• Alex Rathbun

Enneagram Five: The Investigator




Enneagram Fives are known as The Investigator. Their basic need is to understand and know. And after almost 8 years in a relationship with my favorite Five (hello, husband), I can vouch for that statement. Today's Enneagram interview guest is my husband, Eric Rathbun. I may be biased but he's actually the best. I can't wait to share him with you.


If this is your first time stumbling upon the Enneagram, check out this post for an overview.

If you've been here for all four interviews so far, welcome back.


Chances are, you've heard the least from Fives because they tend to be more quiet and in their own heads, which is in part what makes this interview extra special. Read on to get in the mind of the elusive Enneagram Five.




1. When and why did you first learn about the Enneagram?


"I first encountered the Enneagram when I started reading a book about it a couple of years ago with my Pastor and a friend. Before that I had not known about it."




2. How has the Enneagram impacted how you see yourself?


"It has shed light on some of the patterns in my life, like why I do things or think a certain way. For example, when reading about the Five a phrase I encountered is: 'Every thought begins with doubt.'. This puts to words the way I think which I didn't really put together before. I knew that I doubted and tested just about everything I hear or read but to know that is actually a pattern for many people is very helpful, as doubting constantly can feel isolating at times.


"The aspect of learning within the Type Five was also helpful to understand. Learning for me isn't just fun or entertaining, it is almost essential. Learning something new can improve my overall mood and outlook on life, and when I'm not learning anything new I begin to become bored and stagnate quickly."




3. How has the Enneagram impacted the relationships in your life and how you view others?


"The biggest way it has impacted my relationships is through my marriage. Both of us took the test and started really learning about the Enneagram at the same time. One of the first things we learned about the relationship between a Type Four and a Type Five. This was both comical and enlightening as we could clearly see some of the motivations and frustrations we have both had over the past years of our relationship.


"A specific example would be how I tend to doubt things first before believing them. This is obviously a bad thing in a relationship when Alex is trying to tell me something she just learned or heard and all I can do is wonder how the source got that information or if it is accurate. When we were reading about that in the description of the types it helped me to understand that yes, it is natural for me to do that, but it is not always helpful to bring it up when I could instead be more present. For her it has allowed her to give more grace to me when I do start doubting some things she is talking about as it's where I am naturally drawn, even if I am trying to fight the urge."




4. How do you most relate to your Enneagram?


"A lot of what I tend to spend my time doing is learning new skills or abilities to understand subjects better, especially those I know nothing about, and to observe the world around me and make conclusions about it. My specific Enneagram type (Five wing Six) is sometimes described as a 'Problem Solver'. This is where I feel that I can use my abilities the most. Because I am not an expert in really anything I have knowledge and experience in a wide range of things. This allows me to take into account a lot more than just the current set of issues and the procedures normally used to solve things and branch out into solving things in ways that other people may not think of.


"This also means that I have tons of terrible ideas that would never work, but since I only speak up when I am confident of something most people don't hear all those. :) 


"One of the hardest things for me is being with people for a prolonged period of time, especially if they are new people that I am starting a relationship from scratch with. The more that I know someone, the longer I can spend time with them without feeling drained. With my closest friends I hardly notice being with them as I don't feel the strain of 'trying'. But, normally I do get to a point where I just can't spend time with people anymore and need to be alone for a while. Sometimes I can do this in a good way, but other times I become irritated and want my own comfort over almost anything else."





5. What's the biggest misconception about you or your type?


"That I don't like to be around people. Just because I like to be alone a lot and tend to get tired of people after I am with them doesn't automatically mean I would prefer to not be around them. I find that especially for the people that I know well, I like to be with them frequently.


"I love especially talking about how things work: politics, sociology, engineering. I get a lot of mental energy from those types of conversations. So while it may take some time for me to want to spend time with people, I find that after the relationship is built it is easy and great to spend time with them."



6. Answer the following: I feel loved when ____. I feel unloved when ___. 


"I feel loved when I can share my thoughts or ideas with someone who is genuinely interested, or when I am appreciated for my skills and knowledge. I feel unloved when I am needed socially too often, or my thoughts on something are assumed without talking to me."





To connect with Eric, good luck because he's not on social media. You may need to find him in person if you'd like to talk to him. If you want to learn more about Type Fives, though, I recommend this podcast.


Did you learn anything new or interesting from today's interview? Is there anything you learned about Type Fives that you didn't know before? Let me know in the comments below!

Brightly Alex