Enneagram (A comprehensive Guide)

This guide covers all about the Enneagram, how it originated, how it is administered and what are its nine types and their descriptions.

The enneagram is a personality typing system that defines patterns in how individuals are conceptualizing the world and managing their emotions.

The model of the Enneagram describes nine different types of personality and maps each one of these types on a nine-pointed diagram that aids in illustrating how the types are linked to one another.

Enneagram’s name comes from the Greek: Ennea which means nine, and Gramma implies something written or drawn.

Each personality has a certain view of the world and looks at the world via its lens or filter, as per the Enneagram.

This enables us to explain why individuals are behaving in specific ways.

The Enneagram illustrates possibilities for individual development by explaining how the general personality adapts and reacts to both challenging and supportive circumstances and provides a basis for understanding people.

The model has influenced numerous Enneagram personality tests along with books on a diverse number of topics, ranging from personal growth and spiritual development to relations and even career development.

Understanding the Enneagram Symbol

 A 9-pointed geometric form is the base of the Enneagram.

This comprises of an outer circle on which the nine points (personalities) are placed in the clockwise direction and are equally spaced. This is the Enneagram Triads.

There’s also a triangle from points 9, 3 and 6 and an irregular hexagon that joins together the rest of the points.

The circle symbolizes human life’s oneness and unity whereas the other forms reflect how it is segregated.

The types that are placed on either side of each core type are named as wings.

The Enneagram makes no abrupt leaps between the nine types, and only a few individuals are just a single type.

One or both of the wings can affect our ways of thinking and behaving and are incorporated into the overall personality of someone.

There are also two lines linking each basic type in the Enneagram to two other basic types; for example, Type 1 is linked to Type 7 and Type 4.

The first line is formed with the type that the individual left behind or suppressed in early life; it is important that the features of this type are reintegrated for the development of the individual.

The second line is formed with the type that the individual may mature into when they are ready to attain a higher developmental state.

Such linking lines illustrate how each basic type has invaluable strengths but at the same time has negative aspects filled with challenges.

The addition of these lines shifts the Enneagram from a purely descriptive model of personality to a complex one, demonstrating that personality may evolve under various circumstances.

History of the Enneagram

The exact origin of the Enneagram is not known to us, but we know it has an eclectic historical record.

Many suggest ancient roots about 4,500 years ago in Babylon whereas someplace the origin about 2,500 years ago in classical Greek philosophy.

The system was traced back to Sufism, a spiritual form of Islam, Christian mysticism, and Jewish Kabbalah.

Apparently, Dante had quite a good understanding of the Enneagram as the characters in The Divine Comedy largely relate to the types of Enneagram.

What we know is that the modern system of Enneagram emerged from the work of contemporary writers.

Georg Ivanovich Gurdjieff, a mystical and religious educator, presented the model in the 1930s as a mystical icon and it arrived in the 1960s on American shores.

Many scholars currently place focus on the Enneagram’s psychological side instead of spiritual, comparing it with other models of personality such as the Myers-Briggs system.

Applications of the Enneagram

Enneagram is primarily utilized for personal self-knowledge and growth of personality, providing a valuable tool for self-mastery, resolving conflict, group dynamics, leadership, and emotional intelligence.

It has become widely used in fields such as counselling, psychotherapy, business development, parenting, and education since it highlights development opportunities for each specific type.

Types of Enneagram

Type 1 – The Perfectionist

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 1

  • Direct and serious in communication
  • Used to being practical and frugal 
  • Hard-working and dedicated as workers
  • High ethical standards
  • rigid in planning and decision-making 
  • Intense capacity to focus
  • Natural coaching and instructional abilities.

Perfectionists are pragmatists who portray responsibility and serious-mindedness.

They try to boost the welfare of the people and improve things for the greater good.

To do this, they make the most of their judgment to come up with solutions that can be implemented in the actual world.

They have a deep admiration and interest in ethical principles and often spend time assessing their moral compass and changing it as required.

Perfectionists often hustle behind the scenes with a crystal-clear life mission to bring their strong vision into existence with a deep sense of responsibility and tenacity.

Calm and controlled, they follow through with their duties and commitments.

Type 2 – The Giver

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 2

  • Soft smile and eyes
  • Easy to approach, radiating compassion
  • Vocal volunteer or activist
  • Great team member
  • Gentle and caring
  • encouraging and compassionate
  • Natural, fluid actions.

Givers are strongly compassionate and caring people who place the desires of others before their own.

They have intuitive capacities to foresee and support other people’s emotional gaps.

They find great pleasure at being accessible and are encouraging and could be counted on when someone needs to be consoled.

Through good times and bad, they are the ride-or-die friend and companion.

Givers are usually open and popular and are part of a variety of groups and are liked by many.

Their inviting and supportive nature appeals to people from every stage of their lives.

Type 3 – The Achiever

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 3

  • Aware of social niceties
  • Remarkable array of achievements
  • Fairly active and on the move
  • crowded schedules and activities
  • Might have an interest in improvising or performing
  • Extremely sophisticated taste
  • Charismatic; making a good first impression.

Achievers are polished and sophisticated with a unique taste for the finer things in life.

They possess the ability to achieve their goals and high standards.

Their aim is to be recognized and valued for their inventions and creations, to be the greatest.

Achievers hit and surpass milestones left and right, being smart, motivated and usually well-dressed.

Many admire their performance and determination and may even encourage them to take action.

Typically, achievers have jam-packed schedules of fun activities and professional meetings to stay busy and on the go.

Type 4 – The Individualist

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 4

  • Unique interior and exterior appearance
  • Lighthearted and amusing
  • Melancholic expression
  • Deep sense of belonging
  • May have a feeling of emptiness
  • Passionate self-expression.

