The Enneagram Guide To Surviving The Silly Season - E-Mediate

The Enneagram Guide To Surviving The Silly Season

Somehow, it’s that time of year again. Year-end office parties, book club parties, Ladies Who Lunch Secret Santa get togethers…we just seem to ricochet endlessly from one social occasion to the next. But why do some of us handle these events better than others? At every function, there are the wallflowers and the dancers-on-tables, the witty raconteurs and the one-word-answerers. Contrary to what you might think, the way we behave at parties has less to do with how much festive punch we’ve had, and more to do with our personality type. So, here’s an insightful guide to how each of the nine Enneagram personality types can successfully navigate their way through the Silly Season relatively unscathed!

Type One – The Perfectionist

Obviously, Type 1s always show up at your party exactly on time. They are well dressed, and the dish they’ve brought with them is perfectly prepared, and exactly what they were asked to bring. Type 1s immediately clock what their host has failed to do well, and will often sidle over to the table to surreptitiously straighten the cutlery or polish a grimy wineglass.

Survival Tip: This holiday season, why not be extra gracious to friends and family? Let them have their own processes and their own mess so they don’t feel the need to try to change things to please you. Be patient, and try to accept that things don’t have to be perfect to be perfectly fine.

Type Two – The Helper

Type 2s are great to have at a party because they invariably arrive early so they can help. They equate being needed with being loved, so they struggle if all they’re required to do is enjoy themselves. They are hyper-focused on other guests, and quickly pick up if there’s someone who doesn’t look completely happy or comfortable. Two’s love making other people happy, so will go out of their way to ensure each of your guests is introduced to other people and encouraged to engage and chat.

Survival Tip: Try asking someone if they need your help before you give it. Sometimes, your need to assist may actually offend or annoy the people you’re trying to help. Let yourself believe that you can be loved without being needed. Take time to look after your own needs for a change.

Type Three – The Achiever

Type 3s love a party, and party people love Type 3s. They shine at social occasions, and are chatty, charming and entertaining. When chatting to a Three, you’ll no doubt find out a lot about them in a short space of time, and will probably be very impressed. This is their goal – they want you to think they’re amazing.

Survival Tip: To successfully navigate the holiday season, try practicing cooperation. Let others take charge of a situation, to pick the restaurant or decide how to stuff the turkey. Great leaders are those who are good at collaboration.

Type Four – The Individualist

Type 4s can be reserved at parties, preferring to be engaged with, rather than being the ones doing the engaging. They value attention to detail and aesthetic touches, and will often stand to one side assessing these aspects of the party instead of actually socialising. They do, however, want to fit in, but can’t quite get over the feeling that they’re a social misfit.

Survival Tip: Remember that your feelings are your guide, not your master. Try to separate how you feel from who you are, and practice acting in spite of your feelings, not because of them.

Type Five – The Investigator

Like 4s, 5s are also not great social engagers. The difference, however, is that 5s don’t feel like misfits – they just don’t care whether you like them or not. You might have to work quite hard to get a 5 to come to a party – they far prefer to stand on the sidelines of life, observing. They are definitely not the people you want to be dragging onto the dancefloor!

Survival Tip: Try slowing down enough in your mind to connect with the people around you, and give them the chance to really get to know you. Relax.

Type Six – The Loyalist

Sixes are popular dinner party guests – they’re talkative, polite and congenial. They’re also usually the ones doing something really helpful, such as clearing away plates or perhaps even washing up. They like to help keep things running smoothly, but prefer to stay out of the limelight.

Survival Tip: Learn to relax a little – trust that others around you want to be with you for you, not because you’re useful at a dinner party. Learn to be comfortable in situations that may be slightly outside your comfort zone.

Type Seven – The Enthusiast

No one could ever accuse a Seven of wanting to stay out of the limelight! They are usually the life and soul of the party, and are great at making your other guests feel fantastic. Sevens love everyone to be happy, and they’re great entertainers – they always have a lot of amazing stories and funny jokes to tell.

Survival Tip: Remember to live in the moment this festive season. Instead of always thinking ahead to the next fun activity or amusing story, take the time to fully enjoy the moment you’re in. Try not to get too distracted by all the fun and excitement going on around you.

Type Eight – The Challenger

Like Sevens, Eights bring life to parties – just in a different way! They have an infectious energy and vibrancy, but tend to dominate social occasions as they like to impress. As big-hearted as they are, Eights usually make you feel you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of them.

Survival Tip: Instead of covering your vulnerability with domination, let others take the lead. Try to allow yourself to be more dependent on others this holiday season. Take the time to appreciate how they influence and benefit you – and let them know they’re important to you.

Type Nine – The Peacemaker

Nines are the perfect “middlemen” at parties. They will do anything to avoid rocking the boat, so they go out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable. They can talk to anyone, and everyone likes them – they make fantastic hosts.

Survival Tip: Be wary of continually brushing your own needs under the carpet just to keep the peace. Your needs are no less important than anyone else’s, and if this means upsetting the equilibrium on occasion, that’s OK.

Understanding which Enneagram personality type you are will not only help you navigate your way through the holiday season, it will also give you invaluable insight into how and why your behaviour impacts others – at work and at home.

If you’d like to find out more about Enneagram, and the amazing impact it can have on your team dynamics and productivity, contact Ellen Edwards on 082 940 2486, or email her at