Relationships are a wonderful place to help us grow and develop hidden parts of ourselves. It is easy to pretend that we are looking for someone just like us, who sees the world through the same lens or perspective that we do. While that might be what we ask for on the surface, all of us have a deeper want or need in our friendships or relationships—one we don’t often voice, or are even that aware of. 

You might think that Enneagram Ones, known for their conscientious drive to improve themselves or others, might want friends or relationships who are as strongly driven to perfect the relationship or the home as they are. 

But while they might appear critical on the surface, there is something that Enneagram Ones secretly want from their relationships far more than perfection. And that is an opportunity to relax, to take a break from their responsibilities and have some fun.

Watch my YouTube video talking about what Enneagram Type Ones want in relationships here.

Ones find it hard to allow themselves to rest, to play before work, to relax and take a moment to just enjoy things without feeling an anxious need to be working hard to improve things. So they will often choose friends or partners who will help them with this, someone who already models this in some way. 

As a friend or partner of a One, you can help in the following ways.

1. Role modeling 

Your Enneagram One is unlikely to admit this, but one of the reasons they appreciate having you in their life, is you already know how to rest, relax and have fun. It helps your One, if you can continue to prioritize these activities and not get caught up in their ‘work before play’ mantra.

Here are some suggestions of activities you can do together:

  • Watch a funny movie or go to a comedy show
  • Organize an indulgent dinner for two or cook a surprise dinner
  • Have a spontaneous living room dance party
  • Play a not-so-serious board game 
  • Surprise them with a road trip to somewhere you have both wanted to go for ages 

2. Compassion

Ones have an incredibly harsh inner critic who is always telling them to be better. This makes them particularly sensitive to criticism, as their inner critic is already tough on them. To help you work with their inner critic, rather than feel attacked by it, try the following:

  • When a Enneagram One gives you critical feedback, ask them for the reason behind it. Look for the good intention behind the advice and respond from there
  • Give your One only positive feedback, letting go of anything critical
  • Help them see what is going well and what is working

3. Pampering

Enneagram Ones hold a lot of tension in their body. Holding all that frustration inside of themselves can leave them being tightly wound on a daily basis, making it even harder to relax or see other perspectives. 

Here are some suggestion to help your One release some tension:

  • Gift them a massage or go to the day spa together
  • Pour them a glass of their favorite wine and enjoy it together as you watch the sunset
  • Share a long hug
  • Head outdoors or hit the gym together, exercise is an excellent stress reliever 

To help your Enneagram Type One rest and relax, make fun and pampering a priority and just a part of your relationship rather than a special event. Remember how harsh their inner critic is and aim to give only positive feedback. And of course, helping out with the chores and relationship responsibilities will go a long way!

Samantha Mackay

Samantha Mackay is a certified Enneagram and leadership development coach who believes work should be energizing, not draining. She combines the Enneagram with her experience of recovering from burnout twice to help leaders and teams thrive during stressful times. Connect with Samantha at