Taking the Test

Disclaimer: online tests are only as accurate as you are self-aware and honest with yourself. There is a good chance that you will be typed accurately through these self-report questionnaires, but there is also a decent chance that they will only serve to detail the person you wish you were, the personality you idealize or the personality you try to exemplify. The spirit of the Enneagram is greater self-awareness, geared towards growth and maturity, there is no right or wrong personality, but it will be useless to you if you type inaccurately, because you will be operating out of a false identity, which most of us don't need any help with. So do your best, take, re-take and read. Ultimately, you should know yourself better than anyone else, however, it's sometimes difficult to see yourself clearly. That's what the Enneagram is for, you type yourself as far as you can and then you dive deeper to put language to things that exist in you, but are difficult to admit, or hard to look at, or describe. At which point, I would love to set up a meeting to dive deeper into your type with you, and make sure that you are exploring the right types for you.  

The main testing website is The Enneagram Institute, it’s also a neat resource for reading summaries of the Types and distinctions, although it only scratches the surface! This one costs $12, and gives you a sizable description of your top 3 most likely types, based on how you answer the questions, as well as how many points you scored for each type. Most of us in our house have taken this one, it’s about 165 questions, if I remember correctly, so it can be long, but you can take breaks!

You can take the test here: https://tests.enneagraminstitute.com/

 

The next site is The Enneagram Worldwide and it’s $10 to take the test and it’s a shorter version based on paragraphs. You answer along a scale of strongly agree to don’t agree, and it also gives you your top 3 and short descriptions of them.

You can take the test here: https://www.enneagramworldwide.com/test/#gf_5

 

There are a few free sites as well, Eclectic Energies is free and their test goes into some subtypes or wings as well as variants, so it offers a deeper possible description of your type, it could be neat to play around with. 

You can take both versions of the test here: https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test

 

This one is kind of fun because it is meant to be fast and free, so it can give you a quick insight into what some of the longer tests are like. Personally, it wasn’t super accurate for me, but I do know people who have gotten true results from it.

You can take the test here: https://enneagramtest.net/

 

This last test is a shorter version of the first one, from the Enneagram Institute, and also refers you to the EI in the description. It’s also meant to be fast and free.

You can take the test here: http://www.9types.com/rheti/index.php

 

The most important things to remember when taking these tests is that they are only as accurate as you are honest. Do your best to answer the questions as truly as you can to how you are, not how you’ve been or how you want to be, or how you would like to be perceived. For example, if you have a short temper, but hide it really well, or it doesn’t manifest in outbursts, you still have a short temper, whether or not people perceive you that way. Also, be gracious with yourself, the heart of it is greater self-awareness, even if it’s painful, or hard to admit. Many people don’t see themselves for how they truly are, and may need help with that, which is another reason why the Enneagram is such a great tool. Sometimes you might honestly not know the answer to a question, and that’s okay, too. In those cases just go with your gut. Whichever answer sits better with you, or felt the most true when you first read it, is most likely the ‘right’ one. This test is not a matter of ‘rights or wrongs,’ and no personality type is better than another, so just do your best, and retake it if you want! Have fun with it. And I am so happy to answer more questions.

The Enneagram

I’m going to narrow it down a bit more from my last post, because focus is important, and the trait theory I am concerned with sharing about is, and will mainly be, heretofore, the Enneagram. The Enneagram has quickly become an enlightening, humanizing lens through which to see other’s and myself. I’ve been studying it for over a year now, and finally am feeling confident enough in my understanding and interpretation of it to begin sharing my perspective on it. 

The Enneagram is an incredible tool with an impressive capacity for explaining the depths, the core, the heart, and the motivations of people. Of course, there are skeptics, and I myself started off as one, but as I dove in, I quickly observed a pattern in the loudest voices of the harshest critics on this typology. The pattern was that the louder the objection, the less informed the protestor was about the actual workings of the Enneagram. [It’s still a vast curiosity and potential pet project of mine to really pour over those writings, and meet with those people again so that I may type them and possibly uncover a greater pattern of certain types contending more than others.] As I noticed this pattern, it only provoked my curiosity further, because another pattern I have noticed in life is that the more adamantly against any given thing, stance, concept, or belief system that [ignorant, or uninformed] people are, the more you should pay attention to the thing they are opposing, because it is often found to be quite the opposite of what it is played off to be, or at the very least, is terribly interesting. [Take feminism for example.] 

