Part 1 of 9 on enneagrams

Editor's Note: Part 1 of 9 on enneagrams

Dear  Athena: I have a new job and I need to become comfortable with the different types of people I have to work with. I believe you wrote about this some time ago, it will be so helpful if you could give us more of this information. I would appreciate it so much. Thanks.

— K.I.
 
Dear K.I: Yes, I believe what you’re referring to are enneagrams, an established model of personality based on a diagram with nine points, each one representing a personality type. Those points on the circumference also are connected with each other by inner lines.
 
There are nine types. We will do a different type every other week in this column. Many people were quite interested in this information before and know it can be helpful.

Many who work in different areas of psychology are required to become familiar with enneagrams, as they say a great deal about a person. This is how I became familiar with the field.

Enneagram: Type 1
 
Types 1s are perfectionists. They need to live their life the correct way, the right way. They need to prove to themselves and to the world they are straight arrows.

Positive qualities: Honest, orderly, self-disciplined, ethical, productive, fair and reliable.
 
Negative qualities: Dogmatic, inflexible, critical of others, controlling and anxious.

This is the difficult part of being a perfectionist. They become upset when others aren’t trying as hard as they are. They become obsessed about what they did or what they should have done.

Other traits:
 
Being tense, anxious and taking things much too seriously.  Not being appreciated for what they do for people. Feeling disappointed with themselves and often others. Telling themselves they “should have done this or that” professionally.

You can depend on Type 1s. They are organized and complete their tasks.

They can be found in management, in the sciences, in law enforcement.

The softer-edged ones can be found in education, religious work and in health care.

Other Type 1s can be found in car mechanics, bankers, stockbrokers and doctors.

Advice for Type 1s:
  
Steer clear of altering or changing people  —  especially those close to you.
 
When you get the urge to criticize or correct someone, keep quiet, and avoid flattery.

Getting along with Type 1s
 
Gently encourage them to lighten up and to laugh at themselves. 

Tell them you value their advice, and be fair and considerate of them.

Think positive. Become aware of the change in their voice when they become annoyed.

Understand they need to ask for what they want and in a polite manner.
 
Understand they need to be frank  —  they, too, make mistakes.  It is alright to relax and let things flow, it is good to enjoy the moment.

Write Athena at P.O. Box 218, Holbrook, MA 02343 or  AthenaPark@aol.com.