Enneagram Pairing Type 8 & 9
8 - The Protective Challenger
Protector, Alpha Leader, Champion, Maverick, Commander, Negotiator, Boss
9 - The Peaceful Mediator
Mediator, Peacekeeper, Diplomat, Pleasant Person, Modest Person, Humble Person, Pacifist
Eights are intense, vibrant, assertive, lusty, and dominant. These tendencies can sometimes translate into having tough exteriors that belie their inner vulnerability. Generally, Eights thrive in environments where they can take the lead and use their natural passion to its fullest capacity. They also feel best when their bravado is admired and encouraged, not stifled or feared.
Nines, on the other hand, are easy-going and patient. Their core patterning centers around keeping the peace, understanding multiple perspectives and maintaining a mellow demeanor. These characteristics can often appear alongside a persistent inability to identify their personal needs.
Because Eights and Nines are in the Gut Triad, they both value autonomy, independence, and their embodied instincts. Eights are more self-assured than Nines, so much so, that they often intimidate the Nine.
On the other hand, Nines innately have a more subtle connection to self. Both Eights and Nines value comfort and simplicity. As a duo, they can develop a strong intimacy that is very close. Together they instinctually create safe and nurturing home and work environments.
How You Complement Each Other
This pairing, despite their seemingly opposing natures, potentially creates a dynamic symbiosis, like fire and water. With a Nine, an Eight can let their guard down and relax. There is an easy companionship between these two, with each type providing for the other what they lack.
For example, the Nine can be a haven, a welcome respite of calm composure for the intense drive of the Eight. This surprising reciprocity can also be seen when a Nine tends to avoid or retire, the Eight will continue to push forward with skill and confidence. A Nine is both impressed and inspired by the confidence of an Eight. Eights can teach the more modest Nine how to become assertive leaders through direct mentoring or by example. This can be a dynamic pair, both professionally and personally.
How You Can Get Into Trouble
The Gut Triad is also the Anger Triad, so both Eights and Nines can have a strong relationship with anger, although how this anger is expressed by each type is quite different. The Eight is most often direct, while the Nine is indirect or unaware of their feelings of anger. This leaves the Nine in a potentially passive-aggressive position with an Eight. While on the other hand, the Eight expresses their anger easily, potentially overwhelming the Nine.
These two can get into hot water if the Eight who often perceives the Nine as permeable and too easy going, is suddenly met with strong resistance from a Nine. While it’s true that Nines tend to be relaxed and good natured, when they are pushed--especially by someone they perceive as controlling--there is no one as unyielding as a Nine whose stubborn streak has been triggered. If the roles are reversed, a covertly angry Nine will passive aggressively sabotage the Eight, they are in for a rude awakening. Nothing is as confrontational, fiery, or direct as the aggression of an Eight when challenged.
These two can also get into trouble when the Eight, always up for the new or more intense experience, feels held back by the timid nature of the Nine, who prefers to stick with the plan and finds solace in routine. Eights can feel like Nines are holding them back or obstructing their vision, while Nines can feel like they’re being pushed too hard or too far out of their comfort zone.
This can cause the relationship to deteriorate, as Eights get more openly angry and belligerent and Nines go on an emotional strike shutting down and detaching completely. If not careful, the resulting cycle of “attack” from the Eights and resistance from the Nines, or worse, intimidation and unconscious sabotage, can ultimately drive too high a wedge between these two.
What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of
Whether in a professional or personal relationship, it is a good idea to always be as direct as possible with Eights. They do not pull punches or beat around the bush, and they quickly lose respect for those who do. Eights also have an excellent bullshit meter, so to speak, so Nines, be aware of your tendency to avoid telling the truth in an effort to avoid conflict.
Eights will see this as weakness, or worse, betrayal, and lose respect and/or trust for you. With Eights, it is always better to meet a potential conflict or confrontation head on. Generally, Eights thrive in environments where they can take the lead and use their natural passion to it's fullest capacity. They also feel best when their bravado is admired and encouraged, not stifled or feared.
Eights, be aware of your tendency to bowl over the Nine with your ideas, passion, or brashness. Do not assume that just because the Nine hasn't spoken up, it means they have nothing to say. If ignored for too long, the Nine will become a stubborn force to be reckoned with, capable even of withstanding the angry onslaughts of an Eight.
Eights, you should also be open to hearing what your Nine colleagues and compatriots have to say: they will often have valuable insight into the inner workers of the rest of the people around you, insight you yourself might have missed. Generally, nines are great team players, and tend to understand everyone they work with well. They thrive when they feel a part of the group or partnership, and when they are asked for specific contributions. It is a good idea to acknowledge them for their ability to mediate and hold all perspectives in balance.
How You Can Support One Another
Eights should be mindful of their tendency to inundate the Nine with information or alarm them with impulsive behavior. Do not assume that just because the Nine hasn’t spoken up, it means they have nothing to say. If ignored for too long, the Nine will become a stubborn force to be reckoned with, capable even of withstanding the fierce onslaughts of an Eight.
Eights should also try to remain open to hearing what a Nine colleague or friend has to say. Nines will often have valuable insight into the inner workings of people around them. This information can be important for an Eight to assimilate into their overall leadership abilities.
Generally, Nines are great team players and tend to have a strong understanding of their colleagues. They thrive when they feel a part of the group or partnership, and when specific contributions are asked of them. It is a good idea to acknowledge the Nine for their ability to mediate and hold all perspectives in balance.
In A Romantic Context
This romantic relationship can be a powerful duo. The Eight-Nine pairing possesses a yin-yang quality that can lift each other with their complementary strengths. Specifically, love from a powerful Eight feels revitalizing to the Nine, which has the potential to heal their feelings of invisibility.
On the flip side, the grounded, accepting nature of the Nine provides a genuinely safe place for the Eight, allowing them to settle deeper into a state of peace and ease. This dynamic’s healthy functioning can allow the two individuals to effectively re-parent one another, healing old wounds and providing a fresh start with one another.
However, with all its potential, this relationship can still go painfully south when things are not going well. If the Eight tries to control a Nine or makes unreasonable demands, Nines resort to withdrawing and act out passive aggressively. These actions break down the field of communication between the pair, sabotaging the strong connectivity that is possible in their relationship.
When this pattern continues an Eight can resort to more anger instead of recouping and changing approaches. A Nine will likely respond to the Eight’s churning anger by becoming more obstinate. The scene quickly becomes a lose-lose situation.
There is also a possibility of the Nine being completely crushed by the overpowering personality of the Eight. This means that the Eight is so dominant that the Nine loses track of their nascent sense of self. This creates a downward spiral.
An Eight will not be afraid of continuing to judge and utilize demeaning language towards a Nine. It is only natural for the Nine to finally withdraw and shut down. Rightly so, a Nine might at this point find an Eight’s behavior inexcusable. This 8-9 style of escalation can eventually result in permanently burnt bridges.a