Enneagram Type Four: The Individualist or Romantic
Enneagram is a model of human psychology that describes nine fundamental personality types. Here comes the basic characteristics of the “Four”.
Focus of Attention: In Search of What is Missing… the Ideal… the Unattainable.
Basic Fear: To Have No Identity
Basic Desire: To Be Unique, Different
- Sensitive to Feelings
- Appreciative of Beauty
- Prone to Melancholy
- Unsatisfied with What Is
General Behavior of an Individualist
A Four believes that they are unique, and different from the norm. Their whole identity is attached to this belief. They perceive this difference as a gift, because Fours hate to think that they’re ordinary and common. But at the same time, their feelings of uniqueness is a curse which keeps them from enjoying the simpler things in life, the way other people do.
Fours tend to feel superior from everyone else, since they think they’re special. However, deep inside, they feel that something’s missing, and they fear that it might be caused by a flaw or defect in their own selves. Fours, as you can tell, are emotionally complex. A deep feeling of abandonment makes them feel that they will never be happy or fulfilled.
They long for deep connections in their relationships, to be understood and appreciated for who they truly are. For people to see and appreciate their uniqueness. It is easy for them to feel misjudged and misunderstood.
Fours are moody and temperamental. They are often wrapped in their thoughts, analyzing their feelings. They are very self-aware, and in tune with their emotions. This trait extends to others. Empathy and compassion are strengths of this personality type.
They are dreamers who dream of what is lost or what is unattainable. Incurable romantics, they have a tendency to fixate on what is missing, instead of what is. They fall into dark moods and despair. In a world that can be harsh and cruel, Fours tend to withdraw to their fantasy world. Life often disappoints. They expect too much of everything, and spend a lot of time longing for what they don’t have and what is not present in the moment. Fours love drama, and they will try and turn most situations into one.
They bring their internal fantasies to this life through their creativity. They are often artists, or immersed in the artistic world where their visions can be freely expressed. They love and appreciate beauty, and any form of self-expression. They are loners and melancholic by nature. Even at their best, they are self-absorbed introverts.
On the darker side, when under stress, Fours will fall into depression, and self-hate. It is not in their nature to fight life’s challenges. Instead, they will ponder on how they wish things were different, and wait for someone to save them from their own misery.
Fours feel that in order to feel loved and complete, they need to find the ideal love and the perfect circumstance.
How to Get Along with a Four
- Be generous with your compliments. Fours need appreciation.
- Respect their uniqueness, and their desire to be more than ordinary. Don’t say they’re weird.
- Be upfront when interacting with them. Be real. Speak of how you feel.
- Don’t take a Four’s words too literally, especially when they’re upset.
- Don’t tell them they’re being overly sensitive or overreacting.
- When they speak about ideals and dreams, empathize and try to understand even if you don’t agree. Then bring them back to the present, and be positive.
- When they’re being melancholy, gently help them lighten up. Don’t give them a full pep talk in your desire to lift their mood.
- Help them love themselves. Be supportive and loving.
- Join them in activities that promote self-expression.
How to Overcome the Negative Effects of Being a Four
- Live in the moment. Take time to appreciate what’s in your life right here, right now.
- We are all unique and different. You don’t have to set yourself apart to be special. Our differences make each of us special, as we are.
- Don’t expect too much of people. Accept them too for their inadequacies. We are all just trying to do our best.
- Show your appreciation for the things people do for you. If they sense your endless dissatisfaction, they may soon feel that nothing they do will ever make you happy and stop trying.
- When you start feeling depressed, seek the company of positive people who can support you and make you see the beauty in things.
- Get out of your own bubble every once in a while. See and experience the world. Learn about other cultures, and visit new places. Expand your view of the world and of life.
- To grow, you must seek the balance between sadness and your capacity for happiness and satisfaction.
- Realize that nothing is perfect, but you can still find happiness and satisfaction in the imperfections.
Read about the other eight types of Enneagram Personalities:
The Enneagram model of personality has been criticized as being subject to interpretation and difficult to test or validate scientifically. You can read about The Big Five model of personality that has gained more scientific consensus here.
- 9 Types – The Romantic
- Wikipedia – The Enneagram of Personality
- International Enneagram Association – Enneagram Systems and Types
Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are
How is your personality? Read more about different personality traits in the book "Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are" by Shawn Achor, founder of the Institute of Positive Research and GoodThinkInc.
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