Enneagram Type Four

Type Four

DIETnosis Enneagram Type Four



Food Type: The Choosy Connoisseur

Exercise Type: The Dancer

DIET Strength: Creativity


Power Skills (Level 1): EE: Environmental Engineering (Stimulus Control) and RRR: Routines, Rituals and Reminders

Action Skills (Level 2): Social Support, Coaching, and Label Saboteurs

Maintenance Skills (Level 3): Self-Monitoring, Uncensored Journaling, and Cognitive Restructuring


Trouble with Food (habit): Mood and unique tastes strongly affect your intake at that time

Emotional Eating Trigger: Moods Rule Action, Depression

Trouble with Exercise: Withdrawing from interaction and trouble with consistency

Trouble with Body Image: See body as canvas to constantly change and express themselves, reactive with emotional state, holding on to defects

Typical Fitness Excuse: Feel Entitled to Good Food, I can be any way I want





Popular Enneagram authors commonly name Type Fours the Individualist, Romantic, or Artist because they are expressive, creative, and original.  Type Fours are the truly original and trendsetting artists among us.  They have an uncanny knack for expressing through images, words or music what we may all be feeling but were unable to communicate.  In this way Fours can describe deep truths about the human condition and the profound mysteries of life.  They feel their emotions very intensely when compared to other types and have a sensitivity that makes them unique.  Their sensitive and insightful nature makes their friendship coveted by others who are looking for a deep connection.


Type Fours value originality and beauty and envision a world affected by their personal touch.

Type Fours focus their attention on what is missing and what is hard to get.

Friends value them and seek them out for their uniqueness and emotional intensity.

You might be a Type Four if you are an innovative thinker who sees how things could be better.  You are also moody and have trouble getting past your melancholy.


Enneagram Type 4 Careers

Fours are emotional and have a strong desire for self-expression.  The classic job for them is any type of artist such as painter, writer, or musician. They also excel in using their intuitive side that relates to others who are wounded or hurt in some way.  They excel at jobs such as Psychotherapist, relationship counselor, Holistic Health Practitioner, Yoga /Dance instructor or masseuse. Fours tend to serve certain roles for others including a social critic or insightful commentator and for the unpopular opinion.

Negative Aspects and Weaknesses

Type Four’s weaknesses and negative tendencies are related to their introversion and high emotional sensitivity.  These qualities lend themselves to a significant withdrawn melancholy and brooding moodiness in Type Fours.  Their attitude and their art, in the search for originality, can seem out of touch, forced, unconvincing or different for the sake of being different.  They have intense feelings of longing, nostalgia, and tragedy that leaves them discontented with their ordinary lives.  Type Fours revel in and highlight their misgivings, injuries and faults because it makes them different.  They also hold on to their faults in order to exempt themselves from daily responsibilities and duties.  Finally, Fours look for a savior or ideal lover to rescue them from their vulnerable state.



Style of Impulse Control

Although weight gain always has a multi-faceted cause, there are some typically behaviors of Type Four seen in the Big Five personality Trait system that encourage them to gain weight. The traits that stand out for Type Fours is their high “Openness,” low “Emotional Stability” and relatively low “Conscientiousness.”  These traits translate into Type Fours having a hard time controlling their impulses.  They are at the whim of their ever-changing mood and have a penchant for darkness or gloominess that makes it feel even harder to resist temptations when they arise.  Fours actually gain an identity from these impulsive feelings and the excitement they create even when they know it is not in their long-term best interest.

Style of Activity

Fours are withdrawn and tend to be lethargic like Type Nines.  If Fours have a history of being physical in childhood then it is easier for them to break out of an inactive rut during adulthood.  Although Fours, like any other Type, may derive a certain level of identity from sports, the typical Four is not focused on competition.  Even though they have a progressive attitude and open to new activities, they dislike exercise where they cannot control the pace, structure or setting. They are more likely to use exercise to be calming or meditative in order to center themselves.

