I know you’ve heard about the Enneagram by now. And not just from me, but a million other people, blogs, Instagram posts, podcasts, and print medias.
But I’m not done with it yet.
There’s still learning and work and discussing and refining to do as I learn more about how I was made and how I can get back to healthy. I hope by now you’ve done a little research or reading about the Enneagram too. Sure, a quick internet test is a good place to start, but don’t leave it there. Also, don’t take that result as the end-all, be-all. It takes time to learn your number. It takes time to understand your true motivation and hurts. But take an Enneagram test and then start exploring.
Just don’t leave it there.
Last Christmas when my First Thursday friends and I did our annual Favorite Things gift exchange, everyone got a copy of The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile plus the accompanying study guide. My friend Jessi and I were already knee-deep in the Enneagram, and we wanted everyone else to join us.
Most people were on board right away, excited to read the book and see what all the hype was about. One friend (*ahem* JENNIFER), lets us know all the time she only reads smut novels and anything for self-reflection or personal growth is a no-go. I would kindly and lovingly respond to that like this: if you refuse to read any book that proposes to make you a better, healthier version of yourself, you might be the exact person who needs to read it the most.
There, I said it. Moving on.
In the spring, I asked everyone to read the book and do the study. I also shared this online test with them as a great resource to use in their Enneagram research. Again, not the only tool you should use, but a good supplemental one.
As our May gathering approached, I volunteered to host dinner. I asked everyone to be done with the book and study guide by then and come to dinner with a food item to share that represents their number. We had already shared our numbers in a prior conversation, but this was OFFICIAL BOOK CLUB TIME. Everyone wore number tags (instead of name tags) and arrived bearing a food with some take–serious, funny, a stretch, literal, figurative–on their Enneagram number.
(Before I share how dinner went, I need to tell you how great my friends are. I come up with some crazy and weird ideas for us at our monthly dates. Remember when I had everyone write love notes to each other for Valentine’s Day? Years ago when I first suggested we do a Christmas gift exchange, I’m sure everyone rolled their eyes, but all these years later, for most of us, it’s our favorite holiday party. At a dinner recently, I started an argument on how to put on a bra then shared it on Instagram with a few thousand friends and no one batted an eye. So while my friends–some of them who have put up with me since kindergarten–complain and make fun of me for my annoying ideas, they also jump in without hesitation. In high school, that might have gotten us into trouble, but now as thirty-somethings, most of my ideas center around food and books and traveling.)
Dinner was so great. I put together a meat and cheese spread, because I was really feeling those this winter and spring. Plus, I didn’t want us to starve when everyone arrived with desserts. But that was not my Enneagram food. I’ll share that in a second.
Because I love a good book discussion, we centered the discussion on these three things: 1.) the food we prepared and how it represents our number, 2.) one Enneagram trait you felt hit the nail on the head, and 3.) one trait you felt didn’t fit you well.
Then we got to chime in with our observations or questions. It was such a fun evening. There was lots of laughing, a little crying, some truth-telling, and then more laughing.
Jessi, a Two, brought a pasta salad. She explained when deciding what to make, she immediately thought about what Chris Graham would want and then tried to allow enough time to whip up lasagna. Jessi is a helper, obviously, and wanted to make sure the one adult in the house not invited to the Enneagram dinner had something good to eat. She eventually went with a well-loved pasta salad she makes because it would feed us and then the leftovers, which get better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two, would take care of her family too. Twos LOVE to care for others and it made me laugh to hear Jessi explain her choice and never even consider what she might like to eat. Twos, man.
Our friend Jessica, at the time of our dinner, thought she was a Two also. She brought a huge variety bag of Ghirardelli chocolates knowing everyone loved chocolate and could find at least one kind they liked in the bag. It’s important to note Jessica is on the keto diet so she couldn’t technically eat any of the chocolates, but Twos forget to take care of themselves so it made sense. (Jessica has since realized through more study, she’s a Three, not a Two.)
Melissa is a Four, the Individualist. Fours are creative and feel all the feelings. They are also highly critical of themselves which fits perfectly with the elaborate fruit pizza Melissa brought. It’s not an easy or quick recipe and the minute she revealed it, she had to point out all the flaws and then take out her phone and show us the sugar cookie fail she had before she got it right. Fours think they can never be good enough but the fruit pizza was perfect and so is really-hard-on-herself Melissa.
My friend Heather is a Six. Sixes are committed, practical, and chronic worriers. So she brought a healthy bowl of fruit for our dinner–she wanted to make sure we had something nutritious and dependable. Heather was concerned we would eat too much junk food, and she wanted to follow the rules so she went with fruit. (This makes me laugh because it’s so perfect for Heather’s personality. Love it.)
Next is my friend, Krissy, and she’s a Seven. Sevens are fun, spontaneous, and adventurous. They have packed calendars and are always on the lookout for the next adventure or fun time which makes the charcuterie board she brought so fitting. Krissy said when she went shopping, she couldn’t commit to just one thing because there were too many good choices so she just bought everything she saw that looked good and threw it on a platter. This was also done last minute because Sevens don’t have time to plan what they’ll need ahead of time because that’s not fun.
Since I’m going in numerical order, I’m next. We’ve discussed before that I’m an Eight. Eights are very black and white and can come off as cold if you don’t know them well. Obviously, I picked the most flattering traits to focus on–so I went with Oreo milkshakes. Black and white cookies for our tendencies and ice cream because we can seem cold. Throw all that stuff in the mixer, add a splash of milk, and you’ve got yourself a sweet treat representative of an Enneagram Eight. Which is a good overall lesson: Eights can seem too much sometimes, but if you give us a little time and let us soften, we are a great after-school snack. (Didn’t see that coming, did you??)
And last but not least is Jennifer our resident Nine. Nines are pleasant, diplomatic, and accommodating. (Side note: I’m married to a Nine.) It tickles me to write that list out, because as the date of our dinner approached, Jennifer tried to get each girl’s favorite cupcake so she could go to a well-loved bakery in town and get what each of us wanted. She was taking requests to make all of us happy and was going to DRIVE ACROSS THE CITY to buy them for us. That’s a Nine, guys. Here to keep the peace, here to do whatever we want to please us. But since we all know her well enough to say knock it off, Jenny, that’s too much effort, she brought a decadent cheesy potato dish overflowing with bacon and love in the form of carbs and fat. She knows everyone loves bacon and cheese and this was the second best option to make sure we all loved what she made us. NINES! They make really good food and are here for requests.
Oh man, I loved this dinner–I loved hearing why everyone brought their food, I loved the discussions we had about our favorite parts about ourselves, and what we would like to work on. I always look forward to sitting around a table once a month with these girls, and this book club did not disappoint.
Are you into the Enneagram? Gather some fellow Enneagram nerds and do an Enneagram dinner. It’s a silly, fun way to learn about each other and starts a lot of great conversations. Promise.
If you need your own girls’ club–and I believe you do–here’s a good place to start.
DISCLOSURE: AFFILIATE LINKS USED.
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