Glorifying God Through the Enneagram
“What’s your Enneagram?” I remember this question being asked to me a few years ago and not knowing what an Enneagram was. I looked it up online and thought it looked a little too much like a pentagram and I wanted nothing to do with it! Seriously. After it resurfaced a bit more recently and has become a big deal within many young adult groups, I decided to check it out again. It is not a pentagram, and I was so off from what I thought it was. I laugh every time I think about that first encounter with the Enneagram!
So what is it, then? The Enneagram is a personality assessment with nine categories you can fit into. There are many assessments online if you search “Enneagram test” on your search engine. They all will point you in the right direction to the nine types (although they may have different names) which include: The Reformer, The Helper, The Achiever, The Individualist, The Investigator, The Loyalist, The Enthusiast, The Challenger, and The Peacemaker.
Each personality, as most people know, have their positives and negatives. What is interesting about the Enneagram is that there are so many resources out there to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to your personality type. In this article, we will identify a few strengths and weaknesses for each type, as well as how to love each type well. This information is summarized from a book called, “Are You My Type, Am I Yours?” by Renne Baron and Elizabeth Wagele. The Bible states very clearly that love is the way we show people that we are true disciples of Jesus (John 13:35), so we want to learn how to do that well. Let’s take a look at the types!
As a reformer, you are fair and honest. You are often a good member of your community and very ethical. You try to do things correctly and expect others to do the same.
Positives: Helpful, Objective, Reliable
Negatives: Anxious, Controlling, Critical of Others
How to love a One well: Appreciate their ethical standards; Do your share of work and remain fair; Be kind and gentle when giving them constructive criticism.
As a helper, you are attentive and friendly. You are often enjoyed by others because of your enthusiasm and optimism. You try to help others with what they need and may sometimes get taken advantage of.
Positives: Perceptive, Expressive, Generous
Negatives: Manipulative, Insincere, Doing too much for others
How to love a Two well: Tell them often how much they mean to you; Let them have space when they need it, but also enjoy your time together; Tell them what you admire about them
As an achiever, you are pioneering and responsible. You often live by the idea that the more you do, the better you feel. You try to avoid weighty conversations about negative things.
Positives: Energetic, Positive, Empowering
Negatives: Defensive, Too Competitive, Self-Centered
How to love a Three well: Admire their desire to do many things and do them well; Be sensitive; Give them compliments on their achievements.
As an individualist, you are compassionate and supportive. You often find yourself deep in your thoughts and keeping to yourself to process them. You try not to share your deep feelings too often so as to not push people away for fear they might leave.
Positives: Creative, Gentle, Witty
Negatives: Withdrawn, Overly Critical, Overly Emotional
How to love a Four well: Appreciate their array of feelings and their intense creativity; Reassure them that you care for them; Listen well and try not to offer advice unless it’s asked for.
As an investigator, you are calm and full of insight. You often are shy and apprehensive around people. You try process experiences after they happen and may need to be alone for processing.
Positives: Perceptive, Trustworthy, Kind
Negatives: Isolated, Negative, Overly Critical
How to love a Five well: Compliment their intellection; Appreciate when they do things without having been assigned the task; Value their advice and wisdom.
As a loyalist, you are reliable and honest. You often find it hard to trust many people and may test people’s loyalty to you. You try to stick with things that are solidified in your life rather than take risky adventures.
Positives: Caring, Supportive, Loving
Negatives: Anxious, Controlling, Defensive
How to love a Six well: Appreciate their ability to bounce back from tough situations; Be honest and clear with them; Reassure them of your trustworthiness.
As an enthusiast, you are spontaneous and charming. You often recover quickly from unwanted circumstances. You try to be there for others by being positive when they feel down.
Positives: Enthusiastic, Lots of Imagination, Extremely Fun
Negatives: Rash Decision-Making, Rebellious, Unreliable
How to love a Seven well: Be engaged in their conversations; Remind them what you appreciate about them and enjoy their zest for their life; Be adventurous with them.
As a challenger, you are confident and decisive. You can often come across as tough but also admired for being motivating. You try to be respected over being well-liked.
Positives: Empowering, Energetic, Protective
Negatives: Domineering, Insensitive, Arrogant
How to love an Eight well: Compliment them on their decisiveness and ability to get things done; Let them have time alone when needed; Engage with them in their intense fervor.
As a peacemaker, you are nonjudgmental and empathetic. You often like to find time in your day to relax and allow your mind to rest. You try to believe that everything will work out how it’s supposed to.
Positives: Patient, Gentle, Understanding
Negatives: Hostile, Apathetic, Overly Helpful (to your own detriment)
How to love a Nine well: Show your appreciation for their positive traits; Admire them for the work they do; Remind them of your care for them through positive attention.
As you sort through the people in your life and the personalities they may be, attempt to love them well through recognizing how God has made them and affirming that. We are all uniquely created, so these assessment descriptions are to help us love each other better. Although everyone is different in their intricate wiring, it is helpful to have an understanding of how to start showing your care for the people in your life. God bless you on your journey toward loving people as they are understanding their Enneagram on a deeper level!
Baron, Renee, and Elizabeth Wagele. Are You My Type, Am I Yours?: Relationships Made Easy through the Enneagram. HarperOne, 1995.