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Three Ways To Be Seven: Enneagram Seven Subtypes (Self-Preservation, Sexual, Social)

Type Seven represents the versatility and freedom of the awake mind. Sevens tend to be mercurial, spontaneous, optimistic, and experience-oriented. They are in love with possibilities and have a kind of enduring hopefulness and understanding that limitations and difficulties pass to give rise to something new. Sevens are typically up for adventure and tend to jump into new situations with ease.

They have a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for the unexpected and novel, and they are quick learners and typically have many talents. People of this type seek out and delight in having a variety of experiences, and they often push things toward provocative or risky behaviors. Sevens make pleasure a priority, but they can skimp on giving adequate attention to negative feelings, especially feelings that feel immovable or limiting, like boredom, grief, and deprivation. Boredom in particular produces a great deal of anxiety for Sevens.

To avoid these anxieties, stressed Sevens will use their quick minds to mentally “jump ahead” of whatever they’re doing in anticipation of the next experience or possibility. While Sevens are typically sensitive, they can become emotional escape artists who can rationalize their way out of having to attend to the parts of their experience that feel limiting, but this means that they are limited by their own avoidances. This results in an inner restlessness and agitation that calls for the next exciting adventure to stave it off.

As Sevens become trapped in identification, they lose touch with discernment for what will be satisfying for them and begin anticipating the next project in the midst of their current activity, moving rapidly to another subject. They put too many activities and interests on their plate, often to the point of exhausting themselves.

This means that Sevens often abort things before they’re completed or integrated, leaving them unsatisfied and frustrated.

Imbalanced Sevens become scattered, flaky, manic, and avoidant of pain, grief, and deprivation. As they become more frantic and fearful that they will pass up the experience, person, or opportunity that will be fulfilling, they try to sample a little of everything. As a result, they aren’t really deeply touched by anything, compounding their frustration. Unprocessed grief and sadness can haunt them, and all their time and energy can be consumed by running from these overwhelming feelings. Insatiable and frantic, even very well-meaning Sevens, when deeply unhealthy, can engage in some extremely self-centered and exploitative behaviours from fearing they won’t get what they need unless they take it at someone else’s expense.


Self-Preservation Sevens seek Essential Freedom in their lifestyle through experiences and sensual pleasure. They are the most practical and experience-oriented Sevens. They tend to be enthusiastic and results-driven, and don’t hesitate to pursue their desires. Typically, Self-Preservation Sevens lead colorful lives and pick up many talents, skills, or specialized knowledge along the way.

Mature Self-Preservation Sevens have a natural talent for synthesizing skills and creating businesses, art, and adventures, and they might combine these elements into something unexpected, yet useful and interesting.

Self-Preservation Sevens find ways to arrange their lifestyle so they can pursue the kinds of experiences, subjects, and interests they love while also ensuring some degree of well-being and material security. Where and how they live is viewed as the nexus to what opportunities and experiences will be available to them. Some Self-Preservation Sevens have multiple projects and money-making endeavors, and they love to travel and have intense experiences.

Others are more on the intuitive, introspective side, and though they may not have much of a strong practical foundation, they may use their lifestyle to study interesting subjects and learn skills. They may become teachers or authors, for example, allowing them to earn a living while keeping their curiosity engaged.

People of this type have a great deal of resilience in the face of setbacks and upheavals, and they tend to bounce back from major challenges. They also have a gift for extending this attitude to friends and loved ones, “sharing the wealth”, by means of material support or opening up opportunities for others.

Self-Preservation Sevens express gluttony for resources and experiences that they believe provide physical well-being, an interesting life, and sensual pleasure. Consumption is a major Self-Preservation Seven theme—big expensive meals in fancy restaurants, big shopping excursions, collections, trying out every new flavor of beer, interests in upscale and luxury items are all possible examples. Or, they may they may live humbly, but display display a voraciousness in reading, passion for art or film, or prodigious creative output.

Self-Preservation Sevens struggle to know what conditions to agree to, what skills to develop, and what roots to put down in order to foster the kind of life they want to lead. For people of this type, the cost of the sacrifices and trade-offs one must make in forging a pathway through life is front and center. Some Self-Preservation Sevens can feel crushed by a demand to have a life trajectory established by a certain age or by the expectations family may have around what kind of lifestyle they choose. Others may go along with the lifepath presented to them, all the while having nagging doubts and even small rebellions against something they aren’t sure they want. Self-Preservation Sevens tend to be capable of improvising and acquiring skills with ease, which can be an obvious benefit, but it can also be a kind of crutch that Self-Preservation Sevens rely on as a way to keep their involvement with anything relatively superficial. In a similar vein, this type can display an excessive focus and workaholism that would, on the surface, seem atypical of Seven.

However, what may seem like admirable concentration and deep engagement may ultimately psychologically function as “busywork”— a way to stay active and busy without emotionally touching too deeply into something and keeping negativity at bay.

