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Enneagram Type 3 Relationships: In Love and Friendships

How to be in a relationship with a Type 3 Enneagram

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Every Enneagram type relates to other enneagram types in different ways. Type 3s have different positives and negatives when it comes to the compatibility with the other types. Here we list the romantic relationship compatibility of a Type 3 with every other enneagram type, discover how to support and love a Type 3 Enneagram in your relationship, as well as what each type will bring to a Type 3 Relationship.


Type 3 Compatibility Analysis

Who works best with Type 3 Enneagram

In this study, participants completed our enneagram type questionnaire, and were asked to describe their ideal partner using the key personality dimensions which determines a person's enneatype. This allowed to identify both the participants’ enneatypes and the enneatypes of their preferred romantic partners. From this, we are able to determine the compatibility of different enneatypes by gauging how mutually attractive they are to one another.

For example, if Type Ones and Type Twos rate each other as highly attractive, that indicates a high degree of compatibility. Similarly, if Type Ones and Twos rate each other as unattractive, that indicates a low degree of compatibility. And lastly, if Type Ones and Twos rate each other as moderately attractive, or if both Types gave opposite ratings of attractiveness to each other, that would indicates a moderate degree of compatibility. Below we report our findings on Enneagram type compatibility.

Figure 1: Percent compatibility analysis for Type Three relationships

relationships compatibility

What this chart shows

This chart shows an estimate of how compatible Type Threes are with other types. Our research suggests that Type Threes are in fact most compatible with other Type Threes. This is because Type Threes consistently rated other Type Threes as the most desirable romantic partners. After other Type Threes, Type Ones and Eights were also found to be highly compatible. This is because Type Threes and Type Ones / Eights mutually rate each other as desirable, suggesting a high degree of compatibility.

Our research also suggests that Type Fours, Nines and Sevens are the least compatible with Type Threes. This is because Type Threes and Type Fours / Nines / Sevens mutually rate each other as undesirable, suggesting a low degree of compatibility.

Lastly, our findings suggest that Type Twos, Sixes, and Fives show moderate compatibility with Type Threes. This is either because Type Threes and Type Twos / Sixes / Fives mutually find each other only moderately desirable, or there is a large difference between how desirable each Type perceives the other.

Notes:
  • 1. n=1,301
  • 2. Population: global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:

Let us compare this to the results for all Enneagram types using our Enneagram compatibility matrix:

Figure 2: Percent compatibility analysis for Enneagram types

enneagram compatibility matrix

What this chart shows

This chart shows two major findings. Firstly, across all enneatypes, the most compatible combination is universally that same enneatype. This is because every enneatype found their own enneatype to be more attractive than any other, resulting in the highest levels of compatibility. Although this trend is universal, the degree of compatibility does vary slightly. For example, Type Twos and Fours found their own enneatype to be especially attractive, with compatibility ratings of 97%. However, Type Eights only show an 84% compatibility rating with other Type Eights, albeit still higher than with other enneatypes.

Secondly, we see that the degree of similarly largely determines the degree of compatibility. For example, Type Twos and Type Nines are highly similar personality types, both showing high levels of agreeableness, cooperation, and team orientation. We can clearly see that Type Twos and Type Nines are highly compatible, mutually rating each other as attractive. However, Type Eights and Type Nines are very different, showing polar opposite levels of assertiveness, competitiveness, and emotional volatility. As a result, Type Eights and Type Nines mutually rate each other as undesirable, making them less compatible.

Both of these key findings suggest that interpersonal attractiveness is heavily based on similarity, rather than difference. Among all enneatypes, the correlation between the degree of interpersonal similarity and ratings of desirability was found to be .82, suggesting a very strong association. This provides evidence for the old adage, “Birds of a feather flock together”, and discredits the alternative notion that “Opposites attract”.

Notes:
  • 1. n=1,301
  • 2. Population: global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:

Remember this data is aggregate data collected by people's self-report of relationship success coupled with our research into personality type theory. Understandably there will exist many happy and successful relationships between people who have 'low' compatibility. Personality type is just one factor to a successful relationship, and there is a high level of variance in the data. There will be outliers and exceptions; this data is merely propensity to a successful match. If only love could be explained entirely through science!


Type 1 and Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are Type 3s in a relationship with Type 1s?

