How to Not Be the Worst | jennwhitmer.com

Jun 30, 2020

How to Not Be the Worst

People are the best. Until they are the worst.

And sometimes, it me. I can be the worst. Each of us can.

How we cope with other people is another opportunity to observe ourselves. How do you deal with people in getting your needs met? (See this post on Enneagram Motivations!)

Our interpersonal coping style, or Stance, is another layer of the Enneagram wedding cake. 

Some of us are the Payton Hobarts of the world, others are more Sherlock Holmes or Molly Weasley. It’s easy to miss observing how we interact with people. It’s just who we are. Until  Astrid Sloan, Dr. Watson, or Sirius Black show up. Then suddenly conflict happens because people are not the same.

As with most discoveries in the Enneagram, you have to pay attention to yourself. You have to observe your inner world and observe you naturally want to interact with people.

The three styles are Independent, Dependent, and Withdrawing. I like to call them Sandpaper, Handshake, and Disappear.

Enneagram Stances: Assertive, Earning, Withdrawing symbol Conflict Resolution Coach

We can practice all three styles of working with people, especially when we’re healthy. But we have one that’s our go-to style. The one that shows us a lot about ourselves and helps identify our dominant Enneagram type. 

Here for you—a little Enneagram listicle!

As you can imagine, these stances significantly impact your relationships—with friends, family, and coworkers. How do you cope and move in your relationships at work? At home? With friends? How do you think about time? What is your go-to style of choice throughout your day? Observe yourself. See how many boxes you check in each stance.

Enneagram Stances

Sandpaper

Independent Style Triad:

Threes, Sevens, Eights 

Copes with meeting their needs by moving independently of people.

  • When facing struggle, expand their sense of self. Self-referencing.
  • Boost themselves when feeling stressed in a situation.
  • When they come into a room, the place meaning through what is happening through them.
  • Insistent and tenacious.
  • Often thinking about what’s next and possibilities.
  • Easily rub others the wrong way.
  • Future-oriented.

Handshake

Dependent Style:

Ones, Twos, Sixes 

Tries to earn their way in, moves toward others to meet their needs.

  • When stressed, they move toward others.
  • Concerned with being responsible and loyal.
  • Insert themselves into situatiuons to help.
  • Committed to others and what is expected of them.
  • Lots of “shoulds” in their minds.
  • Think they need to repress their desires to focus on others so they can be loved or accepted.
  • Often focused on what is happening right now. 
  • Present-oriented.

Disappear

Withdrawn Style:

Fours, Fives, Nines 

Copes with meeting their needs by going inside themselves; they expect or fear others won’t meet their needs.

  • Naturally move away from people in times of stress or challenge.
  • Often go inside their own heads and their “inner world.” 
  • Some people have called them spacey or in their own world.
  • When they come into the room, they sense a feeling of not fitting in or being on the outside.
  • Feel like they have to gather up their energy to deal with people, life, and the world in general.
  • Often thinking about memories and what was. 
  • Past-oriented.

Much like your stress moves, your interpersonal style can help you find your Enneagram number. Once you have the right map, you can really move in the right direction of personal growth.


I’d love to help you learn how to make some of these discoveries! I’m doing a three-week group coaching. It’s super limited, so register soon. We’re starting July 12.

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