Do you ever find yourself intimidated by someone without knowing why? Or perhaps someone has been uncomfortable around you and you’re not sure why they’re reacting that way! Today we’re going to look at the ways each Enneagram type can seem a little scary to other people. Let’s get started!
Table of contents
- Here’s What Makes You Intimidating, Based On Your Enneagram Type
- The Enneagram 1
- The Enneagram 2
- The Enneagram 3
- The Enneagram 4
- The Enneagram 5
- The Enneagram 6
- The Enneagram 7
- The Enneagram 8
- The Enneagram 9
- What Are Your Thoughts?
Estimated reading time: 18 minutes
Here’s What Makes You Intimidating, Based On Your Enneagram Type
The Enneagram 1
The perfectionism and focus of the Enneagram 1 can be intimidating to a lot of people. They want everything to be “just right,” and, especially at average to unhealthy levels, they don’t mind letting people know when they’re not measuring up. Their work ethic alone can take some getting used to. If you feel like slacking on the job or scrolling Facebook when there are unfinished projects, you can be assured that their steely glare will head your way. They may not shout at you, but they’ll be disappointed in you – and that’s almost worse. Ones also don’t mind giving advice; they tend to naturally give advice as a way of offering help or support. Some people find this unnerving and will edge away from the relationship.
Healthy Enneagram Ones:
The healthier the Enneagram 1 is, the more accepting and tolerant they become. The strength of their inner integrity is inspiring and makes you want to be like them and please them. These Ones believe in being fair and considerate, and they take time to understand your perspective before judging you. Unlike average Ones, they tend to seem more open-minded, good-humored, and modest. Yet even at healthy states they can be intimidating simply because they have so much conviction. They make you want to be a better person, and in their presence you can become more aware of the ways you’re letting yourself down ethically. People who don’t want to pursue a higher calling or don’t want to improve themselves may find being around healthy Enneagram Ones overwhelming and uncomfortable.
Unhealthy Enneagram Ones:
The more unhealthy Ones are, the more judgmental, critical, and obsessive they can be. They are often workaholics and they feel like everyone else should be too. Their self-righteous nature is intimidating because you never know when they’re going to criticize your character or make you feel unworthy or guilty in some way. These Ones may be blind to their own faults while emphasizing other people’s faults and criticizing them harshly. Intolerance is a word that would describe them. If you’re not doing things they’re way, you’re doing things the wrong way. Harsh and condemning, they can make you feel either outraged by their hypocrisy or ashamed of your own ethical failings to a degree that is damaging more than helpful.
Read This Next: 10 Signs of an Unhealthy Enneagram One
The Enneagram 2
It’s hard to imagine how “The Helper” type could be intimidating, but it does happen! The warm, emotionally demonstrative nature of most Twos can be intimidating to more reserved types. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to be noticed and prefers to keep your feelings to yourself, Twos can seem overbearing, overly-friendly, or quite frankly…scary. You may find them doing things to help you that you didn’t ask for and become worried that they’re going to expect something in return someday. Or they may just notice you and laser in on you, trying to connect emotionally when you just want to be left alone. Twos like helping out and they like knowing everyone’s stories. If you’re the type who likes to keep your story under wraps you may try to sneak away whenever this type heads your way.
Healthy Enneagram Twos:
The healthier the Two is, the more likely they are to appear genuinely kind and compassionate without ulterior motives. You’ll get a feeling of genuine and sincere affection from them, and that’s always less intimidating than anything that feels manipulative. The sheer selflessness of this type can be intimidating to some because it makes you feel selfish in contrast. I have an Enneagram 2 sister, and there are times when I feel completely astounded by her ability to keep on giving to people. Healthy Twos may still intimidate people who aren’t interested in sharing their lives. They often enter career fields in counseling, healthcare, or religion, where they feel they can do some good for others. If you encounter them in one of these fields and you’re not feeling like letting anyone in, they can make you feel uneasily “seen.”
Unhealthy Enneagram Twos:
The unhealthier the Two is, the more you’ll feel like their “niceness” is a façade that will end up hurting you in the end. Manipulative and self-serving, these Twos will do things for others, but then guilt trip those same people for not meeting their unverbalized needs. They think that helping others makes them morally superior and believe that those they help should be beholden to them in the end. Whatever they do to help others, they tend to exaggerate it in their minds. They thus feel entitled to get whatever they want from the people they have “served.” These Twos are intimidating because, while they appear friendly at first glance, there’s a darker underbelly to their warmth. They seem to create drama wherever they go and you don’t want to get wrapped up in any of it unwittingly.
