type 6 - the loyalist

Do you even enneagram? Episode 8



Continuing on with the Fear or Thinking Triad, we are going to talk today about Type 6 - the Loyalist. This type tends to internalize their fearful thoughts rather than expressing or forgetting them. Each of the personality types in this triad have the tendency to relate to the world on a more cerebral level - thinking and planning carefully before they respond or react.


Have you ever had a friend (or maybe you are that friend) that always plays things out to the very worst case scenario? Enneagram 6s are masters at the worst-case-scenario game. Natural thinkers and planners, they often are distrustful and find the world to be an unsafe place. They respond to this feeling of insecurity in the world in one of two ways - identifying with and becoming subservient to those in authority, or completely rebelling against and refuting said authority. Many 6s find security in connection with their commitment and dedication to their local churches, schools, government or social service organizations.


Enneagram 6s are called the Loyalists for a reason. They are the watchful eye looking out for their neighbor's house when she is on vacation. They are committed friends and partners. And because they are constantly playing out the worst case scenario, they are usually the ones who come prepared. The friend that remembers sunscreen on a beach day. The teacher that keeps extra bandaids and sharpened pencils in her desk drawer. The spouse that makes sure to bring a snack on your outing because she knows how you get when you haven't eaten.


Where 6s struggle is when their underlying fear becomes consuming and overwhelming to the point where they trust no one and consider everyone a potential threat. They may also suffer from analysis paralysis - agonizing over decisions that many of us would consider relatively benign. To the 6, though, every decision carries weight and making the wrong choice could have dire consequences, so they need to weigh the pros, cons and potential outcomes of every choice before moving forward. For those of us who are not 6s, this process can become...tiresome. However, understanding the motive behind this decision-making difficulty will perhaps help us show a little more patience and kindness.


Enneagram 6s are excellent at playing devil's advocate, so if you need a sounding board for a big decision you're about to make, find a 6 and bend their ear. Because they are loyal and caring, they will probably be happy to help.


A 6s mind is rarely if ever quiet - constantly playing over scenarios, outcomes, projections, doubts and fears. To help ease your mind and relieve anxiety, try meditation, prayer or journaling. Even a guided practice like yoga may be centering and peaceful for an anxious 6. Turn off Fox News or CNN and go for a walk outside. Yes, you can bring your umbrella. And your snake-bite kit.


Another healthy practice for 6s is to work on accepting compliments without deflecting or suspecting an ulterior motive. Some of us (like me, I'm a 9) might just genuinely think you're awesome without wanting or expecting anything in return!


Finally, for the rest of us, treasure the 6s in your life. They are the school safety patrol, the crossing guard, the overprotective big brother - the person or people in our lives who love us and want to demonstrate that love by watching over and protecting those dear to them.


So tell me, have you found a number you identify with yet? Next we will move on to the last of the Fear/Thinking Triad - the Investigator (Enneagram 5). Back soon!

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