In Self-Preservation Sevens, anxiety around the limitations and state of the body creates a kind of impatience with the body and with healing, which exacerbates whatever physical and psychological issues are at play. In wanting to be uninhibited to pursue experiences, imbalanced Self-Preservation Sevens often have difficulty giving their full scope of health issues adequate attention until they become major problems. As Self-Preservation Sevens  become more anxious, they can be reckless with their health, safety, and finances. They adopt a predatory “me first” entitlement that can be overt in their attitude toward others or played behind the scenes by “borrowing” what they want or scheming for what they feel they are owed or what they think others won’t miss. A kind of cynical materialism can take over.

As anxiety fuels Self-Preservation Sevens into grander experiences and compulsive behaviors, consequences for impulsive behaviors begin to seem like non-issues in the present. They may rapidly spend money, or pursue dead-end money-making schemes and tricks. They may also overestimate their energy and become workaholics in an effort to keep up stimulation and to prevent feeling overwhelmed by anxiety. Many unhealthy Self-Preservation Sevens may indulge in substance abuse, excessive partying, and reckless physical risk-taking, trying to escape crushing inner feelings of deprivation and grief.

Self-Preservation Sevens find the freedom they seek when they can stay grounded in their present experience. When they give up their need to overlook or run from setbacks, they find an inner resilience that fosters trust in their heart, body, and mind’s capacity to experience freedom in the midst of life’s ups and downs.


Sexual Sevens want to experience Essential Freedom in chemistry, their fascinations, and their romantic partnerships. The high energy of Type Seven paired with the attraction-seeking, boundary-pushing Sexual Drive produces colorful characters who have a willingness to drop whatever they’re doing in pursuit of something that has captivated them.

Sexual Sevens are highly creative, with many talents and often an imaginative, visionary streak, but they tend to have difficulty sustaining their efforts. This type is looking to share a special kind of attraction and chemistry with someone exotic who stimulates their sense of what’s possible. The object of desire represents a doorway to a new world and an entry into experiences they couldn’t have anticipated.

There’s a sense that every partner, every romance, and every turn in the evolution of a long-term partnership is a new discovery. When they have a partner, they tend to be very committed and put a great deal of effort into keeping things fresh and exciting, like arranging exotic travels or having unconventional experiences. When unattached, there’s a hunger to playfully flirt and explore the interpersonal energy between themselves and many different kinds of people. They can have a gluttony for arousal.

To an even greater degree than other Sevens, Sexual Sevens can easily galvanize the totality of their energy and resources toward a person or experience that attracts them with little inhibition. Much of their talent, charm, and success comes from this capacity, but they can jump completely into one project or person, and then the next and the next; the consequence is that their life can take on a zig-zag pattern. In seeking fascinating people and experiences, Sexual Sevens want to be fascinating as well. Yet their tendency to be stretched thin may lead to having many interests but not a lot of proficiency in any one skill nor any particular direction in life, fueling an insecurity they may compensate for by resorting to being outrageous or provocative instead of well-rounded.

Monogamy can be difficult for anyone, but some Sexual Sevens may naturally lean toward monogamy. Others can find it challenging, and may not take to it simply out of fear of missing out on possible flirtations and sexual encounters. They may fantasize about escaping their relationship for the next sexual experience. Other Sexual Sevens can adhere to monogamy when monogamy isn’t really compatible with them in an attempt to “tame themselves” and overcompensate for feeling out of control or compulsive.

As a type based in the Intellectual Center, all Sevens experience difficulty being in contact with a quality of inner knowing and discernment. When personality co-opts the Sexual Drive, it interferes with the natural intelligence and discrimination of attraction and chemistry, becoming overridden by intense mental excitation, a need for stimulation and seeing people through a veil of imagination. It can seem almost as if others become characters through the lens of a fairy tale or story. Therefore, a great deal of the basis for attraction of Sexual Sevens is the symbolic potential that the person and thei relationship may open up. The filter of imagination creates difficulty for imbalanced Sexual Sevens to stay with the living sensations of chemistry, rendering a lack of discernment in who or what would actually be compatible versus merely exciting. Instead, the fixated Sexual Seven relies on how intensely they are stimulated by a person or situation.

The obstruction of imagination over one’s experience can also easily turn into a pattern of chasing “peaks.” Therefore, the Sexual Drive’s craving to lose boundaries combines with Seven’s excitement to create a type that is hungry for intense experience and for having their expectations blown open, which propels a drive for escalation.

Sexual Sevens may begin to relate to people and encounters like experiences to be “consumed”. Their own feelings of optimism and excitement may blind them both to how they may objectify other people and to the personal cost of becoming entangled in people without being deeply “touched”.

Imbalanced Sexual Sevens will hardly allow for a situation to unfold on its own, and instead will goad things along with provocation to up the ante or add something to the experience.