It may help Fours finish the activities that they set out to accomplish if they have an outside force or schedule that keeps them on track.  As workout partners, Fours can be temperamental and hypersensitive and turn partners away, so it is key to keep for Fours to keep an open dialogue and tall about their fears openly.

Leisure Style

Fours are quite introspective and enjoy privacy and ability to focus on their ideas.  If they maintain a physical activity it may be a creative outlet such as dance, or a time for mental reflections, visions or inspirations such as yoga or rhythmic aerobic exercises.



Enneagram Type 4 Fashion

Type Fours look to be different in their dress and their look is often highly mood dependent. They think how am I feeling today. Type Fours fashion is out of place or has a flare for the “dark side.” They may wear vintage clothing, something gothic, foreign, or a new style that is on the fringe of society. Type Fours do not like following the normal fashion pressures. They look at fashion as a marker for how not to dress. They may adhere to a particular style that is on the fringe. If they do follow the trend it will likely be altered or have some specific significance to them. Their fashion statement says, “I am different, complex and need rescuing or figuring out.”

They find no problems with reinventing themselves or trying on a new style. These shifts may be very drastic and attention getting. Like Bruce Springsteen, ” I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face.” “That old style is dead to me now.” “I am a new person.”

Tattoos and Accessories

Type Fours often resort to changing their bodies with tattoos. It is not uncommon to see a type Four covered in tattoos. The themes often consist of myths or fantasy. They have a melancholy them or are very dark, skulls or snakes for example.  They may adorn their bodies with images and symbols from another culture. They may use large piercings to scarification to change themselves.

Enneagram Type 4 At Home

Fours fill their home with art and symbols that have meaning for them.  They enjoy having walls that they can decorate or alter to show their individuality.  Fours homes are likely unique in some way and it will be highlighted.  They may collect music and use it to create a special ambiance in their home. They may try to make the garden or patio part of the living space and common area of their home. It is hard to know where the personal space end and the public spaces begin. In their homes it may seem all very decorated and representative of the Four. Their rooms may be slightly less decorated in contrast. Fours are very self-aware and in touch with how they are feeling and what they are experiencing.  So much so, that they try to force a feeling or mood by “setting the stage” for specific experiences. They will alter their surroundings to maintain a feeling.



Body Judgment

Type Fours a judgment regarding their appearance is always in flux and quite dependant on their moods. They judge themselves to be too ordinary and common. Type Fours take pride in being different from other people and will highlight or focus on how they are different.  Although they may feel “strange” this comforts them because they are not like ordinary people.  They judge their body as having sustained a dark tragedy, or that they are uniquely defective in some way.

Value and Self-Worth

Fours merge their self-identity with their outward appearance and they desire an idealized and unique image. Fours worry that unless they are unique that they will have no true identity or significance. They often alter themselves or purposely choose contrarian viewpoint in order to appear unique. Type Fours embrace body alteration through tattooing, scarification, large or numerous piercings, or recurrent plastic surgery.  Michael Jackson, for instance, was probably a Type Four or a Type Three (with a Four “Wing” see more about Wings in the Theory Section) who was never satisfied with his appearance.  This tendency highlights Fours willingness to use their physical self as a canvas, representing their inner self, to be painted or altered.

Since they often feel as though they are damaged or tragically scarred in some way they look to be “saved” or “rescued” by an idealized lover. This saving validates that they are worthwhile or worth saving. They do not want to have to change for attention unless it adds additional darkness, meaning or complexity to their image.

Typically Type Fours’ fitness path is spurred by an extrinsic or outside motivator. Healthy Fours should look toward intrinsic motivators for physical fitness. These intrinsic motivators for Type Four may include a fresh and unclouded mind for creative pursuits, energy for social connection, or a deeper and more complex identity.



Type Fours think about their feelings, hold on to them and choose how to express them. Instead of having predictable tastes, they are constantly re-evaluating the way they eat like a fashion model putting on a new outfit that is also fitting for the setting they are in. They have artistic “taste” buds — using food as another way to heighten their emotions, symbolically communicate, create identity and be unique. Also, it may not be the food, but how it is eaten, a certain setting or a certain brand — “I only eat chocolate at night” or “I only eat Godiva chocolate.”

