I know how it feels when you first learn about the Enneagram of Personality. You read all about your type, talk to your friends about it, and follow a bunch of Enneagram accounts on Instagram. You’re excited… and you should be! The Enneagram is the only typology system that tells us WHY we do the things that we do. It’s a fantastic tool on your path to self-development and growth.
And while that enthusiasm is fun, there are also some unfortunate errors that can happen in the initial stages of discovering the Enneagram. If you approach it incorrectly, you can actually do more harm than good. So I’m going to share 5 things you may be getting wrong in your excited spree to dive deep into this new personality typing system.
A lot of people approach the Enneagram like just another quiz. They take an online test, get a result, and take it as stone cold truth. But online typing tests are only 50-60% accurate!
Instead of thinking about the Enneagram as a quick and easy answer, think of it as a way to look at yourself in a mirror and see all of the things that aren't so pretty. It's a growth tool that requires time and effort. If you want to know more about the steps to finding your correct Enneagram number, check out this video about finding your type.
Hey, I've been there. I've done that. Trust me. I understand the pull of typing the people in your life. 😬 I made my dad take an Enneagram test three separate times because I didn’t believe he was the type he was getting. “You’re definitely a Three. I know you’re a Three.” Turns out, he’s the most Sixish Six of all the Sixes. (Sorry, Dad.)
I'll tell you why typing other people is dangerous: it prevents people from actually experiencing the Enneagram for themselves. For example, you tell your friend, "Hey, you're a really anxious person. You must be an Enneagram Type Six." How do you think that would make them feel? Either they will rebel against that idea and then not explore the Enneagram themselves or they will take your word as fact and never actually find out what type they are.
Plus, you never know what somebody's type is because the Enneagram is all about inner motivation. Even if somebody presents as an anxious person, the reason they do the things that they do is internal. We simply cannot know the inner workings of somebody’s heart. As Enneagram coach Colleen-Joy says: "This isn't about putting people into boxes, but rather freeing people from the boxes they are already in."
A common pitfall is typing yourself based off of your outward expression. For example, surface behaviors of a Nine and a Two can look very similar. They are both helpful, put others' needs before their own, and try to be kind to others. But if you just look at the surface elements of someone’s actions, you are going to miss something.
The Enneagram is not about behavior. It is about the WHY. Why are you being super helpful? Why are you putting others' needs above your own? That distinction is the heart of the Enneagram.
A big mistake is making your identity about your Enneagram number. Nope. Big mistake. HUGE! (Just a little Pretty Woman reference for ya there.)
The Enneagram is not perfect. It was created by flawed humans and it is, at the end of the day, only a tool for self-understanding. Humans are so complex. There's no typology quiz out there that is going to explain the complexities of your soul and brain to you.
So if you take one thing from this blog post, let it be this: Don't let your Enneagram type define you! You are more than a type on any personality indicator. You are uniquely you.
In case you didn’t know, I also have a YouTube channel all about Enneagram. And we all know that YouTube is famous for its kind-hearted and open-minded comment section! (cough cough) But in all seriousness, my channel’s comment section is generally filled with thoughtful and sweet comments. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get my fair share of mean messages.
Once I got a comment that said, "I hate Threes."
Another comment said "Enneagram Fours are the worst type. I would never be friends with them."
Guys... what?? That is SO not the point of the Enneagram.
Suzanne Stabile in "The Enneagram Journey" Podcast said, "The trick to healthy relationships is to be healthy. It doesn't have anything to do with your number."
I love that quote because it reveals how we should all be treating each other. It's not about which number you are. It's about your level of health within that number. If everyone in the world suddenly was at their optimal level of health, it would be paradise. Ultimately, the only thing you have control over is your own personal level of health so try your best not to judge other people based on their Enneagram number.
Now that you know the 5 most common mistakes about the Enneagram, you are fully equipped to go out there and enjoy it to the fullest!