Defy Gender Stereotypes and Common Misconceptions With Enneagram

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Defy Gender Stereotypes and Common Misconceptions With Enneagram

Many tend to treat their partners according to the stereotypes of their gender. Women are hopeless romantics who appreciate the large, unexpected spectacle. Men enjoy practical things that they can use and prefer not to engage in lavish celebrations. Seem familiar?

Why relating to your partner according to what his or her gender says? Instead, as his or her special someone, tailor your gifts and expressions of love according to how you know them, through the understanding of their personality type. Enneagram Personality Profiling defies some gender stereotypes that have somehow stood the test of time, and takes your understanding of your partner to a deeper level.

1. Women love surprises?

Contrary to popular convention, a grand surprise is not always the way to affirm your place in a woman’s heart. It may be true for most women, but if you ever have a Type 5 partner, this may be a landmine for you. Type 5s tend to dislike spontaneity and have a relatively high preference for predictability and stability. They take a longer time to warm up and prefer to know what to expect beforehand. As such, they are especially prone to reacting badly to surprises. The mismatch between female stereotypes and personality traits proved disastrous for one of my clients.

While she was studying abroad, her boyfriend flew over to surprise her and even proposed to her then, thinking it was the ultimate romantic gesture. To other females, that might have been sweet and meant a lot, but to a Type 5, she was taken aback twofold by his sudden arrival and the quick acceleration in their relationship.

In recounting the events, she told me she simply froze up and felt like she was having a heart attack. This misunderstanding of her preference made one of the most important and meaningful events of her life less than it could have been.

2. Only women are emotional

It is a common complaint that men do not want to deal with the fluctuation and whims of female emotion that they assume all women have. This actually differs from female to female based on their personality type as well. Type 5 and 9 women tend to be relatively less emotional and are more moderated in expressions.

Type 9s often have a poker face and may even zone out in situations where an emotional reaction would be expected of women. Type 5s sometimes could be seen as cold, discrediting others’ emotions and not in being touch with their emotions at all. For all the men that complain about dealing with the mystery of female emotions, they can consider going for Type 5 and 9 women who have more stable emotions and reactions. Of course, flip side to the coin, you may find them not as animated as you would prefer.

In contrast to the conventional “macho” male persona, Type 4 men are highly emotional, and can be even more so than women. They are likely to have more emotional depth than some women. Type 7 women may be very animated but potentially lack in this depth compared to a Type 4 man.

3. Men prefer practical gifts

Against common perspectives, gift giving should not be gendered. To say that men prefer practical gifts are highly flawed. This can be explained by both their types and instincts. Types that prefer practical gifts are Type 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8. Those who would prefer “thoughtful gifts” (a handwritten card, a poem, a song) are Type 2, 4, 7 and 9. Of course this may have slight variations depending on their wings and instincts.

Underlying this, it can be explained by instincts, a sub-profile of the Enneagram. People can actually swing between instincts, either the one-to-one instincts, social or self-preservation instincts. Those with dominant self-preservation instinct actually do conform to the preference for practical gifts such as food, a shirt, a bag or watch.

However, if you take these same gifts to someone with high one-to-one instincts, they would perceive this as “you are fixing a problem” or “doing it by the way” and not so much giving a gift. They do not see these or acts like helping around the house as gestures of love, but as a daily occurrence or maintenance. Instead, they appreciate customized thoughtful gifts or spending quality time more. They rather receive gifts that reflect your unique romance and passion for them. It is the thought that counts to make them feel special. The gift need not be expensive and can even be for free, such as meaningful words in a card, a walk by the beach, or just a great time together kissing in the park.

The mismatch between the two instincts can be frustrating. Take my client for example. He has high self-preservation instincts and cooked a fancy meal for his girlfriend to celebrate a milestone because that is how he would feel loved. However, what matters more to her is the “romantic” time spent together and not the meal itself. She would prefer a rose and a walk by the beach. As a result, he felt disappointed after putting in a lot of effort to show her love, she was unable to appreciate it at the same level as how he would have.

4. Men do not care about Valentines’ Day

Valentines’ Day is often seen as a day for women to be pampered by their boyfriends or husbands, while it is seen as a day of dread for men as they burn a huge hole in their pocket. It is not so much that men are indifferent about Valentines’ Day or expressing their love, they just have different perspectives to when to do it, this again boils down to their instincts.

In general, men are more likely to be self-preserving in nature. This is due to the pressure on them to put a roof over the head, to be the bread winner and provider. With this focus on money management, during Valentines’ Day, they are just being more practical as they do not think it is worth it to spend money because of all the mark ups when they could buy the same thing or plan a similar date at a significantly lower cost on any other day. It is not that they do not care, they just do not see the need to spend that kind of money.

However, men with higher one-to-one instincts would be more willing to spend time and money since they think the meaning behind the day is very important. They care more about the day than self-preserving men because they think that the romance of Valentines’ Day is something to be celebrated. Men with Type 4 personalities (The Individualistic Romantics) are likely to fall in this category.

Know your partner as a person

Evidently, each person is way more complex than what their gender stereotypes them to be. Enneagram Personality Profiling provides a powerful tool to view yourself and your partner in a new way and to manage expectations. Understanding your partner’s instincts and personality traits are very important in being able to make them feel loved, even if it is against your own or what their gender says about them. By harnessing this understanding, you can better express your love for each other and build a stronger and more intimate relationship.

Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong
A Dating and Relationship Coach who has helped many youths and professionals in their journey through relationship searching and building. Cindy is a direct and energetic individual, who aims to bring out the best in everyone she meets. Her extensive coaching and dating experience has helped her coach men to find their social standing in the society. Cindy holds a Bachelor Degree in Psychology, majoring in Communications and has done many research studies in the area of Gender Communications, Cultural Communications, Jealousy and Mating Choices. Get in touch with Cindy via email at
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