Category Archives: Type 3

What if: Your Traveling Companion Bows Out?

disappointedDo you prefer to travel alone or with someone else? Depending on your preference—and maybe your experience, too—your response to this situation presented to the 2017 panel could be as mild or as dramatic as some of the responses they had.

Several months ago, you spent what is a lot of money for you on tickets and hotel reservations for a trip you’ve planned with a friend. You’re really looking forward to it, but two weeks before your scheduled departure, your friend tells you he/she won’t be able to go. How would you feel? What would you think? And what would you do and say?

Type 1: I would feel disappointed. I would do my best to be understanding without being too angry or disrupted by the change in plans. I would let the friend know it’s OK, even though I might not feel that way. And I would go enjoy myself on the trip finding pleasure in just being by myself. And I’d be perfectly happy to go do something by myself.

Type 2: At the end of last year, I got a call from a friend asking me to join her at a conference in Phoenix. I really wasn’t planning on going, but I signed up and paid a lot of money just to support her. A month before, she called and said I can’t go. And my first thought was, so? I don’t sweat that kind of stuff. It’s not important to me. I am really good at accepting change. And I don’t get annoyed with changes like that. I mean if you can’t go, you can’t go. So I went and I had a great time. What I thought was Too bad that she can’t go, but I plan to enjoy it anyway.

Type 3: I’d be really angry, and I would be disappointed because we were planning something together. And if she didn’t tell me why she didn’t go, I wouldn’t ask. I’d be like What? OK. You’ve told me where you stand on this. I’d be furious. I would probably never travel with her again. But I would go ahead and go on the trip, in spite, to show I’m not a quitter. It would be coming from a sense of being angry because she’s let me down. And I don’t let people down. So other people aren’t allowed to do that to me.

Type 4: I paid money. I paid for her trip. She owes me. I would be mad. If she does not have a really good excuse like her mother or father or child are dying or she’s going have to lose a limb for some reason, it’s almost unforgiveable. She will have to pay me back. I would  then stop and probably go on the trip myself, look for someone to go with and—just like you—truly seriously evaluate whether this is a friendship I need in my life. My money; not cool.

Type 5: I guess I’d be irritated. This is probably why I don’t plan trips with other people. I’d be irritated especially if they didn’t have a good reason why they were cancelling, though I’d be thankful they gave me two weeks’ notice. That’s better than cancelling at the last minute. It would give me a chance to get a refund or maybe find someone else to go with me because I somehow decided I want someone to go with me. Regardless, I’d be happy to go on my own or just not go, depending on whether I really wanted to go or not.

Type 6: I wouldn’t be really surprised. 6s always expect things to go wrong. I would just say, See ya’ around; I hope what it is is good enough to cancel this friendship. I remember when I was a real small child, my mother told me “cheer up; things could be worse,” so I cheered up and sure enough things got worse. I would try to get a refund but never expect things would have gone off as planned, anyway.

Type 7: I would be incredibly disappointed, and I would feel a little disrespected. I’d be in disbelief. But then I would be sympathetic if, in my judgment, it warranted sympathy. Unlike (the type 3), I would want to know why you would do this to me. I would immediately start looking for a substitute person. I would probably badger absolutely everyone I knew because nobody wants to travel alone. But if I did have to travel alone, I would take the attitude that it would be a great adventure and this is what is meant to be and I would enjoy every moment of it.

Type 8: Irritation. But of course I would care about why they were cancelling. That would impact my attitude. But ultimately…so what do I feel? Irritation. What do I think? Why are you cancelling? I would want to know that. What do you say and do? I’d probably say, OK, you paid; fine. I’m going to get somebody else to go, and they can pay me, and I can pay for my trip. But I would either go by myself or find a substitute. I would just have fun. I would go.

Type 9: I would be really hurt and disappointed, mostly because I do travel by myself. So if I was in this scenario, it would be someone that mattered to me and I was looking forward to spending time with them. But, you know, life happens, so I would still go, and I would still have an awesome time.

What if: Someone Else Steals the Spotlight from You?


The 2017 panel had mixed responses to this situation. Some people took it in stride or were actually relieved, while others—particularly the Aggressive types—were quite upset.

