The Differences between 4w3 and 4w5 (Enneagram Wings)

Most wing descriptions emphasize too much the aspects that are actually related to the instincts; making 4w3 typically sound like Social first, and 4w5 typically sound like Sp/Sx.

This leads to most people mistyping Social 4w5 individuals as 4w3, for instance.

The stereotypes for those wing types don’t come from nowhere; it’s true that a lot of 4w5 individuals are Sp/Sx (e.g Edgar Allan Poe), and an iconic 4w3 So/Sx individual was Michael Jackson. But there needs to be a distinction made between wing type and stacking.

For there are 4s of all stackings out there (with perhaps the exception of Sp/So), so it is paramount to distill the true essences of the two wing configurations.

4w5 in a Nutshell

The 4w5 tends to work or develop their ideas rather behind the scenes, walks in the shadows, is more mentally detached, and concerns themselves more with spending their free time gaining and deepening their knowledge of the world in an attempt to prepare themselves for its challenges – like a 5.

Even the Social 4w5 will have some kind of protective bubble around them in the social situations they find themselves in; the healthier they are, the less so.

But generally, 4w5s are more detached from worldly affairs, more protective of their personal boundaries, and much more closely embedded in their own fantasy world. They are focused on synthesizing their specialized niche knowledge either into works of art or complex systems in order to gain deeper self-knowledge.

4w5: Tim Burton

4w3 in a Nutshell

The 4w3 on the other hand is more in touch with the external world and its inhabitants, and based on experience, it has a stronger tangible grasp on the world, which can give them a superficial Social instinct flair. They are often basking themselves in some kind of Hollywood-esque glamour.

4w3: Lana Del Rey

Society and 4w3

3s are naturally “pseudo-Social”, in the sense they have an eye on whatever their culture deems as “success”, and they will try to adapt to that. In that manner, a 4w3 has a much greater awareness of how to sell themselves and their art, for they have more of a focus on the culture’s ideals of success; and being like a 3, they typically have internalized those ideals.

4w3: Prince

Society and 4w5

Social 4w5s may also be aware of those ideals, due to the Social instinct; but there is typically a reluctance to fully give in to those ideals, they are not the main focus for them. They’d rather focus on what appeals to them personally and bring that to society rather than what is already appealing to the public. 4w3s tend to deal much better with outside expectations; they are much more open to catering towards them. 4w5s are more attached to delivering what they perceive to be deeper “truths”.

4w5, So/Sx: Neil Gaiman

Society: 4w3 vs 4w5

Sx/Sp and Sp/Sx 4w3s may relate to not wanting to just jump on board with whatever society expects, being Individualists first and foremost; but invariably, they end up delivering exactly what their culture is looking for, if they intended to or not. With a 4w5, their mental occupations are typically to some extent too removed from the general public to appeal to it on a massive scale.

In that manner, it is typical for the art of 4w3 celebrities to spread wider, and for the art of 4w5 to not spread as wide but be of more intense significance for a smaller group of individuals.

4w3: Michael Jackson

4w3s are more gifted at finding their way into an already existing trend, or at becoming a trendsetter. 4w5s are more inclined to create their own niche, which typically requires people to have a specialized penchant for that niche already, or to become more specialized themselves in order to fully grasp and appreciate it.

Darkness: 4w5 vs 4w3

4w5 Sx/So, 468: Marilyn Manson

Being double withdrawn (4+5) and more fear-based (5 wing), 4w5s usually do have a darker edge to their persona and occupations than 4w3.

This applies especially if the 4w5 in question is 8 fix, like Marilyn Manson.

Social and/or 9 fix 4w5 individuals are less classically dark and usually more socially adapted (if healthy enough), e.g Neil Gaiman, but like with the other subtypes of 4w5 their works of art do contain darker, more potentially disturbing psychological imagery or ideas than the art of 4w3 individuals – for the 4w5 takes in information about the world in a fear-based manner like a 5, and ends up reflecting the underlying horrors of it in their art.

However, Sp/Sx and Sx/Sp 4w3 individuals may also slip into darker topics as well; but typically, the deeper psychology of such will remain untouched. 4w5s yearn to look beyond the veil, or the shadows; whereas 4w3 can be content with focusing on where the shadows are being cast and going from there. 4w3s question and analyze the world much less than 4w5s do, on average. 4w3s do not delve as deeply into the inner workings of their mind or the world as 4w5s; and this shows in their art or personal expression.

