Enneagram Types

Many thanks to Jeanette van Stijn at Enneagram Europe for much for the information below.

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Type 1 – The Perfectionist

People with Type 1 set the bar high for themselves, to make sure that they act correctly and do things well. If you do something perfectly, you avoid the risk of being wrong or criticised. That’s what people with Type 1 hate and why they’re so critical of themselves; they’re desperate to make sure they don’t do anything wrong. Attention goes to making things perfect and preventing mistakes.

As a consequence, people with Type 1 have an eye for improving what could be better (and that’s most things!). They have high values about how things should be done and what’s not right. For example, being angry is not right. Anger is seen as something bad, so personal anger is suppressed or turned into irritation or criticism of others. This can show up when other people don’t behave as they should or as one would expect from an adult and responsible person.

What helps people with Type 1 to develop?

  • Accepting that the world isn’t perfect.
  • Appreciating other ways of doing things, and that ‘different’ or ‘not perfect’ doesn’t always mean worse or bad.
  • Giving permission for imperfection in yourself and others.
  • Practising forgiveness.
  • Allowing yourself time for relaxing and having fun.
  • Learning to question your own rigid rules and high demands.
  • Recognising feelings of resistance to your suppressed needs and wants.
  • Remembering that the goal in life is to be human rather than perfect.



Type 2 – The Helper

For people with Type 2 it is important to be accepted and appreciated.

They achieve this by having a strong focus on others and paying attention to what they might need. People with Type 2 are very service oriented and have their antennae out for other people’s neediness, so that they can make themselves useful. They see the good qualities in others and are good at stimulating and appreciating them.

However, people with Type 2 aren’t so good at receiving, especially when they don’t think they deserve it. Usually they don’t realise that their motivation for giving is so that they can receive thanks; they want to be indispensable. So although they feel at their best when others need them, it is actually they who are dependent on relationships and other people.

What helps people with Type 2 to develop?

  • Learning to give without (unconsciously) wanting something back in return.
    Learning to create your own freedom instead of always looking to gain reward by pleasing others.
  • Realising that being loved doesn’t depend on what you do or give to others.
  • Becoming aware of and practising meeting your own wants and needs.
  • Learning to use your feelings of disappointment as signals that you’ve lost sight of your own needs.
  • Recognising that you’re not indispensable and that that’s fine.
  • Learning to see that a relationship means reciprocity and learning to open yourself up to others.
  • Learning that you can receive; if you open up, others will also give something to you and will want to help you.



Type 3 – The Performer

People with Type 3 have come to believe that things don’t just turn out well by themselves; they believe that their personal input is needed to get jobs done well. They have developed habits such as working hard, being competitive and building up and maintaining a good image. They won’t work on projects or teams where the chance of success is small or where it takes a lot of effort and time to get credit. The quicker they get things done, the faster success comes. That’s why type 3 likes efficient solutions and working efficiently.

Unconsciously people with Type 3 have come to believe that they are loved for what they do, not who they are. This has made them very focused on achieving results, being successful, being the best. They unconsciously seek out situations that result in praise, because they need to be the centre of attention and to receive applause.

What helps people with Type 3 to develop?

  • Learning to let go of operating at top speed, so that you can feel your emotions as they arise.
  • Asking yourself which issues really matter in your life.
  • Practising getting in touch with yourself and your true identity (ie not the image you create) and not being influenced by what other people think of you.
  • Being your true self instead of playing a role.
  • Learning to listen to others.
  • Realising that people love you for who you are and not for what you do or own.




Type 4 – The Romantic

People with Type 4 often feel that other people don’t understand them. On the one hand this fills them with sadness but on the other hand also it also gives them a feeling of superiority. They have so much more depth, so they can understand the fact that other people don’t understand them. At the same time they often feel a great desire for deep connection with others and that is one of the contradictions that preoccupies Type 4. They have a great need to be seen, and this shows up in the form of needing to be distinctive from others.

People with Type 4 have intense emotions; “I feel therefore I live”.  They often have a semi-conscious feeling of incompleteness, as if something is missing.  This leads to a deep desire to be complete, which is only ever fulfilled fleetingly. The attention of people with Type 4 goes to things like authenticity, truth and beauty. They tend to find these more in the past and future than in the here and now.

What helps people with Type 4 to develop?


  • Accepting the ordinary, equanimity, finding satisfaction in the here and now.
  • Learning to focus on what is right and positive instead of on what’s missing.
  • Maintaining a constant level of doing despite your fluctuating and intense emotional life.
  • Participating in physical activities and helping others so you’re not constantly focusing on yourself.
  • Delaying your response until the fiercest emotions have diminished.
  • Learning to appreciate ordinary daily pleasures.



Type 5 – The Observer

People with Type 5 are very sensitive to the expectations of others, especially because they feel that these expectations will drain their energy. Their response to this is to create the habit of withdrawing. When you’re less visible, there are fewer chances that people will expect things of you. The possession of knowledge gives them the pleasant feeling of being independent of others and protecting themselves from obtrusive questions and expectations. People with Type 5 often find emotions (their own and other people’s) challenging; they only bring agitation and chaos. So they take refuge in the life of the rational mind. They like intellectual matters, knowledge, facts, analysis and structured thinking.

