How to Best Show Affection to an Enneagram 2

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on August 20, 2022

Loving, nurturing and selfless: three words that describe the Enneagram 2 personality type. If you have a Two in your life, you’ll know that these personalities are natural providers. In fact, Enneagram Twos are at their best when they feel helpful, especially if their efforts are acknowledged.

At the same time, it can be tricky to understand how to show affection to an Enneagram 2. Twos often struggle to be vocal about their own emotional needs so you may be in the dark about what they want or need from you to be happy. 

With that in mind, here are six strategies that can help. 

1. Express gratitude

Perhaps the best way to show that you love and appreciate an Enneagram Type 2 is to be vocal with gratitude and compliments.

Twos generally have a hard time dealing with criticism and bad news. But they can hear hard truths if they come wrapped in positive affirmations like, “I love that you did this for me.” The Two needs to hear positive words to know they’re important to you and that you value the relationship you have.

Be open with your gratitude by thanking the Enneagram 2 in your life for all the little things they do for you. Be intentional. Notice and thank them regularly, and be specific in what you say, letting them know exactly how you appreciate them. 

2. Put their hobbies and interests first

Most Enneagram Twos love when you do things together as a couple and spend quality time together. This does not mean that you have to have the same interests as your partner, but that you make an effort to understand their interests and interact in a positive way when you’re together. 

This is especially valuable for Twos, as these types can be extremely sensitive to criticism and rejection. And remember, the Two has a habit of going along with activities that other people like just to make them happy. This can breed resentment unless you reciprocate every once in a while. 

So instead of dragging your Two along to a date night on your terms, do it on theirs by prioritizing your Two’s hobbies and leisure activities.   

3. Encourage them to set healthy boundaries

As natural caregivers, Twos are over-doers. They can forget to take care of their own emotional needs and become caught up in other people’s issues. This means your typical Enneagram 2 could use a little help establishing healthy boundaries.

If you’re in a relationship with a Two, encourage them to set limits, like saying no to situations that don’t require immediate help from their part, for example.

This is a big deal for them, as Twos fear rejection if they step back from needing to take care of people. Still, you can remind them they’re loved for who they are, not for the things they do.

4. Actively ask them what their needs are

Let’s be real: asking for what you want in a relationship can be extremely difficult. If you’re an Enneagram 2, even more so. But, as a partner of an Enneagram Type 2 you can make things easier for them by actively asking what their needs are.

Twos are so used to taking care of others that sometimes, all they really want is permission to voice their needs. At the same time, they fear that doing so will hurt their partner, and no one will love them anymore. 

So create an emotional safe space for your Type Two for them to share what they’re really feeling. Chances are, they’ll feel more confident sharing their truth and appreciate you for allowing them to be authentic.

5. Notice when they need help and provide it

Relationships are an Enneagram 2’s top priority. They focus almost all their energy on building and maintaining connections with others through actions and words.

When it comes to asking for help, however, your Enneagram Type 2 partner will not be direct. That’s where you step in. First, start noticing all the little things your Type 2 partner does for you. Probably a lot, right?

Then, show them you care by stepping in when they need help, instead of waiting for them to ask you. They’ll be grateful to know you notice how much they put into the relationship and understand they often give love via small acts of service.

6. Support them with self-care

Twos are eager to help others but they generally ignore their emotional needs. The perfect partner for an Enneagram Two is someone who reminds them that they need to indulge in a little self care. 

This does not have to be a solo activity. You can support your Type 2 partner through self-care by engaging in soothing activities together. According to a 2019 study, engaging in personal-growth-related activities as a couple might make for a more satisfying relationship. 

Since your Type Two partner is busy giving, they might need more than a gentle nudge when it comes to seizing moments of wellbeing during the day. If they’re stressed, you can actively help them by removing them from their own situation. Drag them to a yoga class, or buy them a spa gift certificate to help them unwind, for example. 

They’ll probably appreciate your effort, as you are opening up an opportunity for your Type 2 partner to decompress and feel cared for. 

The bottom line

The Enneagram Type 2 naturally gears their attention towards helping and nurturing others. The self-sacrificing nature of these personalities can sometimes lead them to let go of their true selves, so they can adapt to what other people expect of them.

If you have a Two in your life, the best way to show them love is by gently supporting them. Encourage them to set boundaries, practice self-care, show interest in their hobbies, and always reassure them you love them exactly for who they are. 

Andreia Esteves

Andreia is an INFJ who used to think she was the only person in the world terrified of answering the phone. She works as a freelance writer covering all things mental health, and psychology related. When not writing, you’ll find her cozying up with a book, or baking vegan treats. Find her at: https://andreiaesteves.com/

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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