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Social 4 In Detail

Envy in the Social Sphere

The social instinct combined with the type 4 gives us a character which is mainly characterized by shame. This subtype feels distress for not living up to social ideals, they compare themselves to others around them and find themselves lacking. This constant feeling of shame weirdly manifests as in an attachment to suffering, often these people are shy and end up lamenting and blaming themselves. They don't feel like they're enough and they feel like they've done something wrong, often taking the role of the victim and focusing on their own inferiority. However, it is important to note that people of this type often prefer to "swallow their poison" instead of lashing out on others, contrasting them with the SX4. They are constantly searching for love in the world they feel like they'll never find which leads them into a constant state of suffering and often being at the mercy of the other.

Ichazo titled SO4 "Shame", a distress at not living up to ideals[1], a character full of self-deprecation and a need for accompanying the frustration of love lost in childhood.[2] Naranjo describes this subtype as someone who wants to elevate what they envy above themselves and beautify it, as if they were allowing themselves to be swallowed up by the painful beauty they conceive or perceive.[2]

Trait Structure[3]

Imaginative and Creative

The emotional, sensitive, and introspective aspect allows you to more easily access your creative and imaginative side. From an early age, he likes to console himself and entertain himself in fantastic and dreamlike worlds in which his imagination allows him to compensate for the great inhibition he feels in real life. This imaginary world that he has created and in which he somehow believes will be able to materialize in the future, serves him to metabolize everyday reality. Poetry, art, and music become channels of expression to the outside.


Low self-esteem and the need to defend yourself from others lead you to reject criticism or behaviors that challenge you. Their gaze perpetually directed to the outside world and the continuous comparison he makes with himself lead him to give a subjective reading and interpretation of what happens; the slightest criticism annihilates him, he feels that he has given a lot, more than the others, he finds himself again without recognition. In addition, since it is difficult for him to express his opinion directly for fear of being hurt or conflicted, he expects the same from others (understanding, empathy).


For this character, life is hard, difficult and sad, but it is characterized by a romantic feeling inside. Thanks to his romanticism, the world becomes lighter and more bearable, it is as if he added a note or a touch of color to so much pain. The romantic vision that he harbors within him is expressed in the world through poetry, music, and the search for positive living situations and opportunities. It is as if he did not resign himself to the harsh reality through his romantic aspect. It is as if through romance he sweetened a bitter pill.

Passive-aggressive and Self-destructive

He is not allowed to express anger, he always represses hatred. Showing hatred for his mother (or father) would be tantamount to losing her, something no child could afford. So he learned to repress his hatred and swallow it, he began to hate himself believing himself defective, unworthy of love, guilty of not being loved, in order to save his mother. The parental anger you experienced in childhood is too destructive and distressing.


The closure, the isolation in which he takes refuge as a child, and in which he grows up, somehow leads him to spend a lot of time in contact with himself, listening to and analyzing himself, doing with himself what no one did when he was a child. Pain and contact with suffering continually stimulate him to study himself and to investigate his inner dynamics. He longs to get out of his suffering and has to continually face it, but he does not believe that this can be done by acting or making decisions in his own life. Instead, he prefers an interior movement of study and analysis of how he is, what he feels and why.


He is extremely private, and only talks about himself and his intimate experience with very few people, as he does not trust others to understand him. Since childhood he has experienced not being understood, not being seen, having the feeling that no one is aware of his needs, and therefore, as an adult, he has no faith that there is someone who can understand him deeply.


Delicate, sweet, and languid. It poses in a delicate and tender way, and therefore also in the masculine social E4, the characteristics of listening, welcoming, understanding, caring, as well as a friendly physiognomy in which the smile, a manifestation of benevolence towards the world, is always insisted as a background note. There is no trace of aggressiveness or attack in him, but of sweetness and tenderness.


He is always kind, expresses himself in soft ways and approaches, as he wants to avoid conflicts and losses. Use kindness to please the other, try to avoid behaviors that can provoke or irritate. She has learned to stand on her toes in the world, to try to prevent or avoid the parent's mood swings or attacks, and thus has learned since childhood that this soft way is what works best for her in the relationship.


