Point Three: The Performer
Three in Love
Living with Threes:
- Threes feel loved for their achievements, not for who they are.
- The Three frames the relationship as an "important task"
that can be built.
- The Three expects appreciation from a mate for a winning image and
- Be aware of your Three's tendency to "do" feelings, for activity
to replace affect, and to adopt the role of the perfect lover with a script
of endearing things to say.
- Help your partner slow down activity related to intimacy long enough
to be affected by intimate feelings.
- Your Three partner will be intolerant of "darker" emotions.
Wants to tune out negative feedback. "Let's stay energetic and happy,"
"Let's do something together," "Let's have fun."
- If the Three partner takes responsibility for other people's "negative"
feelings ("What should I do to make you happy?"), hold out the
possibility that there is no quick solution to pain.
- Understand that your Three can readily confuse ideas about emotions
with the real thing.
- And, as real feelings emerge, your Three can be in a quandary: "Do
I have the right one? Am I doing this right? Tell me what I should feel."
- So Threes become especially anxious when activity is suspended and
feelings begin to come forth.
- Three partners need to be assured that they are loved for themselves,
not as the prototype of the perfect mate.
- A Three's heart is in his or her work. The Three will therefore need
a strong push from a partner to take time away from work.
Three at Work
In the Workplace:
- Assumes own ability. The instant expert.
- Confuses real self and work role. "I am what I do."
- Takes on the image and feelings of a task. Prototype of the profession.
- The priority is to be efficient and save time, even if this means cutting
corners. Takes the shortcut. Does several things at once. "Details
- Will stay on an expansionist track until the task is opposed, then
parlay options for the biggest possible win.
- Feels rage when tasks and goals are interrupted. Anger is usually task
- Values product over process. "How much did I produce?"
- Being respected for ability as a worker is more important than being
- Machinelike achiever. Expects others to work in the same way.
- Projects a high-profile image -- credentials, social standing, "who's
- Exerts power over people; competes for leadership roles.
- Wants a clear path to success. Shoots for defined goals. Wants reward
for effort. Intolerant of ambiguous returns.
- Pays selective attention to positive feedback. Image has to be maintained.
Intolerant of criticism. Places responsibility elsewhere if failure occurs.
- Avoids failure. Switches tracks. Finds a presentation that works.
- Has difficulty telling the difference between being admired as a leader
and being liked for himself or herself.
The Enneagram in Love & Work:
Understanding Your Intimate & Business Relationships
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995, 417 pages