The Enneagram Type Two personality – the Connector – focuses on relationships and gaining approval. They present themselves as upbeat, energetic, and friendly. They take pride in their ability to read people and adapt their behaviors to suit the moods, preferences, and needs of others. They help people see what’s positive about themselves, the people around them, and their environments.
Healthy Twos are stellar colleagues, friends, and family members who go to great lengths to express their affection and provide support. They are great listeners who revel in others’ joys and tap deep wells of empathy in times of sorrow or strife. Their positivity can be infectious. Should life deal you lemons, they’ll help you feel good about making lemonade.
While Twos clearly find fulfillment in attending to others’ needs, their generosity generally carries an expectation of reciprocal care. Twos want their acts of service to build ties that bind. You might say that they give to get.
When subject to the influence of the neighboring One, Healthy Twos become the Servant. Their drive to relieve suffering finds companionship with a seriousness of purpose toward effective action. They are often drawn to teaching, public service, ministry, and healing professions. While they’ll lead the charge should the need arise, they’re quite content to work behind the scenes.
When subject to the influence of the neighboring Three, Healthy Twos become the Host or Hostess. They love putting out the welcome mat and making others feel valued and wanted. They focus on their interpersonal skills. As such, they are charming, sociable, and gracious.
Twos are also influenced by their dominant instinct:
- Self-Preservation Twos present a strong expectation that others will attend to their needs. They may work tirelessly to gain that reciprocity. Or they may present themselves as child-like and needy as a means of inducing others to take care of them. They may traffic in guilt trips to get what they need. (“After all I’ve done for you…”)
- One-to-One Twos find comfort in being a best friend or intimate partner. They crave private time with their significant other and seek exclusivity in the sharing of confidences. To attract this individual, a One-to-One Two invests time and energy in becoming irresistible.
- Social Twos want to be at the center of the social arena. A desire to be noticed and remembered prompts them to show up as competent, knowledgeable individuals worthy of admiration. They gravitate toward those who are popular or powerful.
Of course, all that helpfulness can have a dark side. Twos can get so caught up in serving others that they forget to take care of themselves. They may also get so adept at mirroring their compatriots’ emotional energy that they lose sight of their own emotional core.
Under stress, Twos may adopt characteristics of an Unhealthy Eight. They can be aggressive when fearing loss of an important relationship or when they don’t get what they need out of existing relationships. They may become possessive and controlling, a response that likely adds fuel to the fire.
The antidote to stress lies in catching oneself in the act of flattering or serving others solely as a means of currying favor. It means recognizing the underlying fear of worthlessness that often drives this behavior. It calls for cultivating self-love and shedding the overwhelming concern for what others think. It also calls for setting healthy boundaries.
Twos find strength in movement toward a Healthy Four. From this position, they learn to acknowledge their own feelings, needs, and expectations and find more direct means of satisfying them. They give themselves permission to prioritize self-care and cultivate relationships that are genuinely nurturing.
A long-time colleague and friend lives into the high ideals of a healthy Two. As a career customer service professional, she makes a living helping people. You can throw high-pressure situations or criticism in her direction, and she’ll find every hint of silver lining in those dark clouds. The payoff? She genuinely loves being of service to others and forging strong relationships. When she isn’t working or excelling as a wife and mother, she serves on Boards and Committees that minister to underprivileged populations.