Fine Distinctions – Fives – Tom Condon

Fine Distinctions – Fives – Tom Condon


Self Preservation Fives

• Often exceptionally knowledgeable, possibly about obscure subjects
• Use their knowledge to contribute to the world
• Sensitive to being saturated, feel overwhelmed by people’s expectations • Lose their sense of privacy more easily and can quickly feel overstimulated
• Chief defensive tendency is to physically or emotionally withdraw.

• May be more explicitly alienated than the other subtypes
• Can close themselves off, burrow into their hobbies and interests; become expert at subjects so specialized or obscure that others leave them alone
• Try to take little from people; fear what the interaction will cost them
• Have a thin ectomorphic body type although they may gain weight due to a sedentary lifestyle
• Especially cost conscious around money, penny-wise and pound foolish • Think of millionaire paupers who die in hovels but have mattresses stuffed with money

Intimate Fives

• Trust only a few selected people but then do so totally.
• Friendship is based on the sharing of confidences. Intimacy is equivalent to exchanging secrets.
• A Five’s bond with a close friend or partner is experienced as away from the outside world, in a bubble, with an all or nothing quality.
• Can go from enigmatic, deliberate distance to intense, unguarded openness
• Intuitive, sensitive and non-judgmental of friends
• A streak of voyeurism; think of internet sex
• Can obsessively love from afar and then go cold when their love is physically present
• Compartmentalize their relationships; might have friends who never meet each other
• Could especially fear having their separate friends meet
• Savor fantasies of being invisible, being close to others and yet unseen
• Could be a bigamist if they had the energy
• Sneaky and devious; can betray others by keeping secrets, telling white lies

Social Fives

• A contradiction in terms. can be gregarious, generous friends
• Self declarative and socially courageous; more likely extraverted
• Could be dedicated to promoting a social or group cause, willing to take principled political and social stands even if it means being uncomfortably exposed

• Connect with groups of like-minded people sharing knowledge and affiliations
• Prefer specialized or esoteric realms of knowledge that exclude the uninitiated

• Can be snobs; value knowing the “right” people, belonging to the best clubs or concerned with titles, degrees, credentials
• Good listeners and behind-the-scenes facilitators who avoid the limelight • Can have an odd combination of presence and distance, like they are fully involved and yet holding something back,
• Indiscreet; may share information with their chosen group and be quite gossipy.
• Can be more Sevenish as in flighty, glib and insincere
• May suffer from Social Affective Disorder, which is essentially stage fright
• A talent for predictions

Connecting Points Five with a Four Wing

• Brings Fives an abstract, intuitive cast of thought
• Like Fours they may be artistically talented and moody
• Combine intellectual imagination with emotional intelligence
• Marriage of mental perspective with aesthetics
• Generally more kinesthetic (conscious of feelings)
• Use their logical mind to temper their visions, daydreams
• Use their logical mind to subdue their feelings
• Can have a sense of being alien although it is not pivotal to their identity and something they may enjoy; may be nostalgic like Fours
• May be eccentric and have an abstracted “absentminded professor” quality
• Some seem distracted, preoccupied and disorganized
• Can fluctuate between impersonal withdrawal and bursts of friendly caring
• Some have an air of implicit superiority
• Can be whiners, especially complaining about how much a job or a relationship or other responsibilities that drain them; could bemoan the difficulty of going beyond their limits
• Some have quiet voices and the non-verbal affect of ghosts

• Environmentally sensitive; may feel defenseless against the world’s imput
• Recover slowly from traumatic events
• Can tend to depression where they the world as a gray void

Five with a Six Wing

• The difference between the Four wing and the Six wing in Fives is like the difference between art and science
• Fives with a Six wing are generally more intellectual and analytical
• Good with detail and technical knowledge; tend to think in logical sequences, in a linear way that is information-based; prone to “information addiction”

• More likely to think in words and images and are generally less kinesthetic
• Their tempo of speech and may be faster
• Can be loyal friends, offering strong background support

• Can be kind, patient teachers as well as skillful experts
• Many have a sense of mission and work hard
• Can see both the big picture and its small details and shuttle back and forth between the two
• Can project an aura of sensitive nerdiness
• May have clumsy social skills; socially nervous if not playing the role of someone knowledgeable
• Prone to feeling guilty; readily give other people their power
• More likely to have an authoritarian parent and fear criticism or hostile attack
• May have a push/pull or even hostile relationship to authority
• Can be cold, skeptical, ironic, and disassociated

Five’s Connection to Eight

• Brings Fives access to their raw instinctual energy
• Become more physically kinesthetic; out of their heads and into their bodies
• Enhances sexuality and physicality; a lusty, pushy quality
• Moral and social courage; they take risks, become initiators instead of observers
• The connection to Eight helps Fives translate book-knowledge into action

• Take charge of situations that would otherwise overwhelm them. • State their needs, initiate contact with others and get things done • May have leadership qualities and be passionate in a way that is antithetical to the Five defensive dissociated stance

• Can be explicitly antisocial and more angry than they ordinarily seem • Could have a snappish, standoffish quality or even a nasty edge
• Can get punitive and severe with others; out of touch with their own anger so that it comes out in dissociated ways or as a mean streak

• May fear their own Eight-like anger, project their own Eightness onto others or be in tension to angry, aggressive people
• Turn their anger against themselves, by being self-critical and self- bullying

• Could exercise a cold, calculated behind-the-scenes control

Five’s Connection to Seven

• Brings Fives enhanced imagination
• seek adventure, whether intellectual, physical or social. The connection brings curiosity that gives them the nerve to explore the world.
• Often less self-conscious; they can be funny, engaging and enthusiastic • Life long learners; stay interested in life and mentally alive into old age
• This connection brings a streak of generosity as well as optimism
• Sense of humor about themselves
• Big picture thinkers; the eclecticism of the Seven combines with the Five’s ability to organize information
• Systems thinkers and model builders
• Reinforces a Five’s tendency to become abstract, schizoid and compartmentalized.
• Can become addicted to information, lose themselves in activity and defensively scatter their attention into a range of empty interests.
• May play mental games for diversion, using humor to disassociate or trivialize.
• Could be flighty, elusively jumping around in their thoughts or even physically fidgety
• Might take actions in a fitful sporadic way and for strange reasons
• Can rationalize and reframe their behavior to duck consequences
• May be socially undependable and noncommittal; can tell lies and rationalize the practice


Excerpted from The Dynamic Enneagram by Tom Condon

Copyright 2009, 2013 by Thomas Condon

Available as an ebook serial at Tom’s website


Tom Condon has worked with the Enneagram since 1980 and with Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP since 1977. These three models are combined in his trainings to offer a useful collection of tools for changing and growing, to apply the Enneagram dynamically, as a springboard to positive change. Tom has taught over 800 workshops in the US, Europe and Asia and is the author of 50 CDs, DVDs and books on the Enneagram, NLP and Ericksonian methods. He is founder and director of The Changeworks in Bend, Oregon.

One Response to Fine Distinctions – Fives – Tom Condon

  1. Lila says:

    The Intimate Five sounds a lot like some sp5’s I’ve known well.
    • A streak of voyeurism; think of internet sex
    • Can obsessively love from afar and then go cold when their love is physically present
    • Savor fantasies of being invisible, being close to others and yet unseen

    All of that is pretty classic sp5. It is also commonly found in commit phobic, ambivalent lovers.

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