Type One: Body Language and Speaking Style

agence-producteurs-locaux-damien-kuhn-97746-unsplash“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” ― Augustine of Hippo

“One minute was enough, Tyler said, “A person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort.” ― Chuck PalahniukFight Club

A Type One on the Enneagram is often called “The Perfectionist” because of their constant inner voice that sees everything as black and white; perfect and imperfect. The attention of the One in autopilot goes to any perceived imperfection. They notice the two percent failure of a job done ninety-eight percent well. This hyper-focus on what needs to be changed or made perfect can push them to become unbalanced. They become hyper-critical of themselves and others, arrogant in their idea of their own rightness, and excessively judgmental.

Ones often struggle with anger as a secondary emotion; their primary emotion being whatever the One felt immediately before feeling angry. For instance, a Republican father talking to his Democratic son about politics. He sees his son’s views as dangerous and he becomes anxious and worried that his son is supporting the “wrong” ideas. The One father will not express the anxiety or worry, but his tone of voice gets louder, he becomes tenser, and he begins to show lots of anger as he talks. Eventually, he gets so angry he has to walk away from the conversation, without ever paying attention to his primary emotions of anxiety and worry.

When encountering a Type One you will hardly ever see their anger but you can detect in it their body language. They will hold themselves erect, spine straight, and have stiff arms and legs. They will often punctuate their words with sharp hand gestures near their face.

Type Ones will generally have very neat appearances. Their shirts will be tucked in, their hair combed, and everything will be ironed.

Their gazes will be piercing and unwavering and their mouths downturned or in a thin straight line. They clench their teeth. You will frequently observe Ones engage in “deep sighing” during difficult conversations. The One is angered but feels that anger is not a correct emotion to express. Anger is sinful, or not moral, or not how a proper citizen should act, therefore they repress their anger—but it builds up much like a volcano builds up heat and lava and steam. A deep sigh is a way for the One to vent their steam, to let a bit of their anger out in an unconscious way.

When a One speaks their tone will be forceful and intimidating. They love to engage in dialogue about topics where they feel there is a right or wrong outcome. They want to debate to get to the truth, tending to focus on subjects like rules, procedures, obligations, responsibilities, flaws, operations, and mistakes.

jpegGiorgio Locatelli from Britain’s Big Family Cooking Showdown is the perfect example of a One. He literally prowls about the set, his brown eyes like lasers as he stares into the camera or the poor trembling cooks. He expects perfection he says, and nearly growls, “but I also am looking to see that they’re having fun!” Cooking must be fun for families and Giorgio is there to scare that fun into them whether they like it or not. He is quick to judge a dish “a shame” when it doesn’t come out absolutely perfect and it’s almost painful to watch the family cooks wilt under his harsh criticisms.

When Ones can quiet the inner critic they access their Type Seven tendencies: they become winsome and engaging, drawing on a sense of humor to lighten conversations. Joy, fun, and pleasure become part of their experiences as they accept the imperfection of life. They relax a bit and contribute intuitiveness and an innate sense of the natural order of things, but they don’t impose these ideals, they are content to live out wisdom and rightness in their own lives and accept the humanity of others. They allow others to be on their own path. They offer discerning insights to problems when they are in health and can become wise advisors.

Other Famous Ones: Harrison Ford, Emma Thompson, Hilary Clinton



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