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Enneagram Type 5 Blueprint: The Detached Intellectual

awareness better life enneagram fear habits happiness online courses painful emotions relationships stress suffering videos Dec 07, 2021

(By Eldad Ben-Moshe)

❤ Hey there Better Lifers!


Welcome to another episode of the Enneagram Blueprint.

And this time we're going to talk about type five, The Detached Intellectual.

Before we go there, two words of wisdom or suggestions:

If you have not seen the previous episodes of this series, I would definitely recommend watching the introduction video.

In that video, I speak a lot about what is the Enneagram and how it is so helpful in changing so many people's lives and doing it so successfully.

And it also gives some understandings and guidelines and things that might help you understand better what I'm talking about, and avoid some traps of misunderstandings that some people tend to have when they first hear about the Enneagram, or not even when they first hear about it.

So some things that are worth hearing.

And the other suggestion that I have is going to the second video, the video about type one, because there, in the first I think five or six minutes, I'm giving some general remarks about finding your type and about names of the types and stuff like that.

That can also be beneficial.

So far in the Enneagram blueprint series, we had the introduction video - what is the enneagram; type one - the critical reformer; type two - the proud helper; type three - the self-promoting achiever; and type four - the dramatic creative.


This is not my full online course or non-online, in-person course. This is a taste. So there's only so much I can dive into - even in an online course there's only so much I can dive into.

For more details about my Enneagram courses, visit E-School, our Enneagram school, at 

But the important thing is that here, in the Enneagram Blueprint series, I'm going to give you the essential blueprint of the nine types. It will be a quick description of each type, and it is going to be beautiful.

And now, with that out of our way, let's talk about Enneagram type five — The Detached Intellectual.

Type 5's Blueprint: The Detached Intellectual.


1. Type 5's core belief.

Now, as always, we start with the core belief.

We said in the introduction video, if you've seen it, that it all starts from the core belief.

Our personality structure, our defense mechanism, call it what you will, it all starts from our core beliefs about our world or about ourselves.

In the case of type five, the core belief is this:

The world is demanding, invasive and confusing, and it takes more than it gives.

And therefore my resources are going to be limited and I must be independent and capable and self-sufficient.

If this is the world, if the world is demanding things of me and it takes more than it gives, I'll end up without resources.

It will take and I'll get depleted and I won't be able to replenish that enough.

It is invasive and it is confusing and I have to be able to take care of myself, in that sense.

I have to be independent. I have to be capable. I have to be self-sufficient because others and the world, not only that they won't give to me enough, they'll take more than they give.

So life's an "I have to do it on my own" kind of situation.


2. Type 5's core need.


From that core belief arise our core need and our core fear.

Now, as always, I'll say again, the core need of each type is on top of two core needs that we all share.

That's how at least the way I see it, not necessarily what you read in Enneagram books. But that's the way I see it.

And those two core needs that we all have are for love and for survival or safety.

On top of that, each type has its own core need that stems from the core belief.

So if that's my belief about the world, my core need is to be independent.

So we're talking about independence, autonomy, and space. These are the core needs of type five.


3. Type 5's core fear.

And the core fear, which also comes from the core belief, would be to be helpless and incapable and overwhelmed, because eventually being helpless and incapable and overwhelmed leads to being dependent on others.

If I'm incapable, if I'm helpless, if I'm overwhelmed, I need you to help me.

Now, if I'm dependent on you and on the world for survival, but the world takes more than it gives and it's invasive and it's intrusive and all that, I can't really afford to be helpless and incapable and overwhelmed, right?

When we're talking about overwhelm, we're also talking about emotional overwhelm.

We're talking about the fear of being emotionally overwhelmed. And that little remark here will play a bigger part as we go along.

It's kind of like I'm afraid of drowning in a sea of emotions. So keep that in the back of your mind and we'll get there.

But the narrative of this core fear is basically 'I cannot trust on the world and on other people to fulfill my needs.' I have to make it on my own.

They will take more than they will give and deplete my resources.

And resources are not just money, it's energy, it's time, and yes it's also money, and it's emotional availability.

And so, in order to survive, remember, it goes all the way back to your sense of survival. This is a survival strategy. This is a defense mechanism.

So in order to survive, I can't afford to be helpless and incapable and overwhelmed. That's why it's my core fear—to be helpless and incapable and overwhelmed.

4. Type 5's strategy and tactics.


So if this is my belief and my core need and my core fear, I need to be able to avoid what I'm afraid of and gain what I need. So that's the tactics.

