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Enneagram Type 8 Relationships: In Love and Friendships

How to be in a relationship with a Type 8 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 pairing between Type Eight and the other types.


Type 8 Compatibility Analysis

What Enneagram Type best gets along with 8

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 Eight relationships

relationships compatibility

What this chart shows

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

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

Lastly, our findings suggest that Type Sixes, Fives, and Fours show moderate compatibility with Type Eights. This is either because Type Eights and Type Sixes / Nines / Fours 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 8 Relationships

How compatible are Type 8s in a relationship with Type 1s?

Highly disciplined, principled and industrious Type Ones easily attract Type Eights, who are in turn attracted to the power and freedom that Type Eights allow themselves.

The biggest challenge for a Type 1 and Type 8 relationship is that neither wants to compromise. Type Eights fear that compromising with a partner will make them vulnerable to manipulation. Their opinions and positions are galvanized in conflict. Type Ones, with their strong internal knowing of what's correct and what isn't, have difficulty imagining a compromise that doesn't involve abandoning their principles.

An Enneagram Type 8 relationship with anger couldn't be more different to that of a Type One. Eights know anger as their primary source of power. They wield it with righteous indignation in defence of the innocent, and their intimidation tactics get results. In contrast, Type Ones feel guilty for harboring negative emotions, especially anger. They are afraid of their own rage. This could lead to Type Eights dominating the relationship, and Type Ones could become resentful if feelings of anger keep surfacing due to the Type 1 and Type 8 relationship.

quotation marks The biggest challenge for a Type 8 and Type 1 relationship is that neither wants to compromise.
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Type Ones often appear overly critical to Type Eights. Type Eights may be put off by an attitude of moral superiority that they perceive in their Type One partners. A Type Eight, feeling attacked and blamed, may respond by deflecting the perceived blame back onto the Type One. Key to working out these problems is the understanding that Type Ones are often more critical of themselves than anyone else, and they tend to blame themselves for problems beyond their responsibilities.

Healthy Type Eights stand to teach Type One partners how to access, control, and utilize their anger for a just cause. From their Type One partners they learn that they can still accomplish much while respecting boundaries and practicing discipline.


Type 2 and Type 8 Relationships

How compatible are Type 8s in a relationship with Type 2s?

Although Type Two and Type Eights have their differences, they are more similar than they might at first appear. They tend to establish well defined roles in which they practice an interdependence that can keep both parties engaged and interested for many years. Type Twos like to feel needed, and Type Eights appreciate having loyal supporters who lavish attention and care on them when they come home from a hard day of business battles and corporate conquests.

Type Eights know very well that there can be no growth without some effort and maybe a little conflict. Everything goes smoothly in Type 2 and Type 8 relationships until a Type Eight begins to grow into their own capacity, following their arrow of integration to Point Two to become generous and attentive partners. Competitive Type Twos get upset when someone else plays their game. Type Twos strategically deflect from their own needs by attending to those of others, so they get uncomfortable when a Type Eight partner suddenly turns the tables.

The arrow of integration that Type Eights follow in growth is the same line that Type Twos fall back on in stress. As Type Eights grow into a genuine desire to serve their partners, there is the danger that Type Twos may react by resorting to the least healthy Type Eight behaviors. A Type Two at point eight, motivated by wounded pride and a terrifying feeling of uselessness, can cause serious damage to the relationship. On the other hand, if Type Twos can accept the challenge and grow along with their Type Eight partners, their relationships become stronger than ever.


Type 3 and Type 8 Relationships

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

A Type 8 and Enneagram Type 3 relationship is a particularly common combination. 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.

Both Type 8s and Type 3s 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. An Enneagram Type 8 relationship with Type 3s can 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.

quotation marks Type Threes sometimes have a blind spot when it comes to recognizing the contributions of others
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

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 4 and Type 8 Relationships

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

Both Type Eights and Type Fours are intensely interested in personal authenticity. While Type Eights value emotional honesty and forthright communication, Type Fours believe in treating the full range of emotion with deep respect. Type Eights are expert at uncovering hidden resentments; Type Fours are masters at evoking inner melancholia. In budding Type 4 and Type 8 relationships, image-conscious Type 4s often envy and try to emulate their new partner's carefree attitude regarding the opinions of others while Type 8s are initially drawn to the Four's mystique. Together they create a mood that is deep, fierce, and intimate.

