Finding friends seems like it should be easy. After all, we’re bombarded with social media apps that invite us to follow people, get in touch with old acquaintances, and say “Happy Birthday!” to people we haven’t met in decades. But even with all these advances in the world of technological relationships, many of us feel alone. Many of us have friends, but don’t have friends who really “get” us.
Finding a good friend can alter the trajectory of your life in so many ways. But you can’t really get a good friend without also being a good friend. And being a good friend to someone can get a whole lot easier when you know their Enneagram type!
Obviously, there are basic things that every friendship requires: Honesty, loyalty, kindness.
But how can you go above and beyond the basics to be the kind of person your friend really needs? That’s what we’re going to explore in today’s article.
Let’s get started!
Table of contents
- The Friendship Needs of Every Enneagram Type
- Enneagram One Friendship Needs
- Enneagram Two Friendship Needs
- Enneagram Three Friendship Needs
- Enneagram Four Friendship Needs
- Enneagram Five Friendship Needs
- Enneagram Six Friendship Needs
- Enneagram Seven Friendship Needs
- Enneagram Eight Friendship Needs
- Enneagram Nine Friendship Needs
Estimated reading time: 17 minutes
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The Friendship Needs of Every Enneagram Type
Enneagram One Friendship Needs
Responsibility and trust are the core components of a healthy relationship with a One. Manipulation and mixed messages will send these types running to the hills. They want to know that you say what you mean and mean what you say. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, be sure to be there!
Ones put a lot of effort into their relationships and are usually helpful, practical, and insightful. Make sure to acknowledge their efforts and take on your share of the responsibilities. If they are always the friend that reaches out, make sure you’re putting some effort into the relationship as well. Don’t always wait for them to text you – text them sometimes.
Ones are extremely hard on themselves and are usually their own worst critics. Be the kind of friend who reassures them that they are good as they are. If they get angry, remind them that you are still their friend anyway. Show understanding if they make a mistake. Acknowledge what they do well instead of focusing on their failures (believe me, they’re focusing on those enough as it is).
A Few Other Tips:
- Ones naturally tend to give advice to people. If you don’t need or want advice in a specific area, make it clear without being hurtful. Show appreciation for the good advice they do provide.
- Ones tend to forget to take time for relaxation and fun. They get so fixated on work and responsibilities that they can lose track of their own needs. Encourage them to do something for them that is relaxing and “frivolous” now and then.
- Always be fair and considerate.
- Keep in mind that Ones take criticism and negative remarks very hard. Be sensitive when correcting them or making a complaint.
- Get them away from home and work so that they can get a mental break from all their responsibilities and their “to-do list.”
- Apologize if you have been inconsiderate, dishonest, or irresponsible. Ones can be very forgiving, but they don’t like problems left unattended to.
- Try to be as up-front and straightforward as possible. Never be passive-aggressive. Don’t leave issues in the dark. This will make them stressed out.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type One – The Perfectionist
Enneagram Two Friendship Needs
Generosity and warmth are at the heart of a friendship with a Two. These types crave open, appreciative relationships where there is plenty of room for affection, acknowledgment, laughter, and authenticity. It’s important to note that Twos tend to take on your needs as their friend and focus more on those than they focus on their own needs. Encourage them to stand up for their own desires. Encourage them to say no once in a while. Take a mental note if you see them overburdening themselves for others and getting stressed as a result. Sometimes Twos need friends who can remind them to put up healthy boundaries.
One of the hallmarks of the Two type is that they tend to focus on others more than themselves. They may turn conversations back to you, feeling guilty if they’re focused on their own lives for long. Don’t let them do this all the time! Take an interest in their life and assure them that you want to listen to them and hear their stories. Let them talk about their favorite subjects for great lengths of time if you can!
Twos are famously generous and tend to look for ways to help others either emotionally or physically. Be sure to thank them for their efforts. Acknowledgment means a lot to them and if they don’t get it they can eventually feel taken advantage of or hurt.
While Twos are famously helpful and compassionate, they can be far less so with themselves than with others. Volunteer to help them with something specific. If you know they are struggling with something, don’t wait for them to ask you for help. They probably won’t. Asking for help is embarrassing to a Two. Instead, simply show up and do something useful. For example, if a Two you know is grieving, bring them a hot meal or ask them when you can come and mow their lawn so they don’t have to. Think of ways you can be helpful without putting the onus on them to ask.
