From explaining to the barista that your coffee order is wrong to asserting yourself at your job, asking for what you need can be challenging. The act of asking looks simple enough, but many have internalized fears about the consequences: What if they say no? Am I just being selfish? What will everyone think?
As an Enneagram Type Two, you may be familiar with the feelings of guilt that surface when you try to voice your needs. If you’re a Two who often struggles to ask for what you need, this article is for you. Here are some of our best tips to help you in the process.
Asking for what you need: why is it important?
You’ve heard that asking for what you need is important. But why? First of all, because it’s human. When you’re caught up in feelings of embarrassment, rejection or guilt, you may overlook the fact that we all have needs. Being able to identify those needs and ask for them is an everyday part of the human experience. Otherwise, we would all go through life without getting the things we need – and where’s the joy in that?
Secondly, asking for what you need, as opposed to what everyone else thinks you need, means setting healthy boundaries, and boundaries are important. As an Enneagram Type Two, you may worry that people will reject you if you put yourself first for once. But what message does that send to others?
While you’re trying to please and accommodate everyone, you may be telling people that you’re a doormat, so it’s fine for others to step all over you. That’s really not okay.
Finally, remember that not asking for what you need doesn’t mean the need goes away. It can bottle up and manifest as emotional or even physical pain. So, it’s about time to start vocalizing your needs!
Here’s how to ask for what you need as an Enneagram Two.
1. Make peace with vulnerability
Before you can begin to speak up for yourself, you need to start noticing what you feel without judgment. Where does the guilt of asking for your needs to be met come from? Are you afraid of damaging your relationship? Is it about feeling judged for what you’re about to ask?
The truth is, many of the anxieties that come up when asking for what we need are often rooted in a fear of being vulnerable. You don’t say what you need from your partner, friend or loved one because you fear being rejected or seen as selfish. And that makes you vulnerable.
The good news? Vulnerability actually allows for deeper connection. Therefore, when you show up as you truly are, it’s easier for those closest to you to understand you and support you.
2. Be kind to yourself
Asking for what you need is challenging enough for an Enneagram Two, so don’t make it even harder by being overly critical of yourself. Think about how you’d speak to a friend in need: you’d probably be kind and courteous, so why not treat yourself gently as well?
I know what you’re thinking: easier said than done. However, look at it this way: the more you work on your sense of self-worth and acknowledge your qualities and strengths, the easier it becomes to step outside your ‘Giver’ role and ask for support when you need it.
3. Understand that you’re not being selfish
The fear of being selfish may get in the way when you try to ask for what you need. A helpful tool is to think about your needs as those of a friend. Do you think they’re selfish when they ask for your help? Probably not.
When you’re used to putting others first, you may feel like you don’t deserve to have your needs met, but that is a toxic idea. Whilst you may love being present for the people in your life, relationships are about collaboration. So, knowing how to receive love and support is as important as knowing how to give.
4. Remember, not every conversation is make or break
As an Enneagram Two, you cherish and value your relationships. This means you may have difficulty dealing with conflict productively for fear of hurting those you love.
If it’s a fear of being confrontational that’s stopping you from asking what you need, remember not every conversation is make or break.
In fact, asking for what you need can make for an uncomfortable conversation, but it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. I'd argue that your relationship might already be compromised when you have to make an ultimatum to get yourself heard.
5. Be specific about your needs
To avoid misunderstandings or hurt feelings, it helps to be specific about what you need. After all, people can't read your mind. In addition, if you expect a change of behavior from the person you’re asking, remember to tackle the issue, not the person.
Instead of repressing your emotions only to blurt out: “you never care about how I feel!” – and then feel guilty about it – practice talking when you feel calm and be more specific. “I feel like you don’t appreciate what I do for you when you don’t thank me,” might be better, for example.
Enneagram Twos are natural caretakers, so I know how awkward it can feel to flip the script and be so point-blank about what you need. Still, it is this type of honesty and open communication that will help you strengthen your bonds with those closest to you.
6. Start with something small
If all of the above feels intimidating, remember you can start small. This may help you let go of the fear of guilt that pops up when you vocalize your needs.
It can mean asking for someone to grab a product on the top shelf when you’re at the supermarket, or changing a dish in a restaurant for something that is more suitable to your taste, for example.
It is always easier to ask for a small favor than something more complex and deeply personal. So start small and go step by step.
The bottom line
If you’re an Enneagram Type 2, asking for what you need can be a challenging and uncomfortable experience. However, the more you practice voicing your needs, the more you’ll realize it’s an important step to build self-confidence and trust in your relationships.
Ultimately, you should never feel guilty or embarrassed to ask for what you need. No matter your personality, you deserve to be satisfied instead of settling for something less than what you want. So the next time you hesitate to ask for what you need, try one of our tips above. Good luck!