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Enneagram Type 2
Welcome to the second post in my Enneagram Series: Type 5 vs The Enneagram. This week I am covering my experiences with an Enneagram Type 2. You can find the first week link here and sign up for Enneagram related news from me on the right) or more general news on the left.
Hi! My name is Jacob Pannell. I am not an Enneagram expert. I am a me expert, and me is an Enneagram Type 5 with a 4 wing and a self-preservation subtype. Earlier this year, I wrote an article on my discovery on the Enneagram (here). It has since become my most visited article this year. Many people have reached out to tell me how much that article helped them. Some even asked me to write more for them, so I am. After a little time of reflection and research, I realized that I couldn’t write about the Enneagram with the substance many of the coaches, authors, and mentors can.
So, I asked myself “why did my article resonate with people?” I think it resonated because I wrote about me. I wrote about my experience as a Type Five. Many people have trouble connecting with their Enneagram Type because it is talked about in such broad strokes that a natural disconnection exists. I am not talking in broad strokes when I talk about my Enneagram Type 5. I am talking with personal detail. Sure, this limits my approach, but I also think it is much more identifiable. It also makes it easier to take or leave certain aspects of my Type 5-ness.
My experience as an Enneagram Type 5
So, here is the deal: I am going to write about my experience as an Enneagram Type 5 vs. the other Enneagram numbers. This means that both my experience of the other numbers and my own experience is limited. Take it or leave it. It’s my truth. Each article will contain an introduction to the Enneagram Type, how we help each other, hurt each other, and a parenting thought. Finally, I want to wrap up by helping you to imagine your relationships in your life. What has my article helped you see, understand, or change within yourself? Imagination is the key to success from these articles because there are no cookie-cutter solutions because there are no cookie-cutter people.
Here is the additional reading for you other Type 5’s with the itch to research more.
Enneagram Type 2: The Giver
Enneagram Type 2’s are known to be the givers. Most people quickly associate that with the idea of gifts or gift-giving and you might be tempted to automatically think of the person who gives you the best gifts as an Enneagram Type 2. However, you should reflect further because Enneagram Type 2’s give in their relationships in a variety of ways. The moniker for each Enneagram Type refers to how they create or maintain relationships. With Enneagram Type 2’s it is all about what they can do for you.
Enneagram Type 2’s (along with 3’s and 4’s) are especially adept at reading rooms. Type 2’s can meet a person and instantly begin to understand what that person needs. The Type 2 can formulate a plan for them to deliver on that need, execute it, and then build or maintain a relationship. For some of you reading this, that sounds like an awesome superpower. For others, like me, it’s a little unnerving. In health, the Enneagram Type 2 doesn’t need to butt in and can serve you in ways you actually verbalize or suggest through a built-up relationship rather than using the service to build a relationship. When unhealthy the Enneagram Type 2 becomes manipulative giving you want you need whether you want it or not.
Enneagram Type 2’s tend to show that they prefer new relationship building opportunities rather than repairing and restructuring old ones because those relationships lack the same spark of delight that comes from a new acquaintance being served. That doesn’t mean they prefer the new ones, but rather the spark of a deeply felt and sincere thank you that we who have been around and become accustomed to the Enneagram Type 2 rarely offer anymore. That lack of “Thank You” is on us not them.
Sense of Belonging
Where all this comes to and from is a sense of belonging. In my experience, Enneagram Type 2’s struggle the most with a sense of belonging. They want to belong to everyone and so end up belonging with no one. Enneagram Type 2’s can fit in anywhere by serving that particular group or person’s needs. Enneagram Type 5’s do this by knowing or investigating a group or person’s particular interests and speaking to them with knowledge. Our wide base of friendships is very similar however, very few people truly know all of an Enneagram Type 2 or 5. This sense of belonging is also what creates the greatest friction between our numbers, so let’s explore it further.
HealingEnneagram Type 2 's chase the spark of a deeply felt and sincere thank you that we who have been around and become accustomed to the Type 2 rarely offer anymore. Click To Tweet
Offered by a Type 5: Finding Yourself
Enneagram Type 2’s often fail to find that sense of belonging among others because they never belong to themselves. This happens because they give and give and give to others until they are exhausted, stressed, and unfriendly humans. They have no time or energy to reflect, observe, or belong to themselves because they are too busy giving to others. Enneagram Type 5’s are energy and time management masters. We also don’t prefer being with people too often. We are excellent at stopping, reflecting, and belonging to ourselves.
