Enneagrams have exploded in popularity in recent years, and many people are eager to learn their Enneagram type and what it means. Once you've answered the question, "What Enneagram am I?" use this guide to learn about the 9 Enneagram types. In our Enneagram type descriptions, we go over major characteristics, as well as the top positive and negative personality traits. We also explain Enneagram wings and arrows, and how knowing your Enneagram can help you.
Overview of Enneagrams
Enneagrams are an increasingly popular way to classify personalities. There are nine different types, each of which has different values, goals, fears, and ways of relating to other people and the world in general.
Most people take an online quiz to determine their type. There are multiple free ones available that only take a few minutes to complete. Knowing your Enneagram can help you understand more about yourself as well as what you can do to become a better friend, family member, romantic partner, and employee. You'll know more about your strengths and weaknesses and what you can do to be more successful in both your personal and professional lives.
Below is a list of the 9 Enneagram types. We'll give more detailed Enneagram type descriptions in the next section.
- Type 1: The Reformer
- Type 2: The Helper
- Type 3: The Achiever
- Type 4: The Individualist
- Type 5: The Investigator
- Type 6: The Loyalist
- Type 7: The Enthusiast
- Type 8: The Challenger
- Type 9: The Peacemaker
The 9 Enneagram Types
If you're wondering, "What Enneagram am I?" these Enneagram type descriptions can help you out! For each of the 9 Enneagram types, we give a short description of the typical personality of that type, along with the top three positive personality traits and top three negative personality traits. Read through these descriptions to see which one you most relate to!
Enneagram Type 1
Enneagram Type 1s are known for being ambitious, principled, perfectionistic, and highly self-controlled. They have high ideals and are always striving to do more and improve themselves so that they can be the best version of themselves. Type 1s see themselves as one piece of a large, complex puzzle. Their needs aren't the priority; instead, they feel the pull of a greater purpose. This purpose could be related to religion, politics, social justice, the environment, etc. All Type 1s have a higher ideal they're striving for, and if they don't, they'll feel restless and incomplete until they find one.
These high expectations extend to others as well, and Type 1s can get extremely frustrated when they feel others aren't putting as much effort in as they are or don't care about the "mission" enough. Type 1s often have a reputation for being judgmental and nitpicky which is worsened by their trait of not being able to express their emotions easily. This means that, even if a Type 1 really likes you/feels you've done a great job, they'll often keep their mouth shut rather than take the risk of looking "weak" and overly emotional.
Positive personality traits: Intelligence, work ethic, responsibility
Negative personality traits: Critical, emotionally distant, self-righteous
Enneagram Type 2
Type 2s are known as the Helpers for a reason: they genuinely care about people, and they want to help others live their best lives. They do this by lending a helping hand whenever they can! Type 2s go out of their way to make sure the people in their lives feel loved and appreciated. They’re the sorts of people who remember your favorite foods, then bring them to you when you’re under the weather. Twos are excellent at intrinsically knowing what people need, then making sure those needs are met. And in most cases, Enneagram Type 2s get a lot of fulfillment from making the people around them feel seen and heard. Speaking of that, Type 2s' most stand-out characteristic is their ability to love people for who they are. They aren’t the types of people who will ask you to change or judge you for your likes and dislikes. Twos will meet you where you are and encourage you to chase your passions and dreams, whatever they may be.
When Type 2s are stressed out, they tend to become domineering and manipulative. They're deeply emotional people, and it’s easy for them to ignore their own emotional needs to care for others. When this happens—or when they feel like they’re being taken advantage 2s tend to lash out. At their worst, Type 2s can become angry and bitter...especially if they feel neglected by the people around them. But healthy Enneagram Type 2s are supportive and nice, which is why people are drawn to them. (Type 2s tend to have large circles of friends!)
Positive personality traits: Generosity, thoughtfulness, optimism
Negative personality traits: Moodiness, neediness, lack of self esteem
Enneagram Type 3
Practically from birth, Enneagram Type 3s reach for the stars. They're hugely ambitious and are constantly setting new goals for themselves. Type 3s are often blessed with the perfect combination of self-confidence, charisma, intelligence, and attractiveness to make them superstars in whatever they put their minds to. Their relentless ambition means that they're never happy with the status quo and will continue to push themselves to reach more and more impressive goals. They're the people who make their first million in their twenties but go on to found numerous other companies without taking a pause, or those who win a prestigious prize early on in their career but only use it as motivation to keep aiming for new heights.
However, despite their outward appearance of having it all together, Type 3s often are heavily preoccupied with their image and what others think of them. They constantly need outside validation and can fall into a funk if they don't think their talents are being appreciated enough. While often lauded with praise and well-liked by others, Type 3s are often on the brink of feeling worthless or as though they don't have value. It's this unhealthy view of themselves that forces them to continually push forward and never be fully content with what they've already achieved.