That's how we fulfill our needs and avoid our fear.

So in the case of type five, in order to be loved and safe and avoid being helpless and incapable, I must be independent, capable, and self-sufficient.

And again, I emphasize the word must because this goes all the way to our sense of survival.

This is not just 'okay, I should be independent' or 'I'd like to be independent'.

No. In order to survive, to have safety and to be loved, I must be independent. I must be capable. I must be self-sufficient.


5. Type 5's automatic focus of awareness.


So with all of that, I need to have a mechanism that helps me do that, right?

A key part of this mechanism is the automatic focus of awareness, which scans around unconsciously, and chooses what to be more aware of in all this sea of things that are happening all the time.

So for fives, the automatic focus of awareness is "protection" from external interruptions and resource-consuming people and events, also known as the world and people and life.

I have to protect myself from all of that.

And in the big picture, like everything else, it's based on some level of sense, right?

Of course, I can't have people just taking all my money away and taking all my time away, taking all my energy away and I'll be left with nothing.

But it's unbalanced when it's unhealthy and we'll get to the levels of healthy and unhealthy, balance and unbalanced later on.

But when it's coming out of the fear concept of survival mechanism, I have to do this to survive, it becomes unbalanced.

Most of us understand that some people take, some people give, eventually, there's some kind of balance.

I don't need to protect myself from life and from people to an extreme degree. And again, when we get to the unbalanced parts of five, it can get pretty extreme.

Healthy fives, of course, thrive well with the five's strategy and tactics, but that takes work to get there, usually for most of us.

So that was the automatic focus of awareness, of attention.


6. Type 5's automatic focus of actions.


But out of all that, and in order to fulfill the strategy and the tactics of how to get what I want and avoid what I'm afraid of, the automatic focus of your actions as a five goes to learning, understanding, analyzing, observing.

They're sometimes called 'the observer', type five.

And it goes also to resource gathering and safekeeping because the world will take it from me, people will take it from me, and I need to take care of that myself.

Without that, I'm doomed.

So I need to learn and understand and analyze and observe and be able to gather the resources I need and keep them safe from all those people and world and life and all these things that are taking them away from me.


7. Type 5's self-image.


And my self-image is such a person who is having this automatic focus of actions and beliefs and all that, is that I am thinking, I'm intelligent, I'm rational, I'm knowledgeable, I'm perceptive, I'm observant, I'm objective, I'm cerebral, I'm investigative, I'm analytical.

It's a head-oriented self-image.

And this is an introduction, we're not talking a lot about the centers, but type five are in the head center, so that makes tons of sense.

But that's just a side note there for those of you who know a bit more than just the intro level.

And yes in a way, the fives are the classic head type. The representation of that is probably the best representation of what you'd think of as a classic head type.

I'm in my thoughts, in my mind, in my lab, as the scientist analogy goes, I need that in order to survive.


8. Type 5's gifts (“healthy”/ balanced/ high level of development).


Now all this leads us to talk a bit more about the behavior that you can expect to see from type fives.

Now, again, going back to the original first video that I've done about the Enneagram here that talks about what is the Enneagram and explains that, I remind you it's a dynamic and complex module.

So there are types and tritypes and wings and arrows and instincts and levels of development.

And put 1000 people with type five as their main type in one room, you'll still have 1000 different people, and you'll have different variations of the core structure, the core defense mechanism of this personality.

But there are similarities, and I'll talk about behaviors in the healthy and unhealthy levels and the balanced, unbalanced, call it what you want - understand that not all type fives always have all that, or if you have that you're not necessarily a type five.

We're talking about a general description.

And as you go along in your journey with the Enneagram and I do go way deeper into things in the Enneagram school that I have, the E-School, and you can find more about it in,

So the more you go deeper into your Enneagram journey, you'll understand the subtleties and you'll understand more of the complexity of the model and how dynamic it is.

So don't write it off as keeping someone in a box and don't be tempted to misunderstand this.


So with all that said, some of the healthy behaviors or balanced behaviors you can see from type five or some of their gifts are that they are indeed highly intellectual usually.

And they'll have also intellectual curiosity, and they love research, and they love learning.

They're logical, they're rational, and as observers they can be very perceptive, and they can indeed be very objective.

Although I must put a note there about that, because like anybody else, when it comes to them and personal stuff of their own issues, they're not necessarily objective, right? They get affected by that when it's about them.

But again, think of an outside observer, especially, and we'll get to that - one which is more emotionally detached - you can get a certain level of perceptiveness and objectiveness that comes from that.

