Nine personalities: enneagrams provide insight into students’ personality traits

S ophomore Erica Peterson sits in class working on an assignment. She overhears her classmates discuss their enneagram numbers. Peterson hears, “you are such a four,” Soon enough she chimes in with information regarding her own number and a friendship is born.

Peterson said she has become intrigued with how enneagrams can relate to her daily life. She appreciates the accuracy of each category.

“Enneagrams are basically personality types, and there’s nine of them,” Peterson said. “And it’s kind of cool because basically anyone can fit under these nine personality types because they’re so specific.”

Freshman Hadley Besheer views enneagrams in a slightly different light. She said she perceives them as a test that is “based on your core motivations and fears.”

Acourding to The Enneagram Institute, the test asks a multitude of questions that slowly analyzes your way of thinking and your traits. It works by measuring your levels on introverted or extrovertedness and asks what makes you the happiest. The test uses this information to curate a personality type for each person. Each number has a different name and set of qualities.

“Number ones are the reformers,” Besheer said. “They see things black and white and they’re very organized and in orderly fashion.”

Peterson described number ones are “perfectionists.” According to The Enneagram At Work, a website dedicated to enneagrams, number ones tend to be very critical of themselves and others. They also tend to be very logical thinkers.

“The twos are helpers; they find their worth in helping other people and feeling loved through them[selves],” Peterson said. “Twos are emotional thinkers and often worry about others’ needs before their own.”

Senior Glenne Harvell said threes are known as the achievers.

“The type three is like the motivated hard worker,” Harvell said. “Basically, we like to set goals for ourselves and achieve them and we’re constantly working. We seek validation from others and from ourselves — just constantly wanting to do more.”

Peterson said fours are the individualists and tend to be very creative.

”Fours are very emotional,” Peterson said. “They call them very emo; they’re usually artists.”

While fours usually keep to themselves, they seek depth in their relationships.

“Fives are the investigators, and they’re very reserved and quiet,” Basheer said. “However, they’re very big thinkers, and so they often have a lot of insight.”

Fives are very intellectual and they focus on obtaining as much knowledge about everything as possible. Peterson said that sixes are the loyalists.

“They’re very anxious people, but they care a lot about their friends and their relationships,” Peterson said.

According to the Enneagram Institute, sixes are reliable, hard-working and trustworthy.

“Sevens are the enthusiasts and they tend to be the numbers that are very into fun and adventures and being spontaneous,” Besheer said.

Peterson said sevens are spontaneous and fun loving. However, she said she believes that this could be one way sevens mask their emotions.

“Sevens are the life of the party and they kind of hide from their emotions through doing new fun things,” Peterson said.

Similarly to the sevens, eights tend to be more extroverted and assertive.

“Eights are the challengers,” Besheer said “They have a pretty dominant personality. They often take charge and lead in certain situations.”

Lastly, the nines are the peacemakers. They do everything in their power to be in a chaos-free environment.

“They love when everyone is conflict-free and at peace and they love comfortability,” Peterson said.

Besheer said nines are described as “go with the flow” people.

These nine categories or classifications can be helpful to many in everyday life. It can be a guideline for things like the most suitable career options or relationship advice.

“I think a lot of people are going to easily shrug at and say it’s just another personality test,” Harvell said. “But for me, I found it to be very accurate and provide a lot of insight on growing up and my new experiences.”

Peterson said enneagrams can provide a chance for self-reflection and realizations. Many relate to the material on a personal level and they agree with the flaws listed for their enneagram number.

“I think sometimes we just kind of forget about the areas that we need to improve on,” Peterson said. “I think when you read the description of yourself, it kind of just slaps you in the face because you’re like, ‘oh, wow, I totally do do that. Maybe I should improve on that and how can I be a better friend to others?’”

Besheer said she is a four wing three. “Wing” is a term meaning someone also possesses qualities of that number. Besheer said this is an accurate representation of her qualities.

“It really expresses the intense amount of feeling that I have and emotion,” Besheer said. “Emotions are kind of how I look through life and guide through life.”

Being emotional is a common trait for fours. Besheer is a representation of this. On the contrary, Harvell is a three wing one.

“I’m a dancer, so being a type three and a type one, an achiever and a perfectionist, makes perfect sense for me,” Harvell said. “And I read through the other ones and I don’t really think they apply to me as much.”

Peterson said she is a two wing one. She said she believes that this is representative of her selflessness.

“I think twos are very known for their caringness and their want to help others before themselves. I feel like I reflect that because oftentimes I kind of forget to take a step back and care about myself,” Peterson said. “I think sometimes I just go straight to pouring out and I forget to pour into myself and that’s a struggle for the twos.”

Each enneagram number comes with its own flaws as well as strengths. For Peterson, self care is something she said she strives to incorporate more into her life. Enneagrams is one way that people reflect on their own habits. Peterson discovered the trend of enneagrams through her church.

“Some people at my church started bringing up the idea of enneagrams and personalities and so they had me take the test and I came up with a two,” Peterson said. “Then, I just kind of read into it and kind of looked around me and saw who my community was made up of, and I got really interested in it.”

As Peterson increased her knowledge on the topic, she said she started to relate it to her relationships and see people through their enneagrams. She said she still learns more and more every day by using social media as a resource.

“I did Leadership Camp through my theatre program at the beginning of summer and they did an enneagram program,” Besheer said. “They also did a breakout room at Youth Front. I’m in the Youth Front community, which is a Christian-based community.”

Group activities is one way people can learn about enneagrams. Harvell learned about the concept in her dance group. For Harvell, her fascination began with a friend’s analysis of her number.

“My friend from dance was talking about it and she looked at me and she goes, ‘You’re a three’ and I go, ‘What?’” Harvell said. “Then I went home and I took the test and I was a three.”

Harvell said many people view enneagrams as similar to a horoscope. However, she said it is far more accurate because it is actually based on your answers rather than just your birthday.

“There are some people that when you hear their number and you think, ‘that makes so much sense for them,’” Besheer said. “You could just kind of like figure out how to tone back their unhealthy tendencies when you find out their number.”

Overall, the enneagram test is considered an interesting topic by many. Each person’s viewpoint on the matter is different and everybody has a different perception on each number. However, most can agree that each person fits into at least one number. The concept has grown in popularity over the past few years.

Besheer said the EnneaApp is a good resource for more information. Harvell said she uses Instagram as a resource. There is also a book called “The Wisdom of the Enneagram,” that can be an effective tool. The enneagram personality test is a way for many to get to know themselves and discover more about their tendencies from an outside viewpoint.

“I think for me, it’s just kind of about self discovery in the high school years … figuring out who we are,” Harvell said. “It’s been good to have those reminders of — you feel this and that’s normal because that’s who you are and that’s your personality.”