How To Better Understand the Head Triad in the Enneagram

Do you struggle with fear? For some of us, fear leads us in our daily decision making. Let’s look how to better understand the head triad in the Enneagram.

As we dive deeper into the Enneagram this week, we are focusing on the Head Triad. The Enneagram numbers 5, 6, and 7 all belong to the Head Triad, also known as the Fear Triad. Each number represents a personality typology around their fear and what it looks like to live life inside of your own head.

While 5’s hoard information as a means to understanding their environment to better prep for unknown futures, 6’s seem to be more of the skeptics due to their natural way of questioning everything, and 7’s often struggle with facing their fears head on and sometimes even neglect admitting their fears.

In our interview with our Enneagram Expert and author of Being is Better than Doing, Ryan Lui, we dive into what it looks like for people lead with their minds.

Here is a quick intro on how to better understand the head triad in the Enneagram.

All About Type 5’s

Enneagram 5’s are some deep thinkers who often hoard information. With a name like The Investigator, these personality types are big on observing the world around them. Typically speaking, for healthy 5, this can be a great thing because they are able to share their findings about what they have learned. I view 5’s as the people who research the heck out of a topic before they dive right in.

Cody is a 5 and I am sure he can attest to the fact that it’s far better to show up prepared than not fully understanding what you’re getting yourself into. I mean, his Scottish family’s crest has the motto “Nunquam non paratus” which means, “Never not prepared”. Coincidence? I think not.

Of course, there can be a downside to always taking in information. Fear has this weird way of sneaking its way into your thought patterns. And for a 5, this can lead to a downward spiral into chasing rabbit holes of not truly being present. Too much information can lead to 5’s shutting people out and even shutting off their own emotions. If a 5 is fixated on what they are researching for too long, they can become the very thing they are afraid of. Let me tell you something. If you are a 5 and are reading this:

WebMD is NOT your friend.

Seriously. Every 5’s worst nightmare begins and ends with googling symptoms on WebMD. I’ve seen it first hand what it can do to someone’s mental state if they are not careful.

What We Can Learn From 5’s

Of course, just like all numbers on the Enneagram, we can learn a thing or two from 5’s. When they are healthy versions of themselves, they are incredible thinkers. Speaking as a 4, I deeply value this attribute in Cody. There are times where I can be so emotion driven and sensitive to what I’m feeling that I forget there are other points of view. I forget that there are things that can be worked through when I can set my emotions to the side. 5’s have a great way of thinking through their problems. On the other hand, 5’s can have a hard time of truly being in tune with their emotions as well.

One of the things I love most about the Enneagram is that it is so fluid. Every personality type balances each other out with their strengths and weaknesses. Sure, 5’s may struggle with detachment as a way to fully cope with their thoughts and ideas. However, 5’s have a knack for understanding when it is time to participate and when it is time to observe. After getting their feet wet a bit, they are quick to dive first into the deep pool of life. Something we can all learn from 5’s is that sometimes we shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. It actually works in our favor to be prepared in most situations.

All About Type 6’s

What I love about Enneagram 6’s is their honesty and reliability. With a name like The Loyalist it’s no wonder why these personality types are some of the most faithful and dependable people. They are the ones who stick it with you through good and bad times. These are the types of people you want to make sure you have around in the tough conversations and tense situations. 6’s value community so their focus is almost always on family, friendships, better relationships in the workplace, Church communities and so on.

Though, Enneagram 6’s still have a huge struggle to face: anxiety. Out of the 3 numbers of Head Triad in the Enneagram, 6’s struggle with fear the most. And not just the fear of stepping out in front of oncoming traffic or the idea of quitting their job to pursue their music dream. 6’s may fear both of those things but to a high degree. Often times, Enneagram 6’s struggle with fear to the point of feeling like something bad is always around the corner. It can be hard at times for 6’s to enjoy the pleasant times in their lives because they are always thinking of what could go wrong simultaneously.

