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Each enneagram type reacts to conflict in a different way. The conflict styles of each enneagram type are divided into three different groupings as each group has a common way of handling conflict (even though they have their own unique spin on it).

Conflict is a part of life. Even if you are the most peace loving, go-with-the-flow person, conflict will still find you.

Knowing how you handle conflict and the conflict styles of those around you can help you better resolve conflict and it will help you get along with others as well.

If you’ve looked into the enneagram for more than a minute, you’ve probably come across the word “triads”. Triads often refer to the Intelligence Centers but in reality the triads would refer to any of the groupings of three that we see in the enneagram.

The enneagram conflict styles are divided into one such triad often called the Harmonic Groups.

Harmonic Groups show how each type copes with and attempts to handle conflict as well as obstacles and disappointment. 

Depending on your type, you handle conflict in one of three ways. These three ways are know as the Positive Outlook Group, the Competency Group, and the Reactive Group.

Before we go on, please note that there is not a group that is “better” for conflict than the other, nor is there a “worse” group. Each group’s style is actually needed to holistically resolve conflict.

Also remember that this means that each type IS taking the conflict seriously; they just might be handling it in a different way than you are.

On top of learning about your conflict style in order to have better relationships with others, conflict styles can also help you determine your enneagram type if you are still trying to figure things out.

Conflict Styles of Each Enneagram Type


Conflict Style of Type 1

Type 1s are in the Competency Group when it comes to handling conflict.

This means that they have competency in mind when faced with conflict by being correct and sensible.

They manage their feelings by repressing and denying them and instead channel their feelings into activity to solve the issue at hand.

1s prefer to follow the system and can get upset with those who do not.

Conflict Style of Type 2

Type 2s are in the Positive Outlook Group when it comes to handling conflict.

This means that they have a positive outlook when faced with conflict by putting emphasis on their own positive self image.

They avoid their own needs and disappointment in order to try to relieve the conflict.

2s tend to over emphasize the needs of others and neglect their own needs.

Conflict Style of Type 3

Type 3s are in the Competency Group when it comes to handling conflict.

This means that they have competency in mind when faced with conflict by being efficient and outstanding.

They manage their feelings by repressing them and focusing on tasks to solve the issue at hand.

3s want to work within the system but will also want to work on their own outside of the system. They may have little patience for rules.

Conflict Style of Type 4

Type 4s are in the Reactive Group when it comes to handling conflict (it’s also known as the Emotional Realness or Intensity Group).

This means that they have strong emotions when faced with conflict by withdrawing and seeking a supporter.

They fear abandonment and that they will not have enough support to find themselves.

4s deal with others by keeping them interested by limiting access (playing hard to get).

Conflict Style of Type 5

Type 5s are in the Competency Group when it comes to handling conflict.

This means that they have competency in mind when faced with conflict by being an expert and having information.

They manage their feelings by detaching from them and staying cerebral in order to solve the issue at hand.

5s tend to reject the system and want to work on their own. They may have little patience for rules.

Conflict Style of Type 6

Type 6s are in the Reactive Group when it comes to handling conflict (it’s also known as the Emotional Realness or Intensity Group).

This means that they have strong emotions when faced with conflict by assessing people/situations and seek both independence and support (someone to rely on but they also want to be the strong one).

They fear abandonment, being without support and yet also fear becoming too dependent.

6s deal with others by being committed and reliable; staying engaged by being defensive.

Conflict Style of Type 7

Type 7s are in the Positive Outlook Group when it comes to handling conflict.

This means that they have a positive outlook when faced with conflict by putting emphasis on the positive experiences and environment.

They avoid their pain and their role in creating suffering so as not to lose that positivity in order to try to relieve the conflict.

7s tend to over emphasize their own needs and can be easily burdened by others’ needs.

Conflict Style of Type 8

Type 8s are in the Reactive Group when it comes to handling conflict (it’s also known as the Emotional Realness or Intensity Group).

This means that they have strong emotions when faced with conflict by openly expressing anger and seeking independence and self-reliance.

They fear being controlled, dominated, and being vulnerable.

8s deal with others by keeping their guard up and toughening themselves against pain.

Conflict Style of Type 9

Type 9s are in the Positive Outlook Group when it comes to handling conflict.

This means that they have a positive outlook when faced with conflict by putting emphasis on the positive qualities of others and their environment.

They avoid problems with their loved ones, their environment, and their own lack of development so as to not lose that positivity in order to try to relieve the conflict.

9s tend to have problems with their own needs and the needs of others.

Conflict Resolution Tips for the Positive Outlook Group

Remember that problems do not always just go away on their own. Realize that sometimes it is needed and beneficial to face a problem and work through the pain.

Try harnessing the Competency and Reactive Groups’ strengths by learning to approach problems with honest feelings and problem solving skills.

Conflict Resolution Tips for the Competency Group

Remember that problems are not always solved with just rules and logic (especially when people are involved!). Realize that sometimes it is needed and beneficial to deal with your feelings to fully process the problem and connect with those involved.

Try harnessing the Positive Outlook and Reactive Groups’ strengths by learning to approach problems with honest feelings and finding the silver lining.

Conflict Resolution Tips for the Reactive Group

Remember that problems are not always solved with just feelings and that the conflict is not the end of the world. Realize that sometimes it is needed and beneficial to monitor your displays of emotion as it deeply impacts others.

Try harnessing the Positive Outlook and Competency Groups’ strengths by learning to approach problems with problem solving skills and finding the silver lining.

Other Enneagram Groups:
The Hornevian Groups
Centers of Intelligence
The Harmony Groups

Conflict Styles of Each Enneagram Type