After a recent Head Type panel, a student said, “My partner is a Five. I’ve been reading everything I could about Fives, but hearing from them directly was so helpful particularly when I realized there is a lot more going on in there than I realized. I had no idea.”

When I interviewed Jerry Wagner, one of the IEA Founders, we talked of how we’re still learning each time we teach. We evolve our understanding of these different type structures the more we work with the Enneagram and the more we listen to exemplars themselves. We are constantly seeing more nuance and more particularity of individual people. The patterns show themselves so differently.

I’ve witnessed my own deepened understanding the more I work with clients and interview panelists. About 10 years ago, I did a retreat with John Dupuy of Integral Recovery and we uploaded a video of the event. As I watched our Five video recently on YouTube, I realized how much my understanding of Fives has changed with time. Recently, I decided to do a re-do:

In 2013, I uploaded this interview of a student. As I watched this video, I recognize changes in him through his awareness of the Enneagram. The point is, the Enneagram isn’t static, is it? I’m sure you can look backwards and see how you’ve changed with your Enneagram work and life experience. Concurrently, the pattern of our structure remains even as it becomes more subtle. Here’s the video of Ryan:

Finally, here are some tips that you may find useful:

  • Be prepared to carry the conversation until you find a point of common interest. Shared information and interests are a way to connect.
  • Don’t take it personally if your Five has interests and friends separate from you. They prefer to compartmentalize friendships in order not to muddy the waters and to keep things emotionally “organized.”
  • You may not always experience this, but Fives are more sensitive and feel things more intensely than you may know, but they prefer to feel emotions in the privacy of their own space.
  • Fives bring clarity to confusion and objectivity to an emotionally charged atmosphere. They are loyal friends so long as the central focus is about your life.
  • Expect Fives to withdraw during hardship rather than ask for help.
  • Fives respect your self-sufficiency and emotional control. If they get involved in a project and you feel invisible, it’s not that they don’t care. It’s that they are involved in the project and have a hard time connecting when they’re focused on something important to them.
  • Your expectations can feel like a burden as it creates a level of confusion as in, “What does he want from me?” Your independence feels like a relief.
  • Intimacy is often expressed in non-verbal ways. Pay close attention to small, non-verbal expressions as it’s often a way of showing they care: the gift of a book, a card, a photograph.
  • Confidentiality is crucial and your Five most likely will not challenge you if you break it. But they will remember and may have a hard time trusting you in the future.