Our Enneagram Relationship content was co-developed with marital therapist-turned relationship coach Christa Hardin (MA)*.
Enneagram head types are motivated by a desire to be mentally and emotionally safe. They are often logical and analytical people who can be counted on to make decisions in a crisis. There are three Enneagram head types: Five, Six and Seven.
Head types have a hunger to learn about everything, and that includes their relationships! It's worth taking a moment to learn the deeper aspects of your head type as you begin the journey to love them more deeply.
ENNEAGRAM TYPE FIVE
Strategic Enneagram Fives long to be loved by a partner who can respect their need for problem-solving and research, as well as their vivid imagination that finds itself tinkering in a number of interesting projects. These types have a particular gift of observing the natural world, and this creates a desire to partner with someone who offers fun and intrigue amidst the doldrums of daily life and simplicity together. Your Five will feel so loved if you encourage them in their gifts and strengths since often they struggle with a perception of inadequacy or weakness deep down.
So what else do you need to know in order to love your Five specifically?
To love your Five, realize this first:
- Fives have often been deeply overwhelmed in the past and are on the lookout for being taken advantage of. They are wary of this happening again.
- Because of their desire for control, your Five may initially recoil at your ideas. They need some time to think and plan before they may allow in negotiation with your ideas.
- Their control is a way for them to feel safe and to make you feel safe, too. However, it’s important to tell them when you are feeling overwhelmed. They understand and do not want this for you.
- Feelings don’t always come naturally to Fives so feel free to use a feelings wheel or read Brene Brown's Atlas of the Heart to give them some additional understanding.
- Encourage their inner skeptic with love and fun.
Here are a few more tips to make your Five feel loved, safe and cared about:
- Give them the freedom and independence to be themselves even if they’re very different from you.
- Let them slowly but surely tell you about their needs over time. If they do tell you about their needs, don’t overwhelm them with emotion.
- Bring logic and brevity into sharing to get the best response from your Five.
- Honor their verbal intelligence. With space and time, Fives are willing to disclose their ideas and share information and thoughts.
- Ask open-ended questions and show interest in their hobbies and passion projects. This will help you to find your way into their heart.
- Understand that they don’t always feel strong and capable so build them up in this manner verbally.
- Encourage strength training so they can get active in their bodies.
- Encourage them to use their gifts and to find focus for one project at a time if they’ll accept influence.
- Keep similar hours if possible. Fives often stay up late ideating and it’s fun for them to parallel process if they can have quiet focus, and they will often unwind beautifully the later it gets.
- Allow them to tease you with their dark humor. It’s often their way of flirting. Just set boundaries as needed so they can understand you also.
- Speak in a brief, straightforward manner when you have a question or request. They need to make sure they understand before they agree to something or offer help.
- Understand their need to research and learn things fully.
ENNEAGRAM TYPE SIX
Our loyal Enneagram Sixes love nothing more than spending most every waking moment with their partner, or at least moments when the two of you are not working. They have a particular gift of being loyal together. This creates in them a desire for a partner who they don't have to worry about loyalty from, and who also will seek to protect the Six and to provide fun and rest for them. Your Six will feel so loved if you encourage them to step out in their courage, but also take their hand and let them tell you about their fears and plans for safety together.
So what else do you need to know in order to love your Six specifically?
To love your Six, realize this first:
- Sixes need calm and consistent care. Let them know when you have plans that will take you away for brief periods so they, too, can plan for safety and fun.
- Their thoughts spin out sometimes and they may need your help in righting things again.
- You will need to encourage positive thinking amidst their strategizing for damage control.
- You will need to encourage body release for their high energy.
- Sixes retain tight control over all of the plans. You’ll need to find ways to help them release that control so you can make some decisions for yourself or for the two of you at times.
- Focus on strategizing together so they aren’t alone in all of the planning, but also celebrate that you each have particular gifts.
Here are a few more tips to make your Six feel safe and cared about:
- Acknowledge their loyalty towards you and their desire to please.
- Laugh and joke with them to reduce their inner thread of constant anxiety.
- Don’t judge them for their anxiety but do find ways to help them to self-regulate and do attempt to co-regulate with them (but do set boundaries so your anxiety isn’t triggered).
- Help them to learn to say ‘no’ or to pause when asked to do something for a friend before agreeing automatically out of a desire to please.
- Dig deeper than their surface level yes. Make sure they hear you and are not just saying so please you.
- If you do need some space during a disagreement, let them know when you’ll be back.
- Let them vent their fears for a little while each day before you distract them or try to bring them positivity.
- Reassure them everything will be OK in time and with good planning, and allow some planning together so you can make that happen step by step.
- After good planning and strategizing, help them in letting go well.
ENNEAGRAM TYPE SEVEN
Enneagram Sevens are constantly on the move and fear getting stuck in a rut. As such, they long to be loved by a partner who understands their absolute need for freedom but who also knows how to cautiously care for the deeply sensitive heart that’s beating away underneath their busy, swirling plans. Sevens have a particular gift of bringing joy and interesting concepts to the world. These gifts will be more realized if you help them out of the day-to-day doldrums and boring tasks that get them down.
Your Seven will feel so loved by you if you can find soothing ways to calm them down for rest – which is different from boredom – and also ways for them to feel safe when they are not in action. If you are also willing to adventure with them and to let them tell you about their latest dreams and learning, they will be your partner for life!
So what else do you need to know in order to love your Seven specifically?
To love your Seven, realize this first:
- They have learned that relying on other people won’t always leave them feeling safe. Worse, it may bring on more pain than they can reasonably bear with their coping strategies. Help them to know you are reliable and consistent in your love, and help them to find new ways to rest and to process their pain. You may need to encourage therapy that helps them to process feelings.
- They are working from an inner critic driving them to do better as well as an inner encourager who beckons them to freedom and pleasures. Help them to titrate this with balance.
- They love to strategize and learn all of the time.
- They struggle with a mind that is very busy and needs a lot of self soothing and stimulation.
- They often do well with silent time alone but can get bored listening if they’re not moving. Help them to find kinetic ways of learning and listening.
- They often laugh off their issues sarcastically. But if they find someone who really cares, they will go deep, so make sure you leave time for this and offer respectful conversation if you want serious behavior.
- They struggle with trust so be trustworthy in their lives.
Here are a few more tips to make your Seven feel safe and cared about:
- Give them time and margin so they can stop feeling like they're in a hurry.
- Remind them to stop and enjoy a present moment.
- Help to keep things interesting. Take an active and interesting part in the conversations instead of making them carry it all.
- Don’t dismiss their big ideas but brainstorm together as the ideas evolve – and then give them space to work on their part.
- Celebrate their love for adventure and spontaneity, but also honor them when they say they’re tired.
- Understand that if they are testing the waters of vulnerability or emotionality with you, they are testing the waters to see if you’ll be someone who can let them be real.
- Support their creativity and flow of ideas but also encourage grounded action plans with due dates and boundaries.
- Remind them to get self care when they get busy and help them to rest.
Click here to find the Enneagram and Marriage Glow Pairing Guides for every possible type combination so you can find tips for loving your Five, Six or Seven head type with each of the individual types!