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Articles > The Enneagram Type 2: The Helper

The Enneagram Type 2: The Helper

Type 2s are enthusiastic, considerate, and reliable caregivers.

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Enneagram Type 2: The Helper
Enneagram Type 2: The Helper

In this article

Overview

In the Enneagram framework, Type 2s — also known as Helpers or simply Twos — are enthusiastic, considerate, and reliable caregivers.

Hook and colleagues (2021) describe Type 2s’ core desire as a need to be needed. At their worst, Type 2s can drift into excessive people-pleasing, flattery, and interpersonal neediness.

At times, Type 2s may be motivated by a core fear of being unloved.

Adjectives to describe Type 2s

Others might describe Type 2s as

  • helpful: Furnishing help; giving aid; useful
  • cooperative: Ready to work with another person or in a team; ready to cooperate
  • sociable: Tending to socialize or be social
  • diplomatic: Exhibiting diplomacy; exercising tact or courtesy; using discussion to avoid hard feelings, fights or arguments.
  • enthusiastic: With zealous fervor; excited, motivated
  • industrious: Hard-working and persistent
  • genial: Friendly and cheerful
  • reliable: Suitable or fit to be relied on; worthy of dependence, reliance or trust; dependable, trustworthy
  • warm: Caring and friendly, of relations to another person
  • expressive: Effectively conveying thought or feeling

The wordcloud below shows the top 100 words used to describe Type 2s. Bigger words describe the more prominent aspects of most Type 2s.

Words to describe the Enneagram Type 2
Words that describe the Enneagram Type 2

Type 2 Wings

Enneagram Type 2 with a 1 wing or 2w1
Enneagram Type 2 with a 1 Wing (2w1): The Acolyte

Type 2s with a 1 wing, or 2w1s, take on some characteristics of Type 1: The Reformer, including a stronger need for structure and rules. Type 2w1s often help others in a less spontaneous and more systematic, organized manner.

Enneagram Type 2 with a 3 wing or 2w3
Enneagram Type 2 with a 3 Wing (2w3): The Entertainer

Type 2s with a 3 wing, or 2w3s, exhibit characteristics of Type 3: The Achiever. While Type 2w3s maintain focus on interpersonal relationships, they approach them with less empathy and a stronger need for achievement and good performance. They may frame their social engagements as opportunities to perform and to succeed rather than chances for personal connection.

Type 2 Integration and Disintegration

Enneagram Type 2 in integration and disintegration
Type 2s shift towards Type 4 in integration but towards Type 8 in disintegration

In times of health and security (i.e., integration), Type 2s shift towards Type 4: The Individualist. One indication of this shift is greater introspection and openness to their own ideas and feelings. Another sign is a reduction in their usual intense concern around others’ feelings and perceptions of them.

In times of stress (i.e., disintegration), Type 2s shift towards Type 8: The Challenger. Following this shift, Type 2s exhibit far less agreeableness and empathy for others. Disintegrated Type 2s may be unusually assertive and confrontational with people, especially if they perceive their interpersonal efforts are unappreciated.

How rare is the Enneagram Type 2?

Based on their distribution of personality traits, TraitLab estimates that roughly 13% of people would be classified as Type 2s.

Type 2s and the Big Five Personality Traits

In studies of personality structure, researchers often use a trait-based approach to describing the differences between people instead of using personality types. The most well-established method is the Big Five, which describes differences along five broad dimensions:

Personality types are far less precise than getting exact Big Five measurements, but knowing your personality type can give you a rough idea of where you fall on each dimension.

In the graph below, each dot is a Type 2, placed by where they fall on the Big Five dimensions. You can see that Type 2s can vary quite a bit on any single dimension.

Big Five personality traits among Enneagram Type 2s
Big Five personality traits among Enneagram Type 2s

For example, on the Agreeableness dimension, Type 2s tend to score much higher than average, so the High and Very High areas are very dark blue. However, there are still a few rare Type 2s on the low end of Agreeableness.

