Enneagram 3 overview
Enneagram Threes are focused on reaching their goals and want to be seen as successful. They are confident, driven, and charming people who always need to be working towards something.
Enneagram 3 basic desire: On a fundamental level, Enneagram Threes want to feel admired and valued. They have a desire to be successful and achieve extraordinary things.
Enneagram 3 basic fear: Enneagram Threes fear being worthless and failing. They will do whatever it takes to be seen as significant.
Threes are some of the most accomplished people out there. They are always looking to improve in all areas of their life and are comfortable taking a step outside their comfort zone in the name of personal growth.
Threes are highly ambitious because they’re always looking to stand out from the crowd. They are highly aware that you have to push your limits to achieve spectacular things.
As one of the most image-conscious Enneagram types, Threes are motivated by the need for recognition and approval. It’s important to them that they are seen by others as successful and accomplished in all areas, whether it’s their career, social life, or family life.
Another trait that you see in Threes is that they are highly competitive and they’ll go above and beyond to win. Threes are always looking for ways to improve and grow, both personally and professionally.
Enneagram Threes are natural leaders and they are typically people who others look up to. They might seem to have it all worked out from the outside but Enneagram 3s can also be quite insecure, and they often compare themselves to others.
Threes can be image-conscious and materialistic, and they may have a hard time truly relaxing because there is always more work to be done and another goal to achieve. This can be exhausting as it can be very difficult for Threes to switch off.
Plus, they can get so caught up in what other people think of them and their status. As a result, they can become detached from what they truly want, to the extent that they might not even know what’s important to them.
Ultimately, Enneagram Threes have many admirable qualities. They are charming, accomplished, and know how to work a room. However, their fixation on what other people think can hinder them from achieving true happiness.
Enneagram 3 strengths
1. Charismatic: Threes are charismatic which can help with getting other people on board with their ideas.
2. Ambitious: As one of the most driven Enneagram types, Threes will power on with relentless focus and stay resilient when things don’t always go their way.
3. Growth-oriented: One of the unique traits of Enneagram Threes is that they will go out of their way to become the best version of themselves.
4. Natural leaders: Threes are confident and self-assured which makes them natural-born leaders.
Enneagram 3 weaknesses
1. Fear of failure: Threes can have a deep fear of failure because the thought of being a ‘nobody’ is terrifying to people of this type.
2. Ruthless: As a result of their drive to succeed, Enneagram Threes can exploit others for their own benefit.
3. Jealous: Threes sometimes compare themselves to others a lot and become jealous.
4. Manipulative: In some cases, Threes can be dishonest and manipulative if it means it will bring them closer to their goal.
Most people lean towards one of the wings on either side of their Enneagram type, and this determines their subtype. In the case of Enneagram Threes, the subtypes are Enneagram Three with a Two Wing (Enneagram 3w2) and Enneagram Three with a Four Wing (Enneagram 3w4). These two subtypes share the key Enneagram Three traits, but they also show subtle differences.
Enneagram 3w2 overview
Enneagram Threes with a Two Wing largely have traits of Threes, but they also share a number of characteristics with Twos. Threes with a Two Wing tend to be more friendly and social. They often love to help others.
Enneagram 3w4 overview
Enneagram Threes with a Four Wing largely have traits of Threes, but they also share a number of characteristics with Fours. Threes with a Four Wing tend to be more introspective and serious. They often have an artistic flair.
Enneagram 3 dating
People of the Enneagram Three personality type are natural flirts when they want to be. They know how to turn it on and work their charm.
Enneagram Threes tend to be intentional and direct when it comes to dating. They are careful about how they spend their time, and they don’t beat around the bush.
However, they aren’t always comfortable expressing their emotions, and it can take them a while to open up.
Enneagram 3 relationships
When Threes find that special someone, they will go above and to make it work.
People of this Enneagram type are dedicated and focused. Once they decide that something or someone is worth pursuing, they are all in.
Enneagram Threes love the idea of being in a supportive relationship where you truly are a team and support each other.
Threes can have a hard time showing vulnerability because they can be afraid to show people anything they might perceive to be a weakness.
As they are always on the go, it can be hard for Threes to juggle everything, and their partners can sometimes feel neglected.
Enneagram 3 compatibility
Enneagram Threes need a partner who will support them in achieving their goals and give them the space they need in order to do so.
People who need a lot of attention generally don’t work well with Threes, and they look for partners who will help them reach their true potential rather than hinder them in any way.
As they are so focused on self-improvement themselves, Threes are often attracted to people who have a growth mindset because it means they can embark on personal development journeys together.
Threes tend to be attracted to people who have a clear direction in life and are taking steps to follow their purpose.
Enneagram 3s in the workplace
As a result of their drive, Threes tend to thrive in competitive work environments. They like clear targets and tangible measures of success.
Enneagram Threes are always looking for ways to improve their skills and advance their careers. Whether this involves finding a mentor or taking additional courses, you can be sure that Threes will put the work in.
