I had fun the other night, imaging how the 9 Enneagram personality types might respond to an identical input…
Let’s say, someone’s boss approaches and says something like “that was a horrible way to do that.” How might the different types react to this challenging input? For the responses below, I am imagining people at a moderate (a.k.a. normal) level of personal development.
Boss: “That was a horrible way to do that.”
Type 1: Look of derision. Anger/tension visible just under the surface. Too upset to speak right away. (Thoughts of all the ways the boss is incompetent. Afraid that too much anger will come out if they say anything. Lots of energy rising inside.)
Type 2: Almost crying, or crying…”But I worked really hard on that.” (Feeling wounded, feeling like the boss is saying they are a bad person.)
Type 3: “There were some difficulties in this case. My actions were within the guidelines of latest professional practice. However, I’ve adjusted my approach since then and am having perfect results henceforth. Thanks for the feedback, I’m always open to constructive criticism from a professional such as yourself.” (Saying all the right things, but feeling deep shame.)
Type 4: “What? How dare you say that?! I put my heart and soul into this! This is my finest work!” (Personally offended and outraged.)
Type 5: Low personal development: “Well, if you don’t want my help, I’m outta here.” Moderate personal development: “I don’t believe that is correct, and here is why…” (Emotionally disconnecting, retreating into “superior” logic.)
Type 6: “Oh, I’m sorry”. (Panicking internally, oh-my-god, is he right?)
Type 7: “Whoops! Let’s go grab a beer…” (Avoiding feeling pain, replacing with fun activity.)
Type 8: “Screw you. This is your fault! You are the one that screws up everything. You’ve really lost your focus ever since your wife left you, and I’m not going to pay the price for it.” (Aggressively fighting back, personal attacks.)
Type 9: “It’s cool man, no problem. How about I fix it tomorrow, ok?” (Taking the fastest road to everyone feeling calm.)
Obviously, these are attempts at predicting stereotypical responses, and people are much more complicated than that in reality! Also, you may find people of various types expressing patterns of almost any of the types at different times. Yet, I hope this gives a basic window into responses that might be ‘typical’ of the Enneagram types!