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Enneagram Type 4 - 'The Individualist'

A summary of what it means to be an Enneagram Type 4

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An Enneagram Type 4 possesses a rich inner life. They value authenticity and originality above all else, and live comfortably with melancholy. The intensely-felt sense of lack drives a tireless pursuit of the unattainable ideal in life, relationships, and work. A Type 4's finely-tuned aesthetic sense and willingness to delve into life's darkness leads many to pursue the arts or helping professions.


Key Personality Traits of an Enneagram Type 4

What are the core traits of a Type 4?

We have found common key personality traits that this type hold. In general Type 4s:

  • Type Fours are internally focused
  • Type Fours value authenticity from themselves and in relationships
  • Type Fours view themselves as original and utterly unique
  • Type Fours pursue ideals in life, relationships, and work
  • Type Fours are deeply connected to their own and others’ melancholy, sadness, and even grief.

Data: How Rare is Type 4?

How many of the population are Type 4 Enneagram?

Figure 1: Global distribution of each Enneagram type.

how rate type two

What this chart shows

This chart shows percentage of the population who are each Enneagram type. We see that 19.6% of the population are Type 4 Enneagram, this is the most common Type from our study. Type 6 was the most rare.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:

Data: Which Country has the Highest Proportion of Type 4?

Survey data on global population frequency of Enneagram Type 4

Figure 2: Regions with highest percent of Type 4s

which country has the highest percent

What this chart shows

This chart shows countries with the five highest and five lowest percent of respondents with Enneagram Type 4 personality type. This helps identify which regions have an above or below average proportion of Type Fours. We see that of those reporting their country as 'Nepal' there is an above average proportion of Type 4s, and of those reporting their country as 'Zimbabwe' there is a below-average proportion of Type 4s.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "What is your country of nationality?".
  • 5. Countries with insufficient sample sizes have been excluded from this study.

What it Means to be an Enneagram Type 4

An outline of what it means to be a Type 4 - The Individualist

Type Fours are engaged in a lifelong pursuit to discovery and understand who they are, in the deepest sense. They spend much of time reflecting on themselves, their sense of impact, and who they feel they are. This quest can sometimes make Type Fours feel as if they are not yet complete or truly finished as a person, and so they can have an innate sense of lacking something ineffable. This lacking ineffability can drive them in their individual, relationship and work pursuits to overcome this sense of incompleteness. Fours can find themselves looking for the thing, person, or vocation that will bring consummation to their life. This connection with their feelings can create highly empathetic helpers. But an over-developed sense of empathy can leave an unhealthy Four completely self-focused.

Their intuition, originality, and authenticity finds the Type 4 in aesthetically-focused professions, with many of the greatest creators and helpers throughout history expressing Four traits. Their art, in whatever form it takes, can be drawn from a well of paradoxical melancholy, or, “the happiness of being sad.” Their connection to, and fearless pursuit of, the deeper feelings in life can produce truly ground-breaking work, celebrating the sometimes terrible beauty of the world.

Thoughtful genius?

Type 4's connection to, and fearless pursuit of, the deeper feelings in life can produce truly ground-breaking work, celebrating the sometimes terrible beauty of the world.

Fours can be seen as less practically or pragmatically minded, leading both to grand dramatic gestures and many uncompleted projects. They will tirelessly pursue work or causes in which they find depth and value, but may be less interested in completing more banal tasks.

A Type Four's “push/pull” method of relating can create unnecessary drama for those close to them, and the Type 4's tendency to personally identify with their constantly swirling emotions will leave others never quite knowing where they stand. When pursuing personal equanimity and doing the work of acknowledging their own intrinsic worthiness, Fours’ connection to the world's sadness makes them the best type with whom to grieve.


Dimensions of Type 4 - The Individualist

The two main dimensions of Enneagram Type 4

When we perform factor analysis on the core behaviors of each Enneagram type, we find that Type Fours exhibit positive correlations with two core dimensions (traits). Dimensions are specific behavioral indicators that underpin a person's enneatype. Think of them as building blocks of a person's personality.

The following two dimensions are key to understanding the Type 4's personality.

