Enneagram Pairing Type 5 & 7
5 - The Investigative Thinker
Investigator, Observer, Expert, Scientist, Analyst, Specialist, Hermit
7 - The Entertaining Optimist
Epicure, Visionary, Enthusiast, Jack-of-All-Trades, Adventurer, Innovator, Dilettante
Both Fives and Sevens are in the Head Triad, which means they are concerned with safety and security. They both have strong mental capabilities and derive a lot of their sense of identity from their intellectuality. They are both sharp, quick-witted, and have a wide array of interests.
Fives operate under the assumption that resources are scarce, time is limited, and the world is a puzzle to be solved. Sevens engage the world with enthusiasm, appetite, and exuberance. They are continually looking for the next fun person, place, or thing.
They tend to be gluttonous experience junkies with a joyful outlook on life, albeit their consumption can spiral into selfish and escapist in times of stress. In response to feeling pain or isolation, Fives retreat to the world of ideas and knowledge they’ve constructed in their heads, while Sevens go out into the world to acquire new experiences, material possessions, or stamps on their passports.
Fives and Sevens will likely share a lot of the same passions for ideas, innovation, creativity, deep thought, and critical theory. Both Fives and Sevens value rationality, mental engagement, debate, discourse, and innovation. These two are two sides of the same coin if the coin is mental engagement: Fives go in, Sevens go out, but both rest on a conceptual, heady foundation.
How You Complement Each Other
Sevens are creative in their thinking, continually coming up with new ideas. They value having the opportunity to explore, innovate, transform, and come up with new solutions. Fives tend to be the opposite, although they also relish the act of thinking and problem-solving.
They want time to consider, reflect, contemplate, and come to their conclusions step by step, whereas Sevens are all about more: more options, more ideas, more connections, more interests, more possibilities. Fives want to deal with one problem and one solution at a time with steadiness and deliberation and Sevens want to quickly jump from problem to idea, to solution, to problem with speed and alacrity.
Therein lies the greatest boon of the Five/Seven relationship, but also the most significant challenge. Fives want to think slow, and Sevens want to think fast; Fives wish to dive deep on one subject and become masterful at it, while Sevens wish to skim the surface of many different topics and connect the dots between all of them; Fives want to hone in, Sevens want to branch out.
To this relationship, Fives being the power of objectivity, a sense of self-reliance, and a wonderful, often off-beat sense of humor. Sevens bring a spirited spontaneity, fierce independence, and a gregarious optimism.
Sevens can be bright and generous, and often fill the role of the life of the party, while Fives can be withdrawn or detached, with an underlying, unspoken investment in their family, friends, and the greater community. Again these two tend to embody the opposite sides of the same coin when it comes to socializing. Fives tend to be a rock or pillar amongst their loved ones, holding the integrity and container of their network, while Sevens tend to be the kite or the inspiration that can infuse any social situation with joy, light and delight.
How You Can Get Into Trouble
Fives and Sevens can get into trouble—and often do—because of the very thing that brings them together: their opposing approach to engaging the world and dealing with problems. Fives tend to be retiring, preferring to witness without comment and deliberate, while Sevens tend to be outgoing, jumping into the center of the action and directing from the middle. Fives can become confused and overwhelmed by the abundance of Seven’s ideas and desires, many of which are contradictory.
Sevens can, in turn, become confused by Fives lack of engagement, and distrustful of their wordlessness. When Fives feel pressured or stressed, they revert to a scarcity mindset, which dictates that there is not enough time, resources, energy, or emotional bandwidth to adequately engage the world, and they withdraw. This retreat can be so severe they even shut off to themselves. They can become reclusive, isolated, and completely disembodied, locked in their headiness, devoid of physical or emotional sensation.
Sevens, when stressed, tend to do the opposite: they run into the world, wildly, hedonistically imbibing whatever experience they can get their hands on with a complete inability to savor or feel satisfied. In this frenzied state, they often lack discernment, acting rashly and extravagantly in favor of instant gratification and selfish consumption.
In a relationship with one another, these coping strategies can prove detrimental. Often Sevens want more engagement at precisely the moment Fives are detaching, and Fives require peace at just the moment Sevens are turning up the volume. Overall, their pattern is such that Sevens become more demanding just as Fives are becoming less engaged.
Therefore, the most significant source of conflict for these two, whether professionally or personally, is that they respond to stress in opposite ways, and these opposing strategies tend to trigger and exacerbate further stress in each other. Additionally, both Fives and Sevens tend to be conflict avoidant, and have trouble accessing their hearts or deeper feelings, which can lead to denial, repression, miscommunication, and dishonesty.
What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of
Because of the exact make up of similarities and differences between these two, they can ending up making the best team or the worst team. It all depends on their level of health and their ability to communicate through challenges. Keep in mind that if you are working on a project or building something together, Sevens will excel during the idea phase, but will likely lose steam as the project wears on. They will feel a pull to dive into something newer and therefore to them, more exciting.
Fives, on the other hand, will probably be more rigid or closed off during the imaginal phase, but will have the stamina to work through the boring parts of development. It will be crucial to their sense of progress, but also their relationship, that these two have clear, open channels of communication at every phase of a project, and that conflicts are named and addressed head on.
