Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What is the best enneagram type for me to date?

I try to introduce the enneagram to new people often, and one of the most commonly asked questions is whether the enneagram tells us which other type we should date or marry. Riso and Hudson's answer is "a healthy type." The conventional wisdom is that while there are predictable patterns to relationships between two types, only you can decide which constellation of joys and problems you'd rather take on. However, today at the Hickory Public Library, I came across an enneagram author who has gone out on a limb and given a list of best and worst matches. The book is The Ultimate Personality Guide by Jennifer Freed, M.A.. M.F.T. and Debra Birnbaum. The chapter headings are: 1. Western Astrology 2. Birth Order 3. Myers-Briggs-Inspired Typology 4. The Enneagram 5. Ayurveda 6. Chinese Astrology 7. Numerology and 8. All the Rest, so you can see that Freed is not an enneagram writer, per se. She is founder of Astrological Counseling Seminars, an institute for astrological psychology.

Here is Freed's list of Best and Worst matches:

Best Match: Seven
Worst Match: Four, Eight

Best Match: Four
Worst Match: Eight

Best Match: Six
Worst Match: Nine

Best Match: One
Worst Match: Two, Five

Best Match: Eight
Worst Match: Seven

Best Match: Nine
Worst Match: Three

Best Match: Five
Worst Match: One

Best Match: Two
Worst Match: Five

Best Match: Three
Worst Match: Six

I am a 6, and when I first looked at this chart in the library I only looked at what she said about 6 -- Best Match 9, Worst Match 3. I have trouble with 3s, and who doesn't like 9s? So I thought maybe there was something to this.

The discerning enneagram student, though, will have already caught on to the pattern that the best match for each type is that type's security point and the worst is the stress type. (With two exceptions, the addition of type 8 as a bad match for the 1 and type 5 as a bad match for the 4.)

I am reminded of a cartoon I once saw with a gay girl chasing a straight girl who was chasing a gay man who was chasing a straight man who was chasing the original gay girl, thus forming a circle. I picture the 1 chasing the 7 chasing the 5 chasing the 8 chasing the 2... well, you get the picture. Seriously, though, a world in which you are always the worst type for the best type for you is the world she is positing.

For more articles on the Enneagram, please visit my other blog: Cindi and Mary Beth's Holistic Enneagram Agency. The only Enneagram website of its kind on the web; fresh content posted (almost) daily!


Cindi said...

I noticed the pattern right away. the additions are curious. Bad personal experiences, perhaps. Here's my (type 5) subjective impression of dating the types:
1 -- no attraction.
2 -- puts my withdrawal into overdrive. Bad match.
3 -- the sense of humor annoys, plus I'm bad at bolstering egos.
4 -- me likey. But stormy.
5 -- good talk, but chilly for my taste. And the 5w6 engineer type, I can't stand.
6 -- a good match for me companionship-wise, but not the most passionate pairing.
7 -- lots of attraction and laughter, but lots of anger too.
8 -- never even considered it. Scary.
9 -- Nice and quiet, mostly good. But now, I'm the crazy "overreacting" one.

tomf said...

It makes sense that a 9 can be best for a 6 while a 6 is the worst match for a 9, but from a selfless stand point I would like to see a "most compatible" listing. What matches are most likely to lead toward long term happiness.

Mary Beth said...

Well, I'm not sure that makes sense because in that case, if I happened to find a 9, wouldn't I just make him miserable? And he'd either stick it out or leave; either way, how is that best for me?

As for the most compatible types... I honestly haven't noticed a pattern. Well, actually, I've noticed that a lot of happy couples have a 9 as one of the partners, but then again, 9 is also probably the most common type.

Paul P said...

I am quite surprised by the preceeding comments regarding "best type" for a mate.

One who has really studied the Enneagram knows that ANY type can mate with ANY type, the success of compatibility has to do with the level of health in each person. True love knows no boundaries.

Having said this, then your subtype (instinct) plays a very important part, that is, sexual/social/self-pres.

Also, each person's history of woundedness and journey toward's wholeness may want someone to lean towards a given type, based on what they need for healing.

To suggest that your best mate is the point of integration (4 chooses 1) but that the path of disintegration is the worst (1 choosing 4) is in my opinion a terrible disservice and misunderstanding of the rich tool known as the Enneagram. If that is true, then what can be said of couples such as 1-4, that one of them is well-matched and the other one is terribly matched? Such an idea is ludicrous. I do Ennegram couples education, and I have met so many couples who are so in love of almost EVERY possible combination.

Afterall, the Enneagram is not to box us in, but to release us of these boxes. Ultimately, every human has the potential to learn all nine energies. That is complete integration, complete growth.

Granted, a given individual may have preferences on which type they want to mate with. But this cannot be applied to others of the same type!!!

Anonymous said...

Sexy post Paul... Love finds nothing as a limitation. You elaborated well how enneagram is not a trap for the mind but in its complete understanding it is actually a liberation from your own mind.

Kerry said...

I agree with Paul. Cindi either you are an unhealthy five or you are dating unhealthy people in each type. Have you noticed that you don't have a positive thing to say about any of the types and it's all about what you expect to get from them. What exactly are you expecting to offer them as a five? By the way I'm one of those scary eight types married to a five. We have been married for six years. I supply the passion and excitement and he makes my eight heart more thoughtful and anchored. He is also a good listener. We both give each other the space that we need. We are both in the healthy range for each of our types. There is no perfect partner.

Sarah said...

The only pattern I see is this. If I am a 3 - my worst partner is a 9.

And if I am a 9 - my BEST partner is a 3.

This does not, certainly, make sense. I'm an enneagram nut, and this can't be right. Compatibility has to work for both partners, or it doesn't work at all. Perhaps what you're saying is that a 9 is so easy for a 3 to push around...but for the nine, being pushed around doesn't feel good...? Sarah

Celer said...

AHAHAHAHAH 1 with 4... are u joking or what? come on.

Casey Jane said...

I am a four and have an amazing relationship with a seven. My enneagram specialist said there is no compatibility yet an adjustment to people in your life. If you know what personality your are and can understand other personalities then it shouldn't be a worry yet if your other half doesn't understand then give them the knowledge..

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Anonymous said...

The answer is that healthy types are compatible with other healthy types.

Anonymous said...

Well this is really interesting but I just have a question.is it that the type four is not really a good type for the other enneagram types?