With all the news coming out of Washington, it is easy to get discouraged, and let’s face it, things are pretty bad.
So let me make an observation as a coach. I discern people’s Enneagram style off a dozen symbolic questions and the first question I ask is “If I were writing your biography, what one thing would you like me to highlight?”
I’ve done this more than 200 times now and never once has anyone said they wanted to be remembered for how successful they were or how much money they had. All of them wanted to be remembered for their love, their humor, their loyalty to family, their contribution to the world.
The only conclusion I can reach from this is that the world if filled with people who are trying to make a difference in making the world a better place. Take that, Wall Street!
In addition to our central Enneagram style’s patterns, the Enneagram diagram points to resources that style has. For example, if you are a style One, you have a connection to Seven and Four. When you are searching for strategies for personal growth, these Enneagram energies are resources.
I’ll go through the styles and do what might be called “abstract coaching,” in the sense that within the patterns of each style, here are some suggestions. Your individual situation will require nuance, either from a coach or your own imagination.
Let’s start with style One. Style One has a connection to style Four. Style Ones self-erase and over identify with some larger cause (the law, your religious principles, your political party). What gets lost is your individual subjective approach, which is where style Four excels. So instead of criticizing yourself (your usual habit), consider cultivating the high side of style Four, which can be done by cultivating your aesthetic, subjective inclinations. Don’t ask, is this good music, ask, do I like it? Perhaps cultivate a hobby that prizes subjective appreciation/judgment like fashion or art or music.
The preference of style One is for objectivity, the preference for style Four is subjectivity. Balance is wonderful.
Comfortable. If you are good friends with a style Nine, you probably will have a very comfortable relationship. Nines can be really good listeners and they do something (in the responses I get from my questions) called “creating a safe space.” Their low-key humility allows you to be fully yourself without being judged.
If you need a knight in shining armor, you want an Eight. Eights are fiercely loyal to those on their team or in their circle. Their friendship can easily extend to helping you in difficulty and staying with you in hard times. Eights have high energy and will spend it for you as much as you need.
Sevens make good best friends, and not only for their entertainment value. Their energy and optimism can be
contagious and they look on the bright side – including the way they look at you. They notice what is right and possible and can bring out your best qualities.
One of the best reasons to have a style six as your best friend is that the high side of style six is loyalty. Not only will they remain loyal through thick and thin, they are so relationship conscious they will probably remember your birthday (even without Facebook). Sixes will spend time and energy keeping your friendship vital.
Full disclosure: when I suspect a client is a Six, I ask if they know the birthdays of everyone in their immediate family. Sixes almost always know all of them.
What’s nice about having a style Five for your best friend is that they are sort of low maintenance. After they have enough privacy, they are low-key company, often are entertaining with information and are slow to take offense if you commit a social fault. They pride themselves on not emotionally over-reacting, so they are quite content to talk things over.
One reason many people find Fours to be a good BFF is that Fours are habitually looking for deep connection. They often scorn little chit-chat and prefer deep conversations. If you have a style Four for your friend, you are apt to find them never boring, always up for meaningful conversation. Their emotional richness also makes a healthy relationship fresh and vital.
On another topic: since I started writing about the high side of styles, I’ve had more negative comments than ever before, including some unsubscribes. What should we make of that?
I’ve gotten some flack on my blog about twos.
I had a narrow focus: what about a style that makes them a good friend. I had previously given a seminar and the people came with the notion that the Enneagram was too negative.
Sooo, I am describing only the high side of a style and trying to show how the high side of any given style makes them a good candidate to be a best friend (BFF in socialmediatalk).
Style Threes make great BFFs especially if you are working with them. Threes take their work so seriously that if you are in their department you can count on them to really perform. You get to share in their achievements. I’ve also found high level
Threes eager to help you in your career. You’ll be lucky if you have a Three mentor. They know how to succeed, they model it for you and they teach excellence well.