TV SHOWS & THE ENNEAGRAM | The Office

Monica Moser
35 min readJan 16, 2020

Hey all. Here’s another installment of my Television Shows & The Enneagram series. The original site I posted this series on does not exist anymore! I slowly got them on back on here (Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill and Parks & Rec).

Listen to an accompanying podcast episode on The Office & The Enneagram on my show Monologue HERE.

To recap…

The Enneagram is an ancient tool that has roots in several wisdom traditions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Father Richard Rohr learned about the Enneagram and was one of the first people to publish a book about it in English. It gained popularity as a tool within spiritual direction. Today it is widely taught as a way of understanding personality, addiction, and relationships.

It is a “dynamic system” recognizing that humans are far too complex and nuanced to fit easily into simple categories. It supports the full human journey as it evolves and matures. It’s a powerful tool for self-discovery, but it doesn’t seek to be the only tool out there. It’s most helpful when used in conjunction with other practices like study, meditation, spiritual direction, and life in community with others. And while self-discovery is important, it isn’t the Enneagram’s final objective.

Its purpose is to help us uncover the traps that keep us from living fully and freely as our True Self so that we will use our unique, authentic gifts for the good of others and the world.

(I’ve been reading The Road Back to You by Ian Crohn and couldn’t recommend it more.)

I decided to do a series where I would “enneatype” a TV show’s most prominent characters and then analyze how it affects their role in the show and the way they relate to others.

First up was one of my all-time favorite shows, Gilmore Girls. You can read that article here (once it’s up I will link!). Check out One Tree Hill and Parks & Rec as well.

For my next one I had to go with quite possibly my favorite show of all time. It’s a show I’ve been watching over and over since I was 13. And this time each character has been typed including their “wing.”

I present to you:

The Office & The Enneagram

CHARACTERS

Erin Hannon is a Type 6 (The Loyalist) with a Type 7 wing (The Enthusiast)

Type Sixes are committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious — running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion.

Type Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

So as I first started reading the description of a 6 I thought nah. But then reading about their proneness to anxiety, reactivity and suspicion, it clicked for me. The 7 wing was then a no brainer as playful and scattered definitely describes our adorable Erin Hannon.

The Enneagram Six with a Seven-Wing is called “The Buddy.”

6w7 Breakdown:

  • They are enthusiastic and friendly
  • 6w7s are more insecure than 6w5s
  • More inclined to ask for feedback than 6w5s are
  • 6w7s trust either too little or too much, rarely just right.

Erin is probably my favorite addition to The Office cast for the later seasons. She’s so odd and so adorably concerning.

We see her 6w7 tendencies in the way that she never feels full confidence in her job, or how disposable cameras actually work.

For so long she doesn’t trust the way Andy feels about her and then when they finally do get together, and he goes a little crazy, she stays with him way too long. But thankfully cute Pete comes along and is respectful in a way that shows her what she really deserves. I love how their relationship seems to be a bit of a foil for Jim and Pam.

Ellie Kemper’s delivery of Erin’s odd one-liners is one of the very best parts of the later seasons. I love this anxious, impulsive, joyously innocent character.

Angela Martin is a Type 8 (The Challenger) with a Type 9 wing (The Peacemaker)

“Peacemaker” is not what you think of when you think of Ms. Angela Martin, but hang in here with me. It’s just her wing and combined with an 8, it makes sense.

Type Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self- mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.

Type Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness.

This subtype is super contradictory and I think it really represents Angela who’s mostly a pure 8, but does have 8w9 tendencies.

The Enneagram Eight with a Nine-Wing is called “The Bear.”

8w9 breakdown:

  • 8w9s are more simple and no-nonsense, don’t say as much as 8w7, less mental energy
  • They gather strength from a place of calm rather than the 8w7’s rapid-fire release
  • They want to make things solid and structured, self-fortified
  • They are more likely to “endure” and then attack rather than throw the first punch, they’ll steadily bring you down with the force of the earth, double gut

These attributes could not describe Miss Angela Martin more. She’s more calculated than directly aggressive, especially when she’s heading up The Party Planning Committee and particularly when she’s dealing with Phyllis.

She seems like she mostly just wants to be left alone and she certainly loves things being structured. I love watching her interactions with Pam knowing they’re besties in real life.

