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I’ve read a lot of complaints on here over the years about how bad type 6 descriptions are, including descriptions in books by major authors. I have some sympathy with those complaints, because while there are important aspects of the type that I relate to quite strongly, so it’s always been in the top 3 candidates for my best fit type, most type 6 descriptions also include significant things that I don’t relate to at all. But if the type 6 descriptions are so bad, are the descriptions for some or all of the other types just as bad? Or are they significantly worse than the other type descriptions? Or are the type 6 descriptions not really that bad, and are the self-typed 6s who say they don’t relate to the descriptions in fact mistyped? If the type 6 descriptions are worse than the descriptions for the other types, why is that? What would cause that difference? If they aren’t much worse, why is there so much more complaining about them?
 

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I think a lot of it has something to do with the emphasis on loyalty (at least that's what I've noticed in the discussions here). The two dominant schools use the labels "The Loyal Skeptic" and "The Loyalist", which means all their students training to be teachers use those labels as well (that's probably the majority of teachers out there). Not all authors and teachers make "loyalty" primary though.
 

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Enneagrams 6 and 9 fit for many people but many people don't resonate much with it but are somehow still said to be these types. They're safety net types, 6 especially. Enneagram 6 has all these special considerations that other types don't have. Such as counter-phobia and anxiety that you're not aware of or something. A major issue I see when people type others as 6s is a lot of time it looks like they're just pulling shit out of their ass. Like "You're a 6 cause you do X" yeah but so do you, and you don't type yourself as a 6. It's too general.
 

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I don't really have a problem with the descriptions I've read. I don't know if I've read the same ones as these other people have and are taking issues with, but I've found them pretty fitting for me. Reading one of them, the thought came to mind that a friend of mine easily could have written it about me.
 

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In my opinion, yes, they are the worst.

One reason that's often proposed for this is that 6 is a very contradictory/paradoxical type, but all types are contradictory. We shoot ourselves in the foot by acting in a way we think will get us what we want, but which actually holds us back from our true desires.

As stated before, 6s are often described as loyal primarily. I don't think that's true--in my opinion, loyalty has no special significance for 6s that it doesn't have for several other types. 6s adopt certain people/ideas/frameworks/religions/balloons as trustworthy (often after rigorous testing), and they might defend it and proselytize it, but it's not out of loyalty to the thing. It's because they want to share this source of safety and security with others.

8s might value loyalty more, especially a social 8, who protects certain people/groups, and because 8 assumes a position of absolute control and doesn't want others to go against them. 2s might value loyalty more, because it's a way to be good and worthy of love. 1s might value loyalty more because being loyal is the "right" way to be. 4s might value loyalty more because it shows the person considers them of special significance (the rescuer dynamic). Even 3s and 9s seem like they would be more interested in being loyal and having others loyal to them than 6...honestly, I don't think the idea of loyalty is a very head type idea at all.

And that's my key issue with 6 descriptions: they forget 6 is a head type. Yeah, I know, the attachment triad is "out of touch" with their center, but I think that's only true superficially. Descriptions don't forget that 9 is a down-to-earth person with boundary issues or that 3s have a "marketing orientation." But they describe 6 as if they do not think at all. They pay lip service to the idea of the 6 being "skeptical" but consider this to be an oscillating, ad hoc behavior driven by nothing in particular. The blind follower is the usual 6, sometimes broken by "counterphobic" mindless questioning which serves no real purpose.

That's not the case. 6s are always questioning things, and they do have a reason. I've seen descriptions claim that the child who always asked why was a 5, but that's a 6. They are always "on," always scanning the environment for contradictions and potential problems. This can feel unpredictable, since you can't relax around a 6, but the descriptions make a strong mistake in claiming it is unpredictable. If you're outside a 6, it might feel like they are just randomly "turning on" their scanner or rolling the dice to decide if something will bother them, but that's not what's really happening. To 6s, always questioning and always paying attention is essential.

