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If you’ve checked out the enneagram world just a bit, you’ve probably come across the term: enneagram triads.

Often the triads are used to refer to the Centers of Intelligence. But what many people do not realize is that there are actually quite a few triads within the enneagram system!

What Is A Triad?

A triad by definition is a grouping of three connected people or things.

What Is An Enneagram Triad?

An Enneagram triad is a grouping of three connected types. Since there are nine types within the enneagram, enneagram triads are three groups of three.

Each enneagram triad, shows us what these groups of three have in common; how they relate to the world, how they meet their needs, how they handle conflict, etc.

The many enneagram triads

How Many Enneagram Triads Are There?

As of right now, there are four different enneagram triads (or perhaps it’d be correct to say there are twelve enneagram triads as each of the four categories has three triads but I digress).

Each triad shows how these groupings connect or relate to each other in different ways:

  • How types take in and process the world
  • How types cope with conflict
  • How types meet their needs
  • How types relate to the world

I’ll explain each of these triads below…

Do You know all the enneagram triads?

The Enneagram Triads

The Center of Intelligence Triad

This is the most popularly talked about triad and is known as the center of intelligence although it’s often just referred to as the “triads”.

These three centers are based around how you take in and process the world around you.

Types 8, 9, & 1 are in the gut or instinct center and thus take in and process the world via their instincts.
Types 2, 3, & 4 are in the heart or feeling center and thus take in and process the world via their feelings.
Types 5, 6, & 7 are in the head or thinking center and they take in and process the world with their thinking.

enneagram harmonic groups

The Harmonic Triad

Another grouping of three in the enneagram is the Harmonic Triad…. usually called Harmonic Groups. Harmonic Groups show how each type copes with conflict and difficulties.

Each type handles conflict and obstacles in one of three ways (although they each have their own variations.) I share more details in my Harmonic Groups post.

Types 7, 9, & 2 are in the Positive Outlook group and they have a positive view when faced with conflict.
Types 1, 3, & 5 are in the Competency group and will put away their feelings in order to handle conflict competently.
Types 4, 6, & 8 are in the Reactive group and they have strong reactions when faced with conflict and want others to have strong reactions.

Hornevian Groups - Enneagram

The Hornevian Triad

Named after Karen Horney, the Hornevian Triad… usually called Hornevian Groups or even more commonly called Stances show us how we interact with people in order to meet our own needs. I share more details in my Hornevian Groups post and Enneagram Stances post.

Types 1, 2, & 6 are in the Compliant/Dutiful group and they are comply towards others to get what they desire.
Types 4, 5, & 9 are in the Withdrawn group and they withdraw away from others to get what they desire.
Types 3, 7, & 8 are in the Assertive group and they insist by moving against people to get what they desire.

The Harmony Triad

This grouping is easy to confuse with the Harmonic group since their names are similar but they are in fact, two different groupings of the enneagram.

Harmony groups (or triads) show us how we relate to the world. David Daniels has a great post on the Harmony groups for more info.

Types 1, 4, & 7 are in the Idealist group and they all hold an ideal vision of how the world could be.
Types 2, 5, & 8 are in the Relationist group and they relate to the world through relationships (in their own ways).
Types 3, 6, & 9 are in the Pragmatist group and they relate to the world by blending in and thriving.

Want more info on each type?
I have full posts for each type: Type 1Type 2Type 3Type 4Type 5Type 6Type 7Type 8Type 9