And that's a usual common trait for them.

With that also comes that there are many times calm and cool in emotionally dramatic situations where others are more lost in the drama.

I'm here in my head, analyzing, observing, not so absorbed into the drama of life and emotions, so I can keep my cool and calm.

Again, not always. And the more it touches them, they will get sucked into that too.

But still compared to others, they can stay cool and calm and more functioning when other people might be drawn into emotional drama.

They can make decisions in a rational way too - again, when many other people in that situation would be entangled in emotional drama.

So that too is part of what you can many times see from them on the high side.

They know how to keep their boundaries and their limits very well. It's part of their tendency to keep their privacy.

But like any gift of any type in any person, if you overuse it, which they often do, it becomes a problem. It becomes a trap.

Many times when we get to the shadow, the unhealthy, unbalanced, lower levels of development part of type five, they're overzealous about keeping their privacy, their boundaries, their limits, and that creates other problems.

But in the healthy side, they can be very good at that.

And as a coach, I can tell you many people come to me with "I don't know how to keep my boundaries, I don't know how to keep my limits".

And some types in the Enneagram, specifically type two, type nine and so on, and so on, they can learn a lot from fives.

But many of us, even if type two and type nine are not our main types, I can tell you again from working with people, it's a common issue, at least nowadays in the western world.

At least with the people that come to me, the whole boundaries and limits and issue.

They can be absolutely brilliant. And we'll get to people that are considered type five in the Enneagram later on, but think of Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Some of the most brilliant people we know in our culture are fives.

And that makes total sense when you understand everything I told you about them until now.

And they can be also very inventive.


9. Type 5's shadows (“unhealthy”/ unbalanced/ lower levels of development).


So with all that in the unbalanced part of type five and the lower levels of development, like any other type, there are some downsides for the type, right?

So when we talk about these shadows of type five, many times you will see them as over-conserving of energy and resources.

Because it comes from their fear, their core fear. It comes from their defense mechanism. It goes all the way to survival.


If I will let you in, and it doesn't matter if it's in the door when I'm in my room and thinking and analyzing and doing my thing, or if I let you into my emotional world or all that stuff, it's a threat to my survival.

It's not what they understand that is happening, but that's what's happening behind the scenes in their mind.

Just like any other type when the core fears are triggered, it goes all the way to survival.

That's, by the way, one of the reasons the Enneagram modality is so helpful and so useful in changing our lives.

Because we can understand where things are really coming from, why they get us so deep.

And then if you work with a professional that knows how to do things like that, you can use the Enneagram to get out of your habitual patterns and change the way you respond and react to things when they happen and when they trigger your core fear and your sense of survival.

That's a different note, not just about fives, it's for everybody.

So again, if we're talking about their core fear of being helpless and incapable and overwhelmed, it feels like if I won't conserve enough energy and resources and all that, I'll be at risk.

So because it comes from that deep of a place, their 'enough', like having enough resources, their 'enough' is usually really way more than enough.

Again, it's skewed because of the fear that is handling all of that. So sometimes they can be experienced as cheap and other things that we will deal with in a minute -

but we also want to understand how the Enneagram helps us have compassion for others and ourselves if we are five, and this is one way.

It's like, okay maybe I'm cheap here and I can work on changing that, but I can also have compassion for myself or to that other person because I understand how deep it goes, why it's so hard for me to let go, why it's so hard.

And when you get that it's coming from there, it makes sense.

It doesn't mean it's okay, it's fun, it's great, we don't want them to change, but it means we can at the same time have compassion and understand why to me it's not a big deal, but to him it is a big deal.

So that's another great thing about Enneagram, having more compassion for ourselves and to others.

They also can be, as we said over conserving of resources, but it's not just money - it's also the time, the energy, the emotional availability, the knowledge, anything that is perceived as a resource. And these are classic examples that I just gave.

That's why they don't share too easily, not their time, not their emotional availability - they can get into a situation that they love sharing their knowledge because it's part of their strategy is to be knowledgeable.

And also because from the authentic self, it can be fun to do that for them.

But many times it actually will also not be fun to share their knowledge, too, to put it lightly. When I'm saying "not having fun to do that", it's hard for them sometimes because it's threatening.

They can be experienced as cheap, not in just the money aspect. They can be experienced as cheap in their giving of their time, their energy, their knowledge, their emotional availability.

So there's all that part.

And then another part that comes with all of this is that they can't stand their privacy being invaded.

