“Perfect,” I thought, “he’s trapped.”

It was New Years Day, and we had a 6-hour drive ahead of us. For the record, if someone says this, you should run. Anyone who finds joy at the thought of forcing another person into spending time with them could be certifiably insane.

But alas, my boyfriend couldn’t run! He was stuck in the car with me, and I locked the doors as we cruised at an unmentionable speed down the Interstate.

Being New Years Day and all, I was excited to talk about our hopes and dreams for the upcoming year. New Years Day is almost, if not more fun than Christmas for me. The possibilities, plans, goals and future brim with potential for me. It’s a day filled with high hopes and optimism about what the next 365 days could possibly have in store.

I was excited to hear about my boyfriend’s hopes, dreams and plans for his future and if I’m being completely honest, our future as well. As I began to poke and prod him about what he wanted out of 2017, I was met with some resistance. What started as slight avoidance began to grow into someone annoyance as I watched him start to crash. His energy levels were fading, and they were fading fast.

I am a 7 on the Enneagram. My boyfriend is a 9. We couldn’t possibly be more different.

What Is the Enneagram?

Threes, Fives, 8w9, integration, stress. If you’ve been around a large group of people lately, you might’ve heard these terms get tossed around. They’re talking about the Enneagram, a personality typing system that categorizes people into 9 different types or numbers based on their core motivation and fears.

Now, there’s no science or psychological findings behind the Enneagram. As writer and teacher, Mike McHargue likes to say, “All models are flawed, but many are useful.” And so it is with the Enneagram. While it’s not perfect, many people (myself included) have gained invaluable insight and self-knowledge from its wisdom. It’s been a tool, a guide per say, in spiritual, emotional, and relational transformation. By first and foremost understanding oneself, one can move out into the world and seek intimacy with God and others.

Unlike other personality typing systems such as Myers-Briggs or Strength Finders, the Enneagram cuts straight to the gut. While other systems tend to describe the symptoms of our personalities the Enneagram seeks to reveal our core motivations and fears. Those fears motivate us both positively and negatively and form our worldview.

What Are the Numbers?

I’m not an expert and I certainly lack the time and space in this article to due each number justice. However, you should definitely check out the resources at the end to determine your number and take a deeper dive into the Enneagram.

Ones- The Perfectionist

Twos- The Helper

Threes- The Achiever

Fours- The Individualist

Fives- The Observer

Sixes- The Loyalist

Sevens- The Enthusiast

Eights- The Challenger

Nines- The Peacemaker

What Does It All Mean?

Remember the New Years Debacle of 2017 I mentioned earlier?

Without the Enneagram, I’m not so sure there would be a boyfriend to speak of, or at least not the same one because pre-Enneagram us would’ve lacked the empathy and understanding to see what was happening. Old me would’ve been offended that he didn’t want to think about our future together. Old him would’ve dug his heels in and avoided me to no end. Thankfully, because of our Enneagram work, we were able to see where the other person was coming from and empathize with what they were experiencing in the moment.

Essentially, the Enneagram makes us more compassionate.

When we move towards each other in understanding rather than away from each other out of assumptions and unmet expectations we’re finally able to cultivate a spirit of compassion. If I know anything about dating it’s that a relationship built on compassion and deep friendship are foundational.

Do you know your Enneagram number? How has the Enneagram impacted you?

Resources

Take the Enneagram test: http://www.exploreyourtype.com/details

Listen to The Liturgists podcast describing the Enneagram.

Read The Road Back to You or listen to the podcast. https://www.theroadbacktoyou.com/enneagram/