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For me, they work in tandem. MBTI doesn't describe personality and motivations fully without relying on stereotypes, and Enneagram lacks a lot of the depth to describe the innerworkings of a person. A 3w2 ESTP is very different from a 7w8 ESTP, and a 3w2 ESTP and also very different from a 3w2 ESTJ.

They also serve different purposes as tools for me.

I use MBTI to generally assess my ability to communicate with someone, which has a massive influence on how well I'll get along with them. It is, for me, a tool to understand myself and others better at a fundamental level. It brings a lot of new insights and is a great tool. Enneagram, meanwhile, is a tool for self-improvement and characterization and also is what I use as an aid to assess the mental health of a person.

But given the fact that Enneagram just gave me a name for things I already intuitively knew whereas MBTI taught me a lot of new things, I am more indebted to MBTI.
 

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It's difficult to say because there is still a lot I don't know about the enneagram. MBTI can start to seem a bit banal in comparison once you have a good grasp on the basic enneagram lessons. I prefer to learn about each from the most organic angle as possible, something that touches the core root and when you can trace symptomatic behaviors to their origin, I love the enneagram for that, it applies also with MBTI but it is more multi-facted when you take into account the layers of cognitive functions that build the personality. The tritype works differently, less explicitely spelled out in how each fix behaves with each other and then you can opt into instinctual stackings. The MBTI seems to be the easiest to understand right off the bat, providing information is reasonably handled and understood, is trusted and you have reasonable expectations of what the MBTI can provide to you.

It's a good idea to grasp the basis behind these personality tools and moreso with the enneagram before ploughing straight into self typing, that's like running before you can walk, like seeing the wizard behind the certain before understanding any of the subtext.

Im torn between viewing the enneagram types as mind traps or essential modes of survival and whether it is truly possible to transcend your enneatype or fixation. Whether integration and disintegration are actually positive or negative destinations. The enneagram seems to leaves more questions than answers but it touches the most broken aspects of ourselves.



 

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This is going out on a limb, so bear with me. I think the enneagram is a superior theory to MBTI, Socionics, and pretty much every other Jungian derived system. It is inferior to research-supported psychology for a number of reasons.

The enneagram has an underlying architecture, which both helps to rule out types, and make most people of the same type share things in common that are unique to their type. Ironically, this architecture is what most people find highly confusing and at times off-putting, impossible about the theory. The enneagram depends on very specific code words - but when you get what they mean, they are extremely consistent and stick out like a sore thumb for each of the 9 types, in a way that makes it possible to type without worrying about broad traits.

MBTI, in contrast, has nothing in it to stop someone from imagining a type in whichever way they choose. Technically, even though I'm an INTJ if I want to re-think Fe in a different way tomorrow I can call myself an ENFJ and people who know it's BS can only refer me back to vague Jungian archetypes. If someone goes from being a 5 to an 8, there are unique things about 8 I can point as being absent that are crucial to being the type, and it's more a matter of getting the person to understand what the author means.

I have found that the enneagram is significantly more spiritually helpful than MBTI as well. Knowing my type and learning self-observation has really freed up some of my limitations and made me much more accepting of myself, and compassionate to people who may not be in such a great state. MBTI has helped with communication, but really not much more. Socionics is extremely helpful to predict who will/will not appreciate your style and what you can expect out of relationships with others, group dynamics etc - but none of these really truly dig into spiritual maturity. They're more or less, tactical models.
 

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I prefer the Enneagram to MBTI (cognitive function style only - no Keirsey). Enneagram is more useful for me overall, but understanding the Fe/Ti axis especially has helped me more than expected.

Doesn't matter to me what system an individual prefers, but I do notice that a lot of people who don't like the Enneagram resort to insulting it. I don't understand why that's the first reaction many have, and insults anger me more than their dislike does. Don't be a dick about things you don't like, it's not that hard.
 

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I prefer the Enneagram; it goes deeper and allows for healthy, average, unhealthy in a way that doesn't show up clearly, deeply, in MBTI: People tend to go for the 4 letters missing the functions.

