What Are the Enneagram Tritypes and Why Are They Important?

Are you hungry for greater satisfaction, purpose, happiness, and ease in your life? The Enneagram can help you to enhance your life.


Enneagram tritypes help you to see the similarities and differences between the nine types.  You will find the tritypes helpful when you are discerning what type you might be. What are Enneagram Tritypes and why are they important?

Tri means three. There are different ways to divide the nine types into three groupings. First I am going to introduce you to a grouping based on your three energy centres the instinctive centre (body), the feeling centre (emotions) and the thinking centre (mind).

You have a preferred way to experience the world. If you are in the instinctive centre, you first experience everything through your body. Your body picks up the information so quickly you don’t even realize it is happening. If you are in the heart centre, you first experience everything through your emotions. If you are in the head centre, you experience everything first through your mind.

The Instinctive Center (Types eight, nine and one)

People in the instinctive centre are earthy people. You desire to make the world a better place. You find it hard to express your own needs because you sometimes forget you have them. You struggle with anger. As a type eight, you push your anger out into the world to get momentum. As a type nine, you repress your anger to keep everything in harmony. But when you lose your equilibrium, you take your anger out on anyone who is there.  As a type one, you take your anger out on yourself and others when things are not done right according to your standards. Under all this resistance is rage.

Heart Energy.jpeg

The Feeling Triad (Types two, three and four)

If you are in the feeling centre, you are hungry to make deep connections with other people whether they be friends, family or lovers. You often know what others need before they do. You have a great concern for how others see you. You often don’t realize how good you have it. You can be blind to what is going on in your inner self. You sometimes have a habit to increase your self-worth by putting others down.  You often have an attachment to how you see yourself no matter what others may experience with you.  Underneath all their ego shenanigans is shame.

Related Article: How To Know Exactly What He Needs In A Relationship, Based On His Enneagram Type



The Thinking Center (Types five, six and seven)

If you are in the thinking centre, you tend to live with a crazy mind. You will have many conversations going on all at once. It can be confusing and anxiety-making. You are an excellent observer. You can see the big picture. You have a hunger to learn. You do everything you can to avoid the unpleasant feelings. As type five, you go into your internal world where you don’t have to interact with anyone else; as a type six, you try to prevent problems before they happen and if you are a type seven you try to avoid the unpleasant feelings by keeping busy doing exciting things. All of the three types experience anxiety coming from a perceived lack of guidance. Underneath all their mental gymnastics is fear.

The Enneagram is a great tool to help you to understand yourself better, overcome habits that no longer serve you, and improve communications between family, friends, and colleagues.

When you are young, shortly after birth you are given one of nine ways to survive in the world. Your Enneagram type describes your ego. You can not survive without it.  The Enneagram can help you to become more self-aware. With practice and patience, you will begin to find increased freedom when you catch yourself moving into your old habits and make healthier choices.

Related Article: Which Enneagram Personality Type Are You? (And How It Affects Your Relationships And Love Life)

Here is another way to understand the Enneagram through a different configuration of Enneagram Tritypes. They are on how you respond to stress. What are the Enneagram tritypes?


Assertive (Types seven and eight and three)

When under stress you push yourself out into the world. You have a large amount of energy. You are at risk of becoming a workaholic. You have a habit of using your power and influence to cope with stress that accompanies interpersonal relationships. You tend to move with confidence. You exude an air of personal power. You love to be in control of the situation. As a seven you seek attention and power by trying to be the life of the party. As an eight you do it by imposing your desires on to others. As a three, you do it by changing yourself into what you think others you need you to be. All this is motivated by your desire to be successful. If you are in the assertive group, you have a compulsion to make things happen. Your goal is to keep your heart open.


Withdrawn (Types four, five and nine)

When under stress, you tend to withdraw from active engagement.  More downtime is needed for you re-charge your batteries. If this is your primary type, you may prefer to work solo. You may need time to yourself to reflect on what is the best choices for you to make in life.  Each of the types disappears into the interior world differently. As a four you go into your favourite emotion. As a five you go into your learned thoughts and imaginary world where everything is possible. As a nine you avoid the stresses of the world by going into the internal land of peace and calm.  If you are in the withdrawn group you have a compulsion to stay safe in your own internal world.


Dutiful (Types one, two and six)

You have a deep sense of obligation.  You have a habit of making sure other people’s needs are met before your own. You probably scan the environment to make sure that you are following your inner rules. All of these types have a hard time quieting their minds because you are always looking for better ways to do things. You often feel better than others and believe that you are the only person who can resolve the problem putting a lot of responsibility on yourself. It is easy for a person in this group to take on way more than they can handle. You often feel uneasy and tense in the quieter times. An important goal for you is to learn to quiet your mind.

Learning about the Enneagram tritypes can help you to name your Enneagram type. For example, if you decide you are in the thinking grouping, then you are likely a type five, six or seven.  If you also find yourself in the Dutiful grouping, you are likely a type one, two or six.   If you find yourself in these two tritype groupings this would suggest you are a type six as six is the common number.

Learning about the tritypes helps you to see the differences and similarities between the different types.

Learning about the tritypes can help you to understand better why you get along with certain people better than others.

If you are in a relationship, it can help you to accept that your partner is not trying to annoy you, but rather this is their natural way to respond to the challenges of daily living.

To start your journey to greater health, emotional well-being and inner peace get my Free Enneagram Test when you sign up for my free newsletter.


To start taking back your life and improving your relationships with yourself, work with Roland Legge, life and executive coach and founder of REL Consultants, to learn tools you can use in your everyday life. Reach out to Roland to set up your free 30-minute discovery call, and he’ll empower you to start working through your struggles today.

This article was first published on the REL  Consultants Website

Author: Roland Legge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s