I think many 6 qualities are given to 5s in descriptions, and we are rather similar, but the differences are clear. 6s are rigorously academic and scientific, using accessible standards or peer review to check and double-check their conclusions. 5s are satisfied once they know/understand, which might take just as long, but isn't as clean or accessible to others. (Descriptions cite 5s as the academics, which I guess feels true as an archetype, but 6s are more likely to do well in academia and the sciences.) 6s trust their perceptions, while 5s don't (conversely, 6s distrust their conclusions while 5s tend a little toward solipsism). 6s are basically cooperative in that they want to work with others, want to point out the problem and then work together toward a solution, though if others aren't willing to work with them or don't agree there's a problem at all they might just fight and not feel they are very "cooperative" people at all. 5s do like for others to respect their ideas and to get new thoughts from others, especially (those they deem) experts, because 5s are, of course, human beings and even they need social interaction. But to them, the fundamental thing is to have the idea or to learn the information. Communication with others is a nice thing, especially when it focuses on those things they find interesting, but it's a separate thing. To a 6, pointing out the problem is inherently an interactive process--they're reactive types; 5s aren't, basically. I mean there's lots of other similarities and differences as well, of course, but I think about this a lot having a 6w5 best friend.

I would say the type 2 descriptions are the second worst. 4, 5 and 8 are an interesting case because many brief descriptions of them are bad in being too complimentary and broadly applicable, but the longer descriptions of them tend to be very good. (As in, as a 58x I do see myself in these, even if I don't match every little mentioned criteria, and the 4s I know are reflected in the 4 descriptions in my eyes, but 6 descriptions don't especially sound like the 6s I know. The actual mechanics of type 6, on the other hand, do.)
 

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Eh... I'm not happy with a lot of descriptions in their whole for all types. I find the descriptions of 3, 6, and 7 get the worst "treatment," as in they're the most inaccurate. I know of only one good 3 description, one for 6, and no good one comes to mind for 7. The thing about 6 descriptions is that, unlike the other types, the things the "professionals" have tried (and still try) to point out as "the best qualities" are not valued by many - or if they are, not valued in the same way as described - so it comes off as unrelateable and, many times, makes 6 look sycophantical. Those "compliments" might have worked better in the past, but it just doesn't fly anymore.
 

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@Paradigm I love that you linked the Ocean Moonshine description. I was just going to say that I felt like they had some of the best information out there but much sadly seems lost to time.

@spiderfrommars your thoughts on 6 are one of the best "profiles" I've ever read.

As stated before, 6s are often described as loyal primarily. I don't think that's true--in my opinion, loyalty has no special significance for 6s that it doesn't have for several other types. 6s adopt certain people/ideas/frameworks/religions/balloons as trustworthy (often after rigorous testing), and they might defend it and proselytize it, but it's not out of loyalty to the thing. It's because they want to share this source of safety and security with others.
Yes, precisely! It doesn't mean we won't jump ship if something better comes around. That's something I've heard a lot of 6s on this forum vocalize - that when we make a commitment to someone or something, we are faithful about it, but if the other party is no longer fulfilling what we've been seeking them to fulfill, or especially if they betray us somehow, we'll quickly leave without qualms.

I also suspect that what some profiles call 6's loyalty in behavior is borne out of head-type security-seeking, as well. First, we feel more secure in what we know than the unknown, so we automatically gravitate towards the familiar, which makes us appear to be loyal, even though the truth is we are just making things easier for ourselves. (It is easy to get stuck in this, I find... have to be careful about that). The other way we may appear to behave particularly loyally is in ensuring that ourselves and another party are on even ground and that we have paid back our debts - again, this is about security - being able to claim and defend our personal freedom.

6s are always questioning things, and they do have a reason. I've seen descriptions claim that the child who always asked why was a 5, but that's a 6. They are always "on," always scanning the environment for contradictions and potential problems. This can feel unpredictable, since you can't relax around a 6, but the descriptions make a strong mistake in claiming it is unpredictable. If you're outside a 6, it might feel like they are just randomly "turning on" their scanner or rolling the dice to decide if something will bother them, but that's not what's really happening. To 6s, always questioning and always paying attention is essential.
Indeed. I've always been that kid that sits at the front of the class - not the front-and-center 2w3 - but at the front, on the side. I appreciate the Enneagram Institute's use of "engaging" as the first word listed on their e6 type profile page. Of course, then they term the type "The Loyalist" and launch into that, but "engaging" was good, anyway. I think we're both engaging and engaged. Our minds are always over-active, for better or worse.

