Spin-off: Personality Types and the dynamics of discussion


(Randy) #1

I wonder if anyone has done an Enneagram assessment and study to find if that helps with communication? I’m a type 9; but it sort of helped me when I realized my wife (and others) are not the same, and don’t see the world the same


Dealing with Arguments
(Christy Hemphill) #2

I think anything you do that helps you understand your “normal” and your communication partner’s “normal” can be helpful. Ennegram wasn’t super meaningful to me (7 :partying_face:), but StrengthFinder and Myers-Briggs were very useful tools. But it’s not like you can master everyone’s differences, it’s more for people you work closely with or live with.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #3

Oh my gosh Randy you are such a 9, yes.

My twin brother is a 9 with a 1 wing; I’m a 1 with a (very strong) 9 wing. My wife is a 3 with a 4 wing, and we are very different!

I do find the Enneagram quite helpful for such things. Although if we talk about this too much, one of these mods will break us off into a new thread, “Scientific debate and the Enneagram”…


(Mark D.) #4

I found an online test and came up 9 with an 8 wing, so peacemaker/challenger? I think that probably fits. Now I suppose we should change the subject and look furtively about in order to avoid expulsion into a new discussion thread.

Geez, after reading more about 9’s and 8’s I feel a little exposed as a snowflake. Think I’d better spend the day in the garden to get back some peace of mind.


(Randy) #5

That’s really interesting, that you and your twin are in that inverse relationship. I’m a 9 with a “dreamer” (I think 1) wing, too. @MarkD, I definitely see how different personalities change marriage relationships. Oddly, reading the Enneagram helped me see some of my areas of miscommunication potentials, too :). Two other scales–where would you rate on Harry Potter? I wonder about @Christy–probably Ravenclaw! I would be a Hufflepuff, I’m pretty sure. Who knows–we all have some Slytherin in us–maybe that’s my other side without enough coffee.

Gary Smalley has another that gave me some insight: Beaver, lion, golden retriever, and otter. They used that at a marriage retreat I went to, once. https://www3.dbu.edu/jeanhumphreys/SocialPsych/smalleytrentpersonality.htm.


(Randy) #6

What’s a snowflake, @MarkD? I don’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t think you would have anything negative. :slight_smile:


(Laura) #7

I’ve had a hard time understanding the Enneagram just because the use of numbers doesn’t seem to correlate to anything. At least with Myers-Briggs, you get four letters that correspond to specific things and interact together. Probably there’s a certain Enneagram that doesn’t like Enneagram, just like there are probably MBTI personality types that are less likely to want to take an MBTI test. :wink:


Dealing with Arguments
(Randy) #8

I can see that. My wife and I both did the M-B recently and found we’re the same, though (introspective!) but very different in other sub parts. It is helpful in a different way.

BTW, good topic for a spinoff. It had to happen :). Thanks.


(Christy Hemphill) #9

We have all been expelled!

Clearly. I did not confuse the sorting hat at all.

I would imagine that many things about people’s various personality typing explains why they hang out here and what they get out of it. I bet there are certain types totally missing.

On StrengthFinder my top five themes were Learner (I like learning stuff), Ideation (I like ideas, connections, and new perspectives), Input (I collect information), Communication (I like to explain, describe, host, speak in public, and write), and Individuation (I am intrigued by what makes other people unique). My husband and I sat down with a StrengthFinders coach to go over our results and afterwards, my husband said, “Well, I think I finally understand the ‘why’ behind your BioLogos forum obsession, which until this point has completely baffled me.”

I think I’ve done every personality or learning style test known. (It’s all more learning and input and individuation to me :stuck_out_tongue: ). Myers-Briggs was super helpful to my husband and I in understanding certain areas of perpetual conflict. (I am ENTP, which is basically the personality that likes to argue about stuff for fun and he is ESTJ with very black and white ideals about what is right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable. So you can see how that could go wrong.)

I’m concrete random mind-style; a field-dependent, right brain dominant learner.

We did the Smalley one for some work team I was on at a church once. I’m an otter.

Because I have to learn and have input, of course I spent an hour or so last night trying to figure out why I didn’t like Enneagram when I looked into it a couple years ago. I figured it out too. The whole point of Enneagram is to help you be introspective and develop your inner, spiritual world. “BORING!!!” says the 7 8-wing (social/self-preservation instinctual stacking), whose greatest fear, evidently, IS my inner world. I think I hated Enneagram because it told me I should spend way more time in silent reflection feeling my feelings in order to become a fully harmonized person. So of course I thought, “That sounds terrible! Forget this.” My mom is in a spiritual direction program at Moody and she has a bunch of books for me to read on Enneagram and spiritual growth. Maybe I will work up the maturity to look at them.


(Christy Hemphill) #10

I understand why all you nines are the forum model children and moderator’s dream come true. It’s like the embodiment of “gracious dialogue.”

“People of enneatype Nine are essentially looking to maintain a sense of peace, harmony and balance and to avoid conflict and disruption. Nines tend to see the best in people, to be fundamentally optimistic about the future, and, when reasonably healthy, to have a calming and grounding effect on those around them. … On the whole, they are self-effacing, tolerant, even-tempered and likable individuals. Nines aspire to be supportive, loving and gentle and more than any other enneatype, are likely to embody these valuable qualities.”


