How Each Enneagram Type is Handling the Election Season

What does your Enneagram type relish and despise about presidential election years? Why do you feel that way? How are you dealing with this election season? And what grace do you bring to the table, grace our world desperately needs right now?

Before we dive in, can we be raw and real about the election this year? 

No matter your Enneagram type or political affiliation or age, you are struggling with this election. Over and over statements like this jumped out in my research and preparation:

  • “The level of polarization is so high.”
  • “I’m staying off social media.”
  • “There’s no debate or discussion; only attacks.”
  • “If you don’t agree with someone, they demonize you.” 

Politics is about people. And people are made in the image of God. We feel so wonky about this election because we see people destroy each other to score points for their party, and we watch as civil neighbors and friends dehumanize the opposing side. 

Eights: The Challengers

Here’s what you like about election seasons:

This may be your favorite season of all, and you enjoy this time of year more than anyone else. You love discussing policies and strategies with others and researching issues.

But you hate:

  • Talking to those you believe are overly-emotional, refuse to see reason or do not make decisions based on facts.
  • When debate devolves into character assassination.
  • And you hate feeling out of control, so not knowing who will win (or lose) and how that will impact your life, feels like the worst. 

You navigate this time of year by:

  • Talking with those who are informed and don’t seem too spun up about the issues.
  • Numbing out because it gets overwhelming talking politics with overly-dramatic people.
  • Researching.

Here’s why you’re feeling this way:

You focus your attention on who has power and how she wields it, so this time of year piques your interest. Because you view the world through the lens of power and control, you are more curious than most about what’s happening on the political stage. 

Eights also communicate directly and love to negotiate, so of course, this season is a great time to get into stimulating conversations with others about politics.

Eight, you are naturally a leader. You’re a big-picture thinker and you passionately advocate for what you believe in and who you believe in. You have Spidey-sense for knowing when people are being mistreated, and you have no qualms about stepping in and speaking out. No wonder this is the most wonderful time for you.

And yet, your desire to be in control and to gain power can be detrimental. You may ignore facts to fit your version of reality. And you believe you are right 99.99% of the time, which means you may view others as idiots when they don’t agree with you or share your perspective. 

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “I’m not in control, but God is!”

So how can you bring grace to the table?

Our world needs your passionate self at work. Others may be fearful to speak out for all kinds of reasons, but your desire to advocate for others was given to you for such a time as this. 

When you look at politics through the lens of the gospel and you remember that only God brings justice and can judge, you are a fearless advocate and one who speaks out, and steps in when God calls your number. 

Nines: The Peacemakers

Here’s what you like about election seasons

You enjoy discussing politics and policies with those who aren’t likely to end your friendship because of a voting disagreement. In other words, like two other people in the world. Otherwise, there is absolutely nothing you like about this time.

But there’s a lot that makes your skin crawl. You can’t stand:

  • The controversy and arguing.
  • The divisive nature of politics — I mean, why do we hate each other just because of a difference in opinion?
  • That all this hate invades your happy, peaceful place.
  • That no one can agree on anything.

You navigate this time of year by: 

  • Ignoring election coverage, social media and all conversations about politics.
  • Not making a decision about who you’ll vote for until you get in the booth.
  • Agreeing with everyone and then disagreeing with everyone.
  • And as one Nine told me, “crawling under my duvet, eating chocolate and watching Netflix until January.”

Here’s why you’re feeling this way:

You love when your people, your home, your inner circle and – let’s be honest – when the world is at peace. You hate rocking the boat and you don’t understand why others seem to enjoy this.

You love order and structure, but primarily when it’s of your own making. You’re not a fan of being told what to do or think so much of what you see on TV or social media feeds into your desire to be independent and unlabeled.  

Nines, your coping mechanism is to numb out, so when politics, hatefulness on social media and overwhelmingly bad news comes on the TV, you start to shut down. You watch “comfort shows,” eat too much or plan your next vacation as a way to escape. 

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “Ignorance isn’t bliss, and my vote counts.”

So how can you bring grace to the table?

Nines, we need your empathy and your ability to see every side of every issue at the table this year. Others may be so entrenched in their viewpoints that they can’t see the other side’s points, but you can. 

We need you. We need you in politics. We need you involved in your communities. We need you speaking out at School Board and City Council meetings. We need you to raise kids who can see all different perspectives, even when we don’t agree or believe the other side is wrong.

