Enneagram Pairing Type 5 & 8

5 - The Investigative Thinker

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


8 - The Protective Challenger

Protector, Alpha Leader, Champion, Maverick, Commander, Negotiator, Boss

Core Pattern

Fives are part of the Head Triad while Eights are part of the Gut Triad. Fives are heady, analytical, observant, and tend to prefer solitude to company.


Eights are action-oriented, passionate, and earthy. Fives operate under the assumption that resources are finite, while Eights dive into life with gusto. Fives require much uninterrupted time to process, while Eights require communication and ample opportunity to act.


Shared Values

Despite being profoundly different in many ways, Fives and Eights share some crucial aspects in common. They both insist on independence, and usually, possess a high level of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.


They both value clear boundaries in all areas of life and are typically respectful of the limits set by others. Both Fives and Eights dislike intrusion; they take their time and resources very seriously. Also, both admire people who stand up for themselves, think for themselves, and have made something of their lives.


How You Complement Each Other

These two, due to their divergence, can paradoxically have an incredibly complementary relationship. Fives tend to live in their heads, and typically possess great skill in all things about mental activity: analysis, reflection, planning, decision making, observing, and strategizing. Eights tend to live rooted in their embodiment, which is where they derive their power, emotionality, bravado, instincts, and ability to command.


The combination of Five’s keen intellect and Eight’s unshakable physicality creates a potent dynamism. These two can span the spectrum from thorough analysis to grounded follow-through. Fives often struggle to implement their ideas; Eights have the energy and the action orientation to see things through.


Eights don’t typically engage a well-thought-out analysis before they brazenly take action; Fives provide necessary foresight and reflection to consider all consequences and devise appropriate strategies. In a sense, Fives chart the course and Eights give the fuel to traverse it. In one another, the others find what they lack.


Another example is how each of these types relates to their bodies; namely, Fives are typically very disembodied, opting instead to live in the cerebral realms of knowledge and thought, and Eights tend toward the opposite. They are thoroughly grounded in their physical, tangible, and instinctual being: all Eights experience is filtered through their body. Conversely, Eights can quickly lose touch with an awareness of how their actions are affecting others or the possible repercussions for their behavior, and Fives provide a definite, objective read on the unfolding reality.


Simplified, we could say that Eights act and Fives think. The combination of the two can have unexpected powerful effects. Together, these two possess both brain and brawn, and the mixture of both mental and physical power means these two can not only accomplish a lot with high effectiveness, but they can relax in relationship to one another, knowing their gifts and strengths are being put to good use.


How You Can Get Into Trouble

Because these two are so different, there are naturally many personality traits that could rub one another the wrong way. Primarily, because Eights general attitude toward life is one of action and Fives are typically more retiring and contemplative, these two will discover a conflict when it comes to pace and decision-making. Eights will go with their gut and will act quickly and with conviction, whereas Fives will want to retreat into contemplation, and will generally take more time than Eight is comfortable with to conclude.


Additionally, Fives work best when they have a lot of space, and will usually request solitude during times of high stress or intensity. This can create a bit of a vacuum in communication or activity, and Eights are naturally drawn to fill it.


They can quickly jump into the role of director, overstep their position, or become more significant and louder in an attempt to engender more engagement from their Five counterparts. In Five’s absence, Eight can become greedy, needy, or slightly megalomaniacal, feeling like since there’s no one there to get the job done, they must do it themselves. They will likely feel frustrated and hurt by Five’s disengagement and will have trouble not taking their actions personally.


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These two can also fall into a judgmental spiral, as their more shadow behaviors tend to be reciprocally triggering. Eights will potentially judge Fives for being hesitant (cowardly in an Eight’s eyes), overly intellectual (pretentious), or too quiet (unrelatable), while Fives can easily mistake Eight’s larger-than-life personality and emotional intensity for instability and attention seeking.


Faced with these judgments, both parties can adopt a holier-than-thou stance, wherein defenses are erected, and alliances severed. Fives become critical, wary, and withdrawn, while Eights become controlling, boastful, and loud. To avoid conflict, these two need to make sure there are clear boundaries in place, expectations are named, and lines of communication remain open.