People of the Enneagram Three personality type are particularly good at networking and building relationships with key stakeholders.
They tend to be highly aware of politics in organizations and will happily partake in that game because they know it’s part of the route to success.
Threes typically have a lot of charisma, and they can be very persuasive when they need to be, which can come in useful when they need to inspire others.
As a result of their outward confidence, Threes are usually very effective managers and leaders.
Enneagram 3 careers
The best careers for Enneagram Threes are typically those that have a certain level of status and recognition. They may enjoy careers in politics, finance, and entrepreneurship, where they can be widely recognized for their achievements.
Enneagram 3s under stress
When Enneagrams Threes are under extreme stress, they can become apathetic and disinterested. They are usually lively and focused, but when they feel overwhelmed, they can withdraw.
Threes are known for their inspiring and infectious energy, but they can become disinterested, and it can seem like they are giving up.
Threes are one of the most pragmatic Enneagram types, and when they are well-developed individuals, they can actually view stress in a positive light by seeing it as an opportunity for personal growth and to make adjustments in their life.
Advice for Enneagram 3s
1. Take time to relax. Enneagram Threes can be quite hard on themselves, and you need to remember to slow down sometimes, or you will eventually burn out. Taking time for yourself will help you recharge and be more productive in the long run.
2. Don’t dwell on what others think about you. What is most important is how you feel about yourself, and if you are happy with who you are, that truly matters. You can’t control other people’s opinions so it’s not worth wasting energy worrying about them.
3. Take time to understand your emotions. Take a step back to work out how you feel and whether you are going in a direction that aligns with your values. Threes can get caught up in other people’s expectations so it’s important to ask yourself how you actually feel about things.
4. Embrace vulnerability. It can be scary for Threes to show any sign of weakness, but in order to be emotionally intimate with others, we need to show vulnerability. Know that you will be accepted for who you are by the people who matter and that everyone has flaws.
Quotes for Enneagram 3s
Here are some of the best quotes that you’ll appreciate if you’re an Enneagram Three.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals; adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” —John Wooden
“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” ― Criss Jami
“Rome wasn’t built in one day… but they were laying bricks every hour.” ― John Heywood
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” —Estée Lauder
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”—Lao Tzu
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”— Steve Jobs
Enneagram 3 famous people
Now let’s take a look at some real-life examples of famous Enneagram Threes.
Jay-Z, 3w4 (Rapper & Entrepreneur)
Jay-Z is an Enneagram Three with a Four Wing. This is no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the rapper and entrepreneur. Enneagram Threes are known for their drive, ambition, and success-oriented nature. They are natural-born leaders who are always working towards some kind of goal. Jay-Z is the epitome of a successful. He has built an empire for himself and his family. In 2019, Forbes announced Jay-Z as hip-hop’s first billionaire. Whether it’s his own music, his management label, his champagne company, or one of his many investments, he is constantly striving to be the best at everything he does, and he is succeeding! As a Three with a Four Wing, Jay-Z also has some of the qualities of Enneagram Fours. These include being creative, introspective, and individualistic. Jay-Z is known for his creativity when it comes to his lyrics and music. He is always pushing the envelope and coming up with new ways to express himself.
Oprah Winfrey, 3w2 (TV Show Host)
Oprah Winfrey is an Enneagram Three with a Two Wing. She is ambitious and hard-working, but also extremely charitable and compassionate. Threes are often referred to as “The Achievers.” They are driven and motivated, always striving to be the best. They are also very outgoing and social, which makes them great leaders. Oprah is a perfect example of an Enneagram Three. She has built an empire and is one of the most successful women in the world. Oprah’s Two Wing makes her more compassionate and giving. She is always helping others and giving back to her community.
Cardi B, 3w4 (Rapper)
Cardi B is an Enneagram Three with a Four Wing. She’s a gifted performer and a savvy businesswoman. She’s also funny, spontaneous, and unafraid to speak her mind. Threes are known for their drive, ambition, and ability to achieve success. They are often the “go-getters” of the Enneagram system, and Cardi B is no exception. As a Three, she is driven to achieve her goals and does whatever it takes to make them happen. She is also highly aware of her image and how she is perceived by others. As a result, she is (usually!) careful to present herself in the best light possible. Enneagram Fours are known for their creative flair, emotional intensity, and need for self-expression. This is reflected in Cardi B’s music and unique style.
Justin Bieber, 3w4 (Singer)
Justin Bieber is an Enneagram Three with a Four Wing. Threes place a lot of value on recognition and success. They’re often charming and ambitious, but they can also be status-conscious and highly driven by a need for approval. This can definitely be said for Justin Bieber. When he was younger he wanted to be a famous singer, a professional hockey player, or a professional soccer player. Bieber is an Enneagram Three with a Four Wing, which means he has some of the qualities of both Threes and Fours. Fours are often creative, introspective, and individualistic. They can also be moody and self-conscious. This is definitely true for Bieber, who has been known to be moody on stage and off stage.
Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, 3w2 (Actor)
Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, is a perfect example of a healthy Enneagram Three with a Two Wing. As a Three, he is charming, confident, and driven. He is also a gifted entertainer with a knack for making people laugh. Threes are typically successful and popular. The Rock was named the highest-paid actor in the world in 2019 and 2020, and he was the 10th highest-paid celebrity in the world too. The Rock’s Two Wing means that he has a more warm and compassionate nature. He is able to connect with people and make them feel comfortable. He is also generous and always willing to help others. The Rock often gifts his family homes and cars for their support over the years. In addition to this, he started the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation to help children with illnesses and give them hope for a better future.
Enneagram 3 characters
Amy Elliott Dunne, 3w2 (Gone Girl)
Amy Elliott Dunne from Gone Girl is an unhealthy Enneagram Three with a Two Wing. Amy is the ultimate manipulator who uses her charm to get what she wants. She’s also a great liar and can be very convincing when she wants to be. When Amy reappeared, she won over the nation with her cover story and she played the perfect victim. Amy’s deep desire to appear perfect and her need for validation often lead her to act in unhealthy ways. Her parents wrote a children’s book series called “Amazing Amy” which added to her need to be flawless. But we all know that Amy is far from perfect. She’s a sociopath who will do anything to get what she wants. Overall, she’s a complex unhealthy Enneagram Three character who is both dangerous and fascinating.
Harvey Specter, 3w2 (Suits)
Harvey Specter is an Enneagram Three with a Two Wing. Harvey is the quintessential alpha male. He’s confident, successful, and dominant, all typical personality traits of a Three. Harvey is a successful lawyer who always wants to be in control and he is primarily motivated by success and gaining status. Harvey was obsessed with getting his name on the wall. He also likes to push people around him to be successful, like Mike Ross, Louis Litt, and Donna. Harvey also expects a lot from those people and he believes they will do whatever it takes to get the job done. While Harvey does have some Enneagram Two qualities, such as being nurturing and supportive, he typically keeps those feelings to himself. He’s much more likely to show his softer side to Donna than anyone else.
Lord Voldemort, 3w4 (Harry Potter)
Lord Voldemort was an unhealthy Enneagram Three with a Four Wing. Voldemort was obsessed with blood purity, elitism, and power. He believed himself to be better than others and wanted everyone to know him, admire him, and fear him all at the same time. Threes can draw satisfaction from being superior to others and from being in the limelight. At a young age, Tom Riddle had an image in mind to be the ‘Dark Lord’ and he set out to achieve this. Threes can be manipulative and controlling, and they are often driven by a need to be the best. Harry Potter was Voldemort’s weakness as it showed the world that he was not all-powerful and he could be defeated. This was one of the reasons he was obsessed with defeating Harry Potter over the years. Voldemort needed to prove himself. As an unhealthy Enneagram Three, Voldemort’s relationship with his Death Eaters was one of manipulation and control. He would often test their loyalty to him by putting them in dangerous situations or making them do dangerous things. If they proved their loyalty, they were rewarded with power and status within the group.
Rachel Green, 3w4 (Friends)
Rachel Green from Friends is an Enneagram Three with a Four Wing. Rachel is always striving to be successful and she makes sure she looks great doing it. She’s charming, ambitious, and hard-working, but she can also be superficial and image-conscious. Enneagram Threes fear failure and embarrassment, so they’re always working hard to avoid those things. Rachel was always incredibly career-focused. She ran away from her wedding to Barry to make a career for herself in New York and go it alone. She worked her way up in the fashion world and eventually became a successful buyer. Recognition and external validation are core to Rachel’s happiness. While she is typically confident and poised, she does have insecurities. She can be quite self-conscious about her appearance and what others think of her. Rachel is also a people-pleaser, which can lead to her putting other people’s needs ahead of her own.
Jay Gatsby, 3w4 (The Great Gatsby)
Jay Gatsby is an unhealthy Enneagram Three with a Four Wing. He’s obsessed with appearances and what others think of him, which leads him to put on a false persona and live a life of grandeur and excess that isn’t really him. He’s only throwing his parties to get Daisy’s attention. Jay Gatsby is always striving for something more, which is depicted in the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He’s also a bit of an idealist, he spent years pining after Daisy and believing that they would someday be together, even though she was married to someone else the entire time. When it finally clicked that Daisy would follow Tom, the old money with class, he was heartbroken. Unhealthy Threes can be great liars and have a deep need for approval. In Gatsby’s deep desire for social validation, he made up a fake back story to give himself some social cachet. While Gatsby may be fun and charismatic, he’s ultimately a tragic figure who is unable to see past his own selfishness. All in all, Jay Gatsby is a pretty unhealthy individual.
Meet your perfect personality match
If you’d like to learn more about Enneagram types, you can read our post about Enneagram Fours.