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Enneagram Type 4 Relationships: In Love and Friendships

How to be in a relationship with a Type 4 Enneagram

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Especially at healthy levels of personal development, any Enneagram type can be compatible with any other type. That said, some romantic pairings are statistically more common and/or successful than others. Below is a description of the potential benefits and challenges of each possible Type 5 relationship pairing with the other types.


Type 4 Compatibility Analysis

Which Enneagram type gets along best with Type 4?

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 Four relationships

relationships compatibility

What this chart shows

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

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

Lastly, our findings suggest that Type Sixes, Eights, and Threes show moderate compatibility with Type Fours. This is either because Type Fours and Type Sixes / Eights / Threes 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 4 Relationships

How compatible are Type 4s in a relationship with Type 1s?

Enneagram Type 4 relationships with a Type 1 can be seen as relational “oil and water” as both tend to view and relate to the world in diametrically-opposed ways. However, when they come to respect each other's unique world view and see the value in growing in their own areas of shortcoming, this pairing can become one of the most high-achieving partnerships, as each offers the other what they desperately need: Fours are given structure, while Ones are offered permission to feel and express those feelings.

When these helpful differences are not recognized, though, Ones will grow frustrated by their partner's inability to think reasonably; they will suppress their emotions (since the Four “has enough for both”) and will attempt to force structure onto their partner. On the other hand, the Type Four will increasingly act out their frustrations at their partner's stoic posturing and stultifying systems.

Both Ones and Fours are highly idealistic and seek to bring goodness and beauty into the world through their own unique contributions. The difference is in this idealism's flow: Fours are open receptors to the world's “terrible beauty,” using life's joy and pain to aid their search for the Ideal in life, love, and work. This deep well of melancholy is the source for their creativity and fuels the Four's artistic output (in whatever form that may take). Ones, however, are idealistic in seeing the world's brokenness and believing they can create the right guidelines, systems, and policies in place to fix the suboptimal outcomes they see.

When brought together, these contrasting idealisms can produce powerful relationships and projects, as the One brings objectivity and reason, self-discipline and regularity to their changeable partner; acting as a secure sounding board for the other's self-doubt. Fours, meanwhile, bring inspiration, sensuality, spontaneity, and an ability to delve under reality's veil into the connective tissues between all things.


Type 2 and Type 4 Relationships

How compatible are Type 4s in a relationship with Type 2s?

A Type 2 and Type 4 relationship is another relationship that often finds more success as close friends and colleagues than romantic pairings. Type Fours and Type Twos have complimentary emotional range with almost too-complimentary foibles: both are emotionally available and employ the “push/pull” method of relating with their intimates; they are also in danger of mutual manipulation or even codependency if the Four's propensity for being the “abandoned child in need of rescuing” is met by the Two's equally strong penchant for being a “rescuer.”

A romantic bond between these types is attainable, as each naturally draws in the other. Fours do so through their mystique and romanticism, while a Two's warmth, sweetness, and security is the magnetic factor. When healthy, each type will refrain from pushing the other away. Fours may push others away as a means to create emotional excitement, and Twos can do this when frightened by the possibility they may need the other as much as they are needed. Twos offer their partner dependability, sociability, and a wholesome home base, while Fours extend permission for emotional honesty about one's inner nature, as well as humor and creativity. As each relaxes into the other's arms, they will find deep comfort and security (emotionally, physically, and practically) helping each pursue their methods for repairing the world's hurts to which they are so deeply attuned.

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Fours attract a Type 2 through their mystique and romanticism, while a Two's warmth, sweetness, and security is the magnetic factor for a Type 4.

Relational pitfalls fall along the arrows of stress and growth these types share. Twos grow in health as they learn to express more Four-attributes, such as seeking authenticity and expressing their own “selfish” needs. However, Fours move toward Two-ness when they become stressed, losing themselves in others and putting on what they may feel to be a façade in order to be accepted. To move forward together, the Four must ask what, if anything, is actually lacking in their partner, while Twos must be willing to show their true selves.