(Phil) #11

Now, we need to develop and market a Super-Christian test that integrates spiritual gifts with personality type to give us God’s will for for our life. :wink:

Satire aside, they can be useful in helping us understand who we are and how God made us. I have always had a little skepticism about such things however, though sure that is due to whatever type it would show me to be. I know it is a little off subject, but I think the thing about spiritual gifts that bothers me is that often we see people led into situations totally contrary to their gifts (Moses?) which then allows God to work in their lives.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #12

Yes. This dynamic, if I’ve understood you right, is why I love the Enneagram. They say the goal of the Enneagram is not to put you in boxes but to show you what box you’re in, so that you can get out of it.

Now, I sometimes wonder if I’m not actually a 9 with a 1 wing, but just with a stronger 1 than my twin brother such that I think I’m a 1 by contrast to him. But be that as it may, as a 1, my primary motivator has been to be right. The sort of cardinal sin of the 1 type is anger, because a 1 sees everything that is wrong in the world and it angers them. They also tend to struggle massively with self-defensiveness. It has been a very positive thing in my life to identify these weak points, so that I can prioritize learning to humbly not respond when I’m told I’m in the wrong, and learning to accept and celebrate the world as it is instead of always trying to change it to make it right.

It also helps me to sympathize with other people’s challenges that may not be my own, and vice versa. People will often say to me, “Wow, Andrew, you’re so honest about the challenges you’re facing; I really have a hard time doing that.” Well, it’s because I’m a 1, and for me, if being honest helps me to be right, then who cares if my image takes a hit? My wife, by contrast, is a 3, the Achiever, whose goal is to be successful, and the cardinal sin (if you will) of a 3 is deception, because they want above all else to look successful, so admitting a lack of success is utterly horrifying and verboten to the 3.

So I like that the Enneagram helps us to see what sorts of situations might grow us best.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #13

hahaha I wish I could have liked your comment more than once.

Yes, and the 1 part of me by contrast is what gets me occasionally in trouble, when my feathers get all ruffled and I say but that’s just wrong!, and out comes the snark, overpowering my 9ish instincts. I think the XKCD “Somebody is wrong on the internet!” cartoon was made especially for 1s. It resonates with lots of people, but especially 1s!


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #14

The two types that tend to despise the Enneagram the most are 4s and 5s. The Individualist (4) doesn’t like to feel that they are actually like anyone else, and the Investigator (5) tends to find all lump-categorization too facile and simplistic, preferring something more in-depth and fine-grained.

The numbers don’t bother me so much, though I can see why they would bother you. What bothers me is that you can’t be, say, a 1 with a 7 wing. Why is each type next to some types and not others? This seems somewhat arbitrary to me but perhaps I just haven’t understood some deeper synthesis to it all.

Nevertheless, I find the Enneagram’s lens for understanding the world to be quite powerful: Each of our personalities is organized around particular driving goals and not others: being right (1), being helpful (2), being successful (3), being ourselves (4), being insightful (5), being loyal (6), experiencing things (7), being dominant (8), being at peace (9). A lot of the ways in which we see (and live in) the world, and the ways in which we interpret the actions of others, are affected by these guiding principles. It seems self-evident to me now, and more primal than MBTI categories. But YMMV…


(Christy Hemphill) #15

You must live in your nine side when you’re here. My husband is a 1 (with a smidge of 9) and the idea that I come here to relax (not to mention be escapist and avoid dealing with my feelings :crazy_face:) is pretty hard for him to understand. He would find it completely exhausting. But on the plus side, it keeps me from wearing him out with all my gray areas and new ideas and alternative perspectives and potential heresy, so everybody wins!


(Laura) #16

Yep, looks like I’m closest to a five. :stuck_out_tongue: “Fives are often a bit eccentric; they feel little need to alter their beliefs to accommodate majority opinion, and they refuse to compromise their freedom to think just as they please.” That might explain why I was so uncomfortable with EC for so long. :wink:

In fiction writing I’ve heard that in order to depict a character, you have to know what they want. So I guess that’s the advantage of Enneagram over MBTI in that it tries to describe what we are motivated by and looking for, not just how we are at the moment. Interesting, but probably more difficult to do accurately.


(Mark D.) #17

You got me interested to see if my usage was correct. From wikipedia:

Snowflake as a slang term involves the derogatory usage of the word snowflake to refer to a person. Its meaning may include a person perceived by others to have an inflated sense of uniqueness or an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or to be over-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.

I was just thinking it meant someone fragile and special like a snowflake. But having read the description, obviously I would have to choose a term with some self-depreciating value. :wink:


(Randy) #18

Interesting! I can see that But 9s can be very stubborn. In fact, @Christy, (snark about the “model” participant! :slight_smile: that made me smile)–I’m very obstinate and can need a fire lit to get me moving. I’m very slow to make decisions and drive people crazy!

In the Gary Smalley I’m a golden retriever; in MB I’m ISTJ. The downfalls seen in each profile really help me give empathy to those who have those problems, rather than feeling hurt–good point, @Christy I wonder what Christy thinks of the female/male dimorphisms in MB–I scored really high on female/nurturing, oddly enough (but accidentally marked the one that went something about thinking people are out to get me–so the analyzer questioned me closely about paranoia! that got me a laugh–but he didn’t laugh till thoroughly questioning me.)


(Randy) #19

Oh, that makes sense to me–now I understand. I didn’t think you were with any easily offended character–I wasn’t sure on the definition either. thanks. You are good at listening, one of the good ones in the Enneagram, I think :slight_smile:


(Mark D.) #20

And judgmental. I think it is because I can’t help but be aware of how people in my vicinity are doing. It isn’t a choice. So I used to think my wife was just oblivious or uncaring before I figured out that it was my long antennae which were the outlier. I think it is why I require regular solitude. It makes it so much easier to stay tuned in to what’s going on with me, something I often forget to do. And of course that is important context.