Everyone has an Enneagram-obsessed person in their life. That person who asks, “What’s your Enneagram number? Do you know your Enneagram wing? What do you mean you haven’t heard of the Enneagram??”

If someone has asked you a version of those questions before, you’re probably wondering… what the heck is an Enneagram number? I’m going to help you out and give you a simple beginner’s guide so that you can understand your Enneagram-obsessed friends, or you can become just as obsessed with the Enneagram as me!

So, what is the Enneagram? The Enneagram is an ancient personality categorizing system. It theorizes that there are nine different personality types in the world and each type sees the world in a different way. Additionally, each type has an underlying motivation that runs throughout their whole lives that influences how they behave and how they feel.

You may be thinking, “Hey! Isn’t it super limiting to say that there’s only nine different types of people in the world?” To that I say: NOPE! There are actually infinite expressions of the 9 Enneagram numbers depending on your wing, levels of alignment, subtype, and tritype. (Hang in there. It’s not as confusing as it sounds.)

The Symbol —

The way that the Enneagram is visualized is through this nine-pointed geometric symbol.

I know that this probably looks like some pagan emblem or a mad mathematician's ramblings, but bear with me. Each number is connected to others by lines inside the circle. In fact, the Greek origins of the word Enneagram is Ennea (nine) and Grammos (something written or drawn).

The Nine Enneagram Types —

Enneagram Type One - The Perfectionist

The basic desire of a Type One is to have integrity and to be good. They strive for perfection in all things according to their strict moral code. (Don’t you dare be late to a first date with an Enneagram One!) Enneagram Ones are ethical and responsible people who spend every day striving to improve themselves and the world around them.

Enneagram Type Two - The Helper

Type Twos approach life with a core desire to be loved, wanted, and appreciated. They are thoughtful and generous people with an eerily accurate way of guessing what your needs might be. When they are feeling stressed, Type Twos can struggle with being overly people-pleasing, ignoring their own needs in exchange for others.

Enneagram Type Three - The Achiever

Type Threes are motivated by the desire to be admired and successful. Because of this, they value productivity and efficiency above all. A Type Three's core longing is the thing they have been striving to hear their entire life: they are loved, not for what they check off their To Do List, but just for being who they are.

Enneagram Type Four - The Romantic

Type Fours approach life creatively, hoping to express themselves authentically and make an impact on the world. This is why their core fear- being insignificant and fundamentally flawed- is so scary for them. They don’t want to fade from the world having left no impact.

Enneagram Type Five - The Investigator

Type Fives desire to be knowledgeable and competent. They have an insatiable thirst for learning that stems from their core fear of being ignorant. That’s why they spend so much time and energy collecting knowledge and making sure they are self-sufficient! This ties back to their core fear which is being afraid that they will be thought incapable or ignorant.

Enneagram Type Six - The Loyalist

Type Sixes are responsible, methodical, and faithful people. They’re the ones still using Grandma’s old recipes because “it’s tradition!” Their core desire is to have security and guidance in their life. They fear that being without support or guidance will completely destroy their mental and physical wellbeing.

Enneagram Type Seven - The Enthusiast

Type Sevens desire to be fully satisfied and happy. In their pursuit of this, they jump from one fun experience to the next in the hopes that they will finally feel content. They tend to be joyful people with the ability to lift others up. The biggest fear of a Seven is being deprived and in pain so Sevens avoid boredom at all costs because it can cause them to look deeper into uncomfortable feelings that they don’t want to deal with.

Enneagram Type Eight - The Challenger

Type Eights desire to protect themselves and their loved ones. They may come off as a fierce warrior at first, but get to know them, and you’ll find that they have the biggest heart of anyone you’ll ever meet. The core fear of an Eight is to be weak, powerless, or manipulated. This means that, in relationships, they often cover up their weaknesses so nothing can be used against them. When a Type Eight is in peak form, however, they are decisive advocates for justice.

Enneagram Type Nine - The Peacemaker

Type Nines have the unique ability to bring people with different perspectives and bring together. At their core, they desire to have inner stability and peace of mind. Consequently, they try to avoid being in conflict and losing connection with others.

The Centers of Intelligence Triad —

Within the Enneagram, there are organizational groupings called triads or stances. This helps organize the commonalities within Enneagram numbers like how they process feelings or how their childhood relationships impact their adult relationships. If you are confused about your main type, I recommend taking a look at the Centers of Intelligence Triad to help narrow down which numbers you might be. This is the most common triad, helping us understand our reactions to life.

The Gut Triad is Types Eight, Nine, and One. They are driven by their gut instincts. 

The Heart Triad is Types Two, Three, and Four. They are driven by feelings.

The Head Triad is Types Five, Six, and Seven. They are driven by mental analysis. 

Enneagram Wings —

Each Enneagram number has two wings, the neighbor numbers by their side on the symbol. For instance, if I am an Enneagram Type 9, then I can either be a Nine with a wing Eight or a Nine with a wing One. This is typically written as “9w8” or “9w1”. Beth McCord of Your Enneagram Coach describes wings as your main type’s distinct flavoring, like salt and pepper!

Some people lean more heavily on the characteristics of one wing than the other, while some people have balanced wings. Everyone uses their wings differently depending on their level of health and their circumstances. (To dive even deeper into your Enneagram wing, I’ve made a dedicated video for each type in this playlist)

Why Do People Love the Enneagram?

One reason I love the Enneagram so much is that it helps me connect with people. It’s so fun to talk about the Enneagram with others and to talk about their core motivations.

Another reason I love the Enneagram is that it helps me to understand myself. Once I really dove into it and figured out my main type, a lot of things about me clicked into place and it has been helping me to navigate the world better.

Lastly, I really love that the Enneagram is a fluid personality typing system. People are really complicated. You can’t just throw a label on someone and call it a day. People change depending upon their circumstances, time, and stress levels so a typing system should reflect that. Your type is impacted by how you grow, who you're married to, who your friends are, etc. All of that impacts who you are, and the Enneagram is flexible with a lot of different variations depending on where you are in your life.

How Do I Find My Enneagram Type?

In my Free Typing Guide, I show you a simple 5-Step Process to finding your Enneagram type, as well as the ins and outs of my favorite online Enneagram tests. Plus, you'll gain access to a weekly newsletter with all the Enneagram secrets and tools that will help you along your journey! Click here to grab your free copy! 

Happy discovering, friends!