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Two Type
The Enneagram 3
Competitive and energetic, Threes have their eyes on the prize and work hard to be the masters of their own lives. They can be intimidating because they seem to have an “On” switch that never turns off and it can make the people around them feel a little edgy or jumpy. If you ever play a board game with them, they’ll go from being calm and friendly to intense, laser-focused, and dead-set on triumphing. The sheer power of their focus and drive to “win” at life can be intimidating to more laid-back types or fellow competitive types who see them as a threat. Even when Threes are playful, some people can find their charm and put-together manner a little unsettling. They may feel that the Three is judging them for being less put-together, type A, or “successful.”
Healthy Enneagram Threes:
The healthier the Three is, the more authentic and genuine they appear to be. Rather than putting on a façade in order to impress, they accept their limitations and don’t even mind making fun of themselves! While they are still highly ambitious and driven, they channel this in positive ways by inspiring others and encouraging them to believe in themselves. They appear modest, benevolent and self-accepting. When you’re in their presence you feel motivated to go after your dreams and achieve the potential that they see in you. They can be intimidating to more underachieving types who fear their own potential or don’t want to be pushed to use their talents.
Unhealthy Enneagram Threes:
The unhealthier the Three is, the more they exaggerate, puff themselves up, and wear a mask in order to impress others. They are jealous of anyone they see as more successful than them, and will go to extremes to maintain an image of “having it all.” Dishonesty and attention-seeking behavior drive them as they feel an anxious need to feel valuable and worthwhile. Underneath their bravado and competitiveness is a huge deal of insecurity, jealousy, and anxiety. They refuse to face themselves, worrying that it will remind them of their shortcomings and failures. They can be intimidating because you never feel like you’re seeing the “real” them. Plus their competitiveness can become violent or underhanded at a moment’s notice. You don’t want to get wrapped up in their web of deceit and insecurity so it’s best to stay away.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type Three – The Achiever
The Enneagram 4
Introspective and sensitive, Fours bring intuition and creativity into the world in powerful ways. Though not intimidating in the typical sense, some types find their self-aware, insightful nature a little unsettling. Fours don’t mind going against the mold to be their true selves, and this can feel off-putting to individuals who strive to fit in and are uncomfortable with unconventionality. They can also be intimidating to people who strive to always see the sunny side of life. Fours don’t mind peering into the darkness and seeing their own flaws as well as the struggles and pains of humans as a whole. This isn’t to say that Fours are depressing, but people who focus on perpetual optimism might find them too aware of the dark for their own comfort.
The Healthy Four:
The healthier the Four is, the more emotionally strong they are. They’ve embraced themselves and are fully aware of their potential as well as their shortcomings. But they’ve accepted themselves and don’t let their weaknesses disillusion them. Their self-awareness creates a safe space for others to be their true selves as well. They are often profoundly creative, transforming their experiences into something artistic or thought-provoking that sheds light on the depth of human emotion. Rather than being self-absorbed, they are compassionate and gentle, using their gifts to help others. They don’t appear intimidating, but some can feel threatened by their raw authenticity. People who go through life wearing a façade or blinding themselves to certain sides of themselves may feel “naked” around the Four or unable to keep blinding themselves. The Fours insight might make them feel seen, and some people don’t want to be seen for who they truly are.
The Unhealthy Four:
The unhealthier the Four is, the more they find themselves stifled and emotionally frozen. Exhaustion fills their days, and they feel overwhelmed by self-contempt and depression. Rather than fully embracing their self-awareness with a clear head, they blame others, become self-destructive, and turn away anyone who tries to reach out to them. They sabotage relationships in order to protect their feelings and often appear turbulent and self-absorbed, unable to see outside of their own experience and their own feelings. Whatever their emotions are, no matter how bleak, become the “truth” and nobody can convince them otherwise. These Fours are intimidating because their pessimism can overwhelm everyone in their path. Their moodiness and turbulent emotions can seem like a storm ready to erupt at any moment, one that could swallow anyone up in their path.
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram 4 Type
The Enneagram 5
Curious and skeptical, Fives want to understand how the world works and are deeply engrossed in their mental world. While not intimidating in the aggressive/domineering sense, they can be intimidating for other, more subtle reasons. Fives hoard information about their various interests, and if one is caught in a conversation with them the sheer amount of their knowledge can feel intimidating. One might find themselves speechless or without an adequate amount of data to match the Fives wealth of knowledge about a subject. Fives also aren’t concerned with social niceties for the most part, and enjoy their own company a great deal. They’re independent and this can be intimidating to people who want to get close to them or break them out of their shell in some way. If you’re trying to gain rapport with a Five and they’re perfectly fine with silence, you may find yourself grasping at straws trying to make conversation.
