Ali Wren

whole-hearted living, healthy-minded eating

The Enneagram and Friendship

The Enneagram is changing my life, and how I view myself and my relationships. I am a type One with strong Nine and Two wings, which (in a nutshell) means that I am a Perfectionist, Peacemaker, and Helper. The perfectionist in me has high expectations for myself and my friendships, and is easily disappointed when I let others down, or when they let me down. The peacemaker in me tends to avoid conflict, avoid being honest, and merge into the person I think others want me to be. The helper in me wants to please others and I often find myself in the middle of things.

As someone who wants perfection and peace, I’ve had to be brave by opening up about myself to my friends, expecting nothing in return. I’ve had to meet my friends where they are, being present and grateful for their place in my life.

I’m pretty sure one of my best friends is a Seven on the Enneagram–the Enthusiast. Enthusiasts avoid pain and seek happiness and spontaneity. For years (before I was familiar with the Enneagram), I wondered why she struggled to go deep and share her life with me. I craved connection with her, but it felt like pulling teeth every time I tried to connect.

I was always envious of her ability to go with the flow and have fun whenever plans changed, while I struggle with any change in plan or routine. Now I know that she is wired to embrace spontaneity and pleasure, always looking for the next best thing. And talking about her feelings and pain is very difficult for her.

I’ve watched her grow more comfortable with vulnerability. She often says that it’s all about finding her safe people. So now I respect that she has to feel safe and ready to open up about her heartache and struggles. And I appreciate the fun and adventure her enthusiasm brings to our friendship.

Another friend of mine is a Five on the Enneagram–the Investigator. Investigators love learning and absorbing information. Private people, they don’t often like to talk about their emotions. Only when they feel safe, and when they have enough emotional capacity, will they open up about their feelings. Now that I know this about her, I am able to respect that she has an emotional tank, and if it’s full, I don’t take it personally when she is unable to talk about her feelings. We were chatting about our Enneagram types recently. Her husband is a One with a Two (Helper) wing, and one of her closest friends is also a Two. We were joking that she had a lot of Twos in her life, and she said that they give her life the balance that she needs–a wake-up call to her feelings, forcing necessary connection when she doesn’t ask for it.

I love the ways that the Enneagram is helping me grow in self-awareness and others-awareness, specifically in my friendships. The Enneagram is a helpful starting place for rediscovering who we are, and for establishing healthy relationships. Once we understand why we think, feel, and act the way we do, we are better able to have compassion for ourselves when we feel misunderstood or hurt, and we are better able to have compassion for our friends when they think, feel, or act differently than us.

***This is an excerpt from my newest e-book: A Manifesto For Authentic Friendship. Check it out on Amazon!***

This is part of a 31-day series: The Enneagram. To read all posts, head here.

About Ali

I'm Ali. I write about my journey of living a full and healthy life with food allergies, overcoming the comparison trap, and cultivating authenticity.

Don’t Miss A Thing!

To stay in touch, get free tips and recipes for healthy eating with food allergies, as well as future goodies, join my community here.