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Enneagram Type Seven Explained

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

A Complete Guide to Enneagram Type 7


If you or someone you know is always down for a good time, is full of ideas, loves to find things before they’re popular, is a bit of renaissance person but also often a mile wide and an inch deep, then they may be a Type Seven Enthusiast.


Also if you’ve tested or been told by others that you’re a Type Three, Six or Nine, but you're not quite sure, then this might help confirm or change the Enneagram type you identify as. Those three types, Sixes, Nines and especially Threes, will most often be mistyped as Sevens. You can also reach out to schedule an Enneagram type consulting call.


Major Personality Traits


The Type Seven Enthusiast is defined by their endless appetite for new, exciting experiences. They are classic renaissance people in that they can excel at multiple, totally unrelated fields, like cooking and karate. Enthusiasts get their name because they bring a joyful, curious attitude to pretty much everything. They want to consume all that life has to offer, which is why their core struggle is with gluttony or excessive self-indulgence. Sevens have an insatiable appetite for more and different because their greatest fear is boredom, or feeling trapped.


Sevens are in the Thinking Triad (more below), but this means their minds are always going a million miles a minute. This makes them very good at synthesizing tons of information quickly, making them pretty sharp despite not being perceived as classic intellectuals. They’re typically great conversationalists (while you have their attention, that is) because they’ve dabbled in so many different fields that they can find a connection with just about anything you bring up.


Sometimes this can make them feel like Twos because of how well they intuit situations, but Sevens could really care less about your needs, as they’re far more concerned with just making sure they have a good time--and a good time comes from positivity, connection, good vibes and so on.

In fact, the quickest way to frustrate a Seven is to show up to the table with nothing but cynicism or negativity.

Sevens are bothered by other people’s doubts or disinterest in them because Sevens typically have a low sense of self-worth, despite looking so confident all the time. The reason Sevens suffer from a low sense of self-worth is because they know their skills came easy to them and that they don’t put in the work that others do to attain a true level of expertise. Enthusiasts also know that they can only entertain themselves for so long before the confines of life and responsibility inevitably creep back in.


The big challenge for Enthusiasts will be to stay committed to people and practices long enough to rediscover a deeper beauty than they initially experienced. If they don’t, they run the risk of living out a Peter Pan syndrome and never maturing into their true self.


Childhood


In their earliest years, Sevens usually look more like Fives in that they exhibit a sharp intellect, a vivid imagination, and a willingness, or even satisfaction, in being alone. However, choosing to be alone is different than being left alone, and Sevens start to realize that there’s some disconnection between them and their nurturing figure, which is typically the mother. Some psychologists say this starts with the mother not breast feeding the child long enough, others say it simply stems from a mother that had too many obligations, like a demanding job or tons of other children that needed their attention.


Many type Sevens would not say that their maternal figure was unloving, and the maternal figure might have even expressed a deep desire to care for them, but ultimately the Type Seven child felt some level of material or emotional deprivation, which led them to conclude that it was up to them to create a life where they were "never in need." This is why Sevens are highly independent and can be really selfish. Sevens internalize this narrative that we all have to take care of ourselves at the end of the day because when they were kids, no one took care of them the way they needed. Ultimately, Sevens will spend much of their adult life learning that it’s okay to be hurt, and that their need for independence is just a way of avoiding intimacy.


Wings


Every Enneagram type has what’s known as a “wing”--it’s simply an overlap of traits with the personality type directly to the left or to the right of your primary type. So Type Sevens can either have a Six wing or a Eight wing. You always have a stronger leaning toward one wing over the other at any given time in your life.


The ENTERTAINER

Enneagram 1 wing 9

Usually with the Enneagram wings, there’s one wing that compliments the core traits of your type and there’s another wing that actually contradicts the core traits of your type, in some way. With the Enneagram Seven, the Six wing is certainly a contrary voice for their main operating system.


Sevens naturally focus on experiences and material things rather than people, but the Type Six Loyalist focuses far more on their relational connections than material goods. So Sevens with a Six wing (7w6) become extremely extroverted because they mix these two desires for experiences and relational connections, which drives them towards people.


The Six wing also makes this subtype far more playful, humorous, and childlike when compared to Sevens with an Eight wing. While both subtypes are extremely proactive, Sevens with a Six wing are far less concerned about their independent business success and far more interested in collaborative team efforts.


