Category Archives: In Their Own Words

What Do You Like about Being Your Type?

like about yourself

Here’s what the participants from the past three Enneagram panels said they liked about being their type. There are similarities in some of the responses, of course, but also differences in how people experience and appreciate various aspects of their type.

Several acknowledged the positive influence of their wing, which I can relate to. I often acknowledge my 7 wing for lightening up the intensity of the 8.

What do you like about being your type?

Type 1

2015: 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.

2016: I don’t risk more than I think I should.

2017: I like that I take time and effort to do a good job.

Type 2

2015: 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.

2016: I like that most people find me friendly and approachable. I never feel alone when I’m out and about or travel. I’m always able to find somebody who’s willing to become a new friend and share their life story with me. So I make friends easily. Being social and helping others makes me smile.

2017: I can be very patient. I can be very flexible…loving…forgiving. I don’t get annoyed with changes. If someone says you can’t do this or we changed it at the last minute. Eh, so what? So I rarely get upset with people.

Type 3

2015: 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.

2016/2017: I get so much stuff done. I have boundless energy. I have been nicknamed the energizer bunny. It absolutely drives my #4 husband insane.

Type 4

2015/2016: 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.

2017: There are times when being a 4 allows me think outside the box and be a little more creative than others.

Type 5

2015/2016: I love research! I could do it endlessly. I love being curious and exploring and always learning something new.

2017: I’m creative. I like that. (But I’m also disorganized, which can be a pain in the ass.) I can focus really well, (but sometimes I focus on the wrong things).

Type 6

2015: I like that I’m responsible and hardworking.

2016: I like being aware. Public speaking has been a very, very large part of my career and working with people and being able to guess when something isn’t lining up, and being able to ask questions. When I’m in a good space, it leads to asking questions. And that leads to a lot of neat stuff, which is why I do what I do. When I’m not functioning well, it’s me telling people what they’re thinking and feeling because it’s all in my head anyway.

2017: I like that 6s are skeptical, and that is we don’t take things at face value. We question.

Type 7

2015/2016: 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.

2017: I am instinctively creative and open, kind, and have a generous spirit.

Type 8

2015: I like being capable and self-sufficient. I really feel like I can handle anything that comes my way.

2016: The greatest part about being an 8 is we always have options and we know how to find them.

2017: Everything I’ve said [about being an 8]. I happen to have a 7 wing, so 7s are OK. Actually all types are OK, but the Enneagram has really helped me put my impatience with others away. Because I go, yeah, not everybody is a perfect 8.

Type 9

2015: 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.

2016: I like being able to nurture people, to bring out the best in people, and to bring people together, to work well together, to be a community.

2017: I like that from childhood I could see all the different sides of an argument. It got me in trouble sometimes because I could argue both sides, too, which people found very confusing. But it made it possible for me to get along with people I might not have been able to be friends with if I couldn’t hear the different perspectives. So I really like that about being a 9.



Getting Along with Others

getting along with othersIt’s easy to be annoyed or hurt or frustrated by the way other people interact with us. But if we can identify what kind of responses we prefer—and communicate that information (rather than accuse or make demands) to significant others—we’ll have a much better chance of getting what we want. And of  getting along with each other.

With that in mind, in 2016 and 2017 I added a question for the Enneagram panelists: what advice can you give other people for getting along with you? The actual question included the phrase in one sentence, but not everyone took that part of the question to heart. Here are the answers they provided.

Note: Only one person on the 2017 panel was also on the 2016 panel. So 3 is the only type showing a single response.

Type 1

2016: Be responsible.

2017: I’ve noticed that when I get really stressed and start to think that things aren’t going to work out, when somebody gives me reassurance that everything’s going to be OK, I’m able to relax about not having things be perfect. That’s really helpful for me, that reassurance that it’s going to be all right. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Type 2

2016: I like to be noticed and spoken to when I enter a room or group.

2017: Accept my kindness. I’m not running for prom queen or for office and I’m not flirting with you if I’m extra-nice to you. So just accept the fact that I genuinely really like people.

Type 3

2016/2017: In order for you to get along with me, put me in charge, and I guarantee success. And make it a challenge because I love pushing myself, and I’ll push you, too. Just don’t expect too much emotional connection.

Type 4

2016: I tend to be pretty introverted and I like to have a lot of solitude, so don’t take it personally if I want to be alone a lot. But don’t write me off, either. Keep inviting me because I like to socialize, too. I need to do that.

2017: Just keep asking us questions. Keep varying how you do it. But just keep trying because we’re really, really good people to know.

Type 5

2016: Listen and show an interest in whatever topic has captured my inquisitiveness at the moment.

2017: Realize I enjoy talking to people but I feel uncomfortable in front of groups, especially groups of strangers. Interaction drains me so eventually I’ll need to escape and recharge.

Type 6

2016: When I’m in a group that’s single-minded, I’m going to be the devil’s advocate. When I’m in a group that is completely disparate, I’m going to be able to identify with every person in the group and draw them together. I thought it was leadership, but it’s actually my personality type, I think. So don’t be surprised if I’m poking you on something when you’re single-mindedly running toward something. I’m going to slow a process. And don’t be surprised that when you’re considering everything, I’m going to go the opposite direction.

2017: Be open and honest with me, which will help me overcome my innate caution and skepticism.

