Are you the type of person who always shows up early to parties so you can help people set up...and then stays late to clean up after everyone goes home? Or are you famous among your friends for doing things like helping old ladies carry groceries to their cars?
If this sounds like you, then you might be an Enneagram Type 2! Type 2s are known as The Helpers, and they’re willing to step up and support others in need.
But there’s actually a lot to learn about being an Enneagram 2. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about this type, including:
- How to tell if you’re an Enneagram 2 (there’s a quiz involved!)
- The top five things you should know about Enneagram Type 2s
- How Type 2s behave in relationships
- The best Enneagram Type 2 careers
- The Enneagram Type 2 wings
Let’s dive in!
Here are the general things you need to know about being an Enneagram Type 2.
The Enneagram Type 2 Personality
Twos are known as The Helpers for a reason: they genuinely care about people, and they sincerely want to help others live their best lives. They do this by lending a helping hand whenever they can! Whether that’s volunteering in local communities, spending time with friends and family, or giving the best gifts at Christmas, Enneagram Type 2s always step up to the plate when it comes to taking care of other people.
Type Twos go out of their way to make sure the people in their lives feel loved and appreciated. They’re the sorts of people who remember your favorite foods, then bring them to you when you’re under the weather. Twos are excellent at intrinsically knowing what people need, then making sure those needs are met. And in most cases, Enneagram Type 2s get a lot of fulfillment from making the people around them feel seen and heard.
Speaking of that, Enneagram Type Twos most stand-out characteristic is their ability to love people for who they are. Twos aren’t the types of people who will ask you to change or judge you for your likes and dislikes. Twos will meet you where you are and encourage you to chase your passions and dreams, whatever they may be.
When Twos are stressed out, they tend to become domineering and manipulative. Enneagram Type 2s are deeply emotional people, and it’s easy for them to ignore their own emotional needs to care for others. When this happens—or when they feel like they’re being taken advantage of—Twos tend to lash out. At their worst, Twos can become angry and bitter...especially if they feel neglected by the people around them.
But healthy Enneagram Type 2s are supportive and nice, which is why people are drawn to them. (Type Twos tend to have large circles of friends!) Twos tend to be approachable, friendly, and kind—which usually means they’re pretty popular people!
Because Enneagram 2s are so likable, it’s not surprising that so many of them become celebrities. Famous Twos include Mr. Rogers, Dolly Parton, Josh Groban, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Danny Glover.
Quiz: Are You an Enneagram Type 2?
Here’s a quick five question quiz to determine if you might be a Type 2. Answer each question below with a “yes” or a “no”:
- Do you enjoy having close relationships with other people?
- Would your friends describe you as a caring person?
- Do you struggle to stay “no” when someone asks you for something?
- Do you give back to your community in some way (e.g. volunteering, donating money to local organizations, helping your neighbors)?
- Would you consider yourself a non-judgmental person?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then you’re probably an Enneagram Type 2!
Twos are known for being great cheerleaders—they love to encourage people. Keep reading to learn even more about what makes Twos unique.
Top 5 Things to Know About Enneagram Type 2s
Now that you’ve gotten to know the general traits of an Enneagram 2, let’s take a closer look at the core characteristics that make 2s stand out from other Enneagram types. Understanding these traits can help you understand yourself better, and it can help you figure out how to get along with the Type 2s in your life.
Here are the five things you need to know about being an Enneagram Type 2.
#1: They’re Generous
Twos are the most generous Enneagram Type. Twos are known for giving back to their friends, families, and communities. They’re the sorts of people who will spend a Saturday volunteering at the animal shelter, baking cookies for their neighbors, and then attending a local charity event.
More importantly: Twos give back because they sincerely care about others. (You can contrast this with Type Threes, who sometimes feign generosity for attention, or Ones, who see charity as a chore.) They aren’t in it for the attention or glory—they just want to help others as much as they possibly can.
#2: They’re Great Cheerleaders
We’re not talking about Twos being literal cheerleaders (though don’t be surprised to find Twos on a cheerleading squad). What we mean is that Twos are fantastic encouragers who give others the emotional support they need to chase their dreams. In fact, Twos get a lot of fulfillment from supporting others emotionally!
