Helping Build Deeper Relationships

Understanding and Managing Difficult People: A Guide Through the Enneagram

Ever find yourself faced with dealing with a person who is difficult to be around, work alongside, or communicate with? Navigating relationships with difficult people can be a challenging aspect of both personal and professional life. Whether it's a colleague, family member, or friend, understanding their behaviors and motivations can greatly aid in fostering better communication and more harmonious interactions. One tool that I have found extremely beneficial for this purpose is the Enneagram. Here I explore how I use the Enneagram as a framework for understanding and managing difficult people effectively.

What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a personality typing system that describes nine distinct personality types, each with its own set of motivations, fears, desires, and coping mechanisms. Unlike some other personality systems, the Enneagram is dynamic, recognizing that individuals may exhibit traits of other types under different circumstances or levels of health. The Enneagram is often depicted as a nine-pointed diagram with interconnecting lines, representing the complex interactions between the types.

Identifying Difficult People Through the Enneagram

One of the strengths of the Enneagram is its ability to provide insights into why people behave the way they do. By understanding the core motivations and fears of each Enneagram type, we can gain valuable insights into why certain individuals may be challenging to deal with. For example:

Type 1: The Perfectionist - They are driven by a desire to do things right and fear of making mistakes. They may come across as critical or rigid.

Type 2: The Helper - They seek approval and validation from others, often sacrificing their own needs in the process. They may become resentful if their efforts are not acknowledged.

Type 3: The Achiever - They are motivated by success and recognition, often at the expense of authentic self-expression. They may struggle with vulnerability and authenticity.

Type 4: The Individualist - They crave uniqueness and authenticity, often feeling misunderstood by others. They may withdraw or become overly dramatic when they feel rejected.

Type 5: The Investigator - They seek knowledge and understanding, often withdrawing into their own thoughts and ideas. They may struggle with social interactions and emotional expression.

Type 6: The Loyalist - They seek security and stability, often anticipating worst-case scenarios and seeking reassurance from others. They may come across as anxious or skeptical.

Type 7: The Enthusiast - They seek novelty and excitement, often avoiding discomfort or pain. They may struggle with commitment and follow-through.

Type 8: The Challenger - They seek control and autonomy, often asserting themselves forcefully in order to avoid vulnerability. They may come across as domineering or confrontational.

Type 9: The Peacemaker - They seek harmony and avoid conflict at all costs, often suppressing their own needs and desires. They may struggle with assertiveness and decision-making.

Managing Difficult People Using the Enneagram

Once I have identified the Enneagram type of a difficult person, I can tailor my approach to better communicate and interact with them. Here are some strategies for managing difficult people based on their Enneagram type:

Practice empathy and understanding: Approach the individual with compassion and try to understand their perspective and motivations. Acknowledge their fears and desires without judgment.

Adapt your communication style: Tailor your communication to resonate with the individual's preferred mode of interaction. For example, provide clear expectations and guidelines for a Type 1, or offer emotional support and validation for a Type 4.

Set boundaries: Clearly communicate your own needs and boundaries while respecting those of the other person. Encourage open and honest dialogue to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings.

Encourage growth and self-awareness: Offer support and encouragement for the individual to explore their own Enneagram type and how it influences their behavior. Suggest resources such as books, workshops, or online assessments.

Seek common ground: Focus on areas of shared interest or values to build rapport and foster a sense of connection. Look for opportunities to collaborate and find mutually beneficial solutions.

The Enneagram can be a powerful tool for understanding and managing difficult people in various aspects of life. By identifying individuals' Enneagram types and employing tailored strategies for communication and interaction, we can foster healthier relationships and create more harmonious environments. However, it's important to remember that the Enneagram is just one tool among many, and effective management of difficult people often requires a combination of empathy, patience, and interpersonal skills.

Interested in learning more about how you can use this tool in your personal or professional life. Please email me at

Rekindling Connection: Simple Daily Practices to Attune as a Couple this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to strengthen the bond with your significant other and rediscover the magic that brought you together. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's easy to lose sight of each other. I am always telling my clients “small things often”. So here are some of my favorite simple and effective ways to reconnect as a couple. Emphasizing these daily practices will promote attunement and deepen your understanding of one another.