The Healthy Enneagram Five:
The healthier the Five is, the more mentally alert and present they are. They are open to new experiences and enjoy exploring ideas and theories with other individuals. Less closed off, they put their innovations to work in the real world and value relationships and connections. Knowledge drives them and they become giddy and excitable when they make new discoveries that they can apply to their lives. Highly intellectual, these Fives display an uncanny foresight into the future and a powerful ability to concentrate. Their intellect and autonomy can be intimidating to types who want to impress them or get close to them in a more emotional way. Many an individual has told me they had a crush on a Five, but were worried that they couldn’t match up to their intellect.
The Unhealthy Enneagram Five:
The unhealthier the Five is, the more reclusive they become. Rather than testing their ideas in the real world, they stay closed off and stuck in their heads. This makes them detached from reality and can lead to eccentric and self-destructive thoughts and actions. Anxiety drives them; they worry that they’re not competent or capable enough to live out their lives fully. They hope that if they learn enough about ideas that scare them that they’ll finally become “ready” to face their lives. But unfortunately this can lead to more terror, discomfort, and anxiety. They reduce their needs and pull away from the world outside more and more, and may struggle to take care of their basic needs as a result. People are intimidated by these Fives because of their lack of social skills or ability to accurately portray their thoughts. Many of these Fives seem out of touch with reality or lost in phobias or dark obsessions; and this can be scary for people who are trying to get close to them. They may worry about them or feel like they should try to pull them out of their thoughts, but be more and more rejected instead.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Five Child
The Enneagram 6
Dedicated and detail-oriented, Sixes are wired to scope out problems and troubleshoot in order to avoid catastrophe. Their vigilance to threats and danger can make them handy in times of crisis, or it can make them intimidating to be around because we don’t always want to be thinking about what could potentially go wrong. Self-preservation and Social Sixes usually are warm and friendly, forming alliances and trying to create stability for themselves and others. Sexual Sixes can be more confrontational and daring; facing all their fears in order to compensate for their anxiety or overcome it. Sexual Sixes are typically much more intimidating than Self-Preservation or Social Sixes. They can have fiery tempers and are often contrarian, picking fights or arguments to test their bonds with others. Self-Preservation and Social Sixes can be intimidating as well, but typically for different reasons. Their hyper-vigilant state can make it difficult for others to relax, and their skepticism can make people feel questioned or mistrusted unfairly.
The Healthy Enneagram Six:
The healthier the Six is, the less on-edge they will be. As they mature and develop wisdom and strength, they become courageous, cooperative, positive, and good-humored. They often make strong leaders and have a knack for bringing people together and creating security and stability. Building community is something they excel at, and they enjoy helping others in real, practical ways. Not many are intimidated by the healthy Six, but some may be if they feel like they’re being called to step out of their comfort zone. Healthy Sixes try to bring out the best in people for the good of the community, but people who procrastinate, are lazy, or who are not taking responsibility may feel intimidated by the Sixes distaste for those characteristics.
The Unhealthy Enneagram Six:
The unhealthier the Six is, the more frantic and anxious they tend to be. They are suspicious of people and worry that others are turning against them; thus they may pick fights or arguments in order to “test” people to see where they stand. They are often clingy, worrying that their loved ones will leave them or betray them in some way. It’s easy to get scared away by them because one doesn’t want to get caught up in their drama or the way they run hot and cold depending on what fears are erupting in their minds. At extremely unhealthy levels, they can be self-destructive, drawn to drugs or alcohol issues as a way of coping with their fears. Sexual Sixes may be especially prone to violent outbursts, feeling that others are “out to get them.”
Read This Next: The Enneagram 6 – The Loyalist Profile
The Enneagram 7
Known as “The Enthusiast,” it’s hard to imagine a type known for being cheerful and enthusiastic as intimidating. Sevens have a knack for seeing the good in any situation. They enjoy making life fun, trying out many different activities and skills, and staying active. However, some people can find their high-energy a little overwhelming. More low-key types might feel exhausted by their flamboyance or need for action. At average levels, Sevens can be pushy about everyone having a “good time” and may try to rope people into doing activities they aren’t actually sure they want to engage in.
The Healthy Enneagram Seven:
The healthier the Seven is, the more authentically joyous and engaging they become. They emanate gratefulness for all the beauty and opportunity in life, and that gratefulness is contagious to the people around them. Practical and resilient, they see the best in every situation but don’t mind acknowledging the hardships of life as well. They are skilled listeners and inspiring friends who often know just how to encourage someone who’s struggling. These Sevens are rarely intimidating, but if they are, it’s usually to people who are suspicious of their joy or envious that they can’t experience life in the same way. They may find the Seven intimidating when they want to commiserate with someone and complain rather than try to find solutions or alternatives to their pain.
