Improve Your Relationships with Other Numbers on the Enneagram {Enneagram Series #26}

See how to improve your relationships with other numbers on the Enneagram. Approach each personality type in a way that suits them best.

Improve Relationships Enneagram

Bring Out the Best

While we may all behave differently and approach life with different motivations, we all have this in common: we want our lives to have meaning and we all want to matter to someone else.

But keeping forming and keeping these relationships will look different, according to our personalities and life experiences.

As we interact with each other, it’s important to remember we are each created in the image of God, and we each express a different angle of that image. To see a fuller picture of who God is, we need to look at each other with godly vision.

Working to be the best version of ourselves is only part of the equation. We also need to help bring out the best in others.

The Enneagram is just one tool among many that we can allow God to use in our relationships. As you learn more about your own number, also be aware of the numbers of those you are in relationship with. [See How to Love That Other Number on the Enneagram.]

Learn how to blend together so you can form the healthiest partnerships. Out of these partnerships, you can then extend love and grace not only to yourself and each other, but to everyone around you.

Spiritual Practice #18—Relationship Tips Between Enneagram Types

The follow relationship tips are excerpted from Suzanne Stabile’s excellent book, The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships. Read it to learn more about improving relationships between types.

Your Relationships with 1s, the Perfectionists

Remember that 1s struggle the most to accept there are things they have to accept.

  • Tell them often that they are good and they are loved.
  • Encourage them to take downtime.
  • Admit your own mistakes in the relationship; be gentle when pointing out theirs.
  • 1s like order; be respectful of how they want their spaces kept.

Your Relationships with 2s, the Helpers

Remember that 2s struggle with over-involvement in too many relationships.

  • Help 2s connect with what they need and want from others.
  • Listen to 2s as they process verbally; they don’t think things through but talk their way through them.
  • Press a little deeper even when they say everything is fine.
  • They want your honest feedback but remember they take things personally so be sensitive.

Your Relationships with 3s, the Performers

Remember that 3s struggle with slowing down and making friends with no expected outcome or tangible take-away.

  • Let 3s know it is them you love, not their image.
  • Try not to talk much about negative things. 3s are very optimistic.
  • Lower your expectations for rehashing the past with them; they’re not usually interested.
  • 3s appreciate your approval and praise so verbalize it often to them.

Your Relationships with 4s, the Individualists

Remember that 4s struggle with feeling lonely when others don’t “get them” like they’d like them to.

  • Be authentic with 4s. They are suspicious of pretense.
  • Don’t think you have to fix 4s. They are comfortable with melancholy and don’t need you to cheer them up.
  • Let 4s knows how their mood changes affect you.
  • Don’t accuse 4s of being too sensitive or of overreacting.

Your Relationships with 5s, the Investigators

Remember that 5s struggle to accept help, even when they need it.

  • Be direct and specific with 5s about what you need, but don’t use too many words and don’t be demanding.
  • Don’t push a 5 to socialize with others.
  • To discuss a concern with a 5, give them time to think about it and limit the length of the conversation.
  • If they need your help, offer it with as little fanfare as possible. 5s have a strong desire for independence.

Your Relationships with 6s, the Loyalists

Remember that 6s struggle with uncertainty and managing their anxiety.

  • 6s ask many questions to get information; answer as many as you can to build trust.
  • Be who you say you are with a 6. Give them reassurance about your commitment to them.
  • Take 6s seriously when they are doing worst-case scenario planning, even while focusing on the best-possible scenario.
  • Don’t tell them they don’t need to worry; they find it patronizing.

Your Relationships with 7s, the Enthusiasts

Remember that 7s struggle more than any other number to accept limitations.

  • You’ll get frustrated if you try to force commitments out of 7s. They work better with flexibility and spontaneity.
  • Don’t expect to process all your feelings with a 7. They don’t connect as easily with emotions as some other types do.
  • Invite a 7 to teach you how to play more.
  • Be attentive to the storytelling of 7s. It’s one way they share their feelings.

Your Relationships with 8s, the Challengers

Remember that 8s struggle to remember others aren’t as strong as they are.

  • Don’t take their aggression or strong opinions personally. 8s are often unaware of how they come across.
  • Acknowledge their contributions but don’t flatter them; they don’t need or trust flattery.
  • Stand up for yourself, be direct, intense, and honest; 8s will respect you for it.
  • Don’t talk behind their backs. If something is amiss, tell them directly.

Your Relationships with 9s, the Peacemakers

Remember that 9s struggle with thinking their voice matters.

  • Encourage 9s to express their own preferences and make their own decisions. Avoid saying, “Don’t you think we should ___?” because they’ll always answer “Yes.”
  • Give them some time alone. They need their own space and independence.
  • Don’t interrupt when they are talking. Allow them to meander a bit.
  • Communicate clearly and directly with 9s about what’s expected of them.

Here is another informative list on “How to Get Along with Other Enneagram Types.”


Are you struggling to understand someone you love that is another number on the Enneagram? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Enneagram for Spiritual Growth

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Previous: Which Enneagram Types Go Best Together? {Series #25}

Next: A Wake-Up Call for Each Number on the Enneagram {Series #27} (coming February 27)

7 thoughts on “Improve Your Relationships with Other Numbers on the Enneagram {Enneagram Series #26}

  1. blankLaurie

    Now I want to see if I can get Bill to take the Enneagram quiz. I have my ideas about his number but I’m not 100% sure. At least I can see the challenges of dealing with me, #7! 🙂

  2. blankMartha Brady

    this is great:) it’s a part of eneagram, or any other personality typing for that matter, that i love. if the focus stays on me, it doesn’t do any good. But if the focus is on how I can work better with people who are different from me? that is very helpful. that has been what made this series stand out from some of the others lisa.

    sadly, my ron can’t take the test. but i will go back and see if i can figure out how he fits into the eneagram system. I’m getting glimmers as i read it today.

  3. blankfloyd

    Sound advice. It’s interesting that “treating others the way you want to be treated” isn’t always the best advice. Knowing what someone wants or needs shows a lot more self sacrifice. Thanks for the lesson.

  4. blankApril J Harris

    I definitely need to get my husband to take the test – that would be so interesting. His results on test like these often differ to what I expect. I’m a 4 so totally understand the sensitivity you discuss! Thank you so much for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party, Lisa. I’m finding your deep dive into the Enneagram fascinating!

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