It’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?