Enneagram Type 8: All You Need to Know

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Jesse Williams

Admirably fierce, confident, self-sufficient, and energetic but equally annoying with their stubbornness and need for control, the Enneagram type 8 personality is one of the few Enneagram personalities that are just as easy to dislike as they are to love!

Being around type 8s is simultaneously exhilarating and frustrating, but if you truly understand this type, you’ll find that it’s more a case of the former than the latter.

To help you understand the type better, here’s a complete guide to the Enneagram type 8 personality!

8 Enneagram Description

Here’s an in-depth look at the type 8 personality.

Confident and Independent Challengers

8 Enneagrams are also known as the ‘Rivals’ as they love taking on challenges and challenging others.

Enneagram type 8 personalities are all kinds of competent and assertive, with an admirable tenacity for achieving their goals. With “confidence” for a middle name, this personality type prides itself on its sharpness and independence and has mastered the skill of picking itself up after each fall, to rise stronger than ever.

A type 8 being super confident
A type 8 being super confident

Due to their assertive, confident nature, many people find type 8 personalities bossy and intimidating. Additionally, this personality type’s core emotion is anger, which they access and express unabashedly and impulsively.

As the story goes, you wouldn’t find any results for “Enneagram type 8 jokes”—there are no jokes about this personality type because there would be no tongues left to joke with by the time type 8s are through!

However, while 8s are rebels, they are not bullies or thugs. This personality type couldn’t care less what someone else’s opinion on an issue is; type 8s are fully self-sufficient and capable and will listen to no one but themselves, no matter what the situation (insert inspirational Kate Moseley dialogue from “The Cutting Edge”!).

Stamina, Industriousness, and Emotional Distancing

This type is capable of withstanding extreme amounts of physical challenges, though it does tend to take its stamina for granted.

Type 8s are also extremely industrious, but this comes at the cost of emotional connections. As author Kellyn Roth put it, the thing she disliked most about being a type 8 was that she couldn’t relate with the primarily emotion-driven general public, especially as she preferred being brusque and to the point.

While this didn’t cause alienation as such, it did lead to dissatisfaction in those around her, which is the case with most type 8s who can’t understand the dissatisfaction, especially when they’re being industrious and productive, like type 8s who work to provide for their families only to come home to dissatisfied members.

This only serves to increase the emotional distance.

type 8s are usually left out
Type 8s are usually left out (by their own doing)

But don’t let the tough exterior fool you—behind all the steely determination, grit, and brusqueness is a vulnerable soul that fears emotional pain, which explains why type 8s keep people at a safe emotional distance more often than not.

The emotional distance is a protective measure to mask the pain from rejection, which they have trouble admitting to themselves, let alone anyone else!

A Strong Sense of Justice

Type 8s possess a strong sense of justice, protecting the weak, and advocating for the oppressed. There are few things they like better than battling oppression. They consider themselves the “strong” part of the population while they assume responsibility for protecting the “weak” (as type 8s tend to classify the world).

Energetic and Charismatic Leaders

Type 8 personalities also have bundles of energy. You won’t find a shy bone in these personalities, especially when it comes to taking tough calls and assuming leadership.

They make very charismatic leaders, with the mental and physical toughness to rally the troops, whether it’s as simple as going to a watering hole they want to visit or as complicated as rebuilding a city!

Early Development of Personality

Conflict doesn’t scare these personalities; nor do boundaries and limits. This is because most type 8s grow up in environments rife with conflict, which explains the early development of their tough, enduring, persistent, strong shells and willpower.

8s realize early on what qualities they need to succeed. For instance, when I was a child, the fact that it wasn’t okay to cry was constantly reinforced, as was not letting other people push me around.

From an early age, I learned to take control of my weaker side, so even when, at the tender age of seven, I lost control of my toy car and went careening down a slope, I resolutely displayed no panic or tears. I was ultimately caught by an adult before a severe accident could take place and dismounted without any tears.

I could see that this was met with approval and pride by my father, who’d done much of the reinforcing of the lessons mentioned above.

Headstrong and Stubborn

However, from the above story, it’s also clear that type 8s can also be quite stubborn and headstrong, which, when paired with their never-back-down trait, can be worse than hitting a brick wall headlong. In fact, as E.P Day put it:

Stubbornness knows not its own defeat.

– E.P Day

Which is an enneagram type 8’s mantra!

Eights also hate being controlled or made to submit in any sense (sexual, financial, social, or psychological). They also hate being indebted.

Ultimately, type 8 personalities are resourceful, positive initiative-takers with a steady inner drive that makes them natural leaders. As leaders, they are authoritative and honorable, always looking out for the interests of the people they’re responsible for and more than willing to take any heat that flies their way.