When the excitement wears off, the dark and stormy atmosphere of a Type 4 and Type 8 relationship frequently proves to be dangerously toxic. Type Fours often fall into long periods of depression, which looks like weakness to Type Eights. A Type Eight with a Seven wing may try to ridicule their partner out of a depressive episode, which won't work. Instead, the Type Four may be masochistically drawn to the pain this causes, and a downward spiral ensues. A Type Eight with a nine wing will simply walk away from what looks like an impossible situation.

letter i in grey circle for information point

The dark and stormy atmosphere of a Type 4 and Type 8 relationship frequently proves to be dangerously toxic

Type Eights stand to learn from Type Four partners that anger is sadness denied. The permission that Type Fours give them to explore their rage fully until the sorrow emerges experience something like a great weightlifting from their chest. Likewise, the sadness of Type Four often covers some repressed anger that a Type Eight can help them access and address.


Type 5 and Type 8 Relationships

How compatible are Type 8s in a relationship with Type 5s?

Type 5 and Types 8 relationships can work out very well. Initial attraction is grounded in mutual respect. Type Fives appreciate people who are decisive and clear about what they expect in relationships – a characteristic of Type Eights. Both types value autonomy and inner strength.

Beyond that initial connection, withdrawn and intensely private Type Fives may initially be overwhelmed by the high energy of Type Eights, and Type Eights wonder what secrets their new reclusive Type Fives are harboring.

dim bulb

Type Fives may initially be overwhelmed by the high energy of Type Eights

Type Eights press in for connection with an emotional force that overwhelms Type Fives. Any bombastic attempts to draw Type Fives out are bound to fail, as Type Fives dislike having their emotions manipulated as much as Type Eights do. When Type Fives shut down in response, rejection-sensitive Type Eights are deeply hurt. They tend to express that hurt as rage, which pushes Fives further away. Gut-centered Type Eights value immediate responses as authentic and honest.

It helps Type 8s to understand that immediate reactions don't often come naturally to Type Fives. They need privacy and space to process their emotions. Eventually Type Fives learn to show up and stand their ground. The rewards include a newfound spontaneity and the ability to engage with the world on a vital level as well as the affection and respect of a committed partner.

The two make a connection when they travel along their shared arrow of integration. Type Eights, naturally independent, can learn to grow in solitude – addressing their own faults rather than casting blame on others. Type Fives become more assertive when they are feeling confident, and this earns the respect of forthright Type Eights.


Type 6 and Type 8 Relationships

How compatible are Type 6 and Type 8 relationships?

Types Six and Eight share a belief that the world is full of danger, and both see themselves as protectors and defenders for the disadvantaged. Type 6s are attracted to the the strength and courage of larger-than-life Type 8s, while Type Eights value the loyalty of Type Sixes. In a Type 6 and Type 8 partnership, the Eight usually takes the more active role whilst the Six, behind the scenes, creates the agenda and serves as strategic advisor. This often sets the scene for a brains-and-bronze duo.

Both types are among the most emotionally expressive. Direct communication is important to both, although type Eights are more convinced by what one does rather than what one says whereas Type Sixes gain reassurance when partners take the time for deep heart-to-heart conversations.

Type Eights expect that there will be a certain amount of conflict in their relationships, and they don't shy away from it. They feel perfectly comfortable expressing and witnessing anger, but this often looks like a terrifying loss of control to cautious Type Sixes. At unhealthy levels, an Eight may even try to provoke their partner's wrath because they don't feel that they have fully seen a person until they've witnessed the full range of raw emotions.

letter i in grey circle for information point

Type 6s and Type 8s are amongst the most emotionally expressive

On the scale of fight to flight, Type Eights are fighters. Type Sixes, on the other hand, prefer to resolve interpersonal differences through appeasement. In the eyes of a Type Eight, the Type Six's need for frequent reassurance looks like weakness. If these couples can get past characterizing each other as wimps and bullies, Type Sixes learn to stand up for their own needs without capitulating while Eights learn to empathise with and respect a world view different from their own.