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Complexity

An Enneagram Type Four will often have high complexity. Spending a lot of time in their head, they are able to develop complex thoughts and ideas. It may seem like a Type 4 is very relaxed or 'not up to much' but their mind will always be working hard on the inside.

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Volatile

An Enneagram Type Four will often have high volatility as they tend to be complex people who often feel that they are lacking in certain areas of their life. This feeling of incompleteness can at times lead them to become frustrated at themselves or the world around them.

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Self-Efficacy (Reversed)

An Enneagram Type Four can sometimes show lower levels of self-efficacy than they'd like, making them feel less confident in their ability to control the world around them, and feeling powerless or at the mercy of external factors beyond their control.

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Principled (Reversed)

An Enneagram Type Four will can sometimes be less principled than they'd like. They can hold critical and nuanced views of moral systems, preferring a pragmatic approach to ethics over blindly following arbitrary rules.

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Cooperative (Reversed)

An Enneagram Type Four can sometimes be less cooperative than other Enneatypes. They are fiercely independent, refusing to conform to other people’s standards or to capitulate to other people’s demands.

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Altruistic (Reversed)

An Enneagram Type Four show lower levels of altruism than other Enneatypes. They tend to focus on their own problems, objectives, and desires, believing that people should get their own house in order before attempting to help others.

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Team-Oriented (Reversed)

An Enneagram Type Four can be less team-oriented than other Enneatypes. Type Fours are often referred to as “Individualists”, refusing to lose themselves in the crowd or sacrifice individuality for the greater good.


Data: Enneagram Type 4 Dimensions Profile

The dimensions of Type 4

We studied the core personality traits (dimensions) of Enneagram Type Fours. The radar chart below shows the results of our survey.

Figure 3: Radar chart of core personality traits (dimensions) of Type Fours

dimensions

What this chart shows

This chart shows how Type 4s score on 14 key personality traits. The scores on each scale are derived from our internal research and present a helpful shorthand to describe the Enneagram Type 4 personality profile. For example we see that Type 4s score high on Complexity and low on Principled.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:

Type 4: Heart Type, Head Type, or Body Type?

Which center of intelligence is an Enneagram Type 4?
  • heart type icon Heart type

Fours’ acute perception of their shifting internal state can lead them to question their decisions; they follow their intuition, but are prone to then endlessly question its signals and motivations. When unhealthy and stressed, they can then spend countless hours re-litigating previous choices and fretting over future ones.

 

heart type enneagram

 

Type Fours are Heart Types. Heart Types make decisions based on their feelings and intuition.


Data: Type 4 Genders

Survey data on Type 4 by genders

Type 4s are mostly female (56.8%) with 41.9% male and 1.3% non-binary.

Figure 4: Type 4s by gender

genders

What this chart shows

The split between genders across the Type 4 population was 56.8% female, 41.9% male, 1.3% non-binary.

Notes:
  • 1. n=2214
  • 2. Population: Global Type Fours
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "What is your gender?"

Data: Proportion of Enneagram Type 4s in each Religion

Percent of people who are Type 4 by major religion

Are Type 4s more inclined towards certain religions? From our research we see that Sikhs are more likely to be Type 4 than Christians are.

Figure 5: Percent of Type Fours in each major religion

religions

What this chart shows

This chart shows what percentage of eight religions are Type 4, and the global average percent of people who are Type 4. This helps identify whether a particular religion has an above-average or below-average proportion of Type 4s.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Religions without a sufficient sample size were not included.
  • 5. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "Which religion do you most identify with?"

Type 4 Strengths and Weaknesses

What are the positive and negative attributes of a Type 4?

There are unique strengths and weaknesses to being a Type 4. Here we will answer the question of 'what are the main strengths and weaknesses of being a Type 4 Enneagram?'

Info Table
Strengths Weaknesses
Rich internal life Self-focused
Truly unique and creative Desire for uniqueness leads to envy of others' accomplishments
Ability to grieve with others Over-identification with emotions
Pursuit of ideals Unable to process trauma (or strong emotions) causing susceptibility to becoming overwhelmed
star note

Note: As with all types, the connection between strengths and weaknesses is one of the trait's strength or presence, based upon personal growth. The strength of originality easily leads to the weakness of envy and self-absorption when the focus moves toward the Four's sense of personal lack, whereas the weakness of identifying with or wallowing in emotions leads to the strength of empathy when others’ needs are considered first.