I think many 6 qualities are given to 5s in descriptions, and we are rather similar, but the differences are clear. 6s are rigorously academic and scientific, using accessible standards or peer review to check and double-check their conclusions. 5s are satisfied once they know/understand, which might take just as long, but isn't as clean or accessible to others. (Descriptions cite 5s as the academics, which I guess feels true as an archetype, but 6s are more likely to do well in academia and the sciences.) 6s trust their perceptions, while 5s don't (conversely, 6s distrust their conclusions while 5s tend a little toward solipsism). 6s are basically cooperative in that they want to work with others, want to point out the problem and then work together toward a solution, though if others aren't willing to work with them or don't agree there's a problem at all they might just fight and not feel they are very "cooperative" people at all. 5s do like for others to respect their ideas and to get new thoughts from others, especially (those they deem) experts, because 5s are, of course, human beings and even they need social interaction. But to them, the fundamental thing is to have the idea or to learn the information. Communication with others is a nice thing, especially when it focuses on those things they find interesting, but it's a separate thing. To a 6, pointing out the problem is inherently an interactive process--they're reactive types; 5s aren't, basically. I mean there's lots of other similarities and differences as well, of course, but I think about this a lot having a 6w5 best friend.
Great points. My dad is a 5w6 and I thought he was a 6w5 for a long time because he is very attentive and knowledge-seeking, too - and he's sp-first, which makes him look more 6ish. But, right, he's like your description - he wants to understand, and if he can do that in collaboration with a group, he loves that, but if the group's not currently engaged in any of his interests, he'll separate himself to study them intently. The major tip-off to me is that he's withdrawing before reactive. I was over at my parents' house the other night when the microwave suddenly made a huge crack sound and began billowing black smoke. I was out in the living room with my dad, who was playing guitar, trying to figure out a particular chord - when it happened, he looked up, saw the smoke, must have ascertained that it wasn't deadly, and promptly returned to the configuration of his fingers. Me being 6w7 and wanting to get in on the excitement in addition to checking we weren't in mortal danger, I ran over to the kitchen and saw my 269 mom rushing to pull the plug, ensuring that we were all unharmed, and putting the microwave outside. It gave me a good laugh at the time. Later my dad went and inspected the microwave, the outlet, and began researching for a new one.
 

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I think so, yes. Actually so many of them are so shite, it's rather comical. I get the impression they were wrote a certain way to make other types feel better about themselves. The Riso Hudson one's are one dimensional and wooden. The Chestnut one's tend to self indulgence in style rather than objective accuracy, this is what I like about Palmer's descriptions, to the point in it's bold accuracy and it helps that she is a 6, Maitri and a couple of other ennea-enthusiasts are actually able to put themselves in other types shoes and get it right in their descriptions.
 

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In my opinion, yes, they are the worst.

One reason that's often proposed for this is that 6 is a very contradictory/paradoxical type, but all types are contradictory. We shoot ourselves in the foot by acting in a way we think will get us what we want, but which actually holds us back from our true desires.

As stated before, 6s are often described as loyal primarily. I don't think that's true--in my opinion, loyalty has no special significance for 6s that it doesn't have for several other types. 6s adopt certain people/ideas/frameworks/religions/balloons as trustworthy (often after rigorous testing), and they might defend it and proselytize it, but it's not out of loyalty to the thing. It's because they want to share this source of safety and security with others.

8s might value loyalty more, especially a social 8, who protects certain people/groups, and because 8 assumes a position of absolute control and doesn't want others to go against them. 2s might value loyalty more, because it's a way to be good and worthy of love. 1s might value loyalty more because being loyal is the "right" way to be. 4s might value loyalty more because it shows the person considers them of special significance (the rescuer dynamic). Even 3s and 9s seem like they would be more interested in being loyal and having others loyal to them than 6...honestly, I don't think the idea of loyalty is a very head type idea at all.

