Have you ever thought about the reasons behind the failure of your past romantic relationships? Maybe you attempted, without success, to change someone, or perhaps you find yourself unsure about your own desires. The Enneagram can offer you valuable insights by revealing your authentic personality, shedding light on your potential for personal growth, and giving you an understanding of how your strengths and weaknesses influence your relationships. Enneagram compatibility can become one of your first keys to mindful dating, just like the knowledge of your attachment type. So, let’s waste no more time and dive into this really helpful concept.
What Is Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a system for understanding personality types, consisting of nine distinct patterns that govern how individuals think, feel, and behave. These patterns act as filters through which people perceive and navigate their surroundings and relationships. The term “Enneagram” originates from the Greek words “ennea” meaning “nine” and “gramma” meaning “point,” symbolizing the nine points on the circular diagram of the Enneagram.
Each Enneagram type is denoted by a number ranging from 1 to 9, representing a specific personality archetype. These archetypes encompass intrinsic motivations, fears, desires, and overall perspectives on life.
How Can Enneagram Help You in Dating?
Enneagram can be a transformative tool in the dating world. It’s not only about finding a ‘perfect match’ based on Enneagram compatibility; it’s also about fostering self-awareness, understanding, and growth, both individually and as a potential partner. Here are some ways the Enneagram can assist in mindful dating:
Your Enneagram type can help you understand your core motivations, fears, and desires. This understanding can lead to greater self-awareness and personal growth. You’ll begin to understand why you’re drawn to certain individuals, why some patterns repeat in your relationships, and how you can break unhealthy cycles.
Each Enneagram type has a unique way of perceiving and interacting with the world, influencing how they communicate and interpret others’ communications. Understanding this can greatly enhance your communication skills. For example, if you’re a Type Two (The Helper), you might express love through acts of service, while a Type Five (The Investigator) might show it through sharing knowledge. Knowing these differences can lead to more effective and empathetic communication.
Understand Your Potential Partner
Just as the Enneagram provides insight into your behavior, it also can explain the actions of your partner. If you know your date’s Enneagram type, you can better understand their motivations and reactions, fostering empathy and reducing misinterpretations. For example, recognizing that a Type Nine (The Peacemaker) may avoid conflict not because they don’t care, but because they desire peace, can prevent unnecessary misunderstandings.
Disagreements happen in any relationship. The Enneagram can help you understand how different types approach conflict and offer strategies for resolution that align with each type’s values and tendencies. This understanding can help you understand your partner and maybe even develop more effective ways of conflict resolution.
Find the Right Partner
Understanding compatibility in the context of the Enneagram is nuanced and complex. It’s important to note that any type can have a successful relationship with any other type, as compatibility depends more on individual growth, communication, and mutual respect than specific type pairings. However, certain pairings might naturally share some commonalities or face unique challenges. And knowing these patterns can help you find a good partner for you. We will look closer at this topic below.
What Do You Need to Know About Enneagram Types?
You Have One Basic Personality Type
Within each of us, one of nine distinct personality types emerges and takes root during our childhood. This type, formed by a blend of our inherent temperament and prenatal factors, primarily directs the ways we adapt to the world during our tender years. And here’s the fascinating part: once established, these personality types remain consistent. You won’t just wake up one day and switch from one fundamental type to another.
Now, these types are universal. They transcend gender boundaries – they’re not designated as being “male” or “female”. So whether you’re a man or a woman, the personality types apply to you equally.
Here’s something else to remember: the descriptions of these personality types are not one-size-fits-all. Your personality traits can shift along the spectrum of healthy, average, and unhealthy characteristics within your type, depending on a multitude of factors. So don’t worry if every single point doesn’t resonate with you at all times.
And perhaps most importantly, there’s no hierarchy in personality types. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses. There’s no “best” or “worst” type to be.
What Do Wings Mean in Enneagram?
The concept of “wings” in the Enneagram system suggests that individuals have a dominant personality type, but also exhibit characteristics of one or both of the adjacent types on the Enneagram diagram. These adjacent types are called “wings.” While there is some debate about whether individuals have one or two wings, most people have a dominant wing that is more significant in shaping their personality. However, both wings are present to some extent in everyone. Identifying one’s basic type is necessary before determining which wing(s) are applicable. The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator can help determine the basic type and possibly indicate the wing. To better understand the influence of the wing, it is recommended to read the descriptions of the individual’s type, its adjacent types, and decide which one aligns best with their personality.
What Are Levels in Enneagram?