SITUATION: You’ve just received an accolade for your contribution to the successful outcome of a big project. Proud of the acknowledgement, you share it at a gathering of friends. But your good news is quickly overshadowed when one of the others immediately grabs all the attention of the group. How do you feel? What do you think? And what would you say and do?

Type 1: I would feel disappointed and angry that someone stole my thunder. I’d also be relieved that I could fall back into the background and I don’t have to be the center of attention. So I wouldn’t say anything preferring to fume in private until I can let it go. And I might not let it go.

Type 2: I would feel a little bit like I’d been run over, but I’m usually not a champion for myself, so I would probably figure it’s not a big deal. If it’s that important to you, go for it. I do appreciate recognition, but not enough to fight for it. I think I would let it go and I wouldn’t confront the person unless the situation made me look diminished or small or whatever. Then I would step up and I would be fierce about taking whatever stance I needed to take. (Is that my 8 coming out?) But in general, I wouldn’t waste my time or energy on getting recognition.

Type 3: Hey! It was about me, right? I can socialize, so I wouldn’t really say that out loud, but I would be thinking of how I could find another way to bring this up again. I’d congratulate the other person, but it would be fake.

Type 4: Oh my gosh. I’ve actually had this happen to me and it is just a turmoil of an experience. First I would probably be a little bit relieved because it is hard for me to put myself out there and say Look at me; I did something good, even though I do good things and I do want recognition for them. So I immediately have that dichotomy happening. Then I would get really angry at my “friend,” who could not even stand five minutes of me being in the spotlight. Then I would sit back and seriously ruminate on whether I even want this person as a friend and whether they deserve it and whether they’re always going to do this to me. I’d spend the rest of the evening trying to figure out whether they should even be in my life. Or if they’re toxic.

Type 5: I might be a little annoyed, but I realize that someone else’s accomplishments don’t diminish my own. Plus I’m OK not being the center of attention, so I’m OK with that. Probably I’d congratulate the other person because apparently they like that.

Type 6: I would be really pissed off that somebody stole my moment of glory. I’d be looking for ways to embarrass this clown in front of the others. I would casually join his or her circle and tactfully but pointedly remind them of how little she actually contributed to the project, thereby exposing her to the polite ridicule of her colleagues.

Type 7: I’d be very frustrated and tight-lipped. I would be pissed. I’d be a little like (the Type 3). It’s about me. I would feel disrespected and under-acknowledged and diminished in some way, and depending on how much sleep I’d had, I may or may not react. Most likely I would complain to someone else or privately confront the stealer of my thunder. I would be very gracious in public because it’s all about being social, but privately, they’re in trouble.

Type 8: So I would be slightly taken aback, but I would immediately go to my what-am-I-going-to-do-about-this mode. And I would lead a toast to Connie. Let’s call her Connie. And say I’m so pleased that Connie finally got an acknowledgement of some kind because the rest of us accomplish so much all the time. And I would basically make the point that Connie’s, you know, not that great.

Type 9: I relate a lot to (the Type 3’s) response. I think I would be angry. And then I’d be thinking about how I could bring it up again. Wait a minute; I have something. But in truth, I’m often immediately engaged in how excited they are. And I’m glad for them. I mean How cool! That’s great. Two of us got great stuff.

How do you think you might react in a similar situation? Would you be pleased for the other person? Relieved at being able to recede into the background? Or would you be frustrated and angry?

What if: You Were Late for a Meeting?

wrong way

People don’t like to be kept waiting, but they don’t like to keep others waiting, either.

Whether they were embarrassed, agitated, or all-out angry—at themselves or something else—everyone on the 2017 panel had an emotional response to the idea of being late.

Situation: You’re on your way to an important meeting at a location you’ve been to a couple of times before. You think you know where you’re going, but you’re preoccupied and turn left instead of right. By the time you notice this and turn around, you realize you’re going to be 10-15 minutes late. How do you feel? What do you think? And what would you say and do?

Type 1: I would feel stupid and disappointed that I got distracted. Of course, feeling is hard for me, as a 1, so I’m never sure if these are the right words. I’m not sure they’re really feelings. But I feel like I disrespected somebody else’s time by being late. So I would call and briefly explain that I’m running late, apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that they are understanding, as I believe that will alleviate my stress.

