I’m a 5 and I Want You To Know All the Things

I tweet like the 5 I am. You know when I’m on Twitter because there is a constant stream of information flowing your way. I always want to know more, and there is always more to know. The information flies at me fast, and I skim, read,, comment, and pass along as much of it as I can. Understanding that I am a 5 on the Enneagram has helped me understand why and how I use social media the way I do, and also I can more effectively work for justice.

It helps to know how you are wired. Knowing I am not a 1 helps me to not feel guilty for not physically being on the front lines organizing some kind of march or meeting or training. I am not a 9. I am not going to be an effective bridge-builder or peacemaker. Knowing who I am and who I am not is freeing, because I am not trying to become someone that I can never be.

My strength is in knowing things, and it turns out that knowing what is true and is not true is super important to the well-being of our society!

Amplifying the news that is true and important is needed. The airport protests didn’t happen just because people organized them. They happened both because they were organized and because people spread the news about the ban and spread the news about the protests. They happened because people were informed and engaged.

But not everyone is aware. Not everyone wants to get involved, and that has been something I’ve been learning lately. There are limits to what you can do, even when you are doing what you do best.

I thought that if I disseminated good information, if people knew true things, then they would care. I thought lack of empathy meant lack of knowledge, and if I could just spread the information, then everyone would jump on board. ‘Oh this is terrible, I just had no idea. Of course I agree with you and must get involved’.

But that actually is not the case. I mean, look – there are still people out there who have never heard of Hamilton. And there are people who have heard of it who have no desire to see what the fuss is all about. No matter how good you are at running down the lane you are in, there will always be people who say, ‘nah’. It can be painful to realize that your best self is not for everyone. If we are so smart and awesome, why isn’t everyone lining up to soak up our wisdom? As a 5, it is especially irritating, because I know things and I know you are wrong!!! Read a book! 

But trying to fight in a ring that people have stepped out of is ridiculous and futile and a waste of energy. Coming to that understanding is helping me to not get distracted by the people who want me to stop being me. Knowing who I am, and knowing that they are probably just wired differently, gives me more confidence about knowing what I am good at and pursuing it. If they are not wired in a way that makes them receptive to me, then it’s not my job to try and change them. It will take someone of a different personality type, working in a different way than me, to get through to them.

Which is why I continuously find myself coming back to personality types, and think it’s so important for people to know what they are (says the 5). When we know who we are, and why, we know where we have the best chance of succeeding. We know where not to waste our time.  When we all know our lanes and have the freedom to run in them as best as we can, we can make a huge difference.

Caris Adel

Caris Adel

Writer at Caris Adel
Caris is passionate about justice, history, and how they intertwine (or so often don't, as the case may be). She is pursuing a degree in American Studies and Public History, and while she can often be found with a book in her face and a coffee in hand, she also spends some of her time homeschooling her 5 kids.
Caris Adel
  • Caris, I’m a 9, and it has helped me understand SO much to know that! And you’re si right, it has helped me to understand that not everyone has my priorities, or is motivated by what I see is so important. “If they are not wired in a way that makes them receptive to me, then it’s not my job to try and change them. It will take someone of a different personality type, working in a different way than me, to get through to them.” That is a brilliant point!

  • I’m always encouraged by Suzanne Stabile’s reminder that the traits that make us strong will also be our undoing. Like you fives with your steady stream of information that make you so valuable (and so annoying), I’m a three trying to balance the checklist and the drive to DO all the things and really needs to focus on BEing instead.

  • DebSteve Rhoads

    It is definitely eye-opening when you realize that we are NOT all wired alike. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and different motivators. Getting loud and trying to shame people to get on board with OUR passion doesn’t help a bit when THEY are wired differently. In fact, I have observed that it actually alienates people and causes their defenses to rise! Not sure what your leaning is as far as spirituality, but as a disciple of Jesus, I know by experience that when (and where) I am weak, HIS strength becomes evident… along with His gentleness and love… and reaches THROUGH me to people I could never reach in my own strength and personality.

  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Amen. Best line?
    “When we all know our lanes and have the freedom to run in them as best as we can, we can make a huge difference.”
    There IS a lot of freedom in knowing where to run.

  • Such a good post. Knowing your strengths and limitations is so freeing–and releases our need to please anybody but Jesus.

  • T Shanel Hunter

    Such a great post, definitely speaks to my heart and mirrors so much of my exact feelings. I know stuff and I feel stuff and it gets me all in my feelings when other people don’t take interest in knowing and feeling the same as me.

  • Karen Gonzalez

    I so resonate with this! Especially this line: “It can be painful to realize that your best self is not for everyone.” I’m an eight and too much for some people.

  • Karin Bergstrom

    As a five, I have so struggled with this: “I thought that if I disseminated good information, if people knew true things, then they would care. I thought lack of empathy meant lack of knowledge, and if I could just spread the information, then everyone would jump on board.” Leaning more about myself, about the enneagram, and about others has helped me to be more compassionate with them and with myself. Even (especially) when I just want to say, “Read a book!” I love the freedom of knowing who I am and what I am good at and what I am better at letting other people be and do.