Common Mistypes for Enneagram Type 6
Since the Enneagram looks at much more than just how different personality types behave, some types can look very similar at first glance (because they behave similarly in some situations). This is especially true when only certain aspects of them get emphasized.
Yet in order for the Enneagram to benefit you, it’s crucial that you are sure which type actually reflects your personality and don’t end up mistyping yourself. This page is specifically for Enneagram Type Sixes to have a quick check, whether they might have mistyped themselves.
If you want to know more about how and why misidentifications happen in the first place, you can do so here.
What are The most common Mistypes for Enneagram Sixes?
Some Enneagram types are very hard to mix up, while others get misidentified more often. Let’s see how this looks like for Sixes:
Type Sixes quite often get confused with Type Twos or Type Nines.
Sixes sometimes mistype themselves for Type Fours or Type Eights and can also get confused about whether one of their wings, Type Five or Type Seven, might actually be their main type.
Type Sixes rarely get misidentified for Type Fours and almost never get misidentified for Type Threes.
Below you find a description of each potential misidentification. You will learn how to distinguish Ones from all other Enneagram types. Note that all types are compared at an average level of health. Find out what that means.
To give you a quick indication on how likely certain types get confused with Type 6, we have created different bubble sizes for each pair of misidentifications.
Click on a bubble to read all about the reasons why these two types get confused with each other and what tells them apart.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 6 And Type 1: The Loyalist and The Teacher
More rare than Ones and Sixes misidentifying themselves is that they get misidentified by others. The main reason people confuse the two is because they both frequently prioritise duty and correct behavior over relaxation and taking care of their own needs. This feeling of „should“ and „must“ however comes from very different places, so let’s look at those briefly.
The main point that helps clear up the picture is that the average Six is predominantly reactive, while the average Teacher is predominantly proactive. Sixes tend to be either too dependent and dutiful or overly rebellious and defiant. Both reactions come from their unresolved relationship with authority and a certain lack of confidence in their own strength. Their sense of obligation comes from making sure they feel safe. Ones are the opposite: highly self-controlled, independent and decisive. They have very clear and strong convictions and opinions and don’t mind letting people know about them. Their sense of obligation therefore comes from a different place: making sure they did everything right.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 6 And Type 2: The Loyalist and The Helper
Twos and Sixes wear their potential for misidentification in their names. Doesn’t offering help imply some kind of loyal disposition, and doesn’t loyalty usually mean offering yourself to the people you love? Yes. But of course the names are not what defines these personality types. Since they get misidentified quite often however, we’ll look a little bit deeper into why that is and how you can keep the two apart.
The main thing that tricks Twos into thinking they’re Sixes (and the other way around) is that their behavior is similarly warm and engaging towards others. They both put a lot of effort into being liked by those around them. They can both be very emotional, too. But like we told you before: Behavior alone is not the deciding indicator – the motivation behind it is. And here’s where the key difference shows:
Twos are warm and friendly because they want to be close and intimate with others, to find out what they need and give it to them in order to feel needed and valued. They want the other person to feel safe. Sixes are friendly because they themselves want to feel safe, and by being friendly they make sure that everybody likes them.
But they don’t wear their heart on their sleeves like many Twos do. If you were to line them up on the introverted-extroverted spectrum, Sixes would be further on the introverted side, having more trouble with anxiety, indecision and self-doubts, while Twos are much further on the extroverted side. Their challenge is becoming manipulative (and in the process self-harming).
In a way, you could say that while both are really good at making people like them, Sixes do it because they depend on others, while Twos do it because they (unconsciously) want others to depend on them.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 6 And Type 3: The Loyalist and The Performer
Threes and Sixes are so easily told aparat that this misidentification is pretty rare. Yes, both put a lot of effort into being likeable and can be very focused on their work. But that’s usually where the similarities end.
If you’re not sure, it helps to remember that Threes deeper motivation is to be appreciated and acknowledged for their accomplishments. Sixes come from a different place: They need their world to be secure, and their efforts to ingratiate themselves with people comes from a thirst for safety, not for recognition.
You see this most vividly when it comes to taking the stage: Threes are easy being in the spotlight – it’s their natural habitat. They actively seek it out because the stage gives them the chance to shine. Sixes are much less enthusiastic about being the center of attention – after all, it is the most exposed and therefore unsafe place they could think of.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 6 And Type 4: The Loyalist and The Romantic
Fours and Sixes are usually different enough to be told apart easily. Fours especially almost never mistake themselves for Sixes. They take one look at the Six’s wish and ability to conform and subject themselves to authority – and feel personally offended. Such is the individualism of the Four.