The Unhealthy Enneagram Seven:
The unhealthier the Seven is, the pushier and more impulsive they become. These are the people who bully others into doing whatever they want to do because it will be “fun.” Their mood swings are usually erratic and unpredictable, and that’s intimidating in itself. Rather than deal with their anxieties, they act out and try to have a good time but end up becoming self-destructive instead. They are escapists, and they want other people to escape with them. This out-of-control, self-absorbed way of living is intimidating to people who don’t want to get swept up in their recklessness.
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Seven Personality Type
The Enneagram 8
Known as “The Challenger,” Eights are the type most likely to be called intimidating by others. Assertive and hard-working, they are determined to be in charge of their own fate. This type craves power over their own life and doesn’t hesitate to assert themselves if they feel that they are being taken advantage of or challenged. In order to feel in control, they attempt to dominate their environment. Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson say, “Of all the types of the Enneagram, Eights are the most openly aggressive personality.” Bold and pragmatic, people often count on them to take charge when situations seem chaotic. Their intense, commanding nature is often intimidating to people, especially when the Eight is at an average to unhealthy level of health.
The Healthy Eight:
The healthier the Eight is, the more heroic and patient they become. Rather than feeling the need to control everyone and everything in their environment, they lead and provide for people in practical ways. They are still bold, but their courage allows them to be honest and vulnerable as well as decisive and passionate. In order to protect others they will put themselves in danger and take calculated risks for the sake of what they see as right. Their “can do” attitude empowers the people around them to believe in themselves and take courage when the odds seem stacked against them. Inner power emanates from them and they are often a source of strength to everyone they meet. People still may find their boldness and steeliness intimidating. Even when paired with kindness, they have a certain intensity that can set people off or make them seem more aggressive than they really are.
The Unhealthy Eight:
The unhealthier the Eight is, the more controlling and aggressive they can be. They insist on their own way and can be violent or pushy when people don’t align with their will. These Eights are by far the most intimidating in the physical sense. Taking up space comes naturally to them, and they don’t mind exerting their perceived authority to make things happen. Unfortunately, their efforts aren’t usually for the benefit of others, and instead they seem like megalomaniacs or dictators, threatening people or bullying them into submission. Of course, unhealthiness has different levels. A mildly unhealthy Eight might be a little pushy or bad-tempered without seeming like a bully or becoming violent. An extremely unhealthy Eight is more likely to be physically overpowering, aggressive, and abusive.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Eight Child
The Enneagram 9
Known as “The Peacemaker,” Nines are probably the type least likely to seem stereotypically intimidating. These types are known for being patient, good-natured, and open-minded. They enjoy a harmonious environment and will typically work hard to make sure their world is supportive and friendly. People often find them agreeable and easy-going, although at times unexpectedly stubborn and strong-willed. People are unlikely to find them intimidating, but this can change when Nines have had enough of being “peace at any price” and lose their cool. They can be either passive-aggressive or surprisingly explosive once they’ve reached their limit of putting up with other people’s issues.
The Healthy Enneagram Nine:
The healthier the Nine is, the more emotionally stable and kind they are. These Nines don’t “put up” with other people or silence themselves to keep the peace. They are fully self-aware and are patient and thoughtful without denying themselves of their voice. Unpretentious and receptive, they have a gift for bringing people together and mediating. Their imagination is usually fertile and lush, and they tend to have an idealistic, innocent quality that draws people in. Because they are so accepting of themselves, others, and life itself, they tend to be contented and serene. At a healthy level, these types are highly unlikely to be intimidating.
The Unhealthy Enneagram Nine:
At an unhealthy level, Nines are “checked out” from the world around them. As soon as anything threatening or unpleasant is in the air, they seem to numb themselves to it or drift off into their own thoughts (one unhealthy Nine I knew took a nap whenever a difficult discussion was happening). The unhealthier they become, the more neglectful they are of themselves and others. Rather than deal with their problems, they block them out or become passive-aggressive. They seem disoriented, out of touch with reality, and irresponsible. They can be intimidating to people who are trying to get them to “wake up” to what’s happening around them. Their detachment from reality can be unnerving, and their unwillingness to face responsibility can be scary for people who depend on them.
Read This Next: Seven Struggles of the Enneagram Nine Personality Type
What Are Your Thoughts?
Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any insights or stories to share from your own life? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!