Type 3 and Type 1 relationships can be some of the most productive partnerships possible. They can be a very powerful combination. Both Type Ones and Type Threes are idealistic, highly driven, and serious. This can lead to a partnership of intense hard work and self-discipline, bolstered by both partners high standards they set for each other. As a result, a Type One and Three relationship can achieve great things together, combining to create highly competent achievements and personal successes together. This exuberance can snowball, with soaring confidence levels and collective hard work. It should be expected that the partnership is professional to a degree, rather than romantic and passionate.

The Type One brings their principled nature to the pairing and will want to work in a disciplined manner that obeys the rules and the values of the work. The Three will not mind undermining these rules if it means they can get ahead. Ultimately, there are only two other pairings which produce similarly effective results: a double Type One and a double Type Three relationship.

letter i in grey circle for information point

It should be expected that a Type Three and One relationship is professional to a degree, and can be less romantic and passionate.

However, this pairing can come at a price. Both Type Threes and Type Ones are better at resolving external problems rather than internal issues. This can mean that there are unresolved issues that fester within the relationship and if left unchecked, can boil into a bad sequence of events. This lack of emotional attachment can cause the high achieving, competitive nature of each pairing to compete against each other. When this happens, a relationship breakdown can occur.

quotation marks Type 3 and Type 1 relationships can be some of the most productive partnerships possible
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Threes can feel that Ones are too inflexible and rigid, while Ones can feel that the Threes are too pragmatic. Since Threes thrive on praise, the lack of it they receive from their Type One partner, whom if stressed will struggle to give it to themselves let alone their Three partner, will cause a deep rift to occur in the relationship.

Nevertheless, even if all this does occur, then Type Threes and Ones can still find a professional, perhaps commercial usefulness from the continued relationship and may then attempt to sustain it under these new conditions.


Type 2 and Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are Type 3s in a relationship with Type 2s?

Type 3 and Type 2 relationships are driven primarily by their emotions and feelings - as they are both enneagram heart types. Both have a need for interpersonal praise and for attention from others. For Type Threes, this desire is overt and likely to be obvious, but for Type Twos, the need to more subtle and less apparent. Nevertheless, since both in the relationship are geared towards people, this can make the pairing one of the most interpersonally attractive around. They are both sociable, able to deal with people, charming in their own way and enjoyable to be around for others. Both have an instinctive sense of how to win over the people around from their relative high levels of emotional intelligence. As a pair, this is even greater as each will bring their own idiosyncratic charm and energy to the interaction. Twos and Threes can make impressive pairings as a couple - dazzling others with their social gifts and admirable interpersonal qualities.

Type Three and Type Two relationships work well as a team. Where Threes like that focus and energy to be on themselves, Twos like to put their focus and energy onto others. This can sometimes create a situation where the Three acts as the head, while the Two acts as the neck but as long as the Twos enjoy giving the attention and the Three pairing receiving it, then this arrangement can work well.

letter i in grey circle for information point

A Type 2 and Type 3 relationship might rely on Twos giving their focus to their Three partner while the Three receives the attention in turn.

However, this pairing can come at a price. By giving most of the attention to their Three partner, if this happens too often or too intensely, and others start heaping praise onto the Three, then the Two partner can become jealous and possessive. Twos will want to have some recognition for the fostering of their characters and will almost try to take credit for the way the Three behaves - for better or worse. Naturally, Threes find it difficult to give their tanks to other or share their success and glory and will be reluctant to offer Twos the recognition they crave. Also, the Three will claim that the Two is trying to take too much credit. If this argument takes place in public, it is all the worse for it.

The challenge comes in that both partners in a Type Three and Two pairing seek praise and are vulnerable without it. Both partners know this, and know the weak spots of the other - and will use to their advantage in arguments if they need to. Since both act with feelings and emotions, this can descend quickly and horribly, in a vicious cycle, if left to continue without remedy. Eventually, Twos will start to feel that their Three partner puts themselves before their relationship, while the Three feels that their Two partner is emotionally manipulating or smothering them, making them feel guilty for success. This can result in open hostility towards each other and signals a negative outlook on their relationship.


Double Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are double Type 3 relationships?

A Double Enneagram Type 3 relationship has each partner bring the same qualities to the partnership - their relentless drive and hard work ethic, and their need for individual attention. As is typical for double type relationships, this duplication of their main qualities is their strength as well as their weakness. As a result, it is important that the level of health for each partner is good, rather than stressed. Both Type Three partner will bring their drive for goal completion and need for achievement into the relationship, looking for ways to improve themselves and their relationship in the process. They will also look for credit when either of those things happen. They are both hard workers and each partner will admire the other for this quality, as it is a trait that they both share and like in the other. Threes are also sociable and enjoy being around others. Their natural ability to charm means that others often view them in favorable lights.

