Enneagram Pairing Type 7 & 9
7 - The Entertaining Optimist
Epicure, Visionary, Enthusiast, Jack-of-All-Trades, Adventurer, Innovator, Dilettante
9 - The Peaceful Mediator
Mediator, Peacekeeper, Diplomat, Pleasant Person, Modest Person, Humble Person, Pacifist
Sevens and Nines both engage in emotional hide and seek as part of their core patterning; neither type wants to deal with their more painful feelings or be held back by negative thinking. A Seven's pattern is to flit from experience to experience, from one fun activity to the next.
Sevens use fun as a distraction to avoid addressing any underlying pain or anxiety. On the other hand, Nines tend to detach and numb themselves with inactivity or addiction. Both types are optimistic, adventurous, and social beings.
These two have a lot in common, particularly with regards to their respective outlooks on life and their approach to dealing with conflict. They value, in themselves and others, the ability to see the silver lining, and are always striving to solve problems in order to attain the most positive outcome.
They also value vital social engagement, and people, places, and things that are stimulating or enchanting. Both tend to be very affable, and they value the same in others. Brooding is rarely on the table.
How You Complement Each Other
Something about having the right balance of similarities and differences actually makes this a very complementary pair. They are rarely at odds—although they do have there danger zones—and they're rarely in competition. Sevens and Nines tend to enjoy the same amount of social engagement, stimulation, and downtime (with Nines pushing for a bit more rest than the active Seven—a push that can be a good thing, as Sevens have a tendency to wear themselves out after a while).
They also both tend to be attracted to culture in the same way: from new restaurants to new places to art galleries to backpacking, they seem to be able to keep up with one another. And where the Seven gets a little too free-wheeling or over stimulated, the Nine maintains a sense of equanimity and containment. On the flip side, when the Nine becomes a bit too mired in their inactivity or slothful tendency, the Seven provides the necessary spark to inspire movement and engagement with the new.
They share a sense of resiliency in the face of setbacks, which makes them good partners both professionally or personally, and they bring complementary strengths to any relationship: Sevens bring their mental acuity, curiosity, and innate sense of fun; Nines their steady, grounded acceptance and open-hearted presence. There is the potential for much mind and heart expansion between these two.
How You Can Get Into Trouble
Where these two get into trouble is when a problem arises, as one inevitably will, and because of their respective coping strategies and sometimes overly sunny dispositions, neither party will accept there is a problem, let alone address it. Both Sevens and Nines are very practiced in the art of denial, especially if it means admitting to some pain, discomfort, or struggle. Sevens deny pain through gluttonous, hedonistic consumption of the world around them—new people, new places, new things—while Nines deny pain through detaching, numbing out, or looking the other way.
The combination of these two denials means that, when something untoward or ugly rears its head in the Seven-Nine dynamic, what was once easy-going and bright, turns into a chilly wasteland of haunts and shadows. This can spiral into such a state of denial that both parties literally become afraid of their own shadow, which not only alienates them from each other, but also from themselves. They can both wander around, empty and disconnected, struggling to touch reality. In this situations, the Seven, obsessed with honesty, can turn against the Nine, driving all of their fears and insecurities into them in the form of insults, criticisms, demands, and blames.
The Nine, on the other hand, become slow, indecisive, and nonresponsive, which begets further verbal abuse from the Seven, and thus more stubborn withdrawal from the Nine—and around and around it goes. In their reticence, the Nine becomes increasingly less able to make sense of the wild Seven's angry outbursts, prompting more frustration from the Seven, who at this point feels completely isolated and at a loss, pissed they let anyone get this close to them in the first place.
In less emotionally charged waters, like a professional relationship, these two get into trouble mostly with regards to quick vs. slow, flexibility vs. stability, and planning. Sevens air on the side of brazen, tending to work more quickly than the methodical Nine. Nines, especially when they feel uncertain or lack clarity, will slow down, which can enrage the Seven, who hates to feel limited or held back. These can also show up in how the two differ in dealing with the unpredictable: namely, Sevens find it exciting while Nines find it rather dangerous.
If something too overwhelming comes up, the pair will become fragmented and feel as if they are at odds, as opposed to working as a team. This is best dealt with by ensuring there are clear directives, goals, and plans in place in case things go wrong. It is also very important for these two to have an opportunity to air their grievances and address their emotional issues head on, lest they fester.
What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of
Nine’s will usually move more slowly than Sevens, as they are busy taking many perspectives into account. When not as a result of weighing options and considering many angles of a decision, Nine’s slow pace is likely the manifestation of an unconscious stubbornness, and the best way to put a stop to the Nine rebellion is giving them a chance to be heard.
It is also important to be aware that Nines work best in peace and stability: if they can trust their environment to remain stable, they will naturally embody their higher qualities. This is contrary to the Seven, who thrives in flexible, spontaneous circumstances, and enjoys environments that require quick thinking and ingenuity.
Sevens should also know that a Nine will probably not fall for your charms—at least not in the same way most people do. Because Nines are the center of the Gut Triad, they possess a strong intuition and often see through a Seven’s false advertising and forced happiness.