And that's my key issue with 6 descriptions: they forget 6 is a head type. Yeah, I know, the attachment triad is "out of touch" with their center, but I think that's only true superficially. Descriptions don't forget that 9 is a down-to-earth person with boundary issues or that 3s have a "marketing orientation." But they describe 6 as if they do not think at all. They pay lip service to the idea of the 6 being "skeptical" but consider this to be an oscillating, ad hoc behavior driven by nothing in particular. The blind follower is the usual 6, sometimes broken by "counterphobic" mindless questioning which serves no real purpose.

That's not the case. 6s are always questioning things, and they do have a reason. I've seen descriptions claim that the child who always asked why was a 5, but that's a 6. They are always "on," always scanning the environment for contradictions and potential problems. This can feel unpredictable, since you can't relax around a 6, but the descriptions make a strong mistake in claiming it is unpredictable. If you're outside a 6, it might feel like they are just randomly "turning on" their scanner or rolling the dice to decide if something will bother them, but that's not what's really happening. To 6s, always questioning and always paying attention is essential.

I think many 6 qualities are given to 5s in descriptions, and we are rather similar, but the differences are clear. 6s are rigorously academic and scientific, using accessible standards or peer review to check and double-check their conclusions. 5s are satisfied once they know/understand, which might take just as long, but isn't as clean or accessible to others. (Descriptions cite 5s as the academics, which I guess feels true as an archetype, but 6s are more likely to do well in academia and the sciences.) 6s trust their perceptions, while 5s don't (conversely, 6s distrust their conclusions while 5s tend a little toward solipsism). 6s are basically cooperative in that they want to work with others, want to point out the problem and then work together toward a solution, though if others aren't willing to work with them or don't agree there's a problem at all they might just fight and not feel they are very "cooperative" people at all. 5s do like for others to respect their ideas and to get new thoughts from others, especially (those they deem) experts, because 5s are, of course, human beings and even they need social interaction. But to them, the fundamental thing is to have the idea or to learn the information. Communication with others is a nice thing, especially when it focuses on those things they find interesting, but it's a separate thing. To a 6, pointing out the problem is inherently an interactive process--they're reactive types; 5s aren't, basically. I mean there's lots of other similarities and differences as well, of course, but I think about this a lot having a 6w5 best friend.

I would say the type 2 descriptions are the second worst. 4, 5 and 8 are an interesting case because many brief descriptions of them are bad in being too complimentary and broadly applicable, but the longer descriptions of them tend to be very good. (As in, as a 58x I do see myself in these, even if I don't match every little mentioned criteria, and the 4s I know are reflected in the 4 descriptions in my eyes, but 6 descriptions don't especially sound like the 6s I know. The actual mechanics of type 6, on the other hand, do.)
A v.good analysis but im not sure id agree 100% on trusting my own perceptions. That takes a leap of faith ;) I actually doubt my own perceptions frequently, not that I necessarily share this with others openly but I don't have faith in myself and that's why I can't be sure if my thoughts stemming from my own problem solving are true or if they are projections, you have to go through a check list first. Other times, I can be dogmatic in trusting my own perceptions.

But linking back to the origin of this thread, how would any of these traits/patterns have anything to do with loyalty in the first place? Loyalty/loyalist as a description does seem kind of irrelevent.
 

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Thanks for all the responses so far. For the moment, I just have a question for those who have been talking about the inaccuracy of descriptions: what criteria are you using, or what standard are you comparing the descriptions to, in order to determine whether they are accurate or inaccurate? The obvious answer, that a type 6 description is inaccurate if it is in some way wrong about what real 6s are like, is problematic because how do you determine who is or isn’t a 6 if not by looking at the descriptions? A description could be inaccurate in a stronger sense: that it doesn’t correspond to any real-world group of people (in other words, nobody is really like that) or it could have the opposite problem: that it’s so broad or vague that it describes everybody, and so doesn’t adequately distinguish the people of the type it’s trying to describe from people of the other types. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my sense is that the complaints about type 6 descriptions aren’t about those kinds of problems. They’re more often saying that real 6s don’t necessarily have the characteristics portrayed in the type 6 descriptions, and/or that people who do have those characteristics aren’t necessarily 6s. But to make that kind of judgement, we need to have some way of determining who is or isn’t a 6, independently of whichever descriptions we’re critiquing. So how do we do that?
 