Enneagram Type 4 Fears and Desires

A list of the core fears and desires of Type 4s

Each Enneagram type has fears and desires; things to avoid and things to seek out.

Fears

Things Enneagram Type 4 should avoid

Core Fear: To be so broken they will not be understood or seen as unique.

  • Drift into depression and be alone.
  • Overwhelmed/paralyzed by the past to the point they are unable to experience the present.
  • Accidentally pushing away those they love.

Desires

Things Enneagram Type 4 should seek

Core Desire: To be fully known yet also mysteriously unique.

  • Bring others into experiences of melancholic beauty.
  • While pursuing the ideal, to find satisfaction in the search itself.
  • Discover equanimity, allowing full experience of emotions without being ruled by them.

Data: Type 4 Age Distribution

Grouped survey data on Type 4 ages

We surveyed the age of Type Fours and grouped the data.

Figure 6: Enneagram Type 4 by age

ages

What this chart shows

This chart shows that Type Fours are significantly more likely to be under 21 than other enneatypes. We suspect this is because of the tumultuousness associated with adolescence and early adulthood, which is likely to manifest into neuroticism and emotionality. As teenagers and young adults get older and gain more life experience, they are increasingly likely to lose their emotional volatility and become more stable, reducing (but not eliminating) the likelihood of remaining a Type Four into middle-age.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:

Type 4 Arrows: Type 4s at Their Best and Their Worst

What are Enneagram arrows and how do they work?

Every enneagram type has two potential arrow types that they can achieve according to their state of stress or state of growth. None of us are static personalities, and sometimes we are better versions of ourselves whilst other times we are not achieving our potential.

How to become a healthy Type 4 Enneagram?

When a Type Four is in flow, or the Direction of Integration or Growth, they become more objective, principled, and dependable, as if they were a healthy Type One.

When a Type Four is out of flow, or the Direction of Disintegration or Stress, they will accentuate the unhealthy traits of Type Twos, such as losing themselves in others.

What are the wings of an Enneagram Type 4?

A Type 4 can either have a Three-wing (4w3) or a Five-wing (4w5). A Type 4 with either of these wings will then exhibit new traits from their wing type.

arrow image type 6

Type Four arrow

Type Four arrow chart

A Type Four can try to become a healthy Type One by ascribing worth to their daily activities to ensure they are not stuck in unhealthy habits.

  • Direction of Integration = Healthy Type 1
  • Direction of Disintegration = Unhealthy Type 2

What wings can a Type 4 have?

Type 4s can also exhibit traits associated with their adjacent Enneatype. For Type 4 the adjacent Enneatypes are 3 and 5. A Type 4 can either have a Three-wing (4w3) or a Five-wing (4w5). With either of these wings, the Type 4 would then exhibit certain traits of that wing type.


Data: Type 4 Sexual Orientation

Survey data on Type 4 sexual orientation

We surveyed sexual orientation amongst Enneagram Type Fours.

Figure 7: Enneagram Type 4 by sexual orientation

sexual orientation

What this chart shows

This chart shows what percentage of each a particular sexual preference are Type 4. For example 31.6% of people reporting as lesbian are Type 4. This compares with 19.6% of all people who are Type 4. Lesbians are more likely to be Type 4 than heterosexuals are.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:

Data: Type 4 Qualifications

Survey data on Type 4 academic qualifications

We surveyed Type 4s on their highest level of academic qualification.

Figure 8: Highest level of qualification held by Type 4s

qualifications

What this chart shows

This chart shows the percent of the population who reported holding a particular qualification as their highest qualification. By comparing data for Type 4 and all types, we can see whether Type 4s are more or less likely to hold a particular qualification. We see that Type 4s are more likely than the average population to hold as their highest qualification "A Level or equivalent qualification".

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "Your highest level of qualification".

 


page author ben

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.