When 7w6's are less healthy, their desire for both relational security and diversity of experience leads them through a slew of romantic relationships because they leave as soon as the spice is gone. Unhealthy Entertainers also often don’t know when to call it a night, and are constantly trying to get you to rally to one more bar, one more drink, or one more episode, because deep down they’re running from their own anxiety.


Both Sevens and Sixes are in the Head Triad, so the Six wing makes this subtype far more prone to bouts of anxiety. When people don’t support their coping mechanism of choice, the anxiety of the Six mixed with the aggression of the Seven can make them lash out at those closest to them. But overall, healthy and even average Sevens with a Six wing are a blast to be around because they’re generous, fun-loving people that cultivate amazing friendships.


The REALIST

Enneagram 1 wing 2

Sevens with an Eight wing (7w8) are a powerhouse of an individual. Eights are called the Challenger because their ego is wrapped up in dominating their environment with their excessive energy and force of will. Mix that with the Sevens quick-thinking mind and wide variety of interests, and you have quite the engaging individual.


They are far more vocal about their desires, frustrations, and goals than 7w6's. The lustfulness of Type Eights makes Sevens chase after incredibly lofty goals usually tied to attaining wealth and career success. This subtype is often found multi-careering and can be a total workaholic because they cope with their anxiety and sense of inadequacy by trying to do more and more stuff. They often lead very active lifestyles, and they can be adrenaline junkies who go heli-skiing, running with the bulls, or going on random adventures throughout the world.


The Eight wing also makes this type far less concerned with public approval, so they can be pretty in-your-face with their lavish lifestyle or controversial opinions. They actually enjoy a good debate because it’s energizing, unlike 7w6's who are more concerned with keeping the good time going.


When this subtype gets unhealthy, they start shamelessly using people to advance their personal success. Since Sevens are already a bit self-centered, the Eight wing adds an outlaw sensibility that makes it seem acceptable to use people that are weak or less gifted because that’s what they’re there for. If the 7w8 doesn’t get their appetite in control, they can often lose themselves in self-destructive hobbies like excessive gambling or risky business ventures.


When they are healthy, the 7w8's can be incredible entrepreneurs that uses their endless energy and insight to take a novel idea into a fully flushed out, successful business.


Integration & Disintegration


The concept of a movement toward integration and disintegration is a central teaching of the Enneagram. It’s the idea that we embody the traits of other personality types depending on how healthy we are.


Disintegrated SEVENS

Enneagram 1 disintegration to type 4

When Sevens are not doing well, they disintegrate to the Type One Reformer’s worst traits. This shift looks like the fun loving, free spirited Seven becoming rigid, critical, and frustrated with those around them for either not being as capable, or enthusiastically supportive, as the Seven wants them to be. Disintegrated Sevens will turn the very people that have been helping them into a lightning rod for all their resentment about the ways life has not met their needs.

Integrated SEVENS

Enneagram 1 movement of integration to type 7

When Sevens are healthy, they integrate the best characteristics of the Type Five Investigator. This shift is hard to miss, because Sevens stop skipping around from experience to experience and instead seek out a deeper understanding and appreciation for their experiences. Integrated Sevens are filled with a sense of gratitude, wonder, and patience that finally lets them give back to the world rather than consuming all that it has to offer.



Instincts


The Enneagram instincts describe the most basic ways we function in our daily lives. The pattern normally goes that we operate out of one primary instinct, then our secondary instinct really just serves the first, and the last instinct is usually repressed due to some formative experience we had growing up.


Instincts are the reason why people typically mistype themselves, or get mistyped by others. Your instinct can operate so intensely that it’s what most people experience when they’re around you, so they make a superficial read ("oh you're so extroverted you must be a Three or Seven").


The three instincts are the self-preservation instinct, the social instinct, and the sexual instinct.


Self-Preservation

Self-preservation Sevens are primarily concerned with having access to stuff. They really enjoy material things and usually have a home filled with cool gadgets or art or unique interior design. They can be an extremely hard workers because they feel free when they are financially secure, and money ensure that they’ll never be bored or feel trapped by circumstances.