Both partners in the double Type 3 relationship can work together as a hard-working unit that is likely to be successful in their endeavors. They will likely not only succeed individually in their pursuits, but will coordinate tasks in their personal lives to work together in supporting each other. They will want to be admired by their partner and this synchronicity will enable them to both motivate and support them in their pursuits. Therefore, double Type Three relationships are great motivators feel their success and self-development whether it's career, fitness, or education focused.

letter i in grey circle for information point

Each pairing of a double Enneagram Type 3 relationship want to be admired by their partner and this synchronicity will enable them to both motivate and support them in their pursuits.

However, as noted above, this pairing can come at a price. As long as the individuals are healthy, then they will be supportive of each other in their interests and pursuits, and are glad for their successes. But when it moves from healthy to average, or even worse, stressed, that praise and support can turn to unhealthy competition and one-upmanship which can then infect the relationship and undermine the compliments and admiration that they give each other. Threes may start to compare their difference and relative success which each other such as their earnings, weight, career progression and more. This assessment and ranking of achievement against each other will help deteriorate the relationship.

Furthermore, one of the Type Three pairing may start to feel that the relationship itself is acting as a hindrance to their own individual successes and achievement, and that by being in the relationship is a sacrifice for their own ambitions. Things placed between them in this situation - such as assets, children or family - will likely suffer the consequences of this narcissistic perception. The last issue is that Type Threes struggle with expressing their honest feelings to their partner, often seeing them as distractions from their goals. This lack of communication can lead to isolation and depression, and ultimately the relationship is seen as a burden that neither partner whishes to maintain.


Type 4 and Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are Type 3s in a relationship with Type 4s?

Type 4 and Type 3 relationships can run into difficulties at times. Threes are often not open about their feelings, and their Four partner can help them better express themselves and acknowledge and process their individual feelings. As a result, they can teach their Three partner a sensitivity that may be beneficial for their growth. Type Fours bring their individual creativity, expressive behavior and openness to the mix. Since Fours care about beauty and sensuality, they can bring this to their Type Three partner for them they will enjoy that environment and feel more relaxed and comforted in the process. Type Fours specialize in self-awareness and this is a quality that Type Three's can often lack. With their sense of style and refinement, Type Fours can compliment the qualities of Three's hard work ethic and industriousness. Likewise, Type Three's can offer these qualities to their Four partner, enabling them to gain new skills and better focused on something worth achieving.

Since Type Threes are often sociable, they can navigate their Four partner relatively well, applying the necessary tact when necessary - helping to build trust between the pairing. Ultimately, the Type Four can coach their partner in behavior and feeling management, and the Type Three can coach their partner in practical goal-setting behaviors. This uplifting situation can be a great source of growth for both in the relationship.

Sensitivity and honesty

Type Fours can bring and openness and emotional honesty that helps bring the Type Three more interpersonal sensitivity and more focus on the non-practical.

However, both Type Threes and Type Fours have problems with self-esteem and needing recognition, validation, and overall attention from others. In this, there will be a destructive competition between the pairing to see who can get more of the attention. They will also compare themselves to each other and those around them, often feeling frustrated with the result. With both types willing to be in the limelight, it will often be the Three that wins out because of their high levels of energy. This will make the Four partner feel overshadowed and can upset their self-esteem as well as their understanding of the relationship itself.

While Type Threes are out socializing or looking to achieve their goals, they can be put off by the sensitive and temperamental nature of Type Fours. They tend to see them as not pragmatic and delicate, and not focused enough on their careers of level of success. A final issue is that since Threes and Fours often occupy a weakness within their personality types, their partners are consistent reminders of what qualities they lack. This can make them nasty or irritated with each other easily, and where once respect and admiration with components of the relationship, contempt and frustration take their place.


Type 5 and Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are Type 3s in a relationship with Type 5s?

A Type 5 and Type 3 relationship is a quite common combination given what they each offer to the other. Type Fives offer their Type Three partner a depth, both intellectual and of expertise, that they admire. This sparks their own sense of ambition and of hard working achievement. Threes offer their Five partner their social confidence, outward presentation skills and their ability to effectively communicate with others. Since both types are focused on their work and on achievable and objective issues, they both look to improve their competency in order to better tackle these issues and their work. Even though their goals may be different, they will support each other well as their underlying values and motives are the same.

