Introverts, Extroverts and the Different Enneagram Instincts During Social Gatherings

What inspired me to write on this topic is how it has been coming up in my coaching practice with clients.
And especially after all the COVID socialization restrictions.
In addition to that personal experience, I noticed I was struggling.
For some, the social restrictions of COVID were harsh and felt very isolating, and for others, they experienced them as some relief from social obligations.

As the holidays of Easter and Passover approach, and with the family gatherings that accompany them, I notice that it brings up happiness and excitement for some and angst and feeling pressured for others.
With holidays and events come social norms and expectations.

The purpose of exploring this topic is to increase our understanding, compassion, and grace for those that relate to social gatherings differently than our own.

I thought it might be helpful and validating for you to see these gatherings from a different lens, no matter what side of the fence you sit on.
So, what makes it so difficult for some and so easy for others?
One’s personality blueprinting comes to mind, which affects the way we are innately wired.
In particular, I thought about one’s Enneagram dominant Instinctual Survival strategy, which you can read more about on my website or listen to on my podcast, “Really, is that the way you see me?” And click on Episode #5. 
From the lens of one’s instinctual survival strategy, and although you possess all three, one is dominant, and your primary one and the other two are secondary and tertiary.
The three instincts are named:
  • The sexual or 1-to-1 instinct
  • The social group or tribal instinct
  • The self-preservation instinct
The short of it is that ones’ dominant instinct is the driver, which unconsciously drives almost everything we do.
At a social gathering, the “sexual instinct” will look for one other person in the room to merge with, and others may feel as if they try to join the conversation as if they are intruding.
At the same social gathering, “the social instinct” person will either have a group discussion or sit at a table and pop in and out of different side conversations, which irritates the sexual instinct person :).
Then there is “the self-preservation person” who walks in the room and is scanning for the comfortable chair and food first and then may or may not engage in the other conversations based on whether it is worth the energy.
Another contributing factor that I thought was important for this topic is whether a person is more of an introvert or extrovert
Do they get energy from being around people, or do they feel drained when they are around people for too long?
And I want to point out, no one is 100% of anything. It is usually broken up more into percentages. But we do have one of the mentioned categories, which is dominant.
I am suggesting that if you are more extroverted and have a more introverted person in your life and at your family gathering, offer them to be included and give them the space to say no or read their non-verbal cues for when they are refilling their energy tanks.
If the person is introverted and has a dominant self-preservation instinct, this will be exponentially true for them.
If you are more introverted and have more extroverted people at your gathering, try not to be annoyed when they try to engage with you, even if you are energetically done!
Just with honesty and kindness, communicate your need to have a little space to yourself.
Above all, don’t just be mechanically polite, for it will eventually turn into anger and resentment.
For those who are not familiar with your enneagram personality type, You can take my free 2-part Enneagram trifecta type and instincts test on my website. 
And you can also listen to the previous podcast episodes 3, 4, and 5.
Happy Easter, Passover, and social gatherings to all!

Leave a Reply