Type 3 and Type 4 Relationships

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

A Type 3 and Type 4 relationship could make a successful outward-facing bond, as each is deeply concerned with their image and others’ approval. This doesn't mean Type Fours and Type Threes are only successful publicly, but there can be challenges when the crowd leaves.

Both see the other as the embodiment of what they lack, and their response to this will determine the relationship's outcome. The Four can look with awe or jealousy on their Three's success and charisma, while the Three will see their partner's personal depth and ability to tap into life's mysteries as their missing piece, leading them to work with or reject their Four. If healthy, this can lead to a successful private relationship and public partnership; if unhealthy, the Three will see their partner's long contemplation as laziness or emotionally-induced paralysis, and the Four will project shallowness and bastardization of beauty onto the Three's love of the limelight.

letter i in grey circle for information point

Type 3s may see a Type 4's frequent contemplation as a form of laziness

The outward/inward dichotomy between the types’ posture can lead to relational success or deterioration. Threes are focused on work and achievement, and will over-schedule themselves as a way of avoiding emotions; Fours are focused inward, tending their garden of creativity, and will retreat ever-further into themselves in hopes that distance will spark desire. As such, the Four will feel they never have enough time with their partner, and the Three will see the resulting outburst as an overly-dramatic response to “normal busyness”—though this is mitigated in healthy relationships when both recognize the difference between busywork and labor as a demonstration of commitment.

When helping each other grow, the Three's achievements will be enhanced by the freedom to process their feelings, and a new fascination with life's hiddenness. The Four will, without envy, celebrate their partner's success, and will themselves come to be more high-achieving as they learn organization and sociability.


Double Type 4 Relationships

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

It can be rare for Fours to create lasting romantic bonds with other Fours, but they will often create deep, lifelong friendships. Upon first meeting another Four, there is an almost immediate and intuitive sense of shared-knowing, which can be intoxicating for a type that spends their life feeling fundamentally misunderstood. Fours are not afraid of swimming in the deep, melancholy waters of life's “terrible beauty,” and strengthen their bond by sharing stories of loneliness and trauma (particularly from childhood). A Double 4 relationship has very high compatibility, it's just a question of whether they can maintain a healthy relationship with one another.

quotation marks When Fours first meet there can be an immediate and intuitive sense of shared-knowing, which can be intoxicating for a type that spends their life feeling fundamentally misunderstood
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

As friends, Fours will quickly become inseparable companions, often maintaining these relationships their entire lives through shared emotional landscapes, artistic activities and interests, and support through each others’ pursuit of the Ideal in life, love, work work. While each will be able to clearly see their friend's romantic pitfalls, they will often be unable to help (other than acknowledging the pain), and will then turn around and make the same mistakes.

If this initial “meeting of souls” does spark romantic feelings, the first days of the double type 4 relationship will be passionate. Having been “finally understood,” they will pour themselves into each other, using dramatic words and gestures they might have feared using with former lovers, combined with a sense that no words need be spoken at all, such is the intuitive bond.

But, when a double Four bond turns to maintaining the relationship, they find each other's own propensity for turning inward, for feeling tragically misunderstood and broken, and for cycling between pushing the other away, then drawing them back in, can strain the relationship beyond the breaking point. However, if both Fours are pursuing health and come to understand their own relational hazards, they can create a bond of intense emotional depth and intuitive knowing, keeping the spark of romance alive for a lifetime.


Type 5 and Type 4 Relationships

How compatible is a Type 4 in a relationship with a Type 5?

Fours are attracted to Fives’ reserve, seeing their withdrawing, cerebral posture as a mystery to pursue. Conversely, Type Fives are drawn to Fours’ depth, desiring to investigate this puzzling individual. A mutual belief in life's hiddenness—in symbols and reality's iceberg, the majority of experience existing below the surface—leads to a rich connection. Conversations between these types are broad-ranging and mutually stimulating, and successful bondings will have open-communication as a relational hallmark.

