Enneagram Type 5

Type 5: The Observer / Wise Person

Fives belong to the Thinking Centre and are motivated by the security of having knowledge, wisdom and being in the know. They see themselves as objective, introspective, seekers of knowledge and dispassionate observers. It would be a stereotype to consider that all Fives are book worms because this is not true. Perhaps an understanding of their underlying fear would allow us to understand their motivations. That said, they believe that because of their detached manner of approaching the world, they acquired a superior ability to grasp the intricacies of life and its interconnectedness with factors most of us do not normally think about. Their inquisitive nature mixed with a calm observance of how things flow allow them to connect the dots, articulate theories and explain them with principles they have gleaned from either reading, experiencing or observing.

Early Childhood

Many Type 5 children can attest to the fact that they received no meaningful interaction, emotional connection, or much affection from caregivers. Conversely, there is a possibility that the child had over-bearing parent(s) and felt invaded by way of their space or in their communication. The child then put up a mask (their defence) that came in the form of avoidance and keeping quiet where there was intrusion. They built their own imaginary wall and retreated into their own mental space where they formed their own opinions and found ways to understand events outside their mind. Hence, 5s trusted information.

Strengths of the Type Five

1) Fives are able to be objective observers, patiently taking in and viewing life objectively without judgment. It sometimes seems like they have no opinion until you ask the unassuming Type 5 who will unfold the depth of their thinking.

2) They can come to a thorough perceptive understanding of situations figuring out the cause and effect of an argument with deep logic and a clear explanation.

3) Fives are simple in taste and lifestyle and are not too bothered about the lavish pleasures, social norms and people’s perception of them. Status and material possessions play a secondary role in their life though it has been seen that they do enjoy good food. Test this theory with the Type 5s. It seems to hold true.

4) Fives seem to be able to compartmentalize difficult emotions and contain them in a box and not allow this box to affect other aspects of their life. Hence, they are the calmest and coolest in a crisis situation or in arguments. They stay in their heads and work out a logical explanation when the going gets tough.


Any type becomes Unresourceful when they begin to over-do some of the thoughts and behaviours that are typical of the type.

1) The strength of calm can also be a weakness in relationships as they can be bystanders and quite emotionless or passive. Such a cool exterior can sometimes be mistaken for indifference or lacking care.

2) Though they are deep and insightful, the contents of their deep insights are seldom heard and hence they hardly receive the validation and approval for the depths of their insights. It’s unsurprising that they can appear shy and lack confidence in situations where they should actually shine. Perhaps the worldly insights are hardly tested or put out there for others to sieve through.

3) Type 5s are hardly confrontational. They tend to prefer to keep to themselves or be around those who are capable of stimulating their attention through deep conversation or insight about something that interests them. Hence, they can sometimes come across as arrogant when they are confident about what they know and it can make others around them feel like they are being defensive or trying to act smarter than they are.

4) Fives like their space so there is deep discomfort when they feel obligated to be in the company of those they don’t wish to hang around with. This can range from family to work. They are highly introverted and can sometimes be unsociable.

5) They can assume a poker face in order not to look afraid or get any attention. As a result they sometimes get no attention which is a preference of theirs but this can result in not getting recognized for work or ideas which can be a boon to their progress in society. Examples are marketing themselves for what they are worth.

 Reflections for the Type Five

1) Engage emotionally with people and practice being present with others. It will nurture the ability to connect and build confidence to communicate the great ideas that nestle in your mind.

2) You are probably least tuned in to your body because your mind is very active. Realize that the mind works best when the whole body functions well and that it includes your emotional self as well. Taking care of one self through leading a balanced life mentally & socially with adequate exercise makes for a well-rounded person.

3) Reach out to others and seek support. Live with an inter-dependent mindset and lessen the isolation as it shelters you from connecting with others who are different from you. Sometimes, those whom you least expect to have deep insight that you crave, may convey their own level of depth differently. The richness of the world does not only exist in your mind. Just staying open to the diversity of human expression will open up a whole new world for the 5s.

4) Learn to connect with your painful feelings of rejection rather than run away from it. Whatever we run away from festers and follows.

5) As you become more grounded by reconnecting with your feelings, let the world in and this will give you confidence and great insight into worldly living less the theory and research.

6) Play a bigger part in events, have greater interpersonal interactions rather than staying unnoticed. It does not bode well for the 5s confidence nor would it test your capacity to become someone you aspire to become.

Self-Preservation Type Five

Known as The Castle Defender and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Home or Castle. They retreat from the world for sanctuary, safety, and renewal. They are hoarders as they need to protect everything that is within their boundaries.

Sexual or One-to-One Type Five

Known as The Secret Agent and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Confidence. They are very passionate about that one person, who is carefully selected, but there can be a secretive quality to preserve autonomy.

Social Type Five

Known as The Professor and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Totem or Symbols. They have a hunger for knowledge, mastery of language, and group symbols, looking for the ultimate meaning, then sharing the knowledge in a social role.

Read more on the 27 Sub Types here.