Willing to understand the motives of others, strong empathy combined with fear of abandonment and conflict makes you lenient and benevolent towards the motives and reasons of others. He tends to put himself in the place of the other, he justifies his actions even in situations in which he is humiliated or is not seen, he has difficulties with separation, as well as in primary relationships. From a young age he learns that it is better not to express his opinion or clearly what he wants because this creates a distance with his parents. Thus he learns to understand them, to justify them.

Lazy and Procrastinator

You are recalcitrant about committing and lazy about getting a task done. He tends to postpone his execution because he always feels that he is not up to the task and very often he believes that he is incapable or that he does not do it to the best of his ability. Fear of failure paralyzes you. Obviously, this is closely related to low self-esteem and lack of confidence in their own abilities. No one ever believed in him; as a child he was not only not encouraged, but which, on the contrary, was devalued. His procrastination is linked to the need to do things as perfectly as possible, even beyond. He does not admit mistakes to himself and this requires him in the actions that he then undertakes enormous energy to complete the task.

Criticism and Self-disqualification

He is critical and disqualifying both with himself and with others. He tends to be critical of himself because it is the experience he has had. It has been heavily criticized, disqualified. To the extent that he compares himself with others and in order not to be completely annihilated by the superiority of others, he tends to have a critical look and to express, not directly, disapproval, negative judgments about the other, his way of being, or to work. So the criticism of the other is born of an attempt to survive, not to be completely crushed by the comparison with the outside world.

Sadness and Suffering

He is sad and suffers from a young age, even before he is aware of it; when he becomes an adult he continues to drag this suffering, since he remains attached to that need to receive that has never been satisfied. His attention does not shift, he does not find compensation in life because it is as if he is still waiting for that love. There is a part of him that is obstinate in not wanting to give her up and that is why he does not learn to give himself the love that he did not receive in childhood. Thus, love becomes something sublime, inaccessible, almost impossible to find and experience.


He reacts superbly to an offense and a wound, in the sense that in order to defend himself he creates a distance with the other, or he even leaves, separates, becomes cold and distant. He does not back down, he resists his suffering without showing it and confuses pride with strength, he has the illusion that through pride he can protect himself. It retriggers the wound in the same way that it hurts the most.


You like to be social and need others, but you tend to hide and find it difficult to expose yourself, especially in a new and wide social context. Shyness is due to an excessive concern for the judgment of others, the perception of being inferior to others and a feeling of inadequacy. From a very young age he experiences the weight of being judged, often being asked to be different than he was or to better fit the context. You develop an excessive tendency to focus on your inner world of thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

Pessimistic and Distrustful

You perceive the world as dangerous and unpredictable, so you tend to always see the negative side of things and situations. Through his pessimism he believes he can anticipate and control the pain he will feel when something bad happens, because he is sure it will! He has no confidence in the course of events or even in himself, this becomes functional to remain passive and withdrawn, and at the same time to be able to complain and suffer.


He has the constant doubt that his actions or words can lead to difficult or irremediable situations, and that they can lead him to disappoint the other and be abandoned by him; this, of course, makes him very insecure. As a child, the father corrected his actions a lot or even criticized him often, which made him insecure and hesitant, especially when it came to taking the initiative or acting instinctively.

Complain and Claim

He complains about small things, he is impatient. Need to continually express and externalize dissatisfaction (I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I'm bored). Through the complaint he seeks attention and confirmation that another is available and sees him. Complaining is also their way of feeling the other person is present in the relationship, it is a bit like a thermometer to check that they are always there, that they have not gone away. However, in situations where he is really hurt or has a real deep need, he tends to withdraw and not share, because he thinks that no one will be able to help him. The emptiness and anguish he feels are indescribable; he doesn't feel like he can trust anyone, he distrusts others and life so much that he thinks that no one can really help him in the face of so much pain (and, above all, that there is nothing he can do to stop it). It is as if he were desperate, exhausted. He also feels shame wash over him; showing yourself in such pain in front of the other person makes you feel enormous shame and E4 feels even more miserable.