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Thanks for all the responses so far. For the moment, I just have a question for those who have been talking about the inaccuracy of descriptions: what criteria are you using, or what standard are you comparing the descriptions to, in order to determine whether they are accurate or inaccurate? The obvious answer, that a type 6 description is inaccurate if it is in some way wrong about what real 6s are like, is problematic because how do you determine who is or isn’t a 6 if not by looking at the descriptions? A description could be inaccurate in a stronger sense: that it doesn’t correspond to any real-world group of people (in other words, nobody is really like that) or it could have the opposite problem: that it’s so broad or vague that it describes everybody, and so doesn’t adequately distinguish the people of the type it’s trying to describe from people of the other types. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my sense is that the complaints about type 6 descriptions aren’t about those kinds of problems. They’re more often saying that real 6s don’t necessarily have the characteristics portrayed in the type 6 descriptions, and/or that people who do have those characteristics aren’t necessarily 6s. But to make that kind of judgement, we need to have some way of determining who is or isn’t a 6, independently of whichever descriptions we’re critiquing. So how do we do that?
Well, to be honest, I think one has to start by acknowledging that the nature of personality theory is that it is not empirical. There is simply no solution to that. In reality we are debating the what kinds of shapes we see in clouds, but that doesn't mean the shapes we tend to see can't be useful in helping us understand something about ourselves, right?

I think it is good to keep personality theory "humble", in a way. If we accept that typology is no real science to begin with, but a healing art developed out of a science, then type identification - external validity in general - is not a critical obstacle. In other words, we don't have to - and realistically can't - have a litmus test for who is or isn't a 6 because there is no tangible dividing line between 6 and not-6 beyond each individual determining for themself whether or not they are best defined by the idea of 6. One must accept that there are infinite manifestations of their type, as well. To balance things out - certainly there are some "mistypes" out there - people who simply miss the mark on the concept so far that it becomes non-applicable. But if we do not assume the Enneagram to be a science, even "mistypes" do no lasting harm; as long as they do not attempt to force others into falsely defined boxes, there is no mistruth they propagate, simply less or more useful perspectives. To me it seems that the Enneagram has always been a sort of self-awareness method, not a hard science, and that is where it should reside: as an optional intrapersonal tool that can be used if and when it appears to be useful and put aside if and when it's not.

That all leads me to - I don't think there's any point or utility in assessing the external validity of personality type; I only attempt to assess internal validity, as arguably that's the only reliable logical structure in typology. Given that:

The first criterion that I pose to myself when assessing something about an e-type is: does it match with the core, fundamental idea behind the type - the "fatal flaw"? In 6's case, that is insecurity in our internal cognitive judgment, our "inner guidance". 6 being reactive - yes, that fits. If you don't have a secure anchor and/or velocity, you are tossed about by the waves. Anxious - yes, certainly. Attempting to find something stable - absolutely. But unfailingly loyal - well, that doesn't really directly follow from insecurity in personal judgment, does it? And assigning someone to 6 because they don't seem to fit elsewhere? No, that doesn't work, either.

Then of course the question turns to, well, what is the core, fundamental idea behind each type? Thankfully, most authors seem to have some agreement on that. I do believe that humans, different as we all are, share some fundamental similarities. The Enneagram has seemed to be able to capture a number of them. Are they well-balanced, sufficiently clarified, and so on? Those are issues we can continue to tackle in analysis and discussion.

In essence I see this thread as asking: are type 6 descriptions essentially meaningless? And many times they do seem to be. But by listening to the voices of the self-identified 6 community, perhaps together we can identify the constructs that are both internally valid and applicable to each individual's intrapersonal development.
 

