Common Mistypes for Enneagram Type 1

In order for the Enneagram to reveal the deeper motivation behind your behavior and ultimately help you grow in self-awareness, it’s crucial that you are sure which type actually reflects your personality and don’t end up mistyping yourself. This page is specifically for Type Ones to have a quick check, whether they might have mistyped themselves.

If you want to know more about how and why misidentifications happen in the first place, you can do so here.

What are the most common mistypes for Enneagram Ones?

Often mistyped: Eight

Sometimes mistyped: Two, Three, Six, Nine

Rarely mistyped: Four, Five, Seven

Below you find a description of each potential misidentification. Click on any of the types above to learn how to distinguish Enneagram Type 1 from it.
Sometimes Mistyped

Misidentifying Enneagram Type 1 and Type 2:
The Improver and the Helper

As with all types that are next to each other on the Enneagram, Ones and Twos don’t get so much misidentified but rather confused about which one is their main type and which one their wing. Since we talk about wings in more detail somewhere else, we will just mention the main difference between the two types for now.

The areas in which the personalities of Ones and Twos overlap are their conscious-driven urge to be of service. However, the motivation behind those drives are fundamentally different. Ones are principle-based. Their wish to be of service comes from their need to do the right thing. Twos on the other hand are much more personal. They see the help they offer from the basepoint of forming relationships. That’s why they’re much quicker to form close connections than Ones, who value their autonomy much more. You can also see it in their expressions: Ones restrain their positive feelings much better than their critical ones, while with Twos it’s the exact opposite: They are quick to express their positive feelings, but much slower to express their anger and frustration.

Sometimes Mistyped

Misidentifying Enneagram Type 1 and Type 3:
The Improver and the Performer

Ones and Threes are prime examples of why looking at behavior alone rarely tells you someone’s true type. If you look at these two types from the outside, they can look remarkably similar: Both are usually highly efficient, well-organized, task-oriented and seem to always strive to be the best. If you have them as colleagues, you might be forgiven to confuse the two.

So let’s look at their deeper motivations. Ones are idealists. Their efficiency comes from the need to do things right. They want to reach a goal because that’s the standard that needs to be achieved. Threes are the opposite of idealists – they’re pragmatists. They care less about standards and more about getting the job done in a way that looks good and ideally makes them shine in the process. As a result, they are more flexible than Ones, who like it more to stick to established procedures.

One other major way to discern between Ones and Threes is to look at the way they show their negative feelings. Ones try to suppress their anger or disappointment, but they are not that good at actually concealing it. You’ll most likely notice it pretty quickly when a Teacher is annoyed. Threes are much better at masking their feelings, since they simply detach from them in order to stay productive and likeable. They simply „do“ the emotion the situation calls for instead of showing what they really feel.

The third way of telling the two apart can be boiled down even more: Ones strive for perfection out of a deep feeling of anger at being imperfect. Threes strive for perfection out of a need for feeling accomplished and good enough in the eyes of others.

Rarely Mistyped

Misidentifying Enneagram Type 1 and Type 4:
The Improver and the Individualist

At first glance it seems pretty unlikely to confuse the stern, principled One with the emotional, dramatic Four. But here’s the thing: Both types are connected with a line in the Enneagram that draws them to each other in certain situations. Highly stressed Ones can feel very much like unhealthy Fours: Their inner critic pushes them towards feelings of melancholy, depression and alienation that are quite common with Fours. Coming from the other side, healthy and mature Fours sometimes recognize themselves in the Teacher personality because they have integrated the One’s discipline and moderation into their personality.

But that’s not the default state of either type. A good example of how fundamentally different both types approach life is in how they deal with their feelings: For Ones, responsibility comes first, dealing with your feelings later (if at all). Fours however feel like they need to figure out their feelings first before they can take care of their responsibilities.

It’s true that both can seem perfectionistic and picky about themselves as well as others. But Fours become irritated if things don’t feel right – if it hurts their aesthetic or personal sensibilities – while Ones become critical when things simply aren’t “like they are supposed to be”.

One last thing that clearly sets the two types apart: When Fours get irritated, they withdraw and cut off communication. When Ones get angry, they’ll confront you with their opinion because they need to set things right.

Rarely Mistyped

Misidentifying Enneagram Type 1 and Type 5:
The Improver and the Investigator

Ones and Fives rarely misidentify themselves for one another. If they do, it’s mostly Ones who see their highly rational and sometimes impersonal way of thinking as traits of a Five. But a good way to discern the two is by remembering that they are in two different Groups*. Ones are from the instinctive or body group. Their way of thinking serves primarily to strengthen their already established beliefs and that which can be put into practice. Fives however truly live in their head: Their way of thinking doesn’t need to be practical at all.

In other words: Ones start from a general principle to arrive at a specific application, while Fives take specific, real life data to form more theoretical principles out of it. They are also much more comfortable to throw those principles out the window again if they find better evidence – something that Ones, who live for their principles, are very reluctant to do.

* If you don’t know about Groups yet, you can learn about them here. The basic idea is that of the nine types, three groups of three types each have overarching commonalities. Type One, Type Eight and Type Nine are one of those, called the Body Group. Their common theme is a strong connection to the body and the instinctive side of us – hence the “gut feeling”.

