Enneagram Type 4 – The Sensitive & Creative Person

Nine Ways of Relating in Life

Do you have a deep yearning to search for the meaning of life? Are you motivated to express your authenticity, to experience your feelings, to be understood and absolutely run from anything you deem “ordinary”? If these statements resonate with you, then follow along to learn more about the drive of Type Four and how that can play out in our lives.

Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.

Type Four’s can be called the Individualist, The Artist, The Connoisseur, The Melancholic, or The Special One.  Fours maintain their identity by seeing themselves as fundamentally different from others.  Fours feel that they are unlike other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately. They often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one-of-a kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed.  However as talented as these types are, there is often a sense that something is missing in themselves or in their life although they may have difficulty identifying exactly what that something is.  Fours have the ability to find meaning in life and to experience feelings at a deep level.  They admire what is noble, truthful and beautiful in life. They can also establish warm connections with people, are very creative, intuitive and can have a good sense of humour.  Because Four’s respond to the world from an inner sense of what they are feeling, many daily decisions are also based upon how they feel such as what to wear, what to eat or what to plan on a free day. This makes advance planning more challenging. I have a friend whose husband can not make a weekly meal plan work; “How could you decide on Sunday what you want to have for supper on Thursday?  That just doesn’t work for me!”  This sensitivity can also have them experience dark moods or periods of melancholic dreaming and they can be quite hurt when someone misunderstands them.

Fours at their best in a relationship, are empathetic, supportive, gentle, playful, passionate and witty.  They are self-revealing and bond easily.  Fours at their worst in a relationship, are too self-absorbed, jealous, emotionally needy, moody, self-righteous and overly critical.  They become hurt and feel rejected easily.

Practical suggestions for Type Four:

  • Perform a loving act towards yourself every day.
  • Notice your attention going to what is missing, and learn to value the positive aspects of what is here and now.
  • Update a gratitude diary first thing every morning and as a last thing every night.
  • Notice when you are “amping up” your emotions, and take breath into the belly centre and focus there.
  • Know that when you envy qualities in another, these are your own unacknowledged qualities.
  • Remember that all things pass.
  • Avoid putting off things until you are “in the right mood.” Commit yourself to productive, meaningful work that will contribute to your good and that of others.
  • Avoid lengthy conversations in your imagination, particularly if they are negative, resentful, or even excessively romantic. Instead of spending time imagining your life and relationships, begin to live them.
  • A healthy self-discipline takes many forms; from sleeping regular hours to working regularly to exercising regularly and has a cumulative, strengthening effect.

Famous Fours:

Jackie Onassis, Prince, Alanis Morrisette, James Dean, James Taylor, Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins, Bob Dylan, Sarah McLaughlin, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Jackson

How about you? Do you relate to a Type 4? I’d love to get your feedback. Here on my blog, you’ll get commentluv. This is a plug-in that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment. But you don’t have to be a blogger to leave feedback. I’d love to hear from everyone!

Until next time,



19 thoughts on “Enneagram Type 4 – The Sensitive & Creative Person

    • Hello Margie – well, it would be a pleasure to add you. If it is the blog posts you would like, simply locate the email subscription box in the sidebar on the right side on my website. Once you enter your email and fill in the security captcha information, the system will send you a confirmation e-mail which you will need to locate in order to complete the subscription. (It may land in your spam filter so you will need to find it). Follow the instruction in the email to confirm the subscription and you will then receive my blog posts each time I post a new one.

      I will add you to my special events mailing list which you may unsubscribe to anytime. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you again,

  1. Nice to have stumbled on your Blog. Your concrete suggestions are very helpful for fours coping with day-to-day living. Some of them I’ve already come to adopt on my own–for instance: I have a sign by my computer that lists ten things for me to remember every day. The very first one is “Logic is your friend–Think!” I work as a freelance writer, ride a big Harley, and have always written poetry. I would tell others: by getting into balance, you will not lose anything, you will only gain. You will go to that artistic place, but with a grounding in the real world that will make your art relevant–and enable you to connect–which is, at the core, what fours want/need so badly. (Hence, my impulse to comment!) Best–

    • Well – many thanks for your wise comments. It sounds as though you are in touch with your gifts and challenges and have created some strategies which we all need to do no matter our type. I hope that you pop back to the blog and provide comments any time you feel inspired.
      Be well.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post. I have realized that after taking an Enneagram Test, I do fulfill a lot of the characteristics for a Type 4. I also scored an INFP on a MBTI test, too, so the evidence is stacking up for better or worse.