Inside each personality type, there’s an intricate framework at play. This framework consists of a wide spectrum of behaviors, attitudes, defenses, and motivations which are fashioned by the nine Levels of Development – the building blocks of each personality type.
An enlightening way to decode these Levels is to look at them as a gauge of our ability to be in the moment. Picture this: as we slide down these Levels, we become more intertwined with our ego, spiraling into increasingly negative and restrictive thought patterns. Our personality takes on a defensive, reactive posture, and operates on autopilot, resulting in a dwindling sense of true freedom and consciousness. The deeper we sink into these Levels, the more we get into the trap of compulsive, destructive actions that inevitably boomerang back to harm us.
On the flip side, climbing up the Levels – towards health – is synonymous with becoming more alert and awake, physically, emotionally, and mentally. As we cultivate this heightened state of presence, we start to get rid of the defensive patterns of our personality, become more authentic selves, and open up to the world around us.
The Enneagram serves as an insightful map guiding us toward becoming our best selves. The journey isn’t about sticking rigidly to our identified type, but rather about harnessing the strengths – or ‘virtues’ – of all nine types to transform into a balanced, fully actualized individual.
How Do Nine Enneagram Types Manifest Themselves in Relationships?
There can be many ways to describe personality types according to Enneagram. But today let’s focus only on those traits that have the biggest effect on relationships.
This type is sometimes called the Idealist or the Perfectionist for its traits. Ones are typically serious, disciplined, and aim for precision. These people are purposeful, self-controlled, and have strong principles. Ones try hard to manage and suppress feelings of anger. They believe it’s crucial to maintain self-control, particularly when it comes to their inherent impulses and sensations of rage. They aspire to channel these energies in line with the commands of their internal critic or superego – a highly developed internal voice that sets strict standards for themselves and others.
In relationships, their pluses are the desire to constantly grow, be faithful, and be supportive. They are dedicated, loyal, responsible, detail-oriented, and usually have a great sense of humor.
However, One can become critical, controlling, inflexible, and set high standards for their partner if their desire for perfection goes out of control.
One needs spontaneity, a dash of playfulness, and a good dose of creativity to loosen up. This type needs to learn how to clearly communicate their needs to their partner instead of expecting them to be mind readers.
Type Two, also known as The Giver, is characterized by their generosity, expressiveness, desire to please others, and tendency to be possessive. Type Two belongs to the Feeling Center of the Enneagram, along with Threes and Fours. They have a strong sense of shame and manage it by seeking others’ approval and striving to be seen as ethical individuals.
They reassure themselves of their goodness by emphasizing their positive emotions towards others, while suppressing their negative feelings, such as anger or resentment from feeling underappreciated. As long as Twos receive positive emotional validation from others, they feel desired, thereby keeping their feelings of shame in check. These people put others first and derive joy from supporting and caring for them.
In a relationship, their strengths are their desire and ability to make their partners feel happy, loved, and cherished.
However, they may have trouble meeting their own needs and might become overly dependent on their partner’s approval, which can lead to possessiveness.
Type Three, also known as The Achiever, is characterized by their adaptability, pursuit of excellence, driven nature, and a strong consciousness of their image. These people often put so much focus on their success that they sideline their emotional needs. They invest a lot of effort in their careers and crave recognition for their hard work.
Threes belong to the Feeling center and have to fight their feelings of shame as well. They usually do it by suppressing feelings and thus may seem to be the most disconnected from any underlying sense of deficiency. They cultivate the ability to excel, to be admirable, and frequently push themselves tirelessly in their quest for success.
In relationships, these people are dynamic, creative, responsible, and generally meet or exceed expectations. However, they can also be self-absorbed, defensive, and impatient, often forgetting to attend to their partner’s needs. So, Threes need to learn to step away from work and center their attention on their partner, reminding themselves that they are loved for who they are, not just what they achieve.
Type Four, known as The Individualist, is characterized by their expressiveness, dramatic nature, the tendency for self-absorption, and temperamental behavior. Fours also belong to the Feeling Center in Enneagram and manage their feelings of shame by emphasizing their uniqueness, individual talents, emotions, and personal traits. Despite this, Fours are the type most prone to feelings of inadequacy. They usually have an elaborate, romantic fantasy life, which serves as an escape from aspects of their lives they perceive as dull or uninteresting. These people are sensitive, creative, and prioritize authenticity over external rewards.
