What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a system of understanding identity that describes patterns in how people interpret the world and manage their emotions. It differs from other ways of understanding personality in that it takes a very expansive perspective. Although you have a type, you are not your type. You are an expansive awareness that includes and goes beyond a single type – and there's a little bit of every type in everyone.
The Enneagram, Essence, and Personality
Each Enneagram type has an essence as well as a personality construct. Think of your essence as a deep truth about who you are at a soul level. It is your inner nature, the truth about who you are that gets buried deep below your personality and ego. The Enneagram views personality as a combination of heredity and a particular pattern of behaviors that were learned in infancy – they were your survival mechanisms and behaviors that were rewarded, and they helped form your personality. The Enneagram describes how these two factors work together, (and advanced students of the Enneagram can go even deeper to explore even more facets of the system.)
As you learned to deal with stress and adapt to meet social expectations, you likely have found that you revert to certain old behavior patterns that feel disconnected from your true self. Some of these patterns arise from your personality, and some arise from your Enneagram type. As you become more and more disconnected from your essence, the ways your personality tries to make up for that lost connection follow a particular pattern that is based on your enneagram type.
When finding yourself within the types in the Enneagram, look for both clues to your essence, that essential truth about who you are at a spiritual, soul level, and the adaptive patterns you learned as a child - how you tend to respond to expectations and demands you put on yourself and what you perceive others expect of you. Together these two factors can help you recognize yourself and others in the Enneagram.
What’s My Enneagram Type?
Taking an Enneagram test online, (you can also try these free tests from Cloverleaf or Open Psychometrics) or simply reading about each of the 9 Enneagram types to see which one resonates most closely with your sense of self, can be a helpful starting point to determining your type. But to really nail down your type and unlock its full potential as a tool for personal development (and love matching), study and inner work are required. Even better, it’s ideal to work with an Enneagram coach who can guide you through the nuances of this powerful system. Together with a coach and intuitive guide, you can embark on a powerful journey of self-discovery, healing, and love.
Quick Links to the 9 Enneagram Types:
Why Study the Enneagram?
The benefits of discovering your Enneagram type go well beyond self-recognition. Learning the Enneagram is a way to catch yourself when you are disconnecting from your essence, so that you can “wake yourself up” from patterns which feel automatic and unhelpful and do so with compassion and understanding.
Understanding Enneagram Types and Compatibility
When you connect to your essence you feel a deep sense of coming home to yourself, a sense of being at peace and in the flow. As you raise your vibe this way, you’ll find that you’ll attract this same quality in others as well. When you connect with the essence of another person, you’ll find compatibility that can lead to the deepest friendship and lasting love.
Let’s take a look at each of the Enneagram types, in terms of what it means to be that type, and what it means when you’re in relationship with that type.
Enneagram Type 1: The Reformer
The deepest essence of Type 1 is a radical acceptance of the goodness and integrity of everything just as it is. But as Type 1 loses touch with their essence, they begin to see the world as full of good and bad, rights and wrongs. This level of moral judgment can make the world as it feel burdensome and torturous to Type 1. They seek to restore integrity and order by behaving in ways that are rational, idealistic, principled, purposeful, and self-controlled.
If you are Enneagram Type 1, you may find that when you are at your best, as a partner you are great at working to make things happen; relationships can feel playful and exciting. But when you’re disconnected from your innermost self, you tend to feel that things around you are not as they should be and that you are the only one who can make things right. Not only do you judge others, but you may secretly judge yourself. There’s a lonely quality to your moral indignation. You can become hypercritical, short-tempered, irritable, angry, and controlling.
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If your partner is Enneagram Type 1 and you see some of these changes in them, remind yourself of the essence of who they are. Instead of getting defensive, respond with compassion. Pointing out what is working will help them re-center and feel more connected to the present moment. Remind them, when they are open to hearing it, that the fundamental nature of everything is inherently perfect, and encourage them to find perfection in the imperfection of life.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 1: Type 1s need a partner who values their advice and perspective, but at the same time, helps them let out their inner child. The best matches for Type 1 are Types 2 and 7. Type 1 is drawn to the Enneagram types that help them ease up and find beauty in life. Type 2s bring an open, loving acceptance to Type 1s that encourages them to relax. Type 7s offer spontaneity and adventure to Type 1s that also encourage them to take a break from trying so hard to make everything perfect. With these combinations, healthy relationships can be built on shared values like reliability, truth, and independence.
