What I'm Into (February 2014 Edition)
The Enneagram and Blogging: Type Six

The Enneagram and Blogging: Type Five

The Enneagram and Blogging via Leigh Kramer
To learn more about this series, as well as how the survey was conducted, please read this post.


Type Five

 Commonly known as The Investigator, The Observer

The Need to Perceive

Basic Fear: Being useless, helpless, or incapable

Basic Desire: To be capable and competent

Key Motivations: Want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment.

Fives want to know and understand everything, in part to be self-sufficient but also to avoid looking foolish. They are often ahead of their time: true visionaries and pioneers in their chosen field. Insightful and curious, they see the world in a new way, one that's filled with possibility. Fives focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Unlike the other 8 types, which are a mix of extroverts and introverts, Fives are predominantly introverted, though there are exceptions to the rule. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They can also become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation.

At their best: analytical, persevering, sensitive, wise, objective, perceptive, self-contained

At their worst: intellectually arrogant, stingy, stubborn, distant, critical of others, unassertive, negative


Read this profile for a complete description of Type Five.


Type Five Bloggers*

Zizzivivizz, Kelley Nikondeha, Danny Webster, CulturalSavage, Make Way For Ducklings, Still Forming, Nester, Rachel Franklin, Kate Schell

*these are bloggers who identify as type five; it does not indicate they have participated in the Enneagram and Blogging survey


Typical Topics:

  • Personal stories or essays
  • What they're learning ("I feel like I'm always learning and lots of the things I find myself wanting to write about have to do with that." -quintessential type Five response)
  • Culture and history
  • Faith
  • Spiritual formation/spiritual direction
  • Healing
  • Freedom
  • Relationships (parenting, marriage, friendship, etc.)
  • Their particular area of expertise, whether academia, home decor, etc.


Why did you start blogging?

While reasons for starting a blog ranged from building a platform to sharing stories with family, many Type Fives reported starting their blog because they:

  • were intrigued by the community and conversations occurring on blogs
  • wanted a place for personal, reflective writing (especially true for our respondents who were in graduate school when they started or who work in academia)
  • wanted the discipline of writing
  • wanted to share what they're learning
  • wanted to connect with others

Are you picking up on the Five's curiosity and desire to learn yet? Blogs provide a great platform for them to test and develop ideas, develop their strengths, and connect with like-minded people.


Do you have any goals related to blogging?

Besides building a platform or working toward publication, Fives want to offer a safe space for readers to explore and question their experiences. They want to encourage others to be free of what hinders them. Fives who are Christians noted they wanted to help people experience a deeper connection with God, as well as better understand themselves.

Several Five respondents reported they wanted to blog more consistently. Fives have a tendency to think, more than act and this may be an instance in which they need to be more proactive about putting their insights and knowledge out in to the world. One respondent reported wanting to learn how to code, not just for their blog but because Fives like to learn. They want to be self-sufficient, instead of having to outsource things like coding and design. They are motivated to have everything figured out, as a form of defense and so they don't have to rely on others. Related to this, some Fives are interested in monetizing their blogs and expressed goals of developing a more cohesive structure, whether through weekly topics or participating in link-ups.


What do you like about blogging?

  • Friendships/community that has emerged
  • Communicating by writing, instead of in person
  • Helping people see they're not alone, which helps Fives see they're not alone
  • Processing and learning more about their own experiences through the process of writing
  • Exploring concepts and ideas more in-depth
  • Sharing their perspective of what an honest relationship with God and self can be like
  • Reading about the perspectives of other bloggers
  • Ability to find and share practical information


What do you not like about blogging?

As much as Fives enjoy reaching readers through blogging, many respondents reported they either 1) found it difficult to connect with people online or 2) felt they didn't quite fit in to the larger blogging community. Let's break this down. Fives generally like people (most of the time) but often find it easier to express themselves in writing and therefore can find it easier to forge connections with readers in this way. However, some Fives find it difficult to build relationships in their day-to-day lives and this same difficulty carries over online. They often feel they're different from most people. Add to this our ability to see who all is connected to who, thanks to social media, and its easy to see why Fives might feel lost. For as many Fives expressed how the Internet helped them find their people, there was an equal amount who were wading through the competitiveness and insider-outsider mentality.

Which brings us to what Fives really don't like about blogging: self-promotion. They hate considering how to get people to read them- there will be no link baiting from them. Fives are proud of what they have to offer (and we would do well to pay attention to them) but they don't want to be a part of Blogging As Industry. Now, this isn't to say they can't or don't want to make a living as bloggers. Most Fives, however, don't want to promote their work, get sponsored (they tend to be very picky if they do go this route), or publish new posts for the sake of generating new content. They may want a bigger audience but they're not overly keen on doing the things the all-knowing They say we should all be doing. They don't want to sacrifice their time or energy to do "what it takes," whatever that might be. Fives don't like to conform.

It's safe to say they analyze their role in this a great deal, as it coincides with their desire to be seen as capable and competent. How do we judge a blogger's capability and competency? It varies according to the blogger (and Enneagram type, as we have seen) and their specific needs or insecurities. Blogging can magnify the things we don't like about ourselves or our struggles. Fives may put off posting when they doubt they have something worth sharing or question whether readers will show up. They may believe it's better not to put anything out there instead of risking it and embarrassing themselves or being seen as incompetent.


What are your strengths as a blogger?

Fives have an objective point of view. They like to thoroughly understand whatever they're contemplating or working through. Fives might be more serious but they're also wonderful at being open, honest, and vulnerable. They love to encourage others. They tend to have a good balance with what they share and what they keep private.

Fives excel in their niches. Fives with academic backgrounds noted their excellence as writers. Fives with unique life stories prized their ability to offer rapport, insights, and valuable information. Whatever the career, hobby, or passion, Fives have a way of helping us see the world through their eyes. Plus, they do enjoy sharing their expertise. They can explore ideas in depth and make them palatable and easily understandable for others. What a benefit to the rest of us!


What are your greatest struggles/temptations as a blogger?

Fives are great Idea People but can struggle when it comes to follow through. Most respondents reported wanting to be more consistent bloggers. Fives tend to put all their energy in to a project until they get worn out and then they'll put it aside for a while. They intend to come back to it but sometimes forget, as they're on to the next project.

Some Fives reported feeling like their blogs were too much about them. They wanted to diversify, either by starting a new blog on a subject close to their hearts or just mixing up the content more. Or maybe they'll stop blogging altogether, as it can be overwhelming to be so objective and they'd rather focus on whatever they'd like. Fives think a lot about their content and can go back and forth about what to share, whether a personal story or pictures of their child(ren). They are caught between their strength of being vulnerable and their desire to protect their privacy and competent image. They don't want to look foolish. In general, they process what they're learning by writing so chances are it will end up in a journal, if not their blog. But then, they might question whether what's in their journal should be blogged or vice versa. Fives can spiral around their heads on any number of things they're wrestling through, most of which we'll never see in print.


Resources: The Enneagram Institute, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (Rohr), Enneagram Made Easy (Baron and Wagele), The Wisdom of the Enneagram (Riso and Hudson)