In Their Own Words (Part 2)

role switchThis is the second in a series of posts based on answers from the nine different types on last year’s Enneagram panel. In the previous post, we learned three words each person would use to describe their type and what they liked and didn’t like about being their type. This time, we’ll find out how they would react to one of four hypothetical situations posed to them.

In all four of the situations something unexpected happens. It’s when things don’t go according to (our) plan that our responses are likely to reveal our type-based automatic reactions.

SITUATION: You arrive at an event involving several dozen people expecting to participate as a guest. Suddenly the hostess rushes over to you exclaiming she has to leave due to an emergency and insists you take over for her. Tell us how you would feel, what you would think, and what you would do and say.

Type 1: I would be mortified. I would be absolutely mortified. I would be put out. I would have a hard time changing my hat from being a participant to being the person in charge, especially because I wasn’t expecting to be in charge. And I would probably call on my Type 7 friend. It’s so nice to know that these people would be the right people to call on. But I would take it over and hand it over to her because she’s out there and extraverted and stands up. Basically I would give it to somebody else to do.

Type 2: First off, I felt flattered that she asked me. And then because it’s me, a little bit of a relief because now I have a role to play. I know exactly what I need to do and what my role is in this matter. I would ask for any information for how she wants it to be done unless she’s on her way out the door already because something horrible has happened. And then I’d just take over and organize everything and do it. So it’s not a big deal for me.

Type 3: I’m so relieved after hearing other people say they would just embrace it, and I finally heard, oh, my god, I’d be pissed. My first reaction is oh, gosh, I would be upset. I’m not prepared. I don’t like to do things I’m not prepared for, and this is that type of situation. I was coming planning on relaxing not having to get involved with it. That would be my first feeling. What I think, if I had no choice then I’d start thinking about OK, what are my options, what can I do, how can I get some help, do some quick planning to make something happen. Realizing there may not be any option, then I’ll tell her OK I’m going to try, with no guarantees, I’m just going to do the best I can because I don’t feel prepared, I don’t feel comfortable, but in the end, I’ll just do a good job.

Type 4: For me, it depends. Do I know the hostess? Do I think it’s really an emergency? Do I know the topic? Do I know what she had planned for the event? Do I know the other people who are coming? If yes to all or most of these questions, I would feel nervous about taking it over, but I would do it. If no, I would feel angry about being put in an uncomfortable position. I would think how thoughtless of her to insist I take over. I would tell the group what has happened and ask for their support and maybe their input if I don’t know the topic well. If I don’t know enough about the topic to carry on and can’t find anyone in the group who knows it, either, I might change the topic to something else. Or I might just cancel the event and reschedule it for another time.

Type 5: This scenario has happened to me many times. I really do like the back row instead of standing up and having to talk. As a 5, I probably did some background research on whatever was going on, so I’ll kind of feel prepared. I would also ask what the hostess wanted to have happen. I’d be fine. I’m mature enough in my “five-ness” to not feel imposed upon.

Type 6: How would I feel? Scared. I’m out. Don’t ask me.

Type 7: Yes, I’ll take it over. Personally, I think this is a normal thing to happen to a 7. We like being in control and we handle last-minute changes really well. It’s no big deal, we do it, and we just move on. End of story.

Type 8: I think my first reaction would be resistance. She’s insisting I take over; she’s not asking. So I’m annoyed. I think the thing I would think about would be could I handle it? Do I know enough about this topic in order to do it. If I felt that I could, I would go ahead and do it and just tell the audience, you know, this a pot luck. It’s not what you came for, but what the heck. And if I didn’t feel competent, I would simply tell her that I wouldn’t do it.

Type 9: I think my first response would be shock and that probably actually translates as the automatic resistance of the 9. I would also feel flattered, I think. And then I would enroll the crowd that something’s happened none of us thought would happen, so we’ll work together and it’ll be fun. That’s what you do. Get them on your side.

How do you think YOU would respond in this situation? Would you be relieved or terrified or would you take it in stride?

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