The Enneagram Type NINE personality has a strong desire for inner and outer harmony. These individuals focus on others and on conflict avoidance in order to stay comfortable and peaceful. They are steady emotionally and rarely let their anger show. Being assertive feels risky because it might bring conflict. In fact, they’re rather good at distancing themselves from strong emotion for the sake of sustaining connection with others.
NINES bring a certain pacing to the world. They see the universal in all things and invite us to slow down long enough to take it all in. They like to explore options and are masters at applying slow pressure over time to achieve results. They’re also susceptible to procrastination and may have difficulty staying on course.
NINES are natural mediators due to their ability to see all points of view and render compassionate responses to heated emotions. They are nonjudgmental and accepting, often to the point of rendering themselves and their opinions invisible. They model courtesy in a way that shows everyone respect. They draw attention to what the affected parties have in common and are skilled at charting the path to compromise. They want solutions that are appropriate and fair for all concerned.
Of course, all that agreeableness can have a dark side. NINES can identify so closely with others’ agendas that they lose touch with their own. Everyone else’s needs, priorities, and sensibilities can dominate the NINE’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. They “fall asleep” to themselves to avoid pain, discomfort, and individuation. They lose touch with their own needs and preferences and may harbor a simmering resentment when taken for granted, overburdened, or ignored. Their wish for peace and harmony comes at the expense of a personal agenda that requires conflict, priorities, and right action.
NINES can find a lot of ways to move into inaction. They can get really busy, where everything calls for their attention and nothing comes into sharp relief. They can get stuck in their heads considering all the options, a form of procrastination. They can zone out and contemplate the universe or binge watch television. NINES need helpful friends and/or visual reminders to get them back on task.
When subject to the influence of the neighboring EIGHT, Healthy NINES combine their penchant for agreeableness with endurance, strength, and political sensitivity. They get things done with a velvet glove. When subject to the influence of the neighboring ONE, Healthy NINES synthesize ideas from a variety of input and set a course in the right direction.
NINES are also influenced by their dominant instinct:
- Self-Preservation NINES are easygoing folks who revel in simple pleasures, e.g., food, drink, shopping, TV. They don’t ask much from life and aren’t terribly ambitious. They are practical, down-to-earth people who focus on everyday things rather than abstractions.
- One-to-One NINES like to bask in the glow and energy of their partners, often choosing flamboyant or aggressive mates. Their partners become the centers of their worlds and may cause them to sacrifice their own sense of independence and identity. They tend to be kind and gentle characters who are not very assertive.
- Social NINES want to live harmoniously among a collective of family, friends, and colleagues. They are fun-loving, sociable, and congenial types who work hard to secure membership in their collectives. They are attracted to the energy of working collaboratively and can be highly productive in service of others.
Under stress, NINES may adopt characteristics of an Unhealthy SIX. They downplay their own choices and desires and hang their hats on ideas, relationships, and institutions that hold the promise of providing security and stability. They may fill their calendars with activity as a means of avoiding the reality of their circumstances.
The antidote to stress lies in investing the time and energy to know what they want out of life and set about the business of developing the skills, experience, and connections to get it. For a NINE, that’s no small order. It starts with learning the value of saying NO if for no other reason than to create the space to connect with one’s inner wisdom. It also calls for acknowledging anger and other disharmonious emotions and taking the time to learn what they’re all about.
NINES find strength in movement toward a Healthy THREE where they learn to connect to their individual identities. From this position, they recognize their value and recover the ability to act and express themselves authentically. They can retain their calm demeanor yet assert themselves when needed.