intro to type descriptions


In the unpublished book that became this web site, the detailed description of each type filled an entire chapter. For easy organizing in this blog format and to keep the number of pages under control, each type’s main description will be published in one (very long!) post, followed by one post for each of its wing flavors.

In the next 27 posts are deeper descriptions of the distinctive flavors of each type and wing. Since our present focus is on a direct, intuitive understanding, there is more here about the experiential aspects than the underlying reasons for the traits of each type. (For more about the inner dynamics of the types, read Riso’s Personality Types and Understanding The Enneagram.)


is variety the spice of life?
Directly tasting enneagram types is a little like learning how to distinguish different kinds of fruit, cheese, or wine. Reading this text is like watching me standing in front of you explaining, “Here are the ways that a tangerine tastes different than an orange…” It is not until you actually taste them both that you really know. Then your knowledge is direct and immediate, yet even so you cannot transmit it back to me. I must also taste for myself.

Don’t just read the words — go out and taste people, as much as possible. Taste your friends and family. Taste your coworkers. Go to cafes and parks, libraries, airports, and shopping malls. Explore the billions of distinct personality flavors. Revel in them, until you become a connoisseur, able to sense and appreciate fine distinctions. Taste yourself, too.


ask yourself the questions in each section
Each type description contains many questions, and ends with a list of dozens more. When you read them, ask them not only of yourself, but in the privacy of your mind imagine how your friends, family, colleagues, and others might answer if they asked the questions of themselves. Do you know them well enough to do that?

The questions are not all simple yes/no choices, nor does a yes mean someone belongs to any particular type. The questions are meant to encourage inquiry, not mechanical analysis. They address some of the issues that seem to be important to each particular type.

Do the questions for one type seem to dig more deeply into your soul? Do the questions for other types seem trivial or uninteresting by comparison? Do you belong to the type whose questions seem to dig deeply, or are you denying something about yourself, causing your real type’s questions to seem less penetrating? Are you looking in the wrong place, or are you seeing yourself clearly?



Next in Enneagram 101: type 1

Previous in Enneagram 101: wings and notation

…or return to contents.


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