A Few Other Tips:
- Be especially gentle and tactful when giving criticism. Because Twos try so hard to be considerate and thoughtful, it’s especially hard for them to know they’ve failed in some way.
- If a Two suddenly seems less responsive than usual, don’t take that as a sign they don’t care. Sometimes Twos overdo it for other people and burn out. They may “disappear” for periods of time for much-needed recovery.
- When you want to know how a Two feels about something, be sure to let them know that they can be honest with you. Make sure they know that you are a safe person they can talk to and that they don’t have to feel guilty for “venting.”
- Encourage them to follow their personal desires or creative pursuits. Many Twos get so busy taking care of others that their own wishes remain on the backburner. Help them to put themselves first now and then.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type Two – The Helper
Enneagram Three Friendship Needs
Enthusiasm and shared ambition make a relationship with a Three thrive. These types don’t want to just share feelings with you – they want to share goals. They are excellent at encouraging you to achieve your dreams, reach your objectives, and keep going. If you want to be friends with a Three, show admiration for their achievements, determination, and hard work. But be honest, too. Don’t “suck up” to them or offer vague compliments.
Though often assertive in their professional lives, Threes can be non-confrontational when it comes to friendships. Encourage them to be direct, ask for what they want, and share their opinions and feelings openly. However, try not to dwell too heavily on past mistakes or negatives. Threes like to focus on improvement and growth more than ruminating over failures or bad memories.
Because Threes are such hard workers it can be hard for them to slow down and “smell the roses” in life. If you can encourage them to see something beautiful that they might have missed otherwise, they’ll appreciate you for it. Savor good food with them, make time for laughter, and encourage them to take part in a cause they believe in. All these things can infuse their life with meaning and happiness.
A Few Other Tips:
- Understand that Threes like to stay busy and can get restless when they aren’t getting anything done. Don’t take this personally.
- Give criticism tactfully and with consideration. Threes are usually overachievers, and because of this, they tend to take failure very hard.
- Always be trustworthy. When a Three trusts you, they know they can confide in you – something that comes hard for Threes.
- Encourage the Three to take care of their inner life and not just the goals they set in the outer world.
- Show an interest in their feelings, but don’t be pushy or overbearing about it. If they feel like you’re only interested as an act of voyeurism they’ll run away fast.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type Three – The Achiever
Enneagram Four Friendship Needs
Creativity and depth are the heart and soul of a friendship with an Enneagram Four type. These types aren’t looking for shallow acquaintances or the latest gossip. They crave authenticity, shared understanding, and imaginative discussions. That said, many Fours feel they have to hold part of themselves back so they don’t scare people off. Their depth is often misunderstood – and the pain of that misunderstanding can be overwhelming for them. With that in mind, it’s crucial to appreciate the depth of feeling that Fours bring to the world. Acknowledge their feelings, validate them if you can, and show your affection frequently.
The last thing a Four wants is an easy, one-size-fits-all answer for their pain. If they confide in you about their feelings, don’t brush them aside or offer vague platitudes as a response. Understand that they need to process and express their feelings. At the same time, don’t let their moods control you. Speak up kindly when you are negatively affected by their moods or intense feelings.
Fours are often drawn towards the arts and creative pursuits. Take an interest in their creativity and find ways to be creative with them. Take a nature walk and find things you can use to create a work of art. Create playlists of songs that remind you of each other. Write short stories! Tap into the creativity and imagination of the Four for a lot of fun and exploration!
A Few Other Tips:
- Encourage them to do something they believe in. For example, if they are environmentally conscious, take time to plant trees together or pick up trash along the beach.
- Help them to feel safe when they express negative feelings.
- Understand that they crave independence and autonomy. If you are too clingy, overbearing, or pushy they’ll quickly shy away.
- Don’t try to lighten them up when they are in the midst of their dark moods. This makes them feel like their feelings don’t matter.
- Be gentle with criticism and remember that it tends to activate their feelings of shame, which are already very intense.
