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Exploring the Core of Enneagram Theory

The Enneagram Theory is an analysis of the human psyche that categorizes dominant personality traits into 9 basic and interconnected types. These 9 personality types are grouped into 3 centers: 

  • Instinctive: Types 8, 9, & 1
  • Feeling: Types 2, 3, & 4
  • Thinking: Types 5, 6, & 7

This, however, is only the beginning of the Enneagram Theory. There are 27 additional subtypes. These subtypes explore the factors that motivate and drive a person.

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What Are the 9 Personality Types?

 Type 1 - The Reformer/Perfectionist: Type 1s are self-reliant and purposeful. They have a strong sense of justice and a “black or white” way of doing things. This means they often have high standards and principles, but they can also come across as judgmental and stubborn.

 Type 2 - The Helper/Giver: Type 2s are people-pleasers. They care about others and put intentional effort into their relationships.  People will often turn to them in times of need. Helpers’ eagerness to please, however, means they can sometimes overlook their own needs.

 Type 3 - The Achiever/Performer: Type 3s are driven by a desire to succeed and to be acknowledged as successful by other people. Their focus on appearances can give the impression that they are overachievers or workaholics. However, they are usually good at what they do and communicate well with others.

 Type 4 - Individualist/Romantic: Individualists are expressive and creative. They are forward-thinkers and have a strong self-identity, but this also means they can sometimes become self-absorbed.

 Type 5 - Investigator/Observer: Investigators like to analyze and think deeply about subjects. They are perceptive and logical, but their tendency toward thoughtful deliberation can come across as arrogance or apathy. Their objectiveness comes in handy when approaching a problem, but it sometimes hinders their ability to connect with others and deal with their own emotions.

 Type 6 - Loyalist/Loyal Skeptic: Type 6s do well in relationships because of their sense of responsibility and commitment. They are trustworthy companions but tend to be worriers as well.

 Type 7 - Enthusiast/Epicure: Spontaneous and optimistic, Type 7s are usually extroverted individuals who like to stay busy and experience new things. However, this desire can also mean they find it difficult to focus on tasks at hand and become easily distracted by other exciting endeavours.

 Type 8 - Challenger/Protector: Challengers are bold and have the self-confidence to lead and make decisive choices. However, their desire to control can come across as overbearing or contentious.

 Type 9 - Peacemaker/Mediator: Peacemakers make up the last type. They are easy to get along with, but their tendency to avoid conflict can cause them to be “run over” by more assertive personalities. Their promotion of harmony, however, often helps bridge the gap in disagreements.


What Are Wings?

 In addition to a Dominant Type, the Enneagram Theory proposes that people have 1 or 2 “wings” that complement their personality. These wings are determined by the types adjacent to the Dominant Type.

 For example, Type 1 has these potential wings: Type 2 and Type 9. Of these 2 adjacent wings, one will usually be considered a Dominant Wing.

Personality Type

What Is the Purpose Of This Typology?

 Many schools, companies, and individuals use the Enneagram Theory to help with interpersonal relationships, understand individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, and develop dominant traits to their best potential. Parents can also use the test to help better understand their children’s behavior, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they best learn and express themselves.

Take a look at some of our other articles that go more in-depth. You can also take the Enneagram Test for yourself on many available sites. The test allows you to discover your Dominant Personality Type and explore detailed explanations and insights into your personality traits.


What Is the Enneagram of Personality?

How the Enneagram System Works


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