Type 2: As a 2 and being externally focused, I would be upset with myself for not paying more attention. And this does happen to me more often than I’d like to admit. So I’d be upset that I might impact somebody else. What I’d be thinking is I’d be judging myself for not paying attention. What I would say and do is I would call them and I would say, Look, I’m running late and I hope it’s not a problem for you. And what I would tell myself is You’ll do better next time.

Type 3: As a 3, I would have left significantly earlier so I would have had enough time. Because image is everything. And if I’m late, then what are you going to think of me? You’re thinking of me as not capable. How dumb is she? She can’t even plan ahead. But if I were late, first of all, I’d be angry with myself. It would be all internal. I’d be afraid you’d be angry at me. So I’m really hot and bothered now. And more than likely, I would have been thinking of some fictitious something that caused me to be late, because it wouldn’t have been me. Well, I want you to think I’m really capable and wonderful, so that truck that made me stop was…you know.

Type 4: My first reaction is going to be anger at myself, and of course I will then start to become a very angry driver, and I actually flip people off. Even though it has nothing to do with them, I still do that. I’m going to feel like I’ll be judged by the people I’m going to meet, and therefore I’ll be left out of future invitations because I’ve given them such a bad impression of me. What I would do is I would immediately call anybody, if I have their cell, and let them know that I am running late so at least they’ve been warned. I would probably do something similar (to the Type 3) and blame it on traffic. And then when I get there I would apologize and feel really, really guilty.

Type 5: Yeah, I would be freaked out. I always say If I’m not early, I’m late. I really hate being late, so I’m always early. Like really early. Thank god, I have a phone to tell me when to be where. And I hate waiting for people, so I hate having other people wait for me. That bugs me. I’ll consider calling even though I hate talking on the phone. I’ll hurry to get there as soon as I can, and I’ll be stressed out when I arrive.

Type 6: My first impulse would be real anger. I’d say a few blue words to whoever was next to me in the car, probably. I’d already be thinking about the fastest way to retrace my steps and get back to the correct destination. As I said, my first reaction would be some choice curse words. And then quickly correct course, and then begin thinking of a way to explain why I was late. And my first reaction would be to blame the (Albuquerque) mayor’s ART project. You know, you can blame it for almost anything here. But then probably I’d blame myself for it because that’s what 6s do—we blame ourselves for lots of things. But anger was the first response. And I mean big time. But it goes away fast. Builds fast; goes away fast. But I still want to blame the ART project.

Type 7: I would immediately get frustrated and incredibly anxious. No surprise there. But I’m realizing some of my answer really had a lot of the 6 in it because I have a 6 wing. So I would be doing a lot of screaming and yelling at myself. But I think if I calmed down I would also have this sense of, well, this is an interesting adventure. And I’d be looking at where I was that I wasn’t planning on being. But I would call, text, say I’m on my way, and I’d be apologetic. But I’d still be looking around thinking Well, I’ll have to come back here some time.

Type 8: How do I feel? I thought a lot about this. I am compulsive about time, so I’d be slightly irritated because it’s channeled near the surface at all times. I prefer irritated—you know, not angry. But I would be irritated at the city of Albuquerque for not providing better signage. And I’d probably be doing something in my head like crafting an email that I’m going to send to the mayor’s office about it. What do I think? I’m from Los Angeles, so I’m thinking 10 or 15 minutes is nothing. And they probably should be thankful that I’m showing up at all. I mean I’ve got valuable things to share. But I don’t want to be overtly rude, so I would text or call, and I would just apologize. I’d say, hey, can you hang for 10 or 15 minutes? Go get a Coke.

Type 9: This happens to me a lot, too. The first thing is I would be angry. Because 9 equals automatically angry. And embarrassed because I don’t like that. But it does happen rather more than I care for. What I would think is Oh my god, Rebecca, do you not know where you’re going? What I would say and do…I have an Apple phone with a magnetic car mount thing so I can just reach over and punch it and say, Siri, text Joe and tell him I’m late. And then I would go as quickly as I could to get where I’m supposed to be. And I would go in as inconspicuously as possible. Withdraw!

Have you been in a similar situation? What emotional response did you have?

What if: You Found Yourself on Your Own?

alone time

The fourth situation presented to the 2016 Enneagram panel was also presented to the 2015 panel. You can see their responses here.