So again, it doesn't matter if it's about you knocking at my office or just opening the door to my office when I'm working, which is a common complaint of them, they can't stand that.

Or if you look in my bag, even if you're my partner or whatever, I trust you, but there's something that cringes a bit sometimes. It depends on the circumstances.

And of course I'm talking again about the lower levels and the unbalanced.

The more unbalanced you are, the more it will bother you when it's a safe person doing that. But it is a thing. It can be unpleasant for them sometimes.

Or giving personal information, even in the context that it's with a trusted person, and they'll still do it, there can be that contraction about that. It's not easy, that's what I'm saying.

Another shadow aspect or unbalanced aspect of their behavior, sometimes when they go on the lower levels of development, they can get overwhelmed by other people needing things from them or expecting things from them.

So when I depend on others, even more so with the core fear of being helpless and incapable, there's a problem here, right? My defense mechanism will see that as a threat.

I can't afford to depend on you if I think that people in the world are taking more than they're giving, and depending on you will lead to being helpless and incapable or symbolizes or it tells me that in this situation I'm helpless and incapable because I need your help.

So that can create an overwhelm and fear and kind of deep issues for them if they are depending on others.

But also when others are depending on them. Why?

Because those others will want my resources.

They'll want my time, my money, my energy. There goes my autonomy. There goes my space. There goes my independence.

They need me, they're depending on me, and I don't want them to be. And why are they? Go and be capable and autonomous as I am. Don't become dependent on me.

That puts stress into their system. They get overwhelmed and they go down the ladder many times of the levels of development.

The level of development, it's not like, okay today I'm here and now I worked on myself so I'm here forever, I rose to the higher level of development forever.

No. Again, it's a dynamic module because life is dynamic and sometimes you're in a higher place and sometimes you're less balanced and off your center.

And that's true also for the Enneagram.

So even fives have done a lot of work, all of a sudden someone comes and it seems to the five that they're becoming dependent on them, either the five is dependent on the other one or the other one is dependent on them, that can make the five react and respond in certain ways that are more typical for unbalanced five, even if you've done a lot of work on yourself.

But that's why it's an ongoing process, and that's why the self-work that comes with the Enneagram is so important.

It's like the ongoing maintenance of becoming a better version of myself, overcoming my habitual patterns because those triggers are there and they'll get you even if you've done a lot of work.

But the more work you've done, the better chances that you have of dealing with things in a more healthy way, and more times, and more over a long period of time. So there's definitely a lot of benefits doing this work.

I'm just saying it's not like you've done it and now you are immune to any regression, because we have to keep doing our work.

It's like we have to keep eating. We have to keep breathing. It's not like I ate and now I never need to eat again. It's an ongoing thing of life.

But it gets easier and your life gets easier the more you do it.

Another shadow aspect, another lower level of development behavior you can expect to see from fives is that they can get upset when their knowledge is being doubted.

Again, because it's important for them to know. It's part of their survival mechanism.

Now, it can be, but the core of it is not that others will know that I know. It's there sometimes, I'm not saying it isn't.

It's part of their image and their self-image and also things that they're proud of so it's important to them.

But more than that, it's important to them to know and to know right and to know good, because again, it goes to survival, right?

So I must know to survive. And I don't need to know things that are wrong, I must know truth. I must know the accurate data and stuff like that.

And if you heard the phrase "Knowledge is power", there you have it, that's a classic five statement.

I'm not saying whoever said it was a five, but five usually love this and think it's very very very true.

To some of them, to many of them, knowledge is even the ultimate resource, more than time, more than money, more than anything. So it's that important.

So when their knowledge is being doubted, they can get triggered many times.

They can get lost or stressed when they're asked to express their emotions.

The whole thing about being in their head and analyzing and pulling away from my emotions is also because emotions can interfere with my objectivity.

They can interfere with my proper analysis of the situation. They can interfere with all these things that are going in my head and that are important for my survival.

Again, high-level fives will give emotions to their right place and they'll acknowledge them and they'll give them their praise and whatever, and they know their value.

But for lower level fives, and perhaps also one would say to balanced, in the middle, not high-level balanced, but not lower-level, balanced as in kind of in the middle, emotions can be not just not so important but even just a distraction or something that skews your view.

And while there's some truth to it, it's not the whole picture because that's ignoring the beautiful gifts that emotions bring.

So, for example, it can happen when I'm coaching a person, I'll say, "what do you feel about that?" And they'll answer, "I think that...".

And it's not only that I ask about "feel", and they answer with a "think", which is two different things completely.

