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What are Enneagram Wings?

The Enneagram, much like Red Bull, gives you wiiiings. Your wing is a key component of your personality type, and it may be the reason why you feel so different than your friends that say they're the same type as you...


 

THE BASICS

Your enneagram wing is either directly to the left or to the right of your primary enneagram type (keeping in mind that the 9 enneagram types are located around a circle like a clock).


So for example, I'm a type 1. That means I can either have a 2 wing, or a 9 wing. Your wing is NOT the second highest score you got on an enneagram test. Although sometimes your wing can test as your second highest score.

A lot of people ask if you can have both wings equally, sort of like being ambidextrous, but you'll almost always lean one direction more than the other, and I bet if you share the two different wing descriptions with your friends & family, they can usually tell you which wing type you're more like.


WINGS CAN CHANGE


There is a theory that we switch wings as we get older, and I've actually found this to be true for a lot of people including myself.

When I was younger, I was leaned heavily into my Helper 2 Wing, and a 1 wing 2 is called "The Advocate." I was a super religious, evangelical kid who wanted serve, serve, serve and confront people directly about the ways I thought they could change. But eventually I got burned out and realized I was trying to help people without actually loving them. So, in my old age, I've felt a shift over to my 9 wing where I'm far more motivated to find inner peace and acceptance, and I'm far less motivated to take on people as projects or play the savior role in their life.

I think most people switch wings in a similar attempt to improve themselves and eliminate some of the more unhelpful patterns of their youth, and that’s another important aspect of your enneagram wings!



YOUR UNIQUE FLAVOR


Your wing is technically a subtype of your primary personality. Think of it like flavors. Are you spicy 2 or a sweet 2? Not all 2s are the same, and a 2 wing 1 has a vastly different flavor than a 2 wing 3.

So your wing will account for the ways you look and feel different than people with your same type.

I have two very close friends who are both Type 4 Individualists, but one has a 3 wing and the other as a 5 wing. Individualists already feel like they're AN INDIVIDUAL, but this feeling is amplified when they meet other 4s.

When I told my friend who is a 4 wing 5 that she was the same enneagram type as my other friend who is a 4 wing 3, her immediate reaction was "Oh no way! I'm nothing like him!"

And to some degree, she's not!

Her 5 wing describes a natural creative introversion while his 3 wing describes a natural creative extroversion. So her tendency is to take her deep, dark emotions into her room where she can cocoon for several days at a time, while he takes his deep, dark emotions on stage to perform for an audience. These leanings described by the wings make people seek out vastly different experiences than people of the same enneagram type. Like I said, your wing adds a lot of unique flavor to the way you express your core identity and it may be the key to accepting other people who say they have the same personality type as you, but behave very differently than you.


LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION


Ok the last thing I'll say about the Wings is that they demonstrate how important and how intentional the placement of each personality type is on the enneagram shape.

The brilliant minds that created the enneagram understood that some personality types are more closely related than others, and certain behaviors are linked to certain clusters of personalities.

When I first studied the enneagram, I had a ton of questions like "Well why isn't "Type 2 the investigator rather than the helper? How did they det


ermine what number to give each personality type?"

And there are about a thousand answers to that question. As you learn more about the enneagram, you'll see that there is a whole psychological and spiritual network of theories that determines the placement & relationship between each of the 9 types.

Happy learning!



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