Situation: You and a friend have arranged to meet in a city you’ve never visited before for several days of vacation. You arrive on time, but your friend’s flight has been delayed until the next day, which leaves you with 24 hours on your own.

Type 1: I would feel free. Like I’m by myself, I can do whatever I want. I would think that I can do whatever I want. I would say, “Great! I’ll see you then when your plane comes in.”

Type 2: I would feel oh, no, she’s missing a whole day of vacation. I would worry slightly whether she was going to make it in at all. I would think that I wouldn’t want to do anything that she and I might want to share together, so I wouldn’t venture out too far on my own. I would enjoy going to dinner and meeting a new friend and socializing in that manner and then getting a good night’s rest and praying that she arrives all right the next day.

Type 3: How would I feel? Yes!! Because I had to compromise so much when we made up the list of what we were going to do, and this is my time. So what do I think? I have 24 hours. I’m not going to even sleep. I’m just going to do stuff and I’m going to meet her at the airport and be completely exhausted and tell her I’ll pick her up.

Type 4: I might feel relieved to have some time on my own to explore, if I could do that on my own. If not, I would be disappointed that we would both miss out on some things. On the other hand, I might be happy to have some time alone to read or watch a movie in the room. I would tell her I’m sorry she had to miss out on her part of her vacation and try to relax and make the best use of my time.

Type 5: While I was looking forward to spending time with my friend, I’m very happy to have some solitary time. I would probably go to a museum or similar venue that my friend didn’t have a particular interest in. And I would definitely research a good place to eat and get some good food and ambiance. And I would probably take something to read while I ate.

Type 6: Feelings are really hard for a 6 to access. It takes a lot of discipline. What do I think? I’m going to spend a lot of time thinking about what that friend’s going to want or need the second they get into town because they just got their whole trip disrupted. They probably didn’t get all of their baggage through, blah blah blah. There’s a whole list of scenarios that I’m going to have to run. And so part of that 24 hours is going to be about making sure that I can welcome my friend in a manner so they get to feel like their vacation didn’t get totally screwed up. Outside of that I would be imagining all of these other things that I could go and do. But I probably wouldn’t do any of them.

Type 7: I’d be excited to have a day by myself to do what I wanted to do, where I wanted to do it, and how I wanted to do it. And I’d welcome her the next day.

Type 8: Yay, a chance to get my bearings without being dragged around doing stuff I don’t want to do! I think I would just tell her, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. See you when you get here.”

Type 9: I’d be disappointed that she is missing a day and I’m missing a day with her. But I think this may be an opportunity. Perhaps I would scout out some things that we might enjoy or go somewhere my friend might not enjoy but I know I would.

What if: You Were Wrong…in Public?

wrong (2)Here is another hypothetical situation presented to the 2016 Enneagram panel. This one made everyone—or at least everyone who acknowledged that the situation could happen to them—feel uncomfortable. That wasn’t the case with some of the other situations.

Each person responded to the scenario by stating how they would feel, what they would think, and what they would say and do.

Situation: You have a heated debate with an instructor in a class you’re taking. Several other students express their admiration for you for standing up for yourself. Later that day, you realize you were mistaken and your instructor was right.

 Type 1: I would feel embarrassed and I would think why did I do that? I would apologize to the class.

Type 2: Well, I would feel elated at first because I stood up for myself and I got acknowledged for that. But then I would probably spiral out of control with guilt. I’d feel horrible that I messed up. My conscience would get the best of me. I would want to go and speak to the instructor immediately. And the other side of that is I wouldn’t want him or her to think I’m stupid. I want to make sure my image out there is clean. I’d also probably tell the other students, but more in a quiet manner.

Type 3: How do I feel? Oh crap! But my image is really important, so I think I’ve got to set this right with the instructor. But the students already think I’m really cool, so I’d talk to the instructor on the side and say, “Really I didn’t mean that.”

Type 4: I would feel terrible that I made a mistake, in public no less, especially when my classmates are expressing their admiration for my standing up to the instructor. I would think that I should be more careful in the future to speak up without being completely certain I was correct. I would apologize to the instructor and the class for being mistaken.

