Enneagram Type 9

Type 9 ~ The Mediator

Basic Proposition

The original blissful state of unconditional love and union, in which everyone belongs equally, goes into the background in a world that Type 9s perceive makes them unimportant or has them blend in. Nines come to believe that, as a substitute for their own worth, they can gain belonging and comfort by attending to and merging with others and by dispersing energy into substitute objects. Concurrently, Nines develop inertia (self-forgetting) about their own priorities and limits. Their attention naturally goes to others’ and environmental claims made upon them. Narcotization glues the structure together by helping you to “numb out” and keep life comfortable. Type 9s’ ultimate concern or fear is being dismissed, not worth keeping, or, experientially speaking, annihilated. As compensation, Type 9s sometimes control by becoming stubborn (dug in), resistant, intractable, diverted into inessentials, going along and resenting it, or seeming to go along and not, and avoiding conflict and decisions.

Where Your Attention Goes

Type 9s’ attention is pulled by environmental claims to the discomfort and pleasure of others. Since they are frequently other-referencing, Nines’ locus of control is external and they act passively. Nines fixate on sensing and merging with others, and this can spread their energy out. They also focu on what is present in the actual world and on details and structure.

Type 9s’ Stressors: What Makes Them Most Personally Reactive

Type 9s’ fixation on pleasing and merging with others results in numerous stressful preoccupations. Because they strive to please and be sensitive to others, they may have difficulty in saying “no” or taking a position. Resisting overinfluence from the environment and rejecting claims made upon them might also cause stress in their life. As a result, you may fear or resent being forced to take a position, take action, or face conflict. Nines are hurt when treated as unimportant, and may consequently have difficulty containing their own energy or anger. Type 9s like keeping life comfortable, familiar, and harmonious, and so they are compelled towards predictability and structure. Sometimes, however, Nines cause stress in their life by indulging in many equally compelling details or thoughts, which replaces the essential with inessential substitutes.

To self-develop, Type 9s should work to diminish these preoccupations, as such reactions block them from experiencing unconditional love and, ultimately, taking essential action that truly supports their life.

Type 9’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Type 9’s Strengths

  • Being caring 
  • Attentive to others
  • Giving
  • Empathetic
  • Adaptive
  • Accepting
  • Supportive
  • Participative
  • Accountable
  • Sensing
  • Steady
  • Calming
  • Receptive
  • Generally non-judgmental

Type 9’s Weaknesses

Difficulties Produced for Self

  • Going along and later resenting and resisting it
  • Forgetting the self (indolence toward self)
  • Doing what makes life comfortable instead of what is important, and sometimes not even knowing what is important to you (narcotization)
  • Containing energy, especially the expression of anger
  • Missing opportunities through delays when deciding
  • Self-depreciation 

Difficulties Produced for Others

  • Perceiving the Nine as passive-aggressive and stubborn
  • Experiencing the Nine as missing what is important
  • Dispersion of energy and focus, making it look like “everything” is equally important and subsequently missing real needs
  • The Nine giving what he/she wants to give instead of giving what others want
  • The Nine appearing to be in agreement when they are not
  • Feeling frustrated by the Nine’s submission to comfort 

Personality Dynamics

When Type 9s suffer from personality biases, the resulting features are biased mental and emotional dynamics. Fortunately, if Type 9s work to diminish their personality biases, they are able to return to their Essential Qualities and, consequently, attain a higher mental and emotional capacity. 

Mental Center Dynamics: Indolence and Love

Mental Preoccupation (or Fixation): Indolence

Essential Spiritual Quality (or Holy Idea): Love

When a Type 9 has a biased mental dynamic, they experience a Mental Preoccupation (or Fixation) called Indolence. In Indolence, the Nine forgets about and acts lazily towards themself as their attention spreads to inessentials. The Nine is preoccupied with keeping peace and staying comfortable. They use the other person and other events as reference points, rather than themself.

When a Type 9 restores their mental dynamic, they experience an Essential Spiritual Quality (or Holy Idea) called Love. In Love, the Nine enjoys a blissful state of unconditional love in which everyone is equal, because they have realized that love of all things flows from and to an equal self. 