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I just have a question for those who have been talking about the inaccuracy of descriptions: what criteria are you using, or what standard are you comparing the descriptions to, in order to determine whether they are accurate or inaccurate?
For me it comes from looking behind the descriptions to find the core for a given type then looking to see whether a particular description ties back to the core. If it doesn't tie back then there's nothing supporting it. Loyalty for type 6 is a good example. There may or may not be a show of loyalty. The real issue is why would that loyalty show if it does. What would be behind it when it does occur. Type 6 is not about the loyalty but the motivation behind its appearance when and if it happens.

The first criterion that I pose to myself when assessing something about an e-type is: does it match with the core, fundamental idea behind the type - the "fatal flaw"? In 6's case, that is insecurity in our internal cognitive judgment, our "inner guidance".
I agree but I'd reframe it more simply as doubt, questioning, or mistrust. People identifying with type 6 will find different ways of dealing with that. The ways people deal with it will be unique. How someone deals with it does not describe type 6 but an individual's unique response to it. Loyalty may be one way some people deal with it some of the time but it doesn't describe the core of type 6. Someone else may deal with the core of type 6 quite differently and see the emphasis on loyalty as simply inaccurate.


Then of course the question turns to, well, what is the core, fundamental idea behind each type? Thankfully, most authors seem to have some agreement on that.
I don't think authors have a good handle on what the core really is. I think they get caught up in describing the responses people make to that core instead. Those responses will be different for different people. That's why the descriptions are often hit or miss. Too much emphasis on how type might express itself through personality rather than what lies at the core of it all.
 

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@Octavarium In all honesty, I think you are the perfect example.

When I see someone seeking accuracy and clarity again and again. It's the constant questioning and the refusal to believe. It's constantly seeking transparency and certainty and it's constantly seeking 'the truth' and objectivity. We have a void inside that we try to compensate for because we can't trust. Some people fill this void by turning to friends and family and social groups (thank you, Riso and Hudson). Some people turn to politics and religion. Some seek legislative change and reform. Some turn to anger and aggression. Some turn to knowledge, some turn to research, and some turn to empiricism. The list goes on but the bottom line is that the motivation behind it is the fact that we fundamentally can't trust.
 

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Well, to be honest, I think one has to start by acknowledging that the nature of personality theory is that it is not empirical. There is simply no solution to that. In reality we are debating the what kinds of shapes we see in clouds, but that doesn't mean the shapes we tend to see can't be useful in helping us understand something about ourselves, right?
It can be. That investigation would just end up showing us that the Enneagram doesn't describe how reality organizes itself. At the same time, some configurations of the closer-to-true models we see do seem... familiar.

...high scorers are afraid of failing,
and this—as long as they don’t feel so awful that they can’t
function—motivates them to strive. There is plenty of evidence
for Neuroticism-related striving. Workaholics, especially
those who feel driven to work, as opposed to those who
do it for fun or social contact, tend to be high scorers. James
McKenzie studied Neuroticism as a predictor of attainment
amongst university students, and found that, amongst those
students with high ‘Ego strength’, higher scorers got better
academic results. ‘Ego strength’ measures organization and
self-discipline, which would in big five terms come under
Conscientiousness. Thus, the negative affect these students
experience seems to have been fuel for greater work and
attainment, as long as they were of the mindset to convert
that fuel into motion. If they were too disorganized, or of
course if their negative affect tipped them over the clinical
edge, then their Neuroticism would hinder more than help
them.
These kinds of people definitely do exist. You can find picture-perfect examples of most Enneagram styles out there. How they came to be that way is a bit dubious - one of the more interesting findings about stable personality traits is that upbringing basically doesn't affect them, genetics and later life experience do. Is a person impervious to hurt because he has hardened his heart or because his negative emotion system naturally operates on a potato battery compared to domeone else's nuclear plant?