Type 5: As a withdrawing type, I can’t even imagine this scenario. I have never in my life been in a heated argument. But I would feel really bad that I’d hurt somebody’s feelings, and I would first review everything that I know to figure out how I made the mistake, and I would want to understand how my thinking had worked that I’d arrived at the wrong conclusion. And I would definitely apologize to the teacher and to the class.

Type 6: The first thing that popped into my head was shame. And it’s for a bunch of these different reasons because in addition to being wrong, I was wrong in public, so it’s just going to spiral badly. There’s a lot of thinking going on there that’s not very helpful. I definitely apologize to the instructor, and I would end up apologizing to the entire group. And here’s where the loyalty, I think, of the 6 [impacts the situation] in that I have to find something external to cling to, and so in the end my integrity and the way I perceive that I’m perceived is the thing that I’m probably going to try to preserve.

Type 7: I don’t think that would ever happen to me. The reason I say that is because in a public group I will not speak up unless I know my answer is correct. And should this have happened, I would probably turn around and when I discovered I was wrong I would apologize to the professor and go from there. But truly, in a group setting, I will not speak up unless I know what I say is accurate.

Type 8: I would feel bad after a moment of utter disbelief because I’m just not usually wrong. How could this be? I will have to own up to it, I guess. I would definitely let the professor know in private that I was wrong and leave it up to him if it was an instructional point for the class. And if anyone specifically came up to me after that congratulating me, I would correct them and say, “No, I was actually wrong.” But I wouldn’t necessarily tell everybody unless [the instructor] wanted me to.

Type 9: I would feel horribly embarrassed, especially since it’s out of character to have a heated debate with an instructor in front of a group. I’d think I’d probably hurt my standing and my grade with the instructor. So I would apologize to the instructor and explain how much I’ve learned from the situation. And I sure hope he wouldn’t say anything to the class.

What if: Your Dirty Laundry Might Be Aired?

dirty laundry

Here is the second hypothetical situation presented to the 2016 Enneagram panel. Each person responded to the scenario by stating how they would feel, what they would think, and what they would say and do.

Situation: You discover that a family member is writing a tell-all memoir in which he plans to outline his grievances against several other family members, including you. 

Type 1: I would actually feel fairly safe. And what I would think is, Go for it! Write it. I would read it.

Type 2: I’d be surprised, shocked, gasp…me, little me? And I would be hurt. Then I would think, What happened to this person? They’re out of their ever-loving mind to do this to their family. What about the feelings of the other people involved in this family? I would want to see them face-to-face. I would want to show them that they are loved and cared for and to figure out if there was a reason that made them go in this direction to strike out. And I would ask them if there was something I could do that would help alleviate whatever anger or frustration was going on to do this.

Type 3: I don’t have to say it. I’d feel outraged. Outraged! How dare you? And I would confront the family member, really close face-to-face, and say, What the hell do you think you’re doing? And when that person says, Well, I’m going to write it anyhow because (the Type 1) is going to read it, then what I’ll do is get the other family members together and say, We can’t let this happen. And we would gang up on that person. And if that person doesn’t give in, moderate some of this, they’re cut off.

Type 4: Well, I would feel horrified and humiliated to have family secrets revealed, especially ones about me. I guess I haven’t led as good a life as (the Type 1) has. But I would think the person who is revealing all of this information is misguided at least and selfish and inconsiderate at worst. What I would say and do would depend upon who the offender is. If it was someone close, I would want to know why he is doing that and express my dismay. If it was someone not so close, I would probably just break off the relationship.

Type 5: Well, I really wouldn’t care. There are always at least two sides to the story. I would not attempt to interfere. Not surprisingly, I recently read a book that interviewed 20 memoirists, and each one of them spoke to the issue of writing about others and how much to include of other people’s lives and discussed the pros and cons. But none of those authors would condone writing a memoir in order to prove that you are right. I also believe that this family member’s motives would probably be obvious because that’s the nature of writing.

Type 6: How do I feel? I can’t even access that. Really what’s going on is I can imagine all the horrible things that I’ve done and how they might be interpreted, and I’m totally overwhelmed and shut down by the number of things that might be revealed and what people will think about me. That’s what’s really going on. I guess those are actually all thoughts, though. Surprise. What do I say and do? Depends a lot on the quality of the relationship and my perception. I don’t know. I have no clue what I would do.