Type 5’s would do well to offer a place for a Type 2 to belong to themselves. We are uniquely capable of offering this healing. We can teach a Type 2 how to manage themselves in a healthier manner that will ultimately serve everyone better. By keeping themselves healthier, a Type 2 can give to more people and a few people more deeply. Play to that logical pursuit and strength of the Type 2 and you will find that you have offered a type of healing that Enneagram Type 2’s might never experience.
Yes, I have watched The Notebook several times. But the scene I have in mind when it comes to this is where Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) are standing in the rain. She is about to leave him again to go elsewhere. He finally confronts her screaming over and over “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” She is unable to answer because what she wants has never really been on the table for her. She has expected life plans from her parents, herself, and her fiancée. That is the question that Type 5’s can scream at Type 2’s and expect to get an answer. That is the question they desire because only the people they belong with actually ask that question.
Offered by a Type 2: Finding Others
So I suck at building relationships. Apparently, I am intimidating, off-putting, and arrogant (all true and something I am working on). These traits probably come out because, in the past, I haven’t really cared to build deep relationships with people. Enneagram Type 5’s prefer independence and self-reliance before joining social groups. The trap is that we are never fully independent or self-reliant.
Enneagram Type 2’s can sense our need to belong to social groups then get us to join (sometimes by force if necessary – see story below). While most people see Enneagram Type 5’s as cold or emotionless, Enneagram Type 2’s can see what we really want and that is to belong and be a part of something larger than ourselves. They cut past all the layers and walls we have put up and can sense exactly what we need. It is unnerving, but I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through life without the Type 2’s in my life.Enneagram Type 5’s prefer independence and self-reliance before joining social groups. The trap is that we are never fully independent or self-reliant. Click To Tweet
Joining the Team
It was the fall of my freshman year of High School. I had tried out for the baseball team and I didn’t make it. However, the coach had a system where you could work your way onto the team. It was a way to weed out the uncommitted talent, but you had to show up. Showing up that first time is the worst! You have to have a conversation and let people know that you are showing up and you are going to show up until you make the team. This is how I was forced to show up. Yes, this is embarrassing, but I never would’ve made it without my mom.
5th day of school and fall practices are starting. They are open to everyone (re: how you work onto the team). I wasn’t going to go talk to the coach. I was going to work hard and if I made the team great if not then I wasn’t good enough. My mom parked in front of the baseball field after school that 5th day and waited until I got out of the car to go talk to the coach to let him know I would be showing up tomorrow and every day after that. She waited until I summoned up the courage to have a conversation. I did and played baseball all four years of high school. I was even a part of a state championship my junior year.
My Enneagram 5ness (re: fear) would’ve had me miss out on that high school group experience. Something that has changed and shaped my life in ways that I am still benefitting from. I suspect my Mom is an Enneagram Type 2 because she knew what a needed and was willing to give me the solution whether I wanted it or not.
Type 5: Isolating
In reading Suzanne Stabile’s “The Path Between Us” I realized that Type 2’s fight to get everyone on their side or at least in a relationship with them. You know who doesn’t always want that, need that and will flat out refuse it? Enneagram Type 5’s. I think Enneagram Type 2’s require too much energy sometimes, and I can refuse to give them the satisfaction of belonging with me. I can withhold that belonging, on purpose. This isolates a Type 2. Isolation is not a good color on Enneagram Type 2’s. In a situation of belonging to themselves, it can relieve tension; however, most Type 2’s belong to others most of the time. Isolating them with our cold efficiency is dangerous and cruel.
When a Type 5 moves away
If my Mom is a Type 2 then one of the worst things, I ever did to her was not talk to her for a few months after moving to Chicago.
It was January or February, and I was newly married and stressed in Grad School. My mom and I had a fight about something. I can’t even remember. (Enneagram Type 2’s go-to Type 8 in stress). But I hung up on her, and I didn’t accept a call from her until May. You don’t just do that to your mom who has poured her whole life into you. It was mean, rude and cruel, without even accounting for her Enneagram Type 2. I isolated her from me. I didn’t have to talk to her, so I didn’t. The coldness we (Type 5’s) bring to relationships, in general, is painful to most people, but it is especially cruel to Enneagram Type 2’s because they feed on connection and relationship.
