top of page

An Open Letter To Enneagram Fives

Let me begin by simply assuaging your concerns about the content of this letter. It is no secret that most Fives prefer not to be the center of attention, and therefore this letter may stir trepidation within you, knowing that you might herein be exposed. But fear not, and I will tell you why.

While it is accurate that exposure is a real and viable threat to your safety, it is also true that one of your very greatest strengths lies in your very keen and favored sense and talent of listening. In fact, you are a sensory vacuum. You are like a data-sponge, with intake valves constantly open and operating. Your eyes see. Your nose smells. Your ears hear. With every step into a new environment or relationship, your mechanisms are spinning and your processors are firing, accumulating all the data you can in order to best perceive how to most reliably navigate your current circumstances.

This is a tiresome endeavor, to be sure. It is no wonder that you begin each day feeling as if you haven’t recovered from the one just past. But you’ve been here before, and history has taught you that in order to keep the motor from burning out, it must remain in a constant low idle. Energy management is the constant hum of your life. You believe that you must say no to most things just in case there is something you must say yes to. That is your key to victory, or so it seems.

Fives, especially those with a six-wing, tend to be the most emotionally-distant numbers on the Enneagram. In your day-to-day, you are dealing with facts and figures, dates and data, reason, yet no rhyme. When you’re relaxed, you become more decisive, powerful even. Here you may border on the emotion of anger, but even so, you are more prone to study your anger than you are to feel it, as if it was a beast on the other side of a glass wall or a specimen in a petri dish.

Under stress, your sensors begin to be overburdened, like a computer without enough processing power for the task it is attempting. Because you become unable to continue to take in data at the same rate, your systems begin to shut down and you look for other tasks to do that will not take up as many resources.

But let me decode some things for you. You are about to become a subject matter expert on something you may not have thoroughly researched before now: yourself.

First, there is a great difference between a prized volume locked away in a safe, and one on display for the world to see. The greatest libraries are not only great because of what they contain, but for what they give. The sponge of your mind may be excellent at taking in information, but the true gift you can offer the world is to share what you know for the benefit of those around you. Authors do not put pen to paper merely to hide their work in a drawer…it is meant to be seen. It is meant to leave an impact.

Second, the past may be your comfortable realm of choice, but the future is the only place you are going. Isolation from others may protect you in a way, but it does nothing to stem the flow of time, which tends to always be moving forward, not backward. Therefore, it becomes demonstrably imperative that you build connections with others who are more inclined to the future than yourself. That teamwork will not only bring you forward in time, but it will allow you to help prepare others with invaluable lessons from the past.

Third, it is important to remember that not everyone in the world wants you to do something. While you certainly need the accountability of higher energy people to motivate you to daily action, let’s not pretend that it isn’t a daunting weight hanging above your head. Therefore it becomes critical for you open your available waking hours also to those few trusted people who are content to quietly sit, ruminating and postulating about the things, great and small, that have been, are, and will be. While time alone is needed to recharge you, time with these close fellow wayfarers brings a sense of camaraderie that otherwise might seem too risky to pursue.

The storehouses of knowledge in the world are deep. In fact, they get deeper and deeper with every passing day. While you have a wonderful propensity to indulge and absorb knowledge, you must acknowledge that many in the world have discovered the vast difference between surviving and thriving. And since there is no clear consensus on where the line lies between the two aforementioned options, you must learn to aim at thriving without having the full picture of what that may look like. This is a scary prospect. But if you can learn to embrace it, and even give chase to it, you have the highest percentage chance of discovering what many have failed to uncover: experiential knowledge of lasting happiness.


Evrgrn provides training and development to help teams understand themselves and each other so that they can communicate better, be more productive, and love what they do. We work with organizations, non-profits, and individuals, using the Enneagram as well as a variety of other tools to help people discover their strengths and passions and how they can work better as a team based on those findings. Reach out or book your team training today at


bottom of page