of belonging and comfort, making decisions, dealing with anger

HIGHER EMOTION: right action – willingness to do what needs to be done, value self

ADDITIONAL TRAITS: 

  • merges into others to achieve sense of belonging and union 
  • peacemaker/harmonizer – can be overly adaptive 
  • self-forgetting (indolence toward self) 
  • pleasing and caring – difficulty saying no; avoids conflict 
  • indirect anger: stubborn or passive aggressive in resisting others 
  • others’ opinions and positions clearer, more important than own 
  • adaptable, easy going, inclusive

Schedule Your Enneagram Type Discovery Call

Take the first step towards awakening your best self and achieving a more enriched life by scheduling a free one-on-one Enneagram Type Discovery Call with one of our experienced Enneagram Coaches.