Enneagram Type 2 personalities are some of the best friends anyone can hope for. You’re kind, nurturing and loving and, no matter what life might throw at people, you’re there to bake cookies and lend an ear. You can be extremely empathic and are genuinely happy to help. What you’re not so great at? Asking for help in return. 

Your basic fear is feeling unloved and unlovable, and that puts a huge burden on your shoulders Type 2. You often feel like you need to give and give to ‘win’ the affection of the people in your life. And you get mighty frustrated when others are not giving as much in return. Asking for reciprocity seems like such an important thing…but the words get stuck on your tongue. 

If that sounds like you, read on. Here are six ways that Type 2 personalities can ask for help when they need it most. And maybe learn to put yourself first every once in a while. 

Focus on Loving Yourself

True love and affection is worth its weight in gold, but it’s no substitute for self-love. When you have a strong sense of self, the affection and support you give to others will be more valuable, because it won’t be equated with your own self-worth.

This can be challenging, especially for people who are so naturally oriented to caring for others. But your value goes beyond taking care of friends and family. When you take pride in the things that make you special, whether that's your work ethic, your creativity or your sense of adventure, then stepping outside of the healing role to ask for help or support will be much easier.

Treat Yourself as You Would Treat a Friend

One of the best ways for Type 2 personalities to move away from the instinct to heal and to sacrifice is to think about themselves the way they would their friends. If you found out that your friend needed help and was willing to martyr themselves rather than ask, you’d want to step in and make sure they weren’t carrying their burdens alone, right? Your friends feel the same. 

Taking care of each other is a two-way street, and when you start treating your own needs with the same importance as those of friends and family, you’ll be able to open up with a little more ease when it’s time for assistance.

Find the Right People to Love

One side effect of being a caring person is that you can sometimes fall into the trap of being a people pleaser. The right people in your life will be grateful for your kindness, but there are definitely those who will happily take advantage and always ask for more. When you surround yourself with the right people and set strong boundaries for those who continue to push for too much, you won’t feel as obligated to give and give until you’re burned out. 

The right people will also notice when you’re in need of support, and they will help to set boundaries as well. While your wonderful, big-hearted instinct may be to help and support everyone, the people deserving of your kindness will show themselves to be true friends.

Pay Attention to Your Pride

Pride is the downfall of any personality type that struggles to ask for help and for you, Type 2, it’s a two-fold challenge. To start, you have a tendency to slip into the helper role in order to feel needed, so it’s important to step back and look at what’s motivating your desire to help. If you’re helping because you want to be noticed for your good deed, then you might want to consider if the desire is genuine. This will help you keep yourself in check. 

On the other hand, it’s hard for you to ask for help because you really are motivated to be the helper, not the helped. Remember, no one is infallible, even those in caretaking positions. It’s important to find a way to balance your pride with your needs, so that pride doesn’t keep you from accomplishing your goals or getting the emotional support that you deserve.

Remember That Everyone Loves Differently

Different people have different love languages and when the love you give isn’t returned in kind, it can be very frustrating. Type 2 Enneagram personalities are often there without being asked. By contrast, other personalities want to be invited in. They may feel like they’re overstepping boundaries if they leap in and help you without communicating about it first. If you expect others to behave the same way as you, you are going to be disappointed. 

The trick here is to communicate in the other person’s language. Be open to talking about your needs and pay attention to some of the subtle signs that your friend or family member may be concerned about you. Even if the form that love takes looks different than your own, it’s still a promise from your friends and family that they’re here to help and want to make your life better.

Work to Address Your Own Needs First

There’s a reason that the safety guidelines say to put on your own mask before helping others. If your own needs aren’t being met, especially the emotional ones, you won’t be at your best as a caretaker. Taking care of loved ones means putting yourself first and addressing your emotional, physical and creative needs honestly.

Do you need more communication in your relationships? Are you feeling artistically or professionally unfulfilled? Do you just want some advice on a new work opportunity? When you’re distracted and worried about the events unfolding in your life, you’ll likely feel frustrated and confused as you try to help others, which can serve to worsen your feeling of helplessness and loss of control. 

There are many important reasons to put yourself first and take a serious look at the things in life that are challenging. Asking for help and allowing others in will help to provide you a sense of equilibrium, so you can get back to sharing love and support with the world.

The final word 

Enneagram Type 2 personalities are loveable, kind and wonderful partners who will do whatever it takes to make the people in their lives happy. But taking care of yourself is just as essential. Knowing when and how to ask for help and prioritize your own needs will help make you happier, because that way, you’ll be getting as much as you give.

Ruby Scalera recently graduated Emerson College and has since reported on a wide variety of topics from the Equal Rights Amendment to the history of the romance novel. In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. She currently resides in Nashville.