Welcome everybody to the second of my nine part series where I interview each of the nine personalities of the Enneagram. Click here to view my article on the One.
Today I am interviewing the Two, also known as the Helper/Giver. How are you today?
Wonderful! Thank you for asking!
Here, would you like some tea? Coffee?
Oh ah…no thank you.
How about some lemonade? Cookies?
Oh, well…those cookies do look good. But…I shouldn’t.
Well, if you insist. Thank you very much.
I aim to please!
I hear you take a lot of pride in that.
I really do. Pleasing others and making them happy is one of the great pleasures in life.
Why do you think that is?
Well, isn’t it obvious? Wait, I take that back. It’s not always that obvious to everyone, but it’s obvious to me. I mean, how can pleasing and helping others not be one of the greatest pleasures? Not enough people give their time, money, and energy to helping others. They spend their days miserable and they wonder why that is. It’s because they are missing out on some of life’s greatest joys!
What do you believe?
To really answer that, I have to first ask you a question.
Well, okay I suppose…
What’s the most important thing in the world?
Well, that’s a good question. There’s a lot of different ways to answer it-
Yes. Love is the most important thing in the world.
Love. That’s all?
Well there are other things…family, togetherness, generosity, children putting smiles on each others faces, but really all of things boil down to love.
Isn’t that oversimplifying things a little?
Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s not true. Besides, I’d hardly call love simple. Just an act as simple as giving a gift requires so much forethought. First, you have to get a feel for their personality, their likes and dislikes. Then, you have to probe to find out what kinds of things they already own. Then, if you’re buying multiple gifts, what I personally like to do is make a common “theme” between the gifts, you know, just to make it extra special. Does that really sound simple to you?
Well, no I guess not, when you put it that way. I guess acts of love are easy to learn but take a lifetime to master.
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
What would you say our your greatest flaws?
Well, I don’t like to admit this, but I sometimes try too hard. Sometimes, I throw my whole self into helping someone, and it just backfires. Either the person doesn’t want my help (even though they need it) or they take and take without giving back, without so much as saying thank you. You know, I don’t really “expect” people to love me back, but…it would be nice you know? To know you’re appreciated once in a while?I try not to take it personal when people act that way, but I’ll be honest. It hurts.It’s hard. I guess I sometimes set myself up for feeling this way, but I don’t care. I’m here to help people, and I’m not going to let a few insensitive jerks get in the way of that.
Some of your critics describe an additional negative quality.
Ugh, I don’t even want to know who. (sigh) Alright, what do they say?
Well, they say you’re manipulative.
They say that when you do nice things or say nice things, you do it purposely to make others love you.
Of all the cynical things to say! It’s not like I’m a con artist trying to get money out of people! I try to treat others with as much love and kindness as I can. Is it really that out of line to expect the same from others?
So you don’t think you’re manipulative?
Look, if loving others so they love you back is manipulative, then I say I’m guilty as charged, and proud of it.
Isn’t the whole idea of love that it comes from the heart with no strings attached? If you expect loving behavior to return to you, doesn’t that rob people out of the chance to surprise you with truly loving acts?
Ugh. That sounds like something Four would say.
Sounds like you two don’t get along very well?
Errr, no. Not exactly. I mean, I try to get along, but…for one, she’s really quiet, and two, she’s kind of self-absorbed, sort of the opposite of what I aim to be. For me, I’ll dress or act in ways that I know will make people happy and bring smiles to their faces. Four, on the other hand, will behave or dress in ways that deliberately anger others, just to get a rise out of them. She is obsessed with this idea that she can’t fit in no matter what, and frankly, she doesn’t care what others think.
I try to be friends with her. Really, I try. I once invited her to a formal dinner party (big mistake) with a few of my friends. She showed up in this weird, almost goth-like attire, tattoes and piercings everywhere, and then she hardly socialized the entire evening. She spent most of the party huddled in a corner, writing what I presume was some poetry. Not really sure. Anyway, she hardly spoke five words. Now how can I make someone like her happy if she won’t even talk?
Tell me about your friends, one and three.
One is a good guy, and I like how he’s always willing to offer a helping hand. It’s a shame he’s such a stickler for the rules though. Don’t get me wrong. Rules are great and they help protect people, but One follows the rules even if the rules hurt people. Sometimes, doing the most loving thing involves bending the rules. We don’t always see eye to eye, but love and order do go hand in hand. It’s hard to treat others with love and dignity if they are fighting and attacking each other like animals.
What about three?
A lot of people think it’s strange that I’m friends with Three. At first glance it seems like we have nothing in common. I know he doesn’t seem to be of the most loving nature, but he can be when he wants to be. He can actually be a very helpful and generous member of society. It’s just that he sometimes does nice things to look good rather than, you know, out of a sincere desire to help people.
Three appeals to a different side to me. He understands that the occasional lie can protect people sometimes. He’s a great storyteller and fantastic guest. He just doesn’t always have much time. He’s always on the go. I sometimes wish he’d slow down and enjoy life a little, but it’s like life is a competition to him and he has to be the best.
Do you have anything else to add before we finish here?
Going so soon? Well, I would say the most important thing is to focus on what matters, spending time with your loved ones. Nothing is more important in my opinion. Now, before you go, why don’t you take the rest of those cookies home to your family?
Oh I couldn’t do that…
I insist! Besides, I have more in the oven!