Enneagram Pairing Type 3 & 8

3 - The Successful Achiever

Superstar, Producer, Performer, Motivator, Role Model, Ideal Exemplar, Best in Show

8 - The Protective Challenger

Protector, Alpha Leader, Champion, Maverick, Commander, Negotiator, Boss


Core Pattern

Threes are hardworking, goal-oriented, and driven. Eights are intense, embodied, and passionate.

Both Threes and Eights are assertive types, which means they can be demanding or controlling. It also means they go for what they want. Each of these types is unstoppable in their way.

Shared Values

These two have a lot in common, particularly when it comes to their work ethic, drive, and a job well-done. Both Threes and Eights value hard work, consistency, wide social circles, and assertiveness. Each of these characters is a go-getter, and they value that quality in others. They are no above a little healthy competition, either.

How You Complement Each Other

Both Eights and Threes will value product over process, making them an unstoppable duo when they are on the same team. They are both action-oriented, pragmatic, and willing to work hard to get the job done. The adaptability of the Three paired with the forcefulness of the Eight promotes much growth and success.

When in a personal relationship, there is potential for good synergy as well: the Eight’s strength and solidity allow the Three to feel emotionally safe, and thus get more in touch with themselves and open up.

Threes’ competency and proven track record make the Eight feel like they can relax, and let go of the reigns. In a way, these two are the medicine the other needs to feel secure in the world: there is ample potential for both parties to settle into more relaxed, easy-going versions of themselves in one another’s presence.

Furthermore, the passion and heartfulness of the Eight inspire the Three to put themselves more authentically on the line, while the fact that the Three can seemingly rise to meet every challenge posed by the Eight promotes greater trust and well-being. With others, Threes excel in reading social cues, networking, and engaging others, while Eights bring a fearless forthright quality to most, if not all, their dealings. Both are hungry, which encourages both to continue on the path to success; and when this hunger is paired with Eight’s decisiveness and Three’s drive, the sky is indeed the limit with these two.

How You Can Get Into Trouble

The most significant and most painful way these two fall on troubled times is when a power struggle ensues. Eights are bossy, demanding, and controlling, while Threes are power hungry, ambitious, and manipulative.

Both can become highly competitive. Also, where the Eight gets confrontational, adversarial even, the Three morphs into a slippery chameleon, strategically plotting their moves in the wake of Eight’s destruction.

Eights do not give up control easily, especially if they feel it is rightfully theirs, and any covert grabs for power on the part of the Three will feel like a blow to the chest to the righteous Eight. In this case, Eights will start to distrust their Three counterparts, and Threes will begin to feel the sting of Eight’s anger. Three can become manipulative and often morph their shape to get what they want—as do all types in the Image Triad—which spurs more suspicion and anger from the all-seeing Eight.

Each can also encourage the other’s workaholic tendencies: whether out of avoidance of one another, or competition, there is a high likelihood the success orientation of this pair turns into overworking if they aren’t careful. As Threes tend to be more malleable and less confident than Eights, there is also a high possibility Eights grow to overpower the Three; Three feels belittled, unacknowledged, and taken for granted. They can start to feel like a mere workhorse for Eight’s agenda.

In an attempt to maintain some semblance of power, the Three can withdraw or change shape, which causes the Eight’s grip to tighten, as their distrust grows. When in this place, Eights often resort to ultimatums to get a sense of their power.

Aware of the Eight’s anger, but unable to express their own, the Three can feel small, triggered, and worthless, prompting a spiral of negative coping patterns. Betrayed and hurt, the Eight can also spiral into self-destruction, and the rift here can be deeply painful and personal.

What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of

Threes need to know how important fairness, honesty, and loyalty are for the Eight: if a Three wants to maintain a trusting, reciprocal relationship with an Eight, these traits must be at the fore. Threes should also know that while Eights may seem tyrannical, overly emotional, or short-tempered, their intensity is often a cover for feelings of sadness and vulnerability. They may be scary on the outside, but usually, they’re quite scared on the inside.

As for Eights, know that it is in the Three’s nature to shapeshift and morph their identity depending on who’s around. This does not always mean they are manipulative or duplicitous; to themselves, they are maintaining integrity. Eights also need to be aware that while Threes put on a good show, they often suffer from poor self-esteem and low confidence, so be careful with your words when talking about them or their performance.

Threes should also tend to their tongues around Eights, as they tend to take jokes or off-color remarks personally, even if they aren’t personal at all. Be aware that it is easy for Threes to see Eights as too forceful and for Eights to see Threes as insincere.

Eights can be all-or-nothing, confrontational, and challenging, while Threes can be obsessed with winning, impatient, and shifty: be aware of these tendencies in each other and try not to take each other personally. Threes: work on accepting negative feedback and challenges, and being more direct. Eights: work on softening and becoming more receptive, as well as offering positive feedback to your Three counterparts.

How You Can Support One Another

Threes can be most supportive of the Eight by engaging with them directly and with honesty. Eights cannot stand being left out, lied to, or feared. By including them and facing them with courage, the Three will put the Eight at ease, resulting in the Eight softening.

Threes will also inherently be emotional support for Eights because of their hardworking, pragmatic attitude that comforts the Eight and enables them to let go of control a little bit. In so doing, Eights can get in touch with their hearts. Eights, like all types, can support Threes by offering a lot of positive strokes, encouragement, and acknowledgment.

Threes may appear to have it all together, but they are almost always in doubt about their worth and value in the world. Eights will also be built-in support to Threes with their significant life energy, which inspires the Three and connects them to their feelings of passion. Eight’s strength allows the Three to become more heartfelt, which is an oft-hidden, but an essential part of their nature.

Threes can also be supportive of Eights socially, as they possess many social graces: where Eights may be blunt or too straightforward, Threes shine with nuance and tact. This can support Eights’ relationships, both personal and professional. Both parties will be encouraged by remembering that you two are on the same team and you both bring so much to the table: avoid competition and power struggles at all costs!

In A Romantic Context

This can be a very high power love-match. In many ways, the Three-Eight pairing is the ultimate power couple. Eights are full of impossible-not-to-notice significant life energy, while Threes are driven and highly accomplished.

Indeed, both Eights and Threes tend to loom larger than life, a fact that can initially attract them to one another. When it’s good, these two are inspired, encouraged, and feel entirely supported by each other.

The strength inherent to Eights makes Threes feel safe, and thus open their hearts more to their partner, themselves, and the world. Threes competency and ability to get things done has a similar effect on Eights: they feel secure knowing they can relinquish control, which empowers them to become more receptive and gentle. There is mutual respect and shared trust that these two often don’t get from other people.

When it’s bad, it looks like ugly, painful, profoundly personal power struggles, with Eights barreling through any of Threes’ concerns or needs and Threes slipping and sliding through different identities like it’s a game. Eights can resort to ultimatums and wrathful outbursts, while Threes can devolve into petty manipulation and deceit. Eights, in their over-the-top-ness, can start to take the Three for granted and Threes can start to feel like a mere support beam for the Eight’s mission, which triggers their deep-seated feelings of insecurity.

Eights can become jealous when they experience the Three as untrustworthy, which prompts co-dependent tendencies. Both parties are not above resorting to cruelty and harshness when they feel threatened, cornered, or taken for granted. Endeavor to remember that you’re on the same team and speak to each other with honesty and love: it will go a long way in keeping the downward spiral from spiraling.

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TrueSelf Blog


Max Marmer

Max Marmer is a Multidimensional Entrepreneur, Investor, Writer, Coach, Biohacker and Systems Theorist dedicated to supporting and enabling the flourishing of humanity in the 21st century.


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