There are many ways to find out one’s type, depending on your resources of time and money. If resources permit, it is always good to combine online test with reading Enneagram books, taking an Enneagram course, and/or taking a typing interview with an experienced Enneagram teacher.
Taking Online Test
Taking an online test is a good starting point for further exploration of your possible types. The more reliable free and paid online Enneagram Tests are provided by the major players in the field. These tests can be useful in giving you information about your type. However, no personality assessment instrument can ever achieve 100% validity and reliability, so be aware that these tests may not give you an accurate result. You can try them out and see which one gives you a more accurate result. Personally, I prefer Eclectic Energies’ Free Online Test because it’s quite comprehensive and it’s free.
Reading good Enneagram books is helpful in giving you good knowledge about the different type descriptions and their associated mental and emotional patterns. You can use these information for self-reflection. Some books also include checklists to help you identify your type. So if you are more like a typical type, you can figure out your type quite easily based on the descriptions. But if you belong to those variations of the type, you will have a harder time.
Taking Enneagram Workshop
Taking Enneagram workshops would definitely help you understand the Enneagram system much better than just reading books. Because you not only have a chance to learn from an experienced teacher to clarify your doubts and confusions about typing, but also have opportunities to interact with people who know their types, if you’re lucky to meet such people in the workshop.
Taking Typing Interview
Taking a typing interview with an experienced Enneagram teacher who has been trained in typing and is competent to help people identifying their type would definitely help. Because most people are either not so Enneagram savvy or not so self-aware or objective about ourselves; we all have blind spots and tend to think we are better than who we are. So an Enneagram teacher can provide useful information and feedback. However, most Enneagram teachers would not tell you that they are 100% sure of your type because at the end of the day, only you can confirm whether their interpretations are really true for you.
My Own Typing Experiences
Typing others can be controversial because typing is more an art than science, and no matter how much experience you have in Enneagram typing, different people may have different interpretations. So my own guiding principle is always holding the type loosely whether you’re typing yourself or others.
I was turned off and almost wanted to give up my Enneagram studies some years back because of being typed by someone who has skewed stereotype view of enneagram types. However, I have learnt a very good lesson through that negative experience that I need to hold on loosely to my belief that a person is a particular type because I may not know enough of the person or my interpretations could be wrong or bias, and I shall be humble and always remain open to other possibilities till the person confirms his/her own type.
A common question people have about typing is why some people can figure out their type so easily while other people may take months or even years to do so. Below are some possible reasons:
- Not knowing the Enneagram types well enough to distinguish the difference between types
- Focusing on the external behaviours associated with type instead of the underlying motivations
- Being told by someone, who doesn’t know you well enough or know the types well enough, what your type is.
- Lacking self-awareness and having difficulty seeing ourselves objectively
If you find that working on the issues of your type comes easily and you feel like you’ve integrated or transcended the fixations of your type, it is a good sign that you may have typed yourself wrongly.