Enneagram Type 9: Description and Characteristics
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What Is an Enneagram Personality Type?
By answering a few questions, your beliefs about the way the world works and your motivations, fears and perspectives are mapped onto a nine-pointed diagram presented in a circle. Each of the nine points represents a different personality type.
The origin of the Enneagram can be traced as far back as Babylon and Greek philosophy, with the types presented in ancient works like Dante’s The Divine Comedy.
However, the modern Enneagram with which we are familiar is the work of 20th-century scholars, with some more spiritualist and religious connections.
Nowadays, the Enneagram is used for self-knowledge. In a personal sphere, the Enneagram can be used to develop your personality, and in the workplace it can be used to create training plans and help employees develop in the way that suits them best.
The Enneagram is an emotionally focused system, and when you complete it, you will have a core type. This is largely influenced by biology but takes in environmental influences like relationships and family.
There are three main types of personality in the Enneagram:
- Heart types react with emotion and are guided by feelings
- Head types are analytical in their reactions and rely on systems to understand the world around them
- Body types use instinct and the way their body reacts to make decisions
Each of the nine personality types fit equally into these three groups:
- Type 2: The Giver
- Type 3: The Achiever
- Type 4: The Individualist
- Type 5: The Investigator
- Type 6: The Skeptic
- Type 7: The Enthusiast
- Type 8: The Challenger
- Type 9: The Peacekeeper
- Type 1: The Perfectionist
What Is an Enneagram Type 9 Personality?
On the Enneagram diagram, Type 9 is at the top. Known as the 'Peacekeeper' or the 'Mediator', this personality type is accepting, optimistic and agreeable, prioritizing harmony above all else. They avoid conflict because they desire internal peace and harmony.
Type 9s are generally well-liked, and they can provide soothing reassurance to those around them. They are known to enjoy time alone or in small groups and are introverted.
The Mediator name given to the Type 9 comes through when dealing with other people’s conflicts. Type 9s are able to see other perspectives and will often help others find common ground to defuse the situation.
Peacekeepers rarely rock the boat, as they would rather keep their opinions to themselves. This can come across as apathy, but it is a protection of their inner peace.
The Peacekeeper is a body type, so they are relying on their instincts to react to situations, and they can often internalize their feelings and concerns, leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms – sometimes food, alcohol or even self-medicating.
They seek inner peace above all else and want the world around them to be harmonious. This means not speaking up if there is a chance that it will cause conflict, because they could lose valued friendships or relationships.
Strengths of a Type 9
Type 9s can see a problem or an issue from multiple perspectives, which makes them perfect for acting as the middle ground when there is conflict between others.
They are open-minded and come across as non-judgmental, because they put the opinions of others before their own, which means that any conflict can be dealt with.
The Peacekeeper has a natural optimism, a belief that everything will work out in the end.
This accepting nature makes them adaptable to new situations and more likely to trust others. This trust often means that they are great supporters of other people.
Type 9s are aware of the feelings and needs of others and put those before their own in almost every situation.
Zen-Like and Well-Liked
The Type-9 focus on peacekeeping makes them seem almost zen-like and mellow. They come across as accepting and placid in the face of change and are often the ones that remain calm when there is conflict.
This makes them generally well-liked, and although they might prefer the company of only a few people at a time, they tend to have a wide circle of acquaintances.
Weaknesses of a Type 9
To avoid conflict, a Type 9 will often ignore their own feelings and hide their opinions, which means that they can internalize too much. They do not want to be seen as ‘making a fuss’ or causing trouble for other people.
This, in effect, means that they seem aloof to problems and issues. They can live their life on autopilot and not make decisions that could benefit them, because of the risk of losing their relationships by speaking out.
By avoiding their feelings and only championing the needs of others, the adaptable Type 9 can live their life on autopilot, allowing events to happen around them without actively participating.
This makes them less focused on individual goals and less likely to work for personal and work-related development.
By not being vocal about the way they feel and their opinions, they are not always present in the moment and can miss opportunities for growth because making a decision is a risk too far.
While arguments should not be the aim of any conversation, conflict avoidance often means that the Type 9 will sublimate their true selves in order to fit in. This can bring out a stubborn side that comes across as passive aggressiveness.
Type 9s might be able to mediate a difficult conversation between others, but they do not deal well with any type of argument, discussion and conflict that directly involves them.
This level of conflict avoidance can become pathological and lead to unhealthy coping strategies, eating or drinking too much, or engaging in repetitive behaviors to soothe.
Growth Strategies for an Enneagram Type 9
Recognize That Change Is Essential for Growth
Seeking out conflict is not the answer for the Type 9, but to grow they need accept change, which might involve conflict.
The Peacemaker needs to be able to use their feelings as well as their instincts to make actual decisions that work towards positive change and put themselves ‘out there’ a bit more. This means being optimistic about their relationships' ability to survive a conflict of opinions.
Type 9s need to try to step outside of their comfort zone and deal with temporary disturbances of their inner peace when they have the opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally.
Connect With Emotions
Constant denial of their own thoughts and feelings can have a negative effect on the Type 9, making them search for comfort externally.
Whether connection is made through meditating or exercising, the Type 9 can get more in touch with their feelings and their body by accepting that they are allowed to have an opinion, and that their opinion is perfectly valid and understandable.
Work on Assertiveness
While avoiding conflict and valuing peace sound like good character traits, not speaking up about issues that directly affect a Type 9 can lead to passive-aggressive behavior, stubbornness and internalized unhappiness.
Working on being assertive is a growth strategy that can be particularly difficult for the Peacemaker who does not want to make a fuss, but having the support of people they trust and look up to will make it easier.
Think of Challenges as Opportunities
The idea of conflict bringing change can be more easily swallowed if challenges are framed as opportunities instead.
Having the mindset that a change can be an adventure might make the usually reticent Type 9 more likely to stop procrastinating and make a decision, even with the risk of conflict.
If a Peacemaker can put themselves first, rather than just go with the flow, they might make themselves more vulnerable – but they are also more likely to get results and grow.
The hallmark of a Type 9 – agreeable and easygoing, not wanting to rock the boat – might seem idyllic. On the surface, it may be considered to be the perfect type.
However, this accepting Peacemaker is always putting others first because they do not value themselves.
Support and encouragement from colleagues, managers and friends will help a Type 9 to understand that they do have personal value, and the way they feel about a situation is important.
It might not be an easy transition to make but, by believing in themselves more, Type 9s can become more confident and assertive, allowing them to leave behind the sublimation of their feelings.
Having a Type 9 in the workplace or in a friendship group means having a person who is calm, adaptable and supportive.
They are empathetic and able to see multiple perspectives, showing others the way to finding peace and maintaining group harmony.
They are self-effacing, never wanting to make a fuss and preferring to go with the flow when it comes to making decisions.
However, they can also hide the way they feel below the surface, agreeing to things that do not benefit them for the sake of peace – and this can lead to stubborn passive aggressiveness.
Their aloof demeanor in the face of conflict might be seen as not really caring, and not wanting to rock the boat might mean that they procrastinate about making important decisions.
For a Type 9 to grow and develop in a healthy way, finding a balance between championing the needs of others while being true to their own feelings is an important step. Another key area of growth is becoming more assertive and optimistic in the idea that they will not lose relationships and friendships by being authentic.