Enneagram Type Fours offer many invaluable traits. These include a deep connection to their emotions, a desire for meaningfulness, a passion for creativity and profound reserves of compassion. Because of their depth and intensity, others may experience their Type Four comrades with a bit of heaviness at times.

Yet, sometimes a good laugh is necessary to ease the strain of everyday life. Many Fours have a well-developed sense of humor and the ability to laugh at themselves – it’s not all moodiness and sensitivity! Seeing this side of Enneagram Fours is refreshing and helps us see this personality in a new light.

Type 4s value uniqueness in all its quirky forms

Type Fours are known for their need to see themselves as unique. The real perspective? Fours view everyone as unique – and that makes them accepting of others’ gifts. This type can be a loyal enthusiast for others on the team, especially in encouraging points of view that are original or offer a fresh outlook.

While some individuals may feel threatened by others’ whimsical suggestions, Type Fours see this as necessary exploration. What if this new angle is more imaginative? Can we think about choosing green instead of navy blue? How about if we show rabbits talking instead of people? 

Whether it is our own ideas or others, Type Fours are open to engaging the possibilities because this is how they navigate the creative process. And we value the time and effort spent in prospecting new territory. It may take us to playful and unexpected places. Some of these ideas may fall away; many of them will be delightfully enchanting, lighthearted and surprisingly effective.

Fours can look back and laugh at some of the depths we mined

My younger self spent hours writing in a journal about my feelings. While journaling is a good habit (which therapists applaud), the context of these hours-long writing sessions now seems trivial. I look back and wonder: why was I so entrenched in this?

The ability to emotionally connect to people, environments, jobs, situations, and activities is an asset. Type Fours dive into the deep end. Once we decide to get involved, we likely will not linger in shallow waters. It is no surprise that many songwriters are type Fours, wringing out every emotion they experienced when they met that special person, viewed that sunset, or lost that opportunity.

Yet, the self-aware among us realize we can be too mired in the depths. This pulls us back into the light and helps us laugh at ourselves. Recalling that weekend we cried because our favorite TV character died? Probably too much. That new song we replayed over and over because it resonated so well? Yes, it stirred us, though it was not worth the time and sentiment we invested in it.

While it’s true Type Fours need to stretch beyond small talk to stay engaged, not all conversations have to reach the depths. We can hover in the middle or slide across the surface at times, as long as we feel connected in the exchange.

Type 4s can accept almost any emotion dark or light

From giggles to gasps, type Fours can grapple with the full range of emotions that humans experience. This includes difficult-to-articulate feelings such as ambivalence and tenderness. Because Fours can recognize and name most emotions, we can voice what others may not be able to identify by themselves.

Unless an emotion is harmful, Type Fours can embrace and accept it. Our high level of intuition picks up on it and helps us read the emotional temperature within the room. If you are anxious, we feel it too. If you spread joy, we capture it. When you need a hug, we most likely know it.

While Fours are known for our capacity to take in sadness and grief, we also welcome the counterbalance of delight and elation. Our emotional fluency can be comical at times and mystifying to some other types.

The lightness comes in for Types Fours when we set healthy boundaries. By allowing others to share their feelings without absorbing them ourselves, we remain within our own emotional climate. And we can sustain a sunny mood even in a tension-filled room.

Type 4s may be both delighted by and wary of other 4s–and laugh at the contradiction  

When I meet another type Four, I may respond with both a “yay!” and an “uh-oh” simultaneously. Connecting with someone who shares our way of being in the world is satisfying a recognition that we both speak Four-ish. We can appreciate the joys and challenges of our common experience, especially if the other person is a similar subtype.

Yet, because we know our own tendencies, we also may be wary of others who respond likewise. I tell myself in advance, “She is going to hold on to this.” Or “He will feel more intensely than this situation warrants.”

I feel both a sense of camaraderie and a need for distance. Like an insider who knows the floor plan a bit too well, being around other Fours produces a familiarity that can be uncomfortable.

Is this true for most types? Perhaps. Too much of a good thing can be too much, no matter which type we are. While all types include personality aspects that can be charming or vexing, Type Fours may be more sensitive to the contrast.

Yet, the self-aware Fours among us can smile when another four mirrors our own traits back to us. We’ve seen this movie before.

Beth Dumey
Beth Dumey’s articles have appeared in Psych Central (Healthline Media), Writer’s Digest magazine, On The Couch, Med Device Online, and many more. With a MA in Communications, a MA in Counseling Psychology, and a BA in Journalism, she combines her interest in healthcare and psychology as a communicator, storyteller and coach. She holds certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and as a Certified Advanced Teacher in the Enneagram Spectrum Method. For more, go to BethDumey.com