For Threes this means that they can have a wing Two (also known as Enneagram 3w2) or a wing Four (Enneagram 3w4).
Below you find descriptions for each wing. We will explore how either wing can positively influence your main personality type as well as the specific challenges this combination brings with it. If you are new to wings and want to learn more about how they work, you can read our introduction to wings here.
The Three personality type is highly image-conscious, ambitious and goal-driven. So, what happens when you add the people-oriented Two personality as a wing to it? This: All the good (and bad) qualities of Threes are pushed into the realm of relationships.
This means a couple of things. For one, Threes are used to employ a lot of character traits to get people to like them, even if they have to fake them. With a Two wing, the most social one of these – coming across as loving, generous and altruistic – often actually becomes true. Yes, they still want to be admired for their achievements, but it becomes more likely that some of those achievements are helping others to succeed as well. Their efforts of making sure they are seen as accomplished can veer away from purely public recognition to a more private kind of success: having a stable family, a satisfying private life and an enviable home.
Since Threes with a Two wing pour their energy into their success in relationships rather than more materialistic forms of success, relationships is where they truly shine: You get these dazzling, incredibly attractive people who use their shape-shifting abilities to turn on their charm whenever they need to in order to wow people into liking them. This often becomes their field of competition – and Threes are very competitive.
Driven to unhealthy levels, this can turn into outright deception – of others as well as of themselves. Being loved by everyone can act like super-fertilizer on the seed of narcissism that’s inherent in every Three. Take it away, and they can become aggressive, to everyone’s and their own surprise. Something like the O. J. Simpson case is a prime example of a Three with a Two wing having gone down the way of destruction.
On the other side of the spectrum however, healthy Threes with a Two wing turn into beautifully friendly, charming and captivating personalities that have all the potential to become stars – be it of their own backyard or the global stage.
If you notice that your basic personality matches with the Three type but that it gravitates much more towards people than anything else, this is most likely your wing.
Welcome to one of the most complex type-wing combinations! Threes with a Four wing find aspects in their personality that seem to almost contradict their basic personality type. See, Fours are all about authenticity, while Threes are chameleons that can change colors deliberately to blend in. How does this work?
Well, actually, the main effect a Four wing has on Threes is to steer their focus away from purely personal qualities and more towards their work and career. Where Threes with a Two wing go all-in on shining in their relationships, the Four wing often leads to a bigger emphasis on their profession, their craft and materialistic pleasures. These Threes still want and need to make the right impression, and more importantly: to have their projects succeed. But the self-reflective, introspective nature of the Four can clash with this goal. It’s hard to project an image that hopes to please while you have a voice in your head calling you a phony.
If you take this to the most unhealthy levels, you get a constant swing between inflating your ego and getting crushed by self-doubt. These Threes struggle with depression much more than their counterparts with a Two wing. They are more in touch with their emotions, yet need to suppress them to be able to keep up appearances.
Take it in a different direction though, healthy Threes with this wing benefit from much more self-awareness than the Three type usually suggests. Intelligence often becomes more important to them than personal attractiveness, and they tend to put all that hard work Threes are famous for into more serious projects than simply being the star everyone adores. Thanks to the Four wing, they often have finer senses for the aesthetic, the artistic and the creative, while maintaining their goal-driven, ambitious and confident basic personality. Not a bad combination if you ask me.
So when you sense your basic type matching up with the Three personality, but you are aware of – and have some contradicting feelings about – that show you’re putting on, well, sounds like there’s a Four wing shaping your personality, too.