Ryan Howard is a Type 3 (The Achiever) with a Type 4 wing (The Individualist)

Type Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.

Type Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity.

The Enneagram Three with a Four-Wing is called “The Professional.”

3w4 breakdown:

  • Average 3w4s wants to be admired for unique presentation, not mass-marketed stereotypes. Unlike the 3w2s, who want everybody to admire them, 3w4s are more interested in securing the attention of a select following.
  • The introspection of the four-wing makes them less comfortable than 3w2s in social situations, although the powerful 3ish social grace usually hides it.
  • Unbalanced 3w4s hide loss of self-worth behind a veneer of artificial coolness.
  • When unhealthy, 3w4s constantly remind themselves and others of their own accomplishments.
  • 3w4s can be rather self-destructive as all the normal rules of social conduct are abandoned in an attempt to generate attention of any kind from others.

(When he gets kicked out of da club because he’s on drugs)

  • 3w4s are interested in appearing attractive and sexy, because they are 3s, but the 4-wing makes them also want to be unique.

Ryan has quite the journey in The Office. In Seasons 1 and 2 he’s just a shy temp who doesn’t want to become “a guy” at Dunder Mifflin. But by Season 3 he’s hired on full-time and his character evolves from there to a cocky corporate city slicker, to having a drug problem, to going to prison for fraud, to back to a temp, to a bowling alley employee…. I could go on but it’s not super necessary.

This was a fairly easy choice. Ryan is solely driven by ambition and his image making him a very unhealthy 3. And his wing is a 4 because of his “creativity” and his moodiness. If the below gif does not sum up a 3w4 perfectly, I don’t know what does.

Kelly Kapoor is a Type 7 (The Enthusiast) with a Type 8 wing (The Challenger)

Type Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Type Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. They want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.

The Enneagram Seven with a Eight-Wing is called “The Excitement Seeker.”

7w8 breakdown:

  • They have an extroverted personality, fully engaging in seeking exciting activities to help escape from a boring reality
  • 7w8s have 7’s optimism and play from a place of an 8 unapologetic “being”
  • They can be bratty and pushy, “savage” and sarcastic
  • They are less concerned with polling others than 7w6, more independent and “I don’t give a f****”, and not self-deprecating

Kelly’s character goes through a major transformation as well (but only once) and it’s funny to think about how BJ Novak (Ryan) and Mindy Kaling (Kelly) were two of the main writers on the show and probably re-wrote their own characters. But here we’re talking about the outgoing, irrational Kelly (not the conservative, fairly withdrawn Kelly of Season 1) because that is who she really is for 95% of the show.

The “fashion show! fashion show! fashion show at lunch!” celebrity-obsessed, smack-talking “business bitch.” Kelly has the energy, enthusiasm, and impulsiveness of a 7 with 8 tendencies (confident, aggressive, and brutally honest). If someone asks her about a celeb couple she will be overly excited and tell you every detail about it, but she’ll also “smack” talk you if your boyfriend sucks at ping pong.

This was an easy one for me. Kelly Kapoor is a national treasure.

Andy Bernard is a Type 2 (The Helper) with a Type 3 wing (The Achiever)

Type Twos are are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs.

Type Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.

The Enneagram Two with a Three-Wing is called “The Host/Hostess.”

2w3 breakdown:

  • 2w3s are more adaptable to be exactly what you need than 2w1s, “altruistic VIP”
  • They are more inclined to be helpful to those that are seen as successful
  • 2w3s desire to appear attractive. They typically see themselves as vivacious, varied, playful, fun and glamorous.
  • They can be aggressive and/or smothering, not the quiet background helper
  • When he first meets Michael and mirrors everything he does

Season 3 and 4 Andy is quite different than Season 5–9 Andy. He kind of has a bit of a Michael journey in that he goes from practically unbearable to much more sympathetic (discounting his ultimate demise when he runs away on a boat trip leaving Erin and his job behind).

I think Andy’s annoyance stems from his need to please (Type 2) and his need to perform (Type 3) — in his work, or with his aca-awesome “Here Comes Treble.” His main needs are to be loved and to feel valuable and we see where this stems from in “Garden Party” (Season 8, Ep 4). He compares himself to his seemingly perfect brother (played by Josh Groban LOL) and this comparison is perpetuated by his insensitive, unloving dad (played by Stephen Collins). Andy is ultimately a sweet dude but that is often masked by his insecurity.

