Enneagram

Enneagrams are finally having a moment. They’ve been edging in on astrology’s turf for a while, and I don’t see them going away anytime soon. Want to ride the wave?

The “official” test is administered online for $12 via The Enneagram Institute. There are also free tests (which are supposedly less accurate) elsewhere online, such as the 9 Types website. The questions on free sites are almost always directly lifted from the RHETI, but the tests are usually significantly shorter: TEI’s test is 144 questions long, whereas the 9 Types site test features only 36.

I have taken free Enneagram tests online over the years, and often come up with Type 4 (The Individualist), Type 2 (The Helper), Type 6 (The Loyalist) and Type 9 (The Peacemaker). Many times, the results were a tie between two or even three of the types. I am a very clear Myers-Briggs INFP, which is often associated with Enneagram Type 9.

A recent 9 Types result. Top scores were 4, 7 and 9.

Curious about what I could learn about myself and frustrated with the mixed results, I very carefully saved pennies on the side to justify spending the $12 on the “official” test.

Well guess what?

My official The Enneagram Institute result

That’s right, my babies. A frickin’ tie between 4 and 9 with 2 coming in third.

Obviously, free tests get fairly close. TEI’s official test’s long list of questions gives you more opportunities to consider the same aspects of yourself but in different situations. I could see how on the surface level, Type 7 would definitely be an aspect of me, but that’s definitely more of an outward projection I put on than who I am.

I also see how moods would affect the test outcomes. I know I was feeling fairly optimistic the day I took the 9 Types test, which would definitely colour my reactions. I wish The Enneagram Institute test code included one retaking of the test: sure, people might give it to a friend, but I think it’s more likely that serious takers would like to know if their mood is a big factor.

A lotta 9s think they’re 4s because they’re creative.

A helpful piece of information that The Enneagram Institute provides is a chart of type misidentifications. For people who are tied or those who feel like their type just doesn’t match, this information can be very useful. Its first advice for me? A lotta 9s think they’re 4s because they’re creative. While there are definitely similarities, their approach to dealing with the difficulties of the world are very different… and I am prone to slipping into both camps. So the tie stands.

There’s obviously lots of digging and self-reflection ahead of me. For instance, looking at the “Levels” of each type (basically, how they present at their best, worst and in between). I definitely see myself in those descriptions.

Much of what I’ve read of the Enneagram is that you don’t get to be two random numbers: there are “wings” of which other number you might present as, but those are set. I’m not entirely convinced on that. Call it the postmodernist in me. I especially wonder how attempts at growth, breaking old dynamics, personal crises and other “human in flux” factors play into the result.

I can see how one might take on the aspects of another supposedly unrelated number… because I clearly do! But my “wings” should be an “Average Two” under stress (people-pleasing? Okay, check. Meddlesome and intrusive? Sometimes, but not really under stress…), “Average One” when I feel I can be myself (judgmental, yes. But high-minded idealist?) and a “Healthy One” when reaching “Integration” (principled, fair, objective and ethical? Honey, I don’t wanna!)

Like I said, I’ve got some reflection to do and definitely more reading to take on before I can pass Average Two judgement on this. But it’s really fun to think about, anyway.


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