Enneagram 8w9 VS 9w8: Which Are You?

Published Categorized as Enneagram

What’s the difference between the enneagram 8w9 and the 9w8? In this blog, we’re comparing the 8w9, The Bear, with the 9w8, The Referee.

What Is An Enneagram Wing?

We are comparing the 8w9 with the enneagram 9w8 in this blog. While they may sound practically the same, there is a huge difference between the two!

Whichever number comes first dictated your core enneagram type. This affects what your core desires and core fears are.

The second number, your enneagram wing, determines your behaviors.

In other words, whatever your wing is will change how you appear to others. It’s important to know the difference between the enneagram 8w9 VS the 9w8 because your core desire will be completely different and your path to growth changes.

Recognizing the difference also will help you avoid mistyping!

Enneagram 8w9 VS 9w8
This blog compares the enneagram 8w9 to the enneagram 9w8…

Enneagram 8w9 vs 9w8 Comparison

Today, we are going to break down the difference between being an enneagram 8w9 versus being a 9w8.

To start, the names of these two enneagram types summarize their differences very well. The 8w9 is called The Bear, they generally have a levelheaded, calm, protective, stable, and orderly nature. Seeming to be both loving and aggressive.

Watch this video on the 8 and 9 in the anger triad!

The 9w8 is called The Referee, they take on the appearance of the challenger in some aspects, meaning that they seem assertive, loud, protective, sarcastic, and energetic.

9w8s are extremely social and they don’t back down from a fight, this can seem a bit like a paradox knowing their core desire but it actually is aligned

Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger

The enneagram 8, known as The Challenger, is bold, aggressive, passionate, and argumentative by nature. The thing an enneagram 8 wants the most is challenge and intensity. Whether its physically or mentally, the 8 wants to challenge themselves and others.

They become aggressive and hyper-independent when they are at their worst. Moving toward their type 5 stress, they become withdrawn and blunt, they keep things factual.

Enneagram Type 9: The Peacemaker

The Peacemaker, the enneagram 9, is known for their friendly, easygoing, curious, and optimistic nature. The core desire for the enneagram type 9 is harmony and peace. They want to feel a sense of zen everywhere they go and are deeply unsettled by chaos and conflict.

In stress, this enneagram type becomes silent and numb when they are at their worst. Chaos becomes too much for them to handle and so they shut down to cope with it.

There are very obvious different coping mechanisms between these two types, which can make it easier to find ou if you’re an 8w9 or a 9w8. Read below and compare whether you think you are an enneagram 8w9 or 9w8…

Enneagram 8w9: The Bear
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Enneagram 8w9

The 8w9 is called “the bear.” This makes the enneagram 8 more introverted than the w7 counterpart. In some aspects, they take on the appearance of the peacemaker, meaning that they seem levelheaded, calm, protective, grounded, and practical.

The 8w9 still has the core desire of challenge. This type fulfills this desire by using their strength and assertion to protect those they love and those who can’t protect themselves. It is extremely important to the 8w9 that they have things under control and can take care of everyone.

Enneagram 8w9 VS 9w8

Because the 8w9 is an 8 at their core, they go to aggression and withdraw is stress. When they become burnt out, the 8w9 will take less action and become focused on attaining more information to feel in control.

This is different for the 9w8. In stress, the 9w8 will go to numbness and silence. Often repressing their aggression.

Enneagram 9w8: The Referee
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Enneagram 9w8

I like to call the 9w8 “The Hammerhead.” But commonly known as The Referee, the 9w8 takes on the appearance of the challenger in many ways. While peaceful and accepting at their core, the 9w8 appears assertive, loud, protective, sarcastic, and energetic.

9w8’s core desire of harmony is fulfilled by challenging themselves. While it may seem counterintuitive, the 9w8 wants to do hard things because harmony is fulfilled for them by maintaining a sense of authority, control, and independence.

Enneagram 8w9 VS 9w8
Check out this simple comparison of the 8w9 to the 9w8

It is important for 9w8s to challenge themselves, physically and mentally. Make time to be with people who get you to challenge yourself.

Because the 9w8 is a 9 at their core, they go to numbness and comfort in stress. When they become burnt out, the 9w8 will try to maintain a sense of peace by comforting themselves and indulging.

This differs from the 8w9 because they won’t seek out comfort in the physical form, rather, they seek peace of mind by attaining information and resources.

Enneagram 9w8 VS 8w9
Knowing if you’re an 8w9 VS 9w8 changes your core desire!

Enneagram 8w7 VS 9w1

Because each enneagram type has the ability to tap into both wings, it’s important to take them into account when figuring out if you are an 8w9 or a 9w8.

Watch our video describing both of the 8’s wings!

The Enneagram 8w9 Also Has A 7 Wing

Even if you are an enneagram 8 with a dominant 9 wing, you have the ability to tap into your 7 wing.

Known as The Maverick, your 7 wing makes you adventurous, social, and a thrill seeker.

This wing 7 gives you the desire to socialize. You love to debate with anyone you meet, this can make them seem like you are trying to start a fight but you truly don’t see the harm in the argument.

If you are an enneagram 9 with an 8 wing, this isn’t as common of a desire for you.

Watch this video where we compare the 9w8 to the 9w1

The Enneagram 9w8 Also Has An 1 Wing

As an enneagram 9 with a dominant 8 wing, you have the ability to tap into your 1 wing.

Your 1 wing, known as The Dreamer, makes you organized and moral. There’s a part of you that you can tap into that is orderly, stable, quiet, organized, and routine-oriented.

This wing 1 gives you a desire to be perfect. You want to spend time by yourself and have a harmonious, organized environment where everything is in the right place. 9s can get deeply bothered by clutter when the 8 can be so focused on their goals that they don’t notice.

If you are an enneagram 8 with a 9 wing, you don’t have this “critical” side of you that the 9w8 can tap into.


That’s the difference between the 8w9 and the 9w8! Did this blog help you understand the difference between the enneagram 8w9 versus the 9w8? Leave a comment below!

Download the Enneagram cheatsheets to overcome common mistypes and understand each enneagram simply. Just click here!

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