Relationships and the Enneagram

If you want to make minor changes in your life, work on your behavior. If you want significant, quantum breakthroughs, work on your paradigms.
— Stephen R. Covey

Unless you are a hermit or live under a rock, you have probably at the least heard of the Enneagram (pronounced Any-A-Gram). Much like so many other things, it is trending right now. The Enneagram was originally used to appreciate diversity. Diversity at that time was a commingling of many religions occurring in the Middle East.

When you know each person’s type (a number 1-9…more resources at the bottom of this post), it opens up the box to knowing how to achieve your goals and stumbling blocks in every aspect of your life…most importantly relationships with those you love. Hence, the reason this is such a super powerful tool. We each bring something different, unique and important to the table. Can you only imagine how knowing your type and your partner’s type could help a relationship? How it can help you parent? How it can transform partnerships and basically any type of relationship (even in your job or business)? I have witnessed it and actually been completely changed by something I once knew nothing about.

Lately, I am “that girl” who swears by the Enneagram. My business partner and I have done a lot of work using our types. It allows individuals to take responsibility for their own behaviors and growth, from a greater understanding of why they act and react the way they do. It is NOT a personality test. It’s basically allowing you to see what holds you back, gets in your way and releases the chains. While most personality tests portray what you show to the world, the Enneagram shows what you actually have on the inside and why you do what you do. MIND BLOWN.

It shows you the box(es) that you are stuck in and also shows you the boxes other people are stuck in. You can see that, just like you have patterns of belief and behavior that you follow, so do others. They can’t help it any more than you can. The struggle is real, we are all sometimes a hot mess and all fighting a battle. ;)

So, let’s dive a bit deeper…


  • Healthier and happier

  • Become aware of your limiting pattern (type). You then can respond and become open to responding in new and different ways.


    If you are a Type 3 like me, you set a goal and run like mad to hit it. You obsess over it. Find ways to make things happen when others think you are crazy. You have an “I’ll show them mentality.” When someone/something throws me a roadblock, I speed up and push harder. Slowing feels like a failure. I am in a box where I don’t understand why everyone else can’t want to run as hard as I do. Therefore, I push others to be like me, to want the goal achieved, to be the first to the finish line and succeed. Well, guess what? If you aren’t a Type 3 then you are going to really, really not like me. ;) So, now that I know this about me, I am much more compassionate with my family, friends, business partners and my team when they don’t see the urgency of things as I do. I automatically stop and ponder before I push because I know this is a stressor of Type 3. My business partner will also actually stop and say, “Hey, M. You’re showing your Type 3 today. Is that what you are trying to do?” Stops me in my tracks to reassess the situation before I truly start pushing people away without knowing. I then look at things from all sides and all is well in the world and I don’t feel like a complete ass for being bossy or pushy.

  • Gives you options of how to respond in ways that are more appropriate for the situation than you normally would.

  • If you know the type of the person you are working or living with, you can come across differently. We can deceive ourselves, but those close to us experience us differently.

  • Your Type is never static. The health of your personality is never static either. You will go up and down depending on your stress level. That’s when you integrate to a different type and that is a whole other story! You will start to see patterns when you have different emotions. What do you do when you get mad? Stressed? And, any other emotion you can think of! We integrate to one of our happy or stress types and know exactly how we will react every.single.time. Again, mind blown.

  • Creates meta-awareness when you are being motivated.

  • Increases consciousness and confidence

  • Helps clear emotional issues (baggage) that stop you from succeeding and rids the mind of limiting beliefs and values.

  • Enables you to see functional and dysfunctional behaviors that drive you. What works or doesn’t work? How can I change those things that don’t work? Maybe that’s why people don’t get along with me, etc.?

  • Increases compassion for self and others. Makes you not be so hard on yourself. Gives more empathy to the situation of others.

  • Increases productivity and motivation (woohoo!)

  • Builds leadership, authenticity, potency and impact (my favorite it authenticity)


  • Helps us to see the world differently even through our little bitty lens.

