If this is your first time hearing about the Enneagram, this may not be the blog post for you! But for those of you that are somewhat familiar, here are the Top 10 questions I get about the Enneagram, either over social media or during team trainings.
#10 — “Why is it called Enneagram?”
The name, Enneagram, has a very simple meaning. It is a combination of two Greek words, ennea and gram. Ennea means nine, and gram refers to points. It is called the Enneagram because it is a nine-pointed diagram.
#9 — “What’s up with the weird symbol? It kind of looks like a pentagram…”
Even though the Enneagram symbol might bear a small resemblance to a noted cult-like symbol, the two are in no way related. Technically, since the Enneagram has nine points and a pentagram has five, a square is closer to a pentagram than the Enneagram is!
#8 — “Who created the Enneagram?”
The origins of the Enneagram are disputed. What is not disputed is that it has been around for a very long time. Some scholars claim that the Enneagram (or early forms of it) were used by the ancient philosopher, Plato. Others cite Enneagram use among ancient Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities as well. Wherever it originated, it has been passed down and through many generations. The modern Enneagram as we know it today has been through many different versions as society and culture have discovered more and more about the human personality.
#7 — “What is a wing? How do I know what my wing is?”
In the Enneagram world, your wing is one of the numbers next to your core number, whichever one you are stronger in. So, for example, if you are an Enneagram 3, your wing will either be a 2 or a 4. You CANNOT be a 3 with a 7 wing. You can only be a 3 with a 2 wing or a 3 with a 4 wing. Your wing isn’t a major component in your personality, but it does bring a distinct “flavor” to your core number. This is just one of many reasons why your core number does not define you, and not all people with the same core number are the same.
#6 — “Is the Enneagram a religious thing?”
The Enneagram has been widely used within many religious traditions, but it is also often used outside of any religious context. For churches or parachurch organizations interested in the Enneagram, check out Enneagram For Churches.
#5 — “What are your favorite enneagram books and podcasts?”
There are tons of great resources out there for learning more about the Enneagram. Here are all my favorites.
#4 — “Can your number change over time?”
In short, no. However, up until early adulthood, we are still becoming who we will be. Our childhood experiences play a huge role in forming our personalities. Most Enneagram experts say that somewhere around age 20, we settle into our true personality (number). This is because, for most people in the West, 20 years old is approximately the age when you can be most “you” as you are now out from under the direct influence of your parents, but you also haven’t learned many of the hard lessons in life that cause us to soften our personalities to get along with others. So, no, once your personality is formed, your core number does not change. If you’ve taken multiple Enneagram assessments and gotten different numbers, there are a few reasons that could easily explain that. First, not all Enneagram assessments are equal. Some are more accurate than others, which means you could easily get a different result on a different assessment. Second, it is still just an assessment. Some people are bad at taking tests growing up, and this assessment isn’t any different. Third, once you’ve taken one Enneagram assessment, or even once you have some general knowledge about the Enneagram, it is extremely difficult to take an Enneagram assessment without answering in such a way to get a certain outcome, even if that is subconscious. Fourth, different circumstances may get you different results. If you’re extremely stressed one day and very relaxed the next, you may get different results. The best time to take the assessment would be in a comfortable place, not rushed, and not super stressed out.
#3 — “What test should I take to find my number?”
There are many good assessments out there (and many bad ones). Just go ahead and skip any quick ones that you find on social media. While many free tests are decent, my personal favorite can be found at www.wepss.com.The assessment is $10, but it will give you several pages in results that can be extremely helpful. Another perk of this assessment is that it is not a marketing tool. It is strictly for your benefit, and you won’t be receiving any follow-up spam emails as you might with other assessments.
#2 — “What if I feel like I’m multiple numbers?”
Each of us only has one core number, but for some people, it can be difficult to choose between a few numbers that we highly identify with. That’s okay, and not uncommon. Discovering which Enneagram number you most closely identify with doesn’t need to happen immediately. Many people take months and even years to decide what number they are, and the learning journey along the way is a good thing. Just keep learning about each number. Eventually, you’ll decide that you are one of them more than the others.
#1 — “Which numbers make the best combination in romantic relationships?”
There is no magic number combination when it comes to dating or marriage. Any two numbers can have a healthy and thriving relationship if both people are emotionally and mentally healthy. Each number has different strengths and weaknesses that will come into play, but if both people are willing to work on themselves, there’s no reason why any number combination couldn’t work.