What We Can Learn From 6’s

But skepticism isn’t always a bad thing. One of the things we can learn form 6’s is their cunning way of playing Devil’s Advocate. There is definitely a time and place for 6’s to ask the hard questions and talk about the elephant in the room. About to make a career change or a tough decision to let go of some clients? 6’s are great at thinking about the various outcomes and can often be a voice of reason for many.

Because of their specialty in asking questions, 6’s aren’t slow to offer a different point of view. In fact, because 6’s are extremely loyal people, their questions offer a sense of levelheadedness. Since 6’s superpower is to stay loyal through thick and thin, their skeptical nature speaks to those close to them. Because they love others so well, 6’s want others to be able to think through every possible outcome in order to come out with the best decision possible.

All About Type 7’s

Enneagram 7’s are typically the joyous spirit we all love to have at our dinner parties. The 7’s in our lives are some of the greatest storytellers and entertainers. Seriously, 7’s embody the childlikeness we all desire to have in our lives. With a name like The Enthusiast, it is no wonder 7’s are great to take on spontaneous road trips with. Because of their fun and adventurous spirit, they are willing to always see the joy in life, even if it’s the small things. Their superpower is finding the silver lining in any situation. Their love for life often bleeds on those around them because you can’t help but to be cheerful around the 7’s in your life.

However, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Just like 5’s who hoard information, 7’s enjoy hoarding joyful events and experiences. But sometimes this looks more like a coping mechanism and less like a free-spirit. Typically speaking, 7’s want to avoid pain at all costs. So their love for life can be laced with a distain for the negative parts of life. It can actually be really easy for 7’s to completely disregard their negative emotions. If a 7 seems dodgy or flighty when it comes to commitments, this can be a tall tale sign that they are rumbling with some negativity in their lives that they just can’t seem to figure out.

What We Can Learn From 7’s

Despite the fact that 7’s can seem immature at times, their childlikeness is exactly what keeps them afloat. What we can learn from the Enthusiasts in our lives is that it okay to live a little. We don’t always have to be so serious all of the time. In fact, 7’s bring this contagious light with them wherever they go that just makes you feel like a kid again.

We all need a little more adventure in our lives and this personality type lives and breathes adventure. 7’s are the dreamers that allow us to keep pursuing our passions. The people in our lives who are ascribe to this personality type are the ones who help remind us that life can be fun. Life is to be lived and lived to the fullest and 7’s embody what it’s like to truly enjoy life. We all need to liven up a little bit and the best way to do that is to let go of what is holding you down. The Enneagram 7 truly understands what it’s like to find peace and let go.

Where Do We Go From Here?

If this is your first time discovering the Enneagram, we want to congratulate you as well as encourage you to keep reading and studying all that you can. The Enneagram has been such a valuable tool for us and has honestly changed the way we view the world. After truly understanding the Enneagram, we believe that everyone can benefit from understanding themselves, as well as the people in their lives. After reading how we can better understand the head triad in the Enneagram, it is equally important to better understand all of its parts. The head triad is only a start in self-discovery.

You may be asking, “all of this information is great about the head triad of the Enneagram, but I don’t think I relate to any of these numbers. Where do I go from here?” and that is a valid question. The biggest thing that we realize is that God is so vast and complex in the way He created us. Being able to understand even a glimpse of His divine creation through the Enneagram creates room for maturity and growth. The Enneagram isn’t a one and done thing, just like learning who Christ is in our lives. This is not to discourage you but in fact encourage you to keep searching. Keep asking questions, keep learning, and most of all, keep loving.


After reading this, I hope you are able to better understand the head triad in the Enneagram. If you have any questions or thoughts on the Enneagram, we would love to connect with you.

If you are new to the Enneagram, this is a great tool in understanding each personality typology. Be sure and snag this book if you want to get a glimpse of God’s unique love for each individual person. Throughout our Enneagram series, we reference The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. After reading this book, not only were we able to better understand the head triad in the Enneagram, we were also able to understand the heart triad and the gut triad as well. This book was our first in depth understanding of the Enneagram as it was a strong recommendation from many of our friends. We hope that you are able to get as much out of it as we do.

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