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I stumbled upon this system for personality typing at a time when I was delving headfirst into self-discovery—but most of all I was desperately trying to understand my lover at the time and how or if we could fit together.
While I believe we can have strong relationships with any type of person, in my experience there are certain personalities that bring out the best in me, and vice-versa.
We just find it easier to be with some partners than others. The enneagram helps explain why.
When we know in which of the nine ennea typologies our lovers resonate, we can better understand them, have compassion for their fears and comprehend what it is that motivates them to act the way they do.
It was through understanding my lover’s type (he was a nine, and I am a two) that I was able to better realize why I couldn’t get the closeness I wanted from him and understand that with our personality types, I might never be able to.
Either my expectation needed shifting, or I did!
Below I have given a brief snapshot of the nine enneagram types—what each one is most afraid of and motivated by, and which types are rated most and least compatible.
If you want more information on this, check out the insightful book Are You My Type, Am I Yours? By authors Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele. In addition, you can delve deeper by taking the Enneagram Institute’s typing test.
With this system, we can attain clarity as to why past relationships didn’t work, find deeper and more fulfilling ones in the future and create a fuller, symbiotic union in the ones we currently inhabit.
1. The Reformer.
A highly controlled personality that always attempts to maintain an even keel. They are focused on living what they see as a fair and good life and are vigilant rule-keepers.
Fear: Criticism, imbalance, acting out.
Motivation: Behaving well, being honest, goodness.
Most Compatible: Seven—teaches ones how to stay enthusiastic, be spontaneous and lighten up on the rules.
Least Compatible: Four—is not goal-oriented enough for one’s, and will likely drive them crazy.
2. The Helper.
Interpersonal relationships are key to 2’s, as they always want to be seen supporting others to their highest good. They are highly affectionate and sensual souls who love to love.
Fear: Not receiving love.
Motivation: Being acknowledged and feeling connection.
Most Compatible: Eight—motivates two’s to stand up for themselves and move forward.
Least Compatible: Four—may drain the two’s empathic energy with their abundant needs.
3. The Achiever.
Driven to continually succeed and advance. They are great performers and rely heavily on outside validation. Often they take high stress jobs where they are in the spotlight.
Fear: Not being valued.
Motivation: Getting recognition, being the best.
Most Compatible: Seven—Brings playfulness to three’s task-driven mind.
Least Compatible: Nine—this type frustrates three’s because they just don’t get enough done in a day!
4. The Individualist.
Highly artistic and creative folks. They abhor the mundane and often create a juicy fantasy world. They experience rich feelings and have demanding natures, but are also keen understanders of their partners’ true spirits.
Fear: Not being seen, disappearing.
Motivation: To be authentic.
Most Compatible: One—teaches four’s how to be logical, making that check list and ticking it off.
Least Compatible: Two—four’s have a tendency to become overly codependent with type two’s.
5. The Investigator.
Preferring to figure out the world on their own, five’s are highly interested in their mind and solving problems by investigation through it. Often loners, this type finds the outer world slightly overwhelming.
Fear: Inability to cope, victimhood.
Motivation: Knowledge, proficiency.
Most Compatible: Nine—gives five’s the space they desire to mentally digest life. This pair respects each other’s strong boundaries.
Least Compatible: Eight—encourages aggression to come out in five’s, and at times, overly spicy communication.
6. The Loyalist.
Extremely engaging and bright, these people get caught up in looking to other’s opinions to guide their lives. They are true friends and highly responsible to the point of being anxious.
Fear: Being unsupported, the future.
Motivation: Finding courage, receiving clear guidance.
Most Compatible: Nine—this type helps calm the anxiety of the six.
Least Compatible: Three—unfortunately, the three may bring out six’s paranoia around not being enough.
7. The Enthusiast.
Always bubbling with activity, these folks like to execute and plan projects. Being often excited about new ideas and people means seven’s don’t sit with their inner-life often. They also tend to love the finer things in life.
Fear: Lacking, pain.
Motivation: Finding satisfaction, new possibilities.
Most Compatible: Five—will draw seven’s back into themselves and help them ground.
Least Compatible: One—seven’s can feel like this type pushes their free spirit down.
8. The Challenger.
Keen on confrontation, honesty and self-reliance. This type is highly willful and not afraid of showing their passion through physical expression. They want to be seen as singularly independent.
Fear: Being under another’s control, weakness.
Motivation: Protection of self, to be self-sufficient.
Most Compatible: Two—models compassion and connection to the pushy eight.
Least compatible: Five—can bring out the latent neurotic and paranoid tendencies of the eight.
9. The Peacekeeper.
Sticks to the middle road in life. They are the mediators and often the glue that bonds families and businesses. Connection is important to them, and they show this through their efforts to make everyone happy.
Fear: Disconnection from others, unresolved conflict.
Motivation: Achieving equanimity, feeling love.
Most Compatible: Three—will nudge nine’s to achieve more of their full potential.
Least Compatible: Six—can push nine’s buttons with their tendency to overthink things.
May this be of benefit in helping you build strong and fulfilling relationships!
Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Toby Israel