Type 2: Wrong Belonging
Enneagram Type 2’s can feel all the needs of a room and Enneagram Type 5’s often end up being like a Swiss Army Knife to most problems. Good enough to relieve the pressure but not the perfect tool. Type 5’s are varied enough in their knowledge that we can fit into a lot of places. The problem is that we don’t want to fit into a lot of places all the time. We aren’t the most loving people. We might be decent listeners, but cold logic rarely equals an encouraging experience for both parties. A person getting emotional often perplexes me. Simply thinking (rather than feeling) your way through it seems to be the simple enough option.
The Type 2’s need to belong is often felt within a Type 5, but how we arrive at belonging is completely different. That is where the friction happens. Type 2’s might butterfly around a room serving everyone. I would rather find a corner and have a deep conversation with one person or at least listen to a deep conversation with between people. That’s my type of belonging, where there are real conversations happening rather than the surface level small talk.
The New Kid
I have been the new kid a lot so I have empathy for them, but I hate being the first person to spot a new kid. That means I have to go talk to them; generating a relationship out of nothing is weird and hard for me. I have a lot of practice, but I will never be my brother (who is already your best friend even if you don’t know him yet). My parents often strongly encouraged to reach out to new kids, at school, church, wherever. They would find them, point them out, and then encourage me to go talk to them.
Here’s what I have learned. Occasionally it works out, and I can make that person feel welcome – much better at it now as an adult. What really happened most of the time was that I didn’t feel like I belonged with them, so I couldn’t make them feel like they belonged with me. While well-intentioned, and I am glad they did this, so I could have the skill now. However, it never seemed to work out. I couldn’t figure out why for a long time. My best intentions never worked because I couldn’t offer something I didn’t have. I never felt at home, so how could I offer that to someone else? It ends up being painful to us both.
Parenting: Sense of Home
Home is a lot of things to a lot of people. Most of all though it is where we can be our fullest and truest selves. This means two things when parenting an Enneagram Type 2. First, home is the place where we explore and belong to ourselves. Encouraging self-exploration is great. How you do that is by exploring and studying your child (easier said for a Type 5). When you explore your child’s feelings with him or her, it does several things like validating feelings, teaching them how to do it on their own, and teaching them that you love them no matter who they are. All important things, and all really hard work sometimes. Nobody said parenting would be easy.
The second part of home is belonging to a family. For a Type 2 that means serving people. This is a bit of a double-edged sword as a parent. My son desperately wants to do things that inevitably make more mess. However, we do give him opportunities to serve. Serving helps people cement their place around the house. It gives them a role to fill. This is all the more important for a Type 2. Home isn’t just a place where you sleep. Home is something that is a part of you and something you are a part of. Fostering the sense of home can really help create a healthy Type 2.Home is something that is a part of you and something you are a part of. Fostering the sense of home can really help create a healthy Type 2. Click To Tweet
Imagine a world where you don’t belong, you don’t know how to belong, and you don’t always want to belong. That is often the world of an Enneagram Type 5. That is almost the exact opposite of an Enneagram Type 2. We rub each other the wrong way over relationships. Imagine if we put ourselves together. Type 2’s have an intimate feel for people, the crowd. They know what they want and need. That is valuable stuff. I have watched numerous speakers and I can always tell when they have recognized that they have lost the crowd and change tactics. It’s fascinating because I don’t know that I ever notice. I have to say what I am going to say, and I will say it until I am finished. Imagine if I were coached by a Type 2 to read people in ways that I met their needs.
Now, imagine what it could feel like for an Enneagram Type 2 to have a proper assessment of all that information. Type 2’s often focus on the people they can’t read or don’t like them instead of deepening and doubling down with the ones that do. Type 5’s know that it is often most worthwhile to deepen relationships instead of spreading yourself all over. How much more impactful can the message of a Type 2 be if they launch off of a Type 5?
Because we are so different, we have a lot to offer each other. If you are a Type 2 imagine how you can help a Type 5 belong (without intruding on them). If you are a Type 5 imagine what you can offer a Type 2 without squashing their needs to belong to more people than just a few.