I am knowledgeable

Enneagram Type Five

Type Five

Observer / Investigator

People of Enneatype FIVE are cerebral observers, motivated by a desire to gain knowledge and to be self-sufficient. They are alert and curious individuals who are able to focus, concentrate, and master topics of interest.

Fives are heady types, preoccupied with thoughts and imaginary constructs. They spend a lot of time researching and developing complex ideas. Fives can seem quiet or reserved to others, but are usually happy to speak at length about subjects in which they consider themselves to be competent.

The effort to maintain independence leaves Fives feeling like they must defend against a world filled with intrusive people with messy feelings. Fives guard their privacy and space carefully, and frequently retreat to the safety of their minds. This can lead others to perceive them as distant, withholding, or aloof.

At Their Best:

Objective, perceptive, insightful, self-reliant, curious, and calm in crisis.

When Struggling:

Detached, isolated, intellectually arrogant, withholding, hoarding, and secretive.

What Type Fives say about themselves:

  • I’m an extremely private person who requires a lot of personal space.
  • I worry that other people will “drain” or deplete me, so I am guarded with my time and resources.
  • I am very cerebral – often completely wrapped up in my own thoughts and analysis.
  • I would often rather observe than take an active part in whatever is going on.
  • I do a deep-dive into the topics that interest me – delving far deeper than most people would.
  • I take pride in my intellectual curiosity, and my ability to pursue knowledge.
  • People might consider me to be a bit strange or eccentric.
  • I am typically quiet, but can talk at length about topics that interest me.
  • Often, I can lose track of time because I am concentrating so completely on what I am doing.
  • Other people seem to want more emotional display from me than I have to give.

We each feel that we must show up in a certain way in the world in order to deserve love.

These are internal messages that resonate with Fives:

BASIC FEAR: Of being useless, helpless, or incapable.

BASIC DESIRE: To be capable and competent.

BASIC PROPOSITION: “You can assure survival and gain protection from intrusion and insufficient resources through privacy, self-sufficiency, limiting desires and acquiring knowledge.”

AVOIDANCE: Feeling incompetent/inadequate, and intrusive/demanding people.

FOCUS of ATTENTION: Intellectual understanding, accumulating knowledge, and potential intrusions from others’ agendas, needs and feelings.

  • Positive aspect: The ability to acquire enormous amounts of knowledge and to fully master topics.
  • Negative aspect: The tendency to reside too much “in their head”, and have difficulty tapping into their own and others’ emotions.


Strategies For Growth:

  • Take a pause and observe your habits of mind with as little judgment as possible. Ask yourself, how am I avoiding emotions and staying in my head? How am I reacting when I feel intruded upon? Remind yourself that you have a vital life force and that ample energy and resources are available.
  • If it is difficult to relax and unwind, make an effort to include exercise or biofeedback techniques in your normal routine. Meditation, jogging, yoga, or dancing are good options.

Ready to dive deeper?