Enneagram Type Nine: The Moderator
To feel internal and external peace.
I must blend in and “go along to get along” to feel valued.
Enneagram Type Nines thrive where there is unity, harmony and collaboration. They are agreeable, adaptable, considerate and empathetic; they can get along with almost anyone. Because they focus on others’ well-being, they can easily lose sight of their own priorities. Type Nines have an innate ability to see many different points of view. They avoid and diffuse conflict and appear calm in crisis. They are proud of their stamina and endurance but tend to procrastinate and take longer to make decisions. They don’t flaunt their talents or show strong emotions.
Enneagram Type Nine Key Characteristics
Enneagram Type Nine Focus: Comfort. They strive to maintain peace and harmony.
Enneagram Type Nines desire connection with those around them, even if it comes at the expense of connection with themselves. As children, they may have felt unheard or overlooked and thus internalized the idea that they must suppress their thoughts and opinions to maintain their relationships with others.
Maintaining deep connections with those around them gives Nines a feeling of comfort. However, this is the result of over-adjusting to others so as to avoid conflict. Nines are known to resist change and do what’s easiest, but they genuinely care and provide unselfish, reliable support to others.
Enneagram Type Nine Vice: Laziness
Each Enneagram Type is associated with a vice, or passion. The vice indicates the primary emotional-motivational issue for a person of that Type.
Enneagram Type Nine’s vice is laziness. This doesn’t necessarily refer to physical laziness. In this case, the laziness is Type Nine’s tendency to fall asleep to their feelings, beliefs, opinions and experiences. Beatrice Chestnut, PhD and author of The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge, refers to this as “psychological inertia.” Type Nines focus their attention outward, ignoring what they’re thinking and feeling.
Exploring Type Nine Further
Centers, subtypes and wings help provide additional insight into how a person operates within their type.
Type Nine Center
A core tenet of the Enneagram is that people are “three-brained,” meaning that we exist with three centers of intelligence: the body center, the heart center and the head center.
Type Nine is part of the body center, which regulates instincts and actions. They are deeply connected to their gut instincts and focus on feeling secure and fitting in socially. With a body focus, Type Nines can forget about themselves psychologically, leading them to ignore their personal thoughts, feelings and opinions.
The issues of each center revolve around a mostly unconscious emotional response to losing contact with the core self. Type Nines, as well as Eights and Ones which are also in the body center, struggle with feelings of anger. Type Nines ignore their feelings of anger by focusing externally. Most Nines don’t actually feel their anger very often, as they focus so heavily on remaining comfortable and at peace.
Enneagram Type Nine Instinctual Subtypes
The Enneagram system allows for 3 subtypes in each type. They are Self-Preservation, Social Interaction and One-to-One Bonding.
- Self-Preservation emphasizes behavior related to safety and security.
- Social Interaction focuses on belonging, recognition and relationships in social groups.
- One-to-One Bonding concentrates on individual relationships and interpersonal attraction.
Self-Preservation Type Nines: Appetite
The SP Nine strives to find comfort in the world by satisfying physical needs though activities such as eating, sleeping, watching television, reading—anything that feels comfortable. By focusing on these concrete activities, the SP Nine can avoid looking inward while still experiencing the satisfaction of having their needs met. These Type Nines generally want more time alone than their Social and 1:1 Bonding counterparts.
Social Interaction Type Nines: Participation
Social Nines are the most extroverted of the three subtypes. They want to feel as though they’re a part of things and so they often work harder than is necessary to demonstrate their value to a group. They are motivated to fight for the best interests of their group but are still lackadaisical about their own requirements and desires. Given that they are unselfish and gifted at mediating in groups, they make strong leaders.
One-to-One Bonding Type Nines: Fusion
Nines in general struggle with a sense of self, and the One-to-One Bonding Nine gains their sense of being by aligning themselves closely with another person. It happens unconsciously, but they often take on the agenda, opinions and feelings of someone with whom they have a close relationship. Doing so allows them to experience an identity and structure they may not have on their own. One-to-One Bonding Nines are kind, gentle, and the least assertive of the three subtypes.
