Enneagram Type 7 is called the Enthusiast, the Adventurer, and the Generalist because of their enthusiasm for almost everything (especially new things), their adventure-seeking focus, and their wide range of interests. Enneagram Type 8 is called the Leader, the Challenger and the Protector because of their keen awareness of power dynamics: who is in control, who might need protection, who needs to be challenged. Here we explore the compatibility of an Enneagram Type 7 with a Type 8 and what the relationship looks like when it is in balance and when it starts to spiral downward.
Enneagram Type 7:8 When In Balance
The Enthusiast (7) and the Leader (8) make a high energy, adventurous, bold and colorful couple. Fundamentally, both believe they are responsible for their own happiness and fulfillment, giving both a self-referencing, self-interested approach to life. Conversely, they can be magnanimous, generous and giving, particularly with their inner circle of family and friends. Both can be unfiltered, brash and outspoken in their communication, saying out loud what others would only think. They vociferously advocate for themselves and their needs.
This is an energetic pair that enjoys entertaining, exploring, having adventures and living life to its fullest. Both partners individually are a force to be reckoned with, and when united and aligned, this team can be powerful, effective and resourceful. Their accomplishments energize them so the more they achieve, the more they pursue. There can be a lust for life and a taste for wild excitement in this couple.
Enthusiast (7)s bring joy, gratitude, sparkle and a sense of adventure to the dynamic. They are more interested in fun and novelty, bringing ideas for new adventures, plans and celebrations to the pairing. Freshness is stimulating to them, so they are constantly on the hunt for things they haven’t tried before.
Leader (8)s tend to be more grounded, focused and determined in the pursuit of their goals, many of which are material. Their communication style is direct and intense. They are generally more interested in material success than their Enthusiast (7).
As a couple, this can be a high energy and engaging team that stimulate those around them. There can be a larger than life element to this pair, and their entertaining can be legendary. When they want the same goals, it is as though they have each found the perfect partner in crime.
Enneagram Type 7:8 The Downward Spiral
When aligned, this is a highly effective, strong-willed team, but when their interests are out of sync, this strong will can be a recipe for disaster. Forceful and independent, both feel it is extremely important to get what they want. A reality distortion around control and limitations can begin, and it is difficult for either to back down, even around seemingly mundane issues. Leader (8)s want control over their situations, and the Enthusiast (7)’s independence can run counter to this desire. Concerns about power and dominance arise, marking the beginning of the downward spiral. The downward spiral manifests either as a fight for control or an implicit agreement to operate independently to get their needs met, thus eroding intimacy.
Leader (8)s can become dictatorial, harsh and bullying in their attempts to rein in the Enthusiast (7) and to establish control. Enthusiast (7)s can become pushy, demanding and petulant about getting their way. Leader (8)s are more sensitive to power dynamics and may start to look for signs of dissent. Enthusiast (7)s are less interested in power but are extremely sensitive to feeling trapped, limited or controlled in any way. They have an exaggerated sense of limitations and may start acting out as a way to prove they are free to do what they want. Both partners can dig in their heels, becoming insulting, hardhearted, self-centered and unreasonable. Compassion evaporates as conflict increases.
Because both partners have the energy for it, conflicts can spin out of control becoming emotionally exhausting and externally dramatic. Whereas other couples might have a mechanism to de-escalate the situation, this pair charges forward into conflict time and time again, resulting in screaming and yelling with insults hurled back and forth. If the downward spiral gains momentum, this intensity might start to feel like the norm until this couple decides to call it quits.
Alternatively, this couple may implicitly agree to stay together but operate independently with a lack of true emotional connection. Both isolate into their independently crafted lives with the occasional overlapping touch point. Though this might carry on for some period of time, the relationship eventually ends when one partner decides they want more.
Learn more about the Enneagram Compatibility of Type 7s in relationships with Type 8s
Enneagram knowledge can be transformative in improving your relationships and an important tool in cultivating compassion, both towards yourself and others. In my book, “The Nine Keys: A Guide Book to Unlock Your Relationships Using Kundalini Yoga and the Enneagram” I explore intimate relationships through the lens of the Enneagram.
The Nine Keys
The Nine Keys is the essential encyclopedia of the Enneagram in relationships. This book contains Enneagram relationship theory for all 45 type combinations as well as personal testimonials all 81 relationship perspectives. Drawing on over 1,500 years of relationship experience from over 100 couples from around the world, the descriptions and testimonials are instructive, uplifting, cautionary, and sometimes scary and humorous – all real, all good. Browse the entire book here.
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- Read more: Leader (8)s talking about their relationships with their Enthusiast (7) at page 333
- Read more: Enthusiast (7)s talking about their relationships with their Leader (8) at page 370
- Read more: Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations for Enthusiast(7)s at page 462 and Leader (8)s at page 474