The only real confusion between these types arises when Sixes, especially those who are creative, start to think that being creative is all that constitutes Fours and therefore think this must be them. But creativity isn’t limited to any type. So let’s look at the deeper patterns of Fours and Sixes to see how, even in their creativity, they’re clearly different.
Sixes are great at relating to people, while Fours relate less to people and much more to their inner emotional world. The art of Fours is therefore highly self-concerned, exploring the recesses of their soul, treating subjective, personal matters. They are true introverts. In contrast, Sixes, while not being true extroverts, are definitely more on the extroverted side, and it shows in their art. They are more often performing artists than original creators, and their art usually tackles the subjects that concern them, like safety and belonging, as well as topics that transcend the self like family, politics and society as a whole.
Fours look for the most true and authentic expression of their innermost self (and don’t care much about established standards). Sixes, even in their creativity, are usually caught between their ambivalent relation to authority, being either rather traditional or extremely rebellious. Their creativity is directed outward, while the creativity of Fours is directed at (and typically stays on) the inside.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 6 And Type 5: The Loyalist and The Investigator
As with all types that are next to each other on the Enneagram, Fives and Sixes don’t get so much misidentified but rather confused about which one is their main type and which one their wing. Since we talk about wings in more detail somewhere else, we will just mention the main difference between the two types for now.
What usually gets Sixes confused into thinking they’re Fives is that both types are spending a lot of time in their head, and both have trouble feeling safe in a world that seems instinctively dangerous and demanding to them.
The difference is how these types handle this feeling of being overwhelmed: Sixes, feeling anxious, invest into security by attaching themselves to authority figures, sometimes bowing down to them, other times rebelling against them.
The Five’s basic reaction is not anxiety per se, but rather exhaustion. They retreat into their minds, where they don’t have to care what anyone (least of all any authority figure) thinks or wants from them.
In a nutshell, Sixes try to solve their problem by going to an external source of safety, Fives by going to their internal safe haven.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 6 And Type 7: The Loyalist and The Enthusiast
As with all types that are next to each other on the Enneagram, Sixes and Sevens don’t get so much misidentified but rather confused about which one is their main type and which one their wing. Since we will talk about wings in more detail somewhere else, we will just mention the main difference between the two types for now.
The thing that links these two types is that they are both confronted with feelings of anxiety more than other types. What tells them clearly apart however is how they react to this anxiety:
Sixes try to guard themselves against it by thinking through every possible danger and either finding things (or people) to reassure them, or, if their trust is abused, by rebelling against it.
Sevens by contrast don’t engage their fears at all (if possible). They rather avoid them by distracting themselves with things that are fun and enjoyable.
That’s why Sixes are easy with commitment – it makes them feel secure – while Sevens are easy with being spontaneous and free – it reassures them that they can always escape when things get too dangerous. Sixes built a home with a sturdy fence. Sevens buy a home with a garage for their fast car.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 6 And Type 8: The Loyalist and The Challenger
The main reason you could confuse these two types is because Sixes have two ways of reacting to their core desire of feeling safe: Either by submitting to the things that give them safety, or by aggressively rebelling against them. This aggression can make them look similar to Eights. But as you will see, it comes from a very different place.
Eights are entirely aggressive. Not necessarily in the violent sense, but in the sense that they’re comfortable with pushing for what they want and need without hesitation. If you defy them, they will defy you back.
Sixes would never go that far. Yes, they will resist, but only to the point where they feel they can still get away with it without risking their safety too much. Eights are fundamentally independent, while Sixes need a framework they can rely on. When these types push back, they push for different things: Sixes to regain a feeling of security, Eights to regain a feeling of superiority.
Misidentifying Enneagram Type 6 And Type 9: The Loyalist and The Peacemaker
This misidentification is quite common, since both types are more on the introverted side and are usually humble, unassuming people. Both want to maintain security and the status quo of their situation. But their differences begin to show very clearly in how they go about achieving this.
Nines try to maintain harmony by not letting anything upset them. They are naturally trusting; they feel better the less they have to think about potential points of conflict.
Contrast this with Sixes, who try to maintain their inner peace by constantly looking out for any potential vectors of danger and guarding themselves against them. Logically, they have a much harder time trusting people, and they are much more easily upset by small things. The prospect of problems makes Sixes nervous, which can’t be said for Nines, who will resist being upset by anything as long as possible. A Nine will let their faucet drip for months before being persuaded to do something about it. A Six will lose exactly one night of sleep calculating how much higher the water bill will be before fixing it the next morning.
Status quo restored both times – but in very different ways.