Enneagram Type 1: The Reformer


If you have never heard of the Enneagram before, your world is about to change. The Enneagram is one of the most advanced and deep-diving personality tests people use to get to know themselves and their partners better.

While there are many popular personality tests out there, few delve as deeply into someone’s core motivations, fears, how they see the world, and what they want out of life.

The Enneagram is divided into nine different personality types. In addition to your main number, each Enneagram type also has two wings, the numbers adjacent on the Enneagram chart. They help you realize what ‘flavor’ of your core personality you are.

It probably sounds complicated right now, and when you know what you’re type is, you might even wonder how you’ll figure it all out. We promise that it’s not as difficult as it might sound. We will break down each of the nine types for you in-depth.

Today, we will cover the Enneagram 1, otherwise known as the reformer.

The Enneagram 1 or The Reformer Overview

Enneagram Ones are the kinds of people you can always rely on to follow the rule to a ‘T’. They might even create more regulations to ensure everyone is living in harmony and having their best lives.

While the majority of learned Enneagram teachers and researchers, including ourselves, will call the One the reformer because this is the type that is constantly striving to make everything in the world around them perfect, others would call the One a reformer.

Ultimately, no matter how unhealthy or sometimes destructive the One’s nature might be, they are leaders and will get the job done.

If you need someone who you know you can rely on and who will do a better-than-perfect job for any of the tasks that they’re assigned, you need to go to an Enneagram 1.

The Reformer - Enneagram
  • Healthy Ones want to dedicate their lives to being good and creating balance in the world. They want to use their gifts and task-oriented nature to improve the world around them and drive everyone to do the same.
    Although Ones at their worst can be task-oriented and small-minded, often criticizing people for doing something the wrong way or messing up, no matter how big or small that mess up might be, they are really just hoping to make everything as good as it can be. They are constantly working towards a better life.
  • While the unhealthy Ones can often be controlling, assertive, and speak in a shame-forward way, they usually don’t do that to make people feel bad or less than them.
    Instead, Type Ones are tasked with an impossible burden of sight, insight, and potential. They’re just the people who see the good and the possibility in everything and know that if everyone began to work together to create this wonderful environment, it would all work out.
  • Average Ones move forward in life being somewhat judgemental and with a comparison-oriented mindset. They are often the kinds of people you want to read over your report or an email you’re about to send your boss.
    Ones are the built-in grammar police, and they often know exactly what paths you should take in life in order to end up where you want to be.

While it can be challenging to be constantly corrected by an Enneagram One and feel as though you’re being judged, it’s important to remember that Ones aren’t the way they are because they want to be annoying or sticklers for the rules. They’re terrified of being seen as wrong or corrupt, so they live their lives constantly watching their backs.

Enneagram Ones don’t want their names to be associated with something that isn’t perfect, or that might be seen as lazy. As they live in constant fear of messing up and always have the highest standards for themselves, they need to feel as though they’re always above criticism and condemnation.

In fact, you might realize that your Enneagram Enneagram One friend or partner gets more criticizing and condemning when they’re stressed out or afraid. This is one of the most unhealthy ways that an Enneagram One can act in life, but it can help their partners know what they’re feeling and thinking.

Enneagram 1 in Stress

When One is stressed out, they often take on the traits of Enneagram Four. This means that they are often moody, and they only further isolate themselves by saying they’re alone in their endeavors and efforts to make the world a better place.

Because Enneagram One often struggles with pride and isolation, taking on some of the Four’s key characteristics will only sink them further into that hole, emphasizing their uniqueness and sole orientation towards making everything better around them.

Enneagram 1 in Growth

When One is at their healthiest, they will take on the personality traits often associated with Enneagram Seven. This means that all of a sudden, their rigid nature will take a backseat, and the Enneagram 1 will let their hair down and be ready for anything.

These people will plan a 10-day vacation to Disney World, book all the restaurants, reservations, and resorts, and know exactly what everyone will do every day.

When Ones are at their healthiest, observers might call them the trip planners because they will plan for fun and exciting times. They’ll also have the follow-through and perfection-oriented mindset to see their exciting ideas through.

Enneagram 1 with Wing-9

Ones who have a wing Nine are called the optimists or the idealists. Because One-wing-Nines have two somewhat opposing Enneagram types, their personality dynamic is fascinating.

One-wing-Nines are usually very justice-oriented, even more so than regular Ones. They also are often less judgemental and criticizing of others because their Nine wing allows them to see the world from everyone else’s perspective and to operate with empathy because of it.

