In Their Own Words (Part 1)

people talking

This is the second year I’ve gathered people together to hear from a panel of all nine Enneagram types. I asked the participants on both panels to give us three words to describe their type (from their perspective) and to tell us what they like and don’t like about being their type.

In both cases, I had no idea what any of them would say. And in both cases, they all did a bang-up job of giving us a glimpse into how they perceive themselves and their type. These are the answers from last year’s panel.

Give us three words to describe your type.

Type 1: True to type, I don’t know which words to choose. Even though you said it didn’t have to be “right,” I still couldn’t choose.

Type 2: helpful, sentimental, and people-pleasing

Type 3: organized, efficient, and productive

Type 4: sensitive, curious, and open-minded

Type 5: observant, reflective, and isolated

Type 6: concerned, aware, and loyal

Type 7: spontaneous, accomplished, and multi-talented

Type 8: independent, competent, and untrusting

Type 9: compassion, time alone, resistance

Tell us what you like and don’t like about being your type.

Type 1: I like that I’m not a pure 1. I have a 9 wing. That also means that my closet isn’t perfectly organized. Nor is my house perfectly organized. I don’t like the highly critical nature because I think everyone should do things perfectly. I think they should plan better. They should execute better. They should speak with proper grammar.

Type 2: One of the things I like is 2s are often friendly. My husband used to say I could start a conversation with a stone. The grocery store clerk does not need to know your life history. So I go on vacation by myself and have a lovely time and meet lots of people and come home with addresses and phone numbers. Something I don’t like is when helping slips into martyrdom. I catch myself sliding into that on occasion, so this has helped me not to slide.

Type 3: I like being competent and getting things done. I thrive on being organized. It’s just what I am and what I do. It comes very naturally. Something I don’t particularly like is that the busyness and the productivity don’t always serve me. I’ve always had this analogy about life being like spinning plates. Spinning plates have absolutely no purpose; they just keep you busy to keep from crashing.

Type 4: I like having a strong 5 wing, and I think that makes a big difference. I’m open to new ideas and different kinds of people. What I don’t like is being overly sensitive to things people say and do, taking them personally, and then brooding about them.

Type 5: I love research! I could do it endlessly. I love being curious and exploring and always learning something new. What I don’t like is that it’s very easy for me to detach from what’s going on around me. However, I’m a great crisis manager because 5s are very good at detaching and dealing with whatever is driving everyone else crazy.

Type 6: I like that I’m responsible and hardworking. What I don’t like is that I overthink everything. That’s why I’m overwhelmed all the time. And when I make a decision, I doubt myself. Then I go out and ask everybody else. What do you think? Should I do this? Should I go there?

Type 7: I like that 7s are fun-loving, controlling—we can be bossy—but we’re very dependable and responsible. We can also be self-deprecating and have a great sense of humor. What I don’t like about being a 7 is I have an 8 wing, which means I can anger quickly and become confrontational and threatening. I also don’t like being somewhat scattered and trying to do too many things at once—but only sometimes.

Type 8: I like being capable and self-sufficient. I really feel like I can handle anything that comes my way. I don’t like the knee-jerk reactions. Being opinionated. And I think the more I get to know myself as I get older, it’s nice to know where that comes from and to be able to soften it a little bit so people don’t always think we bite.

Type 9: I like the compassion. I like the ability I’ve always had since I was little to be connected with almost anybody in any set of circumstances. I like being able to recognize something in them and feel connected. I don’t like the automatic resistance. It’s not just resistance to you but it’s resistance from within as well. It’s still there, but I see it now. Oh, that’s just me resisting.

The highlight of both Enneagram panels was the responses of the different types to a series of hypothetical situations I presented them with. I’ll be featuring the situations and responses of last year’s panel in upcoming posts.

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