People with Type 5 feel a need to understand life fully. This comes from their insecurity about how to act in life, in social situations and when emotions are around. By observing and analysing how other people do these things, people with Type 5 hope to become master of external situations and of themselves.

What helps people with Type 5 to develop?

  • Daring to allow and experience feelings instead of withdrawing into more rational thoughts.
  • Recognising that being withdrawn only invites more intrusiveness from others.
  • Being more active and realising that if you engage with others, they will give you energy, not take it away; they will support you.
  • Participating in physical activities
  • Finding ways to be more active in conversations, opening up more and daring to talk about things that matter to you.



Type 6 – The Loyal Sceptic

People with Type 6 experience a persistent sense of inner insecurity. They don’t like unpredictable situations and quickly see danger and where the risks are. They have developed a habit of being alert; when you’re alert, you see danger coming and you’re less likely to be surprised by it. For people with Type 6 it’s very unpleasant to be surprised and caught off guard by things.

People with Type 6 often worry about things that other people don’t see. In new situations they often wait and see; unconsciously they distrust everyone until they have proved to be trustworthy. They don’t realise that they themselves are their largest source of insecurity. Deep within, people with Type 6 have little trust in themselves, and that’s why they doubt themselves and their own decisions so much.

What helps people with Type 6 to develop?

  • Learning that both fight and flight are actually responses to fear.
  • Learning to accept that a certain amount of insecurity is part of life.
  • Learning to check whether the fears and doubts you experience with others are actually real.
  • Recognising that keeping busy can help you to reduce your fears.
  • Continuing with positive actions despite your feeling of fear.
  • Learning to take your own inner authority and act on it.
  • Daring to have faith in yourself and others.



Type 7 – The Epicure

People with Type 7 have come to experience that life is limiting, it takes
away your freedom and brings pain. They don’t like that, so they have developed a habit of keeping options and possibilities open. Even if these possibilities only exist in the mind, they give people with Type 7 a sense of freedom.

People with Type 7 like to lead an upbeat life; their attention is aimed at fun things and possibilities. Having a positive experience is more important than fulfilling a goal. People with Type 7 often have a full diary. As they talk to people they often think of new ideas, and change direction frequently in order to follow the most interesting ones. Starting something is more fun than actually finishing it. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to complete things, but it can be very hard not to be distracted by other new things. People with Type 7 are optimists and often see the good or positive in situations, themselves and others. However, they can get tired of this constant movement and would like a button to switch their head off.

What helps people with Type 7 to develop?

  • Learning to see that when you’re looking for pleasant alternatives, this is in fact a way of avoiding engaging with something else.
  • Practising focusing on one thing at a time.
  • Seeing that looking for the positives and avoiding negatives is actually limiting; you are only seeing half of life.
  • Learning to make choices, not wanting to have everything.
  • Making commitments, finishing things, taking feedback seriously.




Type 8 – The Protector

People with Type 8 unconsciously experienced their early life as a jungle: a place where the strong survive and tell the weak what to do.  So they decided to join the strong in order to protect themselves. In particular, they want to protect their own inner vulnerability and weak spots, which need to be well hidden from others.

Struggle is a natural part of their existence; they instinctively go into battle against injustice or to protect others. But people with Type 8 don’t just protect everyone, only those they feel legitimately need help like children, animals, elderly, the ill, etc. They hate victimization and don’t want to be victims themselves.  People with Type 8 have a tendency to see things as black or white. They have their own truth and tend not to recognise other truths; they deny them or don’t even notice them. They can therefore come across as rather direct and confrontational.

What helps people with Type 8 to develop?

  • Learning to notice what’s going on inside yourself; for example your own inner insecurity.
  • Becoming aware of your own strength and the impact it has on others.
  • Learning to wait and listen before you act: think then do, instead of the other way around.
  • Recognising and acknowledging your habit of denial in all its subtle forms, and learning to relax this automatic reaction.
  • Gradually recognising and acknowledging other people’s needs, ideas, strengths, positions, etc.



Type 9 – The Mediator

People with Type 9 feel good when they’re part of a bigger whole.  Feeling comfortable and in harmony is important for them – more important than having or standing up for their own opinion, point of view, agenda, etc. Just being in the presence of others can make them melt into the background or even forget themselves temporarily. Not that they’re aware of this – it just happens.

Fitting in and staying in the background helps to avoid confrontations and that’s what people with Type 9 want most. They can even feel it is confrontational to say they don’t agree with something, to say no or to say what they really want. Following what other people want seems to be easier; they feel it helps maintain harmony. This habit of going along with others makes it hard for people with Type 9 to notice what they really want. They need time and space away from others to find out what they want and what their point of view is.

What helps people with Type 9 to develop?

  • Learning to accept yourself, that you have the right to make choices and be decisive.
  • Becoming more aware of and paying more attention to your own needs and desires.
  • Learning to recognise and acknowledge that getting angry is a signal that you haven’t taken yourself into account, and reminding yourself that you matter.
  • Becoming aware that you block or switch off your feelings when you get drawn away from your own priorities by less important substitutes.
  • Learning to accept change and lack of harmony as part of life.