Positive personality traits: Work ethic, responsibility, generosity
Negative personality traits: image conscious, lack of self esteem, competitiveness
Enneagram Type 4
These independent folks are known for being sensitive, introspective, and expressive. Type 4s thrive when they have the chance to follow their creative impulses, whether that’s making beautiful art to share with the world or embracing a unique way to express themselves. Type 4s are always on a quest to find and express their true essence—no matter how unusual that might be. In fact, if you’re a Type 4, quirkiness is a good thing! They want other people to recognize and celebrate their uniqueness, and they value uniqueness in others, too.
When Type 4s are under stress, they tend to withdraw from social life and become hyper-focused on their flaws and negative emotions. At their worst, 4s lose their sense of self-worth and tend toward depression and melancholy. As a personality type that’s strongly impacted by their moods and emotions, this type tends to be mercurial. It can seem like they're in a constant state of change! But this is one of the things that makes Type 4s wise: they understand that humans evolve and grow. When Type 4s are balanced and happy, they can be some of the most understanding and supportive people out there.
Positive personality traits: Creativity, honesty, thoughtfulness
Negative personality traits: Self-absorbed, withdrawn, moody
Enneagram Type 5
Type 5s are driven by a need to know the “why” behind everything. They rely on their own ability to see and examine the world around them, and they rarely accept explanations just because someone said so. They’re also infamous for pushing back on the status quo. You’ll have to prove to a Type 5 that your way of doing things is the best way if you want them to fall into line. Living like this takes a lot of mental processing power, which means—you guessed it!—Enneagram Type 5s tend to be super smart. And because they’re always questioning the things around them, they’re also hyper observant. It might seem like 5s are basically scientists, and you’re right: Type 5s tend to gravitate toward STEM or other technical fields. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be creative types, too! At their core, all Enneagram 5s are experimenters and boundary pushers. They want to see what’s possible, which is what motivates artists, writers, and designers, too.
However, there are some downsides to being a Type 5, too. When 5s are stressed, they tend to become hyper and scattered. As a result, Type 5s tend to be diagnosed with ADHD more often than other Enneagram types. Type 5s can also end up isolated, too. They rely on their brains to make sense of the world, which means they’re often scared of emotions. Their lack of emotional awareness can push more intuitive people—like Twos and Nines—away.
Positive personality traits: Intelligence, curiosity, innovation
Negative personality traits: Emotionally withdrawn, high strung, arrogant
Enneagram Type 6
More than any other Enneagram type, 6s want to hold onto what they have. If things are going well for them, they see no reason to put that at risk for an attempt at something even better. When they're in a relationship or career that makes them happy, they'll devote their whole selves to it and won't even consider looking over their shoulder for something better. This doesn't mean that they'll always fight for the status quo, but once a Type 6 determines their morals and goals, little can get them to change their opinion.
When confronted with change or uncertainty, Type 6s can get very anxious. If their anxiety becomes extreme, they can fall prey to unfounded suspicions and push people close to them away. This is particularly troubling because Type 6s rely on other people more than most Enneagram Types do for regular support and advice. They can struggle to make decisions on their own due to self-doubt and fear of making the wrong choice, so cutting themselves off from their supporters can further exacerbate Type 6s feelings that they don't have anyone to trust. However, the innate loyalty of Type 6s means they'll always make their way back to the people they care about most.
Positive personality traits: responsible, empathetic, trustworthy
Negative personality traits: closed off, insecure, needy
Enneagram Type 7
Enneagram 7 is known for being energetic, fun-loving, curious, and spontaneous. They want to get as much fun and excitement out of life as possible, so they're always trying new things and meeting new people, even if it sometimes means overextending themselves. The most important thing to know about Type 7s is that they see life as a fantastic adventure and want to get as much fun out of it as possible. They're not the type to be negative, hold grudges, or spend the weekend rewatching their favorite movies. There's a whole world out there to explore, and Type 7s want to get as much out of it as possible. This means that they're often full of energy and always looking for new experiences to be had. How people react to that often depends on their own Enneagram Type, but many people love the boldness and positivity Type 7s always seem to carry with them.
However, their love of novelty can make it difficult for Type 7s to commit to anything, whether that's a sports league, a career, or a relationship. They can also come across as scatterbrained because they have so many thoughts and ideas running through their mind. Type 7s often get bored with schedules and lists, so their ideas--although often innovative and exciting--can seem muddled and haphazard (if they aren't forgotten by the Type 7 themself).
Positive personality traits: Passion, curiosity, optimism
Negative personality traits: Selfishness, impulsivity, difficulty committing
Enneagram Type 8
Type 8s are known for being assertive, confident, hard-working, and, at times, confrontational. They have very strong opinions and values, and they'll go to great lengths to ensure both that they're being true to themselves and that the world at large is operating as they believe it should. This includes both helping people in need and confronting people they think are acting poorly. However, When a Type 8's passions are aroused, they can often come off as aggressive and intimidating to others. If someone only sees a Type 8 when they're unhappy or fighting against a perceived injustice, they may assume they're arrogant, short-tempered, and domineering.
Enneagram 8s can be hugely likable, and even heroic, to people who agree with them or who they're helping, but they can annoy and start conflicts with people who don't share their same ideals. 8s are blessed with healthy levels of self-confidence and a strong moral compass. They believe they are experts on what is right and what is wrong, and they won't shy away from letting others know when they are doing something the 8 doesn't agree with. Type 8s are known for being very direct when they're speaking. They won't skirt around a sensitive subject, and they won't worry about the consequences of speaking their truth.