When I tell them, when I reflect that and say "you know, I asked you about how do you feel and you're telling me what you think" - many times, again, if we haven't done a lot of work together, I'll have a blank face from them:

"What do you mean? Where's the problem? Where's the issue? What are you telling me here?"

They don't compute that gap between what you feel about and what you think.

Or they'll think that they said what they feel or talked about their emotions.

So you can expect a lot of answers to come from the head unless answers to come from the heart because they get lost or stressed when they're asked to express their emotions.

They can have a hard time opening up emotionally, also, because it's hard to trust people with all of that. It's hard to trust people generally.

Remember the core belief about the world and people and everything? It's hard to trust the world and people with such a belief that fives have and even more so, I hardly dare deal with my emotions, so let alone trust you of them.

So I have a hard time opening up with that. And I don't know that I have that many times, right? I don't even think that I have that; Nor do I understand why it's important many times.

Maybe in my mind I understand it, but when it comes to doing that, it becomes not so important to many of them - not important enough to actually go over this hurdle of difficulty in doing it.

They can have an obsessive need to know everything, or at least everything about a specific issue. And they need to know it super accurately.

And the problem becomes that they need to know all of that before they take action.

And now you get another understanding of why it's a problem because it's not just 'okay, I'm hoarding knowledge, I'm learning'.

It also prevents me from taking action because my mechanism, my safety mechanism, tells me I need to know more. I need to know all I can know here. I need to deepen my research.

And again, it's not exactly the words that they hear in the back of their mind, to them it's rational that they're doing it.

But they really do think they have to deepen their research before they take an action or make a decision.

So many times they already have way more than enough information and it's just a distraction.

It's just an excuse for not doing the hard part of taking the action, and going out of their lab and just jumping into the field of life and acting, doing, participating in the game of life.

They can have a hard time establishing an open, emotional, intimate relationship.

And now that we've gone through all that we've gone through about type five, you can understand better why.

It can take them a long time to open up like that, even when they already have a relationship.

And you can say generally that they're not the super social type usually.

But again, it's a dynamic, complex module. So for example, with instincts and wings and tritypes and levels of development, they can all create different variations of this personality type.

So for example, with being social you can meet a person with type five that is actually quite social. But we're talking generally.

Generally speaking, it's more of the scientist in the lab than the party animal or the 'let's sit in a group and chat about our emotions' and stuff like that.

They can be experienced as cold and insensitive and arrogant and elitist.

And they can have unhealthy emotional detachment, which if you remember how I named type five, the detached intellectual.

Now I have to say and emphasize that we're talking about detachment, and we're not talking about non-attachment.

This is an important distinction especially for those of you who are into the spiritual part of life.

That's why I'm saying it's unhealthy, because it can be unhealthy level of detachment, emotional detachment, which is very different than non-attachment. Just keep that in mind.


10. Famous 5's.


With that reference to Buddhism, we can talk about some famous people that are likely to be or have been a type five.

So we said Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkins, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and John Nash from "A Beautiful Mind".


So you see a lot of scientists and high-tech, and it's kind of like the classic archetype.

And you'll see people like Eckhart Tolle, Buddha, George Lucas, and Jane Goodall.

You see a lot of researchers and data people and stuff like that. That's not surprising that many of these famous people are considered to be five.

And I'll go on a limb here. I don't know this TV show too well, but I find it very interesting -

In Star Trek, I think he's not exactly human, or maybe not at all human, but part of the crew of Star Trek, and his name is Data.

So again, I'm not saying he is a Five.

But the little that I know of him, kind of like a robot or semi robot, Star Trek fans don't eat my head here if I'm getting it all wrong, and his name is Data and all that.

That can give you another interesting insight about the world of Fives and maybe a famous character that might be a five.

But even if he's not a five, it gives you part of the essence of how fives might show up in a more extreme, exaggerated way. Of course, they are humans. They have emotions.

They have some level of connection with their emotions and the healthier they are, the healthier the level of their connection with their emotions.


11. Metaphors to their world.


So speaking of this part-famous part-metaphor Data character, some metaphors of type five are scientists in the lab, which I mentioned quite a few times already.

So think about the scientists in the lab, he's closed in his room, he's analyzing, don't disturb him. He's collecting the data and analyzing it.

But he's not a part of the game of life in that sense. Right? He's observing it. He's analyzing it. He's conducting experiments. He's drawing conclusions.

He's not there on the ground playing, right? He's not taking the risk of being part of us, in that sense. And of course, they are part of us. But I hope you get what I mean as a metaphor.

