The Enneagram Type Nine personality – the Peacemaker – has been dubbed the crown of the enneagram. Per Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, they have “the strength of Eights, the sense of fun of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generosity of Twos, and the idealism of Ones.”
Nines have a strong desire for inner and outer harmony. They focus on others and on conflict avoidance in order to stay comfortable and peaceful. They tend to be steady emotionally and rarely let their anger show. In fact, they’re rather good at distancing themselves from strong emotion for the sake of sustaining connection with others.
Healthy Nines are natural mediators due to their ability to understand all points of view and render compassionate responses to heated emotions. They draw attention to what the affected parties have in common and are skilled at charting the path to compromise. They model courtesy and respect in a way that makes everyone feel duly honored.
When subject to the influence of the neighboring Eight, Healthy Nines become Referees. They combine their penchant for agreeableness with endurance, strength, and political sensitivity. They are practical, goal-oriented folks who get things done “with a velvet glove.”
When subject to the influence of the neighboring One, Healthy Nines become Dreamers. They’re imaginative, creative folks who can synthesize new ideas from a variety of input. They’re great listeners and excel at nonverbal communication. They’re friendly with a clear sense of purpose, often driving them to a constant state of busy-ness.
Nines are also influenced by their dominant instinct:
- Self-Preservation Nines are easygoing folks who revel in simple pleasures. They don’t ask much from life and aren’t terribly ambitious. They have difficulty getting themselves off dead center and may resist outside influence through silence and lethargy.
- 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.
- 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 chosen groups. They may have difficulty saying “NO.”
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. In essence, they “fall asleep” to themselves.
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 you 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. 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.
I am a Nine who took a long time seeing myself in the definition of the type. I’m an accomplished, take-charge, decisive, hard-working contributor who frequently occupies a leadership role. I’m also a life-long musician who has performed in a variety of instrumental and vocal groups. So I figured that I must be a Self-Preservation Three. And yet I discovered that this outward persona reflects a deep desire to connect with others while earning membership in the group. In fact, I’ve had a tendency to identify so strongly with a group’s ethos and agenda that I lose sight of my own wants and needs. So, as luck would have it, I’m a Social Nine.