Enneagram, Identity & Purpose, Self Enneagram Four: The Romantic

By Hannah Stapleton


Read the Enneagram series here.

Enneagram Fours like to feel their feelings and often express them through creative endeavors. When they’re doing well, they can regulate their emotions and know that they don’t have to be special or unique to matter. When they are unhealthy, they are manipulative and play the victim, and shame takes over. As part of the Shame/Heart triad, Enneagram Fours are deeply in touch with their inner emotions. They try to control their shame by focusing on their uniqueness, how different they are from the rest of the world. Your friend is who super into the arts and being creative? Probably a Four!



The Passion or Deadly Sin of Fours in Envy. They yearn for the happiness, normalcy and comfort that others seem to experience. So wrapped in their own inner melancholy, they become blind to the present. For Fours, melancholy isn’t bad, like it might be to you or me. To fours, it’s more bittersweet, the happiness of being sad. In stress, they look like unhealthy Twos: they repress their own needs and become dependent on others. But when they are healthy, they buckle down and get a LOT done, much like Healthy Ones.

Sarah McLaughlin (SM) has been a Christian since 1990 when she made a decision for Christ at 5th grade VBS.  She felt a call to ministry while in high school at youth camp.  It’s been a daily choice to continue following ever since. She first came to Grace as a full-time staff worship leader in 2007.  Although she transitioned off of staff in 2008, she and her family have been at Grace that whole time and it has been such a huge gift in their lives! Her greatest joy and role is being wife to Jeff for 18 years and a mom to four daughters and one son.

Scott Naylor (SN) is a professional musician and missionary with a global missions organization called Cru (www.cru.org). He serves as a leader of various teams and projects within Cru’s music ministry and is one of Grace’s missionary partners. He has been a believer for 33 years or so. He and his wife Jennifer have been married for 27 years, and they’ve been at Grace for 4 years. They have two daughters – Rachel (22) who is currently a senior at I.U., and Sarah (20) who is a sophomore at Purdue. They also have two dogs named Marley and Sophie. Marley is a 60-pound standard poodle who he’s pretty sure is an Enneagram 9; Sophie is a 10-pound Bichon who is probably a 4.