The One-wing-Nines of the world are governed by a strong need to differentiate between right and wrong, and they have a strong passion that drives and forces them always to choose the path of righteousness. Nines are more oriented to distinguish between the good and bad in life.

They want justice to prevail throughout the world and are often distraught when they see evil winning.

Enneagram 1 with Wing-2

Enneagram One-wing-Twos are often called the activists or the advocates in the Enneagram. The One is an interesting number on the Enneagram because it’s surrounded by two of the most opposing numbers on the diagram.

While Enneagram Ones can often be judgemental and even cruel in their beliefs and the ways that they think things ought to be done, Twos are incredibly sacrificial, loving, and humble beings who would rip off their arm for someone if they felt that it would help them.

One-wing-Twos are very principled in how they govern themselves and can also extend empathy to the people around them. The One-wing-Two also seeks justice and equality in every single situation that they can, and they always hope for everything to end up well and good.

The One-wing-Two’s biggest fear in life is being immoral and viewed as a terrible person. Because of this, Enneagram 1, who is usually highly assertive when they’re alone, might struggle with decision fatigue or freeze up when they know that they have to make a decision that might not paint them in the best light.

Even though it might sound easy to achieve, the One-wing-Two wants to be seen as good people, and they want to be able to fight for the little people and those plagued by injustice.

Enneagram Ones and Twos are known for unhealthily blocking out their emotions in order to get a task done or serve others, so they can often become nose blind to their own thoughts and feelings when they see a problem or a project that they want to take on.

How the Enneagram 1’s Characteristics Apply to Romance and Dating

Enneagram 1’s might be a little more difficult to date than most people realize because it’s hard for this type to get over themselves and get vulnerable with someone else. Because One’s primary goal in life is to be seen as exemplary, it can be difficult to admit that they have very human thoughts and tendencies.

If you’re dating an Enneagram One, you aren’t going to experience their love by seeing them kiss and hug you or even saying that they love you. Instead, you’ll come home one day and find all your books color-coded, your taxes are done, and every side project you’ve ever started completed.

Enneagram One is the most dedicated and detail-oriented of all types, and that applies to how they treat their relationships. Ones care about their relationships and loved ones above almost anything and will prioritize their partner’s health and well-being above their own.

Ones also value growth and want their partner to care about and for themselves as much as they do. Because of this, you will more than likely get a detailed sheet on meal prep foods to make, a personalized exercise plan that is catered to you, and a live-in helper and organizer in your life.

Ones are also some of the best motivators and cheerleaders for their partners, so if you say that you want to do something, you best believe that your One partner will do everything in their power to make that vision into a reality, even if that means that you aren’t too sure who wants the dream to happen more — you or your partner.

Important Tip for Dating an Enneagram 1

If you’re in a relationship with a One, you’ll know that they can sometimes be harsh and strict about how you ought to approach the world. But you’ll also see that they are the most brutal and rigid with themselves.

Unless your One partner tells you precisely what to do to help them, avoid getting things done for them because you’re more than likely not going to do it their way, and you’re going to do more work for them in the end.

Instead, assure your One that you see how they’re doing their best and that they don’t always have to strive or work on themselves for them to be adequate. Give your One words of affirmation and show them that you see them and their hard work and that it’s okay to be humans as well as hard workers.

Things to Consider When Dating an Enneagram 1

While Enneagram 1’s make great partners during the challenging moments in life, when you need someone who will buckle down and get their stuff together, they don’t necessarily show the tendencies and mannerisms that one might want in their romantic partner.

If you want someone who is going to be mushy and gooshy when you’re dating them, go to another number for that. If you want someone to light a fire under your butt and make sure you positively impact the world during your relationship, you’re in the right place.

Look for all the things your Enneagram 1 partner has done to serve you and improve your space.

While it might be difficult for a One to tell you that they love you or let their defenses down, you’ll know it when you’re loved by a One, and there is no denying the impact that they will leave you with.

The Enneagram 1’s Compatibility with Other Enneagram Types

Most Compatible

Some Enneagram pairings do better in relationships than others. In this section, we’ll explore the Enneagram types that are most compatible with Ones.

Enneagram 2 – The Helper

The Helper - Enneagram

Even though one might think from a quick glance at the Enneagram types that Twos and Ones are in opposition, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Enneagram Two and the Enneagram One pairing often will result in one of the best pairings and power couples of the Enneagram. These two types working together can take over the world and make it a better place.