It is silent, it tends not to make noise, not to be noticed, not to bother. To be accepted, one must not disturb the other, not disturb one's own mother, and for this reason, as an adult, one tends to be silent, not to interfere with the atmosphere of the environment, not to be seen by the other.

Altruistic and Helpful

Being helpful and helping arises in the subject from the idea that love must be deserved, that it is not free. He has learned that in order to be loved, he must earn that love in some way and that is why, when something is asked of him, he spontaneously puts himself at the service of the other person. In addition, he has experienced the feeling of need and, therefore, it is as if he somehow knows from within the feeling of the one who needs help, and being clearly empathetic, it is automatic for him to go to the other. Finally, we must add to tell him that he finds it difficult not to do someone's request. Backing away makes him uncomfortable; when he does, he feels that he is in danger of losing something, perhaps of losing the other person or of being abandoned.


It is extremely sensitive to loud noises, raised tones of voice, and sudden gestures. It is as if he had developed in his existence a sense of constant danger, as if he was constantly on the alert when exposed to the danger of being attacked and therefore reacts with jerks. Sometimes even with excessive vocal emissions in reaction to environmental stimuli that may arise suddenly.


He is jealous of his partner, but he can also be jealous of other beings he loves, even friends. His jealousy comes from the fear that someone else will be preferred over him, since that is the experience he had as a child, when he felt ignored compared to his brothers. Furthermore, this fear is made even more vivid by the fact that he has developed a lack of self-confidence and is therefore convinced that another person can be much more interesting than he is in the eyes of his beloved.


He has a great ability to put himself in another's place, to live his emotional experience. This attitude is supported by his sensitivity and emotionality. In addition, empathizing with others allows you to feel useful in the relationship. Empathy unites the other and removes the feeling of guilt for not intervening or helping.

Claudio Naranjo's Social 4 Description[4]

E4 Social – Shame

The contrasts between the E4 character types are the most striking, since its different subtypes seem more differentiated than in the other passions. When I explain this topic in Spanish, I usually say that there are “sufferers, long-suffering and insufferable”. The sufferers are the social fours.

The social E4 is a person who complains too much, is very tearful and often puts himself in the role of a victim. In the DSM-IV, a category of person given to self-sabotage is suggested. The characteristic pointed out by Ichazo for this character is shame, which descriptively seems to me to be a success but it is not enough to describe a neurotic need. Certainly, these are people who underestimate themselves, and therefore feel less than others. But how do you explain why these people are so given to self-blame and to comparing themselves unfavorably with others?

The answer, it seems to me, is found in what Melanie Klein called the depressive position, through which the boy or girl prefers to blame himself instead of unloading his rage against the mother, whom he needs exaggeratedly. In a similar way, we can consider that the social E4 is one who prefers to swallow his own poison instead of externalizing it towards the loved ones; he has learned to introject his aggression in view of an exaggerated affective dependence.

Sandra Maitri's Social 4 Description[5]

4+Social – Shame

Social Fours have the notion that there is a right way to be, and they are perpetually ashamed because they are not that way. They have a fundamental sense of not fitting in and of not being able to do things properly in order to fit in. Social Fours tend to be formal and a bit stiff, paying a lot of attention to their manners. Behaving properly is very important to them, since it is an attempt to cover their deeper sense of social inadequacy. Others appear to Social Fours to match the standard they have for themselves, and so they experience the passion of envy toward them and turn their hatred toward themselves in the form of shame.

Beatrice Chestnut's Social 4 Description[6]

Social 4 Subtype description (2021)[6]

This subtype dwells more in suffering and communicates more about their painful emotions. They may tend to be overly sensitive and often appear sad. They express sensitivity, melancholy, and unhappiness more readily than the other Type 4 subtypes. They frequently compare themselves to others and then focus a great deal of attention on the emotional suffering they feel at seeing themselves as inferior to or less worthy than others. They remain convinced there’s something wrong with them, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

If this is your subtype, you become overly attached to feeling and expressing suffering as a way to earn love. You take refuge in a victim mentality and must learn to work against this. You tend to focus too much on painful emotions, and this prevents you from taking action and being practical. You tend to be overly sensitive and attached to feelings of sadness or disappointment. You can feel guilty for feeling angry and will benefit from learning to express your anger. You need to allow for happiness in your life. Your belief in your own inferiority may actually hide a superiority complex—or a resistance to being satisfied with what’s good in your life. Try to own your strengths and positive attributes.

