Enneagram 5w6: The Guide

Written by Tim Branch

If you have ever:

  1. Been told you are an excellent problem solver,
  2. Gravitated towards knowledge, systems, or beliefs for guidance and security,
  3. Regularly struggled with anxiety,
  4. Struggled with feeling that intimate relationships are too emotionally taxing,

…you might be a 5w6. But what does that mean?

What is a Wing?

You may have noticed results from an Enneagram test you’ve taken, or seen your friends mention their type, but with two numbers with a little “w” between them. That “w” stands for “Wing”.

Your wing will be the Enneagram type directly on either side of your core type. So wings for a 5 are either 4 or 6.

Your wing is not your next highest score, or another type you feel like you may be. For example, you cannot be a 5w9 or 5w8.

Your wing will be like an accent to your core personality.

Beth McCord (Your Enneagram Coach) describes wings as salt and pepper, to your entree. It adds some flavor, and brings out the best taste your steak may have to offer, but doesn’t change the type at its core.

You will see traits of your wings type in your personality, but it does not change the core motivations behind your actions. The beauty of the Enneagram is it points out the root of your actions, not just the preferences of your personality.

Unlike your core Enneagram type, your wings can change. You will likely have a dominant wing, while having the ability to access the other when needed.

Your dominant wing can change in different seasons throughout your life, and both wings will look a little bit different as your level of health and awareness increases, or decreases.

What is an Enneagram 5w6?

Let’s start by looking at what we know about Enneagram 6s and Enneagram 5s.

Enneagram 5’s also seek security, support, and guidance, but they find it amidst information.

They love learning, and they feel that knowledge is power. They are able to understand and figure out just about anything they want to and they are able to process and view things differently than most.

5’s are very internal and err on the side of antisocial. They don’t have a large emotional capacity and live mostly in their heads, often, but not always, neglecting their physical and emotional well-being.

Enneagram 6’s long for security, support, and guidance. They find comfort in routines, planning ahead, and thinking through and planning for worst-case scenario outcomes.

6’s are extremely loyal, often referred to as Loyalists. They are not only loyal to their friends, but to their systems, faith, beliefs, and political views.

The 5w6 personality is filled with knowledge, information, insight, and wisdom. They are excellent researchers and problem solvers, who can struggle emotionally when it comes to feeling obligated or having too many needs placed on them. But, they are incredibly loyal to their small group of intimate friends and loved ones.

The Unique Gifts of a 5w6

Enneagram 5w6’s are intellectual loyalists through and through! They are masters of problem-solving. They will identify a problem, examine it from many different angles, and find a unique solution.

Fives with a wing of six bring the best of both worlds. They are loyal, smart, self-aware, full of wisdom, and give much of themselves to those they respect and love most in their small circle.

This subtype has a gift of understanding. They can set out to understand just about anything they desire, and they will become masters of the topic. They will know it and be able to teach others in great detail about whatever is piquing their interest.

The Struggles of a 5w6

In seasons of stress or struggle, a 5w6 can detach. When they detach, it’s not just from others, but often from themselves.

They can be so heavily focused on what’s going on in their minds, they neglect their own hearts and even their bodies.

When they are in this state, naturally they do the same to those around them, causing issues in relationships when neglecting the hearts and minds of others as well.

Those who are a 5w6 also can combine the research mentality of their 5 and worst-case scenario thinking of the 6, making a scary combination of doing deep research of all the ways things can go wrong and possible outcomes.

This can make coming out of the state of anxiety exponentially more difficult.

How to Grow as a 5w6

Alignment with Christ and the Gospel is the best thing anyone could ever do for themselves. Believing He is who He says He is helps you to believe fully that you are safe in His hands.

Know that as long as we live in this Genesis 3 world, things will go wrong. People will get hurt. Bad things do happen. But, Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for the good of those who love Him…” and we serve a good and loving Father who knows everything.

He is the alpha and the omega. Beginning and end. He has already taken care of it all and any information you can attain isn’t what is going to save you. He already did that.

When you are struggling with anxiety and fear, engage your body along with your mind.

Go on a bike ride, run, or walk while listening to a life-giving podcast, or listen to the Bible. Pray and engage your heart and your body simultaneously along with your mind, which will be going at record speed anyway, right?!

Take mental, or physical, notes when you notice emotions arising. Understand where they came from and notice what they are trying to tell you. God created emotions and they are good. They are made to inform us of what matters to us, and we get to listen to them and learn from them. They may feel like an inconvenience, but they couldn’t be further from that.

More Resources

On the other side of Five is the 5w4. A five with a four wing is more emotional, introspective, creative, and subjective.

To learn more about yourself as a Five and how your Six wing may present itself, check out my guide to Type Five and guide to Type Six.

And lastly—if you want to dive deeper into what it looks like to grow in your Enneagram type, check out The Enneagram Growth Guide, which you can download for free.

This is a guide with a Christian perspective—it’ll show you how to overcome the struggles and temptations of your number, discover the incredible gifts hidden inside you, and use that knowledge to go deeper in your relationship with God. You can grab a free copy by clicking this link.