Enneagram 3 in Conflict—What Triggers the Achiever?

1 April 2024

Enneagram Type 3, or the Achiever, is a practical and success-driven individual who cares a lot about their image. They’re also incredibly competitive, which brings us to the topic of Enneagram 3 in conflict.

So, how does this Enneagram type react when facing a conflict? How do they handle confrontations, and is there any way to avoid getting into such situations with them? This guide will provide you with all the answers you need and some valuable tips for handling conflicts with this personality type.

What Is Enneagram Type 3 Like?

Enneagram Type 3, also known as the Achiever, is the most self-assured type. They’re passionate, energetic, goal-oriented, and know how to succeed. In fact, most of them have been learning the art of succeeding since they were children, when they were most likely encouraged to do their best.

To Enneagram Threes, success is not about being wealthy or famous. Instead, they strive to distinguish themselves and earn the love and acceptance they yearn for. They are highly aware of their strengths, which include:

  • Pragmatism.Threes don’t dwell on “whats” and “ifs.” Instead, they strive to find applicable solutions to problems and challenges.
  • Charm.Charismatic and charming, Threes have no problem attracting attention.
  • Strong will to succeed.Achievers are goal-oriented, so they always manage to level up in their careers and personal lives.
  • Great communication skills.Threes can communicate their way into being liked and getting what they want.

They also have some weaknesses, including:

  • Stress over failures. Achievers strive to succeed, so they take failures personally and may take some time to recover from them.
  • Emotional detachment. In Threes’ success-oriented minds, emotions are distracting, so they tend to suppress their feelings as much as they can.
  • Excessive competitiveness. Achievers see everyone who attracts attention as a rival, which can lead them to become extremely competitive.
  • Preoccupation with their image. These people value their image so much that they can confuse it with real achievements. However, the Enneagram 3w4 personality type may be an exception, as they usually put their values above other people’s validation.

5 Triggers for Enneagram 3

According to the Enneagram test, Achievers want to succeed at all costs, so their conflict triggers usually stem from their fear of failure. Some of the most likely triggers for Threes are:

  1. Being criticized. Achievers seek validation, which is why they usually don’t welcome criticism. They see it as an attack on their image and become defensive.
  2. Feeling overlooked and unappreciated. Threes enjoy being in the limelight and will fight for it if they suspect others don’t recognize their efforts. This can lead them to become unhealthy, frustrated, and even resentful, which can affect their relationships in the long run.
  3. Being doubted. Since they highly value competence, Achievers don’t react well when others doubt or question their abilities. They go into defense mode and feel the need to prove themselves in their full glory.
  4. Being out of control. Threes prefer to be in full control of themselves, which is why they strive to assert dominance and regain power when they feel something slipping away.
  5. Feeling vulnerable. Achievers keep their emotions under wraps to stay focused on their goals. When something (or someone) makes them resurface, Threes feel a threat to their perfect public image, which can result in conflict.

How Enneagram Type 3 Behaves During Conflict

Enneagram 3 in conflict is assertive and confident, as per usual.

Their strategic thinking allows them to rely on their minds when navigating such situations. However, they also put much pressure on themselves to have a picture-perfect image. Combined with their vulnerability avoidance, that can hinder their ability to resolve conflict.

During conflicts, Threes tend to assert themselves to defend their position and reach their goals. Since success means everything to them, they may see a conflict as a way to prove themselves, so they aim to win the argument while maintaining emotional control.

With their eyes on the prize, Achievers will adjust their approach depending on the situation. Although strategic, they are flexible, so they can adapt their tactics to circumstances. However, if they feel they’re losing the battle, Threes may resort to manipulation, often managing to get things their way because of their natural charisma.

How Enneagram 3 Resolves Conflict

Achievers always strive to be in the limelight—even when they get into a conflict—but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re selfish. Thanks to their flexibility, they can be willing to compromise. That way, they can reach their goals while addressing other people’s needs and concerns.

They also approach conflict situations head-on without beating around the bush. They prefer to be straightforward and express their point clearly.

Additionally, Threes concentrate on the outcome and don’t allow their focus to dissipate. Thus, you can expect them not to dwell on the past or assign blame. Instead, they’re likely to ask for your feedback to understand how their actions may have contributed to the conflict at hand.

Whatever tactics they use in a conflict, Achievers tend to stay calm and collected, preserving their public image. It’s in their nature to face conflicts with grace and professionalism.

How to Resolve a Conflict With Enneagram Type 3

If you want to resolve a conflict with an Achiever, you need to understand their communication style and motivation.

They’re straightforward and respectfuland seek to find win-win solutions to conflicts. Moreover, they understand other people’s emotions and acknowledge them, especially if they belong to the 3w2 type, as Threes with the Two wings are more in tune with their emotions.

So, to reach common ground with a Three, you should be clear and direct. Focus on practical ways to deal with the issue instead of on past grievances, as wasting time throwing accusations will lead you nowhere.

Since Threes doesn’t shy away from compromising, neither should you. Instead of fighting them, work together to find a solution that suits you both, at least to some extent. With that mindset, you can practice active listening, acknowledge their point of view, and offer valuable feedback.

While it’s important to know what to do in a conflict with an Achiever, it may be even more essential to know what not to do. Threes are highly sensitive to their insecurities, so refrain from bringing these up and criticizing them. Instead, try to be diplomatic and constructive.

Additionally, avoid emotional outbursts so as not to come across as unreasonable to a goal-oriented Achiever.

4 Tips for Enneagram 3 When Dealing With Conflict

If you’re an Achiever, you know how frustrating it can be when people don’t cooperate during conflict. However, there are some things you can do to avoid feeling resentful or defensive. Remember, it takes two to tango, just like it takes two to create a conflict and resolve it.

Therefore, just like you expect others to adjust to your ways of dealing with conflicts, you need to make some adjustments yourself. So, here are some tips for Enneagram 3 in conflict that may help you resolve difficult situations more easily:

  1. Embrace vulnerability. Being vulnerable is a part of the human experience, so don’t shy away from it. When you embrace vulnerability, it becomes your strength.
  2. Appreciate constructive feedback. No one likes to be criticized, but it’s how we grow. If someone offers constructive criticism, they’re not attacking you but expressing their perspective and offering advice. Take it as an opportunity to improve yourself, not just at handling conflict, but in general.
  3. Be realistic. Although you may want to jump to the solution right away and move on, you need to understand that resolving conflicts may take some time. Be patient with others and allow them to communicate their needs at their own pace.
  4. Ask for a hand. Even if you’re strong, competent, and successful, you’re only human. If a particular conflict is hard on you, ask friends for support. They may even offer their perspective on the situation and help you resolve it.

Improve Your Self-Awareness With Our Free Enneagram Test

Knowing your Enneagram personality type can help you better understand yourself. Additionally, it gives others an insight into your inner world so they can get to know you on a deeper level—and this goes for handling conflicts, too.

So why wait? Take our Enneagram test for free and start exploring your psyche from within. The thorough analysis and useful tips crafted for your type can help you learn to form healthy connections with others based on respect and understanding!

Key Takeaways

Although Achievers can get defensive when criticized, they usually handle conflicts well if you approach them correctly.

Without unnecessary drama and accusations, Threes can focus on resolving a conflict in a way that benefits both them and you. They’re strategic, straightforward, and respectful of other people’s perspectives. Also, they express their point clearly but also want to hear yours, so use this to your advantage and offer constructive feedback diplomatically to reach common ground with them.