What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of

It’s important to keep in mind that these two are opposite in many ways. Fives are shy, retiring, thoughtful, and analytical. Eights are loud, energetically substantial, earthy, and physical. Fives disengage from the material world through abstraction, conceptualization, and intellectualization, whereas Eights seem to make the material world even more material by their sheer presence.


When engaging with one another, it's important to remember how different you are, lest the difference feels like a threat or be interpreted as intimidating. This could easily lead to misunderstanding and projection.


Fives need to be aware that Eights are not afraid to speak their mind and tend to have a short temper, so it will be crucial to learn to engage with clarity and honesty. Eights respect people who can speak to them directly. Eights need to be aware of Five’s deep need for regular solitude and ample time to deepen their knowledge base, contemplate, and process.


Both Fives and Eights will tend to take each other personally if they get lost in the thinking that the other’s behavior is somehow because of them. It’s probably not. These two will need to strike the right balance between sharing, brainstorming, and acting together and separating, differentiating, and moving individually.


How You Can Support One Another

In a surprising and wonderfully human way, these two have the potential of becoming emotional support for one another, on top of their other potential compatibilities. Both Eights and Fives feel like misfits in the world, and they also both tend to have strong feelings and big hearts, albeit both hide it well. Fives demonstrate their immense love by the way they pour their sharp minds into solving problems and mastering their crafts, while Eights will fight for what they believe in—the underdog, justice, their families—to the death if they have to. Both of these actions, while staunch and perhaps rigid, come from a place of deep love.


Additionally, both Fives and Eights believe in protecting and providing for those they care about and will work hard to do so. This can be of enormous support to one another, who often feel like they have to do everything alone. Furthermore, Eights will be able to support Fives with their larger-than-life energy and their inspired ability to manifest ideas into reality. On the flipside, Fives will be able to support Eights with their mastery, foresight, depth of knowledge, and off-color sense of humor.


Teamed up, there will be little these two can’t tackle. Generally speaking, the best way to support a Five is to ensure they have space and time they need to really address a problem, and the best way to help an Eight is to engage them in a straightforward, direct, honest manner before a conflict arises.


In A Romantic Context

These two can form a deep, almost unspoken emotional bond, and because they tend to embody different strengths, a romantic Five-Eight pairing can be imbued with a special kind of power. Emotionally, these two can feel that in the other they’ve found someone who is capable of tolerating and protecting their pain, and will often bond over shared feelings of being outsiders.


Neither Eights nor Fives are known for their emotional vulnerability, so when they discover they can let down their guards with one another, it can feel like arriving home. They can drop their typical defenses and develop a sense of trust, commitment, and honest communication.


As a couple, these two tend to be thoughtful, action-oriented, and possessing a dynamic combination of brilliance and bravado. They are poised to make a significant impact on their communities and higher spheres of influence. When relating to each other, they can maintain a protector-advisor dynamic, wherein Fives delve deep into meaning, provide insight, and subtle conceptual understanding of patterns and Eights stand tall and create a sphere of protection, strength, and tangible reality around everything they do.


However, these two can easily fall on troubled times when their divergent personalities serve to trigger and wound, instead of inspiring connection and closeness. When pushed or pressured, Fives tend to withdraw, and it’s possible for them to retreat so far they detach completely, becoming emotionally cold and impervious to their partner’s requests for engagement. Eights tend to move in the exact opposite direction when life gets intense; they become fiery, emotional, and possibly enraged.


When provoked, Eights become confrontational, controlling, and irrational, while Fives become taciturn, isolated, and painfully distant. Put simply, Fives disappear, and Eights explode.


This combination can be devastatingly lethal for these two, not only because it causes extreme discomfort and painful ruptures, but because it can spark further shadow and projection. In their anger, Eights become cruel, harsh, and manipulative, which confirms Five’s fear that their partner is too erratic to be trusted.


Conversely, Five’s retreat leads Eight to believe they also can’t be trusted, as they do not possess the capabilities of staying present through the storm. Also, as both of these types are sensitive to rejection, due to their underlying belief, they are misfits and therefore deserving of ostracism, the icy heat of a fight in a Five-Eight couple has the potential of triggering deep, ancient wounds.


To make matters worse, both parties will likely excel at poking the other where it hurts most, and if things get bad, will not hesitate to do so. The close compatibility and support that bonded these two become soaked in cynicism, and at this point, there is little they can do to remove the poison from the well.