Individualists can be distinguished by their distinctive choice of fashion, unorthodox way of living and interests or creativity.

Individualists, offbeat but charming, have a constant desire to explore and learn who they truly are deep down.

The secret to their well-being is creation, not consumption.

They spend a lot of time reflecting on the past and utilizing experiences and emotions for artistic thoughts and new ventures.

Individualists produce original work through a process of continuous self-exploration (the conscious and unconscious sides), untouched by the expectations of others.

Type 5 – The Investigator

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 5

  • Seems lost in thought or absent-minded
  • Incredibly hard-to-crack internal world
  • In-depth expertise on topics of interest
  • Provides informative, well worked-out answers
  • Thinks thoroughly before talking
  • Has healthy boundaries across family, friends, and work
  • Highly independent and withdrawn

Investigators seem to be the pioneers of critical and independent thinking.

They are curious and inquisitive about the relations between the underlying themes and the universe’s mysteries.

Introverted and analytical in general, investigators gather and process information to create trends and synthesize concepts and patterns.

Generally, their work areas are simplistic with the exception of a selection of items important to their core interests.

They are also strongly non-conformist and give little care to trends or common ways to move across life stages.

Type 6 – The Loyalist

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 6

  • Strongly identifies with a social group 
  • Structured and well-liked
  • Strong financial management
  • Great team member
  • Belonging to a closely-knit circle of friends
  • Communicates clearly
  • Interest in detail and precision.

Loyalists are devoted and responsible people who want to belong to a social group and discover their place in the world.

They may be either phobic or counter-phobic, which involves dealing with their nervous energy and presenting it to the outside world.

Here is how you can differentiate the two: Phobic loyalists purposely turn away from the sources of anxiety and flying under the radar.

They are expressive and open about any shortcomings and limitations that they have so that others can understand their circumstance and line of thinking.

To stop being exploited, this is their primary defence mechanism.

On the other hand, the counter-phobic loyalists have a high-strung, intense fear of fear itself, which can paradoxically turn into rule-breaking.

They are trying to maintain a surface picture of independence: a strong exterior to protect their constant internal turmoil.

Type 7 – The Enthusiast

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 7

  • Always on the go
  • Broad-spectrum of hobbies
  • Childlike excitement and enthusiasm
  • Curious, bright eyes
  • Numerous simultaneous professional and inventive endeavours
  • Positive and cheery; perspective of glass being half full
  • Well-liked and prominent amongst friends.

Enthusiasts, wide-eyed and pumped to the top with lots of energy, are the world’s cheerful and busy optimists.

Their constant curiosity for new info and experiences is often depicted through their stories and gift for chit chat.

Their minds are still overflowing with new ideas to try at even at the end of a working day.

They are enthusiastic storytellers who are passionate about many diverse hobbies and see the glass as half full.

Enthusiasts, being bright and vocal, see the world as their playground and can be called the Enneagram’s ‘ eternal children. ‘

Type 8 – The Challenger

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 8

  • Self-sufficiency and self-reliant  
  • Intense and sure looking
  • Determined and possesses endurance
  • Has lots of energy and keeps busy
  • Fierce passion and control
  • Stubborn and headstrong
  • Takes being in control of the environment seriously

Challengers, goal-oriented, and self-competent, ride proudly throughout all parts of life and take delight in their autonomy and keen mind.

They keep their heads high and get back upright after every blunder, stronger than ever.

As kids friends might have considered them’ bossy.’ Typically, they take the reins of group projects or meetings and are at ease in positions of leadership.

Others ‘ opinions will have virtually no impact on their stand on a matter, as they take pride in being totally worthy and self-sufficient.

Type 9 – The Peacemaker

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 9

  • Has a collected and calm appearance 
  • Ability to disperse tension easily
  • Zen-like aura
  • Quiet and calming tone
  • Broad network of contacts
  • Pretty much liked by majority 
  • Flowing, subtle motions and actions

Peacemakers, who are polite and pleasant, are the talented mediators and counselors in a circle of friends or colleagues.

They work hard under the radar to maintain group peace. They knew how to get along with others as kids, making them a welcome addition to any group activity.

They can readily see several various aspects of a problem and, if they have to, tend not to leap to conclusions too soon.

Peacemakers are reliable and polite, complacent and modest, ready to go the extra mile to prevent stirring things up.

They appreciate the simple things that other people do and the little joys of life.

You can get in depth understanding of these types by knowing What does an ennegram go to in stress? and learning more about their sub-types.


The Enneagram illustrates possibilities for individual development by explaining how the general personality adapts and reacts to both challenging and supportive circumstances and provides a basis for understanding people.

It has a model that explains the nine types of personality and their descriptions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a test to identify my type?

Yes, there are numerous tests available that you can take to know about your personality type.

But only a few of the tests have consistent reliability so keep in mind to check that before taking any personality test.

The test is here:

Personality Online

Is there a correlation between Enneagram and MBTI?

No, the Enneagram and the MBTI assess or analyze different key aspects of the personality of an individual.

The Enneagram focuses on the habits of attention of an individual and other patterns of thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

The MBTI examines what is known as mental functions.

However, there are a few aspects that overlap or correlate with one another.

Can a person ever change his Enneagram type?

No, the core features that make up our personality cannot be changed.

Can I be more than one Enneagram type?

Everyone has all or a few features of all the nine types to some extent.

But there is one set of patterns that dominates our personality which is called the core point or personality type.

Thus, you can have features from other types but your personality type remains only one and the same throughout.



Enneagram Institute

Enneagram Worldwide

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Persona

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discoverylity 

TypesThe Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge

The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People

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