That said, the book, Was That Really Me? by Naomi L. Quenk is excellent for delving deep into MBTI, especially confusing areas like inferior function, how INTJs and INFJs, for example, are similar yet confusing for people (F/J differentiation is not drastic), and otherwise contains a lot of information--and a way to put it together--for improving and accepting the use of one's dom and aux while not pushing the inferior function to the fore (to the point of exhaustion), and is a great resource.

Still, Beatrice Chestnut took the enneagram to a place that made finding my Enneagram and wing easy, and the why apparent.

I don't have to choose, however, so I use them both but don't mistake them as having the same purpose, e.g. enneagram was not intended (nor has it been skewed) to be used primarily for career choice, and that makes it (for me) more valuable in its scope.
 

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Depends on the criteria you want us to use to judge them.

I find Enneagram theory easier to understand and, because it's focused on problems, easier to put to use.
 

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MBTI, it's not as stereotypical and enneagram makes too many assumptions. Enneagram assumes you have 1 of 9 core fears that is driving your life (for whatever reason) that you can only have 1 of 2 possible wings, that you have a tritype (coupled with wings) and that the particular fear you have will make you act one specific way and cope in one specific way(regardless of mbti type) and that your personality is formed around this fear. Integration and disintegration as well, different things cause stress and you will react differently to different types of stress so integration and disintegration doesn't make much sense. You can't overcome your enneagram fear. And in my and many others cases my fears, motivations and behaviors aren't even congruent. I act most like a 5 but as far as fears and motivations go it's a mix of 7, 3, and 8. So there's a conflict, is surface appearance the deciding factor when it comes to enneagram or is it what's going on underneath?
 

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Given that this is on the Enneagram forum, the answers will have a bias to Enneagram. I find scientifically scrutinized methods of classifying human behavior, such as trait theory (MBTI) a bit more versatile to those which haven't gone through a lot of scientific scrutiny (Enneagram). However, I think there's enormous value in the Enneagram, so I don't discount it by any means.

My thinking is more compatible with a model similar to MBTI rather than the Enneagram model. That doesn't mean at all that I don't like Enneagram or I don't use it. I just prefer MBTI because it's easier to use.
 
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I think the MBTI more useful for how people tend to conceptualize and understand things. When people are functional and the relationships aren't close, I find the MBTI more helpful. The individual preferences are useful when it comes to everyday differences in how people conceptualize and communicate. The MBTI actually has a fair amount of research behind it (if you ignore the functions and type dynamics), unlike the enneagram which hasn't had much in the way of empirical validation.

However, I find the enneagram to be more useful for self growth and for when relationships are more dysfunctional. The useful part of the enneagram for me is its description of habitual unhealthy coping mechanisms, and how they get in the way of intimacy and fulfillment. The enneagram is good and bringing the ways in which we self-sabotage to light, giving us the option to be more aware and choose differently (at least some of the time).
 

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So there's a conflict, is surface appearance the deciding factor when it comes to enneagram or is it what's going on underneath?
The answer is "what's going on underneath." In both systems, it's always the underneath.

At least, it is in groups who use theory as actual theory. In groups who use it as a way to immaturely categorize people, not so much. Sadly, the latter is more numerous.
 

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I can't recommend such a comparison because the two have different fields of focus.

Myers Briggs types explain how you do what you do, and enneagram types explain why you do what you do. So there isn't much of a way of objectively determining which one is better. If you want to get to the root cause and dive deep into who you are then enneagram will have a stronger appeal. However, if you just want to know superficially how you function and have a bunch of "fun" stereotypes tacked on with it then Myers Briggs will have more appeal.

But thats just two of the many reasons why one would have more appeal than the other. They both also have their own practical uses, and are excellent tools for different things, but for lack of time/relevance I won't get into that topic here.
 

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Maybe, but then why do the descriptions exist? And what if you have 8 fears but are a pussy that doesn't stand up for yourself? Would that still be considered an 8? Maybe a "counter-phobic" (that term doesn't really fit) 8? Also why can only 6s be counter-phobic?
 

