Correlations for the Myers-Briggs/MBTI & Enneagram Types

By Dr. A.J. Drenth

One of the most interesting ways to study personality typing, at least for us personality junkies, is to make comparisons between the personality types of different classification systems. Two of the most popular typologies, the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) and the Enneagram, show some important and consistent correlations. In this post, we will take a quick peek at some of these telling connections.

Enneagram 1 (One)

(One): Ones can be found among any  of the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Judging types. The Judging preference also tends to be quite pronounced among Ones. As open-minded, dominant Intuitives, INJs would seem the least likely of Judging types to score as Ones.

Enneagram 2 (Two)

ESF (ESFP, ESFJ), ISF (ISFP, ISFJ). While ENFJs and INFJs may also show many Two characteristics, their preference for Intuition makes them more likely to score higher in other Enneagram zones.

Enneagram 3 (Three)

This is a tricky one. A 2008 study in the Journal of Psychological Type showed that Intuition is the Myers-Briggs preference most strongly correlated with the Three. This makes sense considering that both Enneagram Threes and Myers-Briggs Intuitives are future and goal-oriented. The same study also found that 28% of Introverted Threes were misreported as Extraverts by the MBTI. Hence, there are likely to be more Introverts among Threes than is commonly believed. We might also associate Threes’ knack for adaptation MBTI Intuition and/or Perceiving. Moreover, we might postulate Threes’ ambition to relate to Myers-Briggs types with a dominant Judging function (e.g., EJs or IPs). Based on the above, I would consider the ENFJ as the best embodiment of the Three, particularly ENFJ males. NTPs and male NFPs may also display a number of Three characteristics.

Enneagram 4 (Four)

INFP, INFJ

Enneagram 5 (Five)

 INTP, INTJ, ISTP, male INFJs

Enneagram 6 (Six)

IFPs (ISFPs, INFPs), ISJs (ISFJs, ISTJs), STPs (ESTPs, ISTPs). The fact that Sixes are so ambivalent suggests they are more likely to be Perceivers. Moreover, their continuous struggles between independence and communion suggests a tension between Introversion (independence) and Feeling (communion). Lastly, the Sixes lack of confidence in formulating their own belief system speaks to a preference for Sensing, since S types are ill-suited for abstract theorizing. This is why ISTJs, who generally base their N beliefs on past precedent, were included. ESFPs generally seem less inwardly divided and are more likely to be found among other types.

Enneagram 7 (Seven)

EPs (ENFP, ESFP, ENTP, ESTP). Clearly, the Seven represents Extraversion, as well as a combination of Ne and Se. According to Myers-Briggs theory, Ne and Se do not occur within the functional stack of the same type. Nonetheless, both can be viewed as novelty-seeking functions that can be associated with Sevens.

Enneagram 8 (Eight)

ETJ (ENTJ, ESTJ). I tend to disagree with Riso & Hudson on this one, who associate of the Eight with Extraverted Intuition (Ne). It seems more appropriate to associate the Eight with Extraverted Thinking (Te), with the ENTJ being its purest embodiment. Granted, some EFPs  also display strong Te by way of their tertiary function (e.g., ENFP Steve Jobs) and may fit the bill as Eights.

Enneagram 9 (Nine)

IFPs (INFP, ISFP). Since Nines are slow to truly engage in the outside world, they are more likely to be Introverts. Moreover Nines, also known as “Peacemakers,” are more apt to be Perceivers because Perceivers’ Extraverted Judging function (Fe or Te) always comes after their Introverted Judging function (Ti or Fi). This is why Perceivers are more prone to  have communication issues in their relationships (see this post) and to act passive-aggressively. ISFJs or ESFPs could also test as Nines but their identity seems less nebulous than is characteristic of Nines. Because of their inferior Fe function, ITPs certainly tend to function as peacemakers as well, but their identity is usually better formed than is characteristic of IFP Nines.

Consider the following observations based on the above relationships:

  • Types characterized by introverts (4, 5, 6, 9) and extraverts (2, 7, 8 )
  • Intuitives (3, 4, 5) and sensors (6)
  • Thinkers (5, 8 ) and feelers (2, 4, 9)
  • Perceivers (3, 6, 7, 9) and judgers (1, 8 )

Related Posts:

Enneagram, Myers-Briggs/MBTI, & the Inferior Function: Healthy Type Correlations

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Comments

  1. Jeffrey says

    I’ve seen these correlations elsewhere and yet I find myself to be a contradiction. I am an ENTP 5w6, So/Sx. with a tritype of 584. My Big 5 is SCUEI. I have been diagnosed with ADHD and depression. I had Febrile seizures until the age of 5.

    I include this information because I don’t know if any of this has bearing or not as to why I seem such a mismatch. I often feel like the proverbial “square peg in a round hole” because I don’t seem to fit the profile. I am guessing that, because the Enneagram is less empirical than MBTI, or Big 5, there may be room for some type combinations that do not “fit” within the norm, but even among enneagram circles, I’m a rarity: There aren’t that many type 5s whose primary instinctual variant is social.

    So maybe I’m just one of those anomalies. I always have enjoyed being a bit eccentric, but I’d like to know whether there’s an explanation for why I appear to deviate so far from the expected norms.