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Curious About Enneagram Type 4? Here's What To Know About The Individualist

Sarah Regan
January 20, 2024
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.

The Enneagram is a popular personality system that categorizes people into one of nine types based on how you answer a series of questions. And if you or someone you know is an Enneagram 4, they're known as the Individualists of the bunch.

Here's everything to know about Enneagram 4's, from their strengths and weaknesses, to relationship compatibility, and more.

Enneagram 4: The Individualist

A depiction of the Enneagram symbol, which is a nine-pointed figure.
Image by Charlotte Benes / mbg Creative
  • Core fear: Being insignificant or defective, not being unique
  • Core desire: For life to feel complete, to be unique, beauty
  • Core coping strategy: Introjection (internalizing/identifying with other's ideas or emotions)
  • Enneagram 4 wings: 4w3 and 4w5

Type 4's, or the "Individualists," according to the Enneagram system, are independent and free-spirited, but this also means they often feel misunderstood by everyone else.

These people are the "seekers" of the bunch, unafraid to ask deep questions about their purpose, identity, and life in general. Imaginative, deep thinkers, and sometimes melancholic, this type is also known to isolate themselves.

As certified Enneagram practitioner Ryan Lui tells mindbodygreen, 4's aspire for an ideal world, and they may see the glass as half-empty—but it's just because they're figuring out how to make it truly full. "What they really want in life is for life to be complete," he explains.

Of course, the problem with that is, "If you keep thinking like that, of what can be, you can get into a depressed funk, or general negativity, never being grateful or thankful for what you have or what is," Lui explains.

And as relationship coach and Enneagram educator Julie Nguyen notes, this authentic personality desires self expression as well, along with being truly seen, understood, and accepted for who they are.

Enneagram 4 wings

The Enneagram wings are the two numbers on either side of one type, and many people (but not all!) will display a unique combination of their dominant type with aspects of one of the wings more so than the other.


A 4w3 is going to couple the 4's creative individuality with the successful and go-getting attitude known to 3's (which are referred to as the Achievers of the Enneagram). According to Nguyen, these 4's are going to be a bit more sociable, confident, assertive, hardworking, and productive.

As Lui notes, this combo is extremely ambitious, wanting to be seen, and really going for it, putting themselves out there all the time. Having a 3 wing helps the 4 actually execute all their great ideas and empowers them to take the lead, he explains.


A 4w5 couples the 4's unconventional, artistic, reserved attitude with the more withdrawn, intellectual, and problem-solving qualities of the 5. "These types tend to be more thoughtful, avant garde, mysterious, imaginative, and absorbed with their own hobbies and interest," Nguyen tells mindbodygreen.

And according to Lui this combination is like the brooding artist who thinks, If I retreat and spend more time alone, that will help me achieve what it is I most want. 5's are known as the Observer of the Enneagram, after all. "The 5 thinks if you hold all your resources together, don't push yourself too hard, and learn to gain a lot of wisdom, that's how you'll achieve what you want most in life," Lui adds.

Enneagram 4 celebrities & characters

  • Joni Mitchell
  • Björk
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Thom Yorke
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Bob Dylan
  • Billie Eilish
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Amy Winehouse
  • The Weeknd
  • Prince
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Johnny Depp
  • Holden Caufield, Catcher in the Rye
  • Snape, Harry Potter
  • Don Draper, Mad Men
  • Loki, Marvel

Enneagram 4 strengths & weaknesses


  • Self-aware
  • Expressive
  • Sensitive
  • Honest
  • Deep thinking
  • Artistic
  • Creative
  • Original
  • Innovative


  • Self pity
  • Susceptible to escapism/addiction
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Envy
  • Overly focused on the negative

Enneagram 4 levels of development

All the Enneagram types go through different stages of development, which can range between healthy, average, and unhealthy. It's not uncommon to go back and forth between these different stages based on your own personal growth and what's going on in your life at any given point.

Here's a look at the levels of development for an Enneagram 4.

Healthy levels

According to Nguyen, at a healthy level, type 4s are existentially healthy, thought-provoking, and supremely creative. "Their vulnerability is truly a sight to behold, and they're able to view the world from a really beautiful, multi-dimensional perspective that can be inspiring," she explains, adding 4's can have a positive impact at this level.

Average levels

At an average levels, Nguyen tells mindbodygreen, type 4's are still creative and authentic, but they're more focused on what's missing in their life, as well as longing for something to be different. She notes there can be envy at this level, as well.

