Twos are defined by their desire to belong and to be loved by others. They are helpful, nurturing and caring towards others. They are eager to involve themselves in others' lives. Twos rarely say no when others ask them for help, and want to prove value to others by always being there for them.

Deepest Fear: Twos fear being alone and unloved, and cope with this fear by taking care of others and making themselves central to other people's lives.

Core Motivation: Enneagram Twos want to feel loved and appreciated, which motivates them to express love toward others in their words and actions.

Key Personality Traits of the 2

  • Warm smile and eyes
  • Approachable, radiates kindness
  • Vocal volunteer or activist
  • Excellent team player
  • Caring and gentle
  • Nurturing and patient
  • Smooth, flowing movements

How Rare are Enneagram 2s?

  • In a Truity study of more than 54,000 respondents, Type Twos were found to make up approximately 11% of the population. Women are more likely to be Type Twos, with the type making up 15% of women as compared to only 7% of men.

Enneagram Type 2 In Depth

Givers are highly empathetic and caring individuals who put others’ needs above their own. They have intuitive abilities to anticipate the emotional gaps of others and support them.

They find great joy in being available and are seen as a source of encouragement or a shoulder to cry on. Through thick and thin, they’re the ride-or-die companion and friend.

Twos are strategic in how they form relationships. Usually open and popular, Givers find themselves in a variety of groups and are liked by many. Their encouraging and supportive nature draws in people from all stages of their lives.

Givers are motivated by their desire to gain approval from other people, often through indirect methods. Twos have an unconscious ulterior motive in their acts of kindness, and often assume others are the same.

An unhealthy Two may look like a person who is selfless in a superficial way. Or someone who supports and gives to others at the expense of harming themselves or another person, such as by enabling an addict.

Enneagram Twos are part of the “heart-based” triad of the Enneagram, along with Type 3s and Type 4s. This triad focuses on the emotion of sadness as a result of feeling like the individual is not loved for who they really are.

As children, Twos often grow up in environments where they feel like their basic emotional needs are not met. So they learn how to adapt to others’ expectations early on and repress their own desires in an effort to support other people.

Healthy Type Twos are able to serve others while also meeting their own needs. They also know how to love and accept themselves as they are, and rely less on approval from other people.

Enneagram 2 Wings

2w1: Enneagram Two wing One types are Twos who share many of the same traits as the Type One Perfectionist. These Twos may appear more quiet, studious and reserved. This type strives to serve others and can struggle with criticism. Common careers for this type include counselor, veterinarian, nurse and school psychologist.

2w3: The 2w3 type is a Two who shares several of the same characteristics as the Type Three. They tend to be more sociable and ambitious than other Type Twos. They tend to be strong communicators and focus on building deep relationships. They can also be competitive and self-critical like a Type Three. Common careers for 2w3 types include public relations, entertainment, customer service and non-profit leader.

Core Values of Enneagram 2s

  • A strong sense of meaning, acknowledgment from loved ones, and emotional intimacy with others are Givers’ grounding principles.
  • Altruism holds a strong place in their hearts and they readily go out of their way to volunteer their time and energy to bring others up.
  • Kindness and reciprocity are the guiding values for their decisions. To improve someone else’s life or mood is immeasurably better than helping themselves.
  • The shared experience of spending quality time with a loved one is among the best feelings in the world to Type Twos.

How to Recognize an Enneagram 2

In public, Givers are the people that strangers are naturally drawn to for directions or advice. They possess a strong aura of approachability. They’re highly attuned to the needs of others and can be seen as the ‘mother’ or ‘father’ figure of a group of friends.

At home or alone, they continually make an effort to keep in touch with loved ones. Whether that’s through homemade dishes, tender words, or surprise gifts, they’re attuned to others’ love languages and enjoy putting a smile on their faces.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Enneagram 2s

When they are healthy, Twos are selfless caregivers who are fulfilled by freely giving unconditional love. They’re comfortable with sharing their own needs to others and secure a healthy give-and-take balance. They acknowledge when others require distance and develop secure attachment styles. They’re able to practice mindfulness and understand the meaning of altruism. They recognize their own self-worth and can gently guide others towards theirs as well. Givers understand the meaning of empathy, and are able to have genuine, heart-to-heart connections with others.

When they are average, Twos assume the martyr role in relationships and constantly seek ways to feel important by attending to others’ needs. They feel fulfilled when others remind them how grateful they are to have them in their lives, and work hard to maintain this image of the constantly accessible friend. By continuously attending to others’ needs, Givers may burn out and overcompensate for their energy levels. They may use flattery or compliments in order to gain acceptance and appreciation within a community or relationship. They’re hypersensitive to the approval and appraisal of others, especially those they truly care about.