Type 7 and Type 8 Relationships

How compatible are Type 8s in a relationship with Type 7s?

Type 8s and Type 7s are both freedom-loving types with high energy and a strong zest for life. Like Type Eights, Type Sevens refuse to be limited or controlled. Sevens rely on charm and charisma to exert their will, at times playfully bending the rules to what they want. This may appear dishonest and manipulative to Eights, who are able to simply overpower anyone who stands in their way.

Type Sevens often admire the defiance and daring of Type Eights, up to a certain point. At unhealthy levels, Type Eights try to hold power over and control others in their lives as a way to ensure that no one will be able to control them. This behavior will only push a Type Seven away, either that or it will initiate serious fights.

quotation marks When the two work together, Type Eights learn the value of levity while Type Sevens learn to face their most terrifying fears.
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Both are assertive and direct, but where Type Eights are energized by the opportunity for a good fight and are eager to get to the root of any obstacle in their path, Sevens skim the surface of issues rather than facing challenges head on. Type Eights expect loyalty, and they find Type Seven's fickleness and noncommittal attitude unsettling. Type Sevens feel that they should be allowed to change their mind.


Double Type 8 Relationships

Are Type 8s compatible with each other?

When two Type Eights form a relationship and share a household, the result is usually noisy. This is not necessarily as bad as it may sound to other types who only engage in heated arguments when they are frustrated or want to prove a point. People who witness these frequent arguments may worry that their Type Eights are out of control and possibly in danger, but the reality is that Type Eights rarely lose control. They may intentionally pick a fight, hurling insults they don't mean and bombastic accusations, as sort of a game that they play merely to test their partner or to discharge energy. Type Eights appreciate other Type Eights who are familiar with these games and like to play them too. Challengers are rarely invested in winning these arguments

quotation marks Typically, while one partner stands firm in the role of the boss, the other will relinquish control and explore one of their wings
Chloe Yarwood, MSc

Type Eights are serious about being the boss though, and only one person can fill that role.

A Double Enneagram Type 8 relationship can work well when one partner develops enough trust to relinquish the role. Challengers believe that holding ground in their Type Eightness is an important responsibility and they rarely entrust it to others. Typically, while one partner stands firm, the other will explore one of their wings, either carefree Type Seven or gentle Type Nine. They may expand into generous Type Two or withdraw into reclusive Type Five. Any of these shifts would hardly be possible without the other partner to keep those Type Eight shoes filled.

It can be quite liberating and illuminating for a Type Eight to be able to explore these other aspects of their personality. Ideally, the pair will take turns.


Type 9 and Type 8 Relationships

How to be in a relationship as a Type 8 and Type 9 Enneagram?

If Type Eights raging storms of electrical energy, Type Nines are impassive and immovable mountains. Strength of force meets impenetrable fortitude. When Challengers and Peacemakers initially meet, Type Eights commonly take the impression that they are gaining a malleable supporter or protégé who only needs a little inspiration and guidance. Type Nines see Type Eights as confident leaders who will get things done.

Type Eights may become irritated by how difficult it can be to either inspire or spark a fight with a stubborn Type Nine partner. Peacemakers are not easily roused to action. They are known for graciously acquiescing on more trivial matters, such as selecting a restaurant for dinner, but they stand firm in quiet resolve when it comes to issues that are important to them. Type Eights admire this integrity.

letter i in grey circle for information point

Type Eights may become irritated by how difficult it can be to either inspire or spark a fight with a stubborn Type Nine partner

Challengers and Peacemakers are neighbouring types, and they are both body types. Even if Nine isn't the Type Eight partner's dominant wing, nor vice versa, they can guide each other in exploring these wings to discover unfamiliar aspects of their personalities. Nine-like Type Eights become more circumspect and patient with others as well as with themselves. Coached by Type Eight partners, Type Nines find their voice. If the two don't take the opportunity to learn from each other and blend their very different types of strength, they can become increasingly entrenched in manipulative methods and modes of communication that don't work, and they will eventually go their separate ways.


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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.