Enneagram Type One (the Reformer)
Enneagram Type Four (the Individualist)
What Each Type Brings to the Relationship
Enneagram Ones and Fours have an intense mutual interest to bring something good and beautiful into the world. Both are idealistic and concerned with getting it right in their work and self-expressions. Both see how things could be, how a project could become an expression of an ideal form, if all went well. By working together, something universal and transcendent could result in their work and in their relationship itself. Ones bring a desire for objectivity, truth, value, and reason to the relationship. They offer self-discipline, good work habits, and regularity to the relationship. Ones are conscientious and will sublimate themselves and their personal needs for the greater good, including the shared vision and goals that they feel are at the core of the relationship itself. Ones can act as valuable sounding boards for Fours, offering advice and wisdom when Fours get confused by the multitude of their feelings or their self-doubts. Fours bring creativity, intense feelings, sensuality, spontaneity, inspiration, and the ability to tap into dreams, the unconscious, and other universal forces. Their expressiveness and emotionality can be a welcome counterbalance to the One’s typical formality and sense of order and reason.
Fours give Ones permission to explore and express the full range of the One’s feelings and passions. Ones help Fours actualize their dreams by supporting creativity with healthy self-discipline and appropriate structure. In general, Ones bring self-restraint to the relationship, which may act as a model for Fours, who tend to be more unregulated. Both types have a taste for refinement, beauty, and a cultivation of the arts, and if both appreciate what the other offers, they can make a long lasting, productive team that helps balance the limitations of the other while bringing out qualities that each lacks—one of the primary functions of all good relationships.
Potential Trouble Spots or Issues
A relationship between Ones and Fours can sometimes be like mixing oil and water: they tend to separate quickly because they see things from the opposite points of view. Ones think that they are almost always being sensible and objective, while Fours do not try to be “objective”—they want to see things from the subjective, personal side. While both bring a kind of idealism to the relationship, it is usually idealism applied to different things. Ones will be idealistic about social causes, morality, politics, and global issues, while Fours are idealistic, even perfectionistic, about aspects of their personal lives—their lifestyle, their mate, and their choice of work. Both can reinforce each other’s sense of superiority, leading to elitism and snobbery toward others. Both can become disdainful and condescending toward those who have less breeding, taste, or sense of refinement—and the habit of being disappointed in others can be turned against each other as well.
Both types are ironically highly aware of their impulses, their sensuality, their longings and frustrations, but they both attempt to handle these issues in diametrically different ways. Thus, one of the biggest areas of conflict between Ones and Fours is in self-discipline versus self-indulgence, between personal and emotional impulses either being acted out (Fours) or being suppressed (Ones). Ones can begin to see Fours as hopelessly emotional, self-absorbed and self-indulgent, while Fours can begin to see Ones as insufferably rigid, judgmental, and cold. Fours can become as angry, critical, intolerant, and self-righteous as low-functioning Ones, and Ones can become as melancholy, self-pitying, alienated, and depressed as low-functioning Fours. In short, Ones and Fours may end by being disaffected with each other for being the way they are: they are not an imagined ideal. Both can be unforgiving, keeping scores and remembering long-past hurts. The relationship can deteriorate into bitter frustration with each other and end as the result of rancorous arguments.