This blog post is part of our Fundamentals of the Enneagram series, which takes a deeper dive into all the Enneagram elements - wings, arrows, subtypes, centers of intelligence, growth pathways and more. For an overview of the series, start with our introductory post here, then read Subtypes and Instincts of the Enneagram: What are They, and How Do They Affect Human Behavior?

Last week, we took a deep dive into Enneagram subtypes for the three Body types, 8, 9 and 1. Let’s now continue our journey into subtypes by looking at the Heart types: the Twos, Threes and Fours. 

When we think about subtypes, remember we are looking at how the energy of the passion shoots off into different directions when mixed with the energy of the dominant instinct. And when combined, very different core motivations emerge. This is why people can think they are Heart types when they are not, and why Heart types can struggle to find themselves on the Enneagram.

Remember, subtype = passion x dominant instinct.

For a refresher on passions and instincts, start here:

Understanding the Passions of the Enneagram in Everyday Language

Subtypes and Instincts of the Enneagram: What are They, and How Do They Affect Human Behavior?

Enneagram Twos

The passion of pride can be tricky for Twos to see within themselves. It is a kind of seduction that Twos use in three very different ways to ensure they are taken care of. 

Pride & Self-Preservation (self-preservation 2)

The Self-Preservation Two use a child-like playfulness and youthfulness to convince others to take care of them. Sensitive and shy, they are more cautious about connecting with others, and can be more withdrawn than other Twos. They can be very emotional, and can swing between being excessively competent to being overwhelmed and needy.

With their sensitivity and fearfulness, they can look more Four-ish or Six-ish.

Pride & Social (social 2)

The Social Two seduces with their confidence, power and ability to take the lead. They work hard, easily step into leadership positions and are comfortable being in control. They are politically savvy, manipulating from behind the scenes to ensure people like them. They struggle to be vulnerable.

Given their comfort with being in charge, they can look Eight-ish at times.  

Pride & Sexual (Sexual 2)

The Sexual Two takes a more classic approach to seduction. Beautiful and attractive, they become the perfect partner using generosity and devotion to convince others to be in a relationship with them (friendship or intimate). They are a force of nature who expect their partner to take care of them in return. They struggle when a relationship ends. 

With their whirlwind intensity, they can appear Three-ish or Four-ish at times. 

Enneagram Threes

The passion of Threes is vanity, or deceiving themselves as to who they are so they can appear as others want them to be. Three’s deceive themselves in three different ways. 

Vanity & Self-Preservation (self-preservation 3)

The Self-Preservation Three deceives themselves by wanting to be good. They want to be seen as a good person and role model, according to social agreement. They don't want to be seen as vain, so they won't promote themselves and will feel embarrassed driving that shiny new car around. But they are also workaholics who want to provide security for their family. 

Given their focus on being good, they can look a little One-ish.

Vanity & Social (social 3)

The Social Three deceives themselves by putting on a great show. They know how to look good and are great at sales and persuasion. They are competitive, love applause and step into high profile leadership roles with ease. They know how to win friends and influence others.

Given their comfort with leadership positions, they can appear Eight-ish or like a Social Two at times. 

Vanity & Sexual (sexual 3)

The Sexual Three deceives themselves by becoming the best partner or cheerleader a person can have. They are just as hardworking as other Threes, but focus on supporting others. They feel more comfortable helping others be successful instead of being successful themselves. They are less competitive and more emotional than other Threes. 

As they work hard, promote others and have a positive attitude, they can appear like Twos, Sevens or Eights at times. 

Enneagram Fours

The Four’s passion of envy means they compare themselves to others and fall short in some way. As a result they suffer in one of three ways.

Envy & Self-Preservation (self-preservation 4)

The Self-Preservation Four is stoic. They internalize their suffering, so much so that they can appear happy to others, even when they feel tormented inside. They don't talk about their pain or negative feelings, only their more positive ones. And when they see they are lacking something, they go into action, working hard to get what they are missing. 

As they are hardworking with a positive attitude, they can appear like Ones, Threes, or Sevens

Envy & Social (social 4)

The Social Four over identifies with their suffering, dwelling in it and sharing their unhappiness with those around them. They compare themselves to others and constantly see themselves as not good enough, even when there is evidence to the contrary. 

This subtype is the more classic Four but they can look like Twos or Sixes at times. 

Envy & Sexual (sexual 4)

The Sexual Four is very different again. They externalize their suffering, getting angry at others for making them suffer or not meeting their needs. They are more competitive than the other Fours, and strive to be special or extraordinary in some way. 

These Fours can be even angrier than Eights, so it is no surprise that they can be confused for that type at times. 

What’s next?

As you can see, there is a lot of variety in how each of these types express themselves. Each has something they rigidly focus on and something they ignore. It is also easy to see why we mistype people we know, because it is hard to see someone’s deeper motivations from the surface. 

Samantha Mackay

Samantha Mackay is a certified Enneagram and leadership development coach who believes work should be energizing, not draining. She combines the Enneagram with her experience of recovering from burnout twice to help leaders and teams thrive during stressful times. Connect with Samantha at