Type 7: I agree with (the Type 3). I would probably get together with the other family members and say, This person has completely and totally lost their mind. But in the process of doing that I would also get with the family member and say, This is what you’re going to do; if you write this, this is what it’s going to do to these specific people. Not necessarily mentioning myself, but I would try to talk them out of it and try to do some kind of intervention to stop it from being written.

Type 8: I find it very interesting that everyone assumes  this is going to be published. Because nowhere here does it say it’s going to be published. It just says they wrote it. They’re writing it. It’s not even done yet. How I would feel would totally depend on if he had already expressed his grievance to me personally before taking it public. And I would think it totally depends on what I did that his grievance is about. I tend to stand by my actions, so I would probably be OK and think it’s just his side of the story and he has a right to it. What I would say and do depends on so many things, but mostly what I did.

Type 9: I would feel angry and concerned, not particularly about myself but about what would it do to the family and the family members. And I would think that he’s vindictive and emotionally immature. I would try to draw him out and listen to why he has his grievances and then explain to him and help him see how he’s hurting himself as well as others.

How do you think you might respond to a situation like this? Would you feel safe, horrified, angry, or concerned?

What if: Your Expertise Is Ignored?


The scenarios are the highlight of the annual Enneagram Panels. Each year, I present the panel with four hypothetical situations in which something unexpected happens. In such cases, we often fall back on our automatic responses, which can reveal quite a bit about type. I ask each person to tell us how he or she would feel, what they would think, and what they would say and do. Here are the responses from the first situation presented to the 2016 panel.

Situation: You are invited to participate on a committee based on your expertise in a particular area. But once you join the committee, you find out the chair doesn’t want input from anyone; she only wants to tell everyone what to do.

Type 1: I would feel disappointed. I would ask “what’s the point?” And I probably would stop going. I probably wouldn’t say anything.

Type 2: Poor person. I would feel sorry for them because they wouldn’t know how to really run a committee. I would think they weren’t very bright, there was something was amiss, or they were fearful of communicating so they felt that they had to control. Also I’d wonder what Enneagram type they are. I would probably try to engage the person by asking them questions to see if they were truly closed up or if they were willing to open up and communicate a little better—to get a dialogue going.

I might manipulate the situation by flattery or asking for advice just to communicate better. But if it was a committee that I really didn’t care about, and I didn’t feel that the mission statement was purposeful for me, I would probably make an excuse that I had something else and I would decline to stay on the committee. But I would probably try to make a friend on the committee if it was something I did like, and then we would have fun doing whatever task that person assigned us. We would just do it our way.

Type 3: Given my aggressive type and my love of image, I would be furious that someone was going to tarnish my reputation. I have been invited because of my reputation and expertise and you don’t want to listen to it? So what do I think? Right, lady (to the chairperson). I would talk to her and say, This is not how this is going to work. If she was opposed to that or wasn’t listening, then I would go to her supervisor. If that didn’t work, then I would be the rabble rouser and we would have a mutiny, and we would get going.

Type 4: I would feel let down to find that someone who seemed to want my input didn’t really want that. I would think she’s a controlling person who doesn’t value the opinions of others. I would probably not say much if I felt my opinion wasn’t valued and would discuss it with the others on the committee to see what they thought. If possible, I would try to quietly withdraw from the situation. I would speak up if she’s saying something within my area of expertise that is wrong, but I wouldn’t like doing that because I’m not comfortable with confrontation.

Type 5: I would be suspicious of the chairperson’s motives, but I would not confront her directly. I would just ask her questions that would force her to make answers that would reveal her intentions. But I would also be very relieved that no one is asking me to be the leader.

Type 6: As soon as the Type 3 on the panel started speaking, I noticed myself running to my 9. Because if she’s being the bulldog, I’m going to be the peacemaker. But what’s interesting is my center, the 6, gets completely left out because I’m just going to adapt to whatever’s going on because this is obviously a dangerous situation. How do I feel? I don’t have any feelings. Because what’s really going on is I’ve taken this entire thing personally. I’m worth nothing.

