Enneagram communication styles

Did you know that some people never ask questions?

Some people are very talented at telling stories and anecdotes.

Some people are fabulous at flirting, raising it to an art form and practicing it on everyone they meet.

There are those who crack really funny one-liners and hilarious nonsequiturs.

Some are good with groups. Some prefer long, one-on-one conversations.

Some talk compulsively. Some experience silence with another as a kind of communion.

And sometimes there are holes in conversations, gaps in communication styles.

Sometimes anecdotes seem random, disconnected from what came before, and I find myself wondering (usually later) where the other person might have been going with that or what brought it up in the first place.

Sometimes I’ve put words in others’ mouths instead of letting them tell it their way.

And interestingly, sometimes when I am getting to know someone, a part of them that I’ve never met before will enter the conversation. It can be startling to me, while the part is so ingrained in them they’re not even aware of it.

I find communication — and people — fascinating.

I don’t read minds. I do what I call fake mind reading, trying to understand other people’s motivations, hidden emotions, directions, and so on. Yep, I make up stories about people and why they are the way they are. I’m working on letting go of that desire. It’s not that easy, I tell you! I am addicted to “understanding”.

To refresh myself and share with you, I’m consulting one of my favorite books on the Enneagram, The Enneagram of Liberation: From Fixation to Freedom, by Eli Jaxon-Bear. (Eli is Gangaji’s husband, if you didn’t know, and an expert on Enneagram as a spiritual growth tool.)

Below I’ve provided a brief description of each Enneagram type’s talking style. You may recognize yourself, or more likely, someone you know well will come to mind. Those who know you well may be able to tell you what your most characteristic communication style is.

Please keep in mind that these are generalizations! Twos do not give advice all the time!

Ones’ talking style is preaching, lecturing, sermonizing.

Two: Giving advice.

Three: Propaganda, selling, “the bottom line”.

Four: Lamentation, gossip, responsive to others’ moods.

Five: Systematic discussions (like this blog post! ha ha! ; ) ), investigations, silence.

Six: Setting limits, needing to know the rules, questioning authority.

Seven: Telling stories, charming others, improvisation.

Eight: Laying trips, challenging, pushing buttons.

Nine: Telling a saga or long story, putting listeners into trance.

If you are interested in using the Enneagram as a tool for personal growth, I recommend getting a copy of this book.

About Mary Ann Reynolds

Blogging about body, mind, heart, spirit, and well-being at The Well: bodymindheartspirit. Offering bodywork and changework, specializing in Ashiatsu barefoot massage and craniosacral therapy. Also a former Truth Be Told board member now serving as a volunteer editor for the Truth Be Told Community blog, serving women behind and beyond bars.
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