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If you want the short and sweet version of this, know: 7's are not superficial people because they are 7. Their attention is usually directed to superficial qualities of something, but they can have a sense of personal depth just as any other type may.


Superficiality is a common trait associated with Type 7, in almost all enneagram texts. Most texts postulate that 7's compensate for their fear of pain by throwing the kitchen sink in place of paying attention to it, thereby skimming the surface of everything around them to redirect or scatter their focus. There is an agreement that 7's look to stimulation to avoid suffering, and that stimulation is innately superficial. There is also a tendency to equate the type with seeming stupid, shallow, ostentatious, and gullible.

While some of this is true, I disagree that being type 7 necessitates this trait, on the basis of two things:


  • nobody is one type alone, and we depend on our head, heart, and gut
  • superficiality as a personality trait and superficiality as a cognitive tendency aren't the same thing

Yes, there are 7's who are materialistic dungheads who grandstand in their Mercedes and Ray Bans for no reason other than they believe they are special. Yes, there are 7's who believe every person of their preferred partner sex are interested in them because they are that attractive. Yes, there are 7's who believe they are superior because of their social status. Yes, there are times that 7's are not "superficial" in the conventional sense act so. And yes, there are 8's who cry, 3's who fail, and 1's who are terrorists. Can you smell the crock of bullshit I'm pointing to?

I don't believe that the superficiality of type 7 has much of anything to do with persona. It has to do with the tendency to not stay with one thought long enough to obtain all of the details necessary to understand it fully, the way that would warrant the type of satisfaction 7's want and guarantee the stability 7's need. There can be, and are many 7's who introspect, or even dig into the darker, more tragic points of the human condition. 7's understand pain - their personality attempts to compensate for it, for fuck's sake. There can be and are many 7's whose awareness of these sides of life cause the scampering away - and, as Papa Claudio left out - return to for the intent of piecing together more.


If you have been under the impression that this is the case for all 7's, take another look at the 7's around you, because they may have more to tell you than you've allowed them to feel comfortable sharing.
 

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Amen to this. I've argued this much on the EIDB board about how if the enneagram of personality is to be worth anything, it must get past pigeonholing stereotypes. I thought I was some unusual manic 5 for a time because I equated all 7's with being superficial party animals and all "brains" with being 5's. Now I know I'm much like the "mad scientist" ENTP type, being as my existential issues and cyclical character patterns feel 7 and not at all 5 or any other type. Looking to the deeper archetypal drama of one's personality that seems to play over and over again is another good way to see type deeply.
I've never been materialistic or being the standard narcissist.
 

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It can vary, there are elements of superficiality I see in the unhealthy ranges of every type. I am most bothered by the brands of superficiality found in Sevens, Threes and Ones.

The most superficial (in my opinion) Seven I know is not particularly materialistic. But I consider him superficial more because he will do almost anything to avoid pain and unpleasantness. He will lie to others, make excuses, tell you what you want to hear, suddenly drop contact, abandon responsibility, and is in constant need of stimulation. He's ultra-sensitive to criticism, yet judges others on shallow matters and holds them to unrealistic standards. He's an overgrown frat boy who can't grow up. There is no way to have a real friendship with him because he would rather bail than examine his behavior.

I am close to a different Seven who is very healthy and I don't think superficial at all. He's also always looking for new opportunities, stimulation, trying to see the bright side of things. But he's honest about what he is going through, and he will put himself out there, even at risk of pain or rejection. He and I were just talking about this actually. He mentioned how everyone knows when he's going through something, because, as he put it, "I'm basically like, 'I'm hurrrrtingggg!!!!!'" He is just very honest, wastes no time, because he DOES want to move on and knows he has to process everything first. So he does. And he bounces back pretty quickly. He's still an eternal optimist, but for him this takes the form of knowing what he wants, and when there is a problem he will not stop until he finds a solution.

Yesterday I was actually crying in his arms, telling him about something that's very difficult for me right now (I rarely let myself be vulnerable in front of anyone, yet I chose to let this Seven comfort me). He was so sweet, wise, practical, positive and supportive about it. We didn't dwell but I felt better. In contrast... on the rare occasion I expressed distress in front of that first Seven I mentioned... he was like, "You're being silly. Come on. You need a drink, let's go grab you a drink." Which can be helpful too but... lmao. You know.


Of course I'm writing this all through my Four lens, where I idealize ~emotional integrity~ and ~introspection~ and ~personal growth~. But yes.
 

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I think different types have a different definition for superficiality. For me, as a seven, not giving it my all and not immersing myself in things seems superficial. There are so many people who are so casual about the things they do. So when I can't feel about something like that anymore, I tend to drop it - and that's what other types see as being superficial. I can understand why they would, but still, I can't help but feel that they are the ones being superficial.
 
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