Enneagram Type 4, known as “The Individualist” (and sometimes “The Romantic”), is the creative, sensitive, and idealistic type. Fours have a strong sense of identity, and a desire for meaning and authenticity characterizes their personality. This type’s choices are often centered on self-expression and being unique. Fours loathe the idea of being ordinary or insignificant, which ultimately is their core fear.
Enneagram Type Fours often feel obscure and misunderstood by others. Fours are expressive and highly attuned to their feelings and the surrounding environment. Keep reading to learn more about enneagram type 4’s.
Enneagram Type 4 Characteristics
Table of Contents
What It’s Like to Be an Enneagram 4
Enneagram Type 4’s are creative, self-aware, sensitive, and unconventional in their approach to life. Unlike most people, they like to go against the grain and try new things and ways of thinking. Their quest for distinction and authenticity is core to their being; however, they feel unseen for who they are and disconnected from others.
Because they often clash with norms and conventional ideas, they may feel isolated and alien from everyone else. It is no wonder the Enneagram Type 4 is known as The Individualist, whose motivation is to express themselves as a unique, separate individual. Fours may fulfill this desire by creating a distinct image with unusual fashion, niche interests, artistry, and other creative forms of self-expression.
Enneagram Type 4’s are a part of the heart triad and feel ashamed because they feel different from others and unseen by those they long to connect with.
The core desire of an Enneagram Type 4 is to find or create their own unique and meaningful identity. Their core fear is the other side of the coin: an ordinary and common life.
Conformity is repulsive to a four. Because enneagram type 4’s long for a meaningful life, they are likely to champion others to follow their dreams and unique path – as they deeply identify with this desire.
Healthy Enneagram 4
Healthy Fours can have a meaningful impact on the world and those around them by participating in work that allows them to use their creativity to express ideas, explore new concepts, and challenge others to change.
Because of their strong preference for creative outlets, Type Fours – particularly healthy ones— can influence others’ out-of-the-box thinking. They can also inspire friends to pursue a dream or opportunities to use their unique giftings and talents.
A healthy Four uses their desire for creativity, self-understanding, and expression to help others feel like they have a place in this world and to know there is an appreciation for who they are. This effort is especially true when a Four has a good awareness of their emotions, thoughts, and motivations.
Like every type, becoming more self-aware and developing healthy behaviors takes work. According to the Enneagram Institute, a Four can create health in their life by finding ways to:
- Be productive
- Volunteer and provide service to others
- Maintain self-discipline
- Establish a positive outlook
Focusing on productivity, service, self-discipline, and positivity are essential because each aspect can help healthily reinforce their need for meaning.
While The Individualist prizes their uniqueness, healthy and enriching bonds with others can help them achieve their goal of being seen and heard. When they cannot connect with others, it can cause melancholy or heartache.
In some situations, a type’s best characteristics and strengths can also be their worst traits. Below is a description of what unhealth can look like for a Four and the possible causes.
Unhealthy Enneagram 4
Unhealthy Enneagram 4’s can be self-absorbed, angry, hopeless, intensely moody, and self-destructive when their search for a unique identity goes wrong or comes to a dead end.
Enneagram type 4’s can become plagued by low self-esteem and excessive self-criticism. An unhealthy Four can become unproductive, losing interest and hope in their usual creative outlets and work, and getting lost in their head when they fall short of their idealized self-image. As a result, they may lose touch with their identity and core values.
Unhealthy Fours can become moody and withdrawn, lashing out at or blaming others for what goes wrong.
While being attuned to their emotions, desires, motivations, and identity can be valuable and meaningful, a Type Four can become their own worst enemy. Dangerously unhealthy Fours can become delusional and extremely over-reactive. In some cases, unhealthy Fours are prone to deep loneliness, depression, and co-dependency.
Enneagram Type 4 Relationships
An Enneagram Type 4 values meaningful interactions and deep connections with others. This desire applies to all types of relationships – platonic, romantic, and family relationships.
It can be a balancing act for a Four to wrestle with their craving for connection and the ability to relate with others. This paradox is a struggle because their desire to be unique can overshadow their sense of identity, thus causing them to feel misunderstood by the people they care for the most.
Type Four thrives in smaller, more intimate social settings where it is easier to get to know someone deeply, and they can feel special. A four wants to learn more about a person than surface-level interests or facts. An enneagram type 4 wants to connect with other people’s feelings and thoughts.
An Enneagram Type 4 is sometimes known as “The Romantic” because they dream up idealized versions of themselves, which they aspire to become; this tendency may also show up in their romantic relationships. Because of their high expectations, they may find themselves quickly disappointed and unfulfilled in a relationship that has become emotionally stale; they want a love that feels extraordinary, special, and intense.
According to a Truity survey, Fours are likelier to have short but intense relationships than many other types. They love romance and passion, have high expectations, and are more likely to fall out of love if the romance fizzles. On the other hand, Fours are also quite happy when single.
Type Fours are likely to be put off by overly detached interactions and too much negativity. They appreciate authenticity, optimism, and encouragement. Most of all, they want to be themselves in their relationships and expect the other person to do the same.
Type 4 Enneagram Careers
Enneagram Type 4’s want to pursue creativity and beauty in their work. Unsurprisingly, Fours thrive in jobs that allow self-expression and work-life balance. This type would likely be miserable in a position that feels monotonous and stifling.