"Same same but a different" kind of metaphor: an anthropologist.

Again, also not really a part of that game of life, whether I'm watching how a certain community of people is interacting, or gorillas, or chimpanzees in the case of Jane Goodall, and stuff like that.

Again, it's that person who's on the side, not with all of us, and is observing and analyzing and drawing conclusions and thinking, but he's not here with us on the playground. He's 'there', not here.

And when I do an exercise with fives and ask them to draw the world and different types do it in different ways, It's a very common thing from fives that they bring back a drawing of the world here, and they are there watching it, observing it.

Consciously or unconsciously, they do that. Not all fives do that but it's common to get that from them.

Another metaphor is almost like a walking head. Again, we're exaggerating and we did before the unbalanced part of five.

Take it with good spirit. Every type has their unbalanced part, and it's not a fun thing to see that. And some of the metaphors are not fun to think of.

Of course, they're not walking heads, but it's a metaphor for a person who is so much in their head and not so much in their emotions.

The high-tech geek, speaking of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and stuff like that.

And even to an extreme exaggeration, but again, we're talking about metaphors - so a computer. It's analytical, it's logical. It's detached from emotions. It's deciding according to data and code logic.

And some of them will hear that, and they won't even be offended to a certain degree. Maybe a part of them will, but another part will say "Of course, I want to decide according to data and logic."

I don't know if the word cold will be fun to hear, but "yeah, I want to decide according to data and logic, what do you want me to decide upon? Some emotional drama or just like what I feel about it?. No, you have to make decisions according to the facts. You can just say that whatever you feel is true."

So that might be a possible response of fives as to what they might hear here.

Not everything that is considered a lower part or a shadow part of the type is experienced as the shadow part because it's part of their strategy to have that, right?

It's part of their way of dealing with the world. It's part of how we survive. It's important that I will decide according to data and to facts and not so much emotional stuff that will take me to the wrong decision.

You don't decide based on how you feel, you decide according to the facts.


12. The prices type 5 pay for their strategy (/automatic patterns of behavior).


Now, speaking of all of that - not understanding the problem with some aspects of the shadow - there are the prices that we pay for our tactics.

Every type has that. And let's talk about some of the prices that fives experience as a result of the way they try to handle the world.

So one big thing is that their need for privacy and alone time and emotional detachment might end up having far less connection with people than they really want and need.

Because eventually, they are not a computer. They're not a walking head, right? They do need human connection. They do need human interaction, even if less than many of us.

But because of that strategy, they might end up having far less than they want.

That's one aspect of it and another is that it also ends up giving them exactly what they tried to avoid: They will lack many critical resources that can only come with open emotional relationships with other humans.

Eventually, when they grow as they grow, they learn to see that humans are a 'resource' of sorts.

It's not something that takes from you, some humans do, but you are a human, you're part of human society, and whether you like it or not, some connection with humanity and humans is actually a resource.

And by avoiding people to an extreme extent many times, again lower levels of development, you are actually not preserving your resources, you are losing many extremely valuable resources that can only come with an open-hearted emotional relationship with other humans.

So like any other type, unbalanced, the strategy of survival and getting what we need in life and avoiding what we don't want and all that, that strategy actually is doing the opposite of what you want.

It prevents you from getting what you're trying to get. It brings you what you're trying to avoid.

So it's so interesting when you get to work with people on that.

They can see that what they thought will bring them A, B, C and D actually prevents them from getting that. When they can see that, not hear it from me, that's a huge shift in a person's life.

Another price they pay is that hoarding of information leads them to not achieving what they want to achieve and not to have enough meaningful relationships with other people, or sometimes even any.

Again, because of what I said before - it prevents action or delays action and sometimes to an extreme extent.

So they can be brilliant and amazing, but they won't achieve what they want to achieve or what they can achieve because they're stuck in over-researching and over-hoarding of information before they take action.

Another price is that they get drained when they interact with others. Now, some of us, including myself, are introverted and that is a feeling that introverted people will have.

You can say that fives are a classic introverted analogy, metaphor, symbol whatever you want to call it. Not all fives are introverted, but it's a classic route. You can say the connection between fives and introverted.

But to make the point, if you're feeling drained by interaction with people, it doesn't mean you're a five. And if you're not feeling drained by interactions with people, it doesn't mean that you're not a five.

Again, it's a much bigger discussion I dive into in the deep dive that I do in my Enneagram school.

So it's a dynamic complex module and there's only so much I can do in an introduction video, even if it's way beyond the scope of any introduction materials that I'm seeing out there on the internet about Enneagram.

