lynette sheppard which purports to help you discover your type, and then find whom you are most compatible with vis a vis the Enneagram. (I confess that way back in 2003 or maybe earlier, I tried it with a fake name just to suss out how it worked. It worked exactly how I expected it to, although marginally better than “The Bachelor”.)

Here’s the skinny: I’ve seen all the combinations of type work together. I’ve seen the same combinations become total train wrecks. We can’t match people by personality type, anymore than we can state that certain personality types will be drawn to particular cultures or countries.

I’m drawn to Bali and the American Southwest. Another Seven might feel closest to the forests of Canada or the moors of England. We look for a resonance and we look for qualities important to us. In my search for a mate, I realized that I was looking for a man who was sensitive, not afraid to share feelings, on a spiritual path, and more committed to truth than comfort. What Enneagram type would match that? Luckily, I didn’t use the Enneagram to even narrow my search and found all these qualities – in a Three! Had I been looking for a specific Enneagram type to embody these virtues, a Three would probably have been last on my list.

Yet who can blame us for wanting to make sense of relationship and finding a mate? We want an answer: who should I be with? Who am I simpatico with? How can I find someone to accompany me on that path with heart? Although we know deep inside that there is no easy answer, we keep hoping to narrow the field when we are searching for someone to share our life.

Vanessa, a Three, is a good friend of ours. She felt that Dewitt and I had the ideal relationship. Although she knew better (she is an Enneagram teacher), she decided to look for a Seven to share her life, hoping to duplicate that Seven-Three combination. Despite initial attraction and seeming compatibility, the relationship was filled with turmoil and difficulty. It ended with bad feelings on both sides. “I got hammered,” says Vanessa morosely. “I know I’m not supposed to find a type. I just thought that maybe…..”

We cannot choose a mate on the basis of their Enneagram type. Human beings are much too complex for that. We can look for qualities that are important to us. We can choose a partner willing to undertake the journey of self-exploration and commitment to learning and sharing together. And we can choose to honor the culture and reality of the person who becomes our mate. Oh, and let’s don’t underestimate personal chemistry – that wonderful, ineffable, pheromonic attractor that causes us to want to bond with a specific person, regardless of type.

(Some material adapted from “The Everyday Enneagram” by Lynette Sheppard)

Lynette Sheppard