Enneagram Type 4 Favorite Foods

Fours cravings are driven by their desire to be unique. When around others they may order or choose a food that sets them apart. This may be a way to be mysterious so as to not be understood. They may even avoid the foods that everyone enjoys. They think of their tastes as refined, or more sophisticated than others and use dining situations to prove this to themselves and others. Their tastes serve as part of their identity. Also, they may eat certain foods to remind themselves of a feeling from the past or to create a mood/setting.  Overall their behavior and favorite foods are highly mood and setting dependent.

Type Fours problem with overeating tends to be unique ritual overindulges or foods they eat at a certain time everyday to reward themselves or get themselves in certain moods. The online book, “Your Fat, Your Fault,” suggests that their food metaphor is using food to express uniqueness, a way to be different, to be original, refined, or stylish.


Food Shopping Style

Fours shop at a place where they have made a connection or a friend. Shopping is a source of stimulation for them in terms of ideas. They think of new and creative ways to cook or serve foods. They enjoy family owned vs. chain stores because they are unique and fertile ground for new and different experiences or connections. Also, Fours are brand conscious in the sense that they don’t want to completely blend in – popular brands may be avoided in order to be different.

Meal Setting, Preparation, and Presentation

Meal setting, preparation and presentations are opportunities for Type Four’s creative energy. They look for how to redefine or bring joy out of the mundane and simple. The eating experience is extended farther than the food itself but into the surroundings including the lighting, music, and the table setting. The lack of setting elements is also telling of the mood they are trying to create — sparse or Spartan. “I am dressed in black because I my heart is black.” Their characteristic favorite or representative meal setting is a candle-lit lovers meal — special, artistic, unique, sensuous foods with pleasant or unique music in the background.

Food Decision Factors

Type Fours choose foods based on how it may make them feel at that moment. If they are eating a food they think is unacceptable, then they feel unacceptable. They truly feel like they are what they eat or they are the value they put on what they eat. Fours use foods to project what they think they want to feel, try to create or prolong a mood or set a tone. Oftentimes they choose foods that are different from the group just to feel different. It can be hard to order food for a Type Four. If Fours are having a hard time choosing it is often easier for them to say what they don’t want – “I definitely don’t like that, or I only eat organic.”



Emotional Eating Pattern

Type Fours eat emotionally when they feel insignificant or “common,” unauthentic, or uncreative. Fours may start to feel uneasy or queasy, disturbed or even discussed with their current selves. At these time Fours may become self-indulgent such as eating comfort foods, sleeping too much, withdrawing into their home and wasting time.

Hidden Calories

Fours may not realize they are snacking or grazing on foods to feel a certain way, to create an atmosphere or mood. Four may find themselves thinking about food and mood combinations like a wine enthusiast thinks about wine and food combinations. They may even have eating rituals. For instance, a Four may say, “at the end of a hard day of childcare, I always make the quick-bake cookies – the smell of them baking relaxes me.”

Lifestyle Eating

Fours can slip into many self-indulgent habits at home and in their nightlife. They look for ways to be non-conformists and this can translate into an excessive, fringe, alternative or self-destructive lifestyles. Fours are known to revel in their suffering and find artistic meaning in their pain more than other types. Fours tendency to experiment with alternative lifestyles is moderated by their tendency to withdraw and become introverted, however, they must beware if the party starts to seek them out even at home.

Ordering Style

Fours may think about what mood they are in before they order, or what mood they want to be in. They may think about how their order represents them as a person or adorns them. To Fours food is like fashion.

Representative Meal

As stated above in “Meal Settings,” Type Fours’ representative foods and food settings is a candle-lit lovers meal. A meal that is special, artistic, unique, that has sensuous foods with pleasant or unique music playing in the background.


In regards to Types Fours adopting food changes into their diet, they are likely to be inconsistent due to fleeting passions or desire to change. They must be careful of triggers that get them back into their old rituals. On a positive note, their flare for creativity is helpful making mealtime healthy and enjoyable.