Pam Beesly Halpert is a Type 9 (The Peacemaker) with a Type 1 wing (The Reformer)

Type Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. They want to create harmony in their environment, to avoid conflicts and tension, to preserve things as they are, to resist whatever would upset or disturb them.

Type Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic.

Pam was not easy for me. I thought of 1, 2, 6 AND 9. But ultimately a 9w1 seemed like the best fit.

The Enneagram Nine with a One-Wing is called “The Dreamer.”

Nine-wing-Ones’ concerns and aspirations will be found at the intersection of reality and their ideals. If there is a good enough match, they will be content and relatively inactive. With their pleasant, easy-going exteriors, Nine-wing-Ones are frequently underestimated. Some conventional Enneagram writers describe them as lazy and indifferent; however, many are quite industrious and effective. They can be unusually intuitive and cerebral as well as creative and fantastical. They have a knack for synthesizing various theories and viewpoints.

9w1 breakdown:

  • 9w1 is about keeping their inner peace. They avoid conflict externally and the reality of that conflict internally.
  • They suppress their rough edges and conceal disagreeableness to seem accomodating.
  • 9w1s are sensitive and self-effacing as well as gentle and loving.
  • While they have issues with expressing anger they can also feel crippled with anxiety. They suppress or ignore their wants due to fear.
  • They “cocoon” under stress and their “positive outlook” is a defense against a deep-seated belief of an inability to have an influence or impact.

Pam struggles with believing in her talents and in herself.

  • The delayed anger responses from 9w1s result from an excessive buildup of intense long-term anxiety that never got dealt with.
  • They are much harder on themselves than 9w8s. They are very sensitive to criticism because they take it as a judgement on them as people.
  • They can get caught up in what they should do rather than what they want to do
  • 9w1s are high-minded types who idealize peace, harmony, healing, and union with others. They mainly fear being separated from loved ones and on some level they feel like they don’t matter as a distinctly separate person.

We see this when Jim starts his company in Philly which leads to couples therapy — we’ll cover this more in the relationship section.

Oh sweet, sweet Pam. A lot of people didn’t like her arc as a character, and while I certainly have some issues with it, I think for the most part it was fairly realistic. Pretty much Season 1 through most of Season 4, we see Pam avoiding conflict and her feelings to keep the peace and maintain her image as being sweet and meek, with rare moments of strength, and being an identity chameleon in her relationships with Roy and with Jim.

After sticking up for herself at “Beach Games” (Season 3, Episode 22) by expressing to Jim (and her co-workers but mostly to Jim) that she doesn’t feel valued and seen a lot of the time, we see her slowly become more confident in herself and her worth. She starts dating Jim at the top of Season 4 and he allows her to be these things (while Roy did not). But, she still defers too much of her identity to Jim which ultimately makes her believe the lie that she’s not enough, even for the person that loves her the most (but more on that later).

Pam’s final speech in the series finale just sums up a 9 perfectly. She regrets her inertia, but she got there eventually :)

Jim Halpert is a Type 3 (The Achiever) with a Type 2 wing (The Helper)

Type Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.

Type Twos are are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs.

Jim might’ve been the hardest one for me to type. I was tempted to type him as a 4, as he really values being himself, but a lot of the aspects of a 4 didn’t make sense. He’s happy and playful like a 7, but the combined facets of a 3 and a 2 ended up being victorious.

I know it may seem counterintuitive to label him “The Achiever” since he’s a notorious slacker (except when it matters most) but the 3 is also known as “The Performer” which I think is more of an accurate adjective for Jim. But let’s dive deeper into his type and subtype combo:

The Enneagram Three with a Two-Wing is called “The Charmer” or “The Motivator”

3w2 Breakdown:

  • Motivators are exceedingly likeable and charming. They are are naturally enthusiastic people who infect others with their optimism and drive. In fact, they can be optimistic even to the point of disregarding the darker side of life.
  • 3w2’s avoidance of negativity is probably because they have a veritable need to be happy. But, at the same time, they genuinely like people and want to help and encourage them.
  • 3w2s often play the role that they believe will win others over and even cheer them up.