When they are unhealthy, Twos fall into a pit of self-despair and criticism — constantly looking for others’ faults and wrongdoings. They try to gain control over relationships and may become either overly clingy or overbearing. There’s now an excuse for their every action and they play the victim card in order to gain sympathy and reassurance. Finally, they unleash their manipulative side, and mindlessly blame other people for their suffering and misery. Givers base their self-worth on the opinions of those they’ve helped — and if received with criticism, they’ll wallow in despair and develop various forms of physical illness: aches, fevers and nausea.

Growth Tips for Enneatype 2s

  • Practice mindfulness for personal growth. When Twos learn how to step outside of themselves and see their personality more objectively, they can observe patterns in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By observing yourself from an outside perspective, you can better understand where you need to set boundaries and practice self-care.
  • Take note of your own feelings about things. Twos often deny their own emotions and needs, while prioritizing those of other people. Growth for a Type Two lies in acknowledging and accepting your own emotions. Activities like journaling can help Twos get more in touch with their emotions.
  • Practice self-love. Enneagram Twos often feel trapped in their need to please other people. If approval is not easy to gain, the Giver may feel unworthy because they are not appreciated. It’s essential for Twos to learn to love who they truly are.
  • Learn how to set healthy boundaries. Type Twos are known for giving more energy to others than they may actually have to give. This leaves them feeling depleted and detached from their own identity. Twos flourish when they learn how to set healthy boundaries focused on their needs.
  • Share your authentic self with other people. Twos tend to alter their personalities to please the people around them. Make a conscious effort to be transparent and honest about how you think and feel. You will learn that people truly value the authentic side of you!

Famous Enneagram Type 2s

  • Dolly Parton
  • Mother Teresa
  • Nancy Reagan
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Desmond Tutu
  • Celine Dion
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Maya Angelou
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Jessica Alba
  • “Hagrid” (Harry Potter)
  • “Pam Beesly” (The Office)
  • “Peeta Mellark” (Hunger Games)
  • “Samwise Gamgee” (Lord of the Rings)
  • “Emma Woodhouse” (Emma)

Type 2s in Relationships

Our Enneagram Relationship content was co-developed with marital therapist-turned relationship coach Christa Hardin (MA)*.

Enneagram Type Twos truly elevate and focus on romantic relationships - they love to give their huge hearts to someone special. Because of this, finding a partner is so important to them, as is gaining approval. Twos are intuitive and can actively “read” the people around them, aligning with their perceived moods and preferences in order to maximize the possibility of connection. However, sometimes they go to great lengths to give to others through helpfulness in order to get their own needs met.

Twos bring positive and often bubbly energy to important situations, such as when a partner is grieving a personal loss with work or extended family, and will work hard to please their partner. However, sometimes the partner doesn’t want or require the help of the Two, so they find themselves unappreciated, unnoticed, or unwanted.

Emotionally, Twos have trouble moving from this posture, even when their spouse or others have tried to set a loving boundary. This is often because they fear rejection and may have faced abandonment issues growing up.

In addition, Twos frequently repress their own anger, sadness, anxiety or hurt feelings to please others. However, when their feelings are hidden, they come out in ways that can feel manipulative, prideful and controlling to those around them, even if on the surface the Two maintains a happy facade. This overcompensating behavior can mask depression and create marriage struggles. This happens when, instead of balance and self care, a Two turns toward hedonism or self-inflation to get their needs met or puts on a false generosity.

If you love a Two, remind them to use their thought life to guide them into a time of quiet each morning, so they can prioritize their day with what is truly needed versus what seems to be needed. Remind them not to let their feelings be their only guide as they invite these thoughts in - and encourage them to take care of themselves (including mental and physical self-care). Remind them to revisit the past for cues and look to the future for their plans, make active plans and learn from the past and let go more - instead of manipulating.

Remember that Twos feel that in order to receive love, they must be giving. It isn’t out of cruelty but a desire to genuinely find love. Encourage your Two in their chosen love language (not just yours) and try to help them to feel safe by regularly assuring them that they are the most special person in your heart, especially if you happen to be someone who does not show it outwardly all the time. Click here to find the Enneagram and Marriage Glow Pairing Guides so you can find tips for a type Two with each of the individual types!

*Christa Hardin (MA) has almost two decades of experience counseling and coaching couples. Christa hosts the popular Enneagram & Marriage Podcast. Christa uses the Enneagram and other great marriage tools to give couples deeper insight into how they connect with one another and glow brightly together in the world. For more, follow her on Instagram @enneagramandmarriage or visit her site: www.EnneagramandMarriage.com

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About the Author

Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She founded Truity in 2012, with the goal of making quality personality tests more affordable and accessible. She has led the development of assessments based on Myers and Briggs' personality types, Holland Codes, the Big Five, DISC, and the Enneagram. She is an ENTP, a tireless brainstormer, and a wildly messy chef. Find Molly on Twitter at @mollmown.

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