Nov 19, 2019

Coping with People

Enneagram Number Coping with People Sandpaper Handshake Disappear

We all deal with people. Unless you’re a hermit, which then you’re not reading this…so I’ll assume you’re dealing with people!

Another opportunity to pay attention to what you pay attention to is how you deal with people in meeting your needs. (See the last post if you missed self-awareness, the Enneagram, and Centers of Intelligence)

Our interpersonal coping style, or Stance, is another entry point into the Enneagram. 

It’s easy to miss how we interact with people. It’s just who we are. Some of us are the Jerry Maguires of the world, others Sherlock Holmes or Peeta Mellark.

Just as in the centers of intelligence triad, to discover your stance, you have to pay attention to yourself. Become an observer of how you prefer 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

Just like intelligence, 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 that shows us a lot about ourselves and helps identify our dominant Enneagram type.

So I’ve made a little listicle for you!

Enneagram Stances


Independent Style Triad: 3s, 7s, 8s 

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.


Dependent Style: 1s, 2s, 6s 

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

  •  When stressed, they serve others.
  •  Concerned with being responsible and loyal.
  •  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.



Withdrawn Style: 4s, 5s, 9s 

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.

As you can imagine, these stances significantly impact your relationships! Observe yourself when interacting with people. 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?

See other ways to pay attention in discovering your Enneagram number: How you handle emotional stress?

Let’s talk about Enneagram Coaching! Learn more about finding your number and schedule a free consultation.



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