Understanding Enneagram Types In Friendship
A good bottle of wine and a long conversation—that’s the way to my heart as an Enneagram 4. I feel most loved and cared for when my friends accompany me on existential rabbit trails and allow space for all my feelings (many of which I couldn’t name if I tried).
In friendships, I’ve learned that by understanding each other’s individual needs, I can better care for them and feel better cared for myself. See, we’re all wired differently, and what benefits one of our friends isn’t always ideal for another.
That’s why I love the Enneagram so much, and the way the tool offers insight into a person’s unique makeup. When paired with communication, the Enneagram has taught me how to love my friends better and also how to ask for what I need.
When paired with communication, the Enneagram has taught me how to love my friends better and also how to ask for what I need.
Of course, communication and grace are key in any relationship, and it’s most important to be kind with ourselves and others as well all learn how to love and care for one another. This feels especially necessary right now as we move from navigating virtual friendships to being together in person again.
Below, you’ll find tips for caring for your friends (and expressing your own needs) through the lens of Enneagram numbers. Remember, these tips are not one size fits all (we’re more than our personality test results), but perhaps the Enneagram can help us all thrive a bit more in our relationships.
Not sure about your Enneagram type? Here are a few resources for finding your number.
Enneagram Type 1
Your “Perfectionist” Friend
Kicking things off on the Enneagram, Ones are the “reformer” types who thrive with structure and rules. Yet while your One friends crusade for change and try to make the world a better place, they struggle with an audible inner critic, resulting in them being incredibly hard on themselves.
Words of affirmation can mean everything for this number then. Ones desire to feel valued for their contributions to the world, and acknowledging their efforts—whether at work or home—is a sure way to express your love.
Additionally, be extra kind to your One friends, especially in moments of conflict. Even if they may point out your flaws in the heat of an argument, try not to point fingers back at them as they are likely already berating themselves. Instead, invite your friend to be honest, encouraging them to consider their “imperfections” lovingly. Remind them that you love them for who they are, not for the impossible standard they hope to become.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 1:
Speak positive affirmations over your friend. Here are 99 compliments to get you started.
Respect your friend’s need for structure and order. Do your best to call when you say you will, and show up on time when you’ve agreed to get together.
Always be honest and forthcoming; ethics is a core value for this number.
Your One friends probably have never-ending to-do lists, so it’s helpful if you remove some tasks from their plate. Urge them to use that free time for a lighthearted and playful experience instead. Adult coloring is a great option for this number.
Enneagram Type 2
Your “Host” Friend
Not to favor one number over the others, but Enneagram-type Twos make excellent friends. As the hosts and helpers of the group, they enjoy caring for people and are naturally intuitive to the needs of others.
But Twos can also forget about their own needs in a friendship. They are great listeners and genuinely want to be a safe place for their loved ones, but sometimes they need to be reminded that their needs, wants, and opinions matter as well. In conflict, particularly, encourage your Two friends to express their feelings. Otherwise, they may deflect and bury their emotions to focus on your feelings instead.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 2:
While Twos genuinely love hosting, sometimes they need (and want) a night off too. You can love your friend by swapping host roles for the evening. Invite them over for dinner or offer to throw that upcoming party at your house instead. Allow your friend to experience what it’s like to be a guest!
Encourage boundaries. Remind your friend that it’s okay to make themselves unavailable to others, whether by turning their phone off for the night or locking the front door.
Acts of service can mean a lot for this number. Make your friend a meal, offer to babysit their kids for an afternoon, bring over a cup of coffee, or send a thank you card after they host a gathering. It’s the simple things!
Enneagram Type 3
Your “Achiever” Friend
Threes love working towards goals—they also love being acknowledged for their efforts and achievements. In friendships, words of affirmation can remind Threes that their successes are seen and valued. But Threes also need honest friends who tell it to them straight—that they are loved for who they are apart from their accolades.
Likewise, this Enneagram number can struggle with confrontation as well as vulnerability in friendships, so Threes often need prompting to share how they feel. Don’t be dismissive; instead, encourage them to talk about their emotions and to “take off their many masks.” Grant your Three friends permission to stop performing by inviting them to be honest about how they truly feel.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 3:
Consider brainstorming a project you can complete with your Three friends, like training for a race or raising money for a charitable cause together. Similarly, encourage them in their personal endeavors and goals. Be their cheerleader!