Exercise Motivation

Fours fear not being true to themselves and fear being mundane or common. At some point, if a Type Four is significantly unhealthy, they may feel that they cannot realize their dreams without becoming more fit. They have trouble with consistency and tend to start withdrawing from interaction and exercise programs when they are no longer amused with the current program or if it starts to seem boring or commonplace.

Baseline Activity Level

Type Fours indulge in how they are different from others, and although this could lead to physical self-expression, Type Fours are oftentimes quite sedentary.  They enjoy quite time around their house or secret spot. At most they may spend energy in household chores, gardening or decorating their home or work environment. Their inner experience is what is paramount to the Fours, which translates into dreaming, imagining and brooding over negative feelings. Overall, emotional energy is not the same as moving the body and Fours wind up with less basal energy expenditure than other Types.


Favorite Exercise and Exercise Environment

Fours may have a favorite sport that they have always played growing up or a sport that they have been drawn to due to it special/unique quality. It may be the sport played by their favorite sports figure or idol. They may enjoy expressive sports such as dance or gymnastics, fringe sports such as X-games or sports adopted by the local subculture. In contrast, Fours also lean toward the mind-body exercises such as yoga, meditation, martial arts, Thi-Chi or long walks.

Fours tend to enjoy doing their own thing but often benefit from a “savior” workout partner. Fours and other withdrawn Enneagram Types oftentimes have weak fitness motivation. It is not that they don’t want to be physically fit, it is that their emotional and mental state is very active, preoccupying and unstable. Fours’ motivations and desires are constantly in-flux which cause them to turn their fitness goals on and off. In this way, a fitness partner can be a stabilizing force and can keep them on a fitness path that is much more straightforward as opposed to fleeting and ever-changing. When the Four becomes discouraged he/she may site irreconcilable differences between the partners exercise and their goals. Fours may fantasize about the body they wish they had and feel overwhelmed at any attempts to obtain that physique. It is key that Fours lay down a steady and consistent workout routine in order for them to see results.

Fours relish in a unique environment. They may have a certain workout music play list, a non-typical exercise time such as the middle of the night, or a special spot that they go to workout.  Their exercise may have a social component — identifying them with a certain social scene.

Exercise Personality Limitations

It is natural for Fours to withdraw from others. And therefore Fours may be somewhat a motivation burden on their workout partners.  They secretly want to be rescued from their current state by their partner or loved one. This translates into missed practices unless they are picked up or cajoled into exercise.



Fours have problems with committing to and sustaining a regular routine because their tastes and moods change regarding their activities. So it is important for them to bring in outside forces that regulate their schedule whenever possible.


Fours are always willing to try something new, but do not like to forced into a change. It is better if they are trying something new out of their own volition. They like to be the outsider who is doing something new or innovative but tend to move on before it become commonplace.


It is common for Type Fours to report giving up easily during exercise attempts. The key then is to perform interval training that allows a fairly easy baseline exertion with intermittent intensity peaks. This method keeps Fours from feeling overwhelmed with the length or intensity of a workout.


Fours sabotage themselves with by fantasizing they are in better shape then they truly are, by temperamental and wavering physical goals, through sulking or self pity, by feeling that they are too injured to workout, and waiting to be rescued into fitness from another physically motivated person. In these ways they may under prepare for exercise such that it never gets started.

Pre-Exercise Anxiety

Typical pre-exercise anxiety may manifest as preoccupation with other tasks, daydreaming, TV or screen-time. If significantly anxious they may lash out at others or get in a tiff with their workout partner.

Exercise Performance Anxiety

Fours are self-conscious and oftentimes feel their bodies are defective in some way. This may cause them to be too ashamed to workout in a public place.

Post-Performance Guilt

Workouts may highlight the falsehood or weakness of their fantasy self or emphasize the long road ahead to achieving their goals. In this way Fours may feel overwhelmed afterwards and fear they will never realize their dream.

Learn About Diet Strengths and Skills for Type Four

By Dr. Scott Harrington

JUN 2012