Morning Connect:

Start your day with a moment of connection. Before diving into the demands of the day, take a few minutes to share your thoughts and intentions. This morning routine can set a positive tone and foster a sense of togetherness.

Express Gratitude Daily:

Make expressing gratitude a daily ritual. Take turns acknowledging the little things you appreciate about each other. It could be a supportive gesture, a kind word, or a shared laugh. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude enhances mutual appreciation.

Tech-Free Time:

Designate specific times in your day to be technology-free zones. Use this time to engage in meaningful conversations without distractions. Whether it's during meals or before bedtime, unplugging allows you to focus entirely on each other.

Daily Rituals:

Establish daily rituals that are unique to your relationship. Whether it's enjoying a cup of coffee together, taking a short evening stroll, or sharing a bedtime routine, these rituals create a sense of stability and reinforce your connection.

Active Listening:

Practice active listening. When your partner speaks, give them your full attention. Put away devices, maintain eye contact, and show genuine interest. Feeling heard and understood builds emotional intimacy.

Random Acts of Kindness:

Surprise your partner with spontaneous acts of kindness. It could be leaving a sweet note, preparing a favorite snack, or taking on a task they usually handle. Small, thoughtful gestures convey love and consideration.

Set Shared Goals:

Collaborate on setting daily or weekly goals. These can include personal, relationship, or even fun objectives. Working together towards common goals fosters a sense of unity and shared purpose.

Quality Time:

Carve out intentional quality time each day. This doesn't have to be elaborate; even a short period of undivided attention, such as watching a show together, playing a game, or having a heart-to-heart conversation, can deepen your connection.

Reflect on Positives:

Before bedtime, reflect on the positive moments from the day. Share these highlights with your partner, creating a habit of focusing on the good and reinforcing a positive perspective on your relationship.

Affectionate Gestures:

Incorporate physical touch into your daily routine. Whether it's a hug, a kiss, or holding hands, physical affection communicates love and strengthens the emotional bond between you and your partner.

Life gets busy and chaotic at times, however starting with even a couple of these simple daily practices can help you reconnect with your partner. Building habits of attunement not only enhances your relationship but also creates a foundation for lasting love and understanding. 

This Valentine's Day, prioritize the small, consistent efforts that contribute to a thriving and connected partnership.

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Cultivating a Growth Mindset for a Thriving Life

Life is always throwing curve balls—from personal experience, I know my mindset can shape the course of my personal and professional journeys. The concept of a growth mindset, coined by psychologist Carol S. Dweck, revolves around the belief that our abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, hard work, and learning. It's a mindset that opens doors to possibilities, resilience, and continuous improvement. Here I explore how adopting a growth mindset can pave the way for a year of growth, discovery, and accomplishment.

Embrace Challenges as Opportunities:

In the realm of a growth mindset, challenges are not roadblocks; they are opportunities for learning and development. Rather than fearing the unknown or avoiding difficulties, see challenges as a chance to expand your skills and knowledge. Whether it's a new project at work, a fitness goal, or a personal development endeavor, approach challenges with enthusiasm and a belief that you can overcome them. 

Celebrate Effort, Not Just Results:

I am all about sharing even the smallest wins with my clients, they do matter. In a growth mindset, the focus shifts from the end result to the process and effort invested. Understand that success is not only about the outcome but the journey it took to get there. Celebrate the small victories, acknowledge your hard work, and recognize that every step forward, regardless of its size, contributes to your growth. This perspective fosters resilience and a positive outlook, even in the face of setbacks.

Embrace Continuous Learning:

Every day is a chance to learn. A growth mindset thrives on the idea that there is always room for learning and improvement. Commit to embracing continuous learning in 2024. Whether it's acquiring new skills, taking up a hobby, or exploring different perspectives, the pursuit of knowledge keeps your mind agile and open. Attend workshops, read diverse books, engage in online courses—let the hunger for learning fuel your personal and professional development.