Positive personality traits: Generosity, bravery, work ethic
Negative personality traits: Aggressiveness, short temper, selfishness
Enneagram Type 9
This Enneagram type values stability and harmony in all things and will go to great lengths to avoid or solve conflicts. Type 9s can get along with all types of people and have a very calm and stabilizing presence, but their fear of conflict can sometimes cause them to be complacent and risk-averse. Other people tend to see Enneagram 9s as calm and compassionate presences. They have the ability to listen to all sides of an argument without judgement, and they can bridge all sorts of divisions. Type 9s believe that peace and cooperation are more important than any short-term squabble or disagreement, and their thoughtful, reassuring manner of explaining this often wins others over to their cause. 9s continuously draw people into the fold so that they feel valued and liked. While not the loudest person in a group or the one who takes charge, Enneagram 9s are often the glue that holds friends and families together.
The effort of maintaining all this harmony can take a toll on Type 9s, however. Their desire to make others happy means that Enneagram 9s often overlook their own needs. This can lead to them feeling used and unappreciated. Additionally, because they have such a strong aversion to conflict, Type 9s often don't speak up when there is a problem. Instead, they'll allow the issue to simmer and hope it goes away on its own if they don't think about it.
Positive personality traits: Fairness, generosity, emotional stability
Negative personality traits: Complacency, procrastination, disengagement
Other Enneagram Components
If you want to take a deeper dive into Enneagrams, there are two other components to know about: wings and arrows. Both of these will give you deeper insight into your personality.
Each Enneagram type has two adjacent wings, one of which is more dominant than the other in each person. The wings are based on the numbers on either side of the Enneagram Type. For example, Type 4s can have either a Type 3 or Type 5 wing, while Type 1s can have either a Type 2 or Type 9 wing. When you take your Enneagram test, you'll learn which wing is dominant for you. Although they don't have as large an impact as your actual Enneagram type, wings still affect your personality and behavior.
For example, if you're a Type 1 Wing 2 (1w2), your personality will predominantly be explained by Type 1 personality traits, such as intelligent, hard working, and critical, but you may also notice some Type 2 personality traits as well, including optimism, generosity, and neediness. Wings can have both positive and negative impacts on a person, depending on how well (or not) they complement the person's Enneagram type.
As you study Enneagrams, you may come across the terms "Enneagram arrows" or "Enneagram stress and growth." There are two sets of arrows (growth and stress), and they'll indicate the characteristics different Enneagram types will take on when they're growing or stressed, respectively. The reason this happens is that different situations bring out different characteristics in a person's personality, and your Enneagram type can help you predict how you'll respond to both positive and negative situations.
Growth arrows indicate the traits different Enneagram types take on when they are thriving and doing well. Because they are becoming their best selves, they typically take on the positive characteristics of the type their arrow is pointing towards. Growth arrows follow the patterns 1-7-5-8-2-4-1 and 9-3-6-9. This means that if you're a Type 7 who is growing, your arrow points to Type 5, if you're a Type 1, your arrow points to Type 7, if you're a Type 6, your arrow points to Type 9, etc. So, a Type 8 who is doing very well in their life could begin to take on Type 2 positive traits, such as increased generosity and optimism.
Stress arrows are the opposite: they indicate the traits you take on when in an unhealthy/stressed state. Stress arrows follow patterns opposite of the growth arrows. The two patterns are 1-4-2-8-5-7-1 and 9-6-3-9. So a Type 6 under stress will begin to take on negative habits and traits of a Type 3, etc.
Your initial Enneagram type will still be the dominant determiner of your personality regardless of your situation, but Enneagram stress and growth arrows can give you more insight into how your personality will change under different circumstances.
How Can Knowing Your Enneagram Type Help You?
Now that you've answered the question "What Enneagram am I?" how can you use that knowledge? Like any other personality test, knowing your Enneagram can explain many different parts of your personality. You can use your Enneagram results to understand your own personal strengths and continue to build on them. Conversely, you can be aware of your weaknesses and look out for them so that they have a minimal impact on your life. Your Enneagram type can also explain how you get along with people, as well as personality characteristics you might have that can drive some people away, such as arrogance or neediness. Knowing this can help you form deeper and more positive relationships with others. Additionally, you can use your Enneagram results to better understand the types of careers you'll thrive in, and where you might be frustrated in the workforce.
Overall, your Enneagram can give you insight into practically every part of your life. If there are areas of your life that frustrate you or where you feel you haven't been successful enough, your Enneagram might explain why you're struggling. Learning about your personality strengths can also help you maximize the areas where you're most talented, so you can continue to grow and improve.
Want more advice on which career path you should follow? Take our career quiz to learn which jobs you'll be happiest and most successful at!
Also curious about alchemy? Learn the 22 key alchemy symbols and the meanings behind them in our guide to alchemy symbols.
Want to keep learning new things? We've compiled 113 of the most fascinating fun facts. We bet something on the list will amaze you!
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.