You may have learned your Enneagram type recently, only to find someone else in your immediate circle, be it a friend, family member or a work colleague, who has the same type as you. Many people bond over this, but some are left baffled by someone they assume to know as very different to themselves having the same type as them. Our gut reactions are to class everyone with the same type into a single group, but in reality it is more complex than this. So how is it possible that someone with the same Enneagram types as us can be so different? Let’s explore this today.
It is important to remember that the Enneagram provides a reflection of our inner concerns and motivations, which is not necessarily a reflection on the persona we project onto the world. It can be nearly impossible to know someone’s type from their external behaviours, which is why discovering your Enneagram type can be such a personal, but interesting thing to do. If you remember that the Enneagram reflects our inner worlds, and not our outer ones, it may well mean that at your core, and on an unconscious level, you and the person with the same type may have more in common than you think.
There are so many surface differences between people, ranging from family backgrounds, our upbringings and even our cultural affiliations. These surface differences, which gives everyone their own unique story, will also add to the feeling that someone with the same type as you cannot be similar to you. When this happens, it’s important to take a step back, and to remember that the Enneagram is closely tied to our inner worlds. While the surface differences tend to define the way we project ourselves to the world, they may have less to do with our inner workings than we imagine (though this is open to debate). We are strongly influenced from the moment we are born by all kinds of external factors. These include our families, our cultures, our religions, our schools, our friends etc.
All of these factors are different for everyone, and while our core Enneagram Type may mean that on an unconscious level we see the world in a similar way to other people of the same type, the way we express that in our behaviours can be vastly different. It is also important to consider life experiences. We are shaped by our life experiences to a large extent, and while our core Enneagram Types stay the same, our behaviours may change throughout our lives. This is why it is important when working with the Enneagram, to always consider motivation and not behaviour alone.
You may be wondering if there is in fact a common link between Enneagram types, especially when considering our external behaviours. The closest you’ll get to characterising people from the same Type into a group or to finding a theme based on their behaviours, is to look at the person’s subtype. There are three subtypes within each Enneagram Type, and these subtypes can look very different to each other. Each of the subtypes have a slightly different point of focus- so even though the core motivation is the same, the subtypes express that motivation differently.
If you’d like to learn your type and start the new year with a leaning towards self discovery and improving your work, it’s worth scheduling a session with her for early in the new year. Not only will you be taking charge of your professional development, but you’ll also be on your way towards a happier, healthier understanding of yourself, as well as the core drivers that motivate you.
Written by: Karen-Sophia