Updated: Jan 28
What are the differences between MBTI and Enneagram personality type tests?
The big difference is that the MBTI is a tool for understanding personality types while the Enneagram is used to understand human behavior. Another key difference is that on an MBTI test, you will be given four letters to describe your personality sequence (e.g., INFJ), but with an Enneagram, you’ll get a number that you have to make sense of.
One of the most common debates in personality typing is whether or not MBTI and Enneagram are different. The short answer: Yes, they are different tests with some overlap. The long answer: There are a lot of misconceptions about what each test is trying to measure.
In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between MBTI and Enneagram personality type tests. The two types of tests are often confused with each other because they both attempt to categorize people based on their personalities. But there is a stark contrast in how they do so.
The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) helps one understand themselves better. It is a self-report inventory that uses four different categories in order to identify personality type, strengths and preferences of the individual taking it.
The questionnaire was developed by Katherine Briggs with her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers and is based on their work with Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. They published their work into an assessment tool so people can learn more about who they are as well as what would best suit them for future endeavors or careers.
Today this psychological instrument has become one of the most widely used worldwide due to its reliability and easy question format.
The Enneagram can be an immensely helpful tool in understanding one’s self and others. It is a system of personality typing that breaks down the nine different types into their core beliefs which shape how they see themselves, think about the world, what motivates them to do things.
MBTI vs Enneagram
The main difference between the MBTI and Enneagram tests is the basis of the theories behind them. MBTI is based on the work of Carl Jung, who believed that you are born a certain way, with certain personality characteristics and you don’t change from those characteristics over your life, regardless of where you grew up or with whom. The Enneagram is based on a theory that nurture is way more important than nature, that your personality (or core belief) develops as you grow and is heavily influenced by your parents.
Carl Jung separated people by functions, what’s called a functional stack (i.e., dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, inferior). Myers & Briggs took it a step further and added preferences (i.e., introvert, intuitive, feeling, judging). Their goal is to describe many aspects of your personality, your intentions, your thought process and your decision making process.
The Enneagram is a lot less structured than MBTI. Insead of being described by each piece, each type is given a nickname along with a number. Because this test is less structured, the results can be a bit confusing and difficult for some people to relate to.
The first time that I took the MBTI test, I resonated with everything it said. It described me so well that I immediately felt seen and heard in a way that I never had before. I loved that the information was broken down so well and so easy to understand.
When I took the Enneagram test, I was a bit confused. You can see the test results below.
I’m still trying to decipher it and decide which type I am. Most would say Type 5, right? I got a 100% match to that. But there’s a 98% match to Type 3.
When I read through the descriptions I found parts of 4 different types that I relate to. Not one was, “Yes!! That’s EXACTLY me!!” Maybe I just haven’t nailed down what my core belief is. Maybe I have a different core belief at different times, when I’m in different moods. I really don’t know.
Which one is better?
I can’t say that one personality test is better than the other. They are very different and describe people differently. The best thing for you to do is to take both of them and see which one you resonate with the most.
Personality tests aren’t meant to be any kind of competition. They are meant to give you a better understanding of yourself and help you communicate better with those around you. As long as you gain some insight into yourself, it doesn’t really matter which one you take or like better.