Enneagram Pairing Type 4 & 8
4 - The Romantic Individualist
Individualist, Tragic-Romantic, Connoisseur, Humanitarian, Aesthetic Person, One-of-a-kind, Dramatic King or Queen
8 - The Protective Challenger
Protector, Alpha Leader, Champion, Maverick, Commander, Negotiator, Boss
Fours are Heart types. They exhibit strong emotions, and they tend to be artistic and expressive. They want their uniqueness recognized, and often feel misunderstood by the world.
They are prone to melancholy. They are creative, empathic, sincere, and private. Eights are Gut types.
They react strongly, exhibit intense passion, and have a larger-than-life quality. They possess a remarkable power and tend to issues with control, domination, and anger. They often hide their deep feelings of vulnerability behind rage. They are vibrant, assertive, reactive, lustful, and dominant.
There is a lot shared between these two; a love of emotional intensity, for starters. Both Fours and Eights value authentically expressed feelings, passionate engagement with another person’s heart, and embodied intuition.
Indeed, both Fours and Eights tend to have strong reactions and instincts, and few qualms about acting on them. They also share a deep appreciation for communication, radical honesty, and art.
How You Complement Each Other
While these two can have a lot in common, and often share a deep mutual respect, there is actually very little that is complementary about them. Indeed, they tend to be more catalyzing and triggering for one another than harmonizing. Because they both have deeply felt and often loudly expressed feelings, these two tend to step on each others toes and hurt each other's feelings more than they tend to offer balance, support, and grounding.
While there can be a potent level of creativity flowing between these two, the intensity of it tends to dislodge them, as opposed to inspire. On the other hand, if they are able to keep their reactionary natures in check, the feelings of heightened vitality, intensity, and electric charge between them could potentially prove a source of stimulation, motivation, and insight.
Additionally, because both Eights and Fours engage at such a fervent emotional pitch, there is a high chance they will feel very understood and well matched by the other. Eights bring strength, charisma, solidity, and social standing to the relationship, while fours offer depth, nuanced emotional intelligence, compassion, and artistic ability.
How You Can Get Into Trouble
As with other more impulsive types, Fours and Eights are just as likely to get into trouble together as they are with each other. Both Fours and Eights believe themselves to be above the rules and tend to air on the side of no caution when striving for something they want.
With each other, emotions will undoubtedly run high, and there is a high likelihood these two will be triggering for one another. Eight’s characteristic intensity and short temper will likely cause Four to feel inferior and overlooked, which can prompt hostile, vengeful outbursts.
Conversely, Four’s emotional eloquence and melodrama can upset Eights, who might view the Four as inauthentic attention-grabbers. Additionally, both of these types can feel jealous of the amount of attention the other gets when they express their feelings, which could catalyze a cycle of escalating emotionality for the sake of being noticed. It will be important for these two to remain vigilant about their reactions to one another, lest they continue to egg each other on and thus lose sight of what matters.
Issues of power, control, and identity will be high among the problem areas between these two. Eights become especially challenging when they feel as if another is attempting to control them or their domain. Fours resort to emotionally manipulative games when they think their prima donna position is threatened. The combination can lead to disaster, as these two crash through their stormy emotional landscapes, both prone to rage, depression, vengeance, and impulsive acting out.
What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of
Professionally, Eights require challenging projects that utilize and sharpen their many skills. They work best when they can drive something to completion and are often very good in high-pressure situations. Fours will require more specialized creative work, especially projects that garner them much recognition.
They work best with constant validation and acknowledgment for their contributions. Eights’ have a remarkably (and terrifyingly, to some!) short temper and are prone to loud, aggressive outbursts. Typically, these outbursts are a sign they feel insecure, either because things are out of control, or they view the situation as unjust somehow. Eights respond well to direct, straightforward communication, so in these situations, it will be best to try and get to the bottom of whatever is upsetting them quickly and precisely.
Fours will likely become moody, melancholy, or irrational when they feel the world has cast them out or misunderstood them, or when they feel no one is valuing them for their uniqueness. Because of their keen emotional attunement, they are also susceptible to manipulation, and will likely be able to tell when someone is trying to make them feel better. Best to give Fours space to experience the depth of their feelings, while also letting them know they are not alone.