When this happens, the natural transgressive and provocative impulses of the Sexual Drive become intensified by mental activity toward exaggerated exhibitionism and fascination with the perverse.

They may approach “loss of self” by being shocking or outrageous, an unpredictable element that pushes themselves and others outside their comfort zones. This can both stave off the possibility of sincerity and intimacy and undermine their attractiveness. Even if they desire commitment, some Sexual Sevens may end up being the “one-night stand” or a fleeting sexual curiosity because of the extent to which they can turn themselves into a caricature.

As Sexual Sevens become more imbalanced, substance abuse, exhaustion, self-harm, senseless risk-taking, and anxiety attacks are common. When they objectify others, they may storm into the object of their desire’s life, stir things up, and then quickly move on, leaving their prospective mate’s life in disarray. They can rely on partners to care for them physically and materially, draining their resources while justifying their behaviour by being entertaining and enlivening. In trying to escalate intensity, imbalanced Sexual Sevens are prone to goad partners and romantic interests into participating in degrading or destructive behaviours with them, or, on being disappointed that a romantic partner fails to live up to their fantasies, can be violent and abusive.

When Sexual Sevens ground themselves in their bodies, their radar for what’s genuinely enlivening becomes clearer. Their creativity becomes deeper and more renewing and they’re able to let their hearts be touched by their experience.


Social Sevens are looking to experience Essential Freedom in their relationships and vocation. For this type, the possibility and variety of life is at its richest when shared. Relatedness, whether personal or communal, is the means for possibilities, inspiration, and creativity to be realized. People of this type are outgoing, interesting, and have a deep fascination for people, experiences, and understanding of how things fit together on large and small scales. Many Social Sevens are funny, quick-thinking, and natural entertainers, using humor and wit with compassion. Social Sevens have a strong sense of purpose and a profound desire to meaningfully leave a positive impact on other people. They love making genuine connections, going on adventures with companions, and are generally able to find something worth appreciating in most people. Social Sevens typically make drastic changes in the course of their lives, lending to many talents and a wide network of allies.

While Seven and the Social Instinct, taken together, may evoke a picture of the buoyant social butterfly, not all Social Sevens are so extroverted. They tend to have extended networks of friends but have a tight inner circle of enduring connections. Even so, there’s a persistent sense of being called to be part of a larger world or bigger conversation. Whether they’re an entertainer or a social worker, there’s often a pervasive call to genuinely contribute to the betterment of others. Because of this, they are prone to being giving and self-sacrificing, often giving up opportunities, freedom, and self-interest for the sake of others.

Social Sevens tend to be easily inspired by causes and ideals, and they enjoy making possibilities real for other people. Despite this, one of the major difficulties that Social Sevens struggle with is not knowing where to invest their energy and time, so Gluttony compensates for this lack of real knowing by trying to pursue nearly every option they find even a little bit interesting. It’s hard for them to settle on where to develop their gifts and contributions.

Unconsciously, there’s a belief that finding the right kind of relationships and the right kind of orientation, role, or calling will unlock the meaning they’re seeking, yet the fear of missing out on what that calling is, or where that key to unlocking potential lies, motivates Sevens to both try on different modalities and lifepaths as well as to continuously pursue people and experiences to share them with. Adding to this difficulty, Social Sevens tend to be able to see something positive and interesting in nearly every path, option, and person. This can be a gift, but it can also lead to a lack of discrimination of who and where to give energy to, resulting in a frustrating feeling that it’s nearly impossible to make the “inroads” the Social Seven seeks or to figure out what to devote themselves to.

Social Sevens can struggle with feeling irrelevant or that they’ve wasted opportunities, giving an edge to their usual positive demeanour.

Under stress, Type Sevens have an unconscious habit of setting themselves up for disappointment by overlooking negativity or making agreements without fully considering the consequences of doing so. Social Sevens may take exploratory steps in a direction that doesn’t pan out career-wise or may mentor someone who is not really interested in changing their ways. They may agree to take on responsibilities toward many people or organizations until they feel bogged down and resentful, searching for a quick way out. Their involvement in others can become increasingly superficial and quick, often leaving others hanging or waiting on input that doesn’t arrive or isn’t complete.

As Social Sevens become overtaken with anxiety, they can be ungrounded, unreliable, and out of control while retaining a charming facade, so others can easily be swept up into the Social Seven’s impulse to escalate situations. In trying to enhance the social atmosphere through outrageousness, imbalanced Social Sevens are prone to escalation, burnout, and putting themselves at risk through self-neglect and recklessness. The focus on other people flips to self-absorption and hedonism, using other people and betraying their trust.

When Social Sevens can take in impressions of relatedness and belonging through the body and heart, it shifts the search of how to contribute from a search for the right choice to listen to their heart’s deeper call and the satisfaction that arises from inhabiting the present moment.

[Source: Luckovich, 2021]