Enneagram Communication Styles

Sun Mar 26 2023

two people enjoying each others company

Want to be able to talk with anyone about anything?

The Enneagram can help. Below is a handy guide that shows us how different personality types talk and relate to one another. Each of the nine Enneagram types has a unique way of interacting.

Here we look at a slew of things related to communication:

  • body language
  • listening well
  • understanding feelings
  • being clear and brief
  • showing confidence
  • showing empathy
  • showing respect
  • giving feedback and adapting to changes.

This blog will break down how these important parts work for each Enneagram type. It aims to make sense of these unique ways of communication, so you can better understand the people around you and improve your relationships.

Table of Contents

Enneagram Type 1 - The Perfectionist: Communicating with Precision and Purpose

Ones value order, organization, and structure. They strive to live according to their principles and beliefs and can be critical of themselves and others when they fall short.

Ones have a precise communication style and value clarity and order. They appreciate direct communication and expect others to be clear and concise. They are critical thinkers and can be overly critical of themselves and others. To communicate effectively with Ones, use a straightforward approach, and avoid ambiguity. It's essential to be clear, concise, and direct. They appreciate honesty, but it's important to be mindful of your tone and delivery. Avoid being overly critical or dismissive of their concerns. Instead, focus on solutions and offer constructive feedback.

Verbal Communication:

Ones are precise and structured in their speech. They are straightforward and often communicate with the intent of correcting wrongs or improving situations. Their tone and pace may become tense or hurried when they are stressed or frustrated.

Non-Verbal Communication:

Their body language tends to be upright and formal. Their facial expressions and gestures may show intensity or tension, especially when they are focused on issues of correctness or efficiency.

Listening Skills:

Ones are attentive listeners who carefully analyze the information provided to them. However, they may interrupt or correct others if they believe there are inaccuracies in the communication.

Emotional Intelligence:

Ones can struggle with recognizing and managing their own emotions, particularly anger. However, they're often sensitive to the needs of others and strive to respond responsibly.

Clarity and Concision:

Ones communicate in a clear, concise, and direct manner. They often aim for accuracy and dislike unnecessary complexity or ambiguity.

Confidence:

They often communicate assertively and confidently, particularly when discussing matters of right and wrong.

Empathy:

Ones strive for fairness and can empathize with those who face injustices. However, their empathy can be hindered if they become overly focused on the need to correct or perfect.

Respect:

Ones generally value the perspectives of others but may come across as critical or judgmental if they disagree or perceive inaccuracies.

Feedback:

They appreciate constructive feedback that helps them improve, but may be overly self-critical or defensive to perceived criticism.

Adaptability:

Ones can adjust their communication style to suit different situations, but under stress, they may struggle to adapt and become rigid in their expectations.

Enneagram Type 2 - The Helper: Empathetic Communication for Strong Connections

Twos value relationships and are generous, caring, and nurturing. They have a strong desire to be needed and appreciated by others.

Twos have a warm and nurturing communication style. They are people-oriented and empathetic, making them excellent listeners. They appreciate emotional support and validation. To communicate effectively with Twos, acknowledge their contributions and show appreciation for their help. It's essential to be warm, empathetic, and supportive. They appreciate praise and recognition for their efforts. However, it's important to set boundaries and avoid being overly dependent on them. Be clear and direct about your needs and feelings, and don't assume they can read your mind.

Verbal Communication:

Twos often use nurturing and supportive language. Their words, tone, and pace often convey warmth, encouragement, and positivity.

Non-Verbal Communication:

They display open body language, often accompanied by empathetic facial expressions and comforting gestures.

Listening Skills:

Twos are attentive and empathetic listeners. However, they may struggle with hearing criticism or negative feedback, which they may take personally.

Emotional Intelligence:

They excel in identifying and responding to the emotional needs of others, although they may neglect their own emotions in the process.

Clarity and Concision:

Twos communicate their thoughts and feelings clearly, although they may over-explain or elaborate, particularly when trying to please or connect with others.

