The goal here is to find one, two (or at the most, three) paragraphs that best describe you. One of the best ways of getting there is to read all nine paragraphs carefully and then begin eliminating those that least describe you. Keep in mind, you’re not looking for paragraphs that describe who you’d like to be, but ones that best describe you and your personality!
Paragraph A: I approach things in an all-or-nothing way, especially issues that matter to me. I place a lot of value on being strong, honest, and dependable. What you see is what you get. I don’t trust others until they have proven themselves to be reliable. I like people to be direct with me, and I know when someone is being devious, lying, or trying to manipulate me. I have a hard time tolerating weakness in people, unless I understand the reason for their weakness or I see that they’re trying to do something about it. I also have a hard time following orders or direction if I do not respect or agree with the person in authority. I am much better at taking charge myself. I find it difficult not to display my feelings when I am angry. I am always ready to stick up for friends or loved ones, especially if I think they are being treated unjustly. I may not win every battle with others, but they’ll know I’ve been there.
Paragraph B: I seem to be able to see all points of view pretty easily. I may even appear indecisive at times because I can see advantages and disadvantages on all sides. The ability to see all sides makes me good at helping people resolve their differences. This same ability can sometimes lead me to be more aware of other people’s positions, agendas, and personal priorities than of my own. It is not unusual for me to become distracted and then to get off task on the important things I’m trying to do. When that happens, my attention is often diverted to unimportant, trivial tasks. I have a hard time knowing what is really important to me, and I avoid conflict by going along with what others want. People tend to consider me to be easygoing, pleasing, and agreeable. It takes a lot to get me to the point of showing my anger directly at someone. I like for life to be comfortable and harmonious and for others to be accepting of me.
Paragraph C: I have high internal standards for correctness, and I expect myself to live up to those standards. It’s easy for me to see what’s wrong with things as they are and to see how they could be improved. I may come across to some people as overly critical or demanding perfection, but it’s hard for me to ignore or accept things that are done the right way. I pride myself on the fact that if I’m responsible for doing something, you can be sure I’ll do it right. I sometimes have feelings of resentment when people don’t try to do things properly or when people act irresponsibly or unfairly, although I usually try not to show it to them openly. For me, it is usually work before pleasure, and I suppress my desires as necessary to get the work done.
Paragraph D: I am sensitive to other people’s feelings. I can see what they need, even when I don’t know them. Sometimes it’s frustrating to be so aware of people’s needs, especially their pain or unhappiness, because I’m not able to do as much for them as I’d like to. It’s easy for me to give of myself. I sometimes wish I were better at saying no, because I end up putting more energy into caring for others than into taking care of myself. It hurts my feelings if people think I’m trying to manipulate or control them when all I’m trying to do is understand and help them. I like to be seen as a warmhearted and good person, but when I’m not taken into account or appreciated I can become very emotional or even demanding. Good relationships mean a great deal to me, and I’m willing to work hard to make them happen.
Paragraph E: Being the best at what I do is a strong motivator for me, and I have received a lot of recognition over the years for my accomplishments. I get a lot done and am successful in almost everything I take on. I identify strongly with what I do, because to a large degree I think your value is based on what you accomplish and the recognition you get for it. I always have more to do than will fit into the time available, so I often set aside feelings and self-reflection in order to get things done. Because there’s always something to do, I find it hard to just sit and do nothing. I get impatient with people who don’t use my time well. Sometimes I would rather just take over a project someone is completing too slowly. I like to feel and appear “on top” of any situation. While I like to compete, I am also a good team player.
Paragraph F: I am a sensitive person with intense feelings. I often feel misunderstood and lonely, because I feel different from everyone else. My behavior can appear like drama to others, and I have been criticized for being overly sensitive and over-amplifying my feelings. What is really going on inside is my longing for both emotional connection and a deeply felt experience of relationship. I have difficulty fully appreciating present relationships because of my tendency to want what I can’t have and to disdain what I do have. The search for emotional connection has been with me all of my life, and the absence of emotional connection has led, at times, to melancholy and depression. I sometimes wonder why other people seem to have more than I do – better relationships and happier lives. I have a refined sense of aesthetics, and I experience a rich world of emotions and meaning.
Paragraph G: I would characterize myself as a quiet, analytical person who needs more time alone than most people do. I usually prefer to observe what is going on rather than be involved in the middle of it. I don’t like people to place too many demands on me or to expect me to know and report what I’m feeling. I’m able to get in touch with my feelings better when alone than with others, and I often enjoy experiences I’ve had more when reliving them than when actually going through them. I’m almost never bored when alone, because I have an active mental life. It is important for me to protect my time and energy and, hence, to live a simple, uncomplicated life and be as self-sufficient as possible.
Paragraph H: I have a vivid imagination, especially when it comes to what might be threatening to safety and security. I can usually spot what cold be dangerous or harmful and may experience as much fear as if it were really happening or just question or challenge the situation and not experience fear. I either tend to avoid danger or tend to challenge it head-on. In fact, sometimes I do not experience much fear since I go into action with little hesitation. My imagination also leads to my ingenuity and a good, if somewhat offbeat, sense of humor. I would like for life to be more certain, but in general I seem to doubt or question the people and things around me. I can usually see the shortcomings in the view someone is putting forward. I suppose that, as a consequence, some people may consider me to be very astute. I tend to be suspicious of authority and am not particularly comfortable being seen as the authority. Because I can see what is wrong with the generally held view of things, I tend to identify with underdog causes. Once I have committed myself to a person or a cause, I am very loyal to it.
Paragraph I: I am an optimistic person who enjoys coming up with new and interesting things to do. I have a very active mind that quickly moves back and forth between different ideas. I like to get a global picture of how all these ideas fit together, and I get excited when I can connect concepts that initially don’t appear to be related. I like to work on things that interest me, and I have a lot of energy to devote to them. I have a hard time sticking with unrewarding and repetitive tasks. I like to be in on the beginning of a project, during the planning phase, when there may be many interesting options to consider. When I have exhausted my interest in something, it is difficult for me to stay with it, because I want to move on to the next thing that has captured my interest. If something gets me down, I prefer to shift my attention to more pleasing ideas. I believe people are entitled to an enjoyable life.
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Much thanks to The Essential Enneagram by David Daniels & Virginia Price for the nine paragraphs used here!