No one in my immediate family is a 7. There are 6s, 5s, 2s, 4s, 9s, 3s, 8s, and 1s. So it is not an Enneagram type I know up close and personal. At the same time, I’ve had an abundance of type 7 clients, mostly social subtypes, but self-preservation and one-to-one as well. My 7 clients, mostly social subtype 7s, have been long-term coaching clients or organizational leaders at the center – the change champions – of major projects where I have been the lead consultant. In this sense, I have gotten to understand 7s very well. I find them delightful, clever, free-spirited, visionary and also sensitive, frustrating at times, and wonderfully sincere.
This was, it appears, my preparation for our new kitty, who I think will forever be called Kitty (not an original name for such an original cat). She is like no other cat I have ever served (this seems a better word than owned), even though I have had many cats over the years, including maine coons, just like Kitty. Her original name was to be Fluff-kitty because she is so fluffy. But over the last two months, we have taken to calling her Jumping-kitty, Running-kitty, Sweet-kitty, Crazy-kitty, Fun-kitty, and the list continues. She is an ever-changing feline, now the size of a small dog even though she is only six months old. She will grow at least twice as large as her current size, but she thinks she is small and has a kitten-like quality that will likely last forever. All of the above could easily describe 7s, especially the social subtype 7, but there is more. Here is what she has taught me about how to be a 7 in general and a social subtype 7 in particular.
Maintain An Electric Energy Level
Kittens are supposed to sleep, but she rarely does because she might miss something. Loving life as she does, she is always alert, always. Napping, she hears a movement in the hall or a door open and Kitty is there, toy in mouth, ready to engage the person in play. My son and I literally are taking turns sleeping with our bedroom doors closed so at least one of us can get some sleep. Kitty arrives to wake us up between 5 and 6 am, usually with a nudge, then a gentle finger nibble, then paws (but no claws) to the human face.
Do all 7s have such alert, kinetic energy?
Do they all require less sleep than the rest of us mortals?
Are they always in such a euphoric mood?
You Can’t Have Too Many Toys
7s are known to have fun, the more the better, and Kitty is no exception. Toys help with fun because they give you something to do, and each toy can be used in hundreds of different ways. This, of course, requires creativity on the part of the cat and the human, and the human takes longer to learn than the kitty. Kitty has accumulated over 15 real toys – we keep buying them for her because she loves them, plays with them with great fervor, and then gets bored. She has also created her own toys, stealing, for example, my son’s used, plastic contact lens containers from the wastebasket and batting them around on the floor. To date, there are about 15 of these on the floor and if we move them anywhere, she gets very distressed. So my floor is now covered with them.
Do all 7s enjoy their playthings with such intensity?
Is there such visible distress when someone else rearranges them?
Are all 7s so good at getting other people to do what they want, such as buying them new toys, engaging in the play thereafter?
NO Is An Entirely Unacceptable Word
This word is understandable in any language and is off limits. Even a look indicating NO is unacceptable. Because Kitty is constantly trying out everything possible, there are many opportunities for NO. NO, you can’t eat our food no matter how many ways and times you try to do this, even when you (Kitty) look extra cute or extraordinarily pathetic. NO, your head must come out of the garbage disposal; it’s dangerous. NO, you cannot jump on a ledge that is only an inch wide. NO, the water glasses were not designed so you could lap up water; your water bowl is for that. NO, 11:30 PM is too late to bring your toys on the bed for playtime. Every time Kitty hears or perceives this unacceptable word, she looks in shock (as in “You actually said that word?”), moves backward, and sulks. After she processes that sulking will not change the answer (this lasts three seconds), Kitty moves into reframe mode. She tries to be cute (as in “They didn’t really say NO; they really like me a lot) or she picks up another toy (as if that is what she really wanted to do in the first place). We try not to say NO too often; when we do, she gets mad. Mad-kitty is not a happy Kitty; she sulks, disappears and then takes a nap.
Do 7s really think that no one should use the NO word with them?
Do 7s reframe NOs just like they reframe almost everything else?
Do all 7s take NO so personally, almost like a personal rejection?
Whenever I tell my 7 friends and clients that I now have a social subtype 7 Kitty, they all smile and tell me how lucky I am. Doesn’t that say it all?