Confidence:

Twos often exude confidence when offering help or advice. However, they may struggle with assertiveness when it comes to expressing their own needs.

Empathy:

Empathy is a strength for Twos. They naturally tune into the emotions of others and often prioritize others' feelings above their own.

Respect:

They are respectful and appreciative of others, although they may struggle to respect boundaries, particularly when they are eager to help or connect.

Feedback:

Twos are open to positive feedback and appreciation but may become defensive or upset with negative feedback.

Adaptability:

They are generally adaptable and can tailor their communication style to meet the emotional needs of others. However, they may struggle to adapt when their own needs are unmet.

Enneagram Type 3 - The Achiever: Confident Communication for Success

Threes value success, achievement, and recognition. They are ambitious, confident, and driven.

Threes have an assertive and goal-oriented communication style. They value efficiency and results and appreciate straightforward communication. They can be competitive and may prioritize work over relationships. To communicate effectively with Threes, be clear and concise, and emphasize the benefits of a project or task. It's essential to be clear, concise, and goal-oriented. They appreciate feedback and recognition for their efforts. However, it's important to be mindful of their tendency to prioritize work over relationships. Encourage them to take breaks and prioritize self-care.

Verbal Communication:

Threes tend to be articulate and persuasive. They communicate in a straightforward, goal-oriented manner, often aiming to impress or inspire others.

Non-Verbal Communication:

Their body language is typically confident and poised. Their facial expressions and gestures can reflect their focus on achievement and success.

Listening Skills:

Threes are efficient listeners who quickly grasp the main points. However, they may struggle to listen deeply when they are focused on goals or tasks.

Emotional Intelligence:

Threes are typically aware of others' perceptions and responses. However, they may suppress their own emotions or struggle to respond to others' emotions when these do not align with their goals.

Clarity and Concision:

Threes excel in expressing their ideas clearly and concisely. They favor straightforward, practical language that is focused on outcomes.

Confidence:

Threes often communicate with confidence and assertiveness, particularly when discussing goals or achievements.

Empathy:

While Threes can empathize with others' aspirations, they may struggle to connect on a deeper emotional level, particularly when focused on tasks or goals.

Respect:

Threes generally respect others who display competence and success. However, they may overlook the views of others when these do not align with their goals.

Feedback:

Threes value feedback that helps them improve and succeed. However, they may struggle with feedback that suggests failure or inadequacy.

Adaptability:

Threes are highly adaptable and can modify their communication style to suit different audiences or to achieve their goals.

Enneagram Type 4 - The Individualist: Authentic Expression in Communication

Fours value creativity, authenticity, and individuality. They have a strong desire to express themselves and their emotions.

Fours have a unique and expressive communication style. They value creativity and authenticity and often communicate through art, writing, or other forms of self-expression. They can be sensitive to criticism and may need validation. To communicate effectively with Fours, allow them to express themselves and acknowledge their emotions. It's essential to be empathetic, sensitive, and non-judgmental. They appreciate when others acknowledge and validate their feelings. However, it's important to avoid being overly critical or dismissive of their emotions. Encourage them to express themselves, but also remind them of the importance of rational thinking.

Verbal Communication:

Fours communicate in a creative, introspective manner, often conveying depth and authenticity. Their tone and pace can fluctuate with their mood, often reflecting their emotional intensity.

Non-Verbal Communication:

Their body language, facial expressions, and gestures often reveal their emotional state. They may use dramatic or expressive gestures to express their individuality and emotional depth.

Listening Skills:

Fours are sensitive and empathetic listeners. They are particularly attentive to emotions and unspoken feelings. However, they may become overwhelmed or lose interest if the conversation lacks depth or authenticity.

Emotional Intelligence:

Fours excel in understanding and expressing their own emotions, but they can become overwhelmed by these feelings. They may struggle to manage their emotions effectively, leading to mood swings and emotional outbursts.