Both are outsiders, with Fours longing to be understood, but fearful they never will be, and Fives content to remain in their cerebral solitude. When together, they appear quirky and off-kilter, as though they have their own private language and humor—because they do. Fours and Fives are both comfortable dwelling in their inner lives, but each has a different motivation for their interiority—a source for continuing romantic interest and eventual frustration.

More work or play?

Double Type One relationships are likely to be more work than play, more rational than passionate.

Fours primarily relate from and to the heart, while Fives do so from the head, therefore their romantic overtures will often be completely missed. These overlooked signals are exasperating, setting the Four's push/pull method of relating into motion: they push the other away (hoping to engender longing), and are dismayed to find the Five comfortably retreating. The Four will then have a dramatic outburst about the other's “lack of care,” while their Five partner will be confused and frustrated by the Four's “irrationality.”

When healthy, this pairing can temper natural extremes, the Four learning to view life from a new perspective, and the Five gaining an emotional connection and aesthetic appreciation. Their shared inner life offers permission to the other to pursue passions and interests, and both find strength and growth as they learn the proper degree of contact in their relationship.


Type 6 and Type 4 Relationships

How compatible are Type 4s in a relationship with Type 6s?

Type Fours and Type Sixes are drawn to each other's emotional intensity and intuition. Their initial bond is often guided by mutual interiority and fear of abandonment. Both are emotionally reactive, pessimistic, and easily overwhelmed, a shared understanding allowing commiseration on the world's brokenness and their outcast feelings.

Both are both emotionally-reactive, so conflicts quickly escalate if their mutual commitment to each other is not affirmed, resulting in each side confirming their worst fears of abandonment and not being loved. Fours plumb the depths of mystery and doubt, while Sixes desire stability and clarity. When unhealthy, the Four feels “held back” by their partner, while the Six reacts against the uncertainty introduced. If these negative feelings grow, both will begin loyalty tests, the Four pushing their partner away, hoping to engender longing, and the Six retreating in fear and mistrust.

quotation marks Fours help Sixes feel needed, since the Six can offer stability and act as a sounding board for the inexpressible fears and longings of their partner
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Fours help Sixes feel needed, since the Six can offer stability and act as a sounding board for the inexpressible fears and longings of their partner. When healthy, the Six leverages this to break through a Four's darkness, providing solid ground from which they can pursue their passions. Similarly, Fours can help bring expression to the Six's swirl of fearful emotions, offering language for their internal cloud of anxiety. However, this can become codependent if unhealthy power dynamics appear, or both fear they cannot survive life's difficulties without the other's mediating presence.

When healthy, their shared fears are able to be expressed in an emotionally-supportive environment, and both are able to cope with life's uncertainties and unfairnesses without being overwhelmed. Fours offer their Six partner time and presence to plumb their anxieties, and the Six offers stability and practicality. Over time, a healthy relationship will be marked by a Four's growth in perseverance and practicality, and a Six's strengthened ability to cope with uncertainty.


Type 7 and Type 4 Relationships

How compatible are Type 4s in a relationship with Type 7s?

The Type 7 and Type 4 relationship is a fairly common occurrence. When the points of bonding are strong enough, both types can bring out the best in each other, but if they are not, the two will fly apart in alienation, each assuming the other was completely at fault for the breakup.

Both find each other endlessly fascinating and engage in long, lively conversations filled with irreverent humor and contain a great capacity for ecstasy, spontaneity, and passion. They enjoy sharing the finer things in life with fellow sophisticates, sometimes resulting in a lifestyle that far outpaces their abilities. These shared interests and experiences can provide bonding points to which they return during life's difficulties.

Fours are frustrated by a Seven's “too-muchness”: their bottomless energy, relentless happiness, and constantly full-schedule is exhausting. Conversely, Sevens find this propensity for “wallowing” to be exasperating: Fours can be seen as hypersensitive, self-absorbed, and lacking in the will to accomplish anything. In conflict, the Four will want to plumb the depths of the disagreement and rehash the situation from all sides, allowing each emotional reaction to “breathe.” Meanwhile, the Seven will desire a speedy resolution in order to move on to the next thing; feelings have only a passing interest before they become cumbersome.