Self-pres Sevens can also vacillate between pampering themselves and their loved ones, and being cheap. They love to brag about the deals they found and don't mind spending tons of time searching for exactly what they want. Self-preservation Sevens are also the most independent of all Sevens (which can make them look like Fives) because they fear other people will cost them their financial freedom. They can get very anxious if they encounter even the slightest financial hardships and hate asking for help. If they do ask for help, they expect a quick yes, and if you don’t give it to them, it can stir up conflict because their innate lack of self-worth is triggered.


In their unhealthiest state, self-preservation Sevens can take crazy risks in an attempt to gain financial security, like high stakes gambling or investing in a risky business venture. They can also subvert their own self-preservation instinct by indulging in the Seven's core struggle with gluttony, and start over eating, drinking all the time, or going on shopping sprees.


Social

Social Sevens probably look like the stereotype of Sevens. They are the founders of FOMO, and can’t stand the thought of missing out on a good time with a good group of people. They rally around a shared set of activities that keeps the friend group alive, like intramural clubs, fantasy sports, or going to concerts & events.


Social Sevens can actually be really altruistic as well, and they may fall in love with community service because it gives them a constant source of new faces and events to plan or participate in. Social Sevens do wrestle with some tension caused by competing desires for social connection vs their personal independence. Sevens are independent operators at their core, so they neither want to be in charge of the group nor do they want anyone else to be in charge of the group. They believe that things should just work out, and that belief makes them clash with authority wherever they go--especially if they’re stressed and have disintegrated to the traits of the Type One Reformer.


Social Sevens can also look like Threes in the way they overcommit themselves to various people and opportunities. They prefer a full social calendar that allows them to cancel last minute rather than having nothing on the books. In their most unhealthy state, Social Sevens have Peter Pan syndrome and want to stay 22-years-old rather than learning to keep their commitments and make disciplined decisions.


Sexual

The sexual instinct is not about wanting to have sex all the time. The sexual instinct is about a need for intensity or for heightened experiences. Sometimes a late night conversation about wild ideas and future possibilities is more stimulating to the sexual Seven than actually having sex. So it’s probably no surprise that sexual Sevens love romance.


This can make them look like Type Two Helpers since they crave the intensity that comes from falling in love, be it a person or a place or even an intense activity. Most of the time it's a person, and more specifically, a really interesting, unique person. When Sexual Sevens lock on to someone that tickles their fancy, they feel entranced by a wave of deep curiosity and intrigue that washes over them. The person on the receiving end of the sexual Seven's gaze often feels equally intrigued because of the palpable energy sexual Sevens create with their deep passion, quick wit and insightful questions.


All Sevens are typically knowledgeable about a ton of different topics, so this makes the sexual Seven capable of connecting with just about anyone they want to. At the same time, the sexual Seven is the epitome of hot or cold, and they often leave people feeling manipulated or abandoned after the sexual Seven has lost that initial spark that comes from the infatuation period. In their unhealthiest state, sexual Sevens chase unrealistic highs that make it increasingly difficult to be grounded in reality or committed to any one relationship.


Triads


There are three triads within the Enneagram. These triads all group personality types based on shared behaviors that can really help you to understand why you’re so similar in one area and so different in another. The triads have evolved over time and are a major way the Enneagram integrates widely held concepts from mainstream psychology. They’re a great reminder of the ways we share so many behaviors with each other no matter what personality type we are.The three Enneagram triads are the Triad Centers, the Harmonic Triad, and the Hornevian triad.


Enneagram 1s as part of the Gut or Body Triad Center

Triad Centers

Type Seven Enthusiasts are in the Head Triad along with Type Six Loyalists and Type Five Investigators. This means that they navigate reality primarily through their thoughts, their desire for knowledge, and their anticipation of the future. All head types have a major battle with anxiety, which often surprises people who aren’t Sevens because we all see the Seven as super chill, fun loving, and unfazed by set backs.


Sevens deal with their anxiety by launching out into the world in search of new experiences or distractions from their inner world. Sevens need to practice extended periods of stillness in order to overcome their anxiety and tap into the true potential of their high functioning minds.


Harmonic Triad

The Harmonic Triad is all about the way we cope with pain, trauma, or failure. The three groups are the competency group, the positive outlook group, and the reactive group.

