The Enneagram type Six is motivated by a desire to avoid danger and gain certainty. Sixes are loyal, engaging, vigilant, and can be endearing and brave, or provocative and fearful. This is the Enneagram system’s "Loyal Skeptic" or "Cautious Defender". Sixes often receive a bad rap because of their attention to what might go wrong. However, it’s important to remember that without the Sixes attention to danger we might be less likely to notice problems in the future. This habit of attention is misunderstood by non-sixes as being negative, however it is really an expression of the Sixes caring. By paying attention to what could go wrong the Six hopes to prevent possible catastrophe, by essentially heading it off at the pass.
Their occasional reactivity to danger is merely an expression of an empathetic understanding of what it feels like to be caught off guard, scared or vulnerable to attack (all states Sixes try to avoid). If you have a Six in your life and perceive their anxiety as purely negative or unnecessary try to understand that this response is an automatic reaction to perceived threat (which can be real or imagined). Calling the Six "paranoid" or "crazy" will only exacerbate fears that others do not understand their complex mental dialogue and thus that others really can’t be trusted (reinforcing their core misperception that faith is only an illusion). As loyalist Sixes are always ready to jump in and lend a hand to those in their trusted group (whether they're scared or not). If the Six can learn to leverage their attention to danger in a productive and non-panic inducing way and learn to give themselves reality checks to see if the extent to which they are “freaking out” over a particular situation is truly necessary, or if another method of approaching the problem might be equally as successful and less stressful.
Sixes should surround themselves with sincere friends who will provide honest feedback (Sixes hate falsity and hidden messages) as this will help to allay fears of abandonment or imminent catastrophe because they will feel supported. If you are trying to effectively manage a relationship with a Six remember that trust comes in doses, and must certainly be proven. The Six may test you (sometimes in subtle ways) to assure that you are solid enough to depend upon a little (a Six never fully submits to anything as there is always a niggling sense of doubt holding back complete trust-at least until a great deal of self work and reflection has been done).
Appreciate your Six by acknowledging their penchant for problem solving and their ability to mine the truth out of a given situation. Be honest and consistent in your responses and try to joke around with them as this helps them to feel close to you. Sixes bond through light teasing and witty repartee with intimates. Avoid guilt tripping your Six, as they are sensitive to expectation and will either lash out in anger or retreat in hurt, either way the guilt is an indication that you may not be trustworthy. Avoid marathon arguments with the Six who can become particularly wrapped up in mental dialogue that won’t let an issue rest, and promise to revisit the topic at a later date when emotional reactivity has diminished.
If you are a Six remember that trust is not only something that is earned from honest communication but must first be fostered internally and transmuted into faith, or else it will be insufficient support and leave one blown about by every wind.
A helpful concept for Sixes might be from spiritual/Self help teacher and likely type Six Byron Katie who says “I trust people totally…I trust them to be who they are, then I’m always one with what is”. Trust is a state of meditation within the Six that flows into the environment and its people, the illusory self will lead you to believe that if you trust the environment or others than you will be okay, but this is only an illusion. Trust is internal.