Sometimes Mistyped

Misidentifying Enneagram Type 1 and Type 6:
The Improver and the Loyalist

More rare than Ones and Sixes misidentifying themselves is that they get misidentified by others. The main reason people confuse the two is because they both frequently prioritize duty and correct behavior over relaxation and taking care of their own needs. This feeling of „should“ and „must“ however comes from very different places, so let’s look at those briefly.

The main point that helps clear up the picture is that the average Six is predominantly reactive, while the average Teacher is predominantly proactive. Sixes tend to be either too dependent and dutiful or overly rebellious and defiant. Both reactions come from their unresolved relationship with authority and a certain lack of confidence in their own strength. Their sense of obligation comes from making sure they feel safe. Ones are the opposite: highly self-controlled, independent and decisive. They have very clear and strong convictions and opinions and don’t mind letting people know about them. Their sense of obligation therefore comes from a different place: making sure they did everything right.

Rarely Mistyped

Misidentifying Enneagram Type 1 and Type 7:
The Improver and the Enthusiast

If you are even faintly familiar with these types, you will agree that it’s pretty much impossible for them to misidentify. Sevens, with their easy-going, spontaneous and care-free attitude, are simply hard to mistake for the controlled, principled and self-conscious Ones. Yes, they often both have a strong vision and the sense of needing to convince other people of their ways, but they do so in very different ways. Where Sevens are optimistic and wide-eyed, Ones are pure realists – and therefore less surprised (but still annoyed) when they get disappointed by others.

And yes, some Sevens may see themselves as „perfectionists“ – and therefore mistake themselves for being Ones. But rest assured, there is a big difference between the kind of perfectionism that makes you beat yourself up for a week over a misplaced comma in an otherwise flawless fifty page essay (Ones), and the kind of perfectionism that makes you feel a bit frustrated because they put a little too much sugar in your Daiquiri (guess who).

Often Mistyped

Misidentifying Enneagram Type 1 and Type 8:
The Improver and the Challenger

This can actually happen quite often, although it is much more likely for Ones to think of themselves as Eights than the other way around. You’ll see why in a moment.

Ones and Eights don’t just share the same Group*, but also quite a few similar looking behaviors: Strong-willed decision making, action-oriented ways of living and, most of all, a strong sensibility for justice.

That last point however shows most clearly how Ones and Eights are fundamentally different: Ones see justice as a moral principle that needs to be upheld, and they think a lot about how to treat everyone fairly and equally – that’s why they make such great judges, attorneys and reformers: They are great at coming up with the logically irrefutable argument why their position is the morally correct one.

Eights on the other hand don’t think much about justice as an abstract principle, they just can’t stand seeing the weak being bullied in the streets. They rarely think in general terms about justice for everyone, but in concrete terms: Protecting their family, their friends, their tribe, not by convincing them with the morally correct argument, but through sheer force of will.

This is why some Ones want to identify themselves as Eights, because they would like to have the Eight’s natural authority and aggressiveness. It’s not that Ones can’t make great leaders, but the truly aggressive type – the one that dominates by pure strength, not through having the moral high-ground – is reserved to Eights.

* If you don’t know about Groups yet, you can learn about them here. The basic idea is that of the nine types, three groups of three types each have overarching commonalities. Type One, Type Eight and Type Nine are one of those, called the Body Group. Their common theme is a strong connection to the body and the instinctive side of us – hence the “gut feeling”.

Sometimes Mistyped

Misidentifying Enneagram Type 1 and Type 9:
The Improver and the Peacemaker

As with all types that are next to each other on the Enneagram, Ones and Nines don’t get so much misidentified but rather confused about which one is their main type and which one their wing. Since we talk about wings in more detail somewhere else, we will just mention the main difference between the two types for now.

While both types share a sense of idealism and a discomfort with their anger, Nines clearly differ from Ones by their reluctance to enter conflicts. Maintaining inner and outer peace is more important to them than being right. For Ones, it’s the other way around: Principle always comes first, even if it risks an argument. Actually, that’s all that needs to be said here. There are more points of difference of course, but this should be enough to keep the two types clearly apart. Simply ask yourself what’s more important to you.

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Jessica Parker
Jessica Parker
5 days ago

I thought i was a type 1 but i am actually a type 2
Thanks so much for the explanation

Sarah Phillips
Sarah Phillips
5 days ago

I always knew i was a type 3
Absolutely no doubt

Vera Pizarro
Vera Pizarro
5 days ago

I can’t stand seeing the weak being bullied in the streets
I´m a eight 100%

Josh Wales
Josh Wales
5 days ago

Who is a 9 like me?

Robert Junior
Robert Junior
5 days ago

I´m a 9 just like you josh

  1. Chestnut, Beatrice (2013). The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge.
  2. Daniels, David (2000). The Essential Enneagram.
  3. Riso, Don Richard; Hudson, Russ (1999). Wisdom of the Enneagram.
  4. Riso, Don Richard; Hudson, Russ (2000). Understanding the Enneagram; the practical guide to personality types.

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