I think it is good to keep personality theory "humble", in a way. If we accept that typology is no real science to begin with, but a healing art developed out of a science, then type identification - external validity in general - is not a critical obstacle... But if we do not assume the Enneagram to be a science, even "mistypes" do no lasting harm; as long as they do not attempt to force others into falsely defined boxes, there is no mistruth they propagate, simply less or more useful perspectives.

The first criterion that I pose to myself when assessing something about an e-type is: does it match with the core, fundamental idea behind the type - the "fatal flaw"? In 6's case, that is insecurity in our internal cognitive judgment, our "inner guidance". 6 being reactive - yes, that fits. If you don't have a secure anchor and/or velocity, you are tossed about by the waves. Anxious - yes, certainly. Attempting to find something stable - absolutely. But unfailingly loyal - well, that doesn't really directly follow from insecurity in personal judgment, does it? And assigning someone to 6 because they don't seem to fit elsewhere? No, that doesn't work, either.
Mistypes do do harm in that they propagate misinformation, and the misinformers are usually loud and sound confident. Before you know better distinguishing the stuff that is closer to reality from the inane bs is work.

On 6s and loyalty, agreed. I find the type best characterized by looking for external anchors and self-investment. That is, they tend to be people who can't help but invest their ego in things in a way that's very distinct from many other styles, and it is that ego investment that leads to emoyion getting into the mix more than on a 5-fixer, say. They need to learn to care less where others need to learn to care more. The "loyal defense" of something is far less noble idealism, far more no fuck off you won't take my anchor I need it.
 
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How they came to be that way is a bit dubious - one of the more interesting findings about stable personality traits is that upbringing basically doesn't affect them, genetics and later life experience do. Is a person impervious to hurt because he has hardened his heart or because his negative emotion system naturally operates on a potato battery compared to domeone else's nuclear plant?
What do you make of this theory - we are born complete with no insecurities in any of the 9 types, we are not yet damaged goods, it is the early, negative experiences of life that shapes our ego deficiency or do you think it is the later experiences that merely trigger the types core fixation because it already existed within us and in which case, you can only manage it and will never be rid of it? In the first example, imagine 9 glasses of water, it is the glass with the least amount of water contained which becomes our ego fixation.

Mistypes do do harm in that they propagate misinformation, and the misinformers are usually loud and sound confident. Before you know better distinguishing the stuff that is closer to reality from the inane bs is work.
You do have to allow for some wiggle room as part of trial and error else nobody would be allowed to arrive at the most accurate type for them, so many people have settled on a type which was not the type they typed at at the beginning of their typing journey, it may have took them years to arrive there. Only an individual knows to themselves their reasons for arriving at a certain type, being dishonest to themselves hurts themselves the most so if they know they resonate with a certain type's core features but are running away from it because it's not cool or forces them to confront themselves, they are damaging themselves first and foremost. Misinformation would still be not taken seriously by those interested in the enneagram including onlookers who took the time to study in depth and cross reference information before judging at surface value.
 

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On 6s and loyalty, agreed. I find the type best characterized by looking for external anchors and self-investment.
I disagree. Some take an oppositional stance. Some trust themselves more than external anchors.

The "loyal defense" of something is far less noble idealism, far more no fuck off you won't take my anchor I need it.
Not true. As a 6, it's simply spotting the inconsistencies and contradictions and the compulsion to call them out.
 

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We have a void inside that we try to compensate for because we can't trust. Some people fill this void by turning to friends and family and social groups (thank you, Riso and Hudson). Some people turn to politics and religion. Some seek legislative change and reform. Some turn to anger and aggression. Some turn to knowledge, some turn to research, and some turn to empiricism. The list goes on but the bottom line is that the motivation behind it is the fact that we fundamentally can't trust.
Disclaimer: When I say 'you' I mean a general you, not you in specific, also most of this is speculative.