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A lot of people just honestly love arguing. This is for a variety of reasons, truly depending on the person, and one might argue—their type. For example, Eights often argue for the sheer fun of opposition, or an excuse to assert themselves [not that they ever need an excuse]. Fours often argue for the drama of it, or for their unspoken desire to perceive that they are emotionally supported through passionate discussion with those they care about, almost as if they see arguments as a chance to prove the strength of their bond with their contender. Threes argue because they want to be seen as knowledgable, an authority, a person in power or prestige, they want to be someone that people can look up to, and what better way to do that than by being right all the time? Fives don’t particularly enjoy arguing, but they will do it when necessary, or when they feel like it, because arguing takes a lot of energy that they’re simply just not willing to spare sometimes. These are merely brief, surface-y examples of potential type motivations to argue, and even on this point I could go much more in depth into the thought process and justifications of each type, but for the purpose of this example, I digress. 

Because everyone is doing life differently, and not because they are wrong, but because they are different. Trait theories help us understand and empathize their differences, without putting them down for it. The Enneagram is particularly adept at this task as it’s main goal is to afford you a deeper understanding into your own motivations, mode of being, and orientation to the world. It also has the added bonus of helping you understand others, or at the very least, that everyone does not operate exactly how you do. I think that might be the single greatest lesson I learned through all of my readings in various trait theories— that everyone does not operate the way that I do, and in fact, most people do not. This completely revolutionized my worldview. It was such a game-changer, I honestly couldn’t believe that I ever considered that concept a possibility. It seemed so ignorant in retrospect, because it was. Truly. I mean, on a planet that is home to 7 billion other humans, who am I to think that my way of orienting to the world is so right and so true that it is  t h e  w a y ? Wild. What a wild thought. The MBTI was the trait theory that instigated that realization, but the Enneagram is the one that brought it home with the deepest, most accurate, specific, and insightful descriptions of how different humans are that I have ever encountered to this day.

As of now I have read four books [totaling over 1,300 pages], scoured the internet for hundreds of hours soaking up information, both scholarly and opinion pieces, spent even more hours in in-depth conversation about the types, completed the Enneagram in Psychology Assessment class through Union Institute & University, which related the Enneagram to the DSM-V and taught on ways to type and assess clients using the Enneagram. I’ve typed everyone in my immediate circle of influence with accuracy, and have begun conducting sessions with people to be typed, and go over their type in real time, and in detail. Assessing, and addressing questions, concerns, doubts and affirmations alike. 

I’m an autodidact, meaning that I am mainly self-taught, I prefer to learn at my own comically accelerated pace, high intensity interval learning, if you will. When I find a subject that peaks my interest I figuratively lose myself in the acquisition of information on the topic, system, or subject and I only come up for air when I have exhausted all of my resources. Then with a satisfied, “huh.” I generally move on to the next subject. The Enneagram is one of those systems for me, only this time I’m trying something different. My goal is to use my knowledge of the Enneagram to help people like you on a journey to greater self-awareness that will hopefully lead to a deeper satisfaction and understanding of yourself and your life. I hope that it will expose your strengths, weakness, biases, and further prove to you the unimaginable shades of grey that our world exists in. I hope that it will put words to those things that you’ve always known about yourself, but never knew how to express. I hope that it gives you the dialogue to open up about your inner life, and that it expels any shame you’ve felt about being too much, or not enough. I hope that it exposes and explains your anxieties and fears, and that you are able to listen to the difficult truths as well as the pleasant. I hope that you are able to use it not diagnostically, or as a labeling system that gives you license to be your worst self, but as a description of where you are and how you can get to where you’d like to be. I hope that you are able to use it to make more informed decisions, to truly take control of your life and your personality, but also, I hope that it teaches you to have grace with yourself, to treat yourself gently, and with patience. Ultimately, I hope it will help you to find peace with who you are, to love yourself, your true self—not your persona, and I hope that your journey to that place of peace will be shorter, easier, and smoother each time due to your newfound discernment.

As a Five, I have a tendency to learn about things with fervent passion, and then to simply store it away and move on. However, something the Enneagram has taught me, personally, is that it’s important for my growth [and hopefully yours, too!] to share what I learn with the outside world, to use it not as a tool to disconnect, but as a method of reconnecting with confidence, empathy, and compassion. 

Why I like trait theories;

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me if I’ve ever written a research paper, like, just for fun. Which I thought was kind of a funny question, not in a laugh out loud kind of way, but in an unexpectedly candid way, because my first flash of a thought was, “hasn’t everyone?” Only moments later did I realize that, that is indeed an inaccurate sentiment. No, of course everyone hasn’t written research papers for fun simply because it’s the most logical way to organize all of their sources and thoughts on the many extensive subjects that peak their interest, and certainly not since they were 8. I told him that I had, quite frequently, then inquired whether he ever had, and he told me the thought had never occurred to him until that moment. Again, I was taken aback, before settling into the reality that he is more than likely “the norm,” and I am the oddball. 