Sevens are certainly in the positive outlook group along with Type Two Helpers and Type Nine Individualists. When Sevens encounter loss or some serious set back, they simply change course because “everything happens for a reason” and it was good while it lasted, but there are so many other great things to move on to. Sevens love a good silver lining even when they make a horrible mistake: “you live and learn right?!” This can be a beautiful trait as long as the Seven doesn’t skip over any necessary feelings of grief. Part of what keeps Sevens running around so frantically is their low pain tolerance. They don’t see value in negative feelings or experiences, when in actuality there is no great love without great suffering.


Hornevian Triad

The Hornevian Triad is describes the general ways each type behaves social situations. Each type's primary instinct has a ton of influence here. The three groups of the Hornevian Triad are the withdrawn group, the compliant group, and the assertive group.

Type Seven Enthusiasts are in the assertive group alongside Type Three Achievers and Type Eight Challengers. Assertive types believe that the best way to behave in social situations is to assert yourself because they believe that their physical presence makes situations better. Sevens love to be the fun ones in the group, and although they may look like they’re only focused on a having a good time, they can often rise up through the ranks of leadership just due to sheer enthusiasm. Sevens understand that charisma and confidence gets them almost every opportunity they want out of social situations, for better or worse.


Practical Exercises

The Enneagram is incredibly critical and it touches on the most sensitive areas of our lives. That’s because it’s foundational belief is that the ego, or what most people call your personality, is just the YOU you’ve become to survive in this world.


There’s a layer below your ego called your essence, or your “true self.” Think about it like becoming the best version of your personality. Either way, the only process to get that true self out of you is to become aware of that top layer of your ego so that you can make healthy choices to either identify with it or transcend it.


Here are a few ways Type Seven Enthusiasts can choose work on transcending their ego:

  1. Pause to practice gratitude: One simple practice that will really help Type Sevens with their tendency to overindulge, is to practice gratitude. It may sound cliche, but taking even 10 or 15 minutes to be still and acknowledge how grateful you are for what you have will help Sevens become aware of their appetite for new and more stuff. Gratitude will also unlock the greatest gift Sevens have to offer the world: their pure sense of joy. When Sevens cultivate a sense of joy unrelated to their material possessions or crazy experiences, they can be assured that they’re living in the sweet spot of their essence.

  2. Pause to practice saying "no" for others' sake: It's important for Sevens is to say “no” to opportunities every once in a while. Sometimes that means sacrificing a fun trip or another gig in order to be with family instead. What it doesn’t mean is saying “no” to things you already don’t want to do, but rather recognizing there’s a tier system to opportunities: there’s good, better, and best. Sevens tend to be indiscriminate in their “yes,” which either burns them out or makes them neglect the truly meaningful things in life like friendship, responsibility, and commitment. Practicing restraint will produce a new level of clarity for Sevens. So if you’re feeling an inability to make wise decisions, shut down the engines and practice your “no” for a season. Trust that the right opportunities will always come back to you in time.

  3. Pause to practice of patience: It’s important to remember that when Sevens are healthy, they look like Fives because of their willingness to be intentional, to thoughtfully explore life rather than rushing through it, and to give people their due time. Sevens will often dismiss people who are not immediately interesting, energetic, or taboo in some way. However, some of the Sevens best chances for a committed relationship come from people that bring a quiet, confident stillness into their life. So learn to sit, wait, listen, and let your mind pause for a moment so you can discover something beautiful that you may have overlooked at first glance.


Bonus Fluff


🇮🇪🇧🇷Country: For the Type Seven Enthusiast, the countries are Ireland and Brazil. Think about those lively Brazilian beaches and packed Irish pubs. They know how to have a good time, and how to recover from a good time so they can do it all over again.


🐒 Spirit Animal: The Seven's spirit animal is the monkey: high energy, silly, and social.


✨ Famous Type Sevens: Robin Williams, Kevin Hart, Jim Carey, Miley Cyrus, and Steven Spielberg


🦸 Marvel: In the Marvel Universe, Starlord from Guardians of the Galaxy is the clear winner.



SOURCES: Much of this information comes from an amalgamation of sources, but the primary source of this information comes from the works of Russ Hudson and Don Riso of the Enneagram Institute (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, Personality Types, Understanding the Enneagram), followed by Richard Rohr's The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective, and Helen Palmer's The Enneagram in Love & Work.

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