The Enneagram 5 Type – The Investigator

The Investigator (Enneagram 5 Type) is an independent and curious maverick on an intellectual mission to absorb as much knowledge as their active minds can acquire. Fives seek to understand, through reading and thinking, the laws and principles governing the world. They can wholeheartedly attest to Socrate’s famous saying, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Autonomous and inquisitive, Fives carve out as much time as possible to let their thoughts run wild. They thrive when they can devise hypotheses and theories and add to their ongoing informational archives. Through careful inspection and analysis, a seemingly random set of data or facts can spark extraordinary insights and transform into a leeway for scientific breakthrough.

Get an in-depth look at the enneagram five type. #Enneagram #five #enneatype

In order to achieve a sense of balance, Fives reduce or eliminate tasks which can be delegated to others or avoided altogether. It’s common for Fives to live a very minimalist lifestyle: out in the woods, in a van, free from mortgages, and multi-layered credit card debt. Many have broader life goals to live sustainably and consciously.

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A Quick Overview of the Five:

  • Part of the Head Triad (along with Enneatypes Six and Seven)
  • Can have a Four or Six wing: 5w4 or 5w6
  • Nicknamed ‘The Investigator’
  • Ego Fixation: Stinginess
  • Vice: Avarice
  • Virtue: Non-Attachment
  • Integrates into the Eight (The Challenger) under growth
  • Disintegrates into the Seven (The Enthusiast) under stress
  • Basic Fear: To be incompetent, incapable, and useless
  • Basic Desire: To achieve mastery and understanding

Values are the core beliefs which make up the most important aspects of life. They have a strong influence over important decisions, especially during critical times, when standing between a fork in the road.

Common Values of the Five:

  • Autonomy
  • Competency
  • Knowledge
  • Mastery
  • Understanding

The Enneagram model of personality identifies three distinct levels of health for each type: healthy, normal, and unhealthy.

Enneagram five infographic. #enneagram #five #enneatype

Under healthy levels of growth, Fives integrate in the direction of the Eight, and become more self-assured of their ability to both research and lead. They master the ability to know when it’s most appropriate to use logic or emotions (or a combination of both) to make decisions. Through time, they also hone in on their intuition and exude confidence in their capabilities.

Comfortable both in the lead and as part of a team, healthy Fives are insightful, humble, and willing to consider other points of view—as illogical as those may appear at first glance. They’re keen on engaging with strikingly different people to broaden their perspectives and learn to become more open-minded.

At average levels, Fives frivolously tinker with ideas within their area of expertise or interest. They spend a lot of time hoarding facts and large amounts of esoteric knowledge to uphold their supposed intelligence and rationalize their aloofness by doing so. To friends and family, their isolative and offbeat behavior may throw them off incessantly. They also may appear intellectually arrogant or condescending.

One lifelong struggle for Fives is in maintaining their interpersonal bonds. They typically have very clear boundaries between close friends, acquaintances, significant others, family, and so on. These are separate worlds; different realms that seldom collide. Fives compartmentalize relationships because it streamlines their thought processes.

Under unhealthy levels of stress, Fives disintegrate in the direction of the Seven, and become more scattered and prone to seek out various forms of stimulants to induce escapism. Like driving in a roundabout, they appear to be moving all the time, seeing potential exits or paths, yet never getting anywhere—and ending up right back where they started.

Delusional Fives may use their self-proclaimed intelligence as a crutch during debates, or as excuses for their behavior. Some seek out accolades in high IQ societies or organizations to prove their self-worth and stroke the remnants of their shattered egos. They may bicker about how others are failing to see the “truth”, “reality”, or “bigger picture” and become bitter and misanthropic. At this stage, they can forgo human interaction altogether due to past hurts and disappointments.

