Common Mistypes for Enneagram Type 4
Since the Enneagram looks at much more than just how different personality types behave, some types can look very similar at first glance (because they behave similarly in some situations). This is especially true when only certain aspects of them get emphasized.
Yet in order for the Enneagram to benefit you, 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 Enneagram Type Fours 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 Fours?
Some Enneagram types are very hard to mix up, while others get misidentified more often. Let’s see how this looks like for Fours:
Type Fours sometimes mistype themselves for Type Nines. They can also get confused about whether one of their wings, Type Three and Type Five, might actually be their main type. Healthy Type Fours sometimes get misidentified as Type Ones.
Fours rarely misidentify for Type Twos or Type Eights and they almost never misidentify for Type Sixes or Type Sevens.
Below you find a description of each potential misidentification. You will learn how to distinguish Ones from all other Enneagram types. Note that all types are compared at an average level of health. Find out what that means.
To give you a quick indication on how likely certain types get confused with Type 4, we have created different bubble sizes for each pair of misidentifications.
Click on a bubble to read all about the reasons why these two types get confused with each other and what tells them apart.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 4 And Type 1: The Romantic and The Teacher
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 differently 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.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 4 And Type 2: The Romantic and The Helper
This is one mistype that rarely happens. True, both Twos and Fours can seem to be all about emotions and relationships, but they usually become aware of their radically different approaches very quickly: Twos go out of their way to move towards others and offer themselves to them, while Fours withdraw from others in the hope that the other will go looking for them.
Twos are very attuned to the feelings of others and tend to neglect their own feelings. Fours are very attuned to their own feelings and tend to neglect the feelings of others.
Or to make it even snappier and more dramatic (something both types will surely appreciate): Fours look for someone to rescue them, Twos look for someone they can rescue. Which kind of makes a good (if somewhat dangerous) team – but also very unlikely to confuse the two.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 4 And Type 3: The Romantic and The Performer
As with all types that are next to each other on the Enneagram, Threes and Fours 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.
To figure out which your main type is, the best area to look at is how you handle emotions. Threes care much more about productivity and getting things done – when emotions (which they do have of course) get in the way, they are much more likely to put them on the backburner (and sometimes forget them there) and focus on the task. Fours on the other hand usually take care of their feelings first. They come with a deep aversion to the kind of emotional sidelining Threes do, seeing it as inauthentic, while Threes get annoyed by what they see as Fours getting themselves distracted by their emotions.
One last word: It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a „creative“ or not to differentiate between Threes and Fours. Creativity is not the monopoly of Fours – every type is creative in their way. There are lots of artists, musicians, actors and writers who are Threes, too.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 4 And Type 5: The Romantic and The Investigator
As with all types that are next to each other on the Enneagram, Fours and Fives 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.
What makes Fives and Fours appear so similar is their heightened individualism and their tendency to withdraw. They are both on the introverted side of things and can both become rather eccentric. But there’s one area that helps draw a clear line in the sand: which part of them plays the bigger role in their day-to-day lives. For the Four it’s their heart. For the Five it’s their brain.
Fours belong to the Heart Group*. They are emotionally volatile – Fours need to express their feelings and for people to respond to them emotionally as well. Fives are people of the mind, which is why they belong to the Head Group**: While they also have deep emotions, they usually keep them to themselves, detach from them, study them and, most of all, prefer if people communicate rationally with them. Fives become uncomfortable when they have to deal with too many emotions of the other person – Fours are right in their element.
When both types go to dark places (which, truth be told, they are more comfortable with than most others), Fours turn towards emotional pain: heartbreak, childhood disappointments, „life is woe“ – while Fives go to abstract pain: Inner emptiness, the meaninglessness of life, the great existential void.
Heart or mind? This is what tells these two types apart.
* 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 Two, Type Three and Type Four are one of those called the Heart Group. Their common theme is a strong connection to the heart, where emotions and our connections to other people lie.
** The Head Group is connected to the ways we use our intellectual, thinking powers. Type Five, Type Six and Type Seven make up this group, and they are all somehow tethered to the perception of the world through the mind.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 4 And Type 6: The Romantic and The Loyalist
Fours and Sixes are usually different enough to be told apart easily. Fours especially almost never mistake themselves for Sixes. They take one look at the Six’s wish and ability to conform and subject themselves to authority – and feel personally offended. Such is the individualism of the Four.