I’ll end up thinking a lot about all of this and all the ways that this could have been handled. I’m typically overwhelmed with possible ways to respond because I can’t always figure out well, if I respond this way to the idiot in charge, it’s going to upset my friend over there. So there are all these possibilities I’m imagining and thinking through. We’re very busy. I would look for either a clear entrance point where the idiot was wrong and point it out and disassemble them, which is my 3. Or I would look for a connection with the person so I could foster some kind of genuine connection and then operate from that place of strength.

Type 7: I would be extremely irritated that I’ve wasted my time. I’ve taken time out of my day. I have other things to do that were important that I gave up in order to help with this project. I would probably, depending on the situation and who the leader actually is, either voice my opinion and leave or I would just get up and walk out.

Type 8: I would also be wasting my time, and I would think this is not going to be fun. But I would actually call her out on it in front of the group, in a nice way. Something along the lines of: you have a group of people here who really know their stuff and that would like to be involved. Why don’t you let them do what they do best and take some of the pressure off yourself? And then I’d call attention to each person’s strengths for her to pick from. And if she didn’t, I’d leave.

Type 9: I would be very resentful. That’s how I feel. And I would think that this is a waste of my time and a waste of my skills. If she wasn’t willing to hear my suggestions—this is my flight stance—I would quit the committee.

How do you think you might react in a similar situation?

What Don’t You Like about Being Your Type?

don't like

It’s probably fair to say we’re all self-critical to a greater or lesser extent. The trick is to aim to be objective without being judgmental and to be honest without being merciless. I think one of the greatest things about the Enneagram is that it makes that process a little easier and maybe also less painful. It will show you how you repeatedly get in your own way. But it will take the sting out of it by making it clear that you are neither uniquely messed up nor permanently broken.

Here’s the other side of the coin from the last post: answers from the 2015-2017 Enneagram panels to the question What don’t you particularly like about being your type?

How would you answer that question?

Type 1

2015: 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.

2016: I can be too strict with myself.

2017: I dislike when the drive for perfection keeps me from doing what’s important to me or others around me, which is the flip side of the same thing.

Type 2

2015: 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.

2016: I battle with guilt and fear at times of not being helpful enough. I also have the same fear when dealing with my own needs. I am prideful and don’t want to be a burden to others, so I’m not likely to tell you that I don’t like what you’re doing or I don’t like what we’re planning to do. I sometimes swallow that, which is not that good for my health, either. I’m easily distracted by others and their needs and I’m quick to the rescue at the risk to my own health.

2017: I can be really externally focused. I can be an approval-whore, OK? It’s important for you to like me. And I used to blame this on my mother because she had a saying that meant what are the neighbors going to say? So I grew up thinking oh my gosh; what if I do this and what if the neighbors don’t like it? And “the neighbors” then translates to everybody.

Type 3

2015: 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.

2016/2017: The term workaholic was made just for me. I crave external validation. My achievements equal my value. I love doing and I hate being. And I am competitive.

Type 4

2015/2016: What I don’t like is being overly sensitive to things people say and do, taking them personally, and then brooding about them.

2017: What I don’t like is the loneliness even though I know I’ve self-imposed it in some ways. It’s still something that I don’t like a lot.

Type 5

2015/2016: 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.

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: 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?

2016: Loyalty can also just be stubbornness and unwillingness to leave bad situations. And awareness can also be me thinking that I know what’s going on when I really don’t.

2017: Things I don’t like include equivocating too much, analyzing too much, and being overly cautious.

Type 7

2015: 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.

2016: The stubbornness gets in the way occasionally. You and I can go to the same spot over there, but my way is going to be the right way.

2017: I’m anxious and overwhelmed and horribly impatient. Like the external world is…I don’t know…it’s a pain in the butt. There’s just so many possibilities out there and I can see all of them. I can imagine all of them. I can do all of them, all at the same time. Yeah, that doesn’t really work, but that’s what I feel.

Type 8

2015: 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.

2016: I don’t like my impatience with others.

2017: I really have identified that I had a feeling once—and I got married. And it was wonderful. But I’m done now. Actually, I feel all the time; I just don’t know how to deal with it. So I put it aside.

Type 9

2015: 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.

2016: It’s very challenging for me to confront people that are chose to me in a conflict, in a difficult situation.

2017: I’m easily distracted, and so I lose focus pretty readily, and that can get in my way and be really, really irritating. I have all these things I want to get done, but…squirrel! Now I’m doing something else.

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?