Clarity and Concision:

While Fours can express their emotions and ideas clearly, they may struggle with being concise. They often prefer to delve into emotional and psychological complexities, which can make their communication seem long-winded or confusing to others.

Confidence:

Fours often communicate with confidence when discussing their feelings, creative ideas, or personal experiences. However, they may become insecure or defensive when they feel misunderstood or rejected.

Empathy:

Fours have a natural capacity for deep empathy, particularly for those who are suffering or marginalized. They are often able to connect with others on a deep emotional level.

Respect:

Fours generally respect others who display authenticity and depth. However, they may dismiss those they perceive as superficial or inauthentic.

Feedback:

Fours can be sensitive to feedback, particularly if it feels like a personal rejection. They appreciate feedback that acknowledges their unique perspective and emotional depth.

Adaptability:

Fours can adjust their communication style to convey emotional depth and authenticity, but they may struggle to adapt in situations that require practicality or detachment from emotions.

Enneagram Type 5 - The Investigator: Analytical Communication for Clarity

Fives value knowledge, expertise, and independence. They are analytical, logical, and private.

Fives have a thoughtful and private communication style. They are analytical and enjoy exploring ideas and concepts. They can be reserved and may need space to process information. To communicate effectively with Fives, respect their boundaries and give them time to think before responding. It's essential to be respectful of their boundaries and need for space. They appreciate when others respect their expertise and knowledge. However, it's important to avoid being overly intrusive or demanding of their time and attention. Encourage them to share their insights and ideas, but also respect their need for solitude and privacy.

Verbal Communication:

Fives tend to communicate in an intellectual, analytical manner. They often use precise vocabulary and prefer in-depth, complex discussions. Their tone and pace can be detached and reserved.

Non-Verbal Communication:

Their body language is often withdrawn and private. Their facial expressions and gestures may not reveal much, reflecting their preference for maintaining emotional and personal distance.

Listening Skills:

Fives are excellent listeners, particularly when the topic is of interest to them. They listen to understand and analyze, rather than to respond or express themselves.

Emotional Intelligence:

While Fives are perceptive about others' emotions, they may struggle to express or respond to these feelings. They often prefer to deal with emotions indirectly, through analysis and understanding.

Clarity and Concision:

Fives can express complex ideas clearly and precisely. However, they may become overly detailed or technical, making their communication difficult for others to follow.

Confidence:

Fives communicate with confidence when discussing their areas of expertise. However, they may become reticent or defensive in social situations or when they feel their boundaries are being intruded upon.

Empathy:

While Fives can understand others' feelings intellectually, they may struggle to express empathy directly. They often prefer to help others through information and understanding, rather than emotional support.

Respect:

Fives generally respect others' need for privacy and autonomy. They may struggle to respect those who intrude on their personal space or who express emotions in what they perceive as an overwhelming or intrusive manner.

Feedback:

Fives appreciate constructive, logical feedback that helps them improve their understanding. They may struggle with feedback that feels personal or emotionally charged.

Adaptability:

Fives can adapt their communication to different intellectual levels or fields of interest. However, they may struggle to adapt in emotionally charged or high-pressure social situations.

Enneagram Type 6 - The Loyalist: Cautious Communication for Trust-Building

Sixes value security, loyalty, and trust. They are responsible, committed, and skeptical.

Sixes have a cautious and loyal communication style. They are responsible and reliable and value trust and security. They may struggle with anxiety and need reassurance. To communicate effectively with Sixes, provide support and be patient with their concerns. It's essential to be patient, supportive, and reassuring. They appreciate when others validate their concerns and fears. However, it's important to avoid being overly critical or dismissive of their anxiety. Encourage them to focus on solutions and offer reassurance and support.

Verbal Communication:

Sixes communicate in a practical, questioning manner. Their tone and pace can vary significantly, often reflecting their current level of trust or anxiety.

Non-Verbal Communication:

Their body language, facial expressions, and gestures often reflect their state of mind. They may appear tense or guarded when they are anxious or unsure.

