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Enneagram Numbers: Identifying the nine personality types

Enneagram Numbers

What do the Enneagram numbers actually represent?

Popularly, the nine numbers on the Enneagram symbol or diagram represent nine different personality types (type 1 through type 9). The Enneagram numbers offer a common way to identify each personality type while also placing them on the symbol.

With types placed on the Enneagram symbol, the circle and other elements of the symbol can then used to explore relationships between the types. You can explore these other elements of the symbol as used by the types by clicking here.

Labeling yourself as a number

What can sound a little strange when first encountering people describing themselves or others as an Enneagram type is how they refer to themselves or others as numbers.

For example, someone might say "I'm a type 1" if the type 1 personality is the best fit or "she's a type 2" if that type best fits for her.

Numbers are often used because of their consistency in use. Each type can always be referred to by the same number as opposed to word labels which vary between interpretations.

Using a word label to identify type

In addition to the numbers, word labels may also be given to the types. However, unlike the number labels, different authors and teachers don't always use the same word labels for the types.

For example, one school of the Enneagram types may refer to type 1 as the Perfectionist, while another as the Reformer, and another as the Good Person, etc. All the schools agree on the label of Type 1 but don't agree on what word label to use.

Another issue may appear when using the word labels instead of the numbers. The word labels tend to emphasize only one aspect of a type. If someone relies too much on the word label then they risk a very limited and sometimes stereotypical understanding of the type.

Someone might say for instance, "I must be a type 1 because I'm a perfectionist" when the reality is that people of different types can be perfectionistic. You aren't a type 1 just because you have perfectionistic tendencies.

You may also hear something like "she can't be a type 2 because she's not a helper" when helping may or may not be how type 2 gets expressed through personality for a particular individual.

Enneagram Guide

This page is part of the Enneagram Guide available on this website. For more information about any particular Enneagram type or the many concepts and origins/history of the Enneagram types visit the Enneagram Guide main page.