Twos also use this skill to connect with others, especially in difficult times. This is due in large part to their emotional maturity. They’re not afraid to be vulnerable with others so they can truly get to know other people. Because Twos are so in touch with their (and others’) emotions, they’re able to encourage and uplift the people around them...even during life’s darkest moments.
Twos spend a lot of time thinking about others, and they're well known for their thoughtful gestures.
#3: They’re Thoughtful
Twos pay close attention to the people around them. They’re great listeners and take note of people’s interests, likes, and dislikes. When it comes to details about friends and family, Twos have incredible memories: they never miss a birthday, anniversary, or other important event.
That’s because Twos actually spend quite a bit of time thinking about the ways they can make their friends’ and families’ lives better.
Twos believe in the power of thoughtful gestures. For example, Twos may keep birthday cards in a drawer so they never miss a friend’s special day. Or they might be the type that’ll randomly cook a vegan meal for you because they know you’re trying to eat less meat. Twos put a lot of energy into doing considerate things for others so they feel seen, heard, and loved.
#4: They Fear Feeling Worthless
Twos find a lot of self-worth in their role as everyone’s hero. Enneagram Type 2 folks want to be the first person others call when they’re in a crisis. They enjoy swooping in and saving the day, and they thrive on the emotional satisfaction that happens once their mission is accomplished.
But the flip side is that if Twos don’t feel needed, they can start to think of themselves as worthless or unnecessary. This can lead to frustration, and in serious cases, even depression. Twos need to remind themselves that they don’t have to solve everyone’s problems in order to be worthwhile and worthy of people’s love.
#5: They Forget to Take Care of Themselves
Twos are great at meeting other people’s needs, both physically and emotionally. And they enjoy doing it! Unfortunately, that means that Type Twos can neglect taking care of themselves in the process.
Twos identify as helpers...but that means they have a tendency to repress their own feelings so they don’t “get in the way” of caring for others. The problem is that those feelings tend to build up! It’s not uncommon for Twos to find themselves shutting down--or blowing up--when they’ve neglected their own wellbeing for too long.
Twos need to be on the lookout for signs that they’ve been neglecting their own mental, physical, and emotional health. It can be tough, but the best way for Twos to help others is by taking care of themselves first.
Enneagram Type 2s in Relationships
It’s probably no surprise that Twos are generally pretty great at being in relationships. An Enneagram Type 2 in love is an attentive partner, and they’re excellent at meeting their partner’s needs. Twos are also deeply sensitive, which means they’re exceptional at emotionally supporting their loved ones through thick and thin.
If you’re in a romantic relationship or close friendship with a Two, then you need to be prepared to talk about your feelings and check in regularly. In other words: communication is key to a healthy relationship with an Enneagram Type 2! Having conversations about work, life, and everything in between helps a Two feel supported and loved, and it also keeps the relationship on track. When your communication is on point, a relationship with a Two can be incredibly loving, supportive, and enduring.
Because they’re so generous, the biggest danger in a relationship with an Enneagram Type 2 is imbalance. Here’s what we mean: because Twos are fulfilled by taking care of others, sometimes relationships can become one-sided. Twos can feel like they’re doing all of the work: emotionally, physically, and otherwise. Twos have a bad habit of tamping down their negative emotions, so it can take a while before a Two starts to feel burned out in a relationship, But once that feeling takes root, it’s not long before a Two can become resentful, angry, and bitter.
To avoid this, it’s important for Type 2s to speak up when they’re starting to feel taken advantage of. And if you're in a relationship with a Two, check in regularly to make sure your partner feels equally supported. Even better: make a habit of returning the thoughtful gestures that Twos are known for. These small tokens of affection will go a long way in terms of strengthening your relationship.
Because of their caring natures, Twos excel in medical careers.
Best Enneagram Type 2 Careers
Because Twos love to help other people, they tend to gravitate toward jobs where they’re able to do so on a daily basis. Some of the best Enneagram type 2 careers allow Twos to use their incredible emotional intelligence to make others’ lives better. That means it’s not uncommon to find Twos working as nurses, firefighters, social workers, and psychologists.
Twos are especially well suited for careers in medicine. Enneagram Type 2s are drawn to careers where they can make a tangible difference in peoples’ lives, so it’s not surprising that Twos enjoy careers as nurses, doctors, psychologists, and even physical therapists. Twos also make great veterinarians, where they can spend their time helping our fuzziest friends!
