5 Ways You Can Use the Enneagram to Benefit Your Relationship
Just like Ariana Grande and Meghan Markle, talk of the Enneagram has been ever-present on social media and in the popular zeitgeist over the last few months. Instagram influencers share their Enneagram numbers in lengthy captions, Enneagram experts appear regularly as guests on top podcasts, and books about the Enneagram have made their way front and center at bookstores. If you feel like it’s the trendiest personality test in the game, you’re right.
Maybe the Enneagram craze hasn’t made its way to you yet, and that’s totally cool too. Allow us to give you a brief overview, with the help of Enneagram teacher Jenn Jett. A longtime fan of personality tests, Jett first heard about the Enneagram several years ago from a friend, who had spent eight months reading about it. Jett took an Enneagram test herself and fell down the rabbit hole, learning everything she could about the tool and ultimately becoming a teacher of it herself.
“The Enneagram is a tool that helps you understand what motivates you to do what you do, not just what you do,” Jett explains. “We usually — subconsciously — go about our lives assuming that if everyone would act, think, and feel the same way we do, that life would be less complicated. The Enneagram teaches that there are actually nine different ways people respond and interact with the world around them.”
As you can probably imagine based on that overview alone, the Enneagram can go a long way toward helping you play well with others. “Once we realize how different we all are — not from a place of right or wrong or beliefs or values, but from a realization that there are core fears and desires we all have that cause us to act, think, and feel a certain way — we begin to live in a more understanding way with [the people around us],” Jett says.
Is there anyone you want to live in an understanding way with more than your partner? Doubtful. Taking the time to discover where both you and your S.O. fall within the Enneagram world can be a great way to take your relationship from good to great. Here are five romantic benefits to the Enneagram, according to Jett:
1. It will help you be more compassionate toward your partner. With greater understanding comes greater empathy, and the Enneagram fosters nothing if not understanding. When you and your partner can learn about each other in terms of your numbers, you may find it easier to set aside frustrations and respect your individual thought processes and approaches to life.
2. You’ll find it easier to communicate effectively. “When you understand a person’s core fears and core desires, you can communicate in a way that alleviates triggers around those things,” Jett tells us. “When we get defensive, it’s usually because something has confirmed our core fear or threatened our core desires.” And don’t we all need a little help around communication?
3. It’s a great asset in conflict resolution. Your Enneagram number can tell you a lot about the way you engage (or don’t engage) with conflict. We know you want more of that information about your S.O. Learning about the types that are at play within your relationship can help you figure out how to better balance each other in times of stress and tension.
4. It will allow you to be more comfortable with your own shortcomings. Per Jett, each of the nine Enneagram numbers comes with a unique set of assets and liabilities. The more you and bae can learn about and lean into your numbers, the more willing you’ll be to consider how your personal shortcomings might be affecting each other. “Humility inside relationships has an incredible ability to draw people closer,” Jett says.
5. You’ll remember to celebrate each other more often. While the Enneagram can definitely put you in touch with the personality traits that may be holding you and your partner back, it’s just as good for reminding you of all of your best qualities! “[The Enneagram] makes us aware of the good, unique, beautiful ways our personality is essential to the relationships we are in,” Jett tells us. “When we realize this, we can start celebrating what our partner has to offer in a way that affirms them and encourages them to keep being who they were made to be.”
Interested in figuring out your Enneagram so you can put these benefits to work in your own partnership? Jett suggests starting with the RHETI test from The Enneagram Institute, then taking a deeper dive by reading and listening to podcasts about the tool.
And even if you are trying to use it to improve your relationship, don’t forget the cardinal rule of the Enneagram: “Refrain from typing other people,” Jett says. “It will be hard not to as you begin to study all of the numbers, so just be cautious.”
Jett recommends introducing your partner to the idea by asking them to read about your number first. Ideally, they’ll be so intrigued that they’ll opt to figure out their own!
Share your Enneagram number and how it has affected your relationships @BritandCo.
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