"Enneagram 4s really, really love having their emotions maxed out at this level—even when it's not the healthiest or most productive state for them to be in," Nguyen add.

Unhealthy levels

At their unhealthy levels, type 4s are overly dramatic and identify so strongly with their emotions they mistake them as ultimate truth, Nguyen explains.

"They can be extremely self absorbed and unable to see things as they truly are because they're so focused on their truth, and believing their emotions are accurate and above logic," she says, adding, "And a lot of their belief in that contributes to their suffering and reinforces these stories of rejection and abandonment."

Enneagram 4 compatibility & relationships

Romantically, 4's have a few things they should keep in mind in terms of their compatibility with other Enneagram types. But first, it's important to remember compatibility with any personality system always depends on the individual's maturity level and willingness to learn and grow.

That being said, Nguyen tells mindbodygreen that 4's believe in plunging deep in their relationships. "They're looking for a special, unique connection where they're highly attuned to each other."

And according to Lui, while it's possible for any type combination to make it work, he sees 4's going well with other 4's, plus 9's, 1's, and 2's. Nguyen says she thinks the 4 and 9 combo reigns supeme.

  • 4's with other 4's: Fours want to be special and are good with communication and verbalizing what they want, making them good partners for each other. Long term, their compatibility can depend on their ability to sacrifice and compromise.
  • 4's with 1's or 2's: Both the 1 and 2 offer balance to the 4 in areas they're missing, like organization, determination, and selflessness.
  • 4's with 9's: The 4 brings passion and intensity to the mellow 9, while the 9 is welcoming and nonjudgmental, which helps the 4 feel safe.

Enneagram 4 misconception

According to Nguyen, the biggest misconception around Enneagram 4's is that they're unreliable and can't be counted on.

"Creative 4's are independent and free-spirited at heart. Since their identity is generally composed of their feelings, they are driven by what feels right in the moment, which can leave a trail of half-finished projects in their wake," she explains.

But when the 4 can pull from their type 1 release line, Nguyen explains, "they can integrate discipline and immense dedication to accomplishing whatever they put their mind to."

How to thrive as an Enneagram 4


Cultivate discipline

Each of the Enneagram types has a direction for growth somewhere else on the Enneagram wheel, and for 4's, it's type 1's.

As Nguyen explains, "It helps when they're able to find routine and discipline, which borrows qualities from their healthy integration point at the type 1." Also known as the Reformers of the Enneagram, 1's are known for being logical and virtuous hard workers with a strong desire to be good.


Ground yourself to work through emotions

According to Enneagram educator and author of The Enneagram & YouGina Gomez, because 4's can get bogged down by their negative emotions, the best self care for this Enneagram type is a grounding ritual that they can practice daily.

"This could be a walk through nature, a yoga sequence, meditation focused on the root chakra, or simply sitting still and practicing gratitude," Gomez previously wrote for mindbodygreen, adding, "These rituals will help type 4's steady their emotions, bring them into the present moment, and can also promote a connection to their bodies."

Nguyen echoes this point, noting that 4's feel more at ease when they can can notice when they're ruminating or stewing on unhealthy emotions, and make some adjustments to release those emotions instead.


Remember that humans are social creatures—even you

When it comes to what causes stress for this Enneagram type, according to Enneagram coach Jay Martynov, it's the very isolation and sense of separateness 4's force on themselves. Individuality is great, yes, but, "An ability to recognize yourself in others will create a sense of unity," he says.

And as Nguyen adds, that's also going to help 4's get away from self absorption and understand that they're not so alone or misunderstood after all. Having people in their life who can remind them of that, as well as the fact that their emotions are not the ultimate truth, will be empowering for them, she tells mindbodygreen.


What does an Enneagram 4 mean?

Type 4's, or the "Individualists," according to the Enneagram system, are independent and free-spirited, but also means they can feel misunderstood by everyone else.

Is Enneagram 4 the rarest?

No, Enneagram 4 is not the rarest Enneagram type. (That would be type 5!)

What are Enneagram 4 at their worst?

At their worst, Enneagram 4's are self absorbed and dramatic, identifying so strongly with their emotions that they mistake them as ultimate truth. This results in perpetual feelings of rejection and abandonment, and ultimately contributes to their own suffering.

The takeaway

No Enneagram type is better or worse than another. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, which play out in each individual depending on how developed they are.

For 4's, there's certainly room to be more open to the world—and a bit less self-pitying—but ultimately, these are creative, independent, and authentic people who understand themselves and what they want.

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