Enneagram Type Three (the Achiever)
Enneagram Type Six (the Loyalist)

What Each Type Brings to the Relationship

Surprisingly, this is not a common pairing, although these two types can work very well as a team. On the positive side, Threes bring hard work, optimism, energy, a desire to communicate to and connect with people, and a feeling of unlimited potential both personally and in the relationship itself. Threes can bring an enormous sense of self-confidence and the hope of success that is assured—that this relationship is a winning team or that this couple is the best ever! Common goals bring them together—they are both practical and want to achieve tangible things in the world. Sixes bring grounding, industrious hard work, perseverance in difficult times and personal loyalty to the Three. Sixes provide warmth, support, and a great deal of practical good sense. Sixes can also bring a compassion for the downtrodden or the less fortunate in life. Threes can pick up on this compassionate quality in Sixes and learn to open their own hearts more deeply to the underprivileged and the unfortunate.

Both believe in applying elbow grease toward goals, whether toward financial security or developing personal talents. In short, they are both doers. They foster equality and mutual respect for the different talents each brings and the shared interests they invest in. Threes help bolster the Six’s confidence and develop their self-esteem. Sixes offer support to Threes without Threes feeling smothered. Sixes also help Threes to become part of something bigger than themselves-a church, a service organization, a political or spiritual group. Both become stronger individually and as a team by “finding themselves” through service and humble hard work. Respect for each other can grow as each continues to discover the other’s good qualities. This can be a very enduring and successful couple as long as heart-centered values and deeper principles keeps them both grounded.

Potential Trouble Spots or Issues

Ultimately, each has what the other needs, but unless their relationship is healthy and well stabilized, they can tend to bring out the worst characteristics in themselves and in each other. These two types have similar negative qualities in common: both can be competitive and become workaholics, both are looking externally for reassurance to make up for secret inferiority feelings and insecurity, both want to be socially accepted. Both can be conformists of various kinds, doing what is expected of them, and both avoid looking at their deeper feelings or discussing their emotions. Both Sixes and Threes have feelings, but they tend to put them aside in order to get the job done whatever it is. Their different coping styles can get on each other’s nerves by reminding them of their own weak spots. Threes seem to be inflated and grandiose to Sixes; Sixes seem to be nervous and reactive loose cannons to Threes. Sixes err on the side of caution, Threes on the side of too much ambition.

At their worst, both can become dishonest, evasive, and covert about their own actions and feelings. They can deteriorate into a relationship of robotic functioning in which real feelings are not discussed and both develop social lives away from the other. Threes will try to keep up appearances and are often embarrassed by Sixes (intentionally or inadvertently) revealing that the pair is in trouble. Eventually, there is a quiet, deadening down of any real enthusiasm or interest from both in the other. Instead of healthy skepticism and questioning of the Six, or the playful teasing and challenging competitiveness of the Three, both sides present an increasingly bland mask of normalcy to themselves and to the world until something comes along to expose the situation.

For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how types Three and Six behave when they are moving along it.