I might be wrong, but that's what I'm seeing. I'm not saying I'm the only one.

But yeah, the point is that they do feel drained when they interact with others many times. And there is a price to that.

Think that every time a person comes to you, you already have like "oh, my God, I don't want that."

That's the way it starts from within even before they arrive, they're on their way. They are many times happy to meet their friends. We're generalizing here, but it is a common experience for them.

And there is a price, losing so much energy because you are a human interacting with humans.

So imagine that happening all the time. There's a level of 'I need to keep safe from that' and so you live many times contracted when it's just normal to be around people. I

t's just the way it is, just like breathing, just like eating.

So imagine you cringe like this every time you were surrounded by air, by oxygen. It's not easy.

There's a big price to that. Even if it doesn't necessarily sound like that to begin with.

They can be experienced as condescending, as elitist, as cheap, antisocial, unpleasant, robotic or cold and distant and uninterested in having a connection -which is bad enough for itself.

But also they can be experienced like that even when they really do want to have a connection, even when they do want to be social.

So imagine that finally I do want to be social, I do want to have a connection. And I'm experienced as someone who is not wanting that.

And so everybody walks away from me. They go to talk to someone who is feeling available.

So that's really a tough experience that drives them deeper into the rabbit hole.

And again, a lot of what I'm doing here is also to help you have compassion to fives in your life, or if you are a five, to yourself.

And also to say that there's a way out of that. It doesn't have to be like that. The Enneagram can be kind of a map.

And again, if you work with someone who understands how to use that map, you can use that to get out of that trap, to get out of that rabbit hole, to use the gifts of the type and have less or maybe none of the problems that the type's strategy is bringing to your life.

So there is a way out. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you hear that and it's hard for you to hear.

Another price they pay is that they feel threatened by other people.

I kind of touched that before from a different angle. Many times it seems like a burden. It's a burden to be with people. It's a burden to talk to them.

If you come knocking on my door, it's hard for me right now. I'm concentrating. I'm in the middle of something.

But if you have that and you're not a five, multiply that by 1000, because there's also that threat that comes with that.

They're going to take away my resources, my time, my energy, my money, my knowledge, my autonomy, my independence.

I can't have you dependent on me. Just deal with it yourself.

It's more than just my concentration and what I'm doing here. There is a threat. There's a defense mechanism at play.

Even if there's no real threat, that's how we experience things.

And that's why it's so important to understand what's really going on behind the scenes, because then you're starting to deal what's really happening.

It's not just that the person is only focused on his work, and that's why he reacted so unkindly to you. There's something else going on behind the scenes there.

When they have expectations from me, when people have expectations for me, especially emotional expectations, I will feel threatened.

When they are dependent on me, all these people in the world or whatever, or when I become dependent on them, I will feel threatened with people.

And again, it's hard: It's hard to be a human amongst humans, who is ultimately always going to be dependent on humans because you can't have any way of living without being dependent on humans.

And it's hard to be a human depending on humans who doesn't want to be depending on human. When you feel threatened by humans, it's hard to live like that.

Again, go back to that feeling of being threatened when you are surrounded by air, with oxygen.

Or when you're seeing food - threatened. It's hard because you are surrounded by humans all the time.

That's one of the reasons they keep such strong boundaries around their privacy and their lab. They need that protective bubble.

That protective scientific lab. It's not just the analyzing, It's also the protection.

Even if it's unconscious, I need to say that. They are not weaklings that are walking around threatened all the time.

They many times have their inner strength and their spine, actually, you see them as strong people. But behind the scenes, unconsciously, we're all afraid of things.

For them, human interactions can create that, can trigger many times even that core fear.



12. Common things they ask to be coached about.


So with all of that - common things that they come to coaching with, that they ask help with, are social issues like social anxiety, social stress, loneliness.

Because again, they do want to need human companionship. They also ask for help with social disconnection.

It might be camouflaged sometimes as wanting to understand people and understand emotions, or how people work and function and why... The anthropologist.

Many times beyond that wanting to understand there is that pain that drove them to come over.

And part of the work is to work on what's really happening and identify, is it this or that. Sometimes it is just wanting to learn.

Communication issues are another big thing they come with, many times as a result of pressure from their life partner.

If you are in that situation, you might know what I'm talking about because the life partner wants to have better communication with you and they're not getting that or they don't get enough emotional relationship with you.

The ego, like everybody's ego, doesn't want to change. Fives don't feel a need for better communication many times. They want less communication many times.