- Don’t push them to socialize too frequently.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type Four – The Individualist
Enneagram Five Friendship Needs
Originality and discovery are at the heart of the Enneagram Five type. These types are often called “The Observers” or “The Investigators” because they have a very analytical, exploratory approach to life. Fives want to understand how the world works and like to get lost in their interests for great lengths of time. Because Fives are so drawn to solo pursuits, it’s important to respect their alone time and privacy. Fives detest being overburdened by social engagements or clingy relationships.
Fives can be very caring people, but they’re not likely to verbally demonstrate their feelings a lot. Their affection will appear in helpful acts of service or quality time rather than effusive flatteries. If a Five is taking time out of their schedule to simply be with you, that means something. These types highly treasure their alone time, so their time is often one of the most heartfelt gifts they can give.
When communicating with your Five friends, try to be as straightforward as you can. Don’t repeat things excessively or get too nosey about their personal lives. Remember that they need time alone to process their thoughts and feelings, so they don’t typically have an immediate response to a question. People who respect their need for processing time are highly valued by the Five.
When Fives get uncomfortable with a friend, they tend to appear aloof, distant, or even arrogant. They dislike being interrogated and shy away from overly aggressive or intrusive types.
A Few Other Tips:
- Try not to overdo it emotionally. Fives struggle when dealing with a lot of emotional turbulence, and often don’t know how to respond. They may respond with uncomfortable laughter or tactless responses simply because they haven’t had the time to process the emotional input you’re giving them.
- It can be a struggle for Fives to express their thoughts verbally. When they speak, listen attentively. They get frustrated when they have to repeat themselves because it takes a lot of energy for them to express themselves in the first place.
- Appreciate the Five’s objectivity, intelligence, and dry or dark sense of humor.
- Express what you need in a non-demanding, casual way.
- Never put a Five on the spot or embarrass them.
- Try to be objective and practical when working out problems. Realize that they will focus on facts and reason more than feelings.
- If you give a Five a gift, don’t expect them to be effusive in response. Realize that a lot of their feelings are beneath the surface and they can feel uncomfortable showing strong feelings or being “watched.”
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type Five – The Investigator
Enneagram Six Friendship Needs
Loyal and dependable, Sixes bring steady reliability to a friendship as well as an offbeat sense of humor. These types crave loyal friendships and often worry about the status of their relationships a great deal. Friends who reassure them of their value are greatly appreciated. It may seem silly, but Sixes like to be reminded that they are on good terms with all their friends regularly. They often worry over minor slip-ups or beat themselves up over trivial mistakes. It’s not uncommon for Sixes to worry that they’ve ruined a relationship after a small mistake or embarrassing moment.
One of the most vital needs that Sixes have in friendships comes down to trust. Sixes like it when all their cards are on the table, and when their friends’ cards are also on the table. They want to know what they’re dealing with and don’t want to be caught off guard by something unexpected. Authenticity is crucial to the Six – without authenticity, there can be no trust, and trust is key to any relationship with a Six. Try to be as open and straightforward as you can with these types.
Fear is one of the central emotions that Sixes experience regularly. They are often overwhelmed by worst-case scenarios playing through their mind. Encourage them to talk about their fears and don’t be condescending or laugh off their worries. At the same time, be honest if their anxieties are bothering you. It’s okay to need a break sometimes! The important thing is to be understanding but also honest. Ask them what they would do if their worst-case scenario actually happened. This helps them to realize that even if the worst happens they still have options.
A Few Other Tips:
- Encourage the Six to trust their own instincts and wisdom. These types tend to look outside for guidance, through books, friendships, or authorities. Urge them to learn to trust their inner guidance instead of always looking for something outside themselves.
- Remind them of the best things that could happen instead of the worst.
- Be clear in communication. Ambiguity and passive-aggressiveness drive Sixes crazy.
- When Sixes get angry, try to give them a chance to vent. If you respond with anger, they will only become angrier. At the same time, never let them bully you or use you as an emotional punching bag (this goes for any Enneatype).
- When there’s a problem that they can’t resolve, encourage them to take action on something constructive. Sometimes Sixes can get lost in worries and “what-if’s” and need to get out of their head. Taking a walk in nature, listening to a song, or doing something constructive can help them to feel more in control
- Follow through on your word. Try not to be wishy-washy.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type Six – The Loyalist
Enneagram Seven Friendship Needs
Fun-loving and variety-seeking, Sevens crave a friendship that is genuine yet exciting. They want a friend that can join them on spontaneous pursuits without trying to box them into schedules, commitments, and rigid routines. For the Seven, life is an adventure and they want to experience it to the hilt. They want to hear and share stories, engage in stimulating conversations and dabble in a wide variety of interests and experiences.
