Enneagram Compatibility: Perfectionist Type 1 with Achiever Type 3

The Enneagram Type 1 is called the Perfectionist or the Reformer because their attention automatically goes to what needs improvement and correction. Enneagram Type 3 Achievers/Motivators are typically energetic, optimistic, self-assured and goal-oriented. Here we explore the compatibility of an Enneagram Type 1 with a Type 3 and what the relationship looks like when it is in balance and when it starts to spiral downward.


Enneagram Type 1:3 When Ιn Balance

The Perfectionist (1) and Achiever (3) can be an effective, efficient, goal-oriented team. Both are disciplined and hard-working, and this couple shares a focus on the achievement of tangible, practical goals. Both can be seen by the outside world as classic overachievers, and both can be highly accomplished.

In their relationship, they offer compensating traits. The Achiever (3) boosts the confidence of their Perfectionist (1), encouraging them to become more adaptable, consider different approaches, stretch for their potential and share their talents more widely. Achiever (3)s can be motivating and inspiring, and they want to bring out the best in their partner. This dovetails nicely with the Perfectionist (1)’s drive for self-improvement. It is as though the Perfectionist (1) has their own personal coach in their Achiever (3).

In return, the Perfectionist (1) improves the quality of their Achiever (3)’s output, focusing less on image and appearances and more on depth, substance and the finer details. The Perfectionist (1) shows the Achiever (3) how to slow down and do things intentionally and purposefully. The Perfectionist (1) resists cutting corners and insists the integrity and true quality of the work be high. They are also good at demonstrating authenticity and can help their Achiever (3) move away from people-pleasing behavior.

The foundation of this pair is mutual respect, admiration and shared goals and values. This couple is highly supportive of each other as it relates to concrete topics in the material world. They understand the workaholic tendency of the other. Because the focus of attention tends to be outward and practical, relating more as “doing” rather than “being,” cultivating a sustainable, intimate, emotional connection is key to the true success of this partnership. Sharing time together in stillness and appreciating each other’s essence helps develop this connection. When this pair has a strong emotional connection, their differences can serve as assets rather than triggers. When balanced, this can be an almost unstoppable team who effectively and efficiently overcomes all obstacles to reach their shared goals.


Enneagram Type 1:3 The Downward Spiral

In an unaware state, the distinctly different habits of attention of these two types can lead to the beginning of the downward spiral. This couple may also lock horns around issues of not feeling heard or seen by each other, feeling unappreciated and ultimately feeling disrespected. As respect is a foundational element of this couple, feeling disrespected can create fissures in their foundation.

The Perfectionist (1) mind seeks integrity and improvement. When fixated, the defenses tighten, and the Perfectionist (1) mind becomes rigid, harsh and judgmental. They may direct this rigidity at their Achiever (3) partner, judging them too competitive, too achievement oriented and too concerned about the opinion of others.

The Achiever (3)’s mind seeks achievement and success. When fixated, the defenses tighten the mind to become even more focused on achievement and external validation. They may start to see their Perfectionist (1) as too rigid, too judgmental and too lost in the details. Frustration builds, and respect erodes. Achiever (3)s are triggered by any character attack and building criticism from their Perfectionist (1) may cause them to shut down and withdraw.

Both types are practical so an eroding relationship may appear intact to the outside world. However, whether the split is internal or external, the emotional connection is lost.


Learn more about the Enneagram Compatibility of Type 1s in relationships with Type 3s

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 book cover

The Nine Keys

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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Further Reading

Return to the Enneagram Compatibility Chart.

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