Below, you can see more detail on how Type 2s score on each Big Five dimension.

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Type 2s vary widely in Openness to Experience

Type 2s can vary widely on Openness to Experience. In other words, some Type 2s are less open (more conventional or traditional), others are highly open, and most are somewhere in between.

Type 2s and Big Five Openness to Experience
Type 2s and Big Five Openness to Experience

Openness to Experience describes your need for new information, feelings, and experiences.

Less open people prefer familiar ways of doing things. They are less interested in trying new things or seeking out new experiences. They also tend to be less eccentric and have more conventional tastes in hobbies, music, and reading material.

Highly open people have diverse interests, and they may feel a constant need to learn and try new things.

Type 2s are often high on Conscientiousness

Type 2s typically score higher on Conscientiousness, with a large portion of Type 2s falling at the highest end of the scale.

Type 2s and Big Five Conscientiousness
Type 2s and Big Five Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness describes our planning, organization, and regularity. Highly conscientious people, like most Type 2s, tend to create detailed plans to accomplish their goals and stick closely to them. They are less likely to be distracted by diversions or smaller short-term goals, and they excel at maintaining focus on the big picture.

Many Type 2s will have regular schedules and routines to ensure that they can efficiently make progress on multiple goals. They will have little tolerance for disorganization and chaos, and they will work diligently to create order out of a messy situation.

Type 2s are usually very high on Extraversion

Most Type 2s are generally very extraverted. Extraversion describes our social enthusiasm, positive emotionality, and assertiveness.

Type 2s and Big Five Extraversion
Type 2s and Big Five Extraversion

More extraverted Type 2s will naturally gravitate towards social engagement and generally show greater enthusiasm in social situations — smiling, laughing, and keeping the energy up and moving. They will be more likely to open up, share their point of view, and gently persuade others to see things their way.

The rarer, more introverted Type 2s will seem more emotionally muted and reserved compared to their extraverted counterparts. They will act and react more subtly in social situations, and they will occasionally need to withdraw into solitary activities. They are more likely to sit back and listen, and act more passively around others.

Type 2s are typically very high on Agreeableness

Type 2s tend to be more agreeable than most.

Type 2s and Big Five Agreeableness
Type 2s and Big Five Agreeableness

As a group, Type 2s are usually highly agreeable, with many Type 2s falling at the extreme high ends of Agreeableness. Agreeableness describes tendencies to create and nurture positive relations with others, a general sense of trust in other people, and empathy — the capacity to sense and feel the emotions of others.

Highly agreeable people, like most Type 2s, are highly sensitive to interpersonal issues, and will try to minimize any negative impact their actions may have on other people. Type 2s are more likely to put off their own goals if it could potentially disrupt or harm a good relationship, and if a Type 2 senses distress or other interpersonal problems, they will naturally jump at the chance to comfort and resolve it.

Type 2s are often emotionally stable and low on Neuroticism

While Type 2s also vary in their level of Neuroticism, most Type 2s fall on the lower, more emotionally stable end of the Neuroticism spectrum.

Type 2s and Big Five Neuroticism
Type 2s and Big Five Neuroticism

Neuroticism describes how we react to stress and our tendency to experience a variety of negative emotions. As most Type 2s are less neurotic or emotionally stable, they tend to have steadier, more predictable moods, and can more easily adapt to life’s sudden changes and disruptions.

Less neurotic people, like most Type 2s, generally experience less anxiety, anger, frustration, and sadness. They still experience these negative emotions, but less frequently and with less intensity than their more neurotic counterparts. Likewise, they tend to ruminate less on bad experiences and are less likely to doubt and second-guess themselves, resulting in a calmer, more confident style of thinking through problems and decision-making.

References

  • Hook, J. N., Hall, T. W., Davis, D. E., Van Tongeren, D. R., & Conner, M. (2021). The Enneagram: A systematic review of the literature and directions for future research. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 77(4), 865-883.
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