When the relationship persists, Fours learn that their Seven partner deserves an actual resolution to conflict, while the Seven learns that their Four deserves time for full-emotional expression and, yes, even sadness. Sevens can rise above the Four's push/pull method of relating, which is both irksome and intriguing to a Four. Healthy relationships will see the Four encouraging the Seven's emotional depth, and the Seven helping the Four to move beyond their emotional possessiveness.


Type 8 and Type 4 Relationships

How compatible are Type 4s in a relationship with Type 8s?

Fours and Type Eights, for better or for worse, are one of the more intense bondings. Each type is able to match the intensity of the other, leading to an inherently volatile, yet creative, relationship. No one can match a Four's depth of emotional connection, while the Eight's lust for conquering life through sheer force of will creates a stormy, but exciting relationship. Both are somewhat in awe of and deeply fascinated by the other: Fours cannot fathom the Eight's social shamelessness, fearlessness, and authenticity. Meanwhile, Eights are deeply drawn by the sophistication, limitless creativity, and unconventional nature of their Four partners. Though expressed differently, both are quite intuitive: Fours’ natural insight into their own inner life is bewildering, while Eights can see clearly into the present moment's needs. Therefore, the Four will greatly depend on their partner's practicality and protection, while the Eight will feel lost without their partner's connection to life's unseen realities.

Depending on the partners’ health, this pairing can be either one of the most long-lasting and generative of all, or can devolve into a struggle for domination. This knife's-edge experience is part of the allure for both types, as they engage in countless knock-down-drag-out fights, followed by intense seasons of making-up.

quotation marks the Four will greatly depend on their partner's practicality and protection, while the Eight will feel lost without their partner's connection to life's unseen realities.
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

This stormy relating style can be helpful if Eights are able to successfully pilot the pair through the Four's attempts to push/pull, without falling to the temptation to punish their partner for the undesired drama. The pair will use each other's passion for life to stave off the boredom both fear. When healthy, Eights will add structure and security to a Four's life, allowing the more flighty partner to “buckle down” and complete their many romanticized projects. Meanwhile, the Four will help the Eight make contact with repressed emotions, allowing them to connect more deeply with the causes they pursue.


Type 9 and Type 4 Relationships

How compatible are Type 4s in a relationship with Type 9s?

Nines and Fours are likely to experience certain challenges. Both are emotionally sensitive and are empathetic to the world's sufferings, often leading both to believe they have found the soulmate they've been searching for. Fours receive the no strings-attached acceptance they desperately long for, while offering their Type Nine partner an emotional intensity and excitement they didn't know they needed.

While both types deeply desire intuitive connection, both are also withdrawing, and desire autonomy and seasons of privacy during which they can pursue their individual interests. When each is actively engaged outside the other's emotional life, the relationship will grow in health, as both support the other's creativity, while allowing the distance each needs for different reasons. Fours must be able to draw their partner back to them, and if they can do this without harmfully pushing them away, the negative cycle of rejection/seduction can be cut short. Meanwhile, Nines will appreciate being given temporary space from emotional drama, so that they can return recharged and ready to engage.

letter i in grey circle for information point

Fours receive the no strings-attached acceptance they desperately long for, while offering their Nine partner an emotional intensity and excitement they didn't know they needed.

Yet in stress, both will silently move away from the other, leading to an eventual blow-up from the Four—causing the Nine to move still further away from what they feel to be a source of emotional drain. After rejecting and pushing them away, Fours will try to draw their partner back, but will find the other to be non-responsive, leading them to blame their Nine for what may have truthfully become a one-way relationship. However, the Nine will reasonably ask what they've done wrong, pointing out that they have not actually abandoned their Four. Again, the need for self-imposed times of privacy and space will alleviate much of these frustrations, allowing the relationship to grow.


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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.