I really want to learn more about what distinguishes the various variants of the 4s, specifically so/sx vs. so/sp. But we can talk about all of the variants too; I want to understand how the essense of each variant is understood alone, and how they are understood within enneagram 4. In terms of 4, I think it's safe to say that all fours feel intensity and want intensity. So I think how it manifests in each variant of the 4 is what differs.
I see them as accommodating. They can feel like they are invisible (so this is 9ish). Quiet at first, especially in groups (so they tend to just listen and don't participate) but as you get to know them one-on-one, they come out and are very playful. They may not even really seem like 4s because they are not going to actively stick out of the crowd and they can be known to be jokesters and REALLY silly/fun/flirty. I've even heard a 4 say that they go into recluse mode when their are feeling unhappy emotions so they don't share their negativity with others. They are very aware of others in that sense
From my experience, 4s who are social dominant have this tendency to talk a lot about their friends/family, in the sense that they talk about their connections to their friends and family and how they feel different from the family group or whatever group they happen to be in (maybe it's an academic group). They have strong tendency to generalize and say 'everyone is like this, but not me' or 'this person is like this, but not me'. Of course, they can relate to people too. They are not totally loners. I've noticed that they connect a bit to an individual, but never all the way to an individual. There are parts of themselves that they see in each person they get to know/be friends with.
As much as they feel like loners, they never truly are. They need people in some way. They enjoy alone time after spending a good amount of time with others. What's interesting is that (in terms of romantic relationships) they don't seem to be interested in letting themselves be "engulfed" in a relationship. So they won't abandon their current social group (family and friends they typically hang out with) once a romantic interest comes in their life. What's interesting is that they know they need people on some level and don't truly feel like they can be alone for too long. They may need someone else to indulge their need for laughter or serious talk.
They also seem to think of their identity in the context of something bigger than themselves, this still relates to them feeling defective, but it's more about how what seems to be the norm and how do I deviate from it or trying not to be the norm (so maybe they deny an aspect of themselves because they think it's not something they can get and/or it's something everyone seems to have but doesn't actually exist). They are true sociologists in a purse sense of the word. So they might say that people's romantic relationships aren't truly that deep and intense (this is them devaluing other people's internal experience), but they don't actually think they can get a deep relationship themselves and then pride themselves on not needing people. They also feel that they can't ask any one person to fulfill them on the "level" they want. This again, ties in with their social network, as they can get what they need in a more "diffuse" way, as they don't push a lone person to fulfill all their intensity needs. I should also clarify what I mean by needs: it's not physical, like food or money or shelter. It's more about them knowing that they need connection, but they meet people on the other person's level and build a relationship that way so they don't impose. It's all about not imposing themselves on others. I have a feeling that they would feel shame/embarrassed if they realized that they were imposing on others. Hence why some may not actively seek intense romantic interests as they don't want to impose until they know the person wants them around. They can participate fun shin-digs with attractive others, as long as its light because then they don't have to be vulnerable.
It would be great if 4s could read this and help me see what the general idea of social instinct is, and then how it connects to social 4.
Also, I know that the stereotype of sexual focused people being flirty and stuff like that and it's more about having a lust/drive for getting what they want (but 4s never get what they want in general, all 4s feel defective). But it seems that they difference between an so 4 and an sx 4 is that sx 4s will actively try anyway to squash their feelings of defectiveness and get what "others have"/be more actively vulnerable and so-4s are more 9ish and are more passive (and just say "I don't want what others have" or may be slow to realize what they want.
SX seems to be tied to merging with a specific thing/person, but an SO 4 would realize that they don't want to merge. Society today seems to romanticize the merging, but although a 4 wants intensity... that's not how a social dominant 4 wants intensity. I think they would actually be sick of that?? They need freedom to participate in other relationships, it seems.