introducing the nine basic enneagram types
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The following is an extremely oversimplified description of the nine Types, but it’s a good starting point in understanding the Types’ basic tendencies.
Don’t be alarmed if you seem to find yourself in several different Types at once. This is normal, typical, and healthy!
Type One: The principled, idealistic type. These people are ethical, conscientious, always striving to improve things. They have a strong internal sense of right and wrong, are organized, discerning, and wise. They can also fear making mistakes, be critical and perfectionistic, impatient, and have issues with repressed anger.
Type Two: Twos are caring, warm-hearted, and sincere. They are self-sacrificing and often do things for others in order to be needed. They are often sentimental and people-pleasing, and can have problems acknowledging their own needs.
Type Three: The charming, success-oriented type. These people are adaptable, self-assured, and competitive, and are often status-conscious and driven by a need for personal advancement. Often concerned with image, and may have problems with workaholism and competition.
Type Four: The romantic, introspective type. Fours are self-aware, sensitive, reserved, and creative. They often withhold themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, and can often feel exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have issues with self-indulgence and self-pity.
Type Five: Intense and cerebral, these people are able to concentrate on developing complex ideas and skills. They are independent and insightful, but can become preoccupied with their thoughts and inner world. Fives can become detached and have problems with isolation, eccentricity, and nihilism.
Type Six: The committed, security-oriented type, sixes are the people who run on stress while complaining about it. They are reliable and hardworking, yet extremely cautious, anxious and indecisive. Sixes are typically bundles of contradictions, but they typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion.
Type Seven: The spontaneous, optimistic type. Sevens are playful, productive, and versatile. They are often scattered and can lack discipline. They are sensation-seekers, but can exhaust themselves by staying distracted by being always on-the-go. Sevens often have issues with impulsiveness and superficiality.
Type Eight: The assertive, self-confident type. Eights are protective, domineering, resourceful, and decisive, and feel that they must maintain control of their environment. They can become confrontational and intimidating, and often have issues becoming emotionally close to others.
Type Nine: The easygoing, passive type. Nines are accepting, trusting, and good-natured. They are often self-effacing and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with the desires of others to keep the peace. They want to minimize conflicts, but can tend to be too complacent. They typically have issues with passivity and stubbornness.
Clearly, no one type is better than any other, and we all have moments where we can and do act as every type in the Enneagram as a matter of course.
However, this is by no means an exhaustive list of the type characteristics! There are tomes written on individual types, and it can take weeks if not months to accurately define your type.
For starters, please try out the QUEST (Quick Enneagram Sorting Test) and the RHETI (Riso-Husdon Enneagram Type Indicator) available in several forms here: http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/Tests_Battery.asp
Defining your type is not the end of your Enneagram exploration--it’s really just the beginning!