When Charles Minor doesn’t find him charming…

  • 3w2s are always, in a sense, on stage, acting a part. This often means paying attention to wardrobe, spending hours in the gym, learning to speak well, and honing their people skills. All of which speaks to a degree of need for external validation.
  • Maintaining the right image can, indeed, become a compulsion for this type, but so can genuine self-improvement.
  • 3w2s are person-oriented, community oriented and aware of the needs of others

Jim is genuinely a kind person who wants to see others succeed, but you can almost even visually see him shift into his “performer” role and he does this quite a lot. Jim tends to use his charming nature, sense of humor, and prankster-ness as a defense mechanism against general pain and feelings of worthlessness. Jim has so much potential for so much of the show, but we see Jim give the bare minimum to get by so much of the time because he’s afraid if he gives his all he will fail and ultimately won’t be enough.

Jim has a need to be affirmed, to distinguish himself from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others — even when he acts like he doesn’t. At his unhealthiest, he can slip into fearing failure and humiliation, becoming covetous of the success of others. He stays in the same job for so long because he’s too afraid of living up to his full potential. But at Jim’s best, he is “self-accepting, inner-directed, authentic, modest and charitable, exhibiting self-deprecatory humor and a fullness of heart.”

Dwight Schrute is a Type 8 (The Challenger) with a Type 7 wing (The Enthusiast)

Type Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. They want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.

Type Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

The Enneagram Eight with a Seven-Wing is called “The Rebel”

8w7 breakdown:

  • 8w7s enjoy taking on challenges themselves as well as giving others opportunities that challenge them to exceed themselves in some way.
  • 8w7s seek autonomy and freedom.
  • They use their abundant energy to effect changes in their environment — to “leave their mark” on it — but also to keep the environment, and especially other people, from hurting them and those they care about.
  • Much of their behavior is involved with making sure that they retain and increase whatever power they have for as long as possible.
  • Being “in charge” and leaving their imprint on their sphere is uniquely characteristic of them.
  • Although they are usually aware of what people think of them, they do not let the opinions of others sway them. They go about their business with a steely determination that can be awe inspiring, even intimidating to others.
  • Eights are often extremely industrious, but at the price of losing emotional contact with many of the people in their lives.
  • 8w7s see the big picture in their work, and are less focused on the consequences of their actions and more focused on getting their needs met

Dwight Schrute is one of the most unique characters there has ever been. Shamelessly individualistic and odd, I love how far back and in-depth the show goes into Schrute family culture. I equate Rainn Wilson’s performance as Dwight to Will Ferrell’s in Elf — you just completely believe that they are this strange and adhere whole-heartedly to their traditions. At his worst Dwight’s controlling, aggressive and only thinks of himself.

At his best he’s a fearless leader sticking up for the underdog.

When Eights are emotionally healthy, they have a resourceful, “can-do” attitude as well as a steady inner drive. They take the initiative and make things happen with a great passion for life. They are honorable and authoritative — natural leaders who have a solid, commanding presence. They use their talents and fortitude to construct a better world for everyone in their lives.

We see these qualities sporadically when he’ll secretly do a favor for Jim or Pam (and claim that it was all rational, not because he has any warm feelings toward them) and finally in the last season when he usurps his dream role as Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin.

Michael Scott is a Type 6 (The Loyalist) with a Type 7 wing (The Enthusiast)

Type Sixes are committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious — running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion.

Type Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

I was tempted at first to type Michael as an unhealthy 2 with his desperate need to be loved. But reading more about the combined energy of a 6w7 (same type as Erin!) it became much clearer that this was the right fit for Michael. Here’s a breakdown of a 6w7 and how so many aspects relate to Michael in both his personality and his actions:

The Enneagram Six with a Seven-Wing is called “The Buddy.”

