Sixes are defined by their desire for safety and security. They seek to anticipate and avoid risk, and to ally themselves with trustworthy authority figures and institutions. Sixes are alert and vigilant, always thinking several steps ahead to anticipate and prepare for what could go wrong.

Sixes fear being unprepared and unable to defend themselves from danger. To cope with this fear, they attempt to be prepared for every possible turn of events.

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 6

  • Strong identification with a social group
  • Organized and well-liked
  • Good at managing finances
  • Excellent team player
  • Belongs to a tight-knit group of friends
  • Clear communicators
  • Detail-oriented and precise

Not sure if you're an Enneagram Type 6? Take our free Enneagram test.

What is the Type 6 like?

Sixes are dedicated and responsible individuals who are keen on belonging to a social group and finding their fit in the world. They can either be Phobic or Counter-Phobic, which deals with their nervous energy and how it presents itself to the outer world.

Here’s how to tell the two apart: Phobic Sixes deliberately move away from the source(s) of fear, and tend to fly under the radar. They’re open and expressive about their vulnerabilities and weaknesses, so others can understand their situation and line of thought. This is their prime defense mechanism to avoid being manipulated.

The Counter-Phobic Sixes, on the other hand, possess a high-strung, irrational fear of fear itself—which may paradoxically translate to rule-breaking. They try to keep up an image of independence on the surface: a tough exterior to shield their persistent internal uncertainty.

What are the Six's core values?

Security, commitment and a sense of connectedness with the group are what drive a Six's actions. They stand strong by the people in their lives who have earned a spot in their hearts. Seeking safety, Sixes value those who can reassure them of their importance and connection.

Trust is the most important value for Sixes. With all the time they spend thinking up a flurry of hypothetical scenarios, knowing someone has their back is extraordinarily comforting. They seek peace within themselves, although this initially proves to be a challenge. Through trial and error, Sixes slowly build trust and confidence over time to effectively tackle any situation.

How can I recognize a Type 6?

Unassuming and tolerant, Sixes blend into the social sphere seamlessly and are always willing to support their loved ones. They’re great at keeping secrets and take privacy very seriously. At work, Sixes are the employees that stick around and do overtime with ease to support the organization and keep tasks running smoothly.

Sixes actively seek reassurance for their actions and can smell potential issues from miles away. They probably have accumulated a mental compilation of troubleshooting guides for scenarios experienced in the past. This helps them feel in control of potentially risky situations if they come across any of them again.

What are Sixes like under different levels of health?

At healthy levels: Sixes are caring, generous and thoughtful team players who move colleagues and friends forward in a positive direction. They’re valuable and hardworking employees who take great pride in serving an organization and will make every effort to hone their skills. During times of stress, they know how to handle and diffuse the nerves with finesse. They develop secure attachment styles and easily trust others. Through their patience and courage, Sixes can learn to accept their independence and express themselves freely in the world. At their best, Sixes are able to let go of their worries and focus on matters they can change in the present moment.

At average levels: Sixes are mentally acute yet highly skeptical, and seek security and group approval for their actions. They become aware of their shortcomings and their self-esteem may fluctuate from time to time. When there’s a disconnect between their position and the group, Sixes become noticeably agitated and nervous. To prevent disappointment, Sixes may mentally prepare themselves with the worse case scenario before carrying out a task. They have a tendency to over-analyze messages or information as it comes in, which further fuels their anxiety—and leads to mixed signals. This confuses others so the whole thing winds up being a vicious cycle of worry.

At unhealthy levels: Sixes become extremely paranoid and suspicious of everything and everyone in their path. They’re prone to developing anxiety due to their hypervigilance to any impending (real or imagined) sources of harm. As a result, false memories may form, and they may start to suspect others are trying to fool them, when they’ve become masters at fooling themselves. When events go out of the frying pan and into the fire, Sixes can develop overwhelming and debilitating anxiety from the illusion of constant danger. This causes them to psychologically latch and cling onto a protective figure in their lives in order to get through each day (also called codependency). When exasperated and fed up, Sixes will project their insecurities onto others and claim they’ve done something, when it was all brewed up and imagined from the beginning.