Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast
The Enneagram of Personality, or just the Enneagram, is a representation of personalities using a geometric figure, also called an enneagram (little e), to express nine interconnected personality types. While each type is unique it is related to other types through the circle connecting the type to each of it’s wings and the lines or arrows in the center connecting the type to the ones it imitates in times of stress or growth. The Enneagram is used in business management training to better understand interpersonal dynamics in the workplace.
Types Five, Six, and Seven constitute the Head triad. This triad is primarily motivated by their thoughts. Those in the head triad tend to filter life through an intellectual lens. Because of that, they tend to be motivated by a need for security and tend to feel stressed or anxious when that need is not met. They are often accused of overthinking things or living in their heads. Of the three, Sevens want nothing to do with fear. They attempt to completely avoid it by ignoring it, even when it can be helpful to them.
At their best, Sevens find wonder in the simple things in life. They are joyful and ecstatic. They understand that more times than not, “less is more” allowing them to understand how much they have invested into their own happiness. They are able to allow themselves to feel a full range of emotions, even the less pleasant ones.
At their worst, Sevens are excessive, impulsive, and infantile. They do not know when to stop, especially when doing something pleasurable. They feel sorry for themselves taking on the victim mentality. To escape this anxiety they become impulsive to the point of losing control.
Sevens bring a child like wonder to the world. Their adventurous spirit and curious nature can revitalize even the hardest curmudgeon. Though their avoidance of anything uncomfortable can cause them problems. If you are a Seven, remember that pain in unavoidable in life. Though you may be able to reduce it some be sure to practice moderation when enjoying life. Understand that true happiness and satisfaction will not be found in the next adventure, you have to find it in yourself. Friends of Enthusiasts can help them by sharing their stories of overcoming painful events. Help them to see that they can be content and happy with who they are and what they have now.
The Enneagram Type 7 is “The Enthusiast”.
Their high enthusiasm for everything in life is why the Seven is called The Enthusiast. They are extroverted, spontaneous, playful, and high spirited approaching life with a sense of adventure and curiosity. However, Sevens can become overextended if not careful. They have a tendency to take on all the projects that interest them. This tendency leads to a scattered, undisciplined life with little actually getting finished.
Enthusiasts are best described by the word “chutzpah”, which is Yiddish for a “extreme self-confidence or audacity.” They dive after the things they want in life with a cheerful, joyous determination. As members of the Head Triad, Sevens will avoid pain by thinking their way out of it. They will either intellectualize painful emotions or start telling jokes and stories to change the topic. Introspection is difficult for the Seven because they actively run from it.
Enthusiasts are not particularly intellectual or even the best students. Instead, they have quick wit, agile minds, and anticipatory thinking. Sevens will forsee things and then try to come up with ideas in the moment. Sevens have an uncanny ability to reframe a bad situation to something positive. It stems from a defence mechanism but when used consciously they not only rationalize any negative but are then able to turn it into a win.
When faced with disappointment or emotional pain as children, Sevens created their own pain free world to live in.
Like the other members of their triad, at some early developmental point they internalized the idea that they are on their own and no-one is coming to help or take care of them. Unlike the other members of the Head Triad, Sevens determined to find comfort for themselves by hiding away in their own happy thoughts until the painful event had passed or was no longer an issue. They avoid dealing with emotionally traumatic issues by hiding in their own thoughts.
The pleasure seeking Enthusiast is always ready for the next adventure. However, their insatiable curiosity becomes a curse when they are too distracted or tired to keep going. Not wanting to be tied down, the Seven will avoid any form of long-term commitment as long as possible. They live for the new and exciting.
Sevens have difficulty making big decisions, especially when it comes to choosing a career. Their mental abilities allow them an almost super human ability to pick up skills quickly and easily making it difficult to stay with one thing for very long. When unhealthy Enthusiasts are the “Hello World” experts, but when balanced they are the ones creating Proof of Concepts and getting others excited about the new technology they’ve learned.
Desires and Fears
The basic desire for the Enthusiast is to be content or satisfied. They must have their needs met or exceeded. They are motivated to keep themselves busy, excited, and happy so they don’t notice any pain. Sevens fight anxiety and insecurity by completely avoiding it at all costs. They dive so deep into the things they are doing and their pleasure seeking behavior that they don’t even recognize when they are experiencing emotional down turns.
The basic fear of the Enthusiast is to be deprived or in pain, whether physical or emotional. To avoid this they try to learn and do all the pleasurable things they can find. Having a strong fear of missing out leads the Seven to over extending themselves to the point of exhaustion. When exhausted they will retreat into their own thoughts to find comfort.
Examples (Healthy, Average, Unhealthy)
The healthy Seven is a vivacious extrovert who has learned how to not only accept but embrace negative emotions when they come. They are able to incorporate disappointment and even pain instead of avoiding it. This better understanding allows them to enthusiastically bring others excitement. The Enthusiast is able to use their skill acquisition talent to become an accomplished generalist in the work force. Their fun adventurous nature is grounded in practical resilience.
The average Seven will reframe almost every failure, negative, or sad event to be positive. They start to lose their inhibitions becoming flamboyant saying or doing whatever pops in their heads. For the mediocre Enthusiast the waiting is the best part. They find more pleasure in the anticipation than in the actual event. They start to lose focus as their restlessness increases and they crave more adventures or just more choices in life.
