When we meet people that we don't get along with, we sometimes see the entire type in a negative light. Stereotypes about types emerge, most of which do not directly apply. Many of these stereotypes are simply caused by a lack of understanding. This article serves to bridge that gap of knowledge and to allow everyone to be more aware of the myths surrounding each of the Enneagram types.
Myth: Ones are “neat freaks” and are inflexible.
Fact: What Ones rigidly adhere to and judge as right or wrong depends on the content of each one's internal standards, which can vary greatly. Thus, for example, if a One holds the standard that being flexible is the right way to be and maintaining neatness and order is a waste of time, then that person will not be particularly neat and will be judgmental about the inflexibility of others.
Myth: Twos just give to get and underneath are very needy.
Fact: Twos often give generously and only appear extra-needy because they repress so much need and desire, making them appear extra “thirsty” or needy.
Myth: Threes care only about their own goals, efficiency, and image.
Fact: Threes can be extremely caring people who bring a positive, can-do attitude to doing for others. In addition, the deceptiveness attributed to Threes is not about deceit, but about being out of touch with their own true feelings, which often are not far from awareness.
Myth: Fours are dominated by their feelings and can't be counted upon.
Fact: Fours often stay steady despite their strong feelings and accomplish a great deal with dedication as long as they are moved by the activity. They even have a knack for making the ordinary extraordinary.
Myth: Fives are not giving, truly stingy, and overly reserved.
Fact: Fives are not stingy so much as unwilling to be sharing of self when they experience too many emotional claims or intrusions. Indeed, Fives can be very giving and engaged. They just want to know the extent of the claims on their time and energy, to know the parameters, so to speak.
Myth: Sixes are shrinking violets, pessimistic, and non-trusting.
Fact: Sixes often face hazards and difficulties fearlessly to prove themselves capable. Far from being pessimistic, they mostly find positive solutions to the hazards they experience in life. And they can be very trusting and trustworthy as they gain confidence in another person or a situation.
Myth: Sevens can't keep commitments and try to get out of difficult or trying situations.
Fact: Sevens can sometimes end up staying in relationships that are not good for either person because they can always see the positive possibilities. And when something means a lot to Sevens, they can be counted on to stick with a situation or job and to make personal sacrifices and commitments to do so.
Myth: Eights are just “out there” – aggressive, tough, and excessive.
Fact: Eights can be quite reserved and quiet as well as very giving, generous, and kindhearted, in part because of Eights' all-or-nothing style of relating, but also in women because of the cultural mandate to tame their assertiveness.
Myth: Nines are lazy, slow, unproductive, and lacking in leadership and effectiveness.
Fact: Nines' inertia is simply toward themselves as they put their attention and energy into others' opinions and agendas. They are often highly productive and effective consensus leaders, as well as thoughtful and giving.
Source: Daniels, David N., and Virginia Ann. Price. The Essential Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-discovery Guide. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000. Print.
Try to remember these points next time you sense a stereotype brewing about an Enneagram type. No one wants to be prematurely judged because of a common myth. :)