  • How many times have you said, “Oh, he/she just annoys me so bad!” Or, “I really just don’t understand how someone could think or do that.” We typically just think people are TRYING to annoy us, but in reality, they just see things differently. Sharing your type with your partner will alleviate this problem because you will see why they act and react the way that they do. Plus, it’s really fun calling them out! “Hey, girl. You’re really showing your Type 6 side tonight and it’s not pretty.” It’s like auto-correct for behavior.

  • It affirms our partners and family and encourages them more.

  • We spend so much time in our lives trying to figure people out that we lose presence in our own lives. The Enneagram helps you find ways to live as much presence as possible due to being more aware of you and those around you. And, likewise.

  • Remember self-compassion and empathy from above? Well, it also will start playing into your relationships and not being so quick to judge or argue with others. You just know that it is their TYPE that makes them the way that they are…you can’t change them, but you can change how you REACT to them.

  • Teaches us how to laugh together instead of stressing each other out. It shows where we are right now and where we need to go to be healthy in our type.

  • If you know the type of your significant other, children or business partners, you can absolutely enrich those relationships by studying up on their types. Knowing that my children are Types 2 and 5 is an incredible gift to know how they tick. I, as their mom, can adjust the way I react to the crazy things that they do and have some understanding and compassion toward them when life gets hairy.

  • Example: If you know that Suzie Q is a Type 6 and just keeps procrastinating to get her job done because she thinks she can’t, you will know that a Type 6 becomes passive aggressive to resist demands. She will likely say, “Whatever” or “I just didn’t get it done” or “Ahh, it wasn’t important to me.” Push a Type 6 and you will be the lucky recipient of a highly reactive, defensive, sarcastic and belligerent employee.

  • Helps you to understand what MOTIVATES you to do what you do, not just WHAT you do.

  • If everyone in the world had their Type known, we would all play well with others. Think of the harmony! I like to think of the Coca Cola commercial…”I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company...” Ha.

  • Reduces judgement and criticism of others while building understanding and tolerance for those who aren’t your Type or think and react as you do.

  • Provides a way to make sense of conflict and challenges (this is SOOO beneficial for partner arguments, parent/child disagreements and any relationship where there is conflict). After all, if you know your partners triggers and core fears you can alleviate those by understanding their type.

  • Reduces blaming conflict on “personality differences” of others. “She’s just so stubborn!” or “Why in the world did he blow up at his mom like that?”

  • Can create and repair “fault” lines that are in the way of relationships. Think of those families who have struggled for years trying to get along only to be creating more distance over the years. Eventually, those years turn into decades and decades turn into a lifetime. Then, the regrets are numerous because there was no resolution before losing the person. Example: parents who haven’t talked to children due to their lifestyle or lifestyle changes, not following the path that the parent intended them to follow or a plethora of other reasons.

  • Less wasted time on things that could easily be worked out if others just took a step back and understood why someone or yourself reacted a certain way.

  • Improves communication while also developing a new dialogue with those you once clashed or couldn’t get along with.

This is just a very small sampling of how the Enneagram can play out in our lives. It is a tool that helps us to respect others and their opinions while still being able to speak our own truth. I love the fact that it creates more compassion in my relationships. I’m not so quick to jump the gun because after researching my type and putting it into practice I am now equipped to know how and when I react. It allows me to know my triggers and how to stop the downward cycle of being defensive and engaging in a tug of war.

Through the Enneagram, I have found that my relationships are so much deeper and clearer. And, most importantly, richer and freer. We celebrate each other more on things that once may have held us back. It also shows support to those we love and validation to their feelings and struggles. It’s not all about us, after all. It’s amazing how just a few adjustments and knowing our reactions can change our lives for the better. Give it a whirl and let me know if your type pegs you exactly…mine did so much that it was scary! I would love to hear your comments and your type!

Find Out Your Enneagram Type