Communication is…

The way we express ourselves verbally and nonverbally. These expressions contains conscious, unconscious, intentional, and unintentional messages. In addition, communication involves how we take in, listen, perceive, and analyze/process what we’ve heard, seen, or felt.

*Verbal: The words, intonation, inflection, and manner in which an individual expresses the conscious and unconscious content of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

*Nonverbal: The individual’s facial expression, posture, body movements, energetic patterns, and dress (80% of all communication).

In this article, we will discuss how each Enneagram Type communicates within the context of: verbal, nonverbal, hidden (growth edge), and habitual (thoughts, feelings, and behaviors). After describing all nine types, we will offer general growth suggestions and a specific tip for each type.

Enneagram Type 1
Verbal: Clear, direct, carefully languaged, thought filled, precise expressions. Can be critical, black or white in content, judged good or bad, right or wrong. Defends against criticism.
Nonverbal: Rigid body posture, sharp dresser, intense demeanor, an energy that implies strict internal standards.
Hidden Growth Edge: I am not accepted unless I am perfect.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: I am not accepted for who I am
  • Feeling: I am angry about being criticized, judged & measured.
  • Behavior: I must be good in order to avoid punishment.

Enneagram Type 2
Verbal: Flattering, engaging, complimentary, soliciting information regarding others, defends against rejection.
Nonverbal: Eyes can be captivating, physically attractive and present well, energetically seductive, attentive, physically engaging.
Hidden Growth Edge: To be loved I must meet the needs of others. I give to get.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: To be loved, I must give.
  • Feeling: Pride and being indispensable.
  • Behavior: Give to get.

Enneagram Type 3
Verbal: Competent and confident, clear, efficient, concise, self-promoting, goal driven.
Nonverbal: Present the image that is required for the situation. Prototypic male or female image. Chameleon like, shape/shifting, feelings tend to be locked out with shallow breath, self-driving or forward moving energy.
Hidden Growth Edge: Doing is rewarded, being is not.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: I have to accomplish a lot in order to be okay.
  • Feeling: Deceiving myself regarding my needs is the only way to stay successful.
  • Behavior: Doing brings approval and love.

Enneagram Type 4

Verbal: Emotional in content, moody, intense, can be angry or fiery, focused on what is missing, unique.
Nonverbal: In dress and presentation, dramatic and intense sense of style, felt sense of the impact they have on others and that others have on them, an aloofness.
Hidden Growth Edge: I fear being abandoned or being seen as ordinary.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: Something is missing.
  • Feeling: I don’t measure up and I am deeply flawed.
  • Behavior: Not wanting what I have and wanting what I don’t have (push/pull).

Enneagram Type 5

Verbal: Minimal verbal expressions, a careful choosing of words, void of emotion content.
Nonverbal: Energy pulled in, good at listening, not animated.
Hidden Growth Edge: Others demand too much from me in the areas of energy and knowledge.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: I must manage my energy.
  • Feeling: Fear of being overwhelmed.
  • Behavior: Holding on to/holding of resources.

Enneagram Type 6

Verbal: Questioning, problem solving, what if and worst case scenario, offering devil’s advocate position.
Nonverbal: Thoughtful, warm and affectionate, friendly, ingratiating, scanning for signs of dangers, moves toward (counter phobic) or away from (phobic) fear.
Hidden Growth Edge: I am not safe and secure, the world is a dangerous place.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: The words is a dangerous place, doubting self and others.
  • Feeling: I am inadequate and I don’t know enough.
  • Behavior: Inaction vs action, ambivalence.

Enneagram Type 7

Verbal: Charming, exuberant, multi-faceted, positive, re-framing, imaginative.
Nonverbal: Smiling, upbeat, optimistic, fidgety, interrupting, self-focused, distracted.
Hidden Growth Edge: I am not aware that constancy has its rewards. Limits and restrictions cause pain.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: If I limit my options I will be boring and boredom will set in.
  • Feeling: Optimistic and positive thoughts keep fears at bay.
  • Behavior: Doing, future planning, back up plans, staying in motion.

Enneagram Type 8

Verbal: bold, blunt, honest, clear, direct, concise, embellishing.
Nonverbal: Can be energetically intimidating, oppressive, protective, grounded.
Hidden Growth Edge: I must be powerful to protect my innocence.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: Power and control.
  • Feeling: Anger at being disrespected for my contribution.
  • Behavior: Being excessively driven in order to avoid being controlled.

Enneagram Type 9

Verbal: storytelling, lots of details, circuitous, non committal, able to see all sides.
Nonverbal: Laid back, non intrusive, pleasant, even tempered, conflict avoidant.
Hidden Growth Edge: I must blend in to have comfort and avoid conflict.
Habitual Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors:
  • Thought: I am invisible and unimportant.
  • Feeling: I feel anger and passive aggressive at not being seen.
  • Behavior: Inertia due to everything having equal importance.

Summation and a Suggestion for Each Type

General Suggestions:

1. Observing self: spend time each day observing the hidden motivation and habitual thoughts, feelings, and behavior for your type.

2. Pick one habit (thought, feeling, or behavior) per week to shift into a place of conscious choice.

3. Spend time observing how your hidden motivation shows up in your communication patterns, verbal, and nonverbal.

4. Practice active listening. Active listening is being fully present and receptive to what the other is saying, feeling, or doing.

5. Take personal responsibility. Personal responsibility means that everything being communicated is about the communicator.

Specific Communication Suggestions for Each Type:

Type 1: Practice accepting self and others from a place of non judgement. Note: Non judgement allows for everything to be perfect in the moment.

Type 2: Practice asking yourself what your needs are first, before meeting the needs of others.

Type 3: Practice slowing down, delegating, and allowing others to assist. Know that you are loved without doing.

Type 4: Practice observing what is present and available rather than what is missing.

Type 5: Practice giving more information and detail about yourself in your communication with others. Know that your resources are abundant.

Type 6: Practice trusting self and others. Let go of doubts and second guessing.

Type 7: Practice staying constant and present to others when they speak. Avoid self-referencing.

Type 8: Practice tact and monitoring of your energetic presence.

Type 9: Practice standing in your truth and communicating with confidence.

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