Enneagram 1 in Conflict: 3 Tips on How to Resolve Issues

1 April 2024

Conflicts are an inevitable part of the human experience. Whether we see them as opportunities for growth or threats to our well-being it largely depends on our inherent traits. For Type One, known as the Perfectionist, conflicts are particularly complicated, as Enneagram 1 in conflict is challenged on many levels.

In this article, we’ll explore how the Enneagram test and theory evaluate Enneagram 1 in conflict, with the aim of shedding light on the most effective conflict management strategies for Perfectionists.

What is Enneagram Type 1 Like?

Enneagram Type One, also known as the Reformer and the Perfectionist, is defined by its drive to do everything right. Ones have a strong sense of inner values, morals, and justice, and they feel it is their duty to ensure that order is respected in their community, both on a local and global level.

Reformers strive for perfection in everything they do. They are selfless in their effort to make the world a better place, guided by their altruistic ideals and sense of higher purpose.

However, the smallest mistake can make them feel desperate, as they hold a deep belief that only if they perform perfectly do they deserve love and respect. Moreover, their inner critic is merciless, and they often impose unrealistic standards on themselves.

It is also important to note that there are two Type One subtypes, One with a Nine wing (1w9) and One with a Two wing (1w2).

Since we won’t dive into the concept of Enneagram wings in this article, if you’re not familiar with it, feel free to explore it in detail here. However, to give you a general idea, 1w2 is a bit more extroverted and compassionate, while 1w9 is completely devoted to their community.

But regardless of their subtype, Ones take life seriously and often assume leadership roles, as they are courageous and consistent in their striving toward a better future.

Enneagram 1 in Conflict: 3 Common Triggers

Enneagram 1 in conflict reacts to specific triggers that target their core weaknesses.

Here are a few of their most significant ones:

#1. Mistakes

Ones need to come a long way before they understand that mistakes are an inevitable part of life and that they actually give more value to the things we do right. For them, mistakes are unforgivable, and they are quick to point both to their own and other people’s errors and incompetence.

However, what Perfectionists perceive as mistakes is often just a part of the learning process for someone, which is why people see them as too demanding. Consequently, they might make a lot of enemies around them due to their obsession with fixing other people's mistakes the second they notice them.

#2. Injustice

Ones have a very low tolerance for injustice, and they will fight against it even at the cost of their own comfort and well-being. Witnessing injustice and doing nothing about it is something that the Perfectionist is not capable of.

Though they are not as confrontational as Type Eight in conflict, they will never fail to stand up for what they believe in and defend justice.

#3. Rule-Breaking

Ones love structure, organization, and order. They are frequently the ones who establish rules for their organizations and society at large, and they exercise extreme caution and consideration when implementing those rules.

Therefore, people who knowingly break the rules trigger their fear of losing control, which is why they are quick to start a conflict with them.

How Enneagram Type 1 Behaves During Conflict

Ones behave respectfully and decently during conflicts, and they will avoid resorting to hitting their opponent below the belt, regardless of how furious they are.

Perfectionists are known for their integrity and honor, so they give their best to remain consistent and composed, yet relentless during conflict. They seek to clarify the situation first, name the cause of the conflict, and then explain their expectations in regard to it.

Moreover, Enneagram 1 in conflict assertively expresses their disapproval before providing a thorough analysis of what they believe would be the best course of action to resolve the problem at hand.

While they believe they are being objective and rational, they often forget that other people may not share their standards and expectations.

For this reason, Ones may find themselves overwhelmed when the other side expresses disapproval of what they suggest as a resolution.

As their anger boils on the inside, they become more and more critical of other people, and they may even become cruel and cold at some point if the situation is taken to the extreme.

While they will not burst into rage, they might assume a severely judgmental and arrogant attitude, which is often their passive-aggressive way of dealing with their feelings in conflict.

How Enneagram 1 Resolves Conflict

Enneagram 1 resolves conflict in a reasonable, efficient manner. Though they are highly idealistic, they are also very practical and will have no trouble accepting logical explanations and facts as long as they lead to a constructive resolution.

They may need some time to withdraw and process all aspects of the conflict at hand, if that’s applicable to the situation, and then return composed and ready to negotiate.

If they don’t see any acceptable solution to the problem behind the conflict, they will not give up on their goal or point of view. Rather, Ones will regroup and carefully devise a new strategy for fighting for their cause.

Meanwhile, Ones will never be mean, impolite, or rude to their opponents unless that’s absolutely necessary, which is rarely the case. Moreover, they will always respect all the rules and procedures related to the issue, even when breaking them would be to their own benefit.

How to Resolve a Conflict With Enneagram Type 1

Resolving a conflict with Type One requires tact and kindness. Though they may be extremely hard headed and one-sided in their perfectionistic expectations of other people, they will always react positively to respect and fair play.

So, if you are dealing with an Enneagram 1 in conflict, make sure to acknowledge their point of view, validate their expectations, and avoid being critical of them even when they deserve it. They are highly sensitive to criticism, and even constructive feedback may make them feel attacked.

Therefore, after showing respect for them, move on to a rational and efficient analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of their and your points of view. Be kind and patient, as they will want to understand every detail of the issue at hand.

Finally, be honest and direct with them. They appreciate your honesty, no matter whether they agree with you or not.

5 Tips for Enneagram 1 When Dealing With Conflict

A few simple strategies can significantly help Ones grow through conflicts instead of triggering their stress response.

Here are some practical tips:

  1. Nurture flexibility. By acknowledging that there are many ways to do something successfully and by exploring them, Ones will learn to be more flexible in their views. Moreover, they will learn that their rigidity isn’t protecting but limiting them.
  2. Choose their battles wisely. Ones need to learn that not every detail is worth the effort of starting a conflict and disrupting the harmony in their environment. It is critical that they realize that some slip-ups are simply the product of growing pains rather than deliberate acts of incompetence or carelessness.
  3. Let go of the need to control the outcome. To understand compromise, Ones need to let go of the need to have everything under control. They often insist on their way of doing things because it gives them a sense of control, not because they aren’t aware there are other ways.
  4. Foster empathy. By focusing on rules and procedures, Ones often forget that there are many more aspects to a conflict than what is brought to the table. This way, they fail to notice subtle emotional cues that could help them get their point across. By focusing on active listening and trying to understand their opponents’ motivation on a deeper level, Ones will gain a new perspective and insight into the situation.
  5. Focus on solutions instead of mistakes. One’s inner critic is relentless and cruel, which is one reason why they are so rigid in their views. Moreover, they are often prone to noticing the negative aspects of every situation, which may make them seem unjust and cruel in the eyes of other people. Optimism and forgiveness toward themselves and others will emerge as byproducts of their shift in attention to potential solutions.

How to Improve Your Conflict Management Skills

By learning to handle conflicts more effectively, you’ll open the door to advancement in all areas of your life. Discover your Enneagram type, understand your conflict style, and learn to use both your strengths and weaknesses to your advantage by taking our free personality test!

Key Takeaways

So, Enneagram 1s in conflict will typically display all their key traits—from perfectionism to passive aggression.

In addition, though their attitude toward conflicts may slightly vary depending on which Enneagram wing they have, Ones are always more prone to seeking solutions than to escalating conflicts.

So, let’s round off by highlighting a few key insights about Enneagram 1 in conflict:

  • Ones are triggered by mistakes, injustice, and rule-breaking.
  • Enneagram 1 in conflict remains respectful, polite, and rational, yet very determined.
  • Nurturing flexibility and empathy allows Perfectionists to grow from conflicts.