The Enneagram Personality Type 1: The Perfectionist

So I think it is high time we break down the enneagram on Ok! Here is the Situation, since we use it so often to understand Bachelor personalities and situations. It is an amazing tool you can use to understand people’s fears, motivations and actions.

Granted, I don’t have a PhD in the enneagram, but I have been studying it for the last 15 years and, believe it or not, I wrote my Master’s thesis on it as it relates to architecture. (I know, kind of ridiculous). I am a connoisseur of situations, especially when those situations are people. I just have an insatiable curiosity for understanding why people are so ridiculous/amazing. And, the enneagram really helps out with this.

So, I’d like to break it down so you can see how human behavior tends to manifest in these certain patterns.

As I stated earlier, the roots of this system go back to the ancient Sufis, pretty much back to the beginning of civilization and the beginning of situations. The symbol itself goes back to the days of Pythagorus. The  philosophy of the 9 types, though, is rooted in mystical Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and ancient Greek philosophy (particularly Socrates, Plato, and the Neo-Platonists). So, clearly this concept of the 9 types has resonated with the great thinkers throughout history.

It’s taught at a lot of major universities and acting schools, but interestingly it hasn’t really ever been totally embraced by the West, which may explain why we have so many situations here! This tool just makes everything make sense!

The Enneagram Personality Type 1

So without further ado let’s, begin by discussing the first of nine enneagram personality types: The One, or as I sometimes like to call it, The Uno.

The one is the reformer, the perfectionist according to Understanding the Enneagram: The Practical Guide to Personality Types (revised edition) by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson.

Ones are very ethical and very honest. In fact, they are constantly beating themselves up. When they are at their best, they are crusaders for change and justice. Ones are pretty funny. They are constantly in the confessional. If you have a friend that is always perseverating on situations and what they did wrong or maybe over-sharing in an attempt to purge themselves of guilt, you may have a one on your hands. (NOTE: the seven also likes to overshare but with the seven its more of an impulse control problem rather than an issue of guilt.)

Ok! Here is the Situation’s very own Penny Farthing is a one. She is a really amazing person…extremely ethical, fastidious, a very very true friend  and even a little OCD, as she readily admits. I’d say her biggest flaw is she is so hard on herself.

As all ones do, Penny has a salt-water pearl necklace. Sometimes when she is in stress mode, her alter-ego personality emerges. We call her “Judgy Judgerton”. I tell her to put her pearls on until she is done being Judgy Judgerton. The best part is she is so self-aware of her one-ness that she just goes with it and turns it into a comedy show.

Ones that aren’t so self-aware could be quite annoying. Think church ladies, pearls, turtlenecks, and the character of Angela from the TV show The Office.

Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong — think Kacie B. from Ben Flajnik’s season. She demonstrated the classic one “overshare” when she told Ben about her 1 year bout with bulimia on their second one-on-one date.

Ones also seem to like to wear sweater-capes — I think because it reminds them of a judges robe. Bachelor Ben Flajnik’s sister Julia also appears to be a one. Note the pearl necklace and I believe we had 2 sweater capes and 2 turtlenecks when the mom and sister (both ones) met Courtney Robertson.

Also, I think Reid Rosenthal, the slightly neurotic realtor from Jillian Harris’ season of The Bachelorette and from Bachelor Pad 3, might be a one. You can tell he perseverates over situations to a fault.

Ones are often teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve the world. They are usually well-organized, orderly, and fastidious. (Ones LOVE flow-charts, diagrams, spreadsheets, lists, performance reviews — anything that may hold them accountable.) They always try to maintain the highest standards. This can be their downfall as they fixate on being perfect and tend to be overly critical of themselves and others (especially of themselves).

They can also have issues with resentment. In fact, the unhealthy one is called the “Punative Avenger” according to Riso/Hudsonbecause of their desire to make someone pay. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, noble and morally heroic.

  • Basic Fear: Of being corrupt/evil, defective
  • Basic Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced
  • Enneagram One with a Nine-Wing: “The Idealist”
  • Enneagram One with a Two-Wing: “The Advocate”
Reid Rosenthal Bachelor Pad
Source: ABC

Key Motivations: Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.

Stay tuned for our continuing 9-part series covering all the enneagram types!




4 thoughts on “The Enneagram Personality Type 1: The Perfectionist”

  1. C lo
    You’re an E4 & Gemini sun? How is that.even possible? 🙂
    That sun must be in the 2nd , or hard by Venus?
    Or moon in Taurus/Scorpio?


    • ha ha!! thanks for chiming in!!! Yes I am as 4 as 4s can get. I remember reading the description of the 4 when I was 24 and it hit the nail on the head so hard I was astounded.

      I do have a Scorpio moon and you know how Scorpios have very intense emotions. I know its a strange juxtaposition to be a gemini Sun…because I do love information….clearly, but I have always at my core been a 4….I am really tortured by banality and insincerity (which I know is strange since I love the bachelor), but my whole life I have rejected anything that seemed fake. I always hated shopping, advertising. I LOVE Burning Man which is 1 giant meta 4 that believes that art has the power to save. I do think art has redemptive power and is paramount especially now.

      I have a Masters degree in Architecture…I LOVE architecture like crazy but I am archi-tortured on a daily basis by bad design which is absolutely everywhere. hen I disintegrate I curl up in a ball and remain emotionally paralyzed, when I integrate I use my creativity to express the universal and to promote change for the greater good.

      What are you?

    • Also I was gonna say the 4 would sort be drawn to the bachelor because 4s love drama…they love the intensity of emotions and they love living in a Fantasy world. Thats one of their challenges is they create a Fantasy self and fantasy world and can get so caught up that they dont accomplish much in the real non-fantasy world. But the awesome thing about the enneagram is knowing that keeps me on track…


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