As the central member of the Image Center, Type Threes are consumed with determination to excel and be admired by others. Whereas types 1, 4 and 7 are innately possessed of the so-called sexual instinct which means they often feel passionately frustrated and experience intense yearning for something they don't have, something that they feel they need -- and types 2, 5 and 8 are innately possessed of the self-preservation instinct that leads them to have practical concerns about physical necessities -- Types 3, 6 and 9 are all innately possessed of the social instinct, which among other things means that they're anxious to be accepted and appreciated by people in general, or at least by their own group of associates. A high degree of sensitivity to "what people will think" is thus present in Types 3, 6 and 9. However, the core motive of Type 6 is to feel safe and secure; Type 9's is to feel peaceful and undisturbed. Although these core motives tend to lead these types to adjust themselves to others most of the time (for Type 6 it would be a matter of being accepted by the group so that the group would watch his or her back, for Type 9 it would be a matter of keeping others satisfied so as to avoid conflict or argument and maintain peace in his or her relationships), if they find themselves in a situation in which their core motives can only be fulfilled by going against public or family opinion (e.g. the Type 6 has become convinced that he or she is in danger of sickness by going along with the crazy, unhealthy habits that are accepted as normal in society, or the Type 9 has a strong and unbearable inner need for something which relentlessly torments him or her until it's given in to, but which is at odds with the family's ideas about what the Type 9 ought to do), they will steel themselves against their sensitivity to others' opinion of them, and grit their teeth and act according to their true values no matter what. For Type 3, though, located in the Image Center as it is, the core motive is that very respect and appreciation from society, so unless the Type 3 person is convinced that he or she is going to be a leader in a cutting-edge field and WILL earn that craved admiration, bucking trends is not the Three's forte.
The Type Three (or 3-fixer) will tend to dress in a fashionable, or at least neat and socially acceptable way. Behavior that makes him or her stand out as weird would tend to be shunned with a shudder of embarrassment. If manicured lawns are the social standard, by golly the Three (or 3-fixer) had better have one, or he or she will cringe with shame every time they look at the yard. The Type Three only tries to stand out from the crowd by way of being or having the "best of show" in whatever category is at hand. "Keeping up with the Joneses" is the sort of concern that one could only have if one had either a Three fix or a sizable 3-wing on one's image fix.
Whenever there is an opportunity for the Type Three to show off something that he or she can do well, it will be taken advantage of. Being in the spotlight, wowing the crowd, is what the Type Three is programmed to relish. In search of that appreciation, Type Threes really enjoy competition. Type Three is a member of the aggressive/assertive triad (3, 7 and 8), which means energy and drive are abundant in this type. In fact -- in spite of the social instinct, and thus concern for others' opinions, that is innate in Type Three -- this type can be so goal-oriented that they feel there is no time to consider even their own feelings, what to speak of other people's, and they may brush others aside impatiently as if they don't matter at all. Type Three is a workaholic type: so bent on achieving success and distinction that they may fail to take proper care of their own physical, emotional or relationship health (if any of these is not seen as crucial to the achievement of their goals). This squelching or ignoring of feelings is what leads to the Type Three's categorization amongst the level-headed/rational, unsentimental/unemotional types on the Enneagram along with Types One and Five.
Another thing that Type Threes generally don't hesitate to do (if they're confident of getting away with it) is to misrepresent the facts, in order to present their best face to the world or to accomplish their ends. Deceit is the "deadly sin" of Type Three. "The ends justify the means" strikes me as a Threeish idea. I've seen 3-fixers with the desire to achieve a perfectly good thing choose to go about it in a less-than-honest way in order to be as sure as possible that it would happen, whereas this behavior wouldn't be instinctive, natural or normal at all for most 2- or 4-fixers, who would be more likely to deal honestly and sincerely with others and let the chips fall where they may. Also in many situations which strike me as quite trivial, 3-fixers will prefer to tell lies or fibs in order to smooth their own path, although to me it would seem like they could totally afford to tell the truth. Threes and 3-fixers seem perfectly COMFORTABLE with lying when they deem it appropriate. They do it easily and unhesitatingly. As a 4-fixer, I just can't relate with this.
So are you getting the picture of what Type Three is like? A salesman who'll flash you a phony grin and with great self-assurance will lay out for you all the reasons why his product is exactly what you need and want, although it may or may not in fact be, probably has at least a 3-fix if he's not indeed a core Three. Threes and 3-fixers are motivated to achieve a particular end, are determined to make it happen no matter what. Fours and 4-fixers on the other hand, for whom honesty and authenticity are important, would be focused on "telling it like it is" according to their genuine knowledge of and experience with the product -- the good, the bad and the ugly. Twos and 2-fixers in sales would be filled with a genuine desire to help others that would lead them to admit it if their product was not actually right for the particular clients they were working with.
Threes may be spoken of as "shallow" because, being so absorbed in their external image, they don't tend to be in touch with their inner selves. They're so busy trying to become that which will be admired by everyone else that they may have no idea what it is that they themselves like and want -- what it is that will enable them to feel genuinely fulfilled. The path of growth for them is to become more introspective, to get in touch with their own feelings and express them honestly, and to care about the feelings of others -- as Type Six does. When the Type Three does this while retaining his or her innate good qualities of energy, determination, discipline, motivation, proactivity, belief that there's no limit to what can be achieved/confidence that "where there's a will, there's a way," and good work ethic, he or she can become an unstoppable force for good in the world.
The wing types:
Threes with a 2-wing are skilled at being charming and likable, and will try to employ their words and mannerisms in getting their way by making people adore them. This is the kind with the flashy, "I know you're gonna love me" smile. Threes with a 4-wing are more purely workaholic and won't waste time being charming. They may exhibit a tough "take me or leave me" exterior. I've also gotten the impression (based on my limited life experience, not based on anything I've read) that 2-wingers' tastes in architecture and home decorating show more of a leaning towards 2ishness -- the cute, charming, domestic, warm, cozy, homey, old-fashioned, traditional look -- whereas 4-wingers have more of a taste for the sleek, innovative, ultra-modern, up-to-date, clever and cool.