Guide: The Enneagram


 For writers, the Enneagram is a useful tool to character development, especially in conjunction with dialogue to reveal the characters in the story. It is a study of nine basic types of people, explaining why they do what they do and shows the direction for individual growth. In real life, it can be used to improve relationships with family friends and so on. The roots of the Enneagram go back many centuries. Its exact origin is not known, but it is believed to have been taught in secret Sufi brotherhoods in the Middle East.


1 The Reformer

Reformers are motivated by the need to live their lives the right way, including improving themselves and the world around them.

Example: John begins to lecture the couple about the moral value of scamming people in parking lots.

2 The Giver

Givers are motivated by the need to be loved and valued and to express their positive feelings toward others. Traditionally society has encouraged these qualities in females more than in males. These characters are more at risk of being scammed or taken advantage of. 

3 The Achiever

Achievers are motivated by the need to be productive, achieve success, and avoid failure.

Example: John begins to instruct the couple on a better approach, one that would be more successful.

4 The Artist

Artists are motivated by the need to experience their feelings and to be understood, to search for the meaning of life and to avoid being ordinary.

Example: Sadie makes a scene, screaming for security.

5 The Observer

Observers are motivated by the need to know and understand everything, to be self-sufficient, and to avoid looking foolish.

Example: John watches and listens and waits and wonders while the ladies persuasively chatter away.

6 The Questioner

Questioners are motivated by the need for security. Phobic  questioners are outwardly fearful and seek approval. Counter-phobic questioners confront their fears. Both of these aspects can appear in the same person.

Example: James is suspicious and skeptical; asks lots of questions of about the approach.

7 The Adventurer

Adventurers are motivated by the need to be happy and plan enjoyable activities,contribute to the world, and avoid suffering and pain.

Example: Ellie puts a positive spin on the encounter or pretends it’s not happening.

8 The Leader

Leaders are motivated by the need to be self-reliant and strong and to avoid feeling weak or dependent.

Example: Hendrix takes over the situation and gives a lecture about what they should be doing with their lives.

9 The Peacemaker

Peacemakers are motivated by the need to keep the peace, merge with others,and avoid conflict. Since they, especially, take on qualities of the other eight types, peacemakers have many variations in their personalities, from gentle and mild mannered to independent and forceful.

Example: Richie doesn’t want any trouble, but he can’t say no.