How You Act in Relationships, According to Your Enneagram Type, Study Says
Your number might help you understand your behavior when it comes to pairing up.
We're often questioning so many things about our relationships, especially our own behavior. Are we following old patterns that got us into trouble? Are there things we need to change? Or do we put up with too much? While this is a natural instinct, it can help to find new ways to interpret our actions and emotions.
The Enneagram of Personality—also known simply as the Enneagram—is a model of the human psyche that is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. Used in both business management and self-improvement contexts, the Enneagram defines nine personality types (sometimes called Enneatypes), which, when paired with points on a geometric figure called an Enneagram, can be connected with other types.
"The Enneagram is a system for understanding personality types based on one's core beliefs about how the world works," explains Molly Owens, founder of leading Enneagram test provider Truity. "Understanding our Enneagram type and how it colors your perceptions can help us to broaden our perspective and approach situations more effectively—including in relationships."
In 2021, Truity surveyed over 88,000 users to find out more about the Enneagram types and their relationships. Read on to learn more about the findings and hear from experts about how each Enneagram type is likely to behave in relationships—or whether they'd rather be single.
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Ones are serial monogamists. Of all the types, they (along with Fours) have more relationships than average; they're also the least likely to be single—according to the survey, only 38 percent said they were solo at the time.
Aditya Kashyap Mishra, a relationship expert at MoodFresher, adds that Ones take "a principled approach to relationships." He says that if you're a One, "You believe in honesty and fair play, and you're not afraid to stand up for what you believe in. You're also a great listener, and you're always there for your friends and loved ones when they need you. You're loyal and reliable, and people know they can count on you."
So you can see why Ones are more likely to work harder at making their relationships work. They're most likely to be paired with Twos, Nines, or other Ones.
Owens explains that each Enneagram type "has a set of core beliefs" that influences their overall outlook on life. For Twos, that's nurturing those they love. Therefore, they're the most likely to say they're the happiest being in a relationship.
Mishra says that if you're a Two, "You're the kind of person who loves to take care of others, and you're always looking for ways to help. You're also a bit of a people-pleaser, and you might have a hard time saying no when someone asks you for help."
Since they have a fear of not being loved, it makes sense that Twos put so much emphasis on committed romantic partnerships. They are most likely to be paired with Eights, Ones, and Nines.
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Threes are goal-oriented, and they tend to stick with the status quo. "If you're an Enneagram Type 3, you probably like to take an efficient approach to relationships," Mishra tells Best Life. "You're all about results, and you're always looking for ways to achieve your goals. You're also a bit of a workaholic, and you might have trouble balancing your work and your personal life."
However, this can mean that Threes deprioritize intimacy and romance. According to an article on Truity, "You must consciously choose to put the needs of your relationship before everything else, at least in those special moments." This will allow the behaviors to become part of a routine.
Threes are most likely to be paired with Eights, Ones, or other Threes.
Fours are happier when they're single and tend to have short relationships. Despite this, they're known as the "romantic" Enneagram type.
"Fours are somewhat notorious for romance, so it's interesting that they're at the top of the charts for both having no relationships and a lot of them—perhaps, it's an all-or-nothing approach for this type," theorizes Owens in the study. Mishra agrees, adding that Fours are perfectionists and have high standards for their relationships.
Isabelle Robledo, co-founder of Making Mindfulness Fun, breaks it down further: "The Four will bring you gifts, pay attention to your needs, and give you their full attention. Just remember to reciprocate to keep your Four around, listen to their thoughts, pay attention to what they like."
Fours are most likely to be paired with Nines, Ones, or other Fours.
Fives are the most likely to be single and are the happiest solo. According to Mishra, If you're a Five, you probably take an analytical approach to relationships. "You're always looking for ways to understand the people you're close to, and you're very good at reading between the lines. You're also a bit of a lone wolf, and you might have trouble letting people in."
Five's personality profile as an introvert means they often lead "with their head vs. their heart," according to the study, and are also deeply afraid of being "overpowered by neediness—both their own, and others." For them, they'd rather fly solo than risk this fear of commitment.
Fives are most likely to be paired with Twos, Ones, or Eights.
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According to the survey, Sixes are right after Twos as being the most likely to say they're happier when they're in a relationship. They're anxiety-prone and crave loyalty, hence the security and safety of couplehood. But they make sure their loved ones feel this same loyalty in return, Mishra notes.
A Truity article about Sixes also notes their worrisome nature. "Given that relationships are full of ups and downs and the unexpected, you might think Enneagram Sixes would be the type of people who avoided them." However, quite the opposite is true. "Sixes actively seek out the protection of friends and partners and can be fully committed to them even while harboring doubts about the relationship," the article explains.
Sixes are most likely to be paired with Nines, Twos, or Ones.
Sevens may have "shiny object syndrome," according to the study, which can make them more likely to hop from one partner to the next. As the eternal optimists, they're also more likely to say that their relationship status doesn't impact their happiness, as they "derive satisfaction from so many sources—friends, hobbies, travel, etc."
"You're always up for a good time, and you're always looking for new and exciting experiences," says Mishra. "You're also a bit of a free spirit, and you might have trouble making a commitment and staying in one place for too long."
Sevens are the rarest Enneagram type and connect with partners who have shared interests. They are most likely to be paired with Twos, Ones, or Sixes.
Eights are looking for partners who challenge them mentally, though they'll appreciate the occasional shoulder to lean on. They tend to be outgoing, so they end up in more relationships.
According to Robledo, Enneagram Eights "can seem to treat relationships like a business meeting. It's not that they don't value their connection to you, it's just that connection to them is verbal 'sparring' and helping each other improve themselves."
"If you're an Enneagram Type Eight, you probably like to take a very straightforward and honest approach to relationships," Mishra adds. "You're not afraid to speak your mind, and you're always honest with the people you're close to. You're also a bit of a rebel, and you might have trouble following rules and authority figures."
Eights are most likely to be paired with Twos, Ones, or Nines.
"Laid-back, adaptable Nines are likely to be in long relationships," says the Truity study, though they're also unlikely to have had a serious relationship. This is partly because they don't know what they're looking for and also because they're less assertive than other types. They avoid conflict, molding themselves to the circumstances rather than opting to split up.
"Enneagram Nines are peacemakers," Robledo says. "They want their relationship to be harmonious. They'll tend to show up in their relationship passively and be very agreeable, preferring to go along with whatever their spouse wants."
Nines are most likely to be paired with Ones, Eights, or Threes.