Social 4 Subtype summary (2013)[9]

The Social Four suffers more, feels more shame, and is more sensitive than the other two Fours. Envy fuels a focus on shame and suffering as they employ a strategy of seducing others into meeting their needs through an intensification of pain and suffering. They experience a sense of comfort in feeling melancholy. Envy also manifests in lamenting too much, taking on the victim role, and focusing on a sense of their own inferiority. Social Fours don’t compete with others as much as they compare themselves to others and find themselves lacking.

Socail 4 Subtype description (2013)[9]

The Social Four: “Shame”

The Social Four appears emotionally sensitive (or oversensitive), feels things deeply, and suffers more than most people. For this Four, there is a desire to be witnessed and seen in their suffering. They hope that if their suffering is sufficiently recognized and understood, they might be forgiven for their failures and deficiencies and loved unconditionally.

Naranjo explains that Social Fours are people who lament too much and who often put themselves in the victim role. They can appear self-sabotaging when they broadcast their suffering and their victimhood as a way of engendering sympathy in others, but they also undermine themselves by being too attached to the causes of their suffering.

In this Four, envy fuels a focus on shame and suffering by providing a constant source of pain: a feeling that others have what the Four wants. However, they believe that their suffering is also what makes them unique and special—there is a kind of seduction of others through suffering.

Fours’ motivation for dwelling too much in suffering and sensitivity seems to be connected to an idea that suffering will be the shortest path to heaven. Like the child that cries to attract the mother’s care, they have the idea that the way to happiness is through tears. While there is some truth to the idea that the path of transformation requires difficulty, this higher ideal gets put to use in justifying the expression of dissatisfaction as a way of attracting the help of others. Social Fours rationalize their attachment to suffering instead of doing something about it, and they depend too much on their needs being fulfilled by others. They express the idea that if you convey the intensity of your need in painful enough terms, someone will finally come to your aid and fulfill that need.

Whereas envy motivates Self-Preservation Fours to work to get what they want, it motivates Social Fours to focus on their emotional dissatisfaction and internal lack. For the Social Four there is a sense of comfort and familiarity in suffering—the sweet sadness of poetry, the rich meaning and painful beauty in melancholic music—and an unconscious hope that their suffering will somehow redeem them.

The central issue of the Social Four, however, is not just suffering—it’s inferiority. For this subtype, there is a need for self-abasement and self-recrimination, for turning against oneself, for self-weakening. The Social Four’s envy is expressed through a passion for comparing oneself with others and winding up in the lowest position. To others, the extremity of their mindset and insistence that “there’s something wrong with me” can be surprising. They have a poor self-image that they themselves perpetuate. They also engage in self-sabotage a lot: they regularly underestimate themselves and always feel “less than” in comparison to others.

As Naranjo indicates, the Social Four may evoke a response in others that makes them want to ask, “What’s wrong with you that you think there’s something wrong with you?” A person with this subtype may be competent, attractive, and intelligent, and yet still tend to focus on and identify strongly with suffering and a sense of deficiency.

Social Fours tend to feel a sense of shame about their wants and needs, and their experience of desire is associated with more guilt than other people’s. The Social Four feels guilty for any wish. Shame puts their internal focus on intense and dark emotions such as envy, jealousy, hatred, and competition. They are too shy to express desires, except through a display of suffering. They don’t feel entitled to have their needs met but at the same time may believe that the world is “against” them or that “no one gives me what I want or what I need.”

Social Fours don’t compete with others (like Sexual Fours do) as much as they compare themselves to others and find themselves lacking—almost as if by showing themselves to be lacking they can call forth what they need from others. Underneath, however, they experience a fierce competitiveness that may be largely unconscious: a competitiveness for recognition, being unique and special, and wanting to be in first place. This is more hidden and subtle in the Social Four, however, than it is in the Sexual Four.

