When a situation calls for an abundance of patience, understanding and empathy, turn to your Enneagram Type 9 teammates for guidance. Masters of de-escalation, Type 9 strives to reduce conflict. Therein lies the key to building rapport and trust with Type 9.
Two Ears, One Mouth
Enneagram Type 9s have the ability to understand everyone else’s perspective. How do they do that? Type 9s tend to be on the quiet side. Rather than talking, they focus on listening. By listening, they absorb everyone’s opinions and perspectives. Doing so gives them the ability to put themselves in other’s shoes and to intuit and predict how others will react in a given situation.
As discussed in this 5/8/20 blog, mirroring is one of the most important rapport building skills. Enneagram Type 9 strives to minimize conflict and appreciates those that do the same. Reflecting back empathy and a consideration of others’ perspectives is an important rapport building strategy with Type 9. Though it may not be apparent, Type 9s are driven by anger. At the core of the Enneagram intuition-anger center, Type 9s suppress anger within themselves and strive to minimize any anger in the environment so as to keep it from welling up inside. This dynamic is the engine that drives Type 9 to ensure that everyone’s perspectives are heard and understood—a rapport building technique that the 9 uses with others and that you can reflect back to them.
The Enneagram’s Top Spot
There is a reason that Type 9 takes the top spot on the Enneagram diagram. This spot symbolizes their ability to see everyone else’s perspective. Balanced exactly center-top, they can empathize both with the more feeling-based types on the right side of the Enneagram and the more logic-based types on the left side. They can intuitively put themselves in everyone’s shoes specifically with a sensitivity to minimizing an anger response.
Where Do You Want to Eat?
If you ask Type 9 where they’d like to go out to eat, they will likely respond, “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” The 9 may know EXACTLY where they would like to eat, but rather than share that, they will put the decision on you. Doing so avoids the possibility of a conflict arising over the choice. Even if you push and insist the 9 choose, they will not be thinking about where they want to go; rather, they will imagine the place that you would most want to visit. They will choose that to avoid the conflict. When building rapport with Type 9, it’s always nice to ask where they would like to eat. Rather than force the 9 to make the decision, you can imagine where the 9 would like to eat and choose that over your own preference. Doing so mirrors the behavior of the 9 and serves as a rapport-building technique.
Instead of direct conflict, the 9s go-to strategy for resistance is passive aggression. If you ever need help with something and the 9 says, “Sorry, I’m busy,” they are either 1) actually too busy, or 2) they just got you good. Often you won’t even know that they got you, but they will know, and that’s good enough.
In light of the many protests occurring as I write this blog, I cannot help but be reminded that peaceful protest is a very Type 9 strategy. Marching in solidarity with like-minded people and furthering the aims of the group represents Type 9 behavior at its best. They are drawn to goals and efforts that minimize harm for the greatest number of people, and if they can achieve those goals with minimal conflict, all the better.
Competitive Physical Sports
Another way that Type 9 can vent any pent-up anger is playing physical sports. Once on the court, the calm, quiet, complacent 9 transforms into a raging animal! Within the confines of the mutually agreed upon boundaries and rules of the game, the 9 can act out their aggression with abandon. Participating in physical competitive activities with Type 9 is another rapport building example.
When does rapport building take place with the Enneagram Type 9s in your life? What steps to building rapport work for you? What have you learned to avoid?