One of the things I like to do when studying personality types is find examples of the different types in fictional characters. It helps each type make more sense to me if I have some example to link it to. While I was reading The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, I started having fictional characters come to mind as I was reading. The types “clicked” as I realized I understood them well enough to relate each to a fictional character.
Much has been written in books and online about the numbers on Enneagram, and today’s post is not going to re-tread that ground with complete profiles of each Enneatype. I’m just going to give a brief example of each type using a fictional character that I think is a good example of that type. I’m still an Enneagram beginner, so don’t take everything I say as the definitive view on the Enneagram. But I hope to give a overview for others who, like me, are trying to get a better sense of how the Enneagram shows up in real life using examples of fictional people. I’ll be quoting from the book I mentioned earlier as well as type profiles from The Enneagram Institute®.
Ones — Steve Rogers
These types are perfectionists who follow rules to the letter and are deeply committed to the concept of fairness. They tend to believe that their way is the right way and they’re very sensitive to criticism (both from other people and from their harsh inner critic). Ones have a mind that naturally compares things and makes value judgements, but as The Road Back To You points out, they tend to be shocked that other people see them as critical. They’re “The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic” according to The Enneagram Institute.
I’ve written about Steve Rogers before because he’s a great example of the ISFJ type in Myers-Briggs® theory. He’s also a good example of type Ones in the Enneagram. Steve is a deeply principled man whose convictions seem inflexible and unreasonable to some, but who is absolutely committed to doing what’s right. He embodies the best character traits of a One driven to improve the world around him.
Twos — Samwise Gamgee
Enneagram Twos are “The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Generous, Demonstrative, People-Pleasing, and Possessive.” They need to be needed and make themselves cheerful, likeable, and helpful to all the people around them. They don’t typically feel comfortable relying on others but they’ll be there for you no matter what and have the ability to pick-up on other’s needs. The Road Back To You points out that Twos can unconsciously manipulate people and may become resentful of being taken advantage of. At their best, though, they are warm and generous people.
Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings is this sort of character. Friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing Sam is the only character to accompany Frodo all the way to Mount Doom and he’s exactly the support that Frodo most needed.
Threes — Lando Calrissian
The Road Back To You says that deep down, Threes believe they can only be loved if they are or appear successful. They’re masters of matching their image to the crowd, hiding failures, and charming people into seeing them as they want to be seen. They don’t tend to be very in touch with their own feelings or conscious of other people’s emotions. Threes are, according to The Enneagram Institute, “The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptable, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious.”
Lando Calrissian from Star Wars is a great example of the Three type. He’s a charming, practical, and successful man who adapts quickly to whatever environment he finds himself in. He’s not above skirting the rules to try and get ahead (or appear to be ahead) of the competition, but he comes through when it counts.
Fours — Anne Shirley
The Enneagram Institute calls Fours “The Sensitive, Introspective Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental.” They tend to be melancholy, individualistic people who feel that something is missing from who they are. They make up for that with a driving need to be special or unique. The Road Back To You says that Fours don’t “have” feelings; they “are” their feelings and so they have a hard time stabilizing their sense of self. They’re also one of the most empathic types and they’re driven to seek out depth in ideas and relationships.
Anne Shirley from the Ann of Green Gables book series is a character whom I love and identify with. We share an Enneagram type, though we have different Myers-Briggs types (she’s an INFP and I’m an INFJ). She’s a passionate young person with a deep desire to see herself as part of an exciting story. Her moods fluctuate wildly and managing her passions without overly identifying with them is one of her biggest challenges as she grows through the course of this series.
Fives — Sherlock Holmes
Fives tend to be a type that hoards information. They have wide-ranging knowledge, value their autonomy highly, and are motivated by an intense desire to understand things. The idea of being useless or incapable is horrifying for them. According to The Enneagram Institute, they’re the “The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated.” The Road Back To You notes that they’re considered the most emotionally detached of the Enneagram types.
Sherlock Holmes was the first character to pop into my head when I read the Five type description. He’s the quintessential intense thinker and innovative problem-solver. Popular portrayals of him tend to highlight his intellect, emotional detachment, and talent for perception.
Sixes — Peter Burke
The Enneagram Institute calls Sixes “The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious.” These types tend to question everything and see the world as an unsafe place. They are also considered the most faithful and dependable type according to The Road Back To You. They’re often seen as anxious people who become security-minded because they’re pretty sure disaster is just a few steps away. They’re sharp, analytical troubleshooters.
Peter Burke from one of my favorite TV series, White Collar, is a great example of type Six. He’s an intelligent, efficient FBI agent with a deep sense of commitment to his family, friends, and career. He’s always prepared for the worst but often finds it in himself to hope (with some reservations of course) for the best in other people.
Sevens — Geet Dhillon
My ex-boyfriend is the one who first got me into studying the Enneagram several years ago, and he was a type Seven. The Enneagram Institute calls them “The Busy, Variety-Seeking Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Acquisitive, and Scattered.” According to The Road Back To You, this type hates feeling unpleasant emotions and they defend against them by adopting an inexhaustibly optimistic attitude and devouring positive experiences. They’re masters of reframing situations to make themselves look good and convince you to see things their way.
Geet is a character from one of my favorite Bollywood films, Jab We Met. She’s a great example of the free spirited Seven’s zest for life and new adventures. She models how inspiring and memorable this type can be for those who meet them, and she also demonstrates the Seven’s desire to run away from uncomfortable emotions and how frustrating that can be for those around them. She has a great character arc and I highly recommend giving this film a try if you’ve never seen it.
Eights — Oliver Queen
The Enneagram describes Eights as having the core emotion anger. They thrive on conflict, which is one of the reasons I tend to find them intimidating (I’ll do just about anything to avoid unnecessary arguments). Their profile on the Enneagram Institute calls them “The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational.” But there’s a lot more going on with them than first appears. As The Road Back To You points out, Eights are a sort of people that we need in society. They put their tremendous amounts of energy into defending innocents, rarely become bullies if they’re at all healthy, and aren’t afraid of anyone.
Previously when reading about Eights, warning signals would go off in my brain and I’d think these sound like people I want to avoid at all costs. But this time, the description reminded me of Oliver Queen from the TV show Arrow. I’ve watched most of the series, and Oliver is my favorite character. Sure he can be scary, driven, and confrontational but he’s also deeply invested in helping people. He has deep feelings and insecurities that he doesn’t think he can share with the people around him because they’re counting on him not to let them down. He’s a very human, sympathetic character and he helped me better understand type Eights.
Nines — Jane Bennet
The Enneagram Institute calls Nines “The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring Agreeable, and Complacent.” They tend to be stable, reliable people who are easy to get along with. They like to avoid conflict and may appear to sleepwalk through life if something doesn’t jolt them into action. The Road Back To You says that they’re torn between wanting to please and defy others, and they usually feel as if their presence matters less than that of other people. They are typically considered the gentlest, least controlling type in the Enneagram.
I can’t think of a better example of this type than the character Jane Bennet. She has a beautiful, gentle spirit and almost everyone who meets her recognizes she’s a generous, peaceful, and wonderful person. She tends to let life happen to her with a quiet resignation, which is something that I’ve read Nines often do. Jane would rather suffer than speak ill of others or cause a rift in a relationship.
If you’d like to get a copy of The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile you can click thisi link. Please note this is an affiliate link, which means if you click on the book title and make a purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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