What's the deal with the Enneagram test?

Chloe Watson, Staff Writer

graphic by Corley Wood

graphic by Corley Wood

Ever heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test? What about the DISC test? Most people know the basics about their personality, using terms like introverted or extroverted to describe themselves to their friends. However, there's another test out there, quickly gaining popularity across the internet. What is it?

It's called the Enneagram test.

The enneagram test is very similar to Myers-Briggs test - asking a few simple questions, then assigning a 'type' to the participant. It's a little simpler than most other personality tests, with only nine types instead of the typical twelve or sixteen. It also uses common, simpler titles than some tests. For example, I'm an INFP according to Myers-Briggs. I don't know what that means. But according to the enneagram test, I am type five, an Investigator.

Of course, people are complicated. No two people have the exact same personality. So, to counter that, some online tests (like this one) will provide the participant's top three types - their dominant personality, as other characteristics that they might have. Each type is linked with at least two other types, leading to the pentagram-like shape often associated with the test.

And hey, even if psychology tests aren't terribly interesting, learning a bit about yourself and how you function is really helpful. Humans are complicated, messy creatures so it’s really easy for them to get lost in their own heads. Remember, it’s important not to base your entire life off of something the internet says, but it’s helpful to know how your head works.

"The test is important to me. I really like knowing the types of all my friends," says Autumn Lowry, a broadcast media major. "Knowing about their personalities, knowing what they're good at what they might struggle with helps me love them better. For example, if I know someone is a two, then I know they might struggle with their personal worth. I can make sure to be really supportive, so they know they belong."

Here is one example of an enneagram test. There are dozens of websites that provide more information and other versions of the quiz, but this is one of the best. It provides some information about your type after you finish, but here are the basics of each specific type. All information comes from the Enneagram Institute.

Type 1 - The Reformer; rational, self-controlled and a perfectionist

Type 2 - The Helper; caring, generous and possessive

Type 3 - The Achiever; success-oriented, driven and image-conscious

Type 4 - The Individualist; sensitive, temperamental and dramatic

Type 5 - The Investigator; cerebral, innovative and secretive

Type 6 - The Loyalist; engaging, committed and anxious

Type 7 - The Enthusiast; fun-loving, spontaneous and distractible

Type 8 - The Challenger; self-confident, powerful and confrontational

Type 9 - The Peacemaker; easygoing, agreeable and self-effacing

This is the quickest and most basic of overviews, of course.