Listening Skills:

Sixes are attentive listeners who are often looking for reassurance and clarity. However, they may become skeptical or defensive if they sense uncertainty or danger.

Emotional Intelligence:

Sixes are generally aware of others' feelings and needs, but their own anxiety can sometimes get in the way. They often struggle to manage their fears and doubts, which can affect their emotional stability.

Clarity and Concision:

Sixes can express their concerns and ideas clearly, although they may over-explain or repeat themselves when they are anxious. They often use practical, concrete language that focuses on problems and solutions.

Confidence:

While Sixes can be assertive and confident when they feel secure, they may become hesitant or defensive when they are anxious. Their level of confidence often depends on their level of trust in the situation or the people involved.

Empathy:

Sixes often display strong empathy, particularly towards those they trust. They are often concerned with fairness and can empathize with those who are vulnerable or under threat.

Respect:

Sixes generally respect others who are reliable and trustworthy. They may struggle to respect those who seem unpredictable, unreliable, or threatening.

Feedback:

Sixes appreciate clear, concrete feedback that helps them improve or feel more secure. However, they may become defensive or anxious with feedback that feels ambiguous, critical, or threatening.

Adaptability:

Sixes can adjust their communication style to match their level of trust and security. However, they may struggle to adapt when they feel uncertain or threatened.

Enneagram Type 7 - The Enthusiast: Engaging Communication for Inspiration

Sevens value excitement, novelty, and adventure. They are optimistic, spontaneous, and curious.

Sevens have an energetic and optimistic communication style. They value excitement and adventure and often have many ideas and interests. They can be easily distracted and may struggle with follow-through. To communicate effectively with Sevens, be upbeat and positive, and help them stay focused on their goals. It's essential to be upbeat, positive, and spontaneous. They appreciate when others share their enthusiasm and energy. However, it's important to avoid being overly critical or negative, as it can dampen their spirits. Encourage them to focus on the present and avoid getting bogged down by details.

Verbal Communication:

Sevens communicate with energy and enthusiasm. Their language tends to be optimistic and forward-looking. They often speak at a rapid pace and may jump from one idea to another.

Non-Verbal Communication:

Sevens’ body language is typically open and expressive, mirroring their internal excitement. They often use animated gestures and display energetic facial expressions.

Listening Skills:

Sevens can struggle with listening, particularly when the conversation is negative or dull. They may interrupt or change the subject to maintain a positive, high-energy conversation.

Emotional Intelligence:

Sevens have a keen awareness of their own and others' positive emotions, but they may avoid or dismiss negative emotions. This avoidance can limit their emotional depth and responsiveness.

Clarity and Concision:

Sevens can clearly articulate their ideas and experiences, but their desire for variety and excitement can lead to lengthy and complex explanations.

Confidence:

Sevens often communicate with confidence and enthusiasm. They are generally comfortable with expressing their ideas and taking risks.

Empathy:

Sevens can empathize with others' joys and ambitions, but they may struggle to connect with others' pain or dissatisfaction.

Respect:

Sevens generally respect others' freedom and individuality, but they may struggle to respect boundaries or limits that constrain their desire for variety and excitement.

Feedback:

Sevens appreciate positive feedback and constructive suggestions for new opportunities. They may avoid or dismiss feedback that suggests limitations or failures.

Adaptability:

Sevens are highly adaptable in their communication, often adjusting their style to keep things exciting and engaging. However, they may struggle to adapt in situations that require focus on negative or mundane details.

Enneagram Type 8 - The Challenger: Assertive Communication for Impact

Eights value strength, power, and control. They are assertive, direct, and confident.

Eights have a direct and assertive communication style. They value strength and control and appreciate honesty and authenticity. They can be confrontational and may struggle with vulnerability. To communicate effectively with Eights, be straightforward and assertive, and avoid being passive or indirect. It's essential to be honest, direct, and assertive. They appreciate when others stand up to them and match their energy. However, it's important to avoid being too aggressive or confrontational, as it can trigger their anger. Encourage them to channel their energy into productive endeavors and remind them of the importance of vulnerability and empathy.