    What I really enjoyed reading were the suggestions on how to improve oneself and become more practical. This is one of the only helpful and creative posts that I can find on the web! Thank you for posting this!

    Anyway, back to writing an essay for class. Talking about self-discipline, I really need to work on that! Haven’t slept on a regular schedule in years and my work habits could use some fixes here and there… 😉

    • Hi Brian – thanks for your comments. I would be interested in learning how you came to find my site and if you are local so that you could attend one of my upcoming programs. I plan to interview each of the types in upcoming blogs to bring more specific type insights to my readership. Please keep checking in. Good luck on the discipline and essays – many types can work on self-discipline!!

  3. Hello.
    I found your blog on google. I regularly search for information on type 4 on the internett because I need to “find myself” and I always do when I read about type 4. 😉 The purpose of the enneagram is to develop and grow, but I find it difficult to actually “do the work”. Self-disiplin and avoid long fantasies (pertricularly fantasies that stirrs up my emotions) is the hardest to work with and change. I still get lost in fantasies about death, broken relationships and, of course, how flawed I am. Though, they do not have the same power and influence over me as before, but I still “need” to have them there, as an escape from the difficulties and disapointments in life. These fantasies does not make things better, so I wonder why I heng on to them. This started when I was 9 or 10 because I found people and life extremely painful.
    Thank you for the advice on your blog. I still havent given up on “myself”. 😉
    Have a nice christmas. 🙂
    Hugs from Bodil Anita, a 5winged 4.

    • Hello Anita and welcome to my blog. You are very clear on your patterns which is very powerful in creating change. You recognize that your tendencies to get lost in fantasies do not actually help so I invite you to write this down and follow it with other suggestions that bring you into a better place. A brisk walk, a piece of music, dancing, a video, a powerful poem. Then when you are being seduced into your fantasty thinking – revert to your paper to remind yourself what outcome you want to create! You are a powerful creator – now choose the path you wish and practice steps towards that. Find a healthy passionate alternative that stirs your need for emotional intensity. You are wise – Never give UP! Merry Christmas.

  4. Hi Karen, thankyou for taking your time to write this blog, its been very supportive whilst on my journey of creating a new life. I split from a long term relationship with my girlfriend 5 months ago and have had to move back in with my parents. I gave up my own home and secure job to follow my passions and move in with my now ex. Ive just completed an arts university degree which i thought would be liberting, instead due to my new circumstances im filled with doubt, namely to meet and sustain another romantic relationship. Not having my own home, no guranteed income from my artwork has left me feeling that a chance of a relationship in the near future seems unlikely, I could easily get an ordinary job but I would not have the needed time to dedicate to my artistic and musical goals and i feel this comes at a price of not being in a position to give a woman a sense of security. Thanks again

    • Hi Paul – I really appreciate your commnets on the blog and can definitely feel you are in a delicate transitional position right now in life. It can get overwhelming to look at what isn’t working in our lives so I find it most helpful to create my vision board or journal on what I want to bring into my life. The way I want to feel, the characteristics of the work I want to do, some of the areas that I want to bring a shift to and then to keep them in full view for a while. The universe has a magical way of bringing us what we focus on – nothing is impossible! So – don’t give up on your dreams yet make practical choices for the moment on what you need to live and make ends meet. Best of luck in your journey – we are all spinning a bit more this year with making new decisions on what will make our heart soar in the future! Keep listening and watching for the signs.

