Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

By Sam Cohen

July 27, 2023

If your first thought is: What even is an Enneagram?, you’re in good company, because there are a lot of personality tests out there and it’s hard to keep up. Here’s the basic scoop:

Your enneagram number is rooted in your defining childhood experiences, and its major modern function is for people to better understand how to communicate with, care for, and connect with one another. It’s more similar to Love Languages than it is to zodiac signs, if that’s a helpful way of thinking about it.

Even though the enneagram has been around since the 1950s, this specific personality test was dormant for a while before seeing a recent resurgence. It was created by Oscar Ichazo and encompasses nine different personality types, or “Enneagram Types.” Like other personality quizzes, you answer a series of questions to determine which of the types you most connect with.

Understanding your enneagram number is another way of better understanding who you are as a person and how you navigate the world. Same goes for the people in your life—knowing your partner is a 2, for example, can help you understand that at the end of the day, they’re probably emotionally exhausted from so much people-pleasing. Whether you’re an enneagram newbie or a winged pro, we’ve compiled a list of fun retail quests to take based on your number. Or, if you’re looking for a gift for someone special, consider shopping based on their enneagram number—it may just bring you two closer.

Enneagram 1: The Reformer

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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Enneagram Type 1 is known as The Reformer. 1s are rational, purposeful, and idealistic. Striving to improve their world, 1s can be both wise and heroic. You’ll recognize a 1 by the order and organization in their lives. Their high standards are admirable, but can also lead them to be critical or resentful of others.

At times, a 1’s commitment to their most prized virtue—integrity—can become so consuming that enforcing their version of “the truth” seems more urgent than just about anything else. In reality, an enneagram 1 is simply trying to protect themselves from their most basic fear of being found defective.

If you’re a 1 or you care about someone who is, look for products that offer balance and a sense of “goodness.” Consider shopping at a stationary or paper store for a crisp monthly planner and a fresh set of highlighters.

Enneagram 2: The Helper

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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Ah, the humble and happy enneagram 2—everyone’s favorite person. Known as The Helpers, 2s are fundamentally grounded in an identity of genuine kindness and compassion. It sounds great, but probably feels hard—2s are people pleasers constantly hovering over a fine line into martyrdom. Absolutely terrible at conveying their own needs, 2s are living with a basic fear of being unwanted or unworthy.

Know a host or hostess who makes sure everyone is having a good time? Have a sibling or BFF who always turns the conversation over to your life, and away from theirs? Yeah, you know (and love) a 2. (They love you, too.)A local home decor or specialty goods store is the ideal place for enneagram 2s to explore (and for you to pick up a gift for your 2). For shopping 2s, find peace by shopping for items that create a comfortable, welcoming environment. If you’re shopping for a 2, look for unique pieces that say “I see you as an individual, and I love it.”

Enneagram 3: The Achiever

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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Success is the name of the game for enneagram 3s. Commonly referred to as The Achiever, 3s are pragmatic, ambitious, and competitive. Their basic fear is being worthless, so it makes sense that they’re charming, diplomatic, and concerned about their image. Having the admiration of others helps them feel valuable, which is probably a lot of pressure for them to carry around all the time. It also helps them achieve a lot—Bill Clinton, Reese Witherspoon, and Tom Cruise are all classic 3s, if that tells you anything.

What 3s need is something to do to help them stop being “on” all the time. Knitting, sketching, rock climbing—anything that lets them achieve a goal without having to be valued for how charming they were in the process. Head to the local craft store, gym, or kitchen gadget shop to find a project for one.

Enneagram 4: The Individualist

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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Sensitive, introspective, and just a little bit dramatic, enneagram 4s are called The Individualist—and, tbh, rightfully so. They march to the beat of their own drum. Sure, they’re self-absorbed sometimes, but they’re just so themselves that it’s hard not to love them for it.

A 4’s basic fear is that they don’t have any personal significance or identity, so being true to who they are matters a lot. Sometimes that’s showing their vulnerability, sometimes it’s their wild heart, and sometimes it’s stomping their way into being noticed. 4s are classic bohemians and aristocrats, both—think Frida Kahlo, Amy Winehouse, and Marlon Brando.

Exploring the local record shop is the perfect Saturday afternoon activity for a 4. Curating a playlist and immersing themselves in music will speak to their identity-seeking souls. Getting a gift for a 4? Consider a wildly gorgeous bouquet of flowers, a specialty box of their favorite fine chocolates, or a shelf to display their many, many trinkets.

Bonus ideas: Pop-up cards or a visit to a palm reader would absolutely delight your 4.

Enneagram 5: The Investigator

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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An enneagram 5 is known as The Investigator. You might know them by their—actually, you might not know them at all, so engrossed are they with their work, their ideas, and their projects.

Steeped in curiosity and intensity, 5s are often insightful yet easily isolated individuals. They’re the people who help you see the world from a new perspective, take “big picture” stances on issues, and love tackling “big idea” problem-solving. A 5’s basic fear stems from being unprepared or lacking necessary knowledge, so their instincts lead them to try to figure everything out—including why things are the way they are—as a way to be safe in the world.

For Investigators who want to try something new while staying within their comfort zones, a trip to a local museum store—yep, store—is the perfect solution. That’s where curiosity meets curious content, interactive products, and imaginative devices. Also see: That local bookstore run by eccentrics.