Both Type Threes and Fives tend to not let feelings get in the way of what they are trying to achieve. They understand their need for objective reasoning but also that they do require closeness as times. The Three partner will often be the one who will best determine what is needed in the relationship but both will add what is necessary to bolster it. Where Threes give their charm, interpersonal skills and practical energy to the relationship, the Five partner will bring their depth of understanding, attention to detail and focus to it. Therefore, this can be a super partnership, where both members are successful in their own way and they are proud of each other.

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Since both types are focused on their work and on achievable and objective issues, they both look to improve their competency in order to better tackle these issues and their work.

However, the couple's attention on work, achievement and overall competency can have detrimental impact on their relationship. Since both pairing find a great source of self-esteem from their work and how other view their sense of competency in their work, the pairing can start to compete about who is more deserving of attention or praise than the other. They may start to compete with each in this way, which, rather than be harmonious, can become fractious. Likewise, Threes will tend to disagree with how their Five partner handles certain situations, and the reserve will also be true. These disagreements can be fundamental with either willing to budge from their position.

quotation marks Threes will tend to disagree with how their Five partner handles certain situations, and the reserve will also be true.
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Both types also are not naturally open and prone to being honest with their feelings. As such, hostility and distance can occur, grow and mutate before either is willing to address the issue. In other words, both types have the propensity to be arrogant and egotistical, and show great impatience to their respective partners. Having both types act in this way makes for a difficult resolution.


Type 6 and Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are Type 3s in a relationship with Type 6s?

Type Sixes and Type Threes don't usually attract but have the capacity to be a great source of growth for one another. Industrious Type Threes work hard for the status and recognition that validates their accomplishment-based sense of self-worth, while Type Sixes often struggle with performance anxiety, doubting the sincerity of those who praise their efforts.Type Threes feel anxious when Type Sixes bring up difficult conversations, and in turn, Type Sixes tend to feel nervous around Type Threes as their emphasis on action feels like constant testing. Action-oriented Type Threes are much more comfortable demonstrating than discussing feelings, so to have to spell things out feels like failure.

As Type Three and Type Six share a line of integration, they are uniquely positioned to support each other's growth. Type Threes grow when they can set their internal doubts aside and independently pursue a course of action. Recognition-driven Type Threes learn the value of depending on others and the satisfaction in accomplish goals that are more altruistic, although perhaps less glorious.

quotation marks As Type Three and Type Six share a line of integration, they are uniquely positioned to support each other's growth.
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

However, this pairing can bring out some of the worst in each if they are not stable and happy. Both wish to be socially accepted, both have a insecurity around this, and this can became competitive. If this deteriorates sufficiently, then each partner can become dishonest and evasive, avoiding confronting their feelings and resolving their problems. Slowly but surely, they will fall apart from each other.

letter i in grey circle for information point

However, each partner can become dishonest and evasive, avoiding confronting their feelings and resolving their problems.

Fortunately, when Loyalists and Achievers do find enough common ground to stick together, they both discover opportunities to grow. Following their Type Three partner's lead, a Type Six learns to follow through on important goals, facing down a fear of success that can be quite debilitating. A dedicated Type Six's loyalty can give a Type Three permission to slow down along with the space to explore the feelings behind their need for recognition.


Type 7 and Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are Type 3s in a relationship with Type 7s?

Type Threes and Type Sevens are a particularly difficult combination of Enneatypes. Where Type Threes brings a big-picture focus to the couple's activities, Type Sevens brings pleasure and new options for goals and projects, making it easier for the Type Three to accept failure and move on to something else when their efforts don't yield the results they hoped for. Type Threes are often so focused on making an impression that they forget to have fun in the process, so the contribution that Type Sevens bring is often very much appreciated. Together, Type Sevens and Type Threes get a lot done. In this regard, they are a complementary pair.

Both types tend to neglect skill development when it comes to facing and tackling difficult issues. Industrious Type Threes use busyness as a distraction while Type Sevens apply quick fixes and convince themselves that any problems they’re having really aren't so bad. It can take a major financial crisis or parenting disaster to get this couple to slow down and pay attention, but it won't take long for these optimists to pick up the pieces.

Not enough relationship growth?

Industrious Type Threes use busyness as a distraction while Type Sevens apply quick fixes and convince themselves that any problems they’re having really aren't so bad.