Social Fours explore the pain of the past repeatedly as a way of attracting someone who will take care of them and satisfy their wants. They criminalize their wants, as many of us do, but they suffer more keenly for turning against themselves.

Fours with this subtype tend to think with their emotions—they get entangled in “emotional” thoughts, caught up in and identified with intense emotions to the extent that they can’t take action even when it would be good for them to do so. They tend to be generous and to do for others, but they do not take responsibility for their own lives and may dramatize problems to distract themselves from doing something to find a solution.

In public, Social Fours repress “frowned upon” emotions like anger or hatred and may appear sweet, friendly, and soft—but in private, they may express the emotions they store up in social situations and become aggressive. Generally, they prefer to swallow their own poison rather than externalize it to the people around them, and they typically have difficulty finding their place in a group and in society. These Fours may experience themselves as misfits, and yet they also tend to generate social situations of rejection to confirm their shame. They see themselves as victims and may view others as “perpetrators,” and they don’t always take responsibility for their own actions or aggressiveness.

Social Fours are less likely to be mistaken for other Enneagram types than the other two Four subtypes, but they can look like Sixes in their focus on what’s missing or wrong in their lives. However, unlike Sixes, they have a desire to be special (as opposed to Type Six’s identification with the “everyman”), and they spend less time in fear and more time feeling emotions related to sadness, pain, and shame.

Haiki Social 4 Description[7]

Social Four: Shame

Interestingly, the Social Four is not very social; in fact, the key word for this subtype is shame. You might be wondering why this subtype is called social when they are not social. Good question, but this occurs in other subtypes too, and the social instinct is different from being social. In addition to this little nuance, we will easily recognize the Social Four because they are very much similar to how Fours are in general, but with an extra bit of insecurity in themselves. They tend to feel shame and get attention through it. With respect to shame, we must also note that this subtype lives through a kind of anticipatory fear. For example, if they imagine that they will have to talk in public, fear and anxiety will take them over.

Shame seems to go hand-in-hand with its cousins: blame and shyness. The blame they put on themselves comes from a feeling that they have done something wrong and the shyness comes from not feeling like they are enough. While Twos feel full, Social Fours always feel like they are lacking. Oftentimes, this shyness leads them to hide part of their being and even their body. There can be a strong discontentment with their bodies that in extreme cases can lead to struggles with eating disorders.

Being the Fours they are, the Social Four pities themselves to no end and loves putting themselves into the role of the victim. They are the kings and queens of self-blame and negative comparison. The other always has something better than them. They prefer to swallow their own venom instead of spitting it out onto others. They learned as very young children to introspect their aggression, which may lead to a variety of mental and physical health problems throughout life.

As we can see, this constant search for love from any other leads them to live in a constant state of suffering and being at the mercy of another.

Carmen Durán and Antonio Catalán's Social 4 Description[8]

SO4: Shame -> Originality

In this subtype, here is a search for “Originality,” which is our term, implying wanting to be seen as someone special, distinct, exquisite, sensitive, refined, and delicate. This search for originality produces shame. If they are able to appear original and special, they start to feel an ambivalent feeling, a mix of dread and pride. It is not attained, they have to confront the the shame of not meeting their own ideals and self-demands, and therefore, not be able to show themselves to others. There’s a vanity that remains frustrated, a feeling of being vulgar, that generates resentment and hatred toward others for not recognizing them, and toward themselves for not attaining it.


[1] Lilly J. C. & Hart J. E. (1975), The Arica Training

[2] Naranjo, C. (2017). "Ensayos sobre psicología de los eneatipos"

[3] Naranjo C. (2022). "Psicologia de los enatipos: Envidia - Abnegados, odiadores y melancolicos"

[4] Naranjo, C. (2012). "27 personajes en busca del ser"

[5] Maitri, S. (2001). "The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram"

[6] Chestnut, B. (2021). "The Enneagram Guide to Waking Up"

[7] The Haiki Enneagram Website (Link To Subtype Translations)

[8] Durán, C. and Catalán, A. (2009). "Los engaños del carácter y sus antídotos"

[9] Chestnut, B. (2021). "The Complete Enneagram"

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