How do you build rapport with your Enneagram Type 5 teammates? Intrigue them to want to build rapport with you. As the turtles of the Enneagram, you need to make Type 5s feel both safe and interested to coax them out of their shell. Here’s how.
For Type 5s, acquiring information and knowledge makes them feel safe. They are drawn to unorthodox topics that require profound knowledge. They enjoy immersing themselves deeply in the subject matter. Here are examples of the topics the Type 5s in my life pursue: bee keeping, brew master, sommelier, amateur radio, philosophy, study of the Native American language Lakota, study of German literature, study of Russian, study of Japanese and karaoke, amateur hockey player, baseball color commentator, Dota 2 video game specialist, Linux kernel specialist, AI specialist, consumer electronics design specialist, and cartoon illustrator. Engaging in conversations about the subject in which they are expert is when rapport building takes place with your Type 5 teammates. Sharing any specialized knowledge that you have on the subject will be especially compelling for them.
As discussed in this 5/8/20 blog, mirroring is one of the most important rapport building skills. Reflecting back interest in their favorite subjects is an important way to build rapport and trust with your Type 5 teammates. Type 5s are the internal-anxiety type of the Enneagram. They fear appearing uninformed and will tend to be moot on subjects in which they are not expert. By steering topics towards their interests, you will be able to elicit meaningful conversations with your teammate.
Knowledge is Gold
For Type 5s, knowledge is safety, and they won’t feel safe until they are very knowledgeable. Since knowledge is so valuable to them, they are also very reluctant to impart information to others. This is especially true if they do not trust that the information won’t be used against them. Building trust and rapport with your Type 5 teammates is imperative to overcoming this obstacle to information sharing.
There is nothing more valuable to the 5 than information about themselves. Type 5s are reluctant to share personal information, and it makes them uncomfortable when asked. As a rapport building strategy, follow the Type 5s lead and move conversations away from personal topics and towards their areas of interest. If relevant, feel free to share personal information about yourself. When your Type 5 teammates feel comfortable, they may divulge nuggets about themselves. When that happens, you know you’ll have taken an important step to building rapport and trust with your teammates.
Help Me Decide
While Type 5s may be very knowledgeable on a topic, they may be reluctant to make decisions based on their information. For the 5s, nothing is black and white. They perceive all shades of gray and nuance. In that murky, cloudy world, the safest path forward is often unclear. Having conversations with your Type 5 teammate to help them make a decision is another rapport build example you can use. My partner is a 5, and when we go to a restaurant she wants to read the entire menu, top to bottom. She will find 2 or 3 items that look interesting and will struggle to make a decision—she doesn’t want to make the wrong decision! A conversation ensues in which we review the pros and cons of each option. This conversation helps her make her decision. We’ve been married for 29 years, so this rapport building technique seems to be working well!
When does rapport building take place with the Enneagram Type 5s in your life? What rapport building strategies work for you? What have you learned to avoid?