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Enneagram Type 7 Personality: Enthusiasm and Anticipation

Enneagram type 7

Enneagram type 7 is given a variety of names by those who teach and write about the Enneagram types such as The Epicure, The Enthusiast, and The Joyful Person. While these names allude to some common characteristics that often appear in the type 7 personality, they only provide a hint of what's going on underneath the surface. What's going on can be found in the core focus.

Enneagram type 7 has a focus on experiencing what's enjoyable and satisfying in life while avoiding what's uncomfortable and painful. This produces a habit of attention that anticipates whether choices lead to one or the other.

Initial Self-Belief: “I am not enthused or satisfied as I am.”

Compensation: "I must avoid limitations and stay open to exciting possibilities that may become available in life."

Habit of Attention: Type 7 attention is pulled toward interesting possibilities. This starts by keeping options open so as not to be limited but turns to anticipating where choices might lead. Choices that might lead to pain or discomfort are avoided in favor of those that might lead to satisfaction and enjoyment.

The Enneagram types evolved from Oscar Ichazo's ego-types into Claudio Naranjo's enneatypes. The goal with the ego-types was to identify an individual's fixation in order to work on transcending it. The enneatypes fleshed out the ego-types in terms of modern psychology and personality traits.

Type 7 Ego: Ego-Plan

Below are descriptions of Oscar Ichazo's ego type 7 fixation, trap, holy idea, passion, and virtue reinterpreted for today's personality types.

Type 7 Fixation and Trap

Fixation: Planning is about looking forward to many exciting possibilities and a way to fit them all into one's life.

Trap: Idealism that is enthused about what's possible but moves on when the feeling wanes.

The fixation points to the mental preoccupation of the ego and the trap seems like the way out but keeps the individual stuck in the fixation. 

Type 7 Holy Idea

Holy Idea: Holy work is following through in the present on what seems uncomfortable or difficult but leads to a deeper satisfaction and joy.

The holy idea is the actual way out of the ego fixation.

Type 7 Passion

Passion: Gluttony of the mind is the pull felt toward interesting possibilities. Why get mired in boredom or discomfort when pleasurable alternatives are available?

The passion is the emotional energy that serves the fixation and trap.

Type 7 Virtue

Virtue: Sobriety appears when you see endeavors through to the end instead of moving on to something easier and more interesting than what's at hand.

The virtue is what appears when the passion subsides.

Type 7 Personality Traits: Enneatype VII

Claudio Naranjo's enneatypes expanded upon Oscar Ichazo's fixations and passions by referring to modern psychology and other sources.

What follows is the trait structure for type 7 as outlined in Naranjo's book "Ennea-type Structures."

Enneatype VII
Opportunistic Idealism - Gluttony, Fraudulence, and Narcissism

  • Gluttony
  • Hedonistic Permissiveness
  • Rebelliousness
  • Lack of Discipline
  • Imaginary Wish Fulfillment
  • Seductive Pleasingness
  • Narcissism
  • Persuasiveness
  • Fraudulence
The relationships and movements between types can be explored by way of the triads, arrows, and lines as seen on the Enneagram symbol or diagram. These elements of the Enneagram are often described as the centers, the stances, stress/security points, and directions of integration/disintegration.

    Type 7 Center

    Head/Head-Based Center

    Type 7 is located in the 567 triad which is often described as the head center. Type 7 lives in anticipation of the future by noticing where choices and thinking are leading. Paths that are limiting and unpleasant are avoided while paths that offer opportunity and joy are pursued. It's a what's next approach to life that links ideas and possibilities.

    Types 5, 6, and 7 may also be referred to as fear-based types. Type 7 fear is about getting stuck in uncomfortable or painful emotions. Because these emotions are avoided there is very little experience in successfully navigating them. As such, when they finally do catch up they can be overwhelming and debilitating. Especially when the usual strategy of pleasant distraction is no longer working.

    The core focus approach labels the 567 triad as the Mental Center and differentiates how each type uses that center.

    • Type 5: Mental Objectivity - observes the world by pulling back from it and watching.
    • Type 6: Mental Questioning - probes to alleviate doubts and find what can be trusted.
    • Type 7: Mental Anticipation - avoids limitations while exploring interesting possibilities.

    You can take a test comparing the three head types here.

    Type 7 Stance or Hornevian Group

    Aggressive Stance

    Type 7 is in the aggressive triad along with type 3 and type 8. Type 7 is aggressive against being limited and feeling painful emotions. Limited opportunities for joy and pleasure can feel claustrophobic, not only because options are taken away but also because it cuts off escape from getting stuck in boredom, discomfort, pain, and other unpleasant states.

    Type 7 Stress and Growth

    Enneagram type 7 arrows

    Movement against the arrow from type 7 to type 5

    Movement against the arrow is sometimes described as movement toward a type's security point or direction of integration or growth. Type 7 is said to take on characteristics of type 5 when feeling relaxed or secure or moving toward health and growth.

    Movement with the arrow from type 7 to type 1

    Movement with the arrow is sometimes described as a movement toward a type's stress point or direction of disintegration or stress. When feeling stressed and pressured or not in control, type 7 is said to take on characteristics of type 1.

    Connecting points from type 7 to type 5 and type 1

    Some teachers ignore the arrows and simply describe the lines as connecting points. In this case, someone identified as type 7 is said to sometimes take on characteristics of type 5 and type 1. Or to put it another way, type 7 may move to type 5 and type 1 at times when the type 7 concerns are not dominant.

    Although you have a basic or primary Enneagram type there are many subtle variations within type. These variations are defined by such concepts as wings, instincts, tritype, and levels. They're often used to explain why people of the same Enneagram type can look different.