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I prefer the Enneagram, myself. MB got a little boring after a while; it was like, "Ok, learned all the stuff, I can move on now." I got a fun new burst of energy with cognitive functions, but again, after a while, it was like I knew all there was to know. Either Enneagram doesn't have that same drop-off or it just takes way longer to get there.

But I readily recognize that MB is more popular, (we've seen how much people love taking personality tests) (guilty as charged), which makes it much easier to use with random people - for instance, at least half of my coworkers know their MB types, and all of them have heard of the system. Only two have ever heard of the Enneagram, and neither put much thought or study into finding their type. (I'm not counting the two that learned about it from me). So it's really easy for me to go, "Oh, M and I butt heads so much because she's an ENFP, and that's why we're always doing things the exact opposite way." Maybe knowing her Enneatype would make me more understanding of her as a person, but as coworkers, all I really need to know is how you function. I don't really care about your ego.

Because of this popularity, finding out someone else knows about Myers Briggs isn't all that exciting. When I meet someone who knows about the Enneagram, it's always so cool and interesting, because there are so many opportunities to learn and discover. Finding out someone is a 6 is interesting; finding out someone is an ESTP just bores me.

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Maybe, but then why do the descriptions exist? And what if you have 8 fears but are a pussy that doesn't stand up for yourself? Would that still be considered an 8? Maybe a "counter-phobic" (that term doesn't really fit) 8? Also why can only 6s be counter-phobic?
Your continued use of the term "fears" leads me to believe you took Riso-Hudson model of "core fears and core desires" very seriously; fwiw I'm of the opinion that it's a little simplistic.

I'm not the OP, but I do think you're headed for a derail. You might want to create your own thread to ask this stuff.
 

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I think the enneagram is more complete, while the MBTI can be improved.

There's many different subtypes and wings within each enneagram type, while on the MBTI there's just 16 types without any subtype. I think this could be improved as each type could have its subtypes.
 

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Recently I’ve been feeling more drawn to the enneagram, and more inclined to read and post in the enneagram forum on here than the MBTI forums. I prefer the enneagram to the cognitive functions, but I think in many ways, the MBTI letters/dichotomies/preferences make for a better theory than the enneagram. The MBTI preferences have more scientific support than either the functions or the enneagram, and also correlate to four of the big five factors. Unlike the functions or the enneagram, we can know that the MBTI types, as derived from the preferences, exhaust all the possibilities, so long as they are taken as continuous dimensions rather than black and white dichotomies. So, for example, as I use the theory, saying that someone is an ISTJ just means that person is more I than E, more S than N, more T than F and more J than P. In each case, that could be anything from very slightly more, just barely beyond the middle, to being out at the extreme end of the continuum. If the person is truly in the middle on any of the dimensions, an X can be used to designate that, e.g. ISXJ. I know that’s not exactly how the official MBTI folks use the theory, but I think it’s the most sensible way to use it. Still, I think the enneagram has got at some things the MBTI has missed.

I’d like to see more scientific study of the enneagram, but I know that many of the things we care about in personality psychology are hard to measure or study empirically. That doesn’t mean anything goes. You don’t get to say, this stuff is hard to study scientifically, therefore my theory about it is true. Any personality theory needs to be based in the reality of what people are like, even if quantitative methods can’t tell us everything. The advantage of quantitative methods over something like the enneagram narrative tradition is that you can get a larger and broader sample, and so you can find out whether the theory applies to a broad population, and not just to that group of people, probably not representative of the general population, who are interested enough in personality psychology that they will study these theories and spend time describing themselves. The advantage of the sorts of qualitative methods used in enneagram circles is that they tell us about what it’s like to be a certain type of person, and can more easily get at underlying motives and attentional stances. There’s a tension between providing rich personality portraits that tell us what people are like in human terms, and making claims that can be justified scientifically, and different theories fall on different parts of that spectrum. It would be better to have a theory that can do both well, and MBTI is probably most balanced in that respect, though not perfect.

All the personality theories I know about have flaws, even serious flaws, but each has interesting insights to offer.
 
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