Because the Enneagram One is so oriented toward finding the good in life and being as perfect as they can, when they’re paired with a Two, who is so oriented toward serving and helping people in need, the pairing works flawlessly together to create a better world for everyone around them.

Twos can also bring Enneagram Ones out of their shells and allow their partners to have a safe space to be themselves and feel vulnerable without having to deal with the backlash of judgment and cruelty that Ones often give to themselves.

In turn, Ones will often provide the structure and balance Twos severely lack in their lives. They can encourage their partners to serve themselves first and draw boundaries when the Two begins to feel depleted in their energy.

Enneagram 7 – The Enthusiast

The Enthusiast - Enneagram

Although the Enneagram One and Seven pairing is another interesting choice, and many people who look at the two types individually might not think that they would go together well, it’s one of the best choices that both numbers could make to be in a relationship with each other.

Because the One grows to a Seven when they’re at their healthiest and happiest, this Enneagram type knows that joy that spontaneity can bring to their lives, and they often crave it, especially when the Enneagram One realizes that they might have been too strict with themselves recently or not allowed themselves the amount of freedom and joy that they might need.

The Enneagram One can add order and attention to detail into all of the Seven’s plans so that those goals don’t just stay in their head or remain a topic of conversation.

The Seven can get the Enneagram One out of their head and remind them that it’s okay to not constantly be trying to be the best they can be or to always be striving and working. The Seven often lets their One partner feel like they’re a child again and be able to explore the wonders and the joys of the world around them without feeling as though they’re going to be judged or morally corrupted.

Least Compatible

While every Enneagram type can date, and there are exceptions to every rule, some numbers naturally clash with each other and might not make the most ideal pairing.

Because the One on the Enneagram is so unique, as are all of the other numbers, there are some personality types that, because of the two types’ core needs and the way that each of them sees the world, are often not the strongest pairings for romantic relationships and can often lead to the destruction of both individuals, if not just their relationship as a whole.

Enneagram 1 – The Reformer

The Reformer - Enneagram

Two Enneagram Ones in a relationship sounds like perfection to us! Literally. When two Enneagram Ones are in a relationship, the two perfectionists will strive to make everything in their relationship revolve around fairness, justice, truthfulness, and consistency.

The One doesn’t want to be out of control in any sense of the word, so when two Ones are together, they will create one of the tightest-running ships in the world.

However, most Ones are not attracted to other Enneagram Ones, as they are usually attracted to the types that will pull them away from their work and the rigid rules that their brains often make them follow. Still, when two of the same number are in a relationship together, not many things will stop this power couple from taking over the world and filing everything away in a neat and color-coded binder once they’re done.

It’s also good to note that, because One is known for being overly critical of others, many Ones can dog on each other and exhaust their partners, even if they love them, because one mistake to a One often sticks out like a sore thumb.

If you’ve found yourself in this pairing and they work for you, that’s fantastic! But if you’re trying to date someone and the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye, you might want to see if your Enneagram type clash.

Enneagram 4 – The Individualist

The Individualist - Enneagram

Enneagram One paired with Enneagram Four is an extremely interesting dynamic, especially considering that at their most unhealthy, Enneagram One gravitates toward the Four’s tendencies. While this relationship pairing is in no way doomed, these two Enneagram types might end up clashing more than working together and growing.

Ones can also offer the stability and rigidness that Fours usually try to avoid having in their lives but also need. This is where the two types start to clash.

Fours often feel as though they need complete freedom to express themselves however they want to. Because of this, when someone tries to restrict how the Fours live their lives or feel their feelings, the Four will not only begin to feel constricted in their emotions, but they will also begin to feel controlled and silenced.

On the other hand, Ones desire stability in everything they do, and they love to lie by the rules and avoid the bad in life. Because of this, the often overly-reflective and emotional feelings that a Four will often convey throughout their everyday life will make a One feel untethered and out of control.

Because of this, the One might not be comfortable with the activities and the focus that the Four centers around their negative emotions.

Final Thoughts about Dating an Enneagram 1

If you’re in a relationship with a One, you are lucky and blessed. Your One partner will do everything in their power to show you that they care and provide for you.

When they’re in a relationship, they will often want to be in charge of planning and organizing. Offer to see if you can ease their load and what you can do to help. But if you offer to help them, make sure that you listen to precisely what they want and how they want you to do it. It won’t help them for you to do something for them and then do it incorrectly. They will get frustrated, and it won’t be a blessing but another burden.

As you grow and spend more time in your relationship, the two of you will naturally get better at dividing up tasks and letting the other have enough space to do and accomplish what they feel they must.