  5. Hi Karen,
    Thankyou for your interesting website. I am an Enneagram type 4 and have taken tests many times that confimrs this. The only part that doesn’t fully resonate with me is about establishing routine around exercise etc. OK, I struggle a bit more with that these days, but I think that is because I have a condition called ‘adrenal fatigue’ following a bout of epstein barr virus and typhus and during a stressful time in my life. But before that, for many years, I wrote out and followed exercise and study-plan schedules, which were intense but I followed them. Maybe that is more to do with my overall enneagram tritype, which is a very perfectionistic type. Or maybe because I am a 4w3, and 3’s are very acheivement driven,a nd I have quite a strong 3 wing.
    Otherwise I am very 4-ish. Though I aim not to be moody in relationships. I am sure I am sometimes, but I aim to be considerate and not cause others pain or to ‘walk on eggshells’.
    I struggle with a paradox – I aim to appreciate the ordinary and to be grateful for what is, despite my 4-ish tendancy to look at what isn’t often and to try and be ‘special’. However, I worry that if I appreciate the ordinary and mundane and what is too much that I might loosen up my goals and visions and not end up acheiving my full potential. Or maybe I am just too afraid of living too ‘ordinary’ a life!
    Thanks again,
    warm wishes,

    • Hi Roni – I believe you have figured this piece around the exercise routine perfectly, with a 3 wing that can definitely support you in keeping that goal. The other part is you may be a lucky one who knows that you increase your happy endorphines after intense exercise and that will motivate you for sure! It is wonderful that you are aware of your tendancy to be moody and monitor it for the good of the relationship! It may serve you to journal a bit on the fear of living big and achieving your potential. It always brings me peace to know that I am not in a race – as long as I continue to learn and grow and expand my light, the universe will take care of bringing me experiences that will assist in the advancement of my purpose. Keep flowing with what brings you joy – if you do that, you will not settle for ordinary! Cheers – Karen

  6. Hi karen, i found your site while searching on google. Im a type 7, in a relationship with 4. Though the relationship is a bliss, problems occur from time to time, maybe due to our opposite approach to life. He is fully aware of his type, trying to work things out on himself but i sometimes feel abandoned due to his priorities, nursing his wounds and finding the missing piece.. He introduced me to enneagram and i really want to work this out together. So, im just confused on what approach to use to him. And so, im reading every site that offers knowledge on enneagram.
    More powers to you, karen!

    • Welcome to the enneagram – I am sure you will find much support on how to best relate with your Sensitive mate! One thing about being in relationship with a Type Four is that if you have a question on how best to approach him – just ask. He should be able to tell you quite clearly how best to work with him and the reverse practice is also helpful. Let him know how best to approach you in your different perspectives. You have the opportunity to experience great intimacy and to explore the balance of being spontaneous with the need to be planned or in the right mood to do something. I have a son currently in a 7-4 relationship…continue to explore and follow your bliss! Karen

  7. Thank you for these detailed descriptions, Karen. I am really enjoying spending time on your site. I have become interested in the enneagram at the suggestion of a friend who is a type 4 and suggested I was a type 4 too. I relate strongly to the type 4 as authenticity and meaning are very important to me and I am also sensitive and emotional by nature and love to express myself in writing. I also relate to type 7 as I am someone who is very aware of possibilities and opportunities and walks/talks fast/is a mover and a shaker in addition to being very contemplative and painfully self-aware.
    On the MBTI I border between INFP and ENFP. Any suggestion as to how to feel out which type I might be? I always come out as 4 on the tests, but I also relate to the description of a 7 in some qualities that it represents. Also, would love to be added to your list! 🙂

  8. I’m not sure if i’m a 1 with 2 wing or a 4 with a 5 wing, but I think I’m the later. Life is really really hard for type 4s I find, because of this very deep and intense over sensitiveness… I’m old and still don’t know my life purpose, don’t have financial independence and have many skills but no job. Yes, allergic to the ordinary as hell.
    Not sure of what to do… are fours often lost. suicidal and procrastinators? Stagnation is going to kill me. As well as a very long relationship with an unhealthy 2 which is killing me too. Any site we can look into relationships in eneagrams? Thank you for your blog.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and questions. Your comments would definitely lead me to have you explore the Type 4 in more depth. Yes, they continue to search for meaning in their lives, are very sensitive and get bored easily. It is very important for you to keep taking action and not let your fear of getting boxed in or making the wrong choice to stop you. You will find that your relationship is also serving as a mirror. Look at what you are challenged by in your relationship and see where you are holding the same patterns in your own way. Keep reading and asking yourself what you do want in your life, not what you don’t want and focus on moving towards what you want to create. Here is a valuable website to explore. https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-4/
      May 2016 bring you some freedom to move forward.

      In light

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