Have you ever tried to come to a decision with a friend, spouse, or sibling, only to wind up shaking your head and walking away? Maybe they took too long to decide, or maybe they were too pushy about the option they thought was best. Each of us has a unique way of making decisions, and our Enneagram type definitely has an impact!
Today we’re going to explore how your Enneagram type influences your ability to make decisions. Reading through this can help you to understand yourself and others better and have more understanding for their process.
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The Decision-Making Style of Every Enneagram Type
Enneagram One – Objectivity is King
Ones are usually going to think about what they “should” want to do rather than what they subjectively want. They try to take in the facts and find the most sensible option of all. Trying so hard to do the “right” thing can make them rigid if they’re not careful. They focus on responsibility, obligations, common sense, and issues of right and wrong.
Healthy Ones can be a moral compass when it comes to making decisions. They can help guide people towards ethical choices and sensible options. At the same time, they know how to consider what they want and their own values in the process. They know that there is a time to be responsible, and a time to let loose and relax!
Unhealthy Ones can be rigid and demanding of their own way when it comes to decisions. Because they feel they have the moral high-ground they are inflexible in considering other options. They may put their own needs and desires on the back burner constantly so that they can keep up with their perceived responsibilities and their demanding moral code.
Read This Next: Enneagram One Traits
Enneagram Two – What Does Everyone Need?
Twos are going to think about all the interpersonal issues at play in a situation where a decision has to be made. They want to know how people will be impacted, the emotional dynamics at play, and/or how people will feel about them personally. Responsibility to people’s feelings is crucial to the Two and is usually given the highest priority.
Healthy Twos are deeply altruistic and compassionate. They know how to give to others while not forgetting to nurture their own needs and desires . When healthy Twos are faced with a decision, they’ll look to their values and ethics and then consider the emotional impacts of the various options. They tend to make selfless decisions, but without forgetting themselves and their own needs in the process.
Unhealthy Twos get so wrapped up in what other people want and how other people will feel about them that they may steamroll over their own needs in the process. They may make decisions in the “best interest” of others, only to wind up resenting them later.
Read this next: Enneagram Two Profile
Enneagram Three – Efficiency is Key
Decisive and self-reliant, Threes like to make decisions that will lead to their own or others’ success. They will quickly assess the pros and cons of any set of options and move quickly to implement a plan of action. They have short patience for procrastination or dawdling, but they may try not to show it.
Healthy Threes can quickly assess a situation and find the most efficient and effective options. They consider which option will best catalyze others and themselves towards growth. They want to achieve their goals, but they also want others to go after their dreams. They have an inspiring, encouraging quality that motivates everyone around them to dream bigger.
Unhealthy Threes make decisions through a spirit of competitiveness and self-interest. While they may appear amiable and likable on the outside, they are more interested in how others’ perceive them than what others actually need. Climbing the social or corporate ladder is crucial to them, and they may manipulate other people in order to reach a higher rung of “success.” They may also focus so much on making a quick, efficient decision that they fail to make one that’s effective and compassionate.
Read This Next: Enneagram Three Profile
Enneagram Four – Staying True to Values
When it comes to decisions, Fours often have a gut sense of which option is right or wrong for them. They are guided by their values and usually know what they want on a personal level. That said, they can get stuck in states of indecision if they are trying to please someone they admire. In most cases, Fours will opt for the decision that lines up with their values and personal feelings.
Healthy Fours bring self-awareness and compassion to any decision they encounter. They help people to look inwards to their own values before making a choice. They trust their intuition and will opt for options that will give life a fuller sense of beauty and meaning. They will weigh logic, facts, and their emotions equally instead of only focusing on the feeling aspect of the equation.
Unhealthy Fours are so wrapped up in their emotions that they make decisions based purely on the feelings of the moment. Whatever mood they’re in, they feel that that mood is permanent and will make sweeping decisions that they later regret when their mood changes. Because they get so wrapped up in their own feelings, they may make decisions that ignore the needs and emotions of others involved. They are also prone to procrastination.
Read This Next: Enneagram Four Profile
Enneagram Five – Facts First
In decisions, Fives want to logically organize and analyze the options, assessing the pros and cons of each possibility. They want to assess the relevant facts and make a decision that has been thoroughly examined rather than impulsively executed. They can struggle with analysis-paralysis when it comes to decisions, always wanting more information and more time in order to feel comfortable.
Healthy Fives are willing to make decisions without digging through every available piece of data. They know that they can’t always know the answers to everything, so they have a more open-minded approach to decisions. While they may not be as decisive as Threes or Eights, their decisions are careful, insightful, and informed. They are also guided by their intuition and use that intuition to help them sort through data and find the wisest decisions for the future. Facts, insights, and conscientiousness guide them.