In relationships, they are playful, empathetic, and intuitive. Fours are open to new experiences and have a natural ability to understand others’ emotions, which is a great plus in all relationships. However, their moodiness, neediness, and very sensitive attitude to criticism can become real trouble in relationships. Fours need a partner who can acknowledge and appreciate their need for creative expression and accept them as they really are. In this regard, it can be helpful to read about the Secure attachment, because a secure type is the best for Fours.
Fives are contemplative, observant, and true Investigators. These people are perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated. They value time alone to process and understand their emotions. Within the Thinking Center, Fives have anxiety about the external world. As a coping mechanism for this fear, they escape from the world. Fives evolve into elusive, solitary individuals who like to explore the world around them. They have the hope that they can reach a sufficient understanding of reality, however, they often get stuck in a persistent feeling of inadequacy in their knowledge and hence they tend to immerse themselves in increasingly elaborate inner worlds.
In relationships, Fives are curious and perceptive, which makes them great companions for intellectual and cultural pursuits. Still, their strong need for independence may make their partner feel ignored. In the end, Five can be happy only with a partner who respects their need for personal space and shares similar interests.
Type Six, often referred to as The Loyalist, is engaging, accountable, prone to anxiety, and tends to be suspicious. Sixes tend to grapple with the greatest levels of fear compared to other types in the Thinking Center. Their fear is typically manifested as anxiety. Sixes are usually very detached from their inner sense of knowledge and self-assuredness. They often struggle to trust their own thought processes and seek external sources of reassurance and self-affirmation. They can find relief in philosophical doctrines, beliefs, relationships, careers, and financial security. However, no matter how many safety measures they take, Sixes often keep this uncertainty and anxiety.
Sixes prioritize honesty, integrity, and commitment, seeking security in their relationships. That is why their strengths in relationships are loyalty, honesty, desire for a long-term commitment, and supportive behavior. Their insecurity and anxiety can make them look defensive and controlling early in relationships. To be happy in relationships, Sixes need to find a trustworthy and loyal partner who they can trust and rely on. Open communication with their partner about their thoughts and insecurities can help them relax.
Type Seven is also known as The Enthusiast. These people are spontaneous, adaptable, desiring, and can sometimes become scattered. Sevens are representatives of the Thinking Center and have to fight the feelings of fear, which often comprises pain, loss, deprivation, and a general sense of anxiety. They make every effort to avoid these feelings and for that, they often preoccupy their minds with thrilling possibilities and alternatives. As a result, Sevens are often seen leading a fast-paced life, chasing one experience after another, and keeping themselves entertained and involved in a plethora of ideas and activities.
These energetic people know how to enjoy life. Their carefree spirit knows how to have a lot of fun and adventures. However, they can be too self-centered, irresponsible, and distracted, paying not enough attention to relationship issues. They need a grounded partner who can help them slow down while appreciating their spontaneity and zest for life.
Known as the Challenger, Eights are natural leaders, who have a very confident, self-assured, decisive, and outgoing personality. Though these traits may seem tempting, they can also make Eights appear arrogant and competitive. Belonging to the Instinctive Center, Eights outwardly express their anger and instinctual energy. When Eights sense their anger escalating, they respond to it physically, their voices rising and movements becoming stronger. They freely allow themselves to physically display their anger.
In relationships, brave Eights are usually honest, loyal, and dependable. They are generous and supportive of their partners. Though Eights are used to confront issues head-on, they are protective of those they care about. Their negative traits in relationships often result in demanding, uncompromising, and intense behavior. An ideal partner for Eights is one who admires their energy, shares their passion for life, and supports them. However, they will need to learn to listen to become a good partner themselves.
Type Nine, also known as the Peacemaker, is receptive, comforting, complacent, and patient. Though Nines belong to the Instinctive Center, they fight their Anger in a very different manner compared to Eights. Nines don’t associate themselves with anger and manage to control their instincts through this detachment. To avoid this anger, Nines try to focus on the idealized versions of their relationships and their world.
In relationships, Nines are caring listeners who strive for peace and harmony. Their easygoing, kind, and supportive nature makes them very good partners. Being attuned to their partner’s feelings, Nines don’t let themselves become judgmental. However, they can still be stubborn, passive-aggressive, and defensive, trying to avoid conflicts all the time. An ideal partner for a Nine is someone who can provide support and encourage them to express their feelings. Nines need to learn to speak about their feelings and problems instead of running from every conflict.
How to Understand Your Enneagram Type?
Determining your Enneagram type is an insightful process of self-discovery. While there are many online tests available, they should only be used as a starting point, not a definitive answer. A more reliable approach includes self-observation, reflection, and understanding the core elements of the Enneagram system. Here are some steps to help you identify your Enneagram type.