Enneagram Type 2: The Helper
The deepest essence of Type 2 is unconditional, affirming, loving connection. Type 2s naturally express love by being of service to others. As long as love is flowing freely, Type 2s are in their comfort zone. But they are always acutely sensitive to the emotional balance sheet. Breaks in the energetic flow can cause them to move away from their essence, from feelings of abundance to scarcity. Instead of connecting to their natural source of abundant, flowing, unconditional love, they can begin to worry that there isn’t enough love to go around. They may start to lose themselves in the process of proving their love through heroic acts of service often at their own expense (codependency), and without any real awareness that what they really need is to feel loved in return.
If you are Enneagram Type 2, you may recognize that when you feel connected to your core self, you naturally want to give in your relationship and don’t expect anything in return. But when you begin to lose touch with yourself, pay attention to how you manage your emotions in your relationship. Do you find it easy to acknowledge your need for love, or do you push your needs aside and focus instead on how you can better meet your partner’s needs? Do you tend to act in ways that are overly people-pleasing, ingratiating, possessive, clingy, or resentful?
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If your partner is Enneagram Type 2, and if they seem to be acting needy, passive-aggressive, or guilt-tripping, look a little deeper. They are likely having a hard time articulating their own needs. They may even be in denial that they have needs, by focusing solely on yours. You can remind them that they are great just the way they are and that they don’t need reassurance from the outside to be the lovable selves they intrinsically are.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 2: Type 2s are best paired with Type 3 and Type 8. They need a partner who won't take advantage of them, as they find it hard to vocalize their needs and ask for love. Type 3s and Type 8s can reciprocate intimacy and won't take advantage of Type 2's generosity and kindness.
Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever
At the most essential level, Enneagram Type 3 sees a genuine, authentic value in everything, including self. There’s no pretense, no competition, no hierarchy – it’s all equally good. The most basic need of Type 3 is to feel valuable, to connect to this essence. But as Type 3 begins to lose touch with their essence, the fear of not being of value arises and the need to prove their worth to others becomes stronger.
If you are Enneagram Type 3, you may look to the world like someone who is highly driven, successful, and future oriented. When awake to your essence, you may be highly adaptive, excelling in whatever you do, including your relationship. But if you become disconnected from your essence, you may secretly fear it’s all a façade, or even make that a self-fulfilling prophecy by acting in ways that are image-conscious, vain, and approval-seeking, all of which can ultimately damage your relationship by making you less authentic and vulnerable.
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If your partner is Enneagram Type 3, understand that they can get so caught up in the mask they project to the world, that they often find it difficult to perceive and communicate what they truly feel or what is true for them. You can remind them to take time to tap into what they genuinely feel so that don’t just overlay the attitudes they think are appropriate for the situation. Remind them that their value has more to do with being rather than doing, and that vulnerable and having needs does not decrease their value in any way.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 3: Type 3s need to feel that their partner’s love is not conditional, and at the same time, they need a partner who is proud of their accomplishments. Type 3 is best matched with Type 9. This pairing works because Type 9 admires and helps support and encourage Type 3.
Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist
The essence of the Enneagram Type 4 is identity – a foundational sense of “I am” that is simple and effortless. The most basic need of Type 4 is to experience their unique identity, and they long to express their uniqueness. Type 4 is said to be the most difficult to relate to because they can be highly sensitive, reserved, and mindful of their surroundings.
If you are Enneagram Type 4, you likely enjoy expressing your uniqueness through your creativity, artistry, expressive imagination, and talent. When connected to your essence, you’re honest and self-reflective, profoundly creative, and inspired. But when disconnected, you can become difficult in relationship - overly sensitive, dramatic, self-absorbed, withdrawn, fantasizing, melancholic, and temperamental. You likely need alone time to “recharge."
Are you an Enneagram Type 4? Psychic Nova has prepared one minute of empowering affirmations just for you.
If your partner is Enneagram Type 4, be prepared that they take their emotions seriously and often believe that if they feel something, it's real. Firstly, it's helpful to acknowledge that you know the issue feels real to them. Take the time to listen their feelings first, trying to witness their emotions instead of buying into them or sharing yours. This is important because otherwise they will simply feel dismissed and won’t be able to hear the other side of the situation. Only after they feel heard can you gently remind them to look at the situation from a different perspective and share your feelings.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 4: Type 4 thrives on a match that provides validation and compliments. But they also need a match that is reliable and realistic because sometimes they can get carried away in dreams and ideas outside of reality. That's why Type 4 is best matched with Types 5 and 9, who bring balance when they go over the edge.