The Core Values of Enneagram Type 8

Type 8s live with the core motivation of being in control and independent. They try their best never to appear vulnerable and weak and don’t like being restricted. To this end, type 8s live their lives by the following values:

  • Honesty
  • Strength
  • Truth
  • Competence
  • Power
  • Control
  • Influence
  • Making an impact
  • Never backing down
  • Justice
  • Loyalty
  • Protectiveness
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Independence
  • Stamina and being energetic
  • Determination
  • Confidence
  • Fierceness

“Rivals”, as the enneagram type 8 personality type is known, crave respect and not merely being liked by the group. Since they respect the above values, they will also respect anyone who exhibits these (a.k.a. their rivals).

Types 8s also love making an impact and won’t stop until they do if their hearts and minds are set on it.

Cross a type 8 and you’ve got some serious paying-for to do, but prove yourself and stick with them and you’ll find a loyalty that no other personality type can come close to matching, hell or high water.

Type 8s will also go to any lengths to protect their loved ones in the face of danger.

Enneagram 8 Fear

Enneagram 8s have a deep-seated fear of being powerless and vulnerable, as well as anyone being stronger than them and taking control of them. They also fear emotional rejection and hurt, which leads them to erect walls.

That same enneagram type 8 off on their own
That same enneagram type 8 off on their own

Enneagram 8 Careers

Type 8s tend to do well in professions that are fast-paced and energizing, with ample space and respect for their independence and occasional advice.

Fields such as law, politics, advertising, marketing strategy, sales, financial advisory, business, and artistic direction are all great options for type 8 personalities.

Enneagram 8 in Stress

Enneagram 8s are generally stressed when they feel insignificant, helpless, and out of control, when they’re placed in emotional or vulnerable scenarios, when they’re controlled by others, and when they’re the victim of misdirected blame and others’ dishonesty.

A type 8 in stress is a personality you want to keep your distance from, as there’s bound to be lots of anger, emotional walling up, and ego involved!

Enneagram 8 Relationships

Let’s take a look at how type 8 personalities navigate their personal and professional relationships.

Professional Relationships

As mentioned, Enneagram 8s thrive in fast-paced, dynamic work environments where their space is respected. They also love it when their opinions and thoughts are valued by their colleagues and superiors, their teammates and subordinates work efficiently, and when they’re seen as a leader in the workplace.

On the other hand, in environments where they are overlooked and ignored, treated as complete subordinates, and where they need to constantly guide others, type 8 personalities wilt.

Similarly, type 8 personalities thrive in workspaces where their colleagues are reserved, relaxed, and can stand up for themselves. They enjoy working with people who are open-minded and respect their ideas and opinions.

This usually means working with personality types other than an 8, as two 8s together can result in a whole lot of clashing and power struggles. Type 8s may also struggle in a workspace where they are wrongly blamed for an issue and where they face vulnerable or emotional situations.

In the professional space, it’s best to openly and directly communicate with type 8s while keeping an open mind to their opinions and ideas. Be upfront. In meetings, remain practical and logical without bringing in any emotional appeal and listen to any new suggestions or ideas they may have.

Type 8s also appreciate clear, to-the-point emails. If you’re giving them feedback, make sure that it is constructive and that you’re delivering it respectfully so that they don’t resort to defensiveness.

Professional Conflict Resolution

When resolving professional conflicts with a type 8 personality, call out inappropriate actions in a logical and clear manner. Stand your ground and stay rooted in facts, but also listen to and consider what their side of the story is.

Romantic Relationships

A type 8 personality and his wife went to visit the former’s friend, another type 8 personality, and his wife. The topic at hand was romantic relationships for type 8 Enneagrams.

When it came to talking about how happy type 8s can make their partners, both men’s wives unanimously chimed in—every type 8 personality can make someone very happy by remaining single!

Jokes apart, many people assume that given their love for emotional distancing, type 8 personalities make bad romantic partners. However, type 8s can be surprisingly passionate and intense in a romantic relationship.

They love a challenging partner—one who stands their ground when there is a conflict of thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Even if they disagree (for which they will present logical, practical, and precise arguments) a type 8 personality will respect their partner’s stand. Type 8s, as we saw earlier, can also get very protective.

Sometimes, in a relationship, 8s may get extremely intense, focusing on gratification to fill up any emptiness they feel inside.

For those in love with a type 8, you’ve signed up for a loyal, intense partner who will love you with all they have—if they learn to trust you. Unfortunately, since so many of them come from conflict-hit homes, they develop wariness at a very young age. This can make it hard to get them to trust you.

Enneagram Type 8 Compatibility

Ultimately, with a type 8, you have a partner who is committed to honest, open communication, giving you independence, and protecting you from any kind of harm. Allowing partners to make decisions for them, conflict resolution, and emotional vulnerability are areas that may need some work, so be patient!