However, a Type 7 and Type 3 relationship is likely to be volatile. And their constant pressure to appear to be at their best can put strain on them individually as well as together. If Threes start to focus too much on their careers, and Sevens too much on busy, social activities, then any time left for the relationship starts be ill-used.

quotation marks For an Enneagram Type 3 relationship with a Type 7, constant pressure to appear to be at their best can put strain on themselves individually as well as together.
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Time flies when you’re keeping busy and having fun. If they don't put some effort into maintaining shared interests, this couple may not realize, as the years go by, that they have been gradually growing apart and becoming strangers to each other. Although Type Sevens feel uncomfortably restricted by having to schedule activities, it will do more good than harm to establish daily or weekly sessions in which the two catch up on recent events in their lives while sharing a fun activity together.


Type 8 and Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are Type 3s in a relationship with Type 8s?

A Type 8 and Enneagram Type 3 relationship is a particularly common combination. Proactive Type Threes and confident Type Eights both like to see themselves as the providers and protectors in their relationships, so they are usually attracted to complementary passive/withdrawn types. When Type Eights do form long-term relationships with Type Threes, they usually bond over shared activities and projects, such as business partnerships, rather than feelings. The couple's homelife will often be maintained (and controlled) by the Type Eight.

quotation marks Threes and Eights usually bond over shared activities and projects, such as business partnerships, rather than feelings
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Both Type Threes and Type Eights believe that it's up to them to do it all, so it can be a nice surprise to find a partner who takes responsibilities just as seriously as they do. Type Eights in relationship with Type Threes have the opportunity to learn that it's ok to surrender control. Type Threes carry an expectation that they will be judged and rejected if they fail to achieve, so they get a nice surprise when their Type Eight partners not only allow them to be human but love them for who they are rather than what they do. Type Eights don't care much what others think of them – adopting this attitude can help a Type Three develop inner strength.

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Both types can also be competitive as well as controlling when stressed, a quality that neither partner appreciates.

However, like some other Type Three pairings, a Three and Eight relationship can put great strain on each other as they both tend to be workaholics, desperately determined to achieve their goals. With sufficient stress, they may find that giving themselves the attention necessary will be challenging - let alone their partner. Both types can also be competitive as well as controlling when stressed, a quality that neither partner appreciates. This can erode the support they have for each other, and thus trust.

Nevertheless, Type Eights have a generous streak, especially when they are feeling confident in love, and they feel hurt when their sacrifices aren't acknowledged. Type Threes sometimes have a blind spot when it comes to recognizing the contributions of others, since they feel like they are failing if they don't personally take care of all the details. When both partners are aware of this dynamic, emotional breakthroughs are possible and hurt feelings can be avoided.


Type 9 and Type 3 Relationships

How compatible are Type 3s in a relationship with Type 9s?

Type Three and Type Nine are an unlikely pairing, with both parties holding different values. Where Type Nines bring support and encouragement to their Type Three partner, Threes can help Nines give attention to themselves, bolster their esteem, and develop an investment into their own growth. Both Types try to avoid conflict where possible, especially the Type Nine partner, and this helps the relationship focus on what is positive while trying not to ending up in quagmire by dwelling on the difficult and the negative aspects of the relationship.

Type Threes and Type Nines have an extremely encouraging, happy go lucky type of relationship. They provide an enormous amount of support for one another, and Type Nines take great pride in the accomplishments of their Type Three counterparts. This allows the Type Three to feel like they can let their hair down, and simply just be themselves with the support of their Type Nine partner. Threes know they can continue to explore for their fullest potential to be the best person and partner. With this support from the Nine, Threes do not feel the need to drive themselves so hard, all of the time.

letter i in grey circle for information point

With this support from the Nine, Threes do not feel the need to drive themselves so hard, all of the time.

However, this pairing can sometimes be deemed to be such a strong, exciting relationship that it can often be seen as “too much of a good thing”. This pair brings so much attachment to their stability and comfort with one another that it becomes hard for them to question their routines and the status quo. Type Nines struggle to talk about what is bothering them to avoid endangering their relationship, even if it feels as if the relationship is already over.

quotation marks This pair brings so much attachment to their stability and comfort with one another that it becomes hard for them to question their routines and the status quo.
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Nevertheless, this pair is strong in their zero desire for conflict, and they do their best to always put a positive spin on every situation. They are incredibly idealistic, sociable, and have a strong love for caring for children, animals, and the underdog. Type Threes and Type Nines strive to create such a level of success where they will be able to take care of their extended family and friends without stress or worry. They also have a strong physical passion for their relationship, and this plays a huge role in how Threes know they can be true to themselves with the support of their Type Nine counterpart.


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Chloe Yarwood, MSc

University of Chichester, Advanced Applied Psychology

Chloe Yarwood, MSc in Advanced Applied Psychology from University of Chichester. Specialist in personality type theory and developing valid personality questionnaires.