I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. Full Disclosure
You wanted to know how to find your enneagram type and you did it! You took a test, read a book, or scrolled through an instagram feed and you think you’ve found your enneagram type.
However, you aren’t certain that it’s your type… or perhaps you didn’t land on just one type, maybe you feel torn between two types. This is why learning how to confirm your enneagram type is important and this post should help you determine your type.
There are quite a few aspects of the enneagram that you can use to “test” your type in order to confirm your enneagram type. Often times, you may hear about stress numbers being one way to verify type and it’s definitely a key aspect to look into but as I said, there are many other aspects to help you verify your type.
How to Confirm Your Enneagram Type
Core Motivations (core desires & core fears)
First things first, your enneagram type is based on your core motivations… not your traits.
If you took an enneagram test to help you find your enneagram type, it’s important to remember that it’s not fool proof and that’s because for the most part, the tests are based on your traits. It’s a good way to narrow things down but not a certain way to find your enneagram type.
If you’ve not looked into the core motivations for your type, now is the type to do so! You can read all the details in my core motivations post but the short version is below.
You will likely resonate with a few of the core motivations as we all have many motives but we only have one core motivation which is at the root of why we do what we do.
Check out the nine core motivations and try to determine which one you would choose if you could only choose one.
1) Being good / being right
2) Being loved / being wanted
3) Being valuable / being successful
4) Being authentic / being uniquely themselves
5) Being competent / being capable
6) Being secure / being safe
7) Being satisfied / being content
8) Being self-governed / being independent
9) Being at peace / being harmonious
Center of Intelligence
The enneagram is broken down into groupings of three, but the most popularly talked about one 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.
Each enneagram type takes on some of the negative traits of a different type when they are under stress (usually longer term stress: having a baby, moving, new job, health issues, etc).
If your potential type’s stress number doesn’t match how you act under longer term stress than it may not be your true enneagram type. I’ll be making a specific stress post soon but in the meantime here is a quick breakdown.
1’s take on the negative traits of type 4 in stress.
2’s take on the negative traits of type 8 in stress.
3’s take on the negative traits of type 9 in stress.
4’s take on the negative traits of type 2 in stress.
5’s take on the negative traits of type 7 in stress.
6’s take on the negative traits of type 3 in stress.
7’s take on the negative traits of type 1 in stress.
8’s take on the negative traits of type 5 in stress.
9’s take on the negative traits of type 6 in stress.
Another grouping of three in the enneagram is the 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.
Named after Karen Horney, the Hornevian groups show us how we interact with people in order to meet our own needs. I share more details in my Hornevian Groups 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/Aggressive group and they insist by moving against people to get what they desire.
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.
Each enneagram type has its own variations (much like how the color red can have varying shades). Instinctual subtypes shows up what each type looks like when paired with one of three instincts (self-preservation, social, and one-to-one… note: one-to-one is also called sexual or intimate depending on the enneagram teacher). Depending on your instinct your type may actually look a bit like another type.
For instance, a one-to-one type 4 can look a bit like a type 8, or a self-preservation 1 looks like a 6. You can see why mistyping could be all too easy to do when you dig into the subtypes, particularly if you are only paying attention to traits and not the core motivations. Beatrice Chestnut’s book, The Complete Enneagram is the book to get when wanting to know more about instinctual subtypes.
The enneagram is seemingly simple but surprisingly complex. If you take it like it’s just another personality test and go with the first type that sounds right, you may miss so much personal understanding and growth! This is why it’s so important to know how to confirm your enneagram type!