Furthermore, be aware that the Seven ideal of freedom is having an array of possibilities at their fingertips with the opportunity to explore all of them to whatever degree is exciting and joyful in the moment, without ever needing to commit or be exclusive to any one activity (idea, person). Seven’s growth is learning to deepen their engagement with one thing at a time, and therein realize the profound fulfillment they can experience when they settle into a commitment and work toward one goal. The Five ideal of freedom is having ample time to dive deeply into one subject, as obscure and irrelevant as their heart desires, and be left entirely alone to do so, without the nagging world and all of its demands trying to distract them (that includes bodily requests, financial concerns, relationships, global issues).
Five’s growth lies in learning to balance their deep need for solitude and retreat with a powerful, whole-hearted engagement with the messiness of being human and all that contains. At their cores, both Fives and Sevens feel entirely shut off from their emotionality, usually due to early childhood wounding wherein they learned that their feelings were not welcome for some reason or another.
To deal with this internal deficit, Fives internalize the belief that they don’t need anything or anyone to survive, while Sevens try to make up for their feelings of lack by voraciously consuming anything the world can give them. Again we see how these two are two sides of the same coin.
It is essential to keep in mind that neither Fives nor Sevens has a desire to be dramatic, they are merely trying to get their needs met in the only way they know how. Overall, the Five/Seven relationship can be seen as two deeply thinking people who respond to stimulus and stress in an opposing manner. They both embody divergent perspectives on how to relate to pleasure, Fives operating under the assumption that good times are scarce and possibly undeserved and Sevens standing firmly in the camp that enjoyment is our birthright and should be welcomed at all times.
How You Can Support One Another
Professionally, support looks very different for each of these types. Fives require a lot of solitude, freedom, and uninterrupted time to focus on their work, while Sevens want engagement, stimulation, and the opportunity to collaborate on innovations and potentials. Sevens will enjoy working with other people and require clear deadlines and expectations, while Fives will want their own space and will work well in a more self-directed manner.
Sevens tend to get lost in ideas and fantasies about the future, which is why clear expectations are crucial. Overall, no matter the nature of the relationship between these two, Fives can support Sevens by helping them to ground, deepen, and stay focused on the present, while Sevens can support Fives by helping to see life more playfully and abundantly, and encouraging them to engage the world with more spontaneity and acceptance.
However, Fives and Sevens need support in accessing their feelings, and in relationship to one another, it will be easy for them to maintain a purely cerebral connection. They can share a real meeting of minds, but for the health and vitality of their relationship, it will be crucial for these two to learn how to also connect from a heart-centered place. Generally, when Fives are being their most Five-ish, retreating into their private world, Sevens can be most supportive by channeling their own inner Five and allowing their counterpart space and time they require to process.
The reverse is also true that when Sevens are quite Seven-y, spontaneously moving the furniture around the house, jumping from project to project, or randomly becoming excited about learning a brand new skill. Fives will do well to embrace their inner Seven and go along for the ride (within reason). Fives can offer their characteristic reasoned thinking and grounded presence, anchoring Seven to reality while not standing in the way of their open-minded enthusiasm. In this way, these two can build a connection based on respecting one another’s boundaries while also rejoicing in life’s pleasures.
In A Romantic Context
The romantic attraction between these two will be almost purely intellectual, at least at first. In one another, they will feel as if they’ve finally met their intellectual equal, someone as polymathic as themselves, with a bright, keen interest in the conceptual building blocks of reality and the mental agility required to dive into them. They’ll find they both love to debate, learning, devising solutions to tough intangible problems, and sharing knowledge.
Between the two of them, they will likely have an abundance of expertise spanning a broad array of subjects, such that they will cease to have something interesting to talk about. As the relationship progresses, these two will find they can offer a lot to one another in other areas of life, as well. Sevens tend to bring Fives out of their shell, exposing them to new places, people, and activities they wouldn’t otherwise try.
As long as Fives aren’t overexerting themselves, their partnership with Seven can genuinely serve to enrich their experience of being human, as Sevens are masters of relishing the simple pleasures, delighting in the moment, and sharing their joy with everyone around them. This helps Five to live a more substantial, engaged life.
Fives tend to bring a much-needed reality check to Seven’s sometimes fantastical thinking, offering focus, depth, and wisdom when Seven becomes a little pie-in-the-sky. With Five’s help, Sevens can commit to their learning, skill acquisition, and goals with purpose and discipline. In general, Fives tend to become masters of their craft, while Sevens enjoy being dilettantes and often know a small amount about a wide array of subjects.
Because of this, these two can learn a lot from one another, and truly use one another to deepen and broaden not only their thinking but their realities. The danger of this partnership, like most, is in their diametrically opposing reactions to stress. When Five becomes stressed, they withdraw; when Seven becomes stressed, they consume.
A detached, unemotional Five can trigger Seven’s abandonment fears, which causes them to become emotionally volatile and demanding. Unable to deal with the situation, Five retreats further, which causes the Seven to spiral even more into their reckless engagement and simple requests.
This cycle continues—Fives retreating and shutting down, Sevens becoming more and more extreme and irresponsible. Fives become judgmental and wary of their escapist partners, and Sevens feel deeply hurt by the cold they sense from their paramour. It eventually ends when the wall Five builds become impassable, or Seven’s chaos escalates to too frenzied a place. The break is usually cold and final.