Again, I'm generalizing and I want you to understand the gist of it. Many times it is true too. I'm not just over-blowing it out of proportion. I'm just saying all fives are exactly like that all the time.

But basically, the ego doesn't want to change. I don't want to have a lot of communication, and a lot of open emotion discussions and analyzing our emotions and going through them.

It's not working for me. That's not what I want in my life because it's uncomfortable.

And you know how growth many times is going out of your comfort zone for a reason: The comfort zone feels safe. But it's not necessarily true that it's safe.

Another thing they want to work on is the lack of ability to execute their ideas. And we touched on that.

And I want to go back to what I just said, though, that it's not necessarily safe, even though it feels safe.

What can happen many times, is that the partner wants better communication and more emotional share and more emotional availability.

And the five says "I don't need that, I don't want that." And eventually, it will lead to the breakup of a perfectly good relationship because of things that can be worked on.

It's uncomfortable. It's not easy. And the five doesn't want that to lead to a breakup. And they can't imagine sometimes that it will be to a breakup, because "why? It's not that big of a deal. It's not important."

But that's because they're seeing it through their own lens and not through the lens of the other person. It is a big deal for many people. If you're five and hearing that and you are in that situation.

So it can lead to extreme situations of separation and even more than that.

So it's important to understand what I meant when I said it doesn't feel like a problem or it doesn't feel like it's not safe, but it is not necessarily safe to stay in that position of "I don't want more communication and diving into the emotions, and I'll feel safer here like that."

But it's not necessarily true that you will be safer down the road.

And another thing they want to work on, speaking of that, is emotional overwhelm.

And when they get there, it's like "What's happening to me? What's going on here?" Because it's an experience they're not familiar with. "What is going on here?"


13. Type 5's ultimate mission for growth & happiness.


And with all of that, the ultimate mission for growth for five would be to get out of their head and into the game of life and actively participate in it.

Actively participate in the game of life with an open heart and emotional vulnerability. And that's where it gets even harder, my dear, wonderful, lovely fives.

Not just observe life and analyze it in your lab and go to the lab when it's too much. It's okay sometimes, but the ultimate mission of growth for you would be that.

And remember that you don't have to be independent and autonomous in order to be loved and safe.

You don't have to believe that core belief of yours, or even if it's unconscious or these thoughts. It might be wise to doubt them and to check them.

And maybe even more so, with someone who knows how to do that and help you.

And all that and more is being discussed in my Enneagram school, the E-School. You'll find it at

If there's something that fives know very well of is the internet and how to go around and find information there.

Internet is kind of like a five-ish dream in a way. I got all this information everywhere. It's easy and it's accessible.

It becomes a nightmare when social media takes all that information and makes false information available and all that but it's a world of duality. You get one, you get the other.



But in the Enneagram school, we do a good work about not giving you misinformation, as imperfect as I am.

And we talk there about traps of the type and the paradox of the type and turning point and the keys for growth, which is not necessarily the same thing as the ultimate mission for growth, and the change of focus and wings and arrows and exercises and all of that.

Also, if you are a therapist or a coach or something like that and you want to learn how to work with fives, or if you have fives in your life and you want to know more about how to communicate with them and all that, you'll find all that and more in my Enneagram school, the E-School. Again, 

I hope that even this, I'm saying 'even' but that's a long introduction video, was helpful for you.

Whether if you're a five or if you are having a five in your life, or if you have a five in your Enneagram complex, but not as the main type.

Or if you're working with five as a therapist or a coach. I hope it's helpful.

And let's discuss this either here in the comments or on social media. You can find me in Better Life Awareness or Eldad Ben-Moshe, and let's have a ball.

If you are curious, let's talk about it.

You can share some comments, write me an email, or even join E-School, our Enneagram school at
- we'll be happy to see you there.

I'm here for questions. I'm here for help.

And I hope you have a beautiful, wonderful day and remember the type and the defense mechanism, it's not a verdict. We can learn how to live with that.

We can learn how to have more of the gifts and less of the problems that the strategy brings to our life.

It's workable. You can have a beautiful relationship with your personality style and use the benefits that it gives you.

And it's part of the magical work of inner growth and self-growth. And I invite you to do that.

And next steps might be to go to our Enneagram school, or simply to watch the next video about type six, the Doubting Loyal.

Have a beautiful day and I love you. Bye for now. 


To your better life,
with tons of 💖

Eldad Ben-Moshe
Founder, Teacher, and Coach
Better Life Awareness Center