    Type 7 Wings - 7w6 and 7w8

    Type 7 Wings

    The wings are represented by the numbers on either side of a given type as seen on the Enneagram symbol or diagram. These types are said to have an additional influence upon the type being looked at. The wing types for type 7 are type 6 and type 8.

    Although type 7 is influenced by both wings, an individual will generally be influenced more by one of the wings than the other. The wing with more influence is said to be the preferred wing.

    Type 7 wing 6 (7w6) - preferred 6 wing
    Common Name: The Entertainer

    • more playful and optimistic
    • more concerned with being liked
    • more sensitive and agreeable

    Type 7 wing 8 (7w8) - preferred 8 wing
    Common Name: The Realist

    • more practical and realistic
    • more aggressive in getting needs met
    • more direct and opinionated

    Click here if you'd like help finding your preferred wing.

    Type 7 Subtypes

    Type 7 Instinctual Subtypes

    The instincts of the Enneagram types are self-preservation (sp), sexual (sx), and social (so). They are traditionally used to define three instinctual subtypes or variations of a basic type (e.g., SP 7, SX 7, and SO 7). One of these three subtypes is called the counter-type because it can look different from the basic type. Below are brief descriptions of the three type 7 instinctual subtypes.

    SP 7 - Like-Minded, Family: networks with like-minded people who support self-interests; on the lookout for opportunities that satisfy their interests and needs; finds good justification for behavior in pursuit of self-interests.

    SX 7 - Fascination, Suggestibility: lured or pulled by imaginings or fantasies that embellish reality; an optimism of someone who’s in love; can be easily overtaken by enthusiasm and fascination for an ideal.

    SO 7 - Sacrifice (counter-type): postpones or defers desires and gratification in favor of pursuing an ideal; moved by duty and recognition toward service of humanity; seeks recognition and applause for being good according to social consensus.

    While an individual may be identified with type 7 in general, that same individual may be more specifically identified with one of the three instinctual subtypes as well. 

    A more recent approach to using the instincts is instinctual variant stacking which can be used independent of Enneagram type.

    If you'd like to find your instinctual subtype or instinctual variant stacking then click here.

    Type 7 Tritypes

    Enneagram type 7 tritypes


    With tritype you are not simply one type but three, one type from each center. There is also an order of preference for the three types (which type is 1st, 2nd, and 3rd).

    The type 7 tritypes have type 7 as their first type and head type. The second and third types come from the gut (8, 9, or 1) and heart (2, 3, or 4) centers.

    Tritype® Archetype goes a step further by also looking at tritype in terms of the three types alone (independent of order of preference). Below are the Tritype® Archetype names if Enneagram type 7 is your primary type.

    The Teacher - 712 or 721
    The Systems Builder - 713 or 731
    The Visionary - 714 or 741
    The Free Spirit - 728 or 782
    The Peacemaker - 729 or 792
    The Mover Shaker - 738 or 783
    The Ambassador - 739 or 793
    The Messenger - 748 or 784
    The Gentle Spirit - 749 or 794

    For a description of any Tritype® Archetype above click the name. If you're not taken to the correct part of the web page when it appears then scroll down to the middle of the web page and look for the Tritype® Archetype you're interested in.

    If you'd like to find your tritype, tritype with wings, dominant type in a given center, or order of preference then click here.

    Type 7 - Enneagram Levels of Development

    Enneagram Levels

    The Levels of Development create a vertical dimension within each Enneagram type.

    There are nine levels ranging from healthy (levels 1-3) to average (levels 4-6) to unhealthy (levels 7-9). A person will operate within a range of levels (e.g., levels 2-4, levels 6-8, etc.). This range will vary throughout a lifetime. Two people of the same type will look different when they're operating from different levels.

    Below are two words associated with each level for type 7 as described in the book "The Wisdom of the Enneagram" by Don Riso and Russ Hudson.

    Healthy Levels

    Level 1 - Joyful, Satisfied

    Level 2 - Anticipating, Enthusiastic

    Level 3 - Realistic, Productive

    Average Levels

    Level 4 - Acquisitive, Consuming

    Level 5 - Distracted, Scattered

    Level 6 - Self-Centered, Excessive

    Unhealthy Levels

    Level 7 - Insatiable, Escaping

    Level 8 - Manic (Depressive), Reckless

    Level 9 - Overwhelmed, Paralyzed

    Click here for descriptions of all nine type 7 levels. If you're not taken to the correct part of the web page when it appears then scroll down to the middle of the web page and look for the section on Levels of Development.

    Even though Enneagram tests are not 100% accurate they can provide a starting point for finding your Enneagram type and variations of type by narrowing down and validating your choices. The tests below can be useful if you think you might be a type 7 or you know you are a type 7 and want to explore the type 7 variations.

    Enneagram Mistypes - Type 7 Comparison Tests

    Some people correctly identify their Enneagram type on the first try. For most other people typing yourself correctly can take some time.

    If you feel that you may have wrongly typed yourself as type 7 and have one or more alternative types in mind then click on a link below to take a quick Enneagram test comparing type 7 to another type.

    To find some alternatives to type 7 you can take the type preference test below. Afterward you can compare these alternatives using the links above or the type comparison test.

    Enneagram Variations - Tests to help find Type 7 Wing, Subtype, and Tritype

    Find your type 7 wing preference by comparing the two wings of type 7.

    Find your type 7 subtype by comparing the three instictual subtypes of type 7.

    Find your missing tritype heart or gut type by comparing the three types in a center.

    Find your tritype order by comparing your 2nd and 3rd tritype types.

    Quick Guide to the Enneagram

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

    The Nine Enneagram Types x
    The Nine Enneagram Types