Jump to:

  • What is Enneagram?
  • Enneagrams, MBTI, and the Zodiac: What's the difference?
  • Origins of the Enneagram
  • How many Enneagram types are there?
  • What are the Enneagram types?
  • How do I find my Enneagram type?

You can't scroll through Instagram or TikTok these days without seeing a post about Enneagram types and their special traits. Are you a "Challenger" or an "Investigator"? Are you a "Perfectionist" or a "Loyalist"? If you're not familiar with the concept of Enneagrams, it's important to note that you don't choose your Enneagram type. To know which Enneagram you are, you take a test ranging from 30 to 200 questions, similar to the Myers-Briggs (or MBTI) personality test.

While you can walk through life not knowing your Enneagram type — it won't make or break you — the concept has gained popularity as a powerful tool for self-discovery and personal growth. If harnessed, Enneagram expert and Bonheur Jewelry founder Ally Mataj says, knowing your Enneagram can have transformative potential, like:

  • Nurturing a deeper connection with yourself and others
  • Gaining insights into your core fears, desires, and unconscious motivations
  • Providing self-awareness and development (in your personal and professional life)
  • Understanding your patterns of behavior, decision-making processes, and emotional responses
  • Cultivating self-compassion
  • Developing strategies to break free from limiting behaviors

What is Enneagram?

According to Jason Olivea — a certified Enneagram teacher of 20+ years who coaches clients and developed a one-of-a-kind Enneagram Personality Assessment and holistic interpretation methodology for Enneagram types — Enneagrams reveal patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving in response and reaction to your experiences and understanding of yourself, others, and the world. In other words, discovering your personality type isn't enough to come to a conclusion on who you are. Enneagrams take your journey — past, present, and future — plus, the world you live in and who surrounds you into account.

Olivea also believes your Enneagram can "show the psychological cage you have put yourself in and as a result, it can offer a way to navigate yourself to freedom."

Enneagrams, MBTI, and the Zodiac: What's the difference?

Most of us are not new to the grouping of personality types or taking personality tests. You've likely read your horoscope, learned about your astrological sign, or even calculated your life path number. You may have taken the MBTI test or The Love Language Quiz.

"Enneagrams and Myers-Briggs (MBTI) are both popular personality frameworks, but they differ in their focus and approach," says Mataj. "Enneagrams delve into core motivations and unconscious fears, emphasizing personal growth and transformation. On the other hand, MBTI focuses on cognitive preferences, highlighting how individuals perceive and make decisions."

According to Mataj, who incorporates the Enneagram types' distinct qualities into jewelry designs to resonate with her customers, Enneagrams explore deeper layers of your personality and provide a roadmap for personal development, making them more productive.

"Enneagrams and Zodiac signs differ in their origins and scope. Zodiac signs are based on astrology and birthdates, while Enneagrams are rooted in psychology and focus on core motivations and behaviors," Mataj points out. "Enneagrams provide a more comprehensive understanding of individual personality patterns, while Zodiac signs primarily offer general traits associated with astrological influences."

Origins of the Enneagram

The Enneagram's origins are not definitively known, but the modern Enneagram as we know it today largely came to light in the mid-20th century when Bolivian philosopher and teacher Oscar Ichazo linked the nine points to define "ego fixations." The platform has been further developed by various scholars and practitioners since then to make them easily digestible and put into daily practice.

How many Enneagram types are there?

There are nine Enneagram types. Each has their distinct "False Core Beliefs," which can be defined as your basic fears or core issues. That's why when you first read your Enneagram type and the traits that align, you may feel "attacked" or sensitive. "Each Type has a primary specific and unique compensation strategy to get their mental and emotional needs met," says Olivea, so you can use this as a tool for making positive change in your life. "The subsequent positive and negative characteristics for each type are in large part just compensation patterns for each distinct False Core Belief," Olivea adds.

    Each of the nine points on the Enneagram represents a distinct strategy for relating to the self, others, and the world. Each type, or number, has its own set of characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, which you can read more about below.

    What are the Enneagram types?

