The Enneagram is the latest obsession among the self-aware—an elegant personality typing system that sneakily reveals our most private drives, motivations and vices. Knowing your Enneagram type can help you play to our strengths and get ahead in the world in a way that feels authentic to you. But at times, the less-than-stellar qualities of our Enneagram type take hold—and really get on our loved ones’ nerves. When stress or mood swings drive you to show the worst side of your type, you may unintentionally stir up drama—in a way that only you can.
The thing is, these tendencies are such a part of your personality that you may not even realize they're causing trouble. So hang on tight—the reality check can be a little (alright, very) painful. So, what do you do that secretly drives your loved ones nuts? Your Enneagram type reveals all...
Enneagram Type 1 (The Perfectionist)
What drives people nuts: Your need to be “right,” all the time.
Whether you’re an Oxford comma enthusiast or the grammar police, you correct others faster than autocorrect. This can get on the nerves of friends when done one too many times, especially when met with an air of moral smugness or superiority.
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 1:
- Befriend people who can teach you the ins-and-outs of forgiveness and acceptance
- Travel and meet new people from different cultures and backgrounds to expand your perspectives
- Read up on world literature that spans various decades and countries
- Engage in various forms of physical exercise to shell out lingering irritation or pent-up anger
- Consider how others feel and then speak, listen thoroughly before giving any advice
Enneagram Type 2 (The Giver)
What drives people nuts: Your need to know more than what people are willing to share.
When there’s someone important in need, you’re all in, and will drop everything to lend a helping hand. This may be seen as an intrusion of personal space and privacy for certain Enneagram types, and clinginess by others.
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 2:
- Regularly ask people if they’d like space or time alone
- Go hard on the self-care routines: get to know yourself better
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to give you constructive criticism on your behavior
- Learn to channel your feelings into artwork or another form of self-expression
- Save a jar of exciting activities to do solo on a rainy day (literally or figuratively!)
Enneagram Type 3 (The Achiever)
What drives people nuts: Your picture-perfect #hustle social feeds and tendency to one-up others.
We get it: you travel a lot, have a successful career, a great social life, a strong support group, and have more than anything you could’ve wished for. And boy—you love to flaunt it. While this may be of second-nature to you, the people around may become agitated and exasperated from your picture-perfect feeds.
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 3:
- Take an interest in others’ lives, tone down the self-promotion
- Cultivate time for quiet reflection and simply let things “be”
- Spend time in nature, take a social media detox
- Lend a listening ear and be present with a close friend
- Practice being grateful and patient with how events pan out
Enneagram Type 4 (The Individualist)
What drives people nuts: Your ever-fluctuating moods and habit to play the victim.
Yes, your secret vault of artwork is inarguably stellar and exquisite. Your emotional baggage, on the other hand? You might want to save it for later and deal with it privately, because it can get rambly and convoluted. People may want to help, but unsure of how to do so, as their suggestions and advice get outwardly dismissed.
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 4:
- Test out activities that ground you in reality: gardening, woodworking, cooking
- Write your feelings down in a journal or notebook, and let out your thoughts in a safe place
- Get involved in philanthropic activities and community-building events
- Keep a mood tracker to figure out patterns in your emotional ups and downs
- Embark on collaborative artistic projects to experience the shared human condition
Enneagram Type 5 (The Investigator)
What drives people nuts: Your anti-social, super hermit outlook toward socialization.
You get invited but decline more than accept, and get lost in your own little world at times. Missed texts. Calls go unanswered. What’s the point of getting to your voicemail if you barely check it? Friendships can fizzle out over time due to your lack of social initiative, and it gradually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 5:
- Reach out to loved ones first; take the initiative
- Try socializing in small doses and different contexts, find the optimal balance
- Make an effort to go outside for more than errands; explore new places
- Start side projects which involve hands-on activities
- Replenish your body with water; attend to your bodily needs (hangriness is real) first and foremost
Enneagram Type 6 (The Loyalist)
What drives people nuts: Your catastrophic thinking and 54 contingency plans.
This has got to be the time when the worst-case scenario unfolds. Running late by a few minutes? Everything else has got to go haywire. You’re prepared for flight or fight at any given moment, yet your peers may accept this habit reluctantly, and most likely without vocalizing it.
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 6:
- Find outlets to your anxiety: exercise, art, comedy—try out different activities
- Set firm boundaries and be especially vocal about what bothers you
- Learn about breathing and stretching methods to recenter yourself when necessary
- Explore hobbies that’ll gently lead you out of your comfort zone, such as performing (dancing, singing, stand-up comedy) or blogging (to showcase your personal voice)
- Reflect upon past experiences when events went well, and replay positive memories
Enneagram Type 7 (The Enthusiast)
What drives people nuts: Your inconsistency and far-off daydreams that sometimes skip fruition.
Yes, you’ll *eventually* get to practicing your ukulele, climbing the Fiji mountains, and learning how to cook the perfect quiche. Right before you adopt two teacup poodles, paint the London Bridge, and take a hot yoga class. Oh, was that a reminder to squeeze in a session of kickboxing? Well then, time to run!
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 7:
- Write down all of your plans and arrange them in terms of feasibility
- Send a quick text to loved ones and remind them of how much they mean to you
- Accept responsibility and apologize to others and start off on a clean slate
- Consult an organized and pragmatic friend for actionable, practical advice
- Use a to-do list, and break it down: must-do, should-do, and could-do sections
Enneagram Type 8 (The Challenger)
What drives people nuts: Your relentless drive to take charge of every single situation.
From childhood, you took charge of the playground. Now, it’s the same you, just in the workplace, house, or out and about. People respect and appreciate your decision-making abilities...when they’re not overbearing.
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 8:
- When you feel your blood boiling, take a step back to cool down
- Ask others for their opinion and learn to compromise
- Read up on teamwork and emotional intelligence
- Channel your rage into more productive activities such as work and high-intensity workouts
- Let go of control over curveballs life throws at you, and instead focus on the hidden beauty in detours
Enneagram Type 9 (The Peacemaker)
What drives people nuts: Your reluctance to take any side and make major decisions.
“Yeah, whatever works,” has slowly become your catchphrase. New restaurant downtown? Sure. Change in plans? Sweet. When misunderstandings arise, sometimes a cold war of stony silence carries through, which may last for weeks if left unspoken for.
Next steps to take as an Enneagram Type 9:
- Take time off to really figure out what matters to you, delve deep into research
- Apologize only when it’s necessary—evolve from being the doormat
- Let others know about conflicts that make you uncomfortable as soon as possible
- Ask friends with leadership qualities for lifestyle advice and tips to gain confidence
- Keep a calendar to visualize your efforts to sustain a good habit or progress towards a goal
We All Have Our Moments
Each Enneagram type comes with a set of vices, drives and motivations uniquely reflective of their history and upbringing. Sometimes we can drive our loved ones crazy (without them ever telling us!), and vice versa. If you recognized yourself here, don't beat yourself up. We all drive each other crazy at one time or another! The important thing is to be willing to have those difficult conversations, and to accept yourself and others—warts and all.
Is there anything else to add to our list? How have other Enneagram types irked you (intentionally or not)? How have you learned to be more accepting after learning about the Enneagram? Share your stories in the comments below!