How to Love That Other Number on the Enneagram (All Nine Types)

See my new series in February 2020 on 20 Ways to Practice the Enneagram for Spiritual Growth.

Enneagram for Spiritual Growth

How Others View the World

“The Enneagram shows us that we can’t change the way other people see, but we can try to experience the world through their eyes and help them change what they do with what they see.”
– Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile


Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you grow.

Knowing other peoples’ strengths and weaknesses helps, too.

What I’m learning about the Enneagram is it’s not just knowledge for ourselves. It’s also knowledge we can use to better love our friends, family, coworkers.


In their book on the Enneagram, The Road Back to You, Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile say that the Enneagram can be a tool for you to see how others are viewing the world.

“When you realize that your Loyalist Six husband views the world as a place filled with danger and uncertainty, and he in turn understands that when you get up in the morning you as a Performer Three feel an urgent need to compete and excel at everything you do, it’s amazing how much more compassion you can have for each other.

Everything isn’t so personal anymore. You understand that your loved one’s behavior is born out of a fractured vision of life.”
– Cron and Stabile

Ian and Suzanne gave helpful tips at the Know Your Number conference for dealing with each personality type. (See “5 Things I Learned at the Enneagram Conference” here.)

Think about the personalities in your circle of friends. You likely know at least one person from each type.

Here are the nine types.


Then apply one of these tips below to better love that person in a way that makes sense to them. (You’ll find much more in the book, The Road Back to You, and on the podcast by the same name.)

How you can help someone who is a . . .

1 – Perfectionist

Because perfectionists always hear voices in their head about how to improve things, don’t interrupt them while they’re working. It doesn’t help to tell them something is good enough. Instead, ask how you can help them make it better.

2 – Helper

Twos wants to take care of everybody, even at their own expense. Help them understand they don’t have to do it all, just their one piece. And that you like them just as they are, even when they’re not helping.

3 – Achiever/Performer

Threes are competitive and success-driven. (Threes are revered in America, btw.) Don’t slow them down by talking in paragraphs to them. Communicate with them instead through bullet points.

4 – Individualist/Romantic

Fours are intense, have a wide emotional range, and are prone to melancholy. So don’t tell Fours to cheer up. They’re just feeling what they feel. (This is the least populated number on the Enneagram.)

5 – Investigator

Fives are drained by the world if they have to engage it too long. When you’re with them, don’t ramble. Get to the point. They are minimalists. They enjoy being with people, but not necessarily to “hang out.”

6 – Loyalist

Sixes know that life is uncertain and can’t be predicted. Remind Sixes that they need to trust their own experiences with God. Help them by exasperating the situation even worse. Listen to all their fears. (Half the world are Sixes.)

7 – Enthusiast

Sevens are adventurous and always ready for more fun. They also are most prone to addiction because they avoid pain and don’t know how to handle grief. Help them address all their emotions, not just the happy ones.

8 – Challenger

Eights are exceptional leaders and like to take control. They have more energy than any other number on the Enneagram. They like to know exactly where you stand, so always be straight-up with Eights. And challenge them if you disagree; they’ll respect you for it.

9 – Peacemaker

Nines will do almost anything to avoid conflict. They’re happy to just go along, so they can be slow decision makers. Learn to not rob them of making their own choices. Let them know their own preferences matter. (Nines make up the second largest group.)

Understanding that everyone sees life from a different lens can help us be more kind and patient with each other.

As we listen and learn, let’s do so with an attitude of gentleness and non-judgment, not forcing people to change, but giving them space to grow.

“It’s when we stop trying to change people and simply love them that they actually have a shot at transformation. The Enneagram is a tool that awakens our compassion for people just as they are, not the people we wish they would become so our lives would become easier.”
– Cron and Stabile

* * *


Can you spot the potential number of your spouse or friend? Please share in the comments.

37 thoughts on “How to Love That Other Number on the Enneagram (All Nine Types)

  1. Valerie

    Sounds like that was a great conference! I love learning about personality types. I can see how appreciating and learning about others would help me to be more understanding. I’m pretty sure I’m a peacemaker with a bent toward perfectionism and loyalist too.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it was a very interesting conference, learning not only about my own type, but also about my husband, my friend, etc. It’s already proven beneficial in helping us understand each other better.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      If you already like Cron’s work, which I do, too, you’ll like this, Floyd. Even though it’s non-fiction, he still manages to weave in a lot of his stories. I always like that.

  2. Trudy

    I love all this sound advice, Lisa. I’m all for awakening our compassion for people just as they are. Of allowing people to be just as God has created them to be. Thank you for sharing all this insight of how to love better. 🙂 Blessings and hugs!