4w3, Sx/Sp: Bill Kaulitz

That’s why the art or presentation of (especially unhealthy) 4w5s often has a more (self-)tortured and/or terrifying quality to it, compared to 4w3.

4w5, Sx/Sp: Victoria Francés

Stereotypical Social Roles: 4w3 vs 4w5

Stereotypically, Emos are 4w3s and Goths are 4w5s.

4w3 on the left, 4w5 on the right

To summarize the differences between the wings:


• behind the scenes (mentally and/or physically)
• mentally detached from worldly affairs and/or other humans
• prepare themselves with knowledge to deal with the world better in advance
• deeper embedded in some kind of fantasy world
• niche expert or artist
• more isolated
• more protective of their own (physical or mental) space
• focused on deeper truths
• delves deeper into dark psychological subjects and hidden aspects of the world and their mind; constantly analyzing the world
• often “darker”/disturbing (e.g gothic) or more minimalistic presentation


• more in touch with the world, more experienced
• often cultivate Hollywood-esque glamour
• better at selling themselves
• more in tune with external expectations and more willing to cater to them
• art is more widely relatable and less niche
• often trendsetters, or follow the trends in a unique way
• tend to have a better work ethic
• may deal with dark subjects, but typically do not delve too deeply into the inner workings
• often “lighter“ and/or glamorous presentation, or “semi-dark” (e.g emo )


Social 4w5s may feel the pressure to emulate w3 behavior in favor of their Social instinct, whereas Sp/Sx 4w3 can fall into w5-like behavior at times due to their Social blindspot.

Also, it is common for 4w5 individuals with a strong 5 wing to be mistyped as 5s (e.g Tim Burton, David Lynch), and for 4w3 individuals with a strong 3 wing to be mistyped as 3s or even 7s (e.g Lady Gaga). 


  1. gothed out 4w5 black haired boy, black trenchcoat that in the right light chimeras to joker purple in the bright sun light of a picture perfect town , flourish the coat , two fingered point at himself,… : ‘What can I do?. …Chicks dig it’ fade out


  2. this is really high quality

    its traditional to tease the INTJs and refer to them as ‘Ms Professor’
    i’m like I’ll talk to you next week Ms Professor


      • Literally only saw this now lol. Yeah I meant “wing”, was on my phone. I’m a bit on the fence on whether I’m sx/sp or sx/so, and that made me question my wing. It’s an “am I sx/so or just w3” thing. Also might be because I’m ISTP, inferior Fe can look like So blind.


  3. Thanks so much. This was very well explained and helped to clear a lot of uncertainties. I think I am natural four winged three I am much more light hearted than the description for the dark, menacing style of the four wing five, from the 4w5s I’ve seen on YouTube, they come across as much more serious and reserved people, in spite of having what I believe the same personality type as me. Whereas I naturally come across as naturally more bubbly and charismatic when I’m speaking to people. My dad, who is very observant to me, often tells me that I live in my own little world, in fact a lot of people tell me that, but he is certain that I also have an extroverted dimension to me. I would also say that 4w3s have a stronger desire to fit in than 4w5s and have a strong desire to influence the world in some kind of special way.


    • Thanks for sharing your perspective! Do you know about the instinctual stacking in Enneagram? It is still possible you could be 4w5 So/Sx. The So/Sx stacking is the most “bubbly” and can make even a 4w5 come across as more “extroverted” and “less dark” at healthier levels.


  4. There’s a lot of good info in here, so I hope this doesn’t come across poorly, but I feel like it doesn’t really represent 4w3s very well? The part about how 4w3s can try to be authentic individuals but will “invariably end up delivering exactly what their culture is looking for, if they intended to or not” and the ‘in a nutshell’ part seemed to paint 4w3 as shallow. The 3 wing definitely adds that societal pressure to succeed in a way that resonates with others, but not for the sake of success sacrificing purpose (that leans more 3w4). I do have an awareness of society and culture with a deep-seated “need” for their approval, but even as an so-dom the idea that no matter what I do, invariably it will just be what’s expected… destroys me. Not unique to myself, not from a place of authenticity, just fulfilling an expectation.

