The Wonderful World of the Enneagram


Cynthia Sawtelle

The Enneagram system is a personality typing database that has nine types. It explains what your motivations are behind your behaviors and essentially, why you are the way you are. There is so much information that can be found by researching these types and complex ways to understand what you specifically are, but I have compiled an overview of each type’s fears, wants, some personality traits, as well as examples of each type.

The Enneatype One is The Perfectionist. This is the type that is designed to edit, refine, and critique the world. Think Hermoine Granger from Harry Potter and Monica Geller from Friends. Each type has a core desire and fear, and the basic desire of One’s is to be good and principled. Their fear that drives them is being wrong, corrupt, or defective. My favorite way to describe this type is pointing out that they are harsh critics of the world because they are even harsher critics of themselves.

The Enneagram Two is The Helper. I like to think of them as the caretaker. They are very empathetic, kind, and generous with their time. This person could be the maternal figure in your life, perhaps your “mom friend.” This type’s strongest desire is to make sure that everyone else’s needs are met, but they tend to neglect their own. Some Twos you know are Mother Theresa, Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games and even Dolly Parton. The fear that drives this type to be so serving towards others is the deep fear that they will be unloved and unwanted.

Threes are The Winners, and for good reason. Anyone with this type is driven by the need to succeed, but more so than the average person. The Enneagram Three is driven, incredibly ambitious, and very conscious of their image. All they want is to feel that they have value; consequently, their greatest fear is being worthless. They are also one of the most people pleasing types because they want to fit in with everyone else’s standards of A Star. Gaston from Beauty and the Beast and Taylor Swift are some popular examples of this type.

The Enneagram Four is known as The Individualist. If there was an enneagram type that sums up “I’m not like other girls,” this is it. This type’s worst fear is being like everyone else, not expressing their individuality, and feeling common. What drives them through their social interactions is a fundamental belief that there is something wrong with them, but at least they’re unique. Who cares if they don’t fit in, at least they’re not like everyone else. Jay Gatsby is the perfect example of a Four with a strong influence of Three. Johnny Depp is a celebrity example of a stereotypical Four.

Fives, The Investigators, are the most naturally intelligent people you will ever meet. They are incredibly cerebral, curious, and are driven by a fear of being useless. Because of this fear, they collect huge amounts of information. Enneagram Fives often retreat to their mind and have a ‘mind palace’. Their brains are their safe place. Bill Gates and Sherlock Holmes are your stereotypical Fives, because they perfectly capture the secretive, isolated, and insightful type.

Enneagram Sixes are known as The Loyalists. Their main concern is having a sense of security and having a support system; their worst fear is being without it. This type is commonly known for either being an incredibly good friend, using humor to cope with pain, or both. One interesting thing about this type is that anxiety and fear is what motivates them. However, some may react to it differently. Most Sixes are phobic, and give in to their fear and are an anxious mess. But, there’s also a counterphobic Six. These types are just as fearful, but instead of running away from their fear, they run towards it. They are very bold, confrontational, but on the inside are still terrified. Some famous Sixes include Tom Hanks and Chandler Bing from Friends.

Enneagram Sevens are The Enthusiasts and they love fun. They fear being deprived and trapped in pain, and their core desire is to be satisfied and have endless fun. Miley Cyrus and Peter Pan are the go to examples of this type. This type is very enthusiastic, extroverted, and spontaneous. They live for last minute adventures and don’t want to miss out on anything. Sevens have a hole in their hearts that they think will be filled by more experiences, more friends, and often more illegal substances. They crave more of everything and have a hard time being satisfied with what they have.

Enneagram Eights are the ones that are very rough around the edges. This type is the most confrontational, protective, self-confident, and are often good leaders. They tend to be power hungry in some areas of their life, always wanting more control. Eights fear the betrayal of others and ultimately want to control their own life. As children, most Eights were in difficult situations and learned that if they want to survive this world, they have to create powerful armor to protect themselves. Famous Eights are Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Last but not least, we have Nines, also known as the Peacemakers. They are exactly what they sound like. This type is very easygoing, stable, and passive. Low drama and agreeable, but to the extent of not being able to stand up for themselves sometimes. Their biggest fear is loss and separation of what matters to them. Their ultimate desire is to have peace of mind. They are often out of touch with their own wants and needs, but instead of serving others like Twos do, they just blend into their surroundings. Whether it’s a group, a partner, or their own home, they take refuge in something else to avoid conflict and stay comfortable. Audrey Hepburn and Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series are both well-known Nines.

That’s a lot of information to take in, and I’m well aware of that. I was overwhelmed when I first started researching these enneagram types. But now, I know almost everything about this system like the back of my hand. Often times, you can find a little piece of yourself in every type. But everyone has a core want and fear motivating them through life. Figuring out what your type is explains your childhood, why you react to situations the way you do, and why you might have a completely opposite view of life from someone else. If you are still unsure of your type, the best tests are on Eclectic Energies and Truity. Truity is a shorter test, but I prefer the more numerous questions on Eclectic Energies. Happy typing!