The Enneagram Type 2 Giver and Type 9 Peacemaker have a lot in common, and it's easy to see how there could be confusion between the two. If you’ve ever felt conflicted trying to decide which one you are, you aren’t the first person to feel you could be both. Let’s explore some of the similarities and key differences between these two personality styles.
Type 2s and Type 9s are both “other-referencing” types whose attention goes out to other people. Both have the potential to be kind, accommodating, easy-to-get-along with personalities who naturally think of others before themselves. Both can work hard to make other people feel included, and both have a natural gift of connection. Type 2s and Type 9s often become the glue in their social circle, and these may be the people the rest of us turn to in times of emotional need. Both can be good listeners, non-judgemental supporters, and deeply caring individuals. And while these are the positive things, both Type 2s and Type 9s share some similar challenges.
They can have difficulty maintaining personal boundaries and may end up doing things they really don’t want to do because it is so difficult to say “no.” They can forget themselves by putting the needs of others before their own. Both may have an indirect communication style and find it difficult to advocate for themselves. And both may struggle with intimacy, fearing that if they show their full selves, they may be rejected.
But while the external behavior of these two personality styles may look similar, the picture behind the scenes is quite different. While both may be the glue in their social circles, Type 2 is more like honey and Type 9 is more like clay. Let’s have a closer look.
The Mind of a Type 2
Energetically, Type 2s move towards other people. Whether direct or indirect, their attention gravitates in the direction of others, often with an eye on how to be helpful, useful, or likeable. Their relationship with others can become sticky, and unless a Type 2 has done a lot of inner work to relax their habit of attention, their help may come with strings attached including a subconscious belief that “if I help you now, you’ll help me later…”
While big-hearted, they may also subconsciously create codependencies because they often feel most secure when they are needed by those around them. With this as the backdrop, it is easy to see how they move towards other people, anticipating needs, proactively providing support, and offering help where none may actually be required or wanted.
The Mind of a Type 9
Energetically, Type 9s hang back and try to create a soothing, conflict-free environment. Their habit of attention moves toward harmony, and these are the people who help the rest of us get along. Got conflict? Bring in a Type 9 and watch it de-escalate as these are the folks who are gifted at finding common ground and areas of compromise. They can be like clay, naturally molding into almost all situations with ease. They are able to be genuine in many environments, and many Type 9s report that one of the things they like about their personality is their ability to get along with almost anyone.
If you feel stuck trying to recognize yourself as a Type 2 or a Type 9, ask yourself these four questions.
1. Is change a very slow process for you?
Type 9s tend to think of change in terms of years and decades, so when they want to make a move, they do it slowly. This is because their mind naturally emphasizes all the reasons why maintaining the status quo is the best choice. Type 9s can stay in difficult, dead-end, or dysfunctional situations much longer than the other types because change is so uncomfortable for them. Untangling themselves from a person or situation, no matter how unhealthy it may be, can feel overwhelming for Type 9s.
Type 2s don’t have this same level of resistance change. They can be deliberate in their thinking and may consider things from many angles, but they typically can make changes if that’s what they decide they want to do. Their mind can move to a positive future more easily and resistance to change isn’t typically a Type 2 theme.
2. Do you exhaust yourself by supporting other people?
Type 2s are famous for overextending themselves in their support of others. Many Type 2s eventually suffer from a physical, mental, or emotional breakdown stemming from overcommitment and their inability to say “no.” A Type 2 may be the emotional support for her family while volunteering at the church, heading up the newsletter for her children’s school, and juggling a professional job. This excessive support of others at their own detriment is a signature Type 2 trait.
Type 9s typically take a less proactive role. If asked to, they may pitch in, but they are more likely to wait for a request and often even then, do just the minimum to maintain harmony. Their focus is on having a peaceful environment more than it is about being helpful to others. They conserve their energy.
3. Is it difficult for you to pursue your own goals?
Type 9s have an issue called “narcotization” where they essentially numb out of their own lives. This sleepwalking is often a result of unexpressed anger and subconscious resentments. The result is sloth, and it leaves Type 9s sapped of energy to pursue their own initiatives. Type 9s have a difficult time getting started and once started, they often veer off track.
Type 2s don’t have this same issue. They may have difficulty pursuing their own goals due to time constraints (and being overcommitted to helping others) but once they carve out time for their goals, they generally pursue them. Whether it's starting a new hobby, getting a professional certification, or taking a new exercise class, Type 2s can typically move forward in pursuit of their goals.
4. If someone tells you that you can’t do something, do you take that as a challenge or an affirmation that you can’t?
Type 9s are complex characters and are sometimes described as the most powerful type in the Enneagram because of their gift for understanding the position of others and making everyone feel heard. While they have a sense they aren’t important and often suffer from self-doubt, if someone else says they can’t do something, it galvanizes their determination and can serve as a catalyst. They will take someone’s disregard of them as a challenge. Why? Because deep down, most Type 9s have a subconscious understanding of their own power.
Type 2s are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and may be deeply wounded by another person’s no-confidence vote. It may underscore their own doubts and leave them believing the doubter is probably right. Type 2s are less likely to hear a no-confidence vote as a challenge to rise up to.
The Enneagram is a complex system and with so much nuance, it is easy to see how your core motivation can be difficult to uncover. It is not uncommon for Type 9s to get confused in the self-typing process because one of their gifts is being able to see the perspective of others. This gift of multiple perspectives sometimes leads them to see themselves in several types. While Type 2s and Type 9s are often confused, if you delve into the three Type 9 subtypes, you’ll find the Self-Preservation 9 can look like a Type 5, the Social Type 9 can look like a Type 7, and the One-to-One Type 9 can look like a Type 4. You can learn more about the Enneagram subtypes here.