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The Social One Enneagram Personality Subtype

The Social One, according to Beatrice Chestnut (2013) is less of a perfectionist than most Ones and focuses more on being the perfect example for others of the right way to be. This One is not an internally anxious person striving to be perfectionistic, but rather a paragon of correct conduct. Social Ones have a need to represent the perfect model of the way to be or do things through their actions- to teach others by example.

Wagner (2010) notes that when the Achille’s Heel of Enneagram One (Anger) contaminates the instinct for belonging and social/group relations, non-adaptability is sometimes the result.

Here anger gets expressed through rigid uncompromising social ideals and beliefs. Though Social ONES are more easygoing and they express their energy more moderately than the intense Intimate ONES, they can become stubborn and refuse to budge on certain issues, often in the area of morality. They can come across as very moralizing, insisting that things be done their way, taking a stand on their moral code since they believe they are in the right. They are often social reformers who want to change the system rather than conform to society’s code of ethics. They have difficulty identifying with or going along with the system if they believe it is not morally correct. For example, Abraham Lincoln wanted a united nation but risked a schism because he would not accommodate to the prevailing morality that sanctioned slavery.

Social ONES may form a group to get people to adopt their point of view, or join a group of like-minded people such as “Birthright” or “Freedom of Choice.” ONES find themselves fully convicted on either side of controversies.

Ichazo also labeled this type “Non-adaptability” and Naranjo calls this subtype “Rigidity,” describing the Social One as having a kind of “school teacher” mentality. Non-adaptability or rigidity refers to the tendency of this character to rigidly adhere to particular ways of being and doing things, as a way of expressing exclusive ownership of the “right” way to be, think and behave.

In this Social One subtype, anger is half-hidden. Where the heat of anger changes into warmth in the Self-Preservation One, in this personality there is a transformation of the heat of anger into cold. This character tends to be a cooler, more intellectual type, in which the main characteristic is control. However, the anger of the Social One is not completely repressed, because there is an equivalent of anger in their passion for being the owner of the truth. In this subtype, anger gets channeled into an overconfidence about being right or “perfect.”

The Social one has a (usually unconscious) need to feel superior or to appear superior (because a conscious desire to be superior would constitute bad behavior). It is as if they are implicitly saying, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” They have an underlying need to make others wrong to have some power over them. If I’m right and you’re wrong, then I have more right than you to control the situation. Like my Social One father always use to say: “I’ve never been wrong, except once, when I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken.”

Social Ones learn to repress emotions from a very early age; they were usually good kids who did not cause problems. They may have been young adults who acted “older” than they really were, who often forgot that they were children.

A person of this subtype may purposely not adjust to changing times or customs. A Social One tends to persist in a particular way of doing things that she thinks is right, despite others having evolved into doing it a different way. This One displays the general attitude, “This is how it is and I’m going to tell you how it should be.”

Not surprisingly, Social Ones automatically take on the role of teacher. Social Ones have the sense that demonstrating and modeling what they are teaching is equally or more valuable than what they say. It’s the idea that a good model goes a long way toward making the point be taught. They may also be unaware of the need to appear superior, but may receive feedback from others that they are acting like a “know-it-all.”

This is the Type One who resembles Type Five in that this character can be more introverted and may seem a bit “above it all” and emotionally detached. They separate themselves from the crowd because they are perfect and therefore superior. They never feel completely comfortable in the groups they frequent; they tend to feel alienated. But while Fives focus primarily on conserving energy and resources, Ones focus more on making things perfect and their anger is closer to the surface.

In relationships, Social Ones can have high expectations. They tend to have more confidence in themselves than in others. They can seem remote at times, being self-sufficient to the point of not seeming to need others. It can also prove difficult for partners and friends to convince Social Ones that a perspective other than their own can be correct. They are great reasoners and will argue their point energetically. They dominate through making the other person wrong, and it can be hard to convince them of the validity of a competing point of view.

Here’s a Social One, interviewed by Chestnut explaining how they roll:

“In my daily life, I tend to put a lot of energy into getting things right, and then get annoyed when others don’t. For example, one thing I hate is when people park over the line of a parking space, because now the space beside it is too small for me to park my car. I therefore make a point of always parking right between the lines when I park my car (sometimes to my wife’s utter exasperation: “I can’t get out on my side!”), because that’s the right way to behave and that’s the way I would like everyone else to behave. So it’s not so much being picky as it is about setting an example for everyone else.

In my profession as an orchestra conductor, my attention to detail in preparing for a rehearsal gives me great confidence when it’s time to step in front of the orchestra at a performance. It’s like when you know you’ve prepared well for a test. I know the music well, I’ve gone over every part, and I’m confident that I can set a good example to inspire the players to make good music.”

The Path to Healthy Integration for a Social One:

Social Ones can travel the path from the “Vice” of anger to the “Virtue” of Serenity by reminding themselves that there is no ultimately right or perfect way in the world of the conditioned personality. Social Ones can relax into serenity through learning that true power comes from not doing it right or being superior in your knowledge, but from the impulse beneath the fact that you want so much to find the best way and share it with others. Your sincere desire to find the best ways to do things and show others these paths to goodness and improvement is clear proof that you are lovable as you are, and that you don’t need to prove your worth through what you can teach us. Remembering that there are many right or good ways to the truth helps you embody the humility and relaxation in the things you do that is the heart of serenity for you.