Updated: May 19
With the looming uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 virus strain, we have bought endless supplies of toilet paper, sanitized our hands until our skin has started peeling off and barricaded our doors.
Let’s face it, interacting via social media platforms such as Zoom, Teams and WhatsApp can only benefit us to a certain point. Even though, it must be added that during professional Zoom/ Teams meetings, business on top (collar shirts) and party on the bottom (slippers and shorts) have made professional interactions all the more enjoyable
We have all probably adopted some strange coping mechanisms to deal with the mass hysteria that comes with a movie-esque virus outbreak. Each of us is distinct in our reactions to situations, translating in every Enneagram personality type offering a unique perspective on COVID-19.So, before we delve into how you have most likely responded to the COVID-19 outbreak, let’s briefly define the Enneagram.
The Enneagram is different from other personality questionnaires in that it is a fusion of modern psychological perspectives, neuro-biological research and ancient bodies of wisdom (Doesn’t this just have a nice and somewhat pretentious ring to it? You’re most welcome Hipsters!)
In essence, the Enneagram identifies nine core personality types or styles and reveals how each type views, engages in and feels about the world. These nine types are grouped into three centres: Body (Instinctive/ Gut/ Belly); Heart (Feeling) and Head (Thinking).
Type 1: The Moral Perfectionist (The Reformer)
The Reformer is that person who most likely has a detailed to-do list, a colour coordinated closet, and a label maker. This is a person you can rely on to be just, moral and ethically sound (they will most probably not be a member of the parliament). In essence, Reformers are dedicated, conscientious, helpful, well-balanced and have a good sense of humour.
Amidst the COVID-19 scare, they are most likely to be the person to have stockpiled on non-perishables and cleared the isles of hand sanitiser, Dettol and toilet paper (as if they are preparing for an apocalypse). Let’s face it, the tins in their pantry will probably be sorted by the expiry date and toilet paper rolls labelled by ‘day of the week to use.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they have already approached an architect to create a blueprint for an anti-Corona bunker.
Type 2: The Considerate Helper (The Giver)
Helpers are known for their empathic and altruistic natures (think Mother Teresa here). They are caregivers and helpers and tend to use up all their resources to aid others, whilst neglecting their own needs.
Enneatype Twos are extremely intuitive and therefore able to identify others’ vulnerabilities and provide them with the necessary support.
With COVID-19 on our doorsteps, The Givers have probably already started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the elderly and the less fortunate.
They’re most likely also waiting for their protective cover-all Amazon order to arrive, so they can hand out COVID-19 survival kits at community centres.
Thank you for making all the other Enneatypes look bad, type Two!
Type 3: The Competitive Achiever
Achievers are very adaptable, driven, dynamic and charismatic. They are innovative and proactive in their approach, which allows them to successfully venture into uncharted territories. Achievers are goal-oriented and recognise the inherent possibilities of their brilliant ideas (I see egos inflating here).
Whereas some might see the Coronavirus outbreak as an economic catastrophe, Enneatype Three will see a vast array of opportunities to achieve success in a novel way. Achievers see gaps in the market and will therefore probably profit from the outbreak by starting a small hand sanitizer production factory and selling these online.
Whilst in a COVID-19 induced isolation, they are likely to post Instagram photos of their home office and give tips on how to work efficiently and make use of online platforms to your company’s benefit.
We need Achievers in a COVID-19 world, as they will keep our country afloat and add this to their list of impressive accomplishments (and probably brag about it along the way, but hey, they’re entitled to it!).
Type 4: The Originalist (The Intense Creative Individualist)
The artists, the writers, the candlestick makers. Enneatype Fours need to express their unique and artistic character, as they strive towards authenticity (they probably use a paintbrush as a hair accessory to emulate this). The Originalist is very sensitive and attuned to their complex well of emotions.
Due to their levels of heightened sensitivity and emotional complexity they may feel misunderstood on occasion and spend copious amounts of time in self-reflection and use experiences and feelings as a platform for new creative ventures. At their core, these types are caring, intense, expressive, dramatic, refined, intuitive and focussed on aesthetics.
The chaos that came with the Coronavirus outbreak is most probably not sitting too well with the Originalists’ delicately sensitive predisposition. They are enjoying self-isolation which enables them to recharge, meditate and process their inner emotional turmoil. Since art is their main mode of expression, they are most likely spending hours on end in front of their easel painting the plight of humanity whilst a tear slowly trickle down their cheeks. If the Four were to give this ‘COVID-19 self-expression’ portrait to The Achiever (Type Three), ever the opportunist, he/she will probably sell it at a massive profit margin.
Type 5: The Sage (The Investigator)
Fives are fiercely independent critical thinkers, innovators, observers, specialists, experts and radicals. The Sage is highly analytical and seeks to draw logical connections between elements and identify underlying themes inherent in the universe. They are the lone wolfs of the Enneagrams, and prefer to operate autonomously, which might lead them to appear unfeeling and uncaring.