Enneagram 6: The Loyalist

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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Committed, enthusiastic, and just a little bit anxious, enneagram 6s are typically referred to as The Loyalist. 6s are everyone’s favorite team member, project worker, and confidant.

Their spectrum ranges from optimistic and a champion for others to suspicious and reactive—and it makes sense, since a 6’s basic fear is to be without support. You know the saying “can’t see the forest for the trees?” That’s a 6, who often gives full value to every element of their lives, instead of taking a bigger-picture approach. It means they can cling to a relationship a little too long or go down with the ship that’s (metaphorically) sinking—but it also means they’re the person who’s going to genuinely care about every team practice, every friend’s theater performance, and every chance to be with the people they care about. Being a 6 sounds…exhausting.

One of the easiest ways to unwind as an enneagram 6 is to spend time at a local candle store. Even better—go to a candle-making shop and take time to breathe in the different scents, really considering which feels the most soothing to your soul—not just the scents you think will make others happy. Make a candle to remind yourself that you can still show up for everyone else—but you and your self-care are important, too, and that nobody wants you to become burned out.

Enneagram 7: The Enthusiast

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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Fun-loving? Check. High-spirited? Double check. Enneagram 7 is called The Enthusiast for a reason. While sometimes scattered and distracted, 7s are joyful, appreciative, and optimistic.

Which sounds amazing, but a 7’s basic fear comes from being deprived or in pain, so deep down, they’re seeking fulfillment. That one friend of yours who spontaneously booked a solo trip to Europe? That’s a 7 instinctively keeping themselves excited and occupied (even if it means they have to eat cereal for a month to afford it).

So, how could a local store possibly reflect the energetic, engaging, undisciplined nature of an enneagram 7? We thought the same thing…until we remembered how much good old-fashioned fun can be had at a party supply store. Yes, most people only go to a party supply store to buy their annual Halloween costume or the occasional balloon, but these stores are actually a 7’s love language.

From glitter wigs to magic tricks, a quick trip to your local party supply store will help you find a little piece of happiness to delight your fave enneagram 7.

Bonus ideas: Skip a basic card or gift and send them something that explodes with butterflies, or hit the local music shop for a ukulele, or find a vintage shop for elbow-length gloves or a great fedora.

Enneagram 8: The Challenger

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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If you have an enneagram 8 in your life, chances are you’ve already given them this nickname: The Challenger. Unwilling to back down from a tough job, 8s are assertive, strong-willed, and confident. …which, tbh, can feel a little domineering if they don’t make an effort to be vulnerable. This takes a lot of inner work for an 8—so if that’s you, you get high marks for developing your EQ. (Just high marks, not a parade. Chill.)

With a basic fear of being controlled by others, it’s no surprise that 8s are constantly scanning for ways to take charge of their circumstances and environment. They excel at figuring out social structures—whether it’s taking on the hierarchy at work or assessing roles on the playground, an enneagram 8 is always watching, learning, and mapping out the social constructs in their lives. On one hand, all of this means having an 8 lead your team almost guarantees victory. On the other, an 8’s decisive and straightforward tone can feel pretty intimidating.

A solid way to channel this confrontational personality is through games. Enneagram 8s can work through complicated emotions, lead teams, and let off some steam, all while existing inside another world. With their high intelligence and quick-thinking minds, 8s will love digging into a video game, escape room, strategy game, or tabletop role-playing game (like Dungeons & Dragons, where you can count on your 8 to quickly rise to the level of dungeon master).

Take your 8 out for a fun night at your local game shop that’s hosting a tabletop tournament, show up to their place with the latest RPG video game, or ask them to help you finally figure out how to play mahjong. (Also works: Challenging them to tackle a new recipe.)

Bonus idea: Are you an 8? Settle into some quality time with a reality TV show or reality competition series that lets you relax by sussing out the individual and group dynamics playing out onscreen.

Enneagram 9: The Peacemaker

Your Enneagram Number Is Your Key to Shopping (or Gift-Giving) Bliss

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When you think about something peaceful, there’s a good chance your brain is conjuring an image of the natural world. For enneagram 9s, also known as The Peacemaker, the instinctive goal in life is to maintain this inner sense of the sublime at all times. Easy-going, accepting, and harmonious, 9s like to avoid confrontation and help heal conflicts.

Stable, accepting, and at times coming off as a bit lazy, a 9’s basic fear is loss or separation. That’s why they’re natural mediators, who are willing to give a little to gain harmony and stability. Morgan Freeman, Zooey Deschanel, and George W. Bush are classic 9s.

9s lean into seeking spiritual or universal connection, and are probably some of the most mentally present people in your life. They’re also just plain fun.

Strolling through the aisles of a plant or flower shop—or your local botanical garden—is, honestly, a wonderful way to spend time with your enneagram 9. Also consider a butterfly garden, an afternoon picnic, a non-competitive cooking class, or an outdoor concert. Want to keep it indoors? 9s are ideal matches for a new painting hobby, an adult coloring book, or a soothing dot-to-dot book.

Author

  • Sam Cohen

    Sam is the Editorial Product Manager in the Community Department at COURIER Newsroom. Prior to joining the organization, Sam worked as a writer and editor covering topics ranging from literature, health & wellness, and astrology to the British royal family and profiles of notable actors and musicians.

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