Verbal Communication:

Eights communicate in a straightforward, assertive manner. They tend to use direct and powerful language. Their tone and pace often convey intensity and command.

Non-Verbal Communication:

Eights typically have assertive body language, often reflecting their desire for control and power. Their facial expressions and gestures can appear strong and determined.

Listening Skills:

Eights can listen attentively when they respect the speaker or see the information as valuable. However, they may interrupt or dismiss others when they disagree or see them as weak or indecisive.

Emotional Intelligence:

Eights are often aware of their own and others' power dynamics, but they may struggle with acknowledging their own vulnerabilities or sensitively responding to the vulnerabilities of others.

Clarity and Concision:

Eights excel at clear, concise communication. They often aim to get straight to the point and eliminate any unnecessary fluff.

Confidence:

Eights often communicate with confidence and assertiveness. They are comfortable with confrontation and can handle criticism.

Empathy:

While Eights can show deep empathy and protectiveness towards those they care about, they may struggle to empathize with those they perceive as weak or overly sensitive.

Respect:

Eights respect strength and directness in others. They may struggle to respect those they see as weak, dishonest, or manipulative.

Feedback:

Eights value honest, direct feedback. They appreciate it when others are straightforward with them, even if the feedback is critical.

Adaptability:

Eights can adapt their communication style to assert control or protect their autonomy, but they may struggle to adapt in situations that require gentleness or passivity.

Enneagram Type 9 - The Peacemaker: Harmonious Communication for Unity

Nines value harmony, peace, and cooperation. They are easygoing, agreeable, and diplomatic.

Nines have a peaceful and harmonious communication style. They value cooperation and often avoid conflict. They can be indecisive and may struggle with assertiveness. To communicate effectively with Nines, be patient and understanding, and encourage them to assert their needs and opinions. It's essential to be patient, understanding, and non-judgmental. They appreciate when others listen actively and acknowledge their perspective. However, it's important to avoid being too demanding or critical, as it can cause them to withdraw. Encourage them to assert their needs and opinions and remind them of the importance of self-care and boundaries.

Verbal Communication:

Nines tend to communicate in a calming, agreeable manner. They often speak slowly and calmly, aiming to maintain peace and avoid conflict.

Non-Verbal Communication:

Their body language is often relaxed and non-threatening. Their facial expressions and gestures often convey patience and acceptance.

Listening Skills:

Nines are good listeners who are genuinely interested in understanding others. However, they may tune out or become passive-aggressive when they encounter conflict or strong demands.

Emotional Intelligence:

Nines often understand and respond to others' feelings with patience and acceptance. However, they may struggle with acknowledging or expressing their own desires and frustrations.

Clarity and Concision:

Nines may struggle with clarity and concision. They often communicate in a rambling, digressive manner, particularly when trying to avoid conflict or maintain harmony.

Confidence:

Nines often lack confidence in expressing their own needs and desires. They may struggle with assertiveness, particularly when it could lead to conflict.

Empathy:

Nines often display a natural empathy that comes from their desire to understand and connect with others.

Respect:

Nines generally respect others' perspectives and try to create an inclusive, accepting environment. They may struggle to respect those who are aggressive or domineering.

Feedback:

Nines appreciate gentle, supportive feedback, but may avoid or resist feedback that feels confrontational or critical.

Adaptability:

Nines are highly adaptable in their communication, often adjusting their style to maintain peace and harmony. However, they may struggle to adapt when the situation requires conflict or assertiveness.

Time for the obligatory reminder that the Enneagram should be used as a tool. There is no replacement for being patient, empathetic, non-judgmental, and encouraging when trying to communicate. Communication is about allowing yourself and others to express themselves while also respecting boundaries and individuality. Check out this article for more tips on communicating.

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