What Your Enneagram Type Means for Your Relationship

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Taking a personality test is a fun way to get closer with your partner. Doing the test together can be enlightening, as you find out which personality traits are compatible, and which ones get on each other’s nerves. Identifying personality traits helps both of you determine what you want in your life, plus it may yield a surprise or two. 

What Is the Enneagram Personality Test?

The Enneagram test categorizes the human psyche into nine unique categories, which is useful for understanding motivations and human behavior.

The Enneagram Personality test was first introduced in 1915 Russia, by George Gurdjieff, a philosopher and teacher who one was ahead of his time in the “self-help world." In the late 1960’s, teacher Oscar Ichazo placed nine personalities into an “Enneagram, which broke down emotional and behavioral aspects of each personality trait." This was followed by Claudio Naranjo, MD, and other progressive psychologists in Berkeley, California who combined the Enneagram with the latest research to further the field of psychology. 

What Type Are You?

There are nine personality types, and some people often exhibit two or three of these traits, but usually one personality type emerges in the test. They are 1.) The “Perfectionist” who is rational and idealistic, 2.) The “Caregiver” who is helpful and caring, 3.) The “Performer” who is creative and extroverted, 4.) The “Individualist” who artistic and non-conforming, 5.) The “Investigator” who is intense and cynical, 6.) The “Loyalist”, who is responsible and stable, 7.) The “Adventurer” who is spontaneous and fun loving, 8.) The “Challenger” who is self-confident and dominating, “and 9.) The “Peacemaker” who is agreeable and easygoing.

Couple #1: The Talkative Extrovert and the Quiet Introvert

Say, for instance the wife is a #8 personality, which is very ambitious, outgoing, and talkative, and her husband is the silent type, a #5 who at times gets annoyed by his wife’s talk talk talking. She likes to communicate but him, not so much. "This is so common,” says Jessica Baum, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and founder of the Relationship Institute in Palm Beach, Florida. “We are attracted to people who have different and often opposite traits from our own. That usually starts off as a great thing, but as the relationship evolves it’s normal to be annoyed by the traits we once fell in love with. Here’s how she sees this convo looking like: Him: “Your thoughts are important to me and I want to talk, but right now I need to decompress. “It’s important,” she says to follow up with something like “How about after dinner?” or “Let’s try tomorrow afternoon, when I can be fully present.” (If only we could all be so evolved.) “In the meantime”, she jokes, she can lean a little on the girfriends who share her ‘gift of gab.’”

Meet the Expert

Jessica Baum, LMHC, CAP, is the owner and founder of Relationship Institute of Palm Beach. She received an undergraduate degree from Fordham University and has a Master’s degree in mental health counseling from South University.

Couple #2: The Caregiver Man and the Alpha Female

Imagine another couple. He is the type #2 caregiver helpful type, and his #3 Adventurer wife wants more of an alpha male personality, and sometimes loses respect for him as the “man” in the relationship. How does she gain respect for him, because he’s not going to change?

“This is harder,” says Baum, because she is trying to change him instead of embracing who he is. When you want your partner to be something they are not, you have to ask yourself why. This type of personality takes up a lot of space of that masculine energy,” she says., which doesn’t allow a lot for him. But if he is a caregiver and helpful, those are wonderful qualities. Work towards acceptance of qualities of what he does have. She can pull herself back a little from the alpha role, which might free space to help him step into that role sometimes. She could also work on softening some, getting in touch with her feminine energy, as well as letting go of any issues she might have about craving control. Opposite personalities attract, and can both learn from each other.”

Couple #3: The Performer and the Non-Performer

He or she is the type #3 “performer” type and always needs to be the center of attention, he or she is the opposite, a #5 introvert. How do you let each other do your own thing when one of you he seems to need that kind of attention, either from others? 

“If one partner doesn’t have an issue with the other being the center of attention, then that is okay,” says Baum. “It’s a problem when he or she is not present for the other and more concerned with being center stage. If she doesn’t have an issue with it, then she can excuse herself and not always join him. She doesn’t have to join him hanging with his friends. We pull in people who have the lost personality traits of ourselves,” she says. If he likes to talk to everyone and mingle and she doesn’t, that’s where a compromise might be necessary to get their needs met. Letting each other know when you plan on chatting and talking with your friends is good she says. “Being intentional in advance will help find the balance so both people get their needs met.”    

Take the personality test on Crystal or with The Enneagram Institute.

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