  3. Michele Morin

    I was listening to Ian and Suzanne just this morning stating how each of the nine types can bring helpfulness to the post-election angst. It’s so eye opening to view God’s image bearers in this way.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes! I listened to their podcast a few hours ago myself. It was so encouraging. Just what we need at this time! I hope we’ll all be able to implement a suggestion or two. Just in time for Thanksgiving. 🙂

  4. Mary Flaherty

    I’ve never heard of this before. I’m very into personality profiles. This is similar to the other types; just packaged differently I suppose. I’m not sure where I fall. I think I’m a mixture. But I agree that it’s important to be able to look at others through their own lens in order to love and accept them as who they were designed to be. If we expect everyone else to be the same number we are…oh my what a world that would be! Interesting topic, and great insight.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, God knew what he was doing when he made us all so different. 🙂 It keeps us on our toes, yes? One thing I particularly like about the Enneagram is that it offers insights into our motivations, not just our behaviors, so that we can continue to be spiritually transformed for tomorrow instead of just simply seeing where we are today. Hope you enjoy it, too, Mary.

  5. Sarah Geringer

    I am one of those rare #4 melancholy types, with perfectionist and loyalist as close ties for second place. I enjoy personality tests because they validate my long-held feelings of being so different from everyone else, yet uniquely created by God to be this way. I no longer apologize for being a highly sensitive, intense person. Those traits contribute greatly to my creative skills and my ability to care deeply.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      How beautiful, Sarah! I’m glad you embrace your 4-ness because it is definitely an important type that helps us all see more beauty and meaning in our world. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Crystal Storms

    Lisa, this was a fun discovery of my type – I went back and took the test. 1w2
    My husband and I took strengths tests and confirmed we are almost opposite of one another. But those different strengths and weaknesses make us better together when we look to one another and keep God at the center.
    Thanks for sharing these, sweet friend. xoxo

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s a great type, Crystal. One of my tests said that’s what I was, too. 🙂 I’m still wavering between 1 and 5 though; I’m just not sure. Yes, it is really wonderful when we have different strengths and weaknesses than our spouses because together we make a more healthy partnership!

  7. Lori

    “Understanding that everyone sees life from a different lens can help us be more kind and patient with each other.” You are not kidding, Lisa! 🙂 Life would be crazy if we were all alike, thankfully we are all different in ways. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, life would definitely be crazy if we were all alike. I’m glad the world isn’t all like me; it would be a boring place. ha. I need other types around me to initiate things that I can participate in. Thanks for sharing, Lori.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I had wished I was a 2; it just sounds like the “Christian” number to be. ha. But I know that God can work positively in all the numbers (and we can mess up in each number as well!). I relate to your 5 traits.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I didn’t know that! Thanks for explaining “mug” to me, Beverley. I love learning new uses of words, from one side of the ocean to the other. 🙂 Our version of mug might be sucker or chump. You all may use those words, too?

  8. Lucas

    I have a rebuttal. Regarding type fours, your statement, “Don’t take their drama personally” is being subjective against the four. This implies that we should not take their emotions seriously, that it is a farce, a fantasy, a game to be ignored. I recognize that this blog post is concise, and therefore there are shortfalls in each typology. However, as a four, I find that not being taken seriously is exactly what the four is NOT seeking and a large reason why fours slip into depression and loneliness. Furthermore, to write off the four’s intense emotions because they are intense is to not only delegitimize their genuine human experience, it is to do the same to oneself. I recommend you change your conception of the four and modify your statement to reflect that. Those who read this post, fours or not, may be incorrectly swayed.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That was likely more of a compilation than a direct quote from the book so I’ll take responsibility for it. And thank you for making your point. I see what you’re saying. And agree with you. (I’m deleting the offending sentence altogether; it wasn’t clear enough and lacked context.)

      Everyone (regardless of their number) wants to be taken seriously and deserves to be. (And as a five, wing four, I know I want that.)

      I think the authors would agree, too. From what I can ascertain, both of them consistently respect other people’s emotions. Thanks for sharing, Lucas.

  9. Rena Reeve

    For number six, you say, “Sixes know that life is uncertain and can’t be predicted. Remind Sixes that they need to trust their own experiences with God. Help them by exasperating the situation even worse. Listen to all their fears. (Half the world are Sixes.)”

    What do you mean by “exasperating the situation even worse”?

    1. Lisa notes

      I think it means to let sixes proceed with their “what if’s” until they imagine the worst thing that can happen, instead of stopping them early by saying, “That would never happen” and cutting them off. Sometimes I have to do that with myself. 🙂

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