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Type-based obstacles to real relationships

Sometimes it is important to go back to the basics to uncover essential elements that get in our way of what we deeply want. This is especially true in relationships with others. In relationships, yes, there are always two or more people involved, and the Enneagram is most useful in identifying the dynamics between two individuals that impede or support fulfilling relationships.

At the same time, there is something we can each work on all by ourselves to help create real relationships. The major obstacles for each type can be seen on the graphic above.

But what can we do about this? The 1st question is to ask yourself is this: Do I want my relationships to be more real? If the answer is no, then stop there. If your answer is yes, ask yourself this question: Am I willing to be uncomfortable and give up what I normally do in relationships in exchange for creating more real relationships? That question, hopefully, gives you pause for reflection. It requires a deep degree of self-honesty.

The final step is to minimize doing what we do normally that creates the obstacles above. It isn’t realistic to stop entirely; it may not even be entirely desirable. But here’s the list of how individuals of each type can learn to relax their unintentional type-based obstacles to real relationships:

ONES reduce the amount and frequency of self-criticism, which will usually reduce, but not eliminate, critiquing others. Reducing criticism starts with being kinder to oneself.

TWOS make relationships only 50% of what’s important to them and ask for help occasionally, with a willingness to accept and not personalize a no from someone. Learning to not personalize a no from someone else can support Twos’ efforts to say no themselves.

THREES reveal more of what they truly feel to several others with whom they are already close or with whom they want to be closer. The risk is often worth the reward.

FOURS decide to take in more positive information about themselves to offset the negative information. This will feel new at first; then it will feel good!

FIVES choose to share just a little more about themselves and their feelings with others. Remember, you can be selective in your choices.

SIXES cut down their self-doubt by 40% by simply asking themselves Is this really true? Then ask, How do I know this?

SEVENS breathe more deeply most of the time as a way to slow down and get in touch with more feelings. Explore your feelings with a sense of wonder and curiosity.

EIGHTS identify three people who are big enough to support them and then ask for this support. Remember that people can support you in different ways.

NINES demonstrate courage to say what they really believe at least three times per day, just as a start. Find your truth and speak it.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com