Enneagram 9w8: The Guide

Written by Tim Branch

If you have ever:

  1. Bounced between confrontational and conciliatory,
  2. Longed for connection with others, but dislike confrontation,
  3. Wanted to preserve things as they are & push against change,
  4. Found yourself being both the mediator and the challenger in relationships,

…you might be a 9w8. But what does that mean?

What is a Wing?

You may have noticed results from an Enneagram test you’ve taken, or seen your friends mention their type, but with two numbers with a little “w” between them. That “w” stands for “Wing”.

Your wing will be the Enneagram type directly on either side of your core type. So wings for a 9 are either 8 or 1.

Your wing is not your next highest score or another type you feel like you may be. For example, you cannot be a 9w3 or 9w2.

Your wing will be like an accent to your core personality.

Beth McCord (Your Enneagram Coach) describes wings as salt and pepper, to your entree. It adds some flavor, and brings out the best taste your steak may have to offer, but doesn’t change the type at its core.

You will see traits of your wings type in your personality, but it does not change the core motivations behind your actions.

The beauty of the Enneagram is it points out the root of your actions, not just preferences of your personality.

Unlike your core Enneagram type, your wings can change. You will likely have a dominant wing while having the ability to access the other when needed.

Your dominant wing can change in different seasons throughout your life, and both wings will look a little bit different as your level of health and awareness increases, or decreases.

What is a 9w8?

These seemingly opposite types combine to make a strong but gentle, relational, and stubborn personality.

We know Enneagram 9’s are tender-hearted mediators who love peace, and comfort, and long to be recognized, seen, and know that their presence matters.

While on the other hand the 8’s, also known as “challengers” are exactly that. They are confident and assertive. Passionate, longing for justice, and unafraid of the anger (also known as passion) they bring to the table.

When these two types meet as a 9w8, you see someone who is strong and independent, seeks (and will get) their comforts, and is more sociable, engaging, and encouraging.

The 9 with an 8 wing is able to hear their gut louder than the 9 with a 1 wing.

Often, as a 9, you will suppress your instincts, emotions, and desires to attach yourself to another person in the name of peace. Those with an 8 wing are less likely to do this and can find their desires and instincts a little easier.

This subtype is also strong and assertive, stubborn and defensive, and is more likely to suddenly erupt with anger than someone who is a 9w1.

The Unique Gifts of a 9w8

Enneagram 9’s are calm, steady, consistent, and enjoy comfort. They love harmony. A 9 is quieter and does have anger, but it is hidden deep within them, even from themselves.

Enneagram 8’s, as we know, are powerful, enjoy being in control, and are independent, confident, and assertive.

When these types come together as a healthy 9w8, you find someone who has an indomitable spirit, is a peaceful mediator and walks in their passion instead of suppressing it.

It can be a slower process time, and it can be helpful to simply communicate “I need a minute to process this”, and take some time alone to do exactly that.

This subtype, when walking in the truth of the Father, leads with strength and kindness instead of what others think or feel about them.

They are aware of who they are and whose they are, and they are able to bring their peaceful and confident presence to every room they enter.

The Struggles of a 9w8

In seasons of stress or struggle, you may find yourself bouncing more between the peace you long for and the passion you feel to be heard and seen.

When you’re in this season of struggle, the value you place on the opinions, or what you assume is the opinions, of others can carry far too much weight.

When you are struggling, it can cause your brain to shut down, or fall asleep, making communication more difficult than necessary.

Not only does it make communicating difficult, but it can also be significantly harder to even identify emotions within yourself.

When you aren’t standing firm in who you are in your creator’s eyes, you may depend too much on what others see that you are.

When they aren’t seeing or hearing you, it can cause that anger to rise up, while still trying to suppress it. This can feel confusing, not just to you, but to those you are in a relationship with.

How to Grow as a 9w8:

As a 9, one of your biggest strengths and weaknesses is how sensitive you are to others.

Where this can hurt you is when you allow how others view you, or how you think they view you determine your value.

You have so many gifts that are unique to you, that only you can offer. One of the best things the enneagram has to offer, in my opinion, is shining light on your strengths as much as your weaknesses.

Learn to lean into the strengths, while coping with and improving your weaknesses, without dwelling on them.

As a 9w8, you may feel a lot more passionate about standing up for a friend than for yourself. But what if you saw yourself with the same dignity as you saw your friends and loved ones?

Hear me say this: With Jesus, you always have a seat at the table.

Your desires matter. Your opinions matter. Most importantly, your presence matters.

When you believe how He sees you, what He did for you, and how important you are to Him, it will be so much easier for you to not need to see yourself through others’ eyes.

One way to implement growth is to allow and welcome feedback, even if it doesn’t feel cozy.

Hearing honest feedback from people your trust is crucial to growth while understanding it doesn’t mean you aren’t valued for all the wonderful things you offer!

A few other things to work towards are making goals for yourself, taking a strong stand on your viewpoints, and when disagreements come up, welcome them and bring your honest opinions to the table. More often than not others genuinely want to know what you have to say.

More Resources

On the other side of Nine is the 9w1. A nine with a one wing is more cerebral, quiet, and idealistic than someone who identifies more with a 9w8.

To learn more about yourself as a Nine and how your Eight wing may present itself, check out my guide to Type Nine and guide to Type Eight.

And lastly—if you want to dive deeper into what it looks like to grow in your Enneagram type, check out The Enneagram Growth Guide, which you can download for free.

This is a guide with a Christian perspective—it’ll show you how to overcome the struggles and temptations of your number, discover the incredible gifts hidden inside you, and use that knowledge to go deeper in your relationship with God. You can grab a free copy by clicking this link.