For Sixes this means that they can have a wing Five (also known as Enneagram 6w5) or a wing Seven (Enneagram 6w7).
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.
Sixes are usually very social, endearing and lovable pragmatists who enjoy the safety of systems and people of authority to guard them against a volatile world. If you add the withdrawn, introverted and cerebral nature of the Five as a wing to this, you get – amongst other things – Sixes who are more independent and analytical, who like to protect their privacy and pursue more solitary hobbies than communal ones.
Sixes with a Five wing often find they have a greater need for time alone, where they can use their considerate powers of concentration and focus to narrow in on the things that they feel they need to solve, be it in their job or their private life. These Sixes often fit in particularly well into fixed systems like academics and analytical jobs, where the rules are well established and they have a safe framework they can predictably move and advance in.
Yet, Sixes will always remain the big sceptics of the nine personality types, and the analytical approach of Fives often only adds to that. On healthy levels, this makes them better communicators and problem-solvers. On less healthy levels, it can make them reactionary in their opinions and suspicious while hanging on to their chosen system of belief, which they defend more radically the more threatened they feel. Sixes already have a tendency to see the world as dangerous and threatening. With the intellectual layer of the Five on top of that, it only gives them more tools to dissect and overanalyze their anxieties until it paralyses them.
Put these skills to good use though, and you get Sixes who employ their expertise in foreseeing problems for causes that transcend themselves. Because they still value community more than an average introverted Five, healthy Sixes with this wing often go into fields that serve the community, be it as politicians, advocates or educators.
When you find that your fundamentally Six heart is oftentimes more drawn to intellectual things and your mind is doing much more work solving instead of trying to distract you from your wary outlook on life, you are probably gifted with a Five wing.
Combine the focus on commitment, safety and preparedness of Sixes with the easy-going, playful nature of Sevens, and you get Sixes who are much more adventurous, funny and extroverted than you would expect from this usually quite serious type. Sixes with a Seven wing are just as willing to make sacrifices to make sure they and their loved ones are safe as those with a Five wing. But they are willing to take on a bit more risk, come equipped with a bit more energy and are a bit more ready to laugh about their own insecurities.
Make no mistake, these people are still Sixes at heart: Dutiful, caring and battling that inner voice that tells them to always prepare for encountering the dangers of the world. But they take it all with more lightness, thanks to the influence of their wing. What makes them clearly different from pure Sevens is that they are by far not as initiating and decisive. They often rely on the advice and opinion of others, even more than Sixes with a Five wing – which makes them more independent. What they get from the Sevens though is the humor to take their own preoccupation with safety and security more lightly.
Down the less healthy paths of this combination, these Sixes start leaning more and more on the people and distractions they depend on to keep their anxieties at bay. Becoming a regular at the bar or staying in their abusive work environment doesn’t solve their problems, but it’s nonetheless a common occurrence if they don’t find other means to break free.
Up the healthier paths however, their Seven wing makes these Sixes much more sociable, good-humored, relaxed and spontaneous. They take on more interests and hobbies, follow their ideas and dreams with more energy and are more comfortable with being around people – and sometimes even the center of attention.
If you notice that despite fundamentally agreeing with the dynamics of the Six personality, you find a lot of playfulness and light-hearted humor inside of you, chances are your dominant wing is that of the Seven.
I don;t know why all I can think about is the scene in parks and rec where John Ralphio and his sister sing "don't be suspicious" when I think of the innate questioning behavior of a 6w5. From a negative standpoint I can see someone who is more reserved that also is suspicious of others and their intentions and motives live a pretty solitary life. That has to be something that they either enjoy or are self-aware of to try and mitigate. Letting people in can sometimes be risky but it can be incredibly rewarding and enriching as well. I try every day to let more people in to my life and share more.
Imagine being a writer who is an Enneagram 6w5? I feel like that is the perfect combination for someone who dedicates their life to writing in general. Especially since these types seem to still veer more toward the solo activities than hanging out in the masses. I think that combination with the introspective thought processes can make for someone who is really insightful, intelligent, rather private but a total powerhouse of knowledge and deep thinking. Getting someone of this personality type to tell you "their story" would probably make for a really good dinner and drinks conversation piece.
One of my close friends definitely has some of the personality characteristics of an Enneagram 6w7. He has an almost effervescent personality and is very VERY funny and extroverted. He seems to use humor to deflect some things that are almost self-deprecating at times. Especially concerning the dating world he tends to make some jokes about himself quite a bit. I can definitely see the becoming a regular at a bar thing too. He does frequent some of the same repetitive places and tends to make those his typical weekend haunts. Overall really enlightening to go on learning about these different wings.