Type 9: The Mediator


The Mediator is an accepting, calming and steady personality with a strong belief that love and belonging are earned by blending in with other people’s agendas. Mediators habitually focus their attention on other people’s wants and needs and on environmental distractions. The are driven by an inertia or sloth  toward themselves and their own priorities. Challenges for this comfort-seeking type who considers all sides of an issue include being ambivalent, self-deprecating and passive-aggressive.

Each Enneagram type has its own idealization, avoidance and defense mechanism which holds the idealization “in place”. 

For Type Nine:

Idealized self-image: “I am peaceful”.

Avoidance: Conflict and discomfort.

Defense Mechanism: Narcotization or “numbing out”; when conflict or an uncomfortable situation arises, the nine may become physically tired or busy with inessentials to avoid the difficult matter. They will also use things like T.V., food, exercise, talking or alcohol/drugs to numb. “I will deal with this later. Time for some ice cream and a movie….”

The Nines tendency of focusing  on inessentials and environmental distractions allows them to leave the present moment with its conflict and discomfort.

What to expect if you are in a relationship with a Mediator:

  • When a Mediator doesn’t say “no” it does not mean they mean “yes”. Make sure you draw out their preference.
  • Expect Nines to say back what you want to hear. This doesn’t mean that it’s what they want.
  • Your needs seem louder and more significant  than their own.
  • Choice surfaces by process of elimination. Nines know what they don’t want not what they do.
  • Notice simple things that they like and participate with them.
  • Under pressure, expect a retreat into the routine mechanics of relating. Nines forget themselves in familiar routine which is often shaped to please another.
  • Once a priority surfaces, it needs a clear way forward to succeed.
  • Appreciation is paramount. Nines participate in other people’s lives. They need us to notice.

Learning to recognize the patterns of type, accepting them with compassion and learning to relax them brings us to the present moment where life can be experienced more fully. Recognizing these patterns in others helps us understand and relate to them.

Practices for growth:

  • Make self important.
  • Set own boundaries, limits, and priorities.
  • Love self as well as others.
  • Accept discomfort and pain as part of life.
  • Cultivate a mindfulness practice and notice the difference between mindfulness and numbing out.
  • Leslie’s meditations for Nines

Feeling grateful for something helps keep our focus and energy on it. This is helpful when working with the Enneagram because gratitude automatically shifts focus away from those things which habitually grab attention to perhaps more productive or nourishing things.  Intentionally cultivating a gratitude practice is an excellent way to broaden our focus of attention.

For the Nine, gratitude for your unique contribution to a situation, project, relationship.

Sources: Helen Palmer; Type Nine panelists; Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition

2s and 9s are often confused because they are both “other referencing” meaning their focus of attention is outside of themselves and on others. I flesh out the differences between the two in this video.

Here’s the 9 video in my Enneagram Shorts series:


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