View Criticism as Constructive Feedback:

While it’s hard to not take this personally. Feedback, even when critical, is a valuable source of information for growth. Adopt a growth mindset by seeing criticism as constructive feedback that can guide you toward improvement. Instead of personalizing it, use feedback to identify areas for development. This mindset shift fosters a culture of continuous improvement, helping you refine your skills and enhance your performance.

Cultivate Resilience in the Face of Setbacks:

Accept the bumps that come along the way. Setbacks are an inevitable part of any journey, but a growth mindset allows you to bounce back stronger. Instead of viewing failures as permanent, see them as temporary setbacks that provide valuable lessons. Cultivate resilience by understandingthat setbacks are not indicative of your abilities but stepping stones toward future success.

Foster a Positive and Open Attitude:

Find a little bit of joy every day. A growth mindset is closely tied to maintaining a positive and open attitude. Approach challenges, new experiences, and interactions with optimism. This is more than just seeing the glass as half full. Cultivate the belief that your abilities can be developed. This positive outlook not only enhances your mental well-being but also attracts opportunities and collaborations.

As we continue to strive to be our best, let's commit to cultivating a growth mindset. By embracing challenges, celebrating effort, fostering continuous learning, viewing criticism constructively, cultivating resilience, and maintaining a positive attitude, we can unlock our full potential and make every day a testament to our personal and professional growth. Here's to the possibilities, discoveries, and a mindset that propels us toward greatness!

Need help cultivating your journey? Connect with me at or visit my website at

Navigating New Year Relationship Goals Through the Enneagram: A Journey to Self-Discovery and Connection

As we welcome 2024, many of us embark on a journey of self-reflection and goal-setting. While resolutions often revolve around personal development, they also extend to our relationships. Here we explore the fascinating intersection of the Enneagram, a powerful personality relationship tool, and setting meaningful relationship goals for the new year.

Understanding the Enneagram

The Enneagram is a personality framework that categorizes individuals into nine distinct types, each representing a unique set of traits, fears, and motivations. Understanding your Enneagram type can provide valuable insights into your behaviors, communication style, and the dynamics of your relationships.

Type 1 - The Perfectionist:

New Year Relationship Goal: Embrace flexibility and practice letting go of perfection. Focus on appreciating the journey rather than fixating on an ideal destination.

Type 2 - The Helper:

New Year Relationship Goal: Cultivate a healthy balance between giving and receiving. Prioritize self-care and communicate your needs openly with your partner.

Type 3 - The Achiever:

New Year Relationship Goal: Shift the focus from external accomplishments to genuine connection. Prioritize quality time and vulnerability in your relationships.

Type 4 - The Individualist:

New Year Relationship Goal: Embrace the beauty of authenticity and celebrate the uniqueness of both yourself and your partner. Avoid comparing your relationship to others.

Type 5 - The Investigator:

New Year Relationship Goal: Challenge yourself to share more of your thoughts and feelings with your partner. Focus on creating emotional intimacy through open communication.

Type 6 - The Loyalist:

New Year Relationship Goal: Foster trust and security in your relationship by embracing uncertainty. Allow yourself to be more vulnerable and share your fears with your partner.

Type 7 - The Enthusiast:

New Year Relationship Goal: Slow down and savor the present moment with your partner. Cultivate gratitude for the joys that exist in your relationship.

Type 8 - The Challenger:

New Year Relationship Goal: Practice empathy and consider your partner's perspective. Strive for a balance between assertiveness and receptivity in your interactions.

Type 9 - The Peacemaker:

New Year Relationship Goal: Prioritize active engagement in your relationship rather than avoiding conflicts. Embrace open communication and express your needs and desires.

The Enneagram offers a unique lens through which we can explore and improve our relationships. As you embark on your journey of setting new year relationship goals, consider incorporating the wisdom of the Enneagram to deepen your understanding of yourself and your partner. By fostering self-awareness and embracing growth, you can create more fulfilling and harmonious connections for years to come.

Reach out to me to connect further on how you can use the Enneagram to strengthen your relationships this year.