How to Write an Enneagram 2 Character

One of the hardest things about writing characters is making sure they’re different enough from each other that a reader can tell them apart. There are multiple ways to do this: base them on real people, give them qualities of different animals or elements, use a personality typing system, make it up as you go and hope it works. 

The Enneagram personality typing system is one of the easiest ways to effectively differentiate characters because it’s based around motivations, and motivations in characters create conflicts. In this series of articles, you’ll find high level tips for how to create characters based on Enneagram Types, this one focusing on Type Two.

Twos love generously.

Type Twos have a lot of love to give, and they love giving it. Their main desire in life is to feel loved, and they attempt to get there by loving other people. When they’re healthy, Twos are kind, empathetic, and warm, and other people are drawn to their genuinely good nature.

Twos are people pleasers.

Less healthy Twos may use their kindness as a manipulative weapon to extract the love they want to feel from other people. They can be self-sacrificing, always putting others first—sometimes to the detriment of their own needs—because they think that will make them more worthy of love.

When Twos don’t take care of themselves and their own needs, they can become resentful of the people close to them until they explode and reveal the inauthenticity of their “love.”

Twos have their “people.”

While Type Twos love and want to take care of everyone, they often focus their efforts on one person or a small group of people that they consider “theirs.” They are the ultimate emotional and moral support, and they’ll help their people succeed no matter what. 

This love and support can turn sour and manipulative, though, and unhealthy Twos can become controlling and possessive of their people in order to forcibly meet their own emotional need to be loved and needed.

So how do you write an Enneagram Two?

In fiction, Twos are often given the role of sidekick or yes girl—the character who constantly champions the main character and is there to pick them up when they start to falter or doubt. This is a good role for Twos, as it allows them to easily love and be loved. Characters like Samwise Gamgee and Bellatrix Lestrange are solid secondary Twos, spending most of their time supporting their “person” (Frodo and Voldemort, respectively). Twos can also function as the “mom friend” in ensemble casts, keeping the group together and making sure everyone has what they need.

Main character Twos lend themselves to more introspective plots and character arcs: learning to take care of themself, realizing they no longer agree with or want to support their person, finding their own self-worth. The important thing to remember when giving a Two an arc is that all of their actions are driven by their desire to feel worthy and loved—and their fear of being neither.

To avoid flat or stereotypical Twos, make them a little bit selfish—they care about other people, but they care about themselves, too, and sometimes those things are in conflict and they’re forced to make unpleasant choices. 

Give your Two hobbies and interests outside of helping others. Maybe they picked up a hobby from someone no longer in their life, but they like it anyway. Maybe they use an activity unrelated to other people as a way to self-regulate or de-stress. Their focus may be primarily on other people, but their life will have other facets as well.

Remember that Enneagram Twos can be wild and unpredictable (like Harley Quinn or Bellatrix Lestrange) or quiet and reserved (like Samwise Gamgee or Peeta Mellark). They can be heroes or villains, depending on who their person is and what they value. If you want to really test a Two character, take their person away and let them deal with the aftermath. Or put two Twos at odds in the same story, like Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley, and use them as mirrors for each other. No person is loving and generous and kind all of the time, and Enneagram Two characters should be no exception.

For more information on how to write an Enneagram Two character and a deep dive into what it looks like to have an Enneagram Two in a story, check out To Trope or Not to Trope’s episode on writing Enneagram Two characters, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and anywhere you listen to podcasts.