Enneagram Type Nine Wings
Each Enneagram type has two wings, which are the numbers on either side of the Type. One wing is usually stronger than the other and its qualities are more likely to bleed over into your Type.
A 9 with an 8 wing (9w8) is more extroverted, stronger, and more body-focused than a 9 with a 1 wing.
A 9 with a 1 wing (9w1) is more introverted and reserved. They are not impulsive and act from values of right and wrong.
Enneagram Type Nines at Work
Enneagram Type Nines provide stability and inclusion. They are dependable, thoughtful, kind, collaborative, and able to see many different perspectives. Their mindset is “don’t fix what isn’t broken.”
Type Nines often gravitate toward careers in human services, such as counseling, mediation and education.
Nines hold back their own opinions and ideas to avoid potential conflict with others. Therefore, those working with Type Nines may see them as resistant or vanilla.
The Type Nine leader is inclusive, striving to build community among those with whom they work. A diplomatic, gentle leader, they respect the dignity of individuals and can harmonize diverse groups, helping organizations meet challenges with a strong, unified collective. Type Nines are adaptive, supportive, temperate, tolerant, collaborative, patient, positive and consistent.
Conflict is difficult for Type Nines. When faced with it, they can become stubborn, passive-aggressive and slow moving.
Decision making is tough for Type Nines. Because they possess the ability to see all sides of an issue, it can be difficult for them to make a choice. Instead, they default to letting someone else make the decision… or they make no decision, which is a choice in its own way.
Conflicts and Resolution
Conflict is in direct contrast to the Type Nine’s basic desire to be at peace. However, they are also attentive to others’ personal needs and wants, understanding that anger can be a clue that a person feels unheard or unseen. To resolve conflicts, Type Nines must stand in their own truth, knowing that all will benefit and giving weight to issues that must be addressed.
For a person giving feedback to a Type Nine, it’s important to be aware that conflict causes discomfort for them. Be specific in setting tasks and agendas while making priorities and guidelines clear. Encourage the Type Nine to express feelings; solicit their input and opinions.
When a Type Nine gives feedback to others, they need to be aware of prioritizing exactly what should be addressed, being careful not to dilute the message with storytelling or nonessential information. They should avoid taking care of or over-empathizing with the other person.
Continued Growth and Development
Type Nine personalities, as they try to avoid disturbing the peace, don’t often assert themselves. This can lead to them losing sight of what they want or need. They must examine the ways in which they ignore their own feelings in order to fully connect with themselves.
Beatrice Chestnut, PhD, suggests in her book The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge that each type can benefit from self-observation, self-inquiry, self-reflection and self-development.
For Type Nines, this means:
- Observing the various ways they avoid tension and their own priorities
- Paying attention to what emotions their patterns are designed to protect them from
- Acting on what they’ve noticed; Type Nines will have to practice asking for what they want and being more direct
Another way for Nines to evolve is to move ahead to their Type Six “Growth-Stress” point and back to their Type Three “Child-Heart” point. Moving to Six means the Type Nine must more openly consider all opinions and options, pushing them out of their comfort zone of passivity. When consciously in Type Three, the Nine is able to take initiative, become more productive, and balance their commitment to others’ needs with their own.
The Enneagram Institute suggests that Type Nines engage in regular exercise as a means of getting in touch with their body and emotions.
Enneagram Type Nines must push themselves out of their comfort zones to more fully realize their potential. If they tap in to their inner self, they only increase their power to bring people together.
Corporate Consciousness uses the Enneagram to help leaders and teams improve their emotional intelligence. Whether you’re interested in one-on-one coaching, building a high-performing team, or continuing your path of growth among others, Corporate Consciousness can help.