Ones: The Reformers

Here’s what you like about election seasons:

Research. You love to research. Which candidate stands on the “right” side of an issue (as you define “right”)? Which policy aligns with best practices and is the most practical and efficient? You love this kind of stuff!

Here’s what’s you annoying now:

  • Every issue feels nuanced, leaving you frustrated because zero issues or candidates are a clear black or white choice. And black and white choices are your favorites. 
  • When people react, comment and vote from an overly-emotional place.
  • That we judge others by how they vote; whether we should be friends with them (or not) because of who or what they support.
  • That no candidate seems trustworthy and our system is so broken and is in need of a major overhaul.
  • And when people can’t see false thinking as you do or when others can’t see how clearly that Candidate A is better than Candidate B. Isn’t this obvious to everyone?

You’re navigating this season by:

  • Getting judgy and upset (those of the words directly from a One herself!)
  • OR checking out because you don’t have the capacity to mentally or emotionally handle people’s irrational approach to this election season, so you invest your energy elsewhere.
  • And staying grumpy until December.

Here’s why you’re feeling this way:

Ones, you love to fix and improve, and the area of politics and voting gives you the chance to do this. And yet… you feel that this is too big of a project for even you to fix. To cope with all the chaos swirling around you, you may find yourself clinging to past voting tendencies and party lines to help you navigate. 

You can sniff out errors and flaws like nobody’s business so when you see incorrect information floating around, you feel compelled to stop it. 

You also cannot stand being criticized because your inner critic is so loud. This means that anytime, someone criticizes your stance or position on social media, you feel angry and bitter. 

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “I am not responsible for fixing every system, injustice, or incorrect fact floating on the internet.” 

So Ones, this year bring your grace to the table by putting your passionate improver-self in action. Continue to get involved. Continue to push us to do better and be better. Continue to elevate the conversation. 

Twos: The Helpers

Here’s what you like about election seasons:

Politics is about people. At the root of policy is what makes life better for the people. And you love people. You also love thoughtful, compassionate conversations with all kinds of people. Twos are the most empathic listeners of all 9 types. So clearly, this time of year hits all the right notes for you: 

  • People.
  • Helping people.
  • Listening and learning from people.

But this season also gives you the willies because:

  • You’ve learned that other people have a hard time extending grace to their fellow humans.
  • You’re terrified of bringing up a political belief because you’re concerned you’ll offend someone or they will opt-out of friendship with you if they disagree.
  • And hope and empathy can’t be found. 

So you’re dealing with this season by:

  • Avoiding all the politics.
  • Feeling frustrated all the time.
  • And unfollowing friends or limiting your social media time.
  • Or you may be “helping” people by pointing out logical fallacies or unsubstantiated theories online. (This is for all the Two Wing Ones out there!)

Here’s why you’re feeling this way:

You love people and you know that policies, legislation and regulation have the potential to help so many, yet the current dynamic online and in-person seems bent on destroying others.

As the most empathic type, you struggle as you watch others go for the jugular with no regard for the humanity or dignity of others.

You also have a hard time talking about politics with others because you don’t want to alienate anyone, and you’re not sure where everyone stands. It’s just easier to relegate your needs and passions about what you can do to help our world, then it is to talk about them and do them. 

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “I need to set some boundaries or redefine how I ‘help’ people this political season.”

Twos, bring your grace to the table by keeping on keeping on. 

You are already out there doing it: loving others, building others up, connecting with others, empathizing with others. 

Don’t let this political climate stop you from doing that. 

Because you are an excellent conversationalist, bring that to the table and start conversations with people of differing political views and party affiliations. Get curious with others in a private and small group to learn more. 

And continue to affirm the humanity of others. We lack that, so keep at it. 

Threes: The Achievers

Here’s what you like about election seasons:

Threes, you are naturally curious so you enjoy talking politics with others who want an honest conversation so you can learn about others and the world. 

Here’s what you can’t stand right now:

  • All the horrible words online — not only because they are mean-spirited and disparaging — but because a virtual debate seems like the most egregious and inefficient use of time. Has anyone ever changed her stance because someone else she didn’t know was mean to her online and told her how wrong she was? Nothing about this type of persuasion technique makes sense to you.
  • And the inauthenticity is just too much, and this is coming from someone who carefully curates her image to the world.