Type 7

2016: Remember that I will tend to control the issue. I’m aware that sometimes I’m trying not to do that, but it’s going to come out that way, so deal with it.

2017: To get along with a 7, be reasonably indulgent in allowing the expression of these creative possibilities and always acknowledge us. 7s like to be heard and they like to have some room so they feel like they have possibility.

Type 8

2016: Just get to the point and I’m happy.

2017: 8s tend to be drivers; we always have an agenda. So it’s good to address that. I know you have an agenda, but could I take 5 minutes of your valuable time. Please step outside your agenda and deal with me, look at me. Because we’re going to discuss doing something.

Type 9

2016: I may not draw attention to myself. I may not be competitive. But I have a lot to contribute. So don’t take me for granted. And don’t underestimate me.

2017: Just listen once in a while. I’m happy to listen to you, but it would be great to be listened to once in a while, too.

As one of those agenda-driven 8s for whom interruption is actually painful, I’d like to share how my partner of 30 years learned how to get along with me. If he had something to tell me or ask me and I was otherwise engaged, he’d stand in the vicinity until I finished the compelling thought, action, sentence—whatever was driving me. At that point, I’d be able to give him my full, rather than distracted or grudging, attention, and both of us were satisfied.

Is there some advice you would like to give others for getting along better with you?

Three Little Words

panel (2)

For the past three years, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to gather together panels of all nine Enneagram types. A total of 21 people have answered questions about their type and described how they would respond to a series of hypothetical scenarios.

I previously posted some of the responses from the first panel, which took place in 2015. But I thought it would be interesting to share and compare those answers to the question what three words best describe your type? with the answers from the 2016 and 2017 panels.

What three words would you use to describe your type?

(It should be noted that the 2016 and 2017 panels consisted of six first-time and three repeat panelists. No one has been on a panel more than twice.)

Type 1
(two different people)

2015: 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.

2016: obedient, fair, and persistent

2017: responsible, competent, and rule-bound

Type 2
(three different people)

2015: helpful, sentimental, and people-pleasing

2016: sociable, diplomatic, and thoughtful

2017: helpful, kind, and loving

Type 3
(two different people)

2015: organized, efficient, and productive

2016/2017: driven (with a capital D), adaptable, and confident

Type 4
(two different people)

2015: sensitive, curious, and open-minded

2016: sensitive, introverted, and open-minded

2017: I couldn’t think of only 3 words to describe myself, so I came up with a few more: “desperately seeking connections that I’m not really sure I want.”

Type 5
(two different people)

2015/2016: observant, reflective, and isolated

2017: scattered, creative, and introverted

Type 6
(three different people)

2015: concerned, aware, and loyal

2016: loyal, highly aware, and intuitive

2017: committed, reliable, and questioning

Type 7
(two different people)

2015: spontaneous, accomplished, and multi-talented

2016: a little bit of stubbornness, a leader, and a bit of a control-freak

2017: adventurous, social, and visionary

Type 8
(three different people)

2015: independent, competent, and untrusting

2016: driven, independent, and practical

2017: agenda-driven, demanding (of self and others), and innovative

Type 9
(two different people)

2015: compassion, time alone, and resistance

2016: empathic, receptive, and nurturing (being a mediator, too)

2017: insightful, creative, and empathetic

In Their (and YOUR) Own Words

voices2During the past two years, treatment of several heart-related health issues has significantly impeded my progress. For an 8w7 such as myself, the situation is annoying at best and excruciating at worst. But I have taken charge of the treatment, to the extent that I can, and am taking steps to get back on track.

That means getting back to disseminating the responses from the past two Annual Enneagram Panels, preparing for this year’s panel in June, and completing the book I’ve been wanting to write for two and a half years.

So this month, I will be posting responses from the 2016 panel. Look for the first such post by the end of the week. (You can find links to responses from the 2015 panel by entering “panel” in the search box.)

The Annual Enneagram Panels are the most popular topic of my Monthly Meeting of the Mind (& Brain) series. The 2015 panel was kind of a lark. I had scheduled the topic in advance but didn’t plan on having a panel until I realized I actually knew enough people who knew their types that I could have a panel.

Fingers crossed, I hastily invited 9 individuals, and all of them accepted my invitation. I sent them a list of questions to prepare answers for, along with four situations to respond to. I didn’t ask them to tell me in advance what they were going to say, which meant things could have turned out poorly. But it was a huge success. Everyone did extremely well. And a tradition was born.

I change up the participants and add new situations each year. As a result I’m accumulating quite a bit of information from people about their experience of being their type. And audience members really respond to the people on the panels, no matter how much or how little they know about the Enneagram or about their type.

That’s the focus of the book. In Their Own Words will be (primarily) a compilation of voices of different people expressing their differing experiences, thoughts, and feelings about their type, along with their reactions to a series of vignettes.

The responses won’t be limited to people on the panels. I’m expanding the invitation to include people who know their type and would like to contribute to helping others learn about the Enneagram. If you are interested in being part of the project, please email me at with “in their own words” in the subject line, and I will email a list of 12 questions. For Part 2, which I’ll be focusing on later, I will send you several vignettes to respond to. (Note: Names or other personal identifiers will not be included in the book.)

Thank you for your interest in the Enneagram and in Nine Paths. I look forward to a much more engaged year!