Fours are defined by their sense of being special and different from other people. They are often creative, and present a unique, distinctive persona to the people around them.

Fours experience a deep conflict in that they long to connect with others, but they feel that because they are so unusual, very few people are able to truly see them as they are.

Deepest Fear: Fours fear that they are flawed and are missing out on some basic aspect of happiness that other people have access to. To cope with this fear, they amplify what is different and special about themselves, looking for the niche in which they can truly be appreciated.

Core Motivations: Fours are motivated by their desire to express their individuality and to be unique. They do this through creative endeavors and by over identifying with the aspects of their personality that they view as lacking or deficient.

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Key Personality Traits of the 4

  • Distinctive inner and outer presentation
  • Prominent artistic outlet(s)
  • Quirky and endearing
  • Melancholic expression
  • Strong sense of identity

  • May feel a sense of emptiness

  • Passionate about self-expression

How Rare are Enneagram 4s?

  • In a Truity study of more than 54,000 respondents, Type Fours were found to make up approximately 11% of the population; 12% of women and 10% of men.

Enneagram Type 4 In Depth

Individualists may stand out to others from their unique choice of fashion, unconventional lifestyle and interests or creative works. Offbeat yet endearing, Individualists have a relentless drive to discover and understand who they truly are, deep down. Creation — not consumption — is the key to their well-being.

Fours spend a large amount of time reflecting on the past and using experiences and feelings as a springboard for creative musings and new projects.

Through a process of continuous exploration of the inner self (the conscious and unconscious sides), Individualists produce original work, untouched by the expectations of others.

Individualists struggle with an attachment to the parts of themselves that they view as deficient. Fours tend to over-identify as people who are more flawed than others. They undervalue the positive aspects of their personality and idealize the positive traits in other people.

At their best, Fours are extremely creative, compassionate and self-aware. At their worst they can be self-victimizing and self-destructive.

Like Type Twos and Type Threes, Fours are part of the “heart-based” triad of the Enneagram. The core emotion of the types in this triad is sadness. Fours, Twos and Threes all struggle with feeling like they cannot be loved for who they are.

Fours, however, are the type most likely to embrace this grief, rather than repress or feel conflicted over it. Sadness can take on a form of identity for this type.

Individualist Fours have a deep and complex relationship with their emotions. Growth happens when Fours learn to get out of their heads and become open to experiencing true love and acceptance from other people.

Enneagram 4 Wings

4w3: Enneagram Type Four wing Threes are Fours who possess many of the same traits as Type Threes. 4w3s tend to be more energetic and driven than other Fours. They seek to make an impact in the world while maintaining a deep sense of self. They are more sociable and image conscious than other Fours. Careers common for this type include entertainment, broadcast journalism, photography, fitness instructor and motivational speaker.

4w5: The 4w5 type is a Four who shares many characteristics with the Type Five. This type will appear more reserved, intellectual, and introspective than other Fours. 4w5s seek to understand the world deeply, and strive to make an impact within it. They may appear withdrawn and overly focused on the self. Popular careers for 4w5 types are writing, music, graphic design and literature.

Core Values of Enneagram 4s

  • Authenticity and self-expression are the pinnacle of the Individual’s existence.
  • Their ultimate goal is for the world to recognize and appreciate their wholly unique identity.
  • They strongly believe that their striking difference from others should always be consistent.
  • Succumbing to ‘trends’ would be considered the ultimate act of self-betrayal.

How to Recognize an Enneagram 4

Individualists are offbeat, have a strong sense of self-identity and pride themselves on being unique. They are often found pursuing some sort of creative outlet such as music, comedy or animation.

Their ultimate goal is to accurately present their true selves to the world in order to feel real, healthy and whole. An Individualist’s style and way of life often has notes of openness, and suggests this person is exploring their own psyche through their appearance.

Thrift stores and flea markets are particular favorite picks of Individualists. When it comes to self-expression, Individualists take their presentation very seriously. They constantly evaluate every decision and its alignment to their personal values.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Enneagram 4s

When they are healthy, Fours create thought-provoking and groundbreaking works of art that shift perspectives toward the greater good. They’re recognized as idea synthesizers who can help others rethink what art should be. Major shifts in art styles and fashion eras are largely due to the out-of-the-box thinking from self-actualized Individualists, since they possess the ability to rework past experiences into new works of art. Highly attuned to their complex well of emotions, Individualists undergo a process of metamorphosis in the cocoon of self-acceptance before fully emerging as a butterfly with wings to soar.

When they are average, Fours let out their stress through a creative outlet and may bond with a community of like-minded people to gain inspiration and support along the way. Emotionally intense and introspective, they’re seekers of authenticity, sometimes at the expense of others’ patience and feelings. Self-absorbed and artistically expressive, Individualists maintain their personal mood and inspiration board to piece together the different aspects of themselves and their identity. At average levels, they may become hypersensitive to criticism yet firm to themselves. This results in them actively seeking praise and flattery. They may be strongly offended if others try to copy or relate to their experiences.

