How do Enneagram 8s Deal with People They Don't Like?

Enneagram 8s are a lot of things - but subtle isn’t one of them! These types find it impossible to hide their feelings, especially if they’re unhappy, angry or frustrated by something happening around them. If they run into someone they don’t like, there’s likely to be a slip of the tongue, a roll of the eyes or even a choice word or two that reveals exactly what they’re feeling. An Enneagram 8 rarely pretends. 

When it comes to people they don’t like, Enneagram 8s will usually choose one of four responses: 

  • Confrontation
  • Rejection
  • Undermining or 
  • Begrudging Acceptance 

Read on to learn more about the four ways Enneagram 8s deal with people they don’t like, and how they make their feelings known to everyone around them!

Confrontation: The fierce approach

Eights act instinctively - they let their emotions take over in many instances, especially when they feel threatened or challenged. This means that confrontation comes naturally to them, especially when they have to deal with people they don’t like.

An Enneagram 8 who hasn’t learnt how to control their temper will usually jump to anger as their first response to meeting someone they don’t like. This can lead to big blow-out arguments, especially if that person is also a big personality with a quick temper. 

Think of it like the big carnivore battle at the end of Jurassic Park between the T-Rex and whoever else dares to challenge it. A stand-off between Enneagram 8s and people they don’t like can be brutal, fierce and even a bit scary for onlookers.

Rejection: The stone cold approach

The surest way to know an Enneagram 8 doesn’t like you is if they stop talking to you or acknowledging you altogether. Like I said, Type 8s can be brutal sometimes!

This type of response to people they don’t like is slightly less common than confrontation. Rejection often happens when an Enneagram 8 thinks they like someone and then their feelings change.

For example, if a Type 8 loses trust in another person, they will usually choose to deal with it through rejection. If they feel like someone has been disloyal or has wronged someone they love and care about, a Type 8 will cut that person out of their life immediately.

There is no middle ground for an Enneagram 8 - you’re either part of their close circle or you’re out of it. 

When 8s are given a reason not to trust someone, they will stop talking to them, stop seeing them, and even refuse to hang out with them in a group setting. Enneagram 8s can be stone-cold when they need to be.

While this can seem harsh to other Enneagram types, to 8s it’s just another example of their loyalty to the people they care about. They are the protectors in their social group and their biggest fear is not being able to shield the people they love from pain and hurt. 

To 8s, having someone in their circle whom they can’t trust opens up that possibility, so they use rejection as a way to minimize the influence of that person.

Undermining: The torpedo approach

Next up is a trait that’s not the nicest weapon in the Eight’s arsenal - the ability to undermine other people.

If there’s someone that an Enneagram 8 doesn’t like, they might choose to undermine them rather than directly confront them. An Enneagram 8 will use every social skill they have to turn other people against the person they don’t like.

In a lot of cases, this is not pretty to watch. Enneagram 8s are famously honest, direct and don’t pull any punches, so when they take someone down they’ll do it in their characteristically candid way. They will tell other people exactly why they don’t like someone and why everyone else shouldn’t like them, too.

This is especially true when Enneagram 8s meet someone they don’t respect - like a new manager or a teacher at school - and they can cause a lot of disruption for people in positions of authority.

Sometimes this can help to bring about meaningful change in an organization. Sometimes it can spread negativity and disruption.

Acceptance: The grin and bear it approach

On the flip side, Enneagram 8s are also extremely loyal to the ones they love and this translates into how they deal with people they don’t like. This means that when they have to, type 8s will swallow their pride and be nice to people, no matter how much they’re seething inside. 

An Enneagram 8 will put up with being around someone they dislike if it means they can be there for their loved ones. Whether that’s their sister’s idiot boyfriend or their best friend’s new friend from work, an Enneagram 8 will grin and bear a social situation if they know that it’s important to the ones they love.

That’s not to say they won’t throw in the occasional cutting comment or put down. No one said they’re perfect! But, they will be civil and get along with the people they need to if it means they can show their loyalty.

The same goes for important contacts, colleagues and clients at work. Enneagram 8s will put their personal feelings aside in order to achieve their goals. That means that even if they really don’t like someone, they’ll squash those feelings to get the job done. 

Just don’t expect them to invite you to hang out one-on-one!

Enneagram 8s and people they don’t like

While every Enneagram 8 is different, you can usually predict how they’ll deal with people they don’t like after you’ve been around them for a while. If you have any Enneagram 8s in your life, or you’re an 8 yourself, you’ll probably recognize these four reactions. 

The most obvious reaction from an Enneagram 8 is confrontation, closely followed by rejection and undermining. Enneagram 8s are brutally honest and they famously find it impossible to hide their feelings. When they don’t like someone, you’re going to know it!

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at bethharris.com

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