6w7 Breakdown:

  • 6w7s are more insecure than 6w5s
  • They are more self-questioning and doubt their ability to find security in the world on their own. They tend to “weigh” their opinions with others.
  • They are more open and quicker to trust others.
  • They are enthusiastic and friendly.
  • 6w7s are less focused and more distractible than 6w5s
  • They have a disorganized all-over-the-mapness with how they get all their ideas out.
  • While 6w7s are more scattered than 6w5s: they can come up with creative ideas that may be missed by more structured thinking.
  • 6w7s trust either too little or too much, rarely just right.
  • They aren’t sure how others feel about them and periodically need to be the center of attention for fear of being abandoned.
  • They are more like divas with their flair for the dramatic.
  • They fear being unable to cope in life and are more likely to have a victim mentality.
  • Even if they are wrong they just want someone to be on their side and not be judgemental.
  • Reassurance is most effective and therefore easiest to trust. They also want empathy and understanding.
  • Honest criticism can come later once they have stopped overreacting and cooled down.

When Stanley tells Michael he doesn’t respect him in Season 4, Episode 12 “Did I Stutter?”

  • 6w7s are more awed and apalled than 6w5s.
  • They vascillate between feeling excited and catastrophic thinking.

When he wanted to propose to Holly by writing “will you marry me?’ with fire in the DM parking lot…

  • They are like children who are gripped by fear of their own shadows and are grateful for anyone who can set them free.
  • When there is serious danger paradoxically everything is clear and they become calm. Going in they are anything but confident but coming out they are often surprised and proud of their bravery.

In “Murder” (Season 6, Ep 10), Jim and Michael are co-running the branch. When they learn they might be going under, Jim wants everyone to keep their heads down and work. Michael wants to play a murder-mystery game. This whole time you’re so frustrated with his commitment to the game when much bigger things are going on, but when Jim explodes at him, we see that Michael actually has a reason why he’s doing this. If they are going under, why not distract everybody with something fun they can all do together?

Michael Scott is one of my favorite characters in television. Steve Carell has this incredible ability to make you want to kill him one second and then feel so much empathy for him the next. Carell’s tremendous talent as a serious actor is what makes this possible.

If you read Mindy Kaling’s first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and listen to Jenna Fischer’s and Angela Kinsey’s Office Ladies podcast you learn that Carell is the sweetest man — so sweet in fact that the cast would try to get him to gossip with them and he never would. And not in a way that was self-righteous, it’s just not in his nature. Carell brings this sensitivity and empathy to his character so after he’s being ridiculous and childish, he wins you back over.

Michael is super insecure, always needs advice from his co-workers (especially the ladies), and is quite enthusiastic about everything. There were so many Michael scenarios that popped in my head as I read the 6w7 breakdown.

At Michael’s core he’s a great leader and is always surprisingly the reason Dunder Mifflin thrives as a company. He is so committed to DM and his co-workers that even when he’s being ridiculous, childish, and offensive, he always chooses it and them at the end of the day. Michael’s unhealthiness is what makes us crack up and his healthiness (his commitment and genuine joy) is what makes us cry.

Now we’re going to look into four key relationship dynamics on the show.

RELATIONSHIPS

Ryan and Kelly (Type 3 with Type 7)

Pros:

Both 3s and 7s are lively and attractive, making them sought after company. Both have a youthful orientation such that they feed off of each other’s energy: no other couple is as vivacious or gregarious as the Three/Seven couple. This is probably the highest energy combination of types and their focus is on sociability, going out, having adventures together and on realizing possibilities and on finding personal fulfillment.

To this mix, Threes bring a sense of propriety, appropriateness, and social conventions, as well as the ability to focus on goals and get them accomplished. Sevens bring a sense of fun and adventure, resilience, and not being overly concerned with failure. Sevens bring boundless enthusiasm and good spirits. Threes bring a focus on goals, on staying practical and grounded, and on observing healthy limits. This is a fun pair.

3s and 7s are often mistyped for each other as they both tend to be very charismatic and high-energy. Ryan and Kelly are initially drawn to each other because of their youth and the value they place on excitement and vanity.

Cons:

This is also an extremely volatile couple: there is almost too much electricity under one roof. They both feel the pressure to be “fabulous” and perfect all of the time. Both types seem light-hearted, and unconcerned; yet, in their high-energy routines they often hurt each other without realizing it.

Depending on their Level of health, Threes can become workaholics completely focused on achieving success, that relationship and family life takes a distinct second place, if that. On the surface, Threes seem to have as much self-confidence as Sevens; in reality, they do not, which is why they feel they need to promote themselves and their accomplishments. Sevens may get the feeling that they only exist to prop up the Three in various ways. Once they doubt that the other is there for them, they turn toward self-centered attitudes which further erode the relationship.