The unhealthy Seven feels sorry for themselves, taking on a victim mentality that they’ve been dealt an unfair hand. They try to avoid their own feelings by acting solely on impulse. At their worst, Enthusiasts are highly prone to addiction. They lose control of themselves experiencing erratic mood swings. They tend to recklessly risk more and more until they are beyond what they are willing to lose.
Gluttony is the Seven’s deadly sin.
Enthusiasts have a compulsive drive to consume every possible stimulation, positive experience, or high end material. They crave it and nothing is ever enough for them. Negative emotions are absolutely intolerable for the Seven. While not enjoyable for others, the Seven cannot stand sadness, fear, disappointment, or even boredom.
The Enthusiast’s defense mechanisms all involve keeping them active and in a positive mood. Unfortunately, they are never satisfied in the moment but instead looking for future satisfaction. Of all the types on the Enneagram, Sevens are the most prone to addictions. When unhealthy, they will indulge and over indulge in drugs that make them feel good, stimulants for more energy or hallucinogens/psychotropics so they can live in their mental fantasies.
Wings and Things (Arrows)
The Seven with a Six Wing is called “The Entertainer”.
More grounded than other Sevens, the Six or Loyalist brings a conscientiousness to the Seven causing them to maintain connections with people. They are called the Entertainer because of their ability to become the enjoyable entertainer around others when they stick around for a while.
The 7w6 is able to make longer term commitments, even to the point of staying in long term relationships through the challenging times. The other aspect of the Six brought to the Entertainer is their ability to complete projects. The 6w7 will take on less than the other Sevens because they are more driven to complete a project once started.
Sevens with an Eight Wing are called “The Realist”.
More competitive, the Eight or Challenger brings a persuasiveness in a way that will not only get what they want but get others excited about it too. Though they are assertive and bold, the Realist is more focused on having a good time than on gaining power and influence like their Eight counterpart.
The 7w8 loves being in a relationship where they are able to contribute to their partner’s happiness, however they are not likely to leave an unhappy relationship because they don’t like endings. Unlike the Entertainer, the Realist is easily bored. They have a large collection of unfinished projects as they start on one then get bored and move to another.
Direction of Integration or health for the Seven points to the Five or Investigator.
When moving from unhealthy disorganized gluttony, the impulsive Seven becomes fascinated by life giving them focus like a healthy Investigator. The healthy Enthusiast will stop being a consumer, instead they will start to contribute to the world around them.
They start to become comfortable on their own or being quiet. This allows them to explore things on a deeper level thinking about the purpose they have in life. When becoming like a healthy Five, the Seven is able to experience satisfaction like they have not ever had before.
Direction of Disintegration or stress for the Seven points to the One or Perfectionist.
When under stress, the undisciplined Seven will become critical of themselves and others like an unhealthy One. They pick up a form of perfectionism for the things they enjoy. Thinking for an unhealthy Seven heading toward the One arrow become binary. They see things as black-and-white, on-or-off, good-or-bad, fun-or-boring.
The Enthusiast loses their optimism and enthusiasm for life as they veer down a path toward stress out pessimism. Where before they had a live and let live attitude, unhealthy Sevens become judgemental even to the point of arguing and fighting.
Interacting With Others
Interactions with Sevens
When interacting with Sevens, remember that they just want to have fun and avoid any type of discomfort or negative emotional situation. The Enthusiast is quick witted, funny, and extremely optimistic. When not over doing it, they are a lot of fun to be around brightening up any room they enter.
Storytelling is the Seven’s preferred form of communication. They enjoy hearing, telling, and swapping stories. To them sharing a similar story to yours is one of the highest compliments because it means they were paying attention and are showing understanding. Enthusiasts may get overwhelmed if they aren’t careful which will lead them to shut down. Their fear of missing out may drive them to show up if an event is of particular interest even when they are exhausted.
Working with Sevens
Healthy Enthusiasts are an asset on any team. They are able to take a setback, no matter how bad, and reframe it in a way that will motivate the other members to push forward. Sevens ability to accumulate and process information on many different subjects leads them to see patterns and connect dots that weren’t even noticed before. They are innovators with the ability to dream up great ideas and initiate them. Though, their follow through could use some work many times.
They tend to bounce around from job to job following the next big thing. This is especially evident in the tech world where most jobs only last a few years. Enthusiasts are best on many small projects or working at a start up where they will have to wear many different hats throughout the day using their ability to quickly gain skills in areas with no previous knowledge. Sevens work best when allowed flexibility, but need a good leader who will hold them accountable and help them keep themselves on task. They do not work well with overly controlling leaders.
Friendships with Sevens
Enthusiasts are a lot of fun to hang out with and will liven up any party, they aren’t very good at keeping up with people afterwords. Naturally cheerful, healthy Sevens not only see the positive in everyone but they have the ability to bring that out in others.
Enthusiast can be great friends to have when going through a rough time because they will help distract you from the issues or pain for a while. They are always up for an adventure, but they tend to over-commit themselves socially. Many times friends of a Seven will say they feel abandoned because the Seven can’t make all of their commitments.
Relationships with Sevens
Enthusiasts are ready to go no matter what the adventure and they expect their partners to be up for what ever they come up with from sky diving to lectures at an art museum. Sevens are extremely independent. Their coping mechanism to feeling anxious is to take care of themselves. This means they feel trapped when in a confining relationship.
They fear the pain and sadness of separation so Sevens are very cautious when getting into committed relationships. They need to know that once they commit it is going to last. The other reason that Enthusiasts are slow to commit is that they want to keep their options open and once committed they will no longer have those options.
Tricks of the Trade
Childlike wonder is a superpower.