It is best for Seven’s to drop the act and speak from a more authentic place . Although, Nines should be aware that most Sevens don’t know that their charming and beguiling nature is in fact, an act.
For Sevens, life should be peachy and full of enjoyment, so even if it’s not, they will usually pretend like it is. Whether through denial, repression or force of will, an average Seven will find a reason to smile and enjoy. At healthy levels, this trait leads to an genuine contentedness and an unshakable trust in the goodness of all things.
It is best, when working with a Seven, to present multiple options and allow for as many choices as possible. Sevens will “cowboy” their way out of any situation that feels forced: they would rather ride off into the sunset than be coerced into doing what feels like a boring or repetitive task.
Nines can sometimes be overwhelmed by Seven’s high requirements for freedom. In spite of this, they can help Sevens to not topple into over-analysis when making a choice, by keeping them connected to their vision.
It is also important to note Seven’s tendency toward selfishness and unconsciously harsh speaking. In their excitement and anticipation, the Seven can lose track of others’ feelings and needs, and in all likelihood, a Seven will step on some toes and say something a little mean.
Their selfish streak can also show up acting entitled or taking credit for ideas and accomplishments they are not actually owed credit for. As Nines are acutely aware of who deserves credit and this Seven tendency can lead to resentment and discord.
It is best to have regularly scheduled meetings to discuss issues or miscommunications because neither the Nine or the Seven will address their grievances unless asked directly. But generally, know that the Seven rarely means to be selfish or brash, and he or she will probably be overcome with remorse when it’s pointed out to them, so it's best for Nines (and all types) to try and not take their rudeness personally, and speak up for themselves when they feel their boundaries have been crossed by an unconscious Seven.
How You Can Support One Another
With Sevens, a great way to be supportive is to—every once in a while—help them attend to their “darker” feelings. A Seven will almost always avoid feeling their pain, betrayal, or boredom, but the avoidance can lead to unfavorable consequences. Offer a nudge and an ear on occasion, both to help them face their un-sunny side, and also to help them learn to trust others.
Sevens also easily get lost in “future tripping,” where they are focused so much on the exciting thing that’s forthcoming, they can’t pay attention to what is happening in the present. In these instances, they adopt a “head in the clouds” mentality, where everything is possible and the future is bright.
Nines can support them by offering a word of realism, and perhaps helping them to map out a plan for making these abstract future-worlds more tangible. Sevens love a good plan, but they may need a little help in actualizing it.
Nines will almost always need support in finding their sense of self, especially when in the company of a Seven who is skilled in coming across as somebody important.
If you feel like your Nine partners are giving up their power, or going along with something they don’t actually want to go along with, check in! Nines will also benefit from support with saying no when appropriate as they tend to people please. Sevens can help Nines understand that it is okay to assert a boundary.
Lastly, Nines can tend toward inactivity and rote routine. At times, the routine is necessary for producing a sense of safety in the world, but it can also be a sign of cognitive laziness. A Seven can help them switch things up and try new things.They will almost always appreciate having their horizons broadened.
In A Romantic Context
This can actually be a really compatible match. Both parties are easy going, fun loving, sociable, and down for an adventure. The Seven-Nine pair stoke one another's passion for living life to the fullest, and offer a nice balance of head and heart.
Nines are consummate lovers, and will offer the Seven a sense of unconditionality and acceptance that only fuels their genuine sense of joy, while the confident Seven will boost the Nines sense of self from the inside out, teaching them indirectly about setting boundaries, standing up for themselves, and asking for what they want. Nines are generous and deeply supportive of their partners—the literal wind in their wings—and as long as the Seven does not take this support for granted, the uncomplicated exchange of support and play can keep this duo in good spirits and good contact. These two will almost certainly run into problems if the Nine feels unappreciated or the Seven stops valuing the Nine's contributions.
There will also certainly be problems in communicating upsets, as neither type enjoys noticing or dwelling on what's not working. When it comes to voicing issues, the Seven is better equipped than the Nine (although they still avoid it), which can lead to a power imbalance wherein the Seven is always speaking up about their issues, and thus having them tended to by the people-pleasing Nine, while the Nine goes on suffering silently. This is not to say, however, that Sevens are adept at actually facing their issues—they tend to speak impulsively, especially when they feel threatened or anxious, and don't feel much shame in saying what they really think. More often than not, this does not lead to resolution, as the Seven is still unlikely to actually feel their pain and face their darkness.
In these instances, the Nine's tendency is to withdraw into themselves, or into a sense of numbness, and to the Seven, a withdrawn Nine will come across as checked out or nonresponsive, which will likely enrage the Seven. Once angry, the Seven will push and berate, resulting in—of course—more retreat on part of the Nine. This can be a painful cycle of wounding and betrayal if not checked immediately.
Both types will likely be unable to see their own part in the communication breakdown: blame and accusations will be hurled. In these moments, it will be important to take a step back and offer some appreciation, wherever possible.
Physically, there can be a lot of play and warmth between these two, and intimacy can easily deepen over time as both parties find deeper and deeper levels of trust and enjoyment. The easy acceptance of the Nine, coupled with the bright enthusiasm of the Seven means that—when healthy—these two feel well cared for and adored by the other, both physically and emotionally.