As soon as I read the word “prop” I thought of this scene:

Lol.

“Volatile” is the perfect word to describe the Ryan and Kelly relationship. It’s doomed from the start as Ryan’s motive for entering into a relationship with Kelly is to have fun and Kelly’s was to get married and have babies.

Kelly is irrational and dramatic and Ryan is insensitive and narcissistic. Their fights and make-ups are explosive and hilarious to watch.

But they actually ***spoiler alert*** do end up together in the end. They run off into the sunset at Dwight and Angela’s wedding — literally.

Michael and Pam (Type 6 with Type 9)

Pros:

Although both types are very different, they want rather similar things — security and predictability (Sixes) and stability and autonomy (Nines). To this mix, there are also complementary differences: Sixes bring a more active mind, questioning and alert to exceptions, to problems, and to safety issues. They can be more skeptical of others and find it more difficult to be trusting: others need to prove themselves first. Nines, on the other hand, are usually trusting and unquestioning, sunny and easy to get along with. If Sixes tend to see the exception and to focus on complications, Nines tend to see the general and to focus on what will work without problems.

OK so I know this isn’t a romantic relationship (although Jan would beg to differ…) but it’s of my favorite dynamics on the show. Pam’s initially subtle, then much more vocal disgust of Michael is so great. But despite how much he drives her crazy, there’s such a love there that slowly develops throughout the show that’s so sweet and hilarious to watch.

Something that’s so great about Michael is that when he’s being kind or generous, he’s sometimes completely oblivious of it. Like when he goes to Pam’s art show in “Business School” (Season 3, Ep 16) after barely anyone from the office shows up (and the one’s that do insult and devalue her art — eff you GILL) and freaks out over her drawings. He ultimately asks to buy her drawing of the office, not even trying to flatter her or make her feel better, and then so genuinely says “I’m really proud of you.”

Even though he’s inappropriate about Pam a lot, he really cares for her almost like a daughter. And when Steve Carrell left the show in “Goodbye Michael” (Season 7, Ep 21) and has a sweet goodbye with everyone in the office except for Pam, you can feel his sweet panic when he thinks he won’t be able to have his moment with her.

But alas, she rushes to the airport, and they have this special, inaudible goodbye. Jenna Fischer said in an interview that they just told her and Steve to say whatever they wanted to each other so she just go to tell him goodbye for real. TEARS.

Cons:

Both types love the familiar and dislike change. The feeling is that familiarity equals security, which is reinforced by the conviction that they must not rock the boat. Both types will tend to put off confrontations until they are pushed to the limit, although Sixes have a shorter fuse concerning their anger.

This immediately made me think of their Michael Scott Paper Company stint. As a 9 Pam struggles with inertia and as a 6 Michael struggles with not wanting to give up security and comfort. So Pam’s impulsiveness when she exclaims “I’m going with him!” in “Two Weeks” (Season 5, Ep 19) makes sense, because her moments of spontaneity are always shocking (for others and for herself) because they are so few and far between. When they have issues in the beginning: not having any clients or a work space — not to mention Michael’s own Nana won’t invest — they both explode a bit on each other because they don’t have that feeling of stability.

But ultimately they make a great team. They both value loyalty so much and believe in each other, even when it’s hard to.

Angela and Dwight (Type 8 with Type 8)

Pros:

Both Eights will bring a lot of energy, vitality, and passion to the relationship: few other combinations are so intensely involved with each other as this nor are they able to create such fireworks. When two Eights are well matched, they paradoxically both stimulate each other and relax each other at the same time. Two Eights are also able to profoundly relax each other because they have confidence in each other. They know that they have what it takes as a team to do what needs to be done, to be safe, secure, and stable in their own world.

This leads to a profound feeling of mutual respect, direct and frequent communication. Double Eight pairs can build a significant empire of some sort together.

Wow — I am terrified of a Dwight and Angela EMPIRE. So many cats. So many beets.

I love this pair so much. Angela and Dwight are slightly different 8s (they have different wings) which I think works in their favor. They are similar enough — strange and intense and passionate — that they understand each other more than anyone, but different enough that at their healthiest, they can really be just fiery and stimulating enough.

