The Enneagram Trend

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BY KATIE BETZ betzka@mnstate.edu

Graphic of the Enneagram.  Kajabi 

College is often a time of self-discovery and for some students at MSUM the Enneagram personality test is a great way to learn about yourself.

Victoria Tinjum from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota is a junior studying graphic design at MSUM. Kate Bonnett is a sophomore international student from Australia majoring in theater arts.

Both of them were introduced to the Enneagram by mentor figures in their lives and have been studying it ever since.

What is the Enneagram?

There are nine different personality types within the Enneagram, and each comes with strengths and weaknesses. The types are put as points on a circle with lines running to other numbers. The lines help connect how each personality type acts under stress or when growing.

The types are:

  • The Perfectionist
  • The Helper
  • The Achiever
  • The Individualist
  • The Investigator
  • The Loyalist 
  • The Enthusiast 
  • The Challenger
  • The Peacemaker

The types are distinguished from one another by several characteristics. Tinjum said that one of the most important factors is the “childhood wound.” The “wings,” which are the numbers on either side of a number are also important because elements of personalities on either side of a number influence their personality.

Bonnett explained that the Enneagram is an ancient idea and has been growing in popularity recently.

“I think the modern version of it has evolved from the first versions of it,” she said.

Discovering the Enneagram

Tinjum discovered the Enneagram personality test in 2017 when she was introduced to it by her friend and mentor, Jenny Juni.

“The Enneagram is a tool that you can use to learn more about yourself and put words to things that you may do that you may not have been able to explain otherwise,” Tinjum said.

It can be used to help aid personal growth, relationships with other people and with yourself, she said. Tinjum had taken other personality tests, but none of them piqued her interest as much as the Enneagram. She developed her interest because of her fascination with learning about people and how they relate to one another.

“What is humanity? Why do people do what they do? I liked psychology too and that kind of plays a role in it. It was something that just kind of fit and something that I enjoyed learning about and something that helped me to understand my friends better and myself better.”

– Victoria Tinjum

Bonnett was introduced to the Enneagram by her mentor Kristen Madsen in 2018.

“She was discipling me and then we were talking about how much we both loved personality tests and she was like, ‘you should do the Ennneagram,’ Bonnett said. “I did it and then we talked about it and it was really fun.”

Kate Bonnett

Bonnett prefers the Enneagram to other personality tests because it talks about the motivation behind why people do things.

“Myers-Briggs is really good about figuring out what behaviors you have but Enneagram is about the motivations behind behaviors and that helps you change ones you don’t like,” Bonnett said.

Victoria Tinjum

Both Bonnett and Tinjum both described their types and what they have found out about them.

Tinjum is an Enneagram type eight, “the least liked of all the Enneagram numbers,” she said.

Often called “The Challenger,” type eight personalities are driven, straightforward with what they want and straightforward communicators Tinjum said.

Bonnett is a type four, often known as “The Individualist.”

“They’re very creative, very expressive, very emotional which means they can be kind of temperamental and overdramatic and self-absorbed when they’re in an unhealthy place,” she said. “When they’re in a good place they’re really creative and expressive and they help people see the beauty in the world and get more in touch with their emotions.”  

Researching the types

There are many resources available to those who want to learn more about the Enneagram, including books, websites, Instagram accounts, podcasts and music.

Tinjum recommends using Enneagram Institute website to research the Enneagram personality types, as it offers both an overview of each type and a more in-depth description. “The Sacred Enneagram” by Christopher L. Heuertz and “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile are two books which she has read and recommends for those who want to learn more about the Enneagram.

Bonnett and Tinjum both found “The Sacred Enneagram” to be an interesting resource. contemplify.com

Tinjum also looks to Instagram accounts such as yourenneagramcoach to explore the topic more.

However, her favorite way to learn is through listening to podcasts. One is called “Typology” which discusses the different Enneagram types. Another is Annie F. Downs’ “EnneaSummer” series, which breaks down each type through interviews on her podcast.  

Bonnett also enjoys listening to podcasts. One of her favorites is called “Sleeping at Last” in which an artist talks about the lyrics of songs he wrote for each type.

“I’m really obsessed,” Bonnett said.

“If someone is in a place to really dig deeper into who they are and why they do what they do the Enneagram is a really great tool to do so. You can learn what your strengths and weaknesses are and why you do what you do.”

-Victoria Tinjum

Find your typeLearn More about the Enneagram


What are the Enneagram personality types?

  • 1. The Perfectionist : Type Ones are people who are conscientious, sensible, ethical, responsible, idealistic, serious, self-disciplined, orderly, and feel personally obligated to improve themselves and their world.
  • 2. The Helper: Twos are people who see the world through relationships and define themselves through their service to others. They may be selfless, loving, and giving; or dependent, prideful, and manipulative.
  • 3. The Achiever : Type Threes are people who measure themselves by external achievement and the roles that they play. They may be goal-oriented, accomplished, and excel at what they do, or they can be embellish the truth, be overly competitive, and focused only on their own accomplishments.
  • 4. The Individualist: Type Fours live primarily in their imagination and in their feelings. They may be artistic, sensitive, creative, articulate, and inspiring; or moody, elitist, and self-absorbed.
  • 5. The Investigator: Type Five is a person who pulls back from the world and others to observe and prefers to live in their mind. They may be wise, visionary, and knowledgeable; or abstract, stingy, eccentric, and intellectually arrogant.
  • 6. The Loyalist: Type Sixes are people who anticipate life’s dangers. When healthy, they have faith, are courageous, loyal, and effective. When struggling, they are cowardly, hyper-vigilant, and paranoid.
  • 7. The Enthusiast: Type Sevens love to plan and anticipate positive future events. They enjoy having variety and multiple choices to choose from. They do not want to be limited, restricted, or bored. They may be well-rounded, affirming, and generous, or at their worst they can be self-focused, an escapist, and have an insatiable appetite for excitement.
  • 8. The Challenger: Eights are people that fear being weak, vulnerable, and harmed, so they create an image that they are strong, able to prevail, determined and committed to those who are innocent. If they are not doing well, they can be vengeful, excessive, and destructive.
  • 9. The Peacemaker: Type Nines are people who are very receptive to their environment and downplay their own presence. They can be loving, down-to-earth, modest, and trusting, or stubborn, lazy, and asleep to themselves.

Enneagram personality types according to https://www.yourenneagramcoach.com/types

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