EN03: The Thinking Triad
If you’ve been following along on this Enneagram series so far, you’ll know exactly what the heck I’m talking about and are ready for this instalment where I go through the types 5,6,7 of the Enneagram.
If not, don’t worry! You’ll want to go back to the first episode in this series, which you can find here.
Ok so last week I spoke about the Feeling triad: that is the three personality types, described by the enneagram that are types 2,3,4.
Today we’re onto the Thinking triad: so we have three more personality types to dig into.
What’s interesting with this triads is that they might at first remind you of the functions described in the Myers Briggs typology: thinking and feeling. Just like MBTI, you can be one or the other type: never both or multiple types.
One key difference is the level of complexity the Enneagram brings to each type.
But at a macro level, the Thinking triad types, when at their best are insightful, imaginative and incredibly able at achieving creative, practical or scientific feats.
When they’re at their worst, they let their thinking get the better of them and can become blinded to other aspects of life.
Ok so let’s start with type 5 or the Observer.
Observers have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.
Healthy Fives are the most perceptive of the personality types, very knowledgable and make great problem solvers.
However, there is the tendency to spend too much time thinking and imagining rather than with doing, and so get lost in the mazes of their minds while their lives and opportunities pass them by.
Fives are actually quite sensitive, but come across as out of touch with their emotions. This is partly as a defense mechanism. They have a great need for privacy, and fear being overwhelmed by the demands of others.
One way a Five might deal with this is by seeking a very minimalistic lifestyle where they make very few demands on others and expect the same lack of dependency in return.
I imagine there are a lot of Fives listening because this type sounds a lot like many of the creative introverts I know. In fact, when I take Enneagram quizzes I come out as a 5.
That said, there are other types I identify with: and this is why I think hearing all of these descriptions is really valuable: way more than deciding what type you DEFINITELY are. Get to know the types, well, before determining what you’re most similar to.
Next we have the Six or the Loyalist.
Sixes are loyal, faithful friends, committed to others, and they look for the same qualities from others.
However, an unhealthy Six can be incredibly suspicious, not trusting that others will be as reliable as they are. Because of this, they also have a tendency to look towards authority or a leader of some kind, to provide this level of certainty and trust.
Next up we have the Seven, or the Adventurer.
Sevens are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world and for their lives be an exciting adventure. They are quick thinkers who have a great deal of energy and who make lots of plans. They tend to be extroverted, multi-talented, creative and open minded.
Future oriented, they can be a little restless and generally convinced that something better is just around the corner. Ironically, the more they do, the less they are satisfied. They want to keep their minds occupied at all times so that their anxiety will not get to them. They might experience a lot of FOMO or fear of missing out on something that would be more enjoyable than their current activity, resulting in greedy, self-centred, impulsive behaviour.
I’d imagine there are very few Sevens reading, but I will note that one of my best friends is a Seven and this description alone explains why we sometimes can’t see eye to eye but why I value her so much as a super fun friend who guarantees adventure when we hang out.
Whilst all these types are within the thinking Triad, you’ll likely notice how different they all are. Just like type Two and Four are almost the inverse of each other in how they relate to the inner or outer world, types Five and Seven are quite the opposite in how they respond to the world around them.
The anxiety of all three types in the Thinking triad come from an underlying fear that they can’t rely on the outside world, either from people or the environment: they fear uncertainty.
However a Five will cope with this anxiety by learning: increasing their knowledge of the scary environment and thereby boosting their confidence, or they’ll retreat and sever connections and dependencies with others as much as possible, so they don’t get hurt.
A Seven, conversely, will appear very brave on the outside, but their anxieties come from within. Not wanting to deal with their inner world, they’ll plunge into any distracting or numbing activity to escape in the external world.
Like Threes, Sixes experience a mixture of these anxieties. they’ll seek support systems to deal with their inner and outer anxieties and may find the security they need in close relationships, a secure job or a philiosophical or religious system.
So there you have it: the Observer, the Loyalist and the Adventurer. Or the Five, Six and Seven.
As you can see there’s a lot of juicy stuff in each type description, and I’ll be going through the final triad, the instinctive triad next week.
As always, let me know if you’re digging this series or if you have any questions or suggestions: I’m ready for ya! email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Personality Types by Don Richard Riso
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