top of page

Enneagram Pairing Type 3 & 5

3 - The Successful Achiever

Superstar, Producer, Performer, Motivator, Role Model, Ideal Exemplar, Best in Show

5 - The Investigative Thinker

Investigator, Observer, Expert, Scientist, Analyst, Specialist, Hermit


Core Pattern

Threes and Fives both have a well-practiced strategy to avoid attending to their feelings. Threes get lost in their work and overachieving, and Fives seek solace in their mighty intellect. Both tend not to focus on emotion, although both have deep feelings, and favor productivity, focus, discipline, and determination instead.

Feelings are a luxury or an over-indulgence. Threes are accomplished, successful, goal-oriented and hardworking. Fives can be as well, although they tend to be much more hermetic and specialized, valuing understanding and knowledge acquisition over outward achievement.

Shared Values

These two both value competency, success, objectivity, and effectiveness, especially when it comes to business and professional pursuits. Both strive to be the best at what they do: the Three by continually honing their craft toward excellence and the Five by acquiring more and more knowledge, so much so, they become an expert on the subject.

As a result, Threes tend to be excellent at many things, and Fives tend to be experts of many subjects. Both Threes and Fives are also both very protective of their time and energy, and they both value being able to work sans distraction. However, where the Three will make decisions with the speed of an emotionally driven person (however unconscious their emotions may be), the Five will spend great lengths of time to understand the situation before making a move.

How You Complement Each Other

There can be quite a lot of positive play between this pair, and they can potentially bring out the best in each other. Since both Threes and Fives tend to get lost in their work or sucked into very focused projects, there can be compatibility in their work ethic, for starters. Professionally, this is a dynamic team with much-shared brilliance: what Fives lack in sociability, Threes have in spades, and where Threes tend to rush or cut corners, Fives hunker down and deliberate.

For the Five, the Three offers a healthy model of effective communication, confidence, and presentation skills and for the Three, the Five holds the key to higher levels of understanding and depth, new areas of expertise, and greater creativity of thought. Because they also both know the importance of balancing closeness with personal space, they tend not to crowd one another.

Together, they can possess an almost uncanny amount of brilliance and social credibility. In an office or group project, the Fives skills are best suited to analysis, research, and interpretation, and the Threes’ to public relations, sales, or management. As peers, they make a dynamic and hardworking team.

How You Can Get Into Trouble

As neither of these types is wont to share their feelings, even when something is not right, this pair can get into trouble relatively quickly if they aren’t careful. Instead of openly communicating their emotions or honestly confronting their feelings, the Three-Five relationship can devolve into icy distance, hostility, and sarcasm.

Both can be quite brutal in how quickly they detach from an argument-or the unspoken equivalent of one-and once the chasm has formed, it is almost impossible for these two to repair the divide. Fives become overly candid and argumentative, while Threes favor a sarcastic, offensive fighting style, and both tend to hide behind self-importance and exasperation.

To the Five, the Three appears shallow and deceitful, while the Five to the Three is aloof and insolent. If in a working relationship, these two can run into issues regarding time management, as Fives tend to be much more methodical, favoring fine-turning and details, while Threes like to get on with the project as it stands.

There can also be conflict regarding the origin of ideas if they are sharing thinking in that way, and who is responsible for which breakthroughs or insights. This devolves into more or less open competition from both sides, as both take their work very seriously. In the case where there is not enough of a bond or enough shared values, a fissure between these two can prove irreparable, as both become distrustful and wary of others after they’ve been wounded.

What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of

Threes should be mindful that Fives thrive with more solitude than most folks, and while they can appreciate positive feedback, they don’t need it. Depending on where they’re at in their work, feedback may seem like an intrusion, instead of welcome support.

Fives need to be aware of the right and wrong ways to motivate a Three: namely, through regular validation and acknowledgment, never through playful humor or sarcasm. Fives should be aware of their tendency to withdraw and shut out the world when conflicts arise, and Threes should watch themselves for excessive self-hype. Both types need to be mindful of their tendency to avoid their deeper feelings by pouring themselves into their work, a behavior pattern that can quickly become destructive.

How You Can Support One Another

In a professional or working relationship, Threes can help ensure that Fives succeed by clearly defining goals and expectations. They can also use their optimism and skill for motivation to keep the Five working at a steady pace, as long as their methods don’t interfere too much. Threes can also support Fives in finding more opportunities to socialize, and developing higher self-esteem, as well as the ability to self-promote.

On the flip side, Fives can help Threes to deepen their knowledge and expertise-for a Five; there is no end to the level of depth you can reach if the subject matter is interesting enough. Fives are true polymaths.

Fives can also support Threes in checking their work, honing their methods, and taking the necessary time to ensure corners are not cut. Both types can help the other through expressing their appreciation for one another’s strengths, as there is sure to be a lot.

In A Romantic Context

This romantic partnership is more common than you would imagine. Something about the shared values and work ethics between Threes and Fives make one another a dynamic and appealing potential mate. To the Three, the worldly knowledge and seemingly endless depth of the Five feels all at once alluring and engaging.

To the Five, the hardworking, take-no-prisoners attitude of the Three makes them feel as if their workaholic tendencies will not be chastised, and the bright personality totted by said Three is often just bright enough to push the Five into fun, new territory. It helps that neither of these types is attracted to extensive emotional processing, and both tend to find a sense of identity in their work, and therefore, in the work of whomever they date. There can be a lot of mutual admiration and support between these two.

That being said, because neither type is wont to address their inner world without much prompting, there can be demons lurking under the surface between these two, and when they rear their head, the fallout can be too much to patch up. When faced with an emotional situation, Fives will tend to retreat and shut down, while Threes will become belittling and manipulative. The combination, when considered with the fact that in this state both parties are still avoiding their feelings, can be the nail in the coffin.

Physically, there might be some barriers to intimacy here, although the potential for good chemistry is high, because of the same tendency to avoid feeling. This couple works best with good awareness of their weaknesses, and honest communication about expectations, alone time, and emotions.

Enneagram Pairing Type 7 & 9

Sevens and Nines both engage in emotional hide and seek as part of their core patterning; neither type wants to deal with their more painful

Enneagram Pairing Type 8 & 9

Eights are intense, vibrant, assertive, lusty, and dominant. These tendencies can sometimes translate into having tough exteriors that belie



Discover your True Self

Reveal your hidden gifts and untapped potential. Open your mind to your real-life purpose and secret talents. Release unseen blocks to the hidden abundant life you deserve.

bottom of page