For Fives this means that they can have a wing Four (also known as Enneagram 5w4) or a wing Six (Enneagram 5w6).
Below you find descriptions for each wing. We will explore how either wing can positively influence your main personality type as well as the specific challenges this combination brings with it. If you are new to wings and want to learn more about how they work, you can read our introduction to wings here.
If a Five has a Four wing, they get to add an emotional sensitivity and a passion for the unconventional to their analytical, detached minds. These Fives are more independent than those with a Six wing. They sometimes are also more eccentric and definitely more in tune with their imagination.
Fives and Fours are very similar. They both choose to withdraw from the world: Fives to analyze it from the safe haven of their minds, Fours to explore their own emotional world. Both are looking for something inside them that helps them cope with the real world. But they come from different directions: Fives from their heads, Fours from their hearts.
They are often less concerned with cold, hard, data-driven science than with areas where they can use their intuition and imagination as well.
What you also get is an even more withdrawn type that can spend a lot of their time with impractical things that stimulate their minds and imagination without producing any meaningful results – hours spent reading, specializing in trivia and hobbies or playing intellectual games. Since they are still fundamentally Fives, their fantasies often revolve more around the fantastic and surreal than the Four, sometimes drifting into the macabre, dark and horrific.
When you get down to unhealthy levels, this combination of type and wing starts mixing the worst of both, adding isolation and self-hatred to its contempt of others. Their intellectual nihilism can make them feel emotionally hopeless, while their ever churning emotions are making a sustained intellectual effort impossible. Sounds kinda bleak – because it can be.
However, if you take a look at the other side of the spectrum: In healthy, mature people with this wing you find an incredible combination of intuition and knowledge. Creative intellectuals (or very smart creatives) that add emotional depth to their strong analytical skills. You find a lot of these Fives in areas where they get to add the unique vision their Four wing gives them to their curious quest for knowledge. If you’re thinking Albert Einstein or Stepehn King now – yeah, you’re thinking right.
Not bad company, is it?
If you think Type Five reflects your core personality, but you also notice a penchant for the unique and extraordinary as well as a pleasure for spending time in your imagination, it is very likely your Four wing is your dominant wing.
To generalize a bit right off the start, Fives with a Six wing are often what people associate with the classic programmer-type: Very good at intellectual dissection, theoretical problem-solving, technical subjects and practical matters; more social than others (the reclusive Fives with a Four wing for example) – but not very good at voicing their feelings (if they try at all); very observant of the world around them but not particularly introspective.
This is what the Six wing adds to the Five type: the ability to use their analytical mindset on practical things that ensure the world will be easier to navigate, more predictable and maybe even a little bit safer.
Other things the Six wing brings with it are often the ability to be more persistent and diligent in their work. The Six’s way of looking at the world through the lense of safety (which on a deeper level has its origin in anxiety) combines with the Five’s wish to withdraw from the world to protect their limited resources.
However, Sixes usually try to find safety through connecting with others, which is somewhat at odds with the isolating instincts of Fives. The way this shows is that on the one hand, Fives with this wing struggle with personal relationships, while on the other hand they are generally much more cooperative than if they had a Four wing. The Six influence grants them more attractive, lovable qualities that make them endearing to others, but they still need to choose to put an emphasis on people instead of objects. Which, since they’re still fundamentally Fives, isn’t always easy for them.
If you go further down into unhealthy levels, you find more anxiety, even phobia, and fear of intimacy. The isolationist tendencies of the Five are being reinforced by the paranoid tendencies of Sixes, making it extremely hard for them to trust others.
On the other hand, if you go up into the healthy, mature levels, you find people who observe the world with an amazing clarity and who, thanks to their good humour and more people-oriented approach, can collaborate extremely well while operating on the highest intellectual levels.
If you find yourself reflected in the Five type, but notice that you are not as withdrawn as the type sounds and that your thinking is more concerned with practical matters than unique and unconventional subjects, chances are this is your Six wing showing.