Safety is the keyword for type Sixes. They are attuned to the potential dangers and problems. They want to know rules, expectations, boundaries and all the pertinent details of a situation so they can be prepared for whatever happens. This focus on potential problems can be received as suspicion, skepticism, pessimism, or playing the devil’s advocate, but, as with the other types, it is important not to take it too personally. It is coming out of their strength and part of how they seek to give to others. Another side of this strength is a great commitment and loyalty to those who are a part of their clan or community. Of all the types, Sixes place the strongest value on group and community loyalty. A Six’s stress on both safety and loyalty can be a great benefit to any group or company, and it is important to value and let them work in their areas of strength. It is also important to address their concerns, appreciate their questions, and acknowledge what can go wrong before moving ahead.
Sevens place a priority on enjoying life and helping others enjoy life, and they are often looking ahead to the next great experience. As a result, Sevens are fun people to be around. For them the glass is half full, they see positive visions of the future, tell good stories, and can usually talk about almost anything. However, this communication style means that really listening can be a struggle for Sevens, they are an aggressive type and often believe they have the best way of doing things. They also struggle with finishing projects and sometimes with staying with any experience. They like to get things started, but soon their attention moves on to something new. It’s usually not hard to appreciate and value the strengths of a Seven, but Sevens can frustrate those who expect them to work in a linear, repetitive, or traditional way. Yet when their strength for trying new and different ideas is harnessed and coupled with an expectation to take responsibility for their actions, they can accomplish a lot and are much easier to work with.
Type Eights focus on power and control. They feel comfortable taking charge and less comfortable when others have authority over them. Eights can be very effective at getting things done and making things happen. Eights are direct and assertive. They are not afraid of conflict or confrontation, and often see these as an effective means to work things out and get to the truth. Eights have big energy, often do things in big ways, and get complaints from others that they are ‘too big.’ Many types are less comfortable with confrontation and the direct style of Eights, and, thus, are reluctant to deal with Eights. But the most effective way to work with and relate to Eights is to be direct with them and not to back down in the face of their strength. Respect their strength, but don’t let it intimidate you. And value their ability to take charge and accomplish. Those in authority get more criticism than most, so appreciation can go a long way.
Type Nines value peace, internally and externally. More than any other type, they have the gift of seeing all sides of a conflict and understanding another’s point of view. They often make good leaders because they can bridge differences and misunderstandings between those whom they lead. It can be hard, however, for nines to know and share their own point of view or what they bring to a situation. They often avoid conflict because it breaks the peace, and, at times, can even seem agreeable to a point of view when inside they disagree with it. Nines can also be stubborn and slow to accept change, because breaking the status quo threatens the peace. When relating to Nines is important to let them know that you value them and what they bring. Nines devalue themselves and their input so they won’t conflict with others, and it can take time and patience to draw them out. Nines are not in a hurry. If we want them to really show up, we need to join them in that.
These nine paragraphs are just a start on how the Enneagram wisdom can help us get along with one another better. While the Enneagram is also a great tool for spiritual and personal growth, it’s in relationships that its value often shows up first as we integrate it into our lives. It can make such a difference in understanding others and why we can see the same thing so differently.