Type 5 Behavior Under Healthy Levels:

  • Insightful; able to elucidate complex topics
  • Ability to connect with different people and perspectives
  • Open to diplomatic debate and discussion
  • Willingness to disclose information and thoughts
  • Confident and humble in skills and identity

Type 5 Behavior Under Normal Levels:

  • Preoccupation with personal projects
  • Aloof and minimalistic demeanor
  • Tough nut to crack; mysterious
  • Bookish and well-read in subjects of choice
  • Tendency to be a social hermit

Type 5 Behavior Under Unhealthy Levels:

  • Paralyzing fear of appearing incompetent
  • Extreme isolation and psychological walls
  • Reliance on different crutches for escapism
  • Internal battles with sadness and anger
  • Crippling doubt and self-esteem issues

When it comes to vocational preferences, Fives gravitate toward careers where they can spend large amounts of time delving deep into esoteric topics and transform knowledge in an accessible way.

  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Scientist
  • Technical Writer
  • Architect

During down time, Fives aim to sharpen other aspects of their mind: contextual thinking, memorization, creativity, and even physical resistance (in the case of exercise).

Common Hobbies:

  • Playing board/video games
  • Learning new trivia
  • Working with computers
  • Participating in solo sports
  • Reading non-fiction

Many well-known scientists and entrepreneurs throughout history were Enneagram 5 types. Fives are also often spotted in the field of academia, where they can transfer their knowledge onto the next generation.

Quotes From Famous Enneagram 5 Types:

  • “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates
  • “I’ve made a lot of money, but I want to enjoy life and not stress myself building my bank account. I give lots away, and live simply.” – Keanu Reeves
  • “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie
  • “I didn’t think exactly like a professional economist. I think about economics and economic ideas, but somewhat like an outsider.” – John Nash

A Video About The Enneagram 5 Type

Sum up the most important traits of the 5 by watching this quick video about the personality type.

More Enneagram Type Five Resources:

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

Here are the Careers You’ll Love, Based on Your Enneagram Type

Here’s What Infuriates You, Based on Your Enneagram Type

Here’s What You Desire, Based on Your Enneagram Type

Lily Yuan, Personality Blogger

Lily Yuan is a personality psychology writer who has a knack for just missing the bus. She tests as INTP 5w4 and constantly questions her type. Learn more at or follow her on Twitter @LilyYuanWrites.

Get an in-depth look at the enneagram five type. #Enneagram #five #enneatype

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  1. Hi Lilly, First of all I would like to say that I really like your articles about the types of the enneagram, you seem to have a lot of knowledge. But I have a brutal doubt and maybe you can help me. I am an INTJ and in the enneagram I type type 5 most of the time, but I have a lot of type 8 features ( Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational) and have already typed as 8 a few times. So I would like to know how far the integration level from type 5 to 8 goes, if I can really be a type 5 integrated with 8 or if it has to do with my tritype (5w6 8w7 3w4) whatever can you do to help me to clarify this I appreciate it very much. Thanks!

    1. Hi Wellington, thanks so much for your comment! I find disintegration patterns (i.e. behavior under stress) to be far more revealing for your core Enneatype.

      Type 5 (The Investigator) under stress resembles a 7 (The Enthusiast)—and becomes scattered; prone to overindulgence. Type 8 (The Challenger), in contrast, would resemble a 5.

      Another key difference is your primary repressed emotion, which should be indicative of your center. Is it fear (5 – Head), or anger (8 – Body)? I also encourage you to read up on the vices and ego fixations of both types!

    2. 8s usually find it very easy to type themselves; they’re immediately drawn to Type 8 and there’s usually zero uncertainty about that being their type. So if you’re wondering if you’re a 5, I bet you that you’re not an 8. 5s on the other hand like to consider every angle and tend to be more indecisive. I’m Type 5 and I’ve even convinced myself I had my type wrong in the past and that I was really Type 8, but 5 always makes the most sense (and it’s what others in my life see more easily as well). Also consider that introverted 8s are rare, as are extroverted 5s. INTJ and 5 is a common pairing (I’m 5w6 INTJ).

  2. I have enjoyed reading these articles about the enneagram types! I do have a quick question-what does “wing” mean? Like 5w6. Does that mean they share many characteristics of the 4 or 6?

    1. The tests alone are not enough. They can help you narrow things down, but it really comes down to knowing yourself and understanding the traits of each type. Common mistypes for 5 (IMHO) are 4, 9, and (oddly) 8.

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