Step 1. Consider Taking an Online Test
While not foolproof, online Enneagram tests can be a useful tool to point you in the right direction. Consider your results as a suggestion and not a final verdict. It is better to pick tests that don’t tell directly about your type. Instead, choose those that can give you percentages and this way show you the closest types. Your Enneagram Coach suggests a good free test that is free to take. You will get results with percentages. Once you get them, you can go on your journey with different books and resources and find out more about your possible types.
Step 2. Read About Enneagram Types
Start with those that you take from the online test and then read about each type, their core motivations, fears, desires, and characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Learning more about Enneagram types will help you better understand which type suits you in reality.
Step 3. Think About Your Core Motivations, Fears, and Desires
Motivations, Fears, and Desires can help you distinguish between types. Because in Enneagram, Why we do something is as important as What we do. Take time to think about what motivates and scares you and read which of the types seems close to you. Perhaps, you want to be good (Type 1), want to feel loved (Type 2), want to impress others (Type 3), or want to protect your own path of life (Type 8). Maybe, you are afraid of conflicts like Type 9, or manipulation (Type 8), or abandonment (Type 6). All these things can hint at your type.
Step 4. Ask Your Friends and Relatives
Sometimes, we have blind spots about our own behaviors. It can be helpful to ask close friends, family members for their perceptions of your habitual patterns. Maybe they will highlight for you some things that you didn’t notice at once.
Step 5. Turn to an Enneagram Professional
If you’re having trouble determining your type, consider working with a certified Enneagram professional. They can guide you through the process and provide objective insights.
Whatever path you take, remember that your Enneagram type is not a diagnosis. It is your path to growth and a source of valuable insights about yourself.
Does Enneagram Compatibility Exist?
In the context of the Enneagram, compatibility doesn’t simply mean which types go well together, but rather how knowledge of your type and your partner’s type can lead to a healthier, more understanding relationship. It’s important to remember that any Enneagram type can be compatible with any other type. The real key to compatibility is understanding, communication, and personal growth. However, there are still several approaches to Enneagram compatibility in relationships.
When two individuals of the same type pair up, they often have an innate understanding of each other’s motivations and fears. Let’s say, two Type Fours might find a deep bond in their shared feelings of being “different” from others, their desire for authenticity, and their tendency to savor emotional intensity. However, having the same strengths also means having the same weaknesses. This pairing might intensify their mutual challenges, such as a tendency towards melancholy or feeling misunderstood. And only their mindful approach to relationships and the desire to grow can help them find these patterns and overcome challenges.
Types with Similar Approaches
When two types share similar strategies or approaches to life but have different core motivations, there can be a sense of shared understanding mixed with potential misunderstandings. For example, Type One (The Reformer) and Type Three (The Achiever) both have a strong focus on striving for ideals, but their underlying reasons differ. Ones strive for perfection based on their strong moral compass, while Threes aim for success and achievement to gain recognition and approval. They can find common ground in their mutual ambition and hard-working nature but may misunderstand each other’s motivations.
These pairings consist of types that seem to be opposites in many ways, but their differences can provide balance. For example, Type Two (The Helper) and Type Five (The Investigator) can complement each other well. The warm, people-oriented Two can help the more withdrawn and private Five to open up and engage more with the world, while the analytical and insightful Five can help the Two to establish healthy boundaries and appreciate the value of solitude.
These pairings involve types that approach life and relationships in fundamentally different ways, providing many opportunities for growth and learning but also potential conflict. For example, Type Eight and Type Nine have different approaches to conflict: Eights confront it directly, while Nines tend to avoid it. This can lead to misunderstandings and tension, but if navigated well, these differences can lead to growth: Eights can learn the value of peace and compromise, and Nines can learn to stand up for themselves and their needs.
The Enneagram, a system of personality typing, can significantly benefit relationships and dating by facilitating better self-understanding and understanding of others, enhancing communication, aiding in conflict resolution, promoting personal growth, and offering insights into compatibility. However, it should be used as a guide, not a rigid framework, recognizing the unique individuality beyond one’s Enneagram type.
An understanding of Enneagram compatibility can enhance relationships and dating by offering insights into potential synergies or challenges that may arise between certain type combinations. Each Enneagram type has its own unique way of viewing and interacting with the world, which can lead to either natural harmony or points of friction when paired with certain other types. Recognizing these patterns can enable you to anticipate potential difficulties and develop strategies to handle them, fostering a more harmonious relationship. However, it’s crucial to remember that successful relationships can exist between all Enneagram types.