Emotional Center Dynamics: Sloth and Right Action

Emotional Reactivity (or Passion): Sloth

Higher Emotional Capacity (or Virtue): Right Action 

When a Type 9 has a biased emotional dynamic, they experience an Emotional Reactivity (or Passion) called Sloth. In Sloth, the Nine’s energy is reactive and anger is neutralized through either compliance or opposition. The Nine disperses their energy out of their body, sometimes merging it with others. 

When a Type 9 restores their emotional dynamic, they experience a Higher Emotional Capacity (or Virtue) called Right Action. In Right Action, the Nine realizes how to act rightly, in support of life and with plenty of energy still available. This right action includes acting on the virtues. 

Instinctual Center & Subtypes

When any of the Enneagram types suffer from biased passion and emotional reactivity, they can either contain or compensate for the associated preoccupations through their subtypes. 

Self Preservation (Self-Survival): Appetite  

Type 9s with a self-preservation subtype cope with emotional bias by expressing the craving for connection and belonging through an attachment to hobbies, chores, collections, and errands. Having lost touch with themselves, they try to reconnect through indiscriminately craving these substitutes. Comfort sought through interests and little things.

Sexual (Pair Bonding Survival): Union

Type 9s with a sexual subtype cope with emotional bias by merging and uniting with the special other. They believe that they will gain belonging, love, and importance through this merging. Comfort sought through special other(s).

Social (Group Survival): Participation

Type 9 with a social subtype cope with emotional bias by joining, coordinating, or spreading out in an activity. They join in the energy of the group, filling themselves up with people and activities. Comfort sought through group or social activity.

As the Enneagram types are quite dynamic, Type 9 is influenced by:

Left Wing Type 8: The Protector

Right Wing Type 1: The Perfectionist

Security Point Type 3: The Achiever

Stress Point Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic

Self Development Strategies: Attaining Higher Personality Qualities and Reuniting with Essence  

The Central Theme for Type 9’s Healing and Development

Type 9s tend to focus on environmental claims and experience themselves as reacting primarily to others and events outside themselves. The fact that Nines have lost touch with their inner separate self in favor of adapting to the environment and merging with others becomes the central issue for their healing and development. Type 9s struggle fundamentally with gaining or reclaiming a separate self that feels loved equally to all others. Thus, their main task is awakening to themselves, literally to love themselves from a personal reference point for which there is no substitute and to establish their own priorities and timelines, instead of falling into comfortable secondary pursuits and getting resistant to over-influence.

How You Can Self Develop and Fulfill Your Relationships

  • Practice loving yourself as you would others
  • Take responsibility for your own well-being and importance
  • Reclaim a separate self and voice; take a personal position on issues
  • Establish and adhere to your own agenda and priorities
  • Welcome discomfort and conflict; knowing that digging in means you have a position
  • Recognize anger in its many forms since it’s a signal that something is important to you
  • In meditation, noticing the mind going away from the self and instead to many different things and to others
  • Adopting a daily practice of previewing what is important for me and reviewing how I did with this practice
  • Utilizing resistance/anger/stubbornness to backtrack to what was missed that is important to me
  • Reframing life as who and what, not just what
  • Forming action plans with clear time frames and limits
  • Welcoming change and defying discomfort associated with change
  • Taking a personal position on issues
  • Noticing your own feelings that signal your attention shifting to substitutes (e.g., food, TV)
  • Sticking with your own goals

How You Can Help a Type 9 Self Develop and Fulfill Their Relationships

  • Encourage your Mediators to pay attention to their own selves and needs, express their thoughts and opinions, and welcome in discomfort and change
  • Encouraging and reinforcing the Nine in her/his development, e.g., in taking and expressing a position, in making the self and own needs important
  • Provide your Nines with a supportive environment for determining priorities, taking action and experiencing anger
  • Ask your Nines what they want, need, and value
  • Help them keep their own focus and limits


Need help finding your Enneagram type? Take the scientifically validated Enneagram test online or through the paper-back book version found in Dr. David Daniels’ The Essential Enneagram.

To find out more about these and other typing methods, click here.

Alexa Seleno