Unhealthy Fives struggle to make decisions because they get stuck in preparedness mode. They want more information, more data, and more time to think things over. They struggle to know which of their ideas is relevant and which ones are not. They feel uncertain about everything, including their own agency in decisions. They feel like they’re drowning in information and making a decision seems more and more frustrating and impossible.
Read This Next: Enneagram Five Profile
Enneagram Six – Certainty Seekers
Sixes have a skill at intuiting risks and looking at all the possible scenarios in a decision. They look for security and certainty, so they often try to choose the option that leaves the most risk off the table. That said, counterphobic (Sexual) Sixes can be less risk-averse and more willing to go out on a limb if the decision matches their values.
Healthy Sixes are more trusting of themselves to handle whatever life might throw their way. They know a certain amount of insecurity is part of life. They make careful, thoughtful decisions that they hope will have the most effective long-term outcomes. They are skilled at assessing risks and looking for potential roadblocks and obstacles, but they’re also willing to make sacrifices and put themselves out there if they feel it’s the right thing to do. That said, even healthy to average Sixes can have moments of anxiety when making big decisions.
Unhealthy Sixes often get trapped in long periods of indecision. Because they want to have certainty about the outcome, the process of making a decision can be agonizing to them. They tend to procrastinate making the decision or impulsively choose an option so as to snap out of their anxiety paralysis. They will often choose the “safest” course of action, but that may mean staying stuck in an unhealthy comfort zone and refusing to grow.
Read This Next: Enneagram Six Profile
Enneagram Seven – Creating Options
Sevens have a gift for creating options and finding opportunities. When it comes to decisions, they like examining the possibilities and entertaining their options in depth. During crisis situations, they are usually good at coming up with possibilities that other types would miss. They hate being rushed because they worry about making the wrong decision and missing out as a result.
Healthy Sevens try to make the most practical and promising decisions by blending their love of fun and excitement with a grounded, realistic perspective. They know that a decision can be changed and that they can make the best out of any situation, so they feel less anxiety about making a decision. But they also don’t impulsively rush into anything that looks fun. They take time to check in with themselves to see if the decision matches up with their values as well as their practical goals in life.
Unhealthy Sevens chase excitement and distraction without regard for the outcome. They are either overly impulsive or overly anxious about decisions – either choosing the most fun option (without thinking about the consequences) or ignoring the decision altogether to focus on something they’d rather be doing. They resent being rushed and may snap at people who are losing patience while waiting for their decision.
Read This Next: Enneagram Seven Profile
Enneagram Eight – In Charge and Taking Action
Eights dislike dilly-dallying around when it comes to decisions. They like to take action and move forward towards their objectives. As a result, they are usually decisive and direct. They want to make a decision that will get them closer to their goals without taking away their freedom or the freedom of other people.
Healthy Eights are still decisive and direct, but they’re good at considering the welfare and input of other people when they make a decision. They use their energy and willpower to achieve their goals and stand up for others who are less advantaged in life. They can be very protective of people who are at risk of being “run over” by a decision and can be an assertive voice in their defense.
Unhealthy Eights fear that others are turning against them or are trying to chip away at their freedom. Because of this, they will rush to make decisions that will help them re-assert themselves or get revenge on people who they perceive might be against them. They tend to be impulsive and reckless in their decisions – rushing to the most appealing option without taking time to think things through.
Read This Next: Enneagram Eight Profile
Enneagram Nine – Harmony is Essential
For the Nine, harmony is key. However, as Nines grow and mature they realize that inner harmony should never be traded for outer harmony. Nines are gifted at seeing many different sides to a situation and empathizing with the people involved. They are good at unifying a variety of different perspectives and getting consensus from others for a harmonious decision. They often struggle with indecision if they’re not sure how the decision will impact people or if they don’t see an option that they really love.
Healthy Nines have all the skills of peacemaking and unifying, but at the same time, they know how to assert themselves and stand up for their needs and desires. They don’t shove down their feelings or wishes, but they compassionately assert themselves while still having consideration for the other people involved in the situation.
Unhealthy Nines often refuse to make decisions at all because they have retreated from the world around them. They don’t want to feel external pressures and so they either retreat from making a decision or make the easiest decision knowing they can ignore it later. They may also make the decision that will please others even if it means they’re trampling on their own values and needs in the process.
Read This Next: Enneagram Nine Profile
What Are Your Thoughts?
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Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!