The Enneagram: Vulnerability and Intentionality Made Simple

Some people are an open book, showing vulnerability to the stranger and leaving caution to the wind when letting people in. The rest of us, not so much.

It’s hard to properly love someone when you don’t know how they perceive love. If you’ve heard of the five love languages, then you might know that there are five different ways people experience love. The ranking of importance varies from person to person, but the different languages are acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, receiving gifts and physical touch.

While these are great to know and helpful when deciding how to be intentional in your different relationships, no one is going around telling people what their love languages are. However, what people are sharing is their Enneagram type. 

The Enneagram test is a personality quiz -- comparable to the Myers Briggs personality test -- that asks a series of situational questions to which you respond yes, no or partly to whether you can identify with the given situation.

There are nine different Enneagram types that one could result with after taking the test:

1. The Reformer

2. The Helper

3. The Achiever

4. The Individualist

5. The Investigator

6. The Loyalist

7. The Enthusiast

8. The Challenger

9. The Peacemaker

While the names alone can tell you a lot, it’s the descriptions of each Enneagram type that hold the true power. Each description dives into the basic fears, desires, motivations and values of each Enneagram type.

I found out about the Enneagram through Instagram; all of my friends were sharing beautiful graphics to their Instagram stories, testifying how accurate their type was to their personality. I’m a sucker for beautiful graphic design, so I was immediately drawn in.

I wanted to know which of the types I could identify with and swiftly went to take the test. The results came in and I learned that I am a type 3 wing 2, an“Achiever.” I went over the description of my Enneagram type and was fascinated by the qualities in myself that I never realized until they were brought to my attention. It didn’t take long before I was knee-deep in information all about myself and my fellow threes.

As the Enneagram has made its waves through Instagram, it has presented a unique opportunity for people to learn and share more about themselves.

The approach that many graphic designers take when they illustrate each Enneagram type encourages viewers to share intimate information about their personalities without realizing how vulnerable they’re being. For many, it’s hard to be vulnerable, and sharing this information helps others know the inner workings of their loved one’s minds.Common words to describe an Enneagram type three are achieving, hardworking, competitive, extroverted, charming and inspired. Other terms used when discussing the qualities of a type three are a fear of being worthless, a desire to be valuable, worthwhile, and affirmed, and to have attention.

The first set of words are ones that type threes may take pride in, loving the idea of being associated and identified with positive adjectives.

The second set of ideas show the heavier parts of a type three; fears and values are vulnerable topics that one doesn’t typically outright discuss with friends and partners.

I don’t know if it’s the simplicity of being able to hide behind a number or if it’s the cutesy graphics that make one’s Enneagram score so easy to share, but it’s allowing people to share valuable information that should not be ignored. 

While many of these graphics paint a beautiful picture of the basics of a particular Enneagram type, taking the time to read on your friends can prove to be especially fruitful. By taking a little trip over to The Enneagram Institute website, you can find further information on different Enneagram types’ fears, motivations, desires, potential addictions and personal growth recommendations, as well as healthy, average and unhealthy levels of development for each type. 

Next time you see a friend share what Enneagram type they are, take a moment and make use of the information they don't even realize they’re giving you. With all of the information you can get from the Enneagram, you can learn more about a friend than they may know about themselves, and you’ll know how to look out for them and love them in the unique ways their personality may need it.

Find out your Enneagram type here and check out @ashton.creates @letteringwithlo & @mirabellecreations  to find some fun Enneagram-inspired content to share on your feed.