Cons:

A double Eight combination will be extremely volatile, with lots of ego on display. They can get into competitions and rivalries and their issues of being (and staying) in control will likely be the center of many conflicts, especially since lower functioning Eights do not want to back down or be seen as weak in any way. Both will therefore struggle to dominate making for a highly reactive and conflict-ridden relationship.

Tests of loyalty will come from both sides and both will tend to up the ante emotionally (and often sexually and financially) as things deteriorate. Nevertheless, someone will always need to make the final decision, and unless they learn how to communicate and negotiate effectively with each other, this combination can wear each other down. \Neither will be the first to back down in a conflict and it is very difficult for them to apologize. Eights can be surprisingly thin skinned and easily hurt, resulting in the banishment of others often over seemingly trivial matters.

Even though they end up together, they go through a lotttt of conflict: the first major one being Dwight killing her cat (or “pulling its plug” if you will…) and then there are jealousies with various lovers: Andy, Isabel, the senator, and the milk maid.

When I read that most of their conflict can stem from not having control that makes a lot of sense. They both don’t like not being dominant in a situation. But when they learn to do so, just enough so they’re not compromising who they are, they become a unique and powerful couple.

Alright — brace yourselves…

Jim and Pam (Type 3 and Type 9)

Pros:

Nines bring enormous support, encouragement, and a sense of pride in the Three’s accomplishments. Threes can feel that with the Nine behind them, they are able to be themselves, explore their potential, and become the best mate, friend, or professional that they can be. Threes can help Nines to properly value themselves, to have more self-respect, and to invest in their own development. Both types also want to avoid conflicts and to put a positive spin on things — Nines are genuinely optimistic and look on the bright side, while Threes focus on being positive and hopeful, and are careful to not let people see them being down.

Threes bring energy, personal ambition, flexibility, the ability to set and achieve long term goals, and efficiency. Threes energize Nines and bring change and excitement to the relationship. Nines bring a feeling of safety and steadiness, the assurance that the Three is loved for themselves and not just for their achievements. Threes feel that they can let down their hair and really be themselves with Nines who accept them just as they are. The sensuality of the Nine and the attractiveness of the Three can meet in a couple highly attracted to each other and attached by physical passion. In other Three-and-Nine couples, the need for comfort and security may be the main source of attachment and the pleasure they get from each other.

This will always be one of my absolute favorite fictional couples in TV history. No matter how many stupid Buzzfeed articles try to convince me “Jim Halpert actually totally sucks” or how many people insult Pam’s arc as a character. I don’t think Jim NEVER sucks. And I don’t NOT understand the frustrations with Pam’s character development. But more on that in the cons section.

This is one of the slowest, most earned, most emotive couplings ever. It’s similar to Luke and Lorelai’s but thankfully only takes three seasons rather than four — and not to mention those episodes are twice as long. The subtleties of this show are everything and to see how just one glance from Pam can completely change Jim’s mood literally warms your heart.

When he lingers and smiles at Pam’s departure after she’s been drunk and ridiculous at a Chilli’s in “The Dundies” (Season 2, Ep 1). When Pam gets embarrassed getting caught flirting with him and then we see him typing an apology and then quickly erasing it in “The Fight” (Season 2, Ep 6). When he feels left out in “The Carpet” (Season 2, Ep 14) because he has to work in the annex and doesn’t have the one thing he looks forward to at this job — talking and pranking with Pam — and then at the end of the day he has all these voicemails from Pam saying how she’s going crazy without him.

And finally to the big reveal in the Season 2 finale that makes me choke up every time. As a 3, being vulnerable is really hard for Jim but he loves her so much that he takes the risk — twice. First by telling her how he feels and second by kissing her. And as a 9, Pam can’t admit she loves him too and wants to leave Roy because that disturbs the norm and the peace (and I don’t believe she feels worthy of this kind of love yet).

It’s so great then because all of Season 3 we see moments of Pam’s heartbreak, mirroring Jim’s emotions in Season 2. We see how much they long for each other and I think as a 9, Pam’s confidence comes in contained outbursts. That’s why we FINALLY see her stick up for herself and tell Jim how much he misses him in her speech in “Beach Games” (Season 3, Ep 22). Probably wasn’t the best idea to do it in front of his current girlfriend, but you want them to be together so much at this point you don’t really care. We then see Jim realize what he really wants in “The Job” (Season 3, Ep 23) and Pam’s reaction when he asks her out is so sweet and genuine it’s unreal.