When they are unhealthy, Fours become excessively moody, depressed and fragile. They can develop an extreme tendency to ruminate, which is intrusive to their natural creative energies. In extreme cases, they may lose their grip on reality and resort to extreme sensory coping mechanisms such as alcohol or hallucinogens. The search for the ‘missing piece’ leads Individualists down a never-ending spiral of dead ends and roundabouts. They can fall into the same ditches and make the same mistakes if they refuse to admit their self-destructive behaviors and thinking patterns. They’re prone to developing the belief that there’s something inherently ‘broken’ about them. At the peak of their stress, Individualists may delete their entire presence from the web and isolate themselves from the world.

Growth Tips for Enneatype 4s

  • Practice positive affirmations. Fours are prone to negative self-talk. By focusing your mind on positive thoughts, you can develop a kinder, more positive self-image and mindset.
  • View yourself from another person’s perspective. Keep in mind that your feelings, though valid, are subjective. Emotions are not all you are, but a part of who you are. Try to view yourself more objectively, specifically looking at your positive traits and accomplishments.
  • Consider the ways in which you are similar to those around you. Fours focus their attention on how they’re different from others. Instead, look for ways to connect with others. What do you have in common? Doing this will help you form deeper relationships.
  • Start small. Fours may feel like they lack the confidence and discipline to get things done. If what you want to accomplish feels overwhelming, break it up into small, achievable steps.
  • Learn to be open to constructive feedback — positive and negative. It’s essential for Fours to get out of their heads and learn to accept feedback from the outer world. Understand that negative feedback isn’t an attack on who you are as a person. And positive feedback isn’t something to dismiss or devalue. There are important lessons to be learned from constructive feedback.

Famous Enneagram Type 4s

  • Frida Kahlo
  • Billie Eilish
  • Rumi
  • Jackie Kennedy Onassis
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Bob Dylan
  • Prince
  • Rihanna
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Johnny Depp
  • Winona Ryder
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Prince Charles
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Kurt Cobain
  • “Anne Shirley” (Anne of Green Gables)
  • “Rapunzel” (Rapunzel)
  • “Luna Lovegood” (Harry Potter)
  • “April Ludgate” (Parks and Rec)

Type 4s in Relationships

Our Enneagram Relationship content was co-developed with marital therapist-turned relationship coach Christa Hardin (MA)*.

Enneagram Type Fours in love are the true romantics of the Enneagram! The Romeos and Juliets of the Enneagram of sorts, full of passion and adoration, Fours can develop truly deep bonds and feelings together with their partner. Fours know how to focus attention on their own feelings, the feelings of others and the interpersonal connection and disconnection between friends, partners and children.

As a mate, since they often feel a sense of deficiency about their own worth and envy the spouse or partner, they may fantasize about a more ideal life, or have low self esteem as they come to terms with all they are not.

Fours in a relationship appreciate meaningful interactions of all kinds and are not afraid of conflicts as long as they get to the bottom of things and some withdrawing time when overwhelmed. They need this time as they have a keen aesthetic wisdom and move more slowly in the world than some. However, their close view lets them see errors others miss.

Fours in a relationship are also known for being a bit on and off - reserved and withdrawn one moment, then energetic and actively loving the next.

The envy of Fours develops from an early sense of loss which leads to the perception that there is something better outside of the Fours’ sexperience. This missing component they can seek is believed to be the fault of the Four, the result of some personal deficiency.

If you love a Four, remember that when they feel uncertain about the relationship, they will test you to see if you love them and try to evoke an emotional reaction. It’s healthy for you to be not only logical and caring, but to show some emotions also, even if less dramatic than your partner and you’re mostly being an active listener. Fours also need plenty of time to withdraw, as well as quality time with you, so that they can understand themselves better and so you can potentially understand them better.

Also remember that Fours don’t evoke emotions from you to be cruel, but because they are feeling lonely and rejected. Don’t abandon them here. Instead, encourage them to find time to both explore their own spirituality (including through religion, or seeking a higher power) and to take care of their physical or mental health. Finally, you can give them permission to have some space, while also assuring them of your love. Click here to find the Enneagram and Marriage Glow Pairing Guides so you can find tips for a type Four with each of the individual types!

*Christa Hardin (MA) has almost two decades of experience counseling and coaching couples. Christa hosts the popular Enneagram & Marriage Podcast. Christa uses the Enneagram and other great marriage tools to give couples deeper insight into how they connect with one another and glow brightly together in the world. For more, follow her on Instagram @enneagramandmarriage or visit her site: www.EnneagramandMarriage.com

About the Author

Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She founded Truity in 2012, with the goal of making quality personality tests more affordable and accessible. She has led the development of assessments based on Myers and Briggs' personality types, Holland Codes, the Big Five, DISC, and the Enneagram. She is an ENTP, a tireless brainstormer, and a wildly messy chef. Find Molly on Twitter at @mollmown.