Enneagram Type 5: The Investigator
The essence of Type 5 is insight and understanding. The Enneagram Type 5 is known as the Investigator, because they seek to master knowledge. They grow up feeling a strong need to have their act together, seeking to avoid feelings of helplessness, incapability, or incompetence, by becoming intensely cerebral.
If you are Enneagram Type 5, you may find that when you are feeling in the flow of your essence, you are perceptive, innovative, and able to quickly understand the patterns of things; you’re a good problem-solver. But when detached from your essence, your tendency is to withdraw and become secretive, isolated, and risk averse. You may find that your desire to be competent can deteriorate into specialization and fixations that ultimately “miss the forest for the trees.” Those around you may appear to you to be incompetent, stupid, and incapable as you withdraw further into your own bubble.
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If you are partner to Enneagram Type 5, you may experience their periods of scattered hyperactivity and withdrawal as relationship challenges. Gently remind them to focus on the issue at hand. Because they have a tendency to escape into concepts, mental worlds, and indecision, remind them to connect with their feelings and their deeper inner selves. By listening to them as they describe their inner experience, you validate their self-worth, and they will feel less alone and separate.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 5: Type 5 need a partner that will help them express and talk about their emotions. A partnership with Type 1 and Type 5s, they can form a relationship built on a foundation of dependability and trust.
Type 5s are also a good match with Type 2s because they are opposites that attract; they can help each other's flaws in the best way.
Enneagram Type 6: The Loyalist
The essence of Enneagram Type 6, also known as The Loyalist, is security. The truest essence of 6 is a sense of security that arises from an inner calm and confidence that any situation can be handled. At their best, a healthy 6 is calm, alert, and grounded, and able to respond to whatever arises in the moment.
If you are Enneagram Type 6, you may find that when you feel most connected to your true self, you are engaging, loyal, responsible, and a committed partner. However, when you lose touch with your essence, your sense of security begins to shake you to the core, and you can become anxious, fretful, and obsessive, questioning whether you’ve done enough to plan, prepare, predict, anticipate, or safeguard; whether you’ve misplaced your trust; and even resorting to simplistic theories, rules, or external authorities for security instead of finding the sense of security within.
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If you are partner to Enneagram Type 6, remind them that no matter what your differences, you are steady, loyal, and won’t abandon them. Focus on your similarities and how much you care about their well-being and trust their judgement. Remind them to find a way to access their inner wisdom perhaps through journaling contemplation or meditation.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 6: Type 6 needs a partner who can help them stay grounded when they feel anxious, and talk things through. Type 6s best match is with Type 9. This type is one of the most stable and most common relationships out there. Each of the types is committed and trustworthy, and both want security and predictability.
Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast
The essence of Enneagram Type 7 is freedom. This is not something that is found by running away but by living fully in the present moment and savoring all that is. The basic need of the Enthusiast is to feel satisfied and content.
If you are Enneagram Type 7, you likely love to be busy, spontaneous, and off on another adventure. In relationship, you are versatile, fun-loving, creative, and inspiring. But when stressed, you can be distractible, flaky, overextended, scattered, and envious. You hate the idea of feeling trapped, whether by external circumstances or inner pain or limitations. When your life is not flowing well, you may start feeling something better is available somewhere else. Instead of freedom being something that is available as your Essence, it becomes something you feel you have to chase after.
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If you are partner to Enneagram Type 7, try to hold the wisdom that when they slow down and stick things out, they can find what they seek. The grass isn’t greener on the other side, so although they might crave the new and exciting, encourage them to find beauty in the moment and not rush to change things. However, be aware that they will bristle if they feel that you are limiting their choices or forcing them to do things they don’t want to do, so you will need to find a balance between setting boundaries you need for yourself and affirming their positive qualities that make them fun to be with. Because they are naturally optimistic and enjoy a challenge, if they feel that you really care, their tendency to want to make things happen will allow them to work to sort things out.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 7: Type 7 is a great match with Type 3 and Type 9. Type 3 and Type 7 are both self-assertive, outgoing, and bring optimism and life to their relationships. As much as Type 7 is looking for someone who can keep up with them, they also look for someone who can provide a feeling of shelter in the storm. Type 7 and Type 9 are attracted to each other because they are both upbeat, agreeable, and positive, and Type 9 keeps their cool.
Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger
The essential nature of the Enneagram Type 8 is vitality. This aliveness is a powerful, primal life force. It is fully embodied and in the moment. The core fear of this type is feeling vulnerable, and the basic need of this type is to feel protected. Enneagram Type 8s are the archetypical leaders of the pack and like to feel completely self-sufficient.
If you are Enneagram Type 8, you likely experience feeling self-confident, decisive, and powerful when you are feeling at your best. But when you are disconnected from your essence, you may find that you can become willful, dominating, and confrontational. You might also feel that if you’re not competing, fighting, or pushing against some obstacles, you begin to feel like you’re losing ground, which can cause you to double down and push even harder. You have a fear of being harmed, controlled, or violated by others.
Are you an Enneagram Type 8? Psychic Nova has prepared one minute of empowering affirmations just for you.
If you are partner to an Enneagram Type 8, recognize that when they show up in ways that feel overbearing and controlling, you’ll earn their respect by showing up in your own power. Be respectful of them, but don’t beat around the bush either. Show them that you appreciate them when they show the side of themselves that does not always feel strong, and that “soft” emotions like sadness, indecisiveness, or neediness are not a sign of weakness. Remind them that they are loved and that you really care about them. Then they will be able to relax and show you the truly caring side of their nature.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 8: Type 8s need someone who acknowledges their soft side in a way that feels safe. They will find a long-lasting and special bond with Type 6. They both value trust, loyalty, responsibility, and Type 6 can help advise Type 8, giving them warmth and a personal connection, they crave.
Enneagram Type 9: The Peacemaker
The essence of Enneagram Type 9 is harmony. Harmony is a peaceful sense that one is “at home” and “at peace.” This enneagram type seeks peace of mind and hates the feeling of disconnection or disturbance in their sense of harmony within the world. Type 9s like everything and everyone around them to be in harmony and will often sacrifice their own needs to avoid conflict and self-assertion.
If you are Enneagram Type 9, you embody the concept of going with the flow, live and let live, a kind of Age of Aquarius mentality. When you feel most connected to your core self, you show up in relationships as easygoing, receptive, and agreeable – as all about the “Yes.” But when you disconnect from your essence, you may slide into becoming complacent, apathetic, or depressed. Instead of taking on reality, you may feel overwhelmed by it and seek to escape it. In your worst moments, you may feel intense separation and fragmentation of the self – as if you were invisible and didn’t really matter. This thought can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as you deprioritize yourself and your needs or get stuck in a world of daydreams or rumination.
Are you an Enneagram Type 9? Psychic Nova has prepared one minute of empowering affirmations just for you.
If you are partner to an Enneagram Type 9, know that they may sometimes need your reassurance and patience, but don’t underestimate them even though they may appear to have checked out. They are innately solid, stable, dependable, and kind, and a gentle reminder to them to connect with their inner selves to access their own truth can help pull them back into the present and inspire action.
Enneagram Compatibility for Type 9: Type 9's best match is with Type 1. Type 9 can help 1s reduce anxiety, and 9s can gain knowledge about how to build structure in their life and set an agenda.
Working with an Enneagram Coach
Enneagram coaching, like any of the spiritual, metaphysical, and psychological tools and practices available through advisors on services such as Psychic Source, offers a way to deepen your understanding of yourself and others. With understanding comes compassion and empathy, which is an important building block to strong relationships. As a counselor and enneagram coach, I’ve been able to apply the Enneagram to love matching and soulmate compatibility as well as more practical applications like coworker challenges and family relationships.
When working with clients who are interested in exploring the Enneagram as a tool to improve their life and relationships, I like to start with a 45-minute online appointment to review your Enneagram type. It’s a great opportunity to dig deeper into whatever results your assessment returned to see if they really stand up to what is true for you. No assessment is completely accurate, so spending this time to evaluate the results really helps uncover the truth about who you are and your Enneagram type.
Next, I like to schedule 30-minute biweekly sessions to apply what you’re learning about the Enneagram to yourself and your relationships, whatever stage of relationship you’re in. Whether you’re looking for love or trying to improve a current relationship, we can use the Enneagram alone or in combination with other life-coaching and metaphysical modalities, from the practical to the psychic, to find answers, explore options, and reveal possibilities.