Of course, the most pressing question when encountering any new type of personality system is, what type am I? This post will lay out a helpful guide for discovering your Enneagram type. If you haven’t read my introduction to the Enneagram, head here first, then come back and continue reading.
Like most personality frameworks, there are Enneagram tests available to help you determine your type. Below I’ll direct you to the best ones available. However, in my experience, I have found that it’s best to use a test in conjunction with your own self-observation and reflection as you learn about each type description. Because the accuracy of personality tests depends on self-awareness and because by nature the Enneagram aims to reveal the shadow sides of our personalities (sides that we often don’t want to be aware of), it’s important to do more than simply rely on a test result.
1. Familiarize yourself with the nine types.
While it’s fast and easy to take a test, I actually recommend you familiarize yourself with the nine type descriptions first. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be interviewing friends of mine from each Enneagram type and describing each type in more detail. If you want to hear when these posts are available, subscribe at the bottom of the post. These will give you a good introduction to the nine types.
If you want a more in-depth look, I recommend the following resources. Some of these links are affiliate links and a purchase through my links will help support this site and the work I do. For more information, read my disclosures here.
- The Enneagram Institute has detailed descriptions of each type, including levels of healthy functioning within each type. There are also resources to explore how two types relate to one another in close relationships and articles that help you discern between types if you feel that two or more resonate with your experience.
- The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile is the most accessible and enjoyable book on the Enneagram I have found. Rather than using clinical and theoretical language as many of the Enneagram books do, this book weaves stories from real life people into each type description so that the types come to life. The stories are engaging, down to earth, and simply enjoyable to read.
- Ian Cron also has a podcast called Typology which features episodes that focus on exploring one type, interviewing one or more people of that type. He explores the depth and nuance of the Enneagram in people’s lives in a way that is so enlighting and fun.
There are more great resources for discovering the Enneagram. Click here for a more complete list.
2. Take an Enneagram test.
If you simply can’t contain your curiosity (I can’t relate at all), or if you are having a hard time identifying your Enneagram type, I recommend the following Enneagram tests. While there are many free tests online, their reliability is shoddy at best. I recommend the test at the Enneagram Institute. It does cost $12, but it is thorough and scientifically validated.
For the best free test I’ve found, click here.
One reason why I think it’s better to wait to take a test until you familiarize yourself with each type is because once you have a test result it’s easier to be more biased towards that number. Because our shadow selves can be so hidden to us, and because we all share traits of every type, it’s easy to identify with a type that may not be our dominant type.
3. Self-observe, self-reflect, & ask for feedback.
For some, it can take a while to identify your Enneagram type simply because the Enneagram points to the hidden things of our hearts. Generally, you will know your type because the description will cause you to feel exposed or embarrassed. It may also cause you to feel relief, as if you finally feel seen, understood, or not alone anymore.
Still, it’s common to identify with more than one type or to simply not know your type. Socialization, the expectations of our closest people, and our own ideals of who we want to be can get in the way of our self-knowing. That’s okay. Let the process take its time. You may want to take several weeks to observe and reflect on your own behavior and internal attitudes. It’s also helpful to ask someone who knows you well for feedback about how you act in different situations. There are also coaches that can help you self-reflect and understand the nuances of the typology better.
My own journey with understanding my type has not been straightforward at all. I have bounced between a few types since learning about the Enneagram before understanding and owning the type 4. It takes time to truly open yourself up to the inner workings of your heart and see what’s really going on. We all want to be better than we are and there are all things about ourselves that we try to hide from ourselves. Trust the process and be patient with it.
Exploring Each Type
In the next several posts, I’ll explore each personality type in more depth. I’ll explore each type’s core desire, core fear, and core motivation. I’ll describe the gifts each type brings to the world and the default mode of operation that they use to survive in the world. I will describe the invitation that Jesus gives to each type to trust Him and to become more like Him. Finally, each type description will feature interviews and stories from my friends to help the descriptions come to life and help you better understand the nuances and inner workings of each type. If you want to know when these posts are available, subscribe below and I’ll let you know when they appear.