If you threw a party where only Enneagram type Sevens were invited, not only would you have the ingredients for a seriously epic blowout, but you would also have a room full of very different people. The beauty of the Enneagram is it's not one-size-fits-all. Personalities shift and change depending on your levels of health, life circumstances, and- you guessed it- your wings. Enneagram wings add spice to your main type, and give you a more well-rounded picture of your personality.
Beth McCord of Your Enneagram Coach equates wings to the “salt and pepper” of your personality recipe. You can also think of them like actual wings, two feathered wings giving you flight.
It's important to know the traits of both your wings are easily accessible to you. Everyone is a unique combination of their main type and sprinklings of their neighbor types. Some people find that they have balanced wings or no wings at all, but most people find themselves relying more heavily on one wing than the other.
So, for example, I am a 3w4. I am still strongly aligned with the Three's inner motivations, but I am also heavily influenced by my Four wing. For me, this manifests through my introverted creativity. I am more withdrawn than a 3w2 while I quietly and passionately work towards personal success. I have the Three's core motivation to be successful, paired with a Four's fear of never being enough. Words of affirmation have a huge impact on my heart, and I think a large part of that is because of my unique recipe as a Three.
First you need to identify your main Enneagram type. Then here are some questions to ask yourself when you're trying to find your dominant wing:
Let’s do a quick rundown of each Enneagram type and their wings so you can start to get a better idea of where you land. This is not a comprehensive exploration, but rather a quick overview so that you can get a better idea of what your wings are and what that means.
I have included a video for each of the 9 Enneagram types that I made contrasting each of the wings that might help you make a more definitive identification.
(Note: The names for each wing combination are sourced from The Enneagram Institute, founded in 1997 by the late Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson.)
The Enneagram Type 1 with a 9 wing is a practical perfectionist who tends to be more introverted. They excel at objective thinking and can become quite detached and self-neglectful when things in their life get stressful. The wing 9 brings out a more trusting, relaxed nature in the type 1, making them able to hold a more diplomatic stance towards others with different viewpoints.
The Enneagram 1w2 is a socially aware activist who works to create a better world for the people around them. They tend to be more helpful and empathetic, and are very action-oriented. This type also longs to control everything and struggles with letting go.
The Enneagram Type 2 with a 1 wing is a very empathetic individual who longs to make others happy. They tend to be reasonable and generous, giving to anyone who has a need, not just people they like. This type is honest with themselves and directs their energy toward fixing the things they believe should improve. They struggle with burnout because they can overwork themselves in an effort to help the underdog.
The Enneagram 2w3 is an outgoing and productive organizer who excels at bringing people together. They tend to be charming and ambitious with a competitive spirit. This wing combination brings the risk of workaholism because they can become more involved with work and less with their inner needs.
The Enneagram Type 3 with a 2 wing is a socially-savvy person who is extremely interpersonal and charismatic. They tend to enjoy being the center of attention and thrive when they are popular. These 3w2s struggle with being true to themselves because they are always outwardly focused on others' expectations.
The Enneagram 3w4 is a driven and organized individual who always has new ideas and projects in the works. They tend to be more introverted and find quiet satisfaction in efficiency and personal success. Their 4 wing also means they lean more towards the creative and imaginative. This also means that they can withdraw from others, feeling moody and detached.
The Enneagram 4 with a wing 3 is a charismatic artist who values nature and beauty. They tend to be more extroverted, ambitious, and competitive with a large emotional range. A challenge for the 4w3 is that they may try to escape their inner turmoil by performing and valuing form without substance instead of engaging in beneficial inner-work.
The Enneagram 4w5 is an intense creator who use self-expression to explore the world and what it means to be human. They tend to be more introverted and intellectual with a high capacity for thoughtful observation. This type is prone to withdrawing from others, and they can isolate themselves when depressed. The 4 and 5 together are an odd combination because they are able to balance artistic intuition with reason and logic.
The Enneagram Type 5 with a wing 4 is a lone ranger who values being self-taught. They tend to be more creative and humanistic and can take an intense interest in one subject. Like the 4w5, they have the peculiar gift of being able to balance the right and left brain. This type can struggle with feeling misunderstood and may become depressed and self-absorbed.
The Enneagram 5w6 is a detached researcher who is energized by discovering new things. They tend to be more extroverted, loyal and anxious. Their 6 wing makes it easier for them to connect deeply with other people. They struggle with skepticism and withdrawing when they feel distrustful of others.
The Enneagram Type 6 with a 5 wing is a resourceful team player who values security and knowledge. They tend to be more introverted and cautious with an ability to make reasonable decisions and sound judgments. This type also tends to have an ample sense of fear and anxiety, and they can back away from confrontation instead of dealing with issues head-on.
The Enneagram 6w7 is an optimistic explorer who embraces fun. The 6w7 is a strange dichotomy because while they are spontaneous and playful, they also have a strong need for safety and comfort. They have a 6s fear of pain combined with a 7s avoidance of pain which can create withdrawal from life by diving into trivial distractions.
The Enneagram Type 7 with a 6 wing is a happy-go-lucky fun chaser! They always want new experiences and projects to fill their days. They tend to be loyal, playful, and very interpersonal. A main challenge of the Entertainer is that they may exaggerate underlying fears and struggle with anxiety and self-doubt.
The Enneagram 7w8 is an innovative entrepreneur and leader who loves exploring and creating. They tend to be free-spirited and passionate. A challenge with this type is that their assertiveness can become aggressive and they can act superior to others.
The Enneagram Type 8 with a 7 wing is a confident self-starter who uses their enterprising, fearless spirit to conquer the world. They tend to be more extroverted and energetic, with a heavy focus on finding their own power. This type struggles with being reflective on consequences of their actions
The Enneagram 8w9 is a quietly strong leader who strives to preserve harmony in a gentle way. They keep other’s best interests in mind and tend to be more people-oriented than 8w7s. This type struggles with withdrawing in stressful times and then judging themselves for doing that.
The Enneagram Type 9 with and 8 wing is an independent individual with a calm mission to discover the world. They tend to be outgoing, assertive, and active with the ability to balance diplomacy and individuality. They struggle with the pursuit of pleasure, rather than focusing on the genuine needs of their real self.
The Enneagram 9w1 is an idealistic romantic who is able to balance their mediating nature with pragmatic perspectives. They tend to be introverted and compliant and they value being connected to others in their community. A challenge for this type is that they may be even less expressive of their needs because they don’t want to alienate others.