Additionally, keep in mind that both Fours and Eights enjoy their status as being larger than life personalities, and they each feel apprehensive when that status is somehow threatened. Eights express this quality through their overt passions and asserting their dominance over the world around them, while Fours celebrate it through their oft-special brand of self-expression and emotional depth. These two share a desire to be free from anyone else’s control, but they also both possess uniquely soft hearts with a deep capacity for empathy.
How You Can Support One Another
When relating to one another, these two will do well to keep in mind their shared softness, that they may drop underneath the stormy surface of their personalities and connect to whatever pain or fear is hiding in turmoil. In other words, both Fours and Eights can sometimes use their extreme emotional expression as a cover up for their more vulnerable feelings. These two can support one another by helping each other to feel safe when exposing their softer parts.
Fours are best supported by permission to be themselves, loud and frequent encouragement and validation for their contributions, and praise for the unique way they express themselves. Eights, on the other hand, thrive when they feel they are in charge and have dominion over projects, people, or aspects of life in which they feel competent.
Both Eights and Fours can endeavor to depersonalize their feelings when relating to each other, as both tend to throw blame, shame, and vengeful words onto people whom they feel harmed by. In reality, a situation is never as black-and-white as these two view it. The most supportive thing these two can do is to take responsibility for their own experience, without making it too much about the other.
Additionally, keep in mind that Fours thrive in circumstances where they feel emotionally connected. Whether in a work environment or personal relationships, Fours need to feel bonded to their cohort. Eights place less emphasis on remaining emotionally connected—indeed, it may prove challenging to them, as it requires a high degree of vulnerability—but they would do well to soften for the sake of the Four.
Conversely, Fours can support their Eight counterparts by offering empathy, not attack, when Eights become volatile. Generally speaking, Eights will be most supportive of Fours in their strength, solidity, and straightforward manner of engaging. Fours will prove most supportive to Eights through their empathy, creativity, and keen social attunement.
In A Romantic Context
Romantically, there is much potential for these two to feel deeply, if not dangerously, attracted to one another. As volatile, emotionally expressed people, these two are drawn to one another’s storminess and raw vulnerability. In the other, they see someone who possesses more than meets the eye. Additionally, both Fours and Eights have a very embodied and heartfelt intuition, which usually becomes activated in each other’s presence. Fours have a heightened sense of their own and others’ deeper feelings, while Eights have an accurate radar about external phenomena unfolding around them—together, these two can feel supercharged, as if they possess superhuman abilities.
Full of passion, and often ruled by more impulsive tendencies, these two take on the world one thrill at a time, savoring the heightened sense of their aliveness they feel when together. They feel excited, wild, and turned on, which can lead to great passion, but also great recklessness. Fours are attracted to Eight’s strength and protective nature—Fours feel safe, nurtured, and cherished by the solid, practical, grounded Eight. Eights, on the other hand, are attracted to Four’s mysterious, hidden depths, and feel continually enticed by the inner world of this person they may never fully understand. They are both attracted to the feeling of being emotionally met by the other, as if at last here is someone who can not only handle them but also enjoy the ride with them. While thrilling, this natural vitality can also have painful consequences.
When their need for (and love of) drama turns on each other and conflict arises, their genuine connection becomes engulfed in argumentative fighting (and possibly physical violence), and typically remains there. Because of their addiction to intensity, if their loving relationship burns away in favor of a more hostile one, these two will usually stay locked in fiery fighting to continue to feel some way toward one another. Fighting can become a standard way of communicating. Also, of course, every fight needs some resolution, the intensity of which can also draw these two in. Lured by the immediacy and the drama, these two can get stuck in a cycle of fighting and making up, fighting and making up, just because life is more exciting that way. There is also a high probability they turn to emotional manipulation as a means of controlling one another.
Fours can become withholding and secretive, while Eights can become verbally aggressive. These two will enjoy the thrill of causing scenes in public, and will often put their problems on display as a way of baiting the other. This is the most passionate coupling of the Enneagram, but also the most likely to deteriorate into verbal and physical abuse. Often, after a particular high-level emotional pitch has been reached, these two will feel like they can’t help themselves: the abuse, the drama, the constant fighting are merely out of their control. They know they should stop, but just can’t. Their passionate feelings turn into ruinously impulsive actions, intensely personal pain, and obsession.