Here’s how you’re navigating this season:

  • Not watching the news or scrolling social media, but going directly to a candidate’s home page to learn more.
  • And opting out of participating in any online “conversations.”

Here’s why you’re feeling this way:

As a Three, you want to work hard and put out high-quality work. Efficiency and effectiveness are your middle names. All this to say that you’re too busy to engage in online destruction. It doesn’t serve any purpose and you’re too busy checking items off your to-do list. 

You can also be a chameleon, which makes you able to fit into any conversation and social group. You may not want to outwardly support any particular candidate or cause so you don’t alienate those you’re trying to impress. 

Threes can overidentify with the image they put out in the world, so you don’t want to share what you truly think or feel. 

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “I will figure out what’s important to me and advocate for it effectively.”

So how can you bring grace to the table?

Threes, you are designed to be do-ers, so do. Do in your community. Do at the local level. 

Don’t worry about what’s important to anyone else. Focus on the issues, causes and candidates important to you and put all that competency and multi-tasking ability to good use by serving others. 

Our world needs you to not only think about what’s important to you or to speak about it, but to do something. Threes can get more done than anybody else, so ask God what He would have you do this presidential election year. 

Fours: The Individualists

Here’s what you like about election seasons

You appreciate a good, thought-provoking conversation because you love to dive deep and see how other people think and feel about issues impacting our world today. 

But you are not loving this:

  • The character-assassination and hypocrisy in debates. 
  • People showing their ugliest side on social media.
  • Candidates acting holier-than-thou rather than the authenticity you appreciate.
  • The angst you feel in the voting booth because you value positions of both sides.
  • And sheer sensory overload because everyone seems to be YELLING AT YOU!

You’re navigating this season by:

  • Feeling burned out and discouraged about the state of our collective soul and the direction of our country.
  • Not posting anything political on social media.
  • Picking your battles.
  • And praying like your life depended on it.

Here’s why you’re feeling this way:

As a Four, you are the most in tune with your inner life than any other type. You can also sense the feelings and emotions of others, and right now you’re picking up a lot of angst, fear and unsettledness in almost every soul you know. 

You also value authenticity, meaning people bringing their true and whole selves to the world. Yet, all you seem to see are ridiculous commercials and one person made by God bashing another person made by God. This does not sit well with you.

You are highly sensitive and wish to alleviate the suffering in the world. Watching others break each other down seems like a blood sport you’d prefer to not be a part of. 

And because Fours are the best at seeing gray and not just black and white, it’s hard for you to draw political lines or pledge allegiance to a particular party. 

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “I will listen. I will empathize. And I will simultaneously guard my heart this season.”

So how can you bring grace to the table?

Fours, we need your ability to sit with heavy emotions in this season. Our world is hurting. Injustice reigns. Ego rules. Vitriol dominates. 

Sit with those who are hurting. Make space for those who need to be heard. Give people the opportunity to share their stories and experiences. People need to be heard and you are the safest place for those struggling right now. 

Fives: The Investigators

Here’s what you like about election seasons

You love intelligent, polite, well-researched conversations with those who are willing to discuss issues objectively, not emotionally. You also love collecting information about candidates, positions and policies. You thirst for knowledge about the current state of affairs so you may be a news junkie simply because you need to know everything about all the things. 

But you have a hard time stomaching the:

See Also

  • Hypocrisy.
  • Political promises about issues candidates cannot change on their own.
  • Manipulating or ignoring facts.
  • And the confrontation you see modeled for us today. 

So how do you deal with it?

  • You stay out of politics, conversations about politics, or any sort of political event. It’s easier to not expend the emotional and mental energy this time of year. 
  • However, if the issue or candidate is something or someone you feel strongly about, you tap into your Eight-side and defend your position. 

Here’s why you’re feeling this way:

As a Five, you have a limited tank of emotional energy. Daily life — all by itself — can deplete your tank over the course of the day, so engaging in a political debate would put you at a deficit. You believe you need to manage your inner resources and grasp at the time and capacity you have. Politics just doesn’t feel worth it. 

You believe that withdrawing into a book is the better way to protect yourself from all the demands for your time and brain space, or you set super-strict boundaries to protect what little energy you feel you have. 

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “My level-headedness is a gift the world needs now. I need to shine my light not hoard it away.”

So how can you bring grace to the table?