    Interested in learning more about the different Enneagram types? Before you dive into reading the descriptions below, you should take an Enneagram test to identify where you fall. That way, you can go into the assessment with a clear, unbiased approach. Once you know your type, read these expert Enneagram descriptions provided by Olivea:

    Enneagram Type 1: The Perfectionist/Reformer

    • Responsible, structured, organized, ethical, serious, and self-disciplined
    • Feel personally responsible to improve or fix themselves and the world around them
    • Can be quite opinionated, impatient, rigid, critical (and self-critical), irritable and judgmental
    • Often having issues with repression, resistance and aggression

    Enneagram Type 2: The Helper

    • Caring, warm, thoughtful, generous, and affectionate
    • Oriented with others and enjoy playing the role of that special friend you can lean and depend on
    • Known to be enablers as they want others to need their help
    • Can be people-pleasing, clingy, possessive, insincere (at times), and have an increasing difficulty acknowledging their own needs and pains

    Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever

    • Competent, adaptable, goal-oriented, ambitious, diplomatic, charming, and image conscious
    • Great at motivating others to personal achievements, which makes them excellent mentors
    • While being adaptable is a great quality it leaves the Type 3 unsure of who they are or what their own deepest values are
    • Their measure of success is defined by their family, their culture and their social sphere
    • Can be competitive, self-promoting, status-seeking, boastful and “appropriate” instead of sincere

    Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist

    • Intuitive, sensitive, passionate, creative, romantic, imaginative, introspective and self-expressive
    • Of all the Types, Fours are the most aware of their emotional status and they deeply desire to be themselves and know the depths of their hearts
    • Known to be moody, emotionally demanding, self-absorbed, temperamental, dramatic, pretentious and self-indulgent
    • One of the biggest cautions for this Type is that they tend to nurse wounds and hold on to negative feelings, which does not make them very forgiving and at times blind to the blessings in their lives

      Enneagram Type 5: The Investigator

      • Focused, observant, curious, insightful, studious, complex, profound, perceptive, unsentimental, and independent
      • Want to find out how things work and why things are the way that they are
      • Downside with Fives is that they can be very detached, preoccupied, high-strung, isolated, impractical, unconventional, and uncompromising
      • Type 5 prefers the life of the mind, as a way of escaping from aspects of reality, such as dealing with their own feelings of discomfort and sadness, and to understand the world around them

      Enneagram Type 6: The Loyalist

      • Reliable, hard-working, vigilant, dutiful, evaluating, persevering, and cautious
      • Good with details and have a talent at forecasting potential problems and risks
      • Are double-minded — so they are believing and doubting, conservative and liberal
      • The weaknesses of Sixes are being too pessimistic, defensive, evasive, negative, worrying, reactive, blaming and suspicious
      • Lack the self-confidence that they possess the internal resources to handle life’s challenges, therefore they heavily rely on structures, allies, and beliefs

      Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast

      • Excitable, spontaneous, optimistic, eager, outgoing, future-oriented, adventurous, quick, and talkative
      • Are a lot of fun to be around, yet they can also get exhausting for others to keep up with their desire to continuously be doing something
      • Sevens get into trouble by being too scattered in their thinking and doing, easily distracted and restless, impatient, thrill-seeking, escapist, irresponsible and excessive
      • Robbed of true joy of being present in their experiences

      Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger

      • Strong, assertive, independent, determined, action-oriented, pragmatic, competitive, straightforward, shrewd, and insistent
      • They are charismatic and have the physical and psychological ability to persuade others to follow them into all kinds of projects
      • They have enormous willpower and vitality, and they often seek leadership roles
      • Can be too blunt, domineering, forceful, defiant, confrontational, bad-tempered, rageful and vengeful
      • Can be hard to work with because of their outward hostility and lack of emotion

      Enneagram Type 9: The Peacemaker

      • Patient, easygoing, receptive, relaxed, agreeable, uncomplicated, comforting, sensual and optimistic
      • Seek inner and outer peace for themselves and others
      • Can be emotionally unavailable, complacent, and unaware of their own anger, which can come out as passive aggressive at times and unrealistic

        How do I find my Enneagram type?

        From paid to free, here are just some ways to determine your Enneagram type:

        There are also published books on the Enneagram like:

        Once you know more about the personality types, you can also do a self-guided assessment. Start by asking yourself questions associated with finding your “core motivations” underneath your behaviors.

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        Ysolt Usigan

        Ysolt Usigan is a lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years of experience working in digital media. She has created share-worthy content for publishers Shape, What To Expect, Cafe Mom, TODAY, CBS News, HuffPo, The Bump, Health, Ask Men, and Best Gifts. A working mom of two, her editorial expertise in parenting, shopping, and home are rooted in her everyday life.