 

This is just a recent example out of hundreds, even hundreds of thousands of others of a similar nature. I’ve always been the oddball, the bookworm, the absent-minded professor. That, combined with my penchant for wide open spaces, androgynous clothing, days of solitude, heart-wrenching, tragic, dark stories and big words, has always kept me on the outside of that neatly packaged box labeled “normal.” I used to think that everyone thought like me, because I wasn’t aware that there could be another way of thinking, since this is the way my brain has always operated. It didn’t take long to realize I had a knack for offending people by saying exactly the wrong thing; whether that be correcting someone’s grammar mid-sentence, fact-checking their story before the punchline, or simply telling the truth when asked a straightforward question. You might be surprised how easily telling the truth can turn you into the arsehole in the room, you might not. 

 

I used to think there was something wrong with me, that I needed to change. I was hard pressed to find an individual who shared my brain language or understood my many, leaping thoughts and interests. And besides that, no matter how tactful I thought I was being at any given moment it was never gentle enough. But the other thing about that was, I’ve never actually cared whether or not people liked me or approved of me— this is apparently an unusual trait. And while I’ve always tried to live by the philosophy of “Do your best, follow your dreams & don’t be a dick,” I also adhere to the unfortunate maxim that some people are impossible to please. And while that’s not okay, it is the truth, or my currently undisputed version of it, and I simply do not have the time to worry about how displeased you might be with this or that, because I am doing my best, and whatever offensive thing I said, i meant it—but I didn’t mean it like that. So please, just save us all the time and talk to me directly about it, because my intentions are decent.

 

For these reasons and countless others that I intend to unpack as we move forward, I often thought I was broken when I was younger. And as silly as this might sound to you now, what changed that for me wasn’t finally finding a man who accepted me with all my quirks and eccentricities firmly in place and loved me in spite of… And it wasn’t the invention of social media or a life-changing lyric. It was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). 

 

A little backstory to the backstory: When I was sixteen nearly all of my friends were older than me, by a couple years to ten, fifteen, even twenty years. (Even now some of my best friends are twice my age.) My core group was two girls who I had grown up with, who were a couple years older than me, and one guy six-ish years older than us. One of our favorite things to do in those years was a thing we affectionately called “together-alone time.” We would rendezvous at our favorite coffee house in town, called Vinaka, with our separate, usually vastly different reading material, we would sit at the group table aaand read quietly together. Wild, I know. Occasionally, if someone read something particularly interesting they would bring it up to the group, often reading passages verbatim, even frighteningly long ones. Sometimes this would spark a vivid discussion, and sometimes with quiet nods or gently hums we would return to our independent readings.

 

It was one such day that our token male friend brought up the MBTI, which we all thought was vaguely interesting and eventually agreed to take the free test online. What did we have to lose? It was free and so were we. We knew each other better than anyone in our lives in those years, and after a brief description of what the letters meant we attempted to guess each other’s types. Naturally, we were all over the place on our guesses, since we didn’t actually understand any of them- but the one thing they unanimously agreed on was my undoubtable extroversion. Which came as a complete shock to me, even in my most sociable hour. 

 

We read our results out loud to each other in an In-n-Out Burger, and later, down a winding, possibly haunted, forest road. We laughed at how accurate the descriptions were and talked about the implications of our newfound insights. 

 

As fate would have it, those three turned out to be the three personality types that I have since noticed to be the trend of people I still gravitate towards. (I won’t tell you what they are, not just yet, because I don’t want you to think I won’t like you simply because your type isn’t in my top 4.) One of the girls and I are the same type, despite being two of the most dissimilar people you are likely to ever meet. (Interesting fact: we are still rather close and have since discovered that we score very similarly on almost every serious and silly personality typing test we have taken.) Well the cats out of the bag, I guess. One of my favorite types, is my own, but I’ll never tell you the other three.

 

That night I stayed up all night researching. I read articles until my eyes bled. I took notes, I recorded sources, I wrote summaries. I was high on understanding. For the first time, possibly ever, I felt ~*normal*~. I was reading about other people who thought just like me. I learned that my type was less than 3% of the population that had taken the test, and women of my type are less than .5%. My whole world was beginning to make sense. You know when you read something and the connection in your psyche is so intense that you feel you could’ve dictated it telepathically to the author? No? That’s okay, I expected that. But that’s how I felt reading article after article about situations that, with names and places changed, might as well have been my stories, page after page of thought processes that have been mine for as long as I can remember. It was incredible. And not once did I feel boxed in, labeled, or reduced to a formula. Instead I felt understood, affirmed, and connected. I suppose I wasn’t feeling normal at all, besides the fact that there is no such thing as normal, what I felt was so much more than that. In lieu of being ‘accepted’ into society I was given a legend to the human race. Now that I knew that all of these things I’ve always known about myself are indeed true, it was as if I was given a license to be myself, even though myself is quite unlike most everyone else.

 

And that, in a life-size nutshell, is what sparked, ignited and forever set ablaze my passion for trait theories. Not for sake of simplified labels and neater packaging of personality, but for sake of understanding, introspecting and growing into my best self, and with any luck helping you in your journey, as well.

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