Enneagram Pairing Type 3 & 6

3 - The Successful Achiever

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


6 - The Loyal Guardian

Loyal Skeptic, Trooper, Trouble Shooter, Defender, Guardian, Questioner, Devil's Advocate

Core Pattern

Threes are success oriented, driven by ambition and lofty goals; Sixes are cautious, considerate, and skeptical. Both tend to enjoy socializing and are often key members of their community.

Both are hardworking, sometimes too much so, and tend to use obligations to avoid their feelings. Sixes plan for the worst case scenario and Threes plan for the brightest future possible.


Shared Values

Both Threes and Sixes value doing; they are both doers. Sixes tend to work hard to alleviate their pressing feelings of insecurity, while Threes push to fill their inherent void of feeling worthless.


These motivations may be painful or unsavory; the resulting productivity often serves not only to bolster the life of the worker, but also to make the world a better place, as both Threes and Sixes value compassion, service, and positive development. These two also share an appreciation for warmth, although Threes can come off as more cold and arrogant than Sixes, as well as an intuitive understanding of the social strata.


How You Complement Each Other

Although not a very common pairing, the Three-Six duo can be a very effective team. The go-getter, can-do attitude of the Three paired with the skeptical, cross-all-T’s-and-dot-all-I’s approach of the Six can make for a grounded, dedicated, driven dream team of producers. Where the Six becomes mired in fears and potential pitfalls, the Three energizes and optimistically ventures forward with innovation and inspired problem-solving.


Also, where the Three gets overly excited, so much, so they start to cut corners or slack on their quality, the Six doubles down and ensures the process is attended to with perseverance and loyalty. In personal relationships, these two find a supportive equal: as they both value dedication, hard work, and accomplishing their goals, it is easy for one to feel bolstered by the other.


The compassionate, human-centered ethics of Six help to warm, soften, and deepen the Three’s experience, while the positive, driven movements of the Three keep the Six from getting too bogged down in their catastrophizing. Threes help Sixes to feel more self-confident, and Sixes offer loyal support without smothering their counterpart. There can be a deep sense of mutual respect, genuine support for one another’s talents, and balance.


How You Can Get Into Trouble

In partnership, whether intimate or professional, these two can most chiefly get into trouble because they tend to share a lot of negative characteristics, as well as positive. Both tend toward workaholism, competition, and profound feelings of insecurity. Also, both can fall into conformist habits, going for social acceptance instead of authenticity or expression. Both tend to hide or deny their deeper feelings.


By having these challenges in common, a healthy relationship can quickly spiral into unhealthy, as each of the other’s wounds triggers their own. Threes can annoy Sixes, and vice versa, as they see their own rejected tendencies in the other.


The constant fear-mongering of an unhealthy Six can push the posi-vibes-only Three to the breaking point, while the braggadocious, pandering social climbing of the unhealthy Three seems immature and forced to the loyal Six. There mutual denial of feelings can turn them into high-functioning robots, excellent at getting the job done, but close to dead inside, longing for something to break through the ingrained patterns.


As a result, they retreat into evasive tactics, covert action, and dishonesty, entirely unable to access their feelings or the feelings of the other. The Threes can become embarrassed of the Sixes, and Sixes can lose all enthusiasm and warmth for their once-companion. The relationship becomes dead and lifeless while maintaining the appearance of normalcy and complacent acceptance.


What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of

Initially, Threes and Sixes may struggle to understand each other’s approach, especially to matters of business. Sixes’ will appear overly cautious and fastidious to the free-dealin’ Three, and Threes will seem bold, almost wild, to the Six. In time, these two can become aware of these tendencies and see them as strengths in one another: Sixes are honest, loyal, and persevering while possessing a strong ability to question, evaluate, and fix—something Threes tend to avoid as it would mean admitting a potential mistake.


Threes take risks and gamble for their success, which initially scares the cautious Six, but can prove to be a boon. Both types are aware of the Threes tendency to cut corners—Sixes are very efficient, but can do so without sacrificing quality, a strength both types can learn to rely on. It is also good to be aware that Sixes are constantly scanning for potential problems—scanning the room, the relationship, the project proposal, or the plan.


Threes, do not be discouraged or interpret this as pessimism: the devil’s advocate is looking out for the greater whole, and their astute understanding of potential pitfalls can prove vital in assuring you achieve your goals. Lastly, whether working together, living together, or just hanging out, make sure you are aware of how each type deals with trust. A violation of trust is a fatal blow to the Six, who works very hard to keep themselves safe in all environments.


Stealing, lying, cheating, or claiming credit for something that is not yours are unforgivable betrayals to the loyal Six and must be acknowledged as such. On the flip side, if you have earned the trust of a Six, you have it for life (provided you don’t do something to jeopardize it).


How You Can Support One Another

The most obvious, important, and effective way to help a Three is with ample positive strokes. Threes run on accolades and their perceived personal success, so it is important for those around them to find value and excellence in their work. Sixes can also use their keen eye and understanding of social cues to be on the lookout for opportunities for the ambitious Three.


For Sixes, it is equally important to assure them of their worth through positive strokes, but not in such a showy way. Too much attention or positive praise will make the Six skeptical, and they will begin to distrust you.


Because Sixes often suffer from feelings of unworthiness, it can also be tough for them to hear anything good about themselves. Sixes appreciate more support shown in the form of acts of service or gifts, as they have an innate understanding of how precious time, money, and effort are.


These two can also be supportive of one another by sharing their natural good qualities with the other. Sixes warmth, humanitarian leanings, and social equity can support the Three in opening their (usually) big heart to the world around them, while the drive and inspired, albeit sometimes foolish, actions of the Three can shake the Six out of their heady overanalyzing into a place of optimistic action. With heart, these two can help each other shine, personally and professionally.


In A Romantic Context

This duo can work well if each person puts in the time, and stays alert to their more negative tendencies, as these can tend to trigger the negative trends of the other. As a couple, these two can seem very put together and accomplished—and they often are!—however, be careful you don’t fall into the trap of keeping up appearances out of fear or social obligation, something both of these types are wont to do.


Emotionally, don’t expect depth, as both Threes and Sixes tend to favor a more practical approach to dealing with feelings, namely pouring themselves into work or other projects. That doesn’t mean the possibility for deep care isn’t there, because it is: Threes and Sixes will be able to empathize with the other, and that empathy can naturally turn into genuine feelings of caring. Physically, there may not be an enormous spark, as neither of these types relishes their bodily experiences, but with love and acceptance, a sense of true comfort can develop.


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