It Takes All Kinds     Type 4

Understanding differences and valuing how other people see the world is critical for making community work well. When we let go of holding the only version of truth and listen closely to others we open up new possibilities for living well together.

In this column we are looking at nine archetypal personalities, one each month. Last month we talked about the Achiever who values being seen as a winner above all else. This month, as we tour the personality system of the Enneagram, we turn to the Romantic/Individualist.

The first three articles in this series appeared in the most recent issues of Mueller Living. You can find parts 1, 2 and 3 at

If I identify with the Romantic/Individualist:  

I look at the world and see what’s missing. What I need for fulfillment is out there, just out of reach. I envy those who have it and I long for what I need. Being individualistic and unique is very important to me and I can’t stand anything ordinary. I’m the most emotionally intense personality type on the enneagram and the most artistic. I have been accused of being dramatic.

My attention goes to something “out there’ that will make me feel whole. The ideal job, the ideal relationship. Unfortunately, when I get it, it doesn’t look so good anymore. So if I’m not careful I’ll go back to longing for something new.

Somewhere deep inside I believe that life can only be satisfying if I find what is missing. It feels like everyone else has the key to happiness and for some reason (a personal flaw, perhaps?) I’m the one left out.

At home I am sensitive to the feelings of people close to me. I’m an engaged listener with a great capacity for caring. My surroundings reflect my individuality.

At work I’m the most creative member of the team and want our work to express something unique and extraordinary. I’m also an excellent listener if you are going through a hard time.

In the community I stand out through my appearance and creativity. Almost everything about me makes a statement that I’m not ordinary. Aesthetics, creativity and sensitivity are the strengths I bring to the group.

What pushes my buttons? Not feeling understood by others, but especially those close to me. Others not meeting my intensity.

Something people who love me often say to me: Could you be a little less dramatic so we could just talk?

The things I have to be aware of so I can grow include appreciating the ordinariness of daily life and seeing the beauty in it. Most important is understanding that I am drawn to what I don’t have and being hooked on the drama is continually dissatisfying. It interrupts my being able to see the intense beauty in front of me.

Don’t confuse me with another “feeling” type who always meets your needs. They don’t understand what their life is missing.