Here’s how type 8s fare with other personality types:

  • 8s and 9s are an empathic and motivated couple
  • 8s and 8s are both highly caring and tough
  • 8s and 7s make an energized, passionate, intense couple
  • 8s and 6s tend to be unwaveringly loyal and tough
  • 8s and 5s are rooted and strong
  • 8s and 4s are motivated and creative
  • 8s and 3s are goal-oriented and tough
  • 8s and 2s are helpful and lively
  • 8s and 1s are energetic and passionate

Unhealthy 8 Enneagram

8 Enneagrams can be unhealthy, average, or healthy.

While a healthy 8 is a confident and strong champion of the oppressed and an average 8 is highly competitive, stubborn, and assertive, an unhealthy 8 can be highly intimidating and even oppressive, ironically.

Such people also tend to be megalomaniacs and despots who become obsessed with power and will go to any lengths to attain it. They don’t care about the emotions of those around them and often lose touch with the empathetic/sympathetic parts of their psyche.

Ultimately, unhealthy 8s turn into stone-cold antagonists who unleash their fury on anyone who stands in their way (even if it’s only with empty threats). They treat relationships as tests and as a result, remain alone and lonely.

Enneagram 8 Subtypes

There are three subtypes associated with each personality type—self-preservation, social, and one-to-one.

  • Self-Preservation: Type 8s with a self-preservation subtype seek satisfaction in all aspects, often hoarding or buying in bulk compulsively. Their material desires overwhelm them and drive them to always get what they want, no matter what it takes.
  • One-to-One: 8s love lifetime relationships and while they are not overly possessive, they love being at the center of their partner’s life. They seek partners to whom they can completely surrender and not feel insecure about handing the reins over. However, this can also result in insecurity about betrayal.

    As Jean, a type 8 personality, said, he wasn’t jealous of his partner talking to other people, but at all times, he wanted his partner to share nothing with the others that they hadn’t already shared with him.
  • Social: Social type 8s surround themselves with many friends that they can hang out with. They love introducing their circles to each other and making sure that everyone’s having a good time, including protecting and supporting them when necessary. They seek loyalty and mutual trust.

Enneagram 8 Wings

There are two 8 wings (personalities that lie on either side of 8 on the Enneagram circle):

  • 8w9: This wing is heavily influenced by the type 9 peacemaker personality. Therefore, this wing is calm, patient, and confident, more so than other type 8s. This wing does well in counseling, law, activism, and teaching.
  • 8w7: This wing is heavily influenced by the type 7 personality. You’ll find that this wing is enthusiastic and energetic, and does well in law, politics, and entrepreneurship.

Enneagram 8 Celebrities

If you’re a type 8 personality, it may thrill you to know that you share your personality type with the following celebrities!

  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Kamala Harris
  • Serena Williams
  • Queen Latifah
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Indira Gandhi
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Mark Cuban
  • Toni Morrison
  • Alec Baldwin
  • P!nk
  • Winston Churchill

Apart from these big names, you also share your personality type with memorable characters such as Merida (“Brave”), Alastor Moody (“Harry Potter”), Katniss Everdeen (“The Hunger Games”), Emily Gilmore (“Gilmore Girls”), and Esmeralda (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”). Oh, and “Gone with the Wind” dreamboat Rhett Butler!

Am I an Enneagram Type 8?

If you’re wanting to determine if you’re a type 8 on the enneagram, the best way to determine this is to either take one of the many enneagram tests online (most are free), OR do some more research to figure it out on your own.

This video from Dr. LaHue can help you plenty to determine if you’re a type 8:

Enneagram 8 Memes

In the interest of safety, we have no memes about type 8 personalities.

Just kidding! Type 8s, despite their toughness, are great fodder for fun and harmless social media memes that mock their inability to express themselves and the love-hate relationship that type 8s share with each other.

I particularly love the Patrick meme where Patrick the Starfish (from Spongebob) has a ton of hearts in his mouth but is unable to blow them out, which accurately shows just how bad type 8s are at expression!

Or an 8 after an outburst of anger—“I regret nothing. The end.”

The Bottom Line

Complicated, yet, some of the most popular people in a given circle, getting along with a type 8 is easy if you know what to expect and what is expected of you, which is what the Enneagram helps with. If you have a type 8 in your circle of loved ones, don’t let the emotional distancing get you down—remember, it’s all a defense measure.

Crack that tough exterior and you’ll pretty easily be able to gooey warmth and comfort of the inside that most type 8s hide, and in the process, make a friend for life.

Be sure to get your own Enneagram Results

Check out out best free enneagram tests to find out which one you should take!

Hint: For most people, the best test is from Truity.

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Written By Jesse Williams

Jesse has taken a deep dive into how personality effects our daily lives. After taking all the tests under the sun, she enjoys comparing her results with total strangers. It's fun for her.

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