Type 2s are also great fits for service careers outside of the medical field. For instance, Twos might find lots of fulfillment in the field of social work. There, Twos can do what they do best: help those in need access services that make their lives much easier. Enneagram Type 2s’ encouraging nature also makes them great fits for jobs that require motivating people, like coaching or teaching!
Finally, Enneagram Twos are also known for their thoughtfulness, which makes them well suited for careers that require careful decision making. For instance, Twos make great human resources managers! Their thoughtfulness means they’ll take everyone’s needs into account before they make decisions about a company’s benefits packages and staffing needs. And because they care so much about others, they’re more likely to push for programs that emotional support employees, like paid parental leave or flexible scheduling.
Each Enneagram number has two wings which can help you understand your personality even better. Check out the two wings for Enneagram Type 2s below.
Enneagram Type 2 Wings
The Enneagram uses a concept called “wings” to help explain aspects of your personality that might not be exactly in line with the Type 2 characteristics we just talked about. On the Enneagram, you’re most likely to share personality traits with one of the Enneagram Types right next to you.
For Enneagram Type 2 people, their potential wings are Enneagram Type 1 and Enneagram Type 3. These are often shortened to 2w1 (“Enneagram 2 wing 1”) or 2w3 (“Enneagram 2 wing 3”).
We’ll explain the two different wing types below.
Enneagram Type 2 Wing 1
Enneagram Type 2 Wing 1 people are Twos that tend to exhibit some of the personality types of Ones. This combination is known as “The Servant” because they see their ability to help others as an important responsibility.
Two wing Ones are more serious and goal oriented than Two wing Threes, which tend to be more spontaneous and attention-seeking. And that’s okay: Enneagram 2w1 people tend to be more behind-the-scenes workers! They often help out because “it’s the right thing to do,” and they become uncomfortable when they’re recognized for their hard work. (For example, a 2w1 is more likely to make a huge anonymous donation than they are to participate in one of those “give a giant check to someone in need” events!)
These type of Twos tend to adopt the driven, visionary streak of healthy Ones, which means they’re a force to be reckoned with when they put their mind to something! These are the types of people that take their generous natures to the next level through a combination of passion and hard work. Don’t be surprised when a 2w1 ends up launching a successful charitable organization to tackle the problems facing their friends, families, and communities!
Having said all that, unhealthy 2 wing 1s often take on more than they can realistically handle, which leads them down the dangerous road to emotional burnout. At this point, an Enneagram 2w1 will isolate themselves from others because they feel like they’ve failed. At their worst, a struggling 2w1 can fall into cycles of self harm and depression. That’s why it’s important for 2w1s to surround themselves with people who can help them maintain a healthy perspective.
Enneagram Type 2 Wing 3
Enneagram Type 2 wing 3s are Twos that share some characteristics with Threes. This combination is known as “The Host/Hostess,” probably because they love to welcome people into their lives with open arms.
Two wing Threes tend to be more outgoing and playful, and they’re much more comfortable in the spotlight than an Enneagram 2w1. They don’t mind being recognized for the hard work they do to make others’ lives better, although they’re not chasing notoriety.
Having said that, Enneagram 2 wing 3s tend to be magnetic people! That’s because they combine the outgoing, charming personality traits of Threes with the loving, caring nature of Twos. So it’s not uncommon if a 2w3 has a huge circle of friends, family, and acquaintances.
On the flip side, unhealthy 2w3 people tend to be demanding and manipulative. If a 2w3 feels like they aren’t having their needs met, they’re more likely to try and coerce others into meeting them...rather than just asking for what they want. And when 2w3s do feel like they’ve been overlooked, their reactions can be explosive. While Enneagram 2 wing 3s bring lots of great energy into their relationships, it’s important for them to be open and honest with others...and to keep their tempers in check.
If you’re curious about Enneagrams, you’re in luck: we have tons more Enneagram resources on our blog. Be sure to check out our expert write-ups on each type, including this one on Type 1s and this one on Type 4s.
If you’re looking for a more specific personality assessment, we have those, too. For instance, this quiz can help you pick a future career that matches your personality.
Want to dig deeper into how you process information and experience the world? Take our quiz to find out what your learning style is and what that means for you.
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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.