Some of the worst careers for a Type Four are those where they feel their talents are wasted or insignificant. Therefore, a job as a line cook may be unfulfilling. A workplace with a hierarchy and many rules can feel stifling. Other positions, such as a first-responder job or policing, could be difficult due to stressful or adverse outcomes.
Fours want jobs where they can be themselves, tap into their creative side, and connect with others who fully appreciate them or are like-minded. Unsurprisingly, Fours are most drawn to careers and jobs in the creative, performing, and fine arts.
Below are some of the common career choices andbest jobs for an Enneagram Type 4:
- Graphic Designer
A Four’s career aspirations are not limited to the arts. No one fits neatly into any box, so an Enneagram Type 4 can enjoy a career as an administrator or in the hospitality industry helping others. A career as a research analyst in many fields can also be fulfilling. The key features of a rewarding career are individuality and self-expression.
In reality, a Four can thrive in any career, as long as their self-expression is encouraged and they can connect with others in a meaningful way – two things which are often a function of the workplace environment than a career choice.
Enneagram Type 4 Celebrities:
An overwhelming majority of Type Four celebrities are artists. Whether it’s music, painting, or activism, Fours have left their mark on the world with their groundbreaking contributions and novel works. When they unleash their creativity, they can wow the world with their out-of-the-box thinking, emotional depth, and revolutionary ideas.
Below is a short list of famous Type Fours:
- Frida Kahlo
Naturally, an artist is the first to pop up on this list. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist known for her bold and surreal portraits. Her work explored themes, most notably identity and loss, which resonate with many Fours. In addition to her bold style, Kahlo also embraced radical political ideas, such as Marxism.
- Princess Diana
The former Princess of Wales was known for her style, beauty, and kindness. Not only is she considered one of the most popular British royals of all time, but she also changed the British monarchy in many ways. She was as famous for her charitable work and style.
- Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh is another artist who has become a household name, and many consider him the leading artist of the post-Impressionist movement. Some of his most recognizable works include “The Starry Night.”
- Kurt Cobain
Cobain was the lead singer, songwriter, and musician of one of the most seminal bands in the last few decades, Nirvana. His lyrics dealt with themes of alienation, abuse, and pain.
Key Enneagram 4 Traits
Creativity and sensitivity are two of the most defining characteristics of Enneagram Type Four. Fours are the most creative and romantic of the types.
Fours appreciate aesthetics, whether in fashion, décor, or fine art, and do not hold back in expressing their taste. Because of their distinct taste and penchant for creative expression, Fours are unlikely to embrace anything because it’s trendy. They find that conformity mutes their unique expression and preference.
The core desire of a fouris to be authentic.
The message fours long to hear is, “You are special and unique.”
The gifts of an Enneagram Four include:
- Self-Aware: Fours are aware of their own emotions and those of others and seek to understand these emotions. This ability enables them to connect deeply.
- Purpose Driven: Being attuned to meaning and purpose drives Fours to express their purpose and contribution to the world.
- Inspired: Their creative and imaginative capacity enables Fours to express what matters to them uniquely.
- Sensitive: Fours can recognize what is missing and dive into the heart of a matter. Their feeling-based intuition enables them to be highly attuned to the environment.
- Courage: Fours don’t shy away from suffering and the more painful aspects of the emotional world, giving them the courage to ask difficult questions. (Integrative9.com)
Because of their intense focus on identity and self-image, Type Four can be especially sensitive. Fours focus on their sense of purpose, have rich, emotional lives, and deeply feel. An inability to connect with another person in an emotionally profound way may leave a Four feeling misunderstood and rejected.
Further Signs Of An Enneagram Type 4
While creativity and emotional intensity can primarily define fours, this type is not limited to these characteristics. Enneagram Type Four can also be compassionate, idealistic, and thoughtful.
When you think about it, these additional signs go hand in hand with their primary traits of creativity and sensitivity. A Four’s sensitivity and their knack for creativity can make them thoughtful.
They can be in tune with the emotions and needs of those close to them. For example, a Four will not likely buy the most expensive gift for a loved one. Instead, they will choose (or make) something that truly speaks to the other person, such as a small but sentimental gift.
Enneagram Test Type 4
If you think you could be an enneagram type 4 but still want to take a test, we recommend the Truity Enneagram Test, which, based on your scores, shows you how your answers match up with each of the nine types.
TheTruity online Enneagram test will provide a score to indicate how strongly your answers identify with each of the nine Enneagram personality types. These scores are helpful because you can use them to determine traits you are familiar with or recognize areas you overlook.
To take the Free Enneagram Test offered by Truity, click HERE!
Truity also provides a six-page report of in-depth information and questions to help you identify your enneagram type. Over one million users have taken this test and have been satisfied with their results.
Want to pass on a test, or do you want to do more research to determine if you are an Enneagram Type 4? Check out the post: Learn How to Find Your Enneagram With 4 Helpful Tips.
Enneagram Type 4 Conclusion
The greatest fear of an Enneagram Type 4 is to be ordinary, lacking a sense of meaning and purpose. For a Four, self-expression, sensitivity, and creativity are means of developing their unique place in this world.
The strong sense of identity means that Enneagram Type Four has high expectations of themselves and those around them. They have ideals to which they aspire and often inform their life choices, all the way down to their work. Fours have a hard time simply accepting ordinary life as it is. The world can always be a better and more beautiful place for a Four.