What Do Enneagram Sixes Secretly Want in Relationships?

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on October 08, 2021

Friendships and relationships can be a source of safety and protection. When we belong to a person or group, whether through shared interests, ideals or experiences, we feel a sense of belonging. We are reassured the group or relationship will go some way to buffering us from the calamity of daily life. For Enneagram Sixes, finding people or groups they can belong to is crucial.

Sixes are excellent risk assessors, quickly seeing all the things that could go wrong.That also makes them excellent troubleshooters. Given that relationships are full of ups and downs and the unexpected, you might think Enneagram Sixes would be the type of people who avoided them. And yet, they are the opposite. Sixes actively seek out the protection of friends and partners and can be fully committed to them even while harboring doubts about the relationship.

Watch my youtube video talking about what Enneagram Type Sixes want in relationships here.

Which means, what Sixes secretly want in relationships is to feel safe enough to take a break from the questioning, doubting and harboring of suspicions. They want to be able to let down their guard and just feel safe and reassured. 

As a friend or partner of a Six, you can help in the following ways.

1. Reliability

Enneagram Sixes are natural skeptics, constantly questioning everything. They will ask their friends and partners the same question again and again to check if their answers change or stay the same. They are keenly attuned to any inconsistencies, and will quickly wonder why you changed your answer.

You can help by:

  • Giving direct and honest answers
  • Answering the same questions with the same intention
  • Not getting frustrated when you are asked the same question multiple times
  • Doing what you say you will

2. Validation

Sixes describe themselves as realists rather than pessimists. They prepare for disasters well before they arise. They think through worst-case scenarios that others dismiss as unlikely, irrelevant, or unnecessary spiralling. Enneagram Sixes hear this a lot but, to break the cycle, they need to have their fears validated, not disregarded.

You can help validate their concerns by:

  • Acknowledging their fear is real, regardless of the reasons behind it
  • Asking, “what is the worst that can happen?” (and not freaking out about the answer)
  • Helping them find evidence to determine which fears are real and which are imagined

3. Transparency 

Enneagram Sixes are constantly wondering what you are thinking. They will often share their thoughts as a way of connecting with you. To a Six, true connection is having complete transparency about what is in each other's minds. They will quickly spot if you are hiding something, so aim to share your thoughts as clearly and transparently as possible. 

Focus on:

  • Taking the time to talk (and think) things through with your Six
  • Ask, “what is your main fear here? What is behind that?”
  • Ask “what do you think I am worried about?”
  • If you are mulling something over, share the essence of it

To help an Enneagram Type Six let down their guard with you, be consistent and reliable, validate their fears and be as transparent with your thoughts as possible. Because once a Six has finished their vetting process, they will be loyal for life.

Samantha Mackay

Samantha is the Lead Trainer at Truity and is Enneagram Coach, certified by CP Enneagram Academy. She believes knowing your personality is the key to navigating life's hurdles. Samantha is an ENTP and Enneagram 7, who is always surrounded by a pile of books, a steaming cup of tea and a block of her favourite chocolate. Find her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthamackay/. Check out her course "Unlocking the Power of Your Personality" at www.truity.com/training

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Anita Toliver (not verified) says...

This was very helpful for me in understanding my husband who is an INFP, enneagram 6. Thanks so much.

Samantha Mackay says...

That's great, I am so pleased. You might find this useful too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuZqdqoR8QI

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