I’ve always loved that they get together as soon as Pam is truly trying to let go of the possibility of them being together and loving him altruistically. Because isn’t that always when life surprises us?

Cons:

The Three/Nine couple can almost be a case of “too much of a good thing.” Because both types are attracted to keeping the positive values in their lives alive — and there can be so much attachment to comfort and stability in their world — that it becomes difficult to question the status quo and the routines that they get into. Neither wants to bring up conflicts that they have with the other. Nines are more likely not to want to talk about whatever is bothering them for fear of further endangering the relationship and they feel that it is better not to say anything. If Threes are heavily invested in having a “perfect marriage” to the outside world, it will be difficult to talk about their unhappiness in the relationship or the frustrations they are feeling.

Often the relationship will continue for a while as if nothing is wrong-even if it is essentially over. Eventually, however, Threes begin to feel unseen and unappreciated, and that the Nine is not really there for them — not really present to the relationship. The Nine may be an excellent provider in a material sense, but under stress, may begin to become emotionally absent. Feeling abandoned or rejected usually makes Threes become depressed, although often they do not realize this since they can get quite out of touch with their emotions. Threes can feel that Nines are stifling them, whereas Nines can feel that Threes are too demanding. Sometimes a crisis, an affair, or some other major life challenge brings the deterioration of the relationship into awareness.

A lot of people say both Jim and Pam don’t become unlikable until after they’re married — they begin taking each other for granted and acting a little selfish — AND THIS IS SO REALISTIC PPL.

A lot of couples say that the hardest part of their marriage is when their kids are young because it’s an amazing time but it’s also so stressful and such a shift focus wise. Partners will neglect the other because they simply don’t have the time or energy with little, dependent, energetic, needy people running around. A lot of couples have to redefine who they are to each other.

We see these deteriorations start to happen really not until after Michael leaves. In “The List” (Season 8, Ep 1) newly CEO Robert California makes a list (that was meant to be confidential but gets “leaked”) where he divides the DM staff into “winners” and “losers.” Jim is put in the former and Pam in the latter. This further reinforces Pam’s insecurity in her work and her overall worth. Pam and Jim are really holding each other back at this point because they’re comfortable and happy. This of course is manifested in Season 9 (in Pam and Jim’s very first interview) when we see how Jim doesn’t want to be in this job forever, and wants more for himself and his family.

Jim accepts a new job spontaneously without discussing it with Pam and this is the root of their big issue that leads to therapy and ultimately to reconciliation. Jim accepting this job I think exposes a flaw in him of course, but also in Pam. Jim’s actions were selfish but if he feels like he can’t tell her, that says something about her too. This leads to secrecy and misunderstandings and disconnection. When they fight over the phone (and Jim is a JERK at this moment I will admit) — I’m actually not totally sure which ep this is, possibly “The Whale” (Season 9, Ep 7) — we really see how big this problem is between them. Jenna Fischer said in an interview that those tears were real because she didn’t like Jim and Pam fighting as much as we didn’t.

But this fight and tension is so necessary because it doesn’t seem like they have fought enough in their relationship. They weren’t communicating and Jim comes back to work on his marriage with Pam. Therapy and remembering what’s most important to them leads to their reconciling.

I mean. This gif right here.

Jim gives up on the new company but Pam eventually sees how this isn’t going to be enough for either of them in the long run. When Jim realizes this is all ultimately about Pam not feeling like she’s enough for him, he compiles their moments and finally gives her that letter from the tea pot. And tells her she’s everything to him.

With this assurance and selfless love, and in classic Pam fashion, she decides to make a big change by selling their house and proposing that they move to Austin so Jim can rejoin his new company and she can also embark on something new. And we ultimately see again, just like at the end of Season 3, how altruistic love, agape if you will, leads to necessary change and what’s most important in life.

Ok. I’m done I promise.

Podcast episode discussing all this ish available on Monologue.

Main source: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com

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Monica Moser

Monica Moser is an Austin-based singer/songwriter, podcaster, & freelance writer working in digital marketing in the music industry. TW/IG: @monicamoser