Wonder why you’re going out with friends to eat sushi even though you hate sushi? You might be a 9 on the Enneagram, the peacemaker, the person in your group who goes along to get along and not make any waves. Sounds like a lot of moms we know.
Enneagram, the centuries-old practice that plots personality into nine distinct types, is having a moment right now. That hot new interest doesn’t surprise Colleen Reed, who has been teaching people how to use it to better understand themselves and others for more than 15 years.
“This is a time of great uncertainty. With so many global challenges … they are all looking for ways to resolve conflict and come together,” says Reed, a certified Enneagram teacher with Enneagram Chicago. “…People are so quick to judge these days. If you understand that everyone is different and they look at the world in a different way, nine different ways, it helps you be more understanding and compassionate.”
Moms can even use it to understand their kids better (though don’t use it on kids until they are older to avoid making them into someone they are not, Reed advises).
“The more you know about yourself, the better mom you can be for sure,” she says. “It truly is a transformative tool. It really does help you to understand other people.”
Find one free, quick test to get your number at truity.com.
Breakdown of the 9 Types
1. The Perfectionist
A strong self-critic who can control emotions. This type is also known for honesty, dependability and common sense, but can also be over-critical and not able to adapt.
2. The Helper
A caring, popular person who excels at supporting others and does what it takes to be liked even if it means changing herself to do it. This type doesn’t do as well with taking care of their own needs.
3. The Performer
Expect this type to be self-assured, ambitious charmers who value how they look to others. On the plus side, they tend to be role models; on the downside, they can be competitive and workaholics.
4. The Romantic
This passionate, emotional type often feels like something is missing, and when they compare themselves to others, they feel envy. They are usually very sensitive and value being authentic.
5. The Observer
This type can appear aloof, but are often very intelligent and analytical. They need lots of time alone to pursue their interests.
6. The Loyal Skeptic
Someone with this type tends to be anxious, over-imagining the worse that can happen, but is loyal, warm and thoughtful. They run on stress while complaining about it.
7. The Enthusiast
This optimistic, fun-loving person seeks adventure with new ideas and experiences and tends to make negatives into positives.
8. The Challenger
This self-confident person tends to be a take-charge person who challenges things seen in an unjust world and doesn’t want to appear vulnerable. They can appear domineering.
9. The Peacemaker
This type is trusting, accepting, usually creative and has a hard time saying “no.” Peacemakers are willing to go along with others to keep the peace.
3 things to extend your knowledge
- The band, Sleeping at Last, recorded its album, Atlas: Enneagram, featuring a song for each character trait.
- Do It For the Gram, an Enneagram podcast by Certified Enneagram Coach Milton Stewart, is available on Apple podcasts.
- Essentials Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide by David Daniels, $7.99, amazon.com.
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This article also appeared in Chicago Parent’s August 2020 magazine.