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Enneagram type variations: wings, instincts, tritype, levels

Enneagram Types

Your Enneagram type is only a starting point for exploring the personality types.

Although you have a basic or primary Enneagram type there are many subtle variations within that 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.

Be careful about exploring everything at once though.

Start with your basic or primary type

It's easy to become overwhelmed by the many concepts of the Enneagram types when first starting to explore them. It's best to start with finding and exploring your basic or primary Enneagram type first.

It may be as simple as reading the descriptions of the types or taking a test, but many people have to try on several different types before they feel they've found the best fit. 

Once you've found your basic or primary Enneagram type then explore the variations within that type.

Sometimes however, if you're having great difficulty deciding on one Enneagram type for yourself, exploring the variations first may help. They can offer nuances to the types that may tilt the scales for you toward a particular type.

Am I only one type?

Yes and no. You have access to all nine types and use them to varying degrees, but there is one type you lean on more than the others. This one type is what most people refer to as "your Enneagram type."

Some variations of type take into consideration how other types influence your primary type (e.g., wings and tritype), others add something new to the type (e.g., instincts), and still others see a range of movement within type (e.g., levels of development).

Click on the links below to learn more about these variations of type.


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