EnneaQ’s: Advice for Type 4/2 Relationships

Blog Post Image: August EnneaQ Episode

Most EnneaMe Thing


Last month I was able to travel over to Salt Lake City, Utah to go to the Young Living convention, and I made sure that we would get there an extra day and a half early before the convention started so that my husband and I could plan out traveling on public transit. So the day before the convention started, we did a “practice run” on the tram to time it out, make sure we were traveling from the Airbnb to the tram and from the tram to the convention center on time. I wanted to make sure that we would not be late!


I’m not sure my Most EnneaMe Thing fits perfectly in this, but I wanted to make sure to share it. I am a type one, so my growth line on the Enneagram is a type seven, and I’ve discovered something that has helped me “hack” my growth line: I started doing karaoke, and I have been tapping into my type seven, “Let’s have fun. Let’s not worry about hitting the right notes or doing the right thing or whatever. Let’s just sing some favorite songs that usually only get sung like in the house where nobody else is” you know? So I’ve been able to hack my growth line in a fun way! And maybe the thing that makes it “type one” is I know there’s no long-term commitment to it; I could stop going to karaoke whenever I want, so there are no ramifications to it.

EnneaQ’s Question: Advice for a Type 4 in Loving and Respecting a Type 2

“So Not Named Emily” asks how to best take care of, love, and respect an Enneagram Two in your relationship, especially if you’re a type four.

We could spend multiple coaching sessions just on this one thing, but there are a few things to take note of with that Enneagram two in your relationship.

  1. Type twos and type fours have a lot of similar emotional needs and struggles. They both have this feeling, this need, to notice and be very aware of how people perceive them. You both also share the heart triad, so you lead from your feelings, but you both do it in a different way, which can create frustration; and you also have a lot of the same emotional needs, but you go about getting those met in different ways, which can also lead to frustration, but also some competitiveness. A type 4 may see some of the ways that a type 2 tries to get their emotional needs met, especially if that 2 is living on autopilot or unaware of some of the impact it might have on themselves and the people around them, and the 4 may feel some disdain or superiority, because they assume that the Two is trying to bribe people for love or trying to serve to be served, and may feel like they are “above that”, which can create a lot of problems in the type four.
    The type two is often very unaware of what’s going on; they just notice a disconnection, unless the type four actually names their disdain and says, “I don’t like it when you do that” or “That’s emotionally immature” or things like that.

    (And please hear me, Type Twos and Type Fours: I’m not saying that any of this is true. I’m trying to speak into and voice some of the internal thoughts that might be going on in a type four, or the perceptions that a type four might be having. So hear my heart, Type Twos: I’m not saying that this is true of you.)

    A type four may perceive it that way, that it’s emotional immaturity or that it’s bribing through their actions and through trying to get those connections, and one of the things that you as a type four can really benefit from is recognizing some of the ways that you go about getting your emotional needs met and seeing that while you don’t do the same things, you are trying to go after a lot of the same things. And one is not superior to the other; they are both ways that we try to live in this world, connect with other people, or avoid things that frighten us. Yours might be different; your list of those things might be different, but that doesn’t make it less important, and that doesn’t make it less of a potential driver and motivator in how you approach your relationships.

  2. Seeking to understand where that type two is coming from creates the opportunity for informed empathy. As a type four, you might recognize or notice a lot of the emotions that are coming from your type two, but without the information, you’re still reading those emotions with your definitions. You might not know how to connect and support the type two in your life if you aren’t informed about the perspectives and the motivations and the things going on inside them that are causing those emotions. I think that as a type four, you can sometimes get a little stuck in “superficial empathy” where you feel “the vibe” coming from the other person, but what you actually experience is your own reaction to that vibe. Informed empathy helps us dig down deep and connect to the person that’s having those emotions, and not just feel like we’re living in their shoes.
    It can be really helpful to first seek to understand where they’re coming from. If this is a long-term relationship, it can be really helpful to have some coaching or counseling or go through a class together; something that helps give you both some language to use with each other, a starting point and foundation that you could both share, so that you can understand and communicate when there is a misunderstanding. Being able to express yourself and have them express themselves can be really, really helpful.

  3. Get clear about what your boundaries are in providing for the Type 2’s emotional needs. Set. Those. Boundaries! Don’t make rules for how they behave and interact, necessarily, but be clear about what your boundaries are, what you can do, and express those without belittling what their needs are. Just like anybody else, an Enneagram type two can respect your boundaries, but they will validly feel hurt if what they are asking for is belittled or, or the person they are asking complains about it, or if they are made fun of for their needs. So set the boundary without making that mean anything about the other person is a really important thing that can help your Enneagram type two feel supported and safe asking again, or asking for something different in the future. It keeps the lines of communication open, and they don’t feel shut down; or if they do, it can be an opportunity for communication and for you to explain why the boundaries in place and how it doesn’t mean anything about them.

  4. The last thing that I would say is, notice what bothers you. Notice what bothers you in your relationship with them and spend a little time processing why that bothers you; because a lot of times, if it’s a generally healthy relationship and there’s usually good communication, there are fewer things that need to be addressed with the other person and more things that just need to be understood or addressed internally. You can ask yourself:
    • Why is this bothering me?
    • What is this bringing up in me?
    • As a type four, you share the struggle with shame and the compelling feeling to be perceived in a certain way by others, so ask yourself, what are the ways that I do the same thing? What are ways that I go after the same thing, just differently than them?

So processing why something bothers you can help you know if this is something to bring up, something to understand about them, or something to work on yourself with.

Melinda, do you have any thoughts on Enneagram four and Enneagram two relationships?

I love that you talked about boundaries and communication, because no matter what type you are, if you’re trying to have a relationship with anybody, regardless of the type, communication is key. I lived a lot of my life just assuming that people could read my mind and know what bothered me and I set myself up for failure, and the relationship up for failure, because I didn’t communicate those expectations that I had placed on someone else based on what I needed.

Yes! The communication piece is a lot of what the Enneagram is about: how do I understand where someone’s coming from and how do I feel understood about where I’m coming from? Some of that is self-reflection, but so much of that is about communication; because how can I share who I am if I’m not communicating effectively?

Other Topics from the Blog Episode

  • Melinda’s Favorite Color
  • Kim’s Favorite Karaoke Song
  • The Best Part of Melinda’s Trip to Utah
  • Kim’s Least Favorite and Most Favorite Parts of her Beach Trip with the Girls!

To find out the answer to these fun “rapid fire” questions, check out the podcast version of this post (episode 48).

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