The question is though, why do we have this void? Why can't we trust? It seems to come from some fundamental cynical beliefs about the nature of reality. A six has all sorts of systems in place to construct a sense of reliability, consistency, these systems can contain other people, other beliefs or certain habits. It's interesting that you said that we fundamentally cannot trust. It makes me think that the six seems to believe that their own inner nature is untrustworthy, bad, not worthy of respect and if you believe this about yourself, believing this about others is merely a couple steps away, especially if you have a tendency to reject and displace your emotions, not accepting them, trying to think away around them, without letting yourself feel and accept them. It seems the six has real problems recognizing the qualities within themselves and owning up to them. Sixes disown their power, by means of rejecting vulnerability or anger, or perhaps agression. Sixes question things so much and try to look for things to hold on to and desire validation because they refuse to give it to themselves, because they on some level believe they do not deserve it, though all humans have needs and if you can't satisfy the need one way, you must satisfy it in another, whether it is productive or not is another question.

But then how would the counter-phobic stance be explained? Well, we all have different things we don't own up too. Some pride themselves on their people skills, some pride themselves on their emotionality, but in the end there we all have things, or aspects of ourselves we have developed a dislike for. The more counter-phobically orientend, in my perspective, have a tendency to reject their own emotionality, their vulnerability. On the other hand, the more phobically-oriented reject their agressiveness, their power to assert. All these aspects are essential parts of us and once you reject this part of yourself and try to repress it, disown it, deny it it comes back in different ways with vengeance. Sixes feel/think they cannot rely or trust, because of this void, and the void is this what you have rejected within you, your shadow. Repress your vulnerability and get stuck in rejecting it in others, missing sensitivity in others, pushing yourself too hard. You distrust sensitivity in others, perhaps because you identify it as what is bad in you, and see it as in others as a lack of something, like you feel you lack something within you.

Why do we reject these aspects of ourselves? Perhaps they lie somewhere beyond our immediate perception, in the area of our weaknesses, things we don't feel so competent in. Maybe others have devalued these parts of you, in any case it is a failure of perspective. All types and all humans have different perspectives, and perspectives, founded by your beliefs determine how you interpret reality and thus create what feels and seems to be reality for you. However, there are many other, equally valid perspectives out there and as stupid as it might seem, or as unimportant as it might seem these perspectives are useful in certain situations. Where we get stuck I believe, is using a strategy to deny other perspectived. Questioning is useful yes, but like everything in life it has it drawbacks, which other styles of looking at things can complement.
 

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6 is quite a complex type with many manifestations-- I could see it being broken down into further types actually, granted that would ruin the ennea in enneagram. There are types of sixes, it seems to me. More than even other types, I've noticed that the nature of the 6 is incredibly reliant on instinct stackings and wings.

If you describe someone as being a 1 or a 7, my mind has painted a pretty strong characterization for them, but being told someone is a 6 feels more like an empty framework. I need the wing and instinct stackings to begin to form a picture of the same strength as the 1 or 7 on its own.
 

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I would suggest that the question of whether people like the descriptions, whether they are accurate, and whether they are valid are three very different, but equally important questions.

I hate most of the descriptions of type 8s, because they usually describe me at my worst. I didn't want to be an 8 because I couldn't find descriptions of healthy 8s, which meant I was doomed to be an a$$hole for the rest of my life.

In reality, I sort of am doomed to be an a$$hole, mostly because I just don't care enough not to be. So even though I don't like the descriptions, they are somewhat accurate.

But they don't describe me all of the time. They describe traits that I exhibit in different circumstances, and coping mechanisms that I use to interact with the world. So it is only valid in the sense that it provides useful information to help me deal with those things that I don't really want to deal with.

I suspect that 6 types descriptions fall into the same category. Nobody likes being confronted with their dirty laundry, and we'd rather hear someone describe it in a way that makes us sound good. From what I understand, 6s really like precision, and as @Octavarium mentioned, they often reach for external validation and support, especially for confirmation of their logical precision. So each person has a more precise way to describe their own idiosyncrasy.

I suspect that's why he all end up on these forums. There is very little evidence that typology can be empirically supported in any way. The personality tests that have the most empirical testing don't tend to talk about personality types, only character traits. So in the end, an imprecise, vague estimate of personality dynamics based on a handful of similar traits is the best we will get.
 
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