The mass hysteria that is accompanying the Coronavirus pandemic will most likely not phase Fives. They are objectively analytical and have probably conducted countless research on the cause, fatality rates as well as a risk analysis of their likelihood to contract the virus. Further to this, as they are researchers by heart and will try to find a cure for this ‘overly mass dramatized COVID-19 virus hysteria’. They will obviously embark on this in a solo capacity, think of the unsociable medical genius House M.D. here (from the series House), who summarised this so eloquently: There's no 'I' in team. There's a 'me' though if you jumble it up.
Further to this, the Fives are rejoicing about this enforced social isolation since to them, this is the ultimate form of paradise. They are now officially allowed to escape to their fortress of solitude.
Type 6: The Loyal Guardian (The Loyal Sceptic)
The Loyalist values security, connectedness, allegiance and traditional belief systems. They aim for a deep sense of connection with others and will sacrifice themselves for them. They are quite suspicious and slow to trust people, however, once you have made it into the Enneatype Six’s close circle, you can be guaranteed unwavering loyalty and support.
Loyalists tend to spend time formulating hypothetical worst-case outcome scenarios. Thus, they will probably be rather anxious (fearing fear itself) of the COVID-19 outbreak, having created scenarios in their heads of an action thriller post-apocalyptic world. This is the reason why Loyalists value support, security and safety. In the midst of social isolation, they have probably bought a body pillow and stuck the picture of the face of their loved one on it, so they can rest assured that someone ‘has their back’ during this daunting time. If not, perhaps they made their own little Castaway Wilson Volleyball buddy for emotional support.
Type 7: The Enthusiastic Visionary (The Adventurer)
Enneatype Seven is the joker of the Enneagrams, wide-eyed, playful, entertaining and imaginative. The Enthusiast is optimistic, light-hearted, extroverted, excitable and adventurous. They want to experience life to the fullest and therefore tend to avoid pain and suffering. They are very curious by nature and they deem freedom and flexibility in high regard. The Enthusiast is that person whose mind is buzzing with a vast array of ideas, to the extent that they don’t know where to even start!
The Seven is a bit of an escapist and is most likely not taking the COVID-19 outbreak too seriously. Ever the opportunist and adventure-seeker, they have probably already taken advantage of the massive flights and accommodation discounts, putting their thirst for adventure above the risk of contracting the Coronavirus. The world is their playground, after all, and they suffer from extreme FOMO (fear of missing out)!
Those Enthusiasts who are not in a position to embark on an adventure will aim to entertain. Some might have started a satirical ‘Corona-hysteria’ YouTube or Podcast channel. Who knows, perhaps a Seven has written an article on the different Enneagram types poking fun at the extreme responses they might have in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Type 8: The Protective Challenger (Active Controller)
The Eight is extremely goal-oriented, strong-willed, independent, magnanimous and confrontational. They are the trailblazers of the Enneatypes, as they fearlessly forge their path to success. Even if they were to stumble, Eights have a remarkable capacity to persevere in spite thereof. Should any unjust behaviour be directed towards their loved ones, they will aggressively protect them at any cost.
So, what do Eights think of this ‘Chinese Virus’ (yes these are the words of Donald Trump, and yes, he is an Eight Enneatype)? Eights do not fear confrontation of any sort and deem themselves as highly powerful individuals, they probably believe they can "will" COVID-19 into submission. They will never allow a measly virus to control them and won’t back down from this fight! Seeing as they might believe they are untouchable and disdain being controlled, Eights will most likely shake your hand (even though this has been banned) to prove their immunity to the Coronavirus.
Type 9: The Peaceful Mediator (The Adaptive Peacemaker)
The Peacemaker exudes a ‘Zen-like’ energy (perhaps the Hippie of the Enneatypes?). They are soft-spoken, gentle, agreeable, patient, open-minded and caring. They have the ability to be very accepting and diplomatic and are skilled at serving as a counsellor or mediator between individuals. They avoid conflict and value harmony, peace and an unperturbed flow of forgiveness amongst everyone. Nines are empathic and have the innate ability to see and consider others’ points of view.
They strive to create unity amongst family, colleagues and friends alike.
With the inherent conflict and disengagement caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Enneatype Nines’ pursuit for unity will likely translate into them inviting their entire family (even those sloppy-kissing-uncles) to their house. The Nine will cook comfort food and gather everyone around the bonfire to sing Kumbaya.
The Nine is the counsellor and I believe that, if they could, they would gather the COVID-19 virus and our immune systems in a room to resolve their conflict. They would probably also try to find out why the virus is attacking the immune system and where its anger issues are stemming from.
What were your thoughts on the Enneagram Type COVID-19 reactions? Can you relate?