    I hope this didn’t sound critical, I just wanted to add my thoughts from my own experience (4w3 so/sx).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m curious why you say there’s no sp/so or so/sp 4s? I’m an sp/so 4 and was even typed that way by a professional. I also know a few 4s without dominant sx instincts. Where did this assertion come from?


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    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Another thing I have noticed is for many people, below-average credit is the consequence of circumstances past their control. As an example they may have already been saddled by having an illness so they really have excessive bills going to collections. It may be due to a occupation loss and the inability to do the job. Sometimes divorce proceedings can really send the budget in a downward direction. Thank you for sharing your ideas on this website.


    • Yes I’ve heard of it. It’s actually not uncommon for people to mistype their last instinct as their second instinct. I find that he is too obviously Sx/So, his weaknesses are clearly around Sx and Sp, whereas So is rather his strength… He even meets all the stereotypes, so I find it ironic. But oh well, that’s just my take on it. Every Sx/So description you can find on my site matches him pretty well.


      • He can’t adapt to specific people. An SX-first withdrawn type who is mentally healthy enough to interact with specific individuals not adapting somehow doesn’t make sense to me.

        In his so called romantic relationships he’s apparently fine with women of significant social status, but acts alpha-like with women of lower social status. None of this is an adaptation to the woman herself, but to her social status. The romantic interests are effectively interchangeable.

        So yeah, obviously he’s not social last, but I don’t see how he can be sexual first if he doesn’t even attempt to adapt to the person.

        I too originally thought him an sx/so, but when I look into his lyrics now I really can’t see sx. On the other hand I certainly see an unbalanced anger at society and societal groups.
        “The cops and queers make good-looking models
        I hate today
        Who will I wake up with tomorrow?”
        First line – two social categories. Third line – sx-indifference. How can an sx not care who they wake up with tomorrow?

        Why would a social second, seeking relative balance or at least variety in their middle instinct, be so in your face about it about society and pop-culture?

        And his band has gone through *so many* members, yet he remains, and the band is called basically the same thing. This is not healthy socialness, but it indicates a caring about the society itself.

        But to each their own. This is an argument that will occur forever given how polarizing and unusual MM’s presentation is. Cheers!


  9. “For there are 4s of all stackings out there (with perhaps the exception of Sp/So),”

    I assume you’re joking. If not have you ever heard the songs of “The Postal Service”? 4w5 SP/SO if I’ve ever heard it. The sx-last is so very evident in the romantic plaintiveness, the sp-first in the environmental visuals. Yes, often enough bands are not consistent of the same stacking, and sure, sometimes people sing songs written by others, but it’s evident here what this is in “Such Great Heights” and “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”.


  10. “For there are 4s of all stackings out there (with perhaps the exception of Sp/So)…” Uhh… I’m an sp4 with sp/so. So, I guess this post isn’t for me. 😛 We exist. We are a countertype, and defy the stereotypes and “weaknesses” of the 4 enneatype. Not all of us are mopey 😀


    • I see. I’d just note that the dangers of focusing too much on a “countertype”, is that the true motivations and foundations of the Enneagram type might get lost. If you don’t really relate to the core issues and motivations of 4, then it is more likely you are another type.


  11. Thank for this . I mostly get typed as 3 or 7 but I just don’t 100% connect to those types . I’m so certain I’m a 4w3 and this has been clarified by your blog 🙂 thanks again .


  12. Thank you for this! I’m a 4w3 sp/sx having a hard time finding info on this type and it’s great to explain why I’m often read as a type 3 or 7. Now if I can just figure out if I’m infp or isfp and ill be set lol

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Super late but for those wondering about sx/so 4w5, refer to social 5 it is helpful. I have gone back and forth on this article with confusion about my wing and variant since it I know it was odd and settled on 4w5 sx/so.

    To fill in cracks elsewhere, I also noticed a lack of discussing 4w3 sp/sos. Just see if you relate to so 3 or sx 3 more or if you relate to the social three blindspot sections or not as the 4w3 section seems like it was written for social blind 3s. As for 4w5 so/sp, just read the social 4w5 section and see if you relate more to sx 5 or sp 5 more.

    It’s very true that if you have an unconventional institutional variant for your type, it can be very difficult to find your type and this article does a really good job at talking about 4s with unconventional instinctual variants .


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