Fives, you can process information objectively because you can tease out the emotions from the facts, making you extremely level-headed. Doesn’t our world need more of you in it? Don’t we need your mind to solve big problems? Don’t we need your clear action plans? Don’t we need you to study, research, and devise a strategy that is thoughtful and full of hope? 

We need your grace at the table. We need you to bring us back to center and to Jesus Christ. 

Sixes: The Loyalists

Here’s what you like about election seasons

Ummm …nothing. There is absolutely nothing you enjoy about elections. You see so many worst-case scenarios that your brain is in overdrive. However, you are loyal and passionately support causes and candidates because you’ve done your research and believe that change is possible. 

Everything about the election cycle makes your skin crawl:

  • You don’t like that people get so upset or attached to having-to-have a certain outcome.
  • You do not like confrontation.
  • And you feel unheard when you share your opinion.

To deal with all the craziness, you:

  • Avoid talking politics as much as possible.
  • Worry.
  • Feel uncomfortable.
  • And roll your eyes a lot.

Here’s what drives you to this:

As a Six, you crave safety and security. Nothing about how we are treating each other feels safe, helpful or productive.

You also are an expert problem-solver and analytical thinker, yet no one seems open and willing to calmly and rationally discuss ideas, which makes you feel unsafe.

You also question authority and systems for soundness, and you’re not sure any candidate, cause or legislation is secure enough to gain your loyalty and trust.

And finally, you have a sixth sense for weeding out hidden agendas, false pretenses and ulterior motives, and it seems like every candidate has those right now.

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “The government and politicians don’t bring me safety, but Jesus Christ does.”

So how can you bring grace to the table?

Sixes, I’m going to quote Winnie the Pooh to you because Winnie the Pooh speaks the truth: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” Your gifts of critically thinking, working through a problem and your trustworthiness are crucial to our country right now.

You have an enormous capacity to serve others. There is no need to doubt yourself. You know what your family, community and state need. Bring your whole self so we have more grace at the table.

Sevens: The Enthusiasts

Here’s what you like about election seasons

You love the idea of a charismatic leader changing our country for the better and the knowledge that your vote counts. You also love talking through issues with others to find commonality.

But you cannot stand:

  • Pot-stirring, that only seems to cause needless pain.
  • The damage we’re inflicting on each other.
  • And when people believe their votes don’t matter. 

To navigate this time of year, you:

  • Steer clear of social media.
  • And find yourself a good book or a familiar episode of The Office.

Here’s why you do this:

As a Seven, you constantly see the bright side and have hope eternal for the future. You are what others call a “charming visionary;” you can see great things on the horizon.

You are the most optimistic of any Enneagram type because life is just going to get better and better, right? It’s easier for a Seven to think about what she has to look forward to than the reality she currently faces. 

You search out for what makes you happy to avoid discomfort. This means you’ll snuggle up to a good book or Gilmore Girls to avoid all the pain you see on TV or the backstabbing in political ads. 

A mantra you may want to repeat this year is, “My world doesn’t need my avoidance. My world needs me to engage with all the positivity and energy I bring into a room.”

So how can you bring grace to the table?

Sevens, you genuinely love people. You recognize that we are all made in the image of God, and you care about your neighbor. 

Bring that energy, passion and charm to the table. There is grace in your spirit, joy, and hope that you can offer as you shine your light so God gets the glory.

God has pre-planned good works for you to do. Bring your abundant energy and abounding optimism to the table, so others can catch your joy and hope.

Grace and Truth for All Enneagram Types

Friends, no matter how you’re experiencing and navigating this election season, remember that your God is good, and He sees you and loves you.

If you’re handling this time in an unhealthy way, ask God to show you what to change. Ask Him what He wants you to do or say this time of year. Don’t step out without Him!

I don’t know what will happen in November and you don’t either. But we do know that our God is good. He puts authority in power, and that all of us have a part to play.

This is our country – of the people, by the people, for the people. We are bound together in our unity as citizens not only of America but citizens of heaven. 

This is not our final home. This is not all we’ve got. Jesus has prepared a place for us. 

We are God’s daughters and sons, a holy nation and a royal priesthood with an eternal place to call home. 

No matter where we live, who we vote for or who takes the oath of office in January 2021, our identity and security lie in Christ alone. This is not a cop-out. This is the most real reality we will ever know. 

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