Illustration of Enneagram Type 5: "The Investigator"

Enneagram Type 5

The Investigator

Perceptive – Curious – Independent

What is an Enneagram Type 5 Personality?

“Fives” can demonstrate visionary intellect and inventiveness or become increasingly socially withdrawn and secretive.

Discover The Great Things About Enneagram Type 5

Fives like to understand things. Like kids, they keep asking why-questions about everything. Their search for knowledge never stops – and their primary tool in that search is their mind. Fives like to observe, collect knowledge and investigate any topic that fascinates them – which is why they are often called „Investigators“. They don’t simply accept a given doctrine, but want to test the truth for themselves. Information helps them feel self-sufficient and independent. Even things like feelings are little more than objects of study for them. For Fives, knowledge truly feels like power.

Key Motivation

Fives want to feel capable of handling a world that feels overwhelming to them. They feel that the more they understand, the more they will be able to meet the many demands of life. Fives believe that they can only fully join the world once they have figured out how to do things from the safety of their minds.

The Worst, The Best, and The Average of Enneagram Type 5

Your personality isn’t a fixed thing. People grow. While we don’t change our basic personality (as much as some of us would like that), we all can become more mature and healthy inside our personality. But at times, we also revert to less healthy behavior. This looks different for every personality type. Let’s see how it unfolds for Fives.

Average Type 5s

On average, Fives are highly productive thinkers who simply need to be reminded from time to time that there’s a real world happening outside their brain. They try to learn the dance of life by watching and observing instead of actually stepping on the dance floor. When things get overwhelming, they withdraw into their safe space, which is usually their mind.

Since knowledge is so highly valued by Fives, they build their identity around knowing things and having insightful and unusual things to say. They’re not interested in what’s already established, but want to go beyond the familiar. They often look for a niche they can be competent in, then focus entirely on their chosen field of expertise, believing it to be the best way to gain confidence and independence.

Key Challenge

Being so good at collecting things – mostly thoughts, ideas and knowledge – means the main challenge of Fives is greed. There’s actually a somewhat old-fashioned word that describes this even better: Avarice – the hunger to collect without giving anything back. Fives are much better at taking what the world shares with them than sharing themselves with the world.

Unhealthy Type 5s

Fives who never gain the confidence to face the world become more and more isolated inside their head and fixated on their own thoughts. Their intellectual achievements make them arrogant instead of humble, and their fascination for everything can turn towards the dark and macabre. Instead of trying to solve the anxieties that prevent them from engaging life, they obsessively keep collecting and developing the ideas they believe will make them competent – or get lost in completely trivial rabbit-holes of knowledge.

Unhealthy Fives start neglecting real life entirely – especially their relationships, and sometimes even their health and hygiene. They get trapped in the cycle the comedian George Carlin described so well:

“I think I am, therefore, I am.

I think.”
George Carlin


Healthy Type 5s

Healthy Fives have realized that they actually have everything they need to tackle life. They lose their fear of engagement and give all the brilliant stuff they’ve collected in their minds back to the world. But not only that, they also become comfortable to share themselves – their feelings, their time and their resources – without fear of being drained.

With their hard-working minds and their desire to go beyond the boundaries of established knowledge, Fives at their best often become visionary pioneers in their field of expertise, ahead of their time, like Nikola Tesla, or opening ways to see the world in a new light, like Agatha Christie.

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All 9 Enneagram Personality Type Descriptions


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Definitive guide to finding your Enneagram type


Wings of Enneagram Type 5 

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What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a pretty amazing tool to help people understand themselves and others better. It does that by describing the nine principle ways of how people view the world and how their particular worldview shapes their personalities. It has already helped millions of people around the world discovering who they are, why they do the things they do and – most importantly – how to use this knowledge to grow as a person.

Find out how the system works