Threes love feeling busy and getting things done. While they sometimes need others to step in so they can rest, they often like to plan and take charge in group settings. In these instances, ask how you can help. Affirm them in their ability to multi-task and get things done.
Encourage your Three friends to take up a non-competitive, non-performative hobby for self-care. This list of creative activities is a great place to start.
Enneagram Type 4
Your “Feelings” Friend
Writing as an Enneagram Four here: We’re drawn to experiences that invite us to engage with our feelings, and this goes for our friendships as well. Long conversations can leave us feeling seen and understood, and we feel most loved when others recognize our many emotions and allow space for them.
Additionally, we Fours need stern friends to remind us that it’s healthy to challenge our feelings and not always to take them as truth. I appreciate when my friends validate my emotions while also encouraging me to get outside (often literally) and counter my feelings with embodied activities, like solo hiking, for example.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 4:
We Fours enjoy sharing our feelings with friends—and we love when our friends are vulnerable in return. Sometimes this may look like having deep, existential conversations; other times, we may want to cry together while watching an indie film by candlelight. (Cliché yet accurate.)
Invite us to the party! Fours often feel misunderstood and invisible. While we may not always accept the invitation—we usually prefer intimate gatherings over parties—it’s the thought that counts.
Fours aren’t all heart space; we love getting outside and being playful as well. Invite your Four friends to go on a hike or take a road trip together. I promise it won’t be all conversations and wallowing in feelings—not entirely, at least. 😉
Remember: Fours (and any number for that matter) are not “too sensitive,” and we love living life through an emotional lens. We simply need our friends to help us balance our many emotions with logic and truth.
Enneagram Type 5
Your “Introspective” Friend
Likely your most private friend, Fives are introspective and analytical, and they make for incredibly curious and insightful conversationalists. They are also loyal and steady, so you can expect Fives to “show up” and remain by your side.
In conflict, be straightforward about how you feel, and don’t be surprised if your Five friends need space to process their thoughts and emotions. Don’t allow them to shut off their feelings entirely, though. Instead, gently nudge them to express their feelings, and set a date and time to revisit the conversation after they’ve had time to think.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 5:
Fives love a good conversation, especially about subjects they love. So ask your Five friends what they have learned recently or about a book they just read. They’ll also feel appreciated if you ask for their opinion and insight.
Respect a Five’s need for privacy and solitude—even if you’re a close friend. Rather than spontaneously showing up at your friend’s house for a chat (they don’t love small talk), quietly leave a book or coffee on the front porch instead.
Words of affirmation are meaningful to Fives. Let them know you value their wisdom and appreciate hearing their thoughts.
Encourage them to get outside and play in nature! Imagination and curiosity don’t always have to be serious or limited to our brains.
Enneagram Type 6
Your “Loyal” Friend
Enneagram Sixes are the Golden Retriever of friends: They are loyal, trustworthy, and sincere. It’s believed that there are more Sixes in the world than any other number, so we all likely have a few Six friends.
Skeptical in nature, Sixes can struggle to trust others though, as they long to feel safe and secure in their relationships. Knowing this, do your best to be authentic and show up for your friend when you say you will. Don’t dismiss or belittle their worries or fears, either. Instead, be a safe person for them by appreciating their need for structure, routine, and reliability.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 6:
Sixes can struggle with making decisions, but only because they want to weigh their options first. As a friend, it’s helpful if you chat through their choices with them. Encourage them to listen to their gut and trust their instincts. Be a good listener and let them know you’ll be there for them whichever path they choose.
A simple action that can make a big difference? A text or letter to remind your friend that they matter and that you’ll always be there for them.
Encourage action and play! Invite your friend on an outdoor adventure or take a trip together. Especially when they are struggling with a decision, this can help them clear their head and see the bigger picture.
Enneagram Type 7
Your “Adventurous” Friend
The light-hearted number of the Enneagram, Sevens know how to bring adventure and fun to any relationship or experience. They exude positivity, and light and joy seem to follow them wherever they go.
This can be a wonderful trait in friendships, as Sevens are often conflict and negative feelings adverse. You likely always have a good and wholesome time when around your Seven friends.
But just as