The only real confusion between these types arises when Sixes, especially those who are creative, start to think that being creative is all that constitutes Fours and therefore think this must be them. But creativity isn’t limited to any type. So let’s look at the deeper patterns of Fours and Sixes to see how, even in their creativity, they’re clearly different.
Sixes are great at relating to people, while Fours relate less to people and much more to their inner emotional world. The art of Fours is therefore highly self-concerned, exploring the recesses of their soul, treating subjective, personal matters. They are true introverts. In contrast, Sixes, while not being true extroverts, are definitely more on the extroverted side, and it shows in their art. They are more often performing artists than original creators, and their art usually tackles the subjects that concern them, like safety and belonging, as well as topics that transcend the self like family, politics and society as a whole.
Fours look for the most true and authentic expression of their innermost self (and don’t care much about established standards). Sixes, even in their creativity, are usually caught between their ambivalent relation to authority, being either rather traditional or extremely rebellious. Their creativity is directed outward, while the creativity of Fours is directed at (and typically stays on) the inside.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 4 And Type 7: The Romantic and The Enthusiast
Although there aren’t any true opposites on the Enneagram, Fours and Sevens come pretty close. The introverted Four that loves to dive into the dark depths of human existence doesn’t pair well with the fun-loving Seven who would love nothing more than to never be concerned with any negativity at all. So this misidentification happens, well, kinda never.
The only time these two types start to look remotely similar is in their increasingly less mature states, when both go into excess: The Seven becomes materialistically excessive, insensitive and uncaring in order to escape their fear of pain. The Four however becomes emotionally excessive, self-indulgent and overly concerned with sensual pleasures – not in order to escape the pain but to become numb to it.
However, since even this is pretty rare, we won’t go into any more detail here. We just wanted to mention it.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 4 And Type 8: The Romantic and The Challenger
This is another one of those misidentifications that seems highly unlikely until you look at one aspect that makes them look similar: Both types can be very passionate, and Eights especially can interpret their intense feelings and their occasional sense of alienation as the signs of a Four.
But that’s where the similarities end, mainly because Eights toughen up in the face of these feelings in order to maintain their sense of personal authority. They want to „get over it“ as quickly as possible. Fours don’t want to „get over it“. They want to make their pain their own, and they will stay with it and explore it as long as it takes.
In a weird way, you could describe Eights as Fours turned inside-out: While both are much better than most other types at enduring emotional difficulty, they do so in completely different ways. Eights steel themselves against emotional pain, trying (and often succeeding… for a while) to simply beat it down through sheer force of will. Fours go the opposite way and immerse themselves into the pain. They feel so comfortable in it that it doesn’t hurt them the way it would others.
Here’s a metaphor to drive that point home: If you imagine pain as a bullet being shot at you, an Eight stiffens up so much that the bullet simply bounces off their skin, while a Four turns so soft that they completely absorb the impact, rendering it’s deadly force powerless.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 4 And Type 9: The Romantic and The Peacemaker
There can be a certain amount of overlap between Nines and Fours that helps confuse the two. Both are withdrawn types with lower amounts of energy than other types. Both can struggle with procrastination, be detached from the real world and, on a more positive note, be highly creative (but that’s true for any type). So to tell them apart, we need to look at their underlying worldview, since that’s where the deciding difference is.
To say it with the smallest amount of words possible: Nines, called Peacemakers, live, as their name implies, in a world of tranquility, where comfort is their highest goal and peace needs to be maintained at all costs. Their glasses, so to speak, are rose-coloured.
Fours, appropriately called Romantics, look at the world like an outsider peering in through the window, where everyone else seems to be much happier, living the „normal“ life Fours feel they don’t have access to. Their glasses have a dark, purple tint; their world isn’t comfortable.
That’s why Fours are at home in their melancholy and pain (as much as they want to solve and overcome it), while Nines would rather dissociate from that pain in order to leave their inner peace undisturbed. When they both withdraw, they withdraw towards different places: The Four into brooding isolation and the Nine into their tranquil happy place.
Finding out what describes your reaction better will pretty quickly resolve this question – there’s not much overlap here.