Stressed are the peacemakers




Have you ever heard of an Enneagram? My spell check apparently hasn’t. I was introduced to it through the Pennsylvania Public Library Director’s Institute. I can’t say I’m a big fan of “personality” tests. It all seems pretty woo-woo to me (but maybe that’s the 5 in me speaking). There are nine types and all sorts of stuff that goes into it. Really quite involved.

I think part of my problem with the test is that I came out the wrong number the first time I took it. Fives are “Thinkers” and I self-identify as someone who likes to think about things, sometimes to the detriment of emotions. Because I do think a lot. And I feel a lot, too, but then I think about what I’m feeling and usually mock myself for whatever melodramatic emotion I’m experiencing. I am curious. I like to know the “Why?” and “How?” of matters. All of these move me straight into the Five category. But Fives tend to Geek. I’m, sad to say, not a geek. I’m a little too scatterbrained for geekdom. Fixation is not a problem I have.

So I retook the test (because, like I said, fixation’s not a problem, right? Okay, I lied a little bit there) and came up a Nine. Nines are dubbed the “Peacemaker”. This is a role I could firmly accept. I found myself nodding at the “good” and laughing at the “bad” because it was true (“It is hard for you to say no, so yes means maybe and maybe means absolutely not!“). I do love me some peace. I joke that I’m a librarian because I hate noise. I want peace. I hate when there’s tension around me. I want people to be happy (though I can accept equally unhappy if we’ve come to terms; we’re negotiators, too, us nines).

This part of me was reinforced at work today. We had a construction meeting. Representatives from the various “Primes” (contractors who bid different aspects of the job, for example, HVAC, electrical, plumbing) and the general contractor plus the architect and myself get together every other week to see where we are, what’s upcoming and try to keep everything on track. Usually I enjoy these meetings, just to know what to expect in the next few weeks. Sometimes there’s tension because one guy needs another guy to do his job so the first fellow can continue his job, but that’s the point of the meetings, to resolve these problems.

Today, however, two of the guys were sniping at each other and I couldn’t tell if they were joking or really not happy with each other. I couldn’t tell because I wouldn’t express my displeasure with someone else in that manner, so it seemed unreal. I’d either say something privately or ignore the person entirely. I wouldn’t air it in front of everyone. But I also don’t believe jokes are innocent; they usually have a lot of truth. So, even if they were “kidding” I’d think there’s more to it than that. My response, emotionally, was, “Don’t fight, mom and dad!” as well as thinking, “Well that’s pretty unprofessional.” Because, whatever their feelings about each other, they have to work together and I have to work with them both. I’m not in a position to “resolve” this conflict. I just have to live with it. Which means I’m stressed.

What’s a peacemaker to do when peace isn’t an option? And neither is smacking them both upside the head and telling them to behave themselves? Though that option is very tempting.

Survive, I guess.

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