A Key to
Understanding, Fulfillment and Connection
We all got 'em. We all want 'em. What do we do with them?"
Jimmy Buffett, 1993.
just don't understand why s/he does that." "No matter
what I do, I can't seem to get along with this one individual at
work." "Sometimes I really do believe that men are from
Mars and women are from Venus!"
Enneagram personality system can be at its most powerful when applied
to our relationships. True understanding begins when we can experience
the world view of others in our lives by feeling what reality feels
like to them. By shifting our vantage point and by learning how
our own personality perceives the world, we can begin to find ways
of dramatically improving our relationships. Being in relationship
with another personality type is like visiting another culture.
In order to work and love well while in this culture, we need to
learn the language and customs. In this way, we can begin to honor
one another's unique differences and to celebrate our human diversity.
Enneagram in Relationship
What Initially Attracts Us Can Lead To Friction Later
One - The Perfectionist
goes to what is right or wrong in a situation (or in a partner);
to what needs improving. Life is about continuing to improve toward
a set of high internal standards.
may initially love the high moral and ethical ground, detail orientation,
dependability, etc. then find mate nitpicky, judgemental and critical,
never satisfied. Not fun anymore, there's always more to be done
first. May feel that the One is trying to control them when offering
suggestions for personal improvement.
Point Two - The Helper or Giver
goes to helping others, giving others what they need, sometimes
before they know what they themselves need. To being indispensable.
To feeling other's feelings so strongly they may not know their
may love the giving, loving empathy of the Two. The strong emotional
connection is very attractive, being the center of the Two's attention.
Then finds that there may be strings attached, something is expected
and no clues as to what it is. "If you loved me, you'd know".
Because I don't know. Also Two is sometimes wrong - the mate doesn't
need or want what is given. Why are you trying to fix me? I'm not
broken. Being the center may feel intrusive rather than desired.
Three - The Performer
goes to doing - to achieving and being (actually appearing) successful.
Can adjust how they come across to present the image that is wanted.
Can identify with the image so much true self is not known.
may love the dedication to work, even the successful image. But
may later resent the "always doing, always networking"
workaholic mode. Not enough time for relationship. Also the Three
will put feelings on back burner, maybe indefinitely. Feelings get
in the way of getting the job done. We used to spend time together,
now I hardly ever see him/her.
Point Four - the Tragic Romantic
we used to consider the Artist personality. Attention goes to what
is missing in life. Something distant that will make me complete.
What is here in front of me isn't quite it. If only.... if only...
Deep emotions are the only authentic truth in life. Difficulty with
flatness of ordinary life. Intensity, bittersweet melancholy.
may be drawn to the depth and feeling of the Four, to their uniqueness.
Later may feel that the Four rejects them when they get too close
and then desires them when they pull back and woos them. Also may
have difficulty with Four's emotionality - it may seem like too
much or like playing the same record too often.
Five - The Observer
goes to what do people want from me? How much am I going to be required
to put out. Has a profound need for privacy and own space. Prefers
observing role at parties, in groups - thinking about things carefully,
is often drawn to their self sufficiency and ability to remain detached
in the face of chaos. And theirexceptional
ability to think things through. May later feel rejected by mate's
need for privacy and alone time. May feel hurt by detachment and
difficulty accessing and discussing feelings.
Point Six - Devil's Advocate, the Planner
goes to what is threatening or dangerous in the world. This is the
planner - who plans for worst case scenario so won't be surprised.
Can be fearful or confrontational in face of what is feared or dangerous.
is drawn to the loyalty and to the care of planning. Fascinated
by six's imagination. But can later be hurt when the attention to
worst case scenario extends to relationship and the six looks for
clues to validate case, often ignoring evidence to the contrary.
I know you're going to leave me. Negativism can be hard for the
Point Seven - The Epicure, the Optimist
goes to what is pleasurable, in the future. Goes to keeping many
options open all the time. Fun loving. Avoidance of pain, emotional
discomfort. Mate is initially drawn to Seven's zest for life and
adventure, fun. But that can wear thin when seven won't acknowledge
difficulties or pain. Seven is eternal escapist. When going gets
tough, 7's are out of here. Also may have difficulty committing
to one person, needing to keep many options open. Feel trapped with
Point Eight - The Boss
goes to being strong. Strength is how we survive in the world. Controlling
of environment and of others sometimes. Cut-to-the-chase people,
can be bull in the china shop.
feels protected and safe with eight's strength. Can love the energy
and vitality of eight. But the controlling can be hard to live with
after a time. Impatience with emotions, inability to show vulnerability
can be hard for a partner. Can feel bullied by eight.
Point Nine - The Peacemaker
goes to other people's preferences to detriment of his/her own.
Keeps the peace that way. Very mellow, laid back people who accept
us just as we are. Can see all points of view, may merge with our
feels totally accepted and loved as is. Feel calmer around nine's
peacefulness. But may become irritated if nine doesn't make decisions
easily, if s/he just seems to float through life, don't take life
seriously enough. Angry if they don't state a preference, if they
say "whatever you like".