It Takes All Kinds        Type Five


Some people are easier to appreciate than others, at least at first.


At times we think there is no way to value a certain person’s perspective. But when we get a glimpse into their world view we not only understand but begin to see the internal logic of their point of view.


In this column we are looking at nine archetypal personalities, one each month. Last month we talked about the Romantic/Individualist who values being seen as a unique above all else. This month, as we tour the personality system of the Enneagram, we turn to the Observer who is the most intellectual.


The first four articles in this series appeared in the most recent issues of Mueller Living. You can find parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 at


If I identify with the Observer, I am somewhat detached from my emotional center and I spend most of my time in my head. This causes me to seem aloof or detached from people around me. I value information and have areas of expertise about which I know everything. I tend to be a minimalist.


My attention goes to intellectual interests and to defending myself from emotionally draining situations. If I am around people for too long I need to be alone to recharge.


Somewhere deep inside I believe that the world can take all your resources if you aren’t paying attention. You have to guard against letting emotions cloud your thinking.


At home I can appear caught up in my own thinking and not engaged in the lives of those around me. Even when I spend time with people I love I find it draining and need alone time. My analytical mind and my ability to detach from my emotional center make me good in a crisis.


At work I’m the one who does all the research and analysis. I guard and protect information, physical space, and privacy. I work best on my own.


In community I contribute by being analytical and problem-solving and non-emotional. I am the repository of information and institutional history.


What pushes my buttons? Small talk! Or you when you intrude on my space. If you ask me how I feel about something I will probably tell you what I think about it.


Something people who love me often say to me: Could you stop telling me what you think and tell me what you feel? 


The things I have to be aware of so I can grow include paying more attention to the feelings of those around me. Paying attention to my own feelings as they arise and not waiting to think about them later.


Don’t confuse me with another type who is a rational problem-solver. They can get too involved in righting wrongs.



Steve and Judith Katzman will be offering enneagram classes in the Fall. Email if you are interested in being on the mailing list. The classes have been underwritten by a grateful student/business and so will be free.