One important thing to note is that Sevens don’t want friends that are all carbon copies of them. Having a friend who can balance them out is also beneficial. Sometimes Sevens repress problems or potential difficulties. Having a friend who can remind them that some problems need addressing can be a good thing. For example, if a Seven wants a specific long-term outcome but continually makes decisions that hinder that, a friend could help them to pause and re-think their decisions in the moment. A good friend could also encourage them to share their feelings, even when it’s tough. Average to unhealthy Sevens tend to avoid too much introspection and emotional sharing, but sometimes this is exactly what they need. That said, too much pestering and prying is a major no-no.
A Few Other Tips:
- Try to be direct but gentle with criticism. Don’t lecture if possible.
- Get out with them and do physical or recreational activities. They love this!
- Acknowledge their many talents and skills.
- Realize that sometimes they get overwhelmed when analyzing feelings. Try not to probe too deeply into their emotions if you aren’t at a very close, trusted level of friendship.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type Seven – The Enthusiast
Enneagram Eight Friendship Needs
Eights feel a driving compulsion to fight for their freedom and be as self-reliant as possible. They crave friendships with people who respect their autonomy and can be completely trusted. While Eights tend to avoid being vulnerable, they actually need friendships where they can feel comfortable and safe talking about their vulnerabilities and problems. This doesn’t happen easily, though. One needs to really prove that they are trustworthy to an Eight before they’ll open up.
It’s important for friends of Eights to realize that they can get blustery and intense very quickly, especially if their autonomy feels threatened or they sense something unjust. If the Eight is angry, it’s important to stay calm and back off a little bit. Afterward, be sure to let them know if they hurt you in any way. Sometimes they’re unaware of how their words affected someone else.
It’s also crucial to be straightforward and direct with an Eight. These types don’t like it when people beat around the bush or get passive-aggressive with them. They like people who say exactly what they mean directly. They also enjoy it when people match their intensity and stand up for themselves.
A Few Other Tips:
- Never, ever gossip about an Eight or gossip around an Eight. They hate anything that remotely resembles backstabbing.
- Don’t mistake their assertiveness for a personal attack.
- Acknowledge their strengths and contributions, but don’t get overly flattering.
- Let them know right away if you’re upset with them and specifically explain why.
- Occasionally share your feelings with them so that they can feel comfortable doing the same with you.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type 8 – The Challenger
Enneagram Nine Friendship Needs
Easy-going and accepting, Nines are peace-loving friends who give others the space to be themselves without judgment. At the same time, it’s vital for Nines to have friends who see them for who they are rather than using them for their gentleness and compassion.
Friends of Nines need to make a point to show appreciation for their kindness, gentleness, and patience. It’s also helpful for friends to encourage the Nine to stand up for what they really want. Because Nines tend to defer to other people, they often deny their own desires or repress them. Friends who encourage them to air their grievances, express their true desires, and prioritize themselves are treasured. Asking questions like, “Would you like to…?” or “What are your genuine thoughts or feelings about this?” can be helpful.
Nines despise conflict, so if at all possible, keeping the environment harmonious is key. Try not to start unnecessary arguments around them and be sure to respect their idealistic viewpoints and ideas. Be kind to them and be kind to others at all times.
A Few Other Tips:
- Don’t get pushy, nagging, or micro-managing with Nines. They despise this kind of behavior.
- If you notice them always going along with what other people want to do, encourage them to share their individual interests and desires.
- Be a good listener to them.
- Understand that it tends to take them a long time to make decisions. Be as patient as possible.
- Give criticism as gently as possible.
- If they get angry, realize that it probably took them a great deal of frustration to get to this point. They don’t blow up easily. Try to hear the underlying reasons for their anger and try not to get defensive or angry in response.
Read This Next: The Enneagram Type Nine – The Peacemaker
Want to Explore More About the Enneagram?
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Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any thoughts or suggestions to add? Let us know in the comments! Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
Are You My Type, Am I Yours? Relationships Made Easy Through the Enneagram by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele
The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele
The Wisdom of the Enneagram – The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types