Brian Koning (BK) his wife, Doreen, and son Kyler have been attending Grace since 2015. Brian, a Financial Professional with OneAmerica, has served in the Grace Worship Choir and frequently helps lead worship as a singer with Vocal Community. Doreen volunteers as a financial counselor in the Grace Care Center. Kyler is a junior and plays guitar with the Merge worship band. When not working or being involved with Grace activities, Brian is a very busy solo acoustic artist and entertains weekly at area restaurants, wineries and brewpubs.
What’s your favorite thing about being a 4?
SM: I am a 4. For better and for worse, it’s, according to Enneagram scholars, the rarest number. We 4s appreciate times we are unique... but it also can feel like we are misunderstood because we often march to our own beat.
SN: The sensitivity to art, beauty and aesthetics, and the ability to empathize with others.
BK: It just reaffirms my creativity. I’ve always been creative. I paint, I draw, I like to design things. My music has been a big part of my life ever since I was two years old. Fours tend to be very creative and sort of renaissance-y, I guess, so I think that just supports why I am like I am.
What’s the worst or hardest thing about being a 4?
SN: The degree to which I sort of live in my own head about a lot of things, which (at worst) involves an unhelpful degree of idealization and feelings of incompleteness.
BK: Following rules. I think the hardest thing is structure. I’d rather do it my way. Part of the creativity is to find a faster, more efficient way to do things that other people do that annoy you because they’re slow.
If you could describe your number in three words, what would you pick?
SM: Creativity. Authenticity. Vibe-sniffer-outer. ;)
SN: Individual, authentic, expressive
BK: We’re very creative.
When did you know you’d found your number?
SM: Honestly, I think I knew my number type right away. I feel pretty “textbook”.  And the darker parts and struggles definitely resonated with me.
SN: I sort of knew by reading the descriptions of the types, but the test results confirmed that, and also clarified the relationship to my wing type.
BK: When I heard [people] talking about [the Enneagram] at Grace, I went home and took the test. I just read what it [a Four with a Five wing] was and knew “this fits me.”
What’s one thing about your number you think everyone should know?
SM: One thing I wish people understood about 4s is that depth of feeling and desire to go deep does not necessarily mean serious or dramatic. Perhaps that’s part of it, but there’s also a wit about 4s I know. Desire to go deep and feel comes from care and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
SN: That we’d probably rather have one long interesting conversation than a bunch of brief superficial ones.
BK: I think 4s with the amount of creativity that we have, we’re problem solvers. We look at the world in a more creative way. I think we tend to see more beauty in things. I tend to look around and think “that’s a great flower arrangement” and my wife wouldn’t notice that. I look at stuff like that. We’re creative and we look at the world with a different set of lenses, sometimes to our detriment.
What’s your wing? How does that play in to your dominant type?
SM: I’m a wing 3.  That means I feel deeply but I can still get stuff done!  I am very productive and very driven, but my motivation is towards authenticity and integrity.
SN: My wing is 5. I think it provides some balance; it offsets the intuitive/subjective tendencies with a more thoughtful, reasoned perspective.
BK: [Brian is a 5 wing]. “Everybody in here is looking at me right now. Everybody in here is judging me.” I have no idea at almost 57 what my purpose in life is. I haven’t made a million dollars yet. I haven’t cured cancer yet. So why am I here? Fives tend to think that everyone has accomplished something. It’s always thinking that someone doesn’t like you or that you don’t fit in.
How does the Enneagram play into your vocation?
SN: The Enneagram, like many other things (Meyers-Briggs, Clifton Strengths Finder, DISC, etc.), helps me understand myself better and helps me to feel the freedom to live more fully of how I am wired. That has direct vocational implications since I’m a 4 and my role as a missionary is based on the work of being a performing artist, musician and communicator.
How does your knowledge of Enneagram affect or influence your relationships?
SN: It helps me understand more fully how a person is motivated and what underlying emotions or beliefs are playing into their visible behaviors and decision-making.
BK: With the exception of my wife, my family doesn’t know anything about the Enneagram and my wife hasn’t taken it either. The only thing it does for me is I can sit there and [explain to my wife], “This is why you aren’t going to change me at 57.” I use it justify why I am the way I am.
How does the Enneagram affect your faith? Do you use it as spiritual practice?
SM: Understanding my number and wing help enrich my faith and show me my areas where I’m likely to get snagged. That is a gift as I’m in relationship with lots of people in a big family!
SN: Not sure it affects what I believe, but it is an avenue into greater self-knowledge and understanding of myself and others, which helps me better apply the gospel to myself and others. I think. Maybe.
BK: I think the biggest thing was because I was raised Catholic. The Envy thing is my big issue. I’ve got to sit there and be more appreciative of the things I’ve accomplished in my life. And then sit there and think “quit envying what other people do because you don’t know what’s going in their marriage. You don’t know what their kids are doing. You don’t know what their work life is like.” We all put on masks in public. Be careful who you envy and what you envy about them.
How does the Enneagram bring you closer to God, if it does?
SN: It brings self-awareness, which helps me better apply spiritual truth to myself. I don’t know if I’d say it brings me closer to God as much as it helps me get myself out of God’s way. J
BK: I just think being aware of how He made me and that He made me like this and there’s a reason He made me like this. For me to go entertain tonight, I can go make people happy. I can use that. I can go make people feel good and take that away. Using those gifts that I have.
What are some resources you would offer to other 4s?
SM: As far as resources go, I love listening to podcasts. The Liturgist has a fantastic episode on The Enneagram. Anything by Ian Cron or Suzanne Stabile. Sleeping At Last.   And I love following enneagram accounts on Instagram - they provide some humor to it all also!!
SN: OK, so nothing that relates specifically to the Enneagram or being a 4, but here are things that were helpful for me AS an Enneagram 4. Also, maybe it’s just because I found them helpful and so did other 4s I know.

BK: For the 4s that are creative, but aren’t using it to their advantage, let that creativity drive what you do. Find a career that nurtures that creativity, that can expand on that and use the creativity as an outlet. As a Five, I can lock myself in my room. As a 4w5, I can lock myself in my room and do it with my guitar and I play guitar. So I’m being creative and channeling that out. Some people have to paint to get the stress out or they have to sketch or do something creative. Let that creativity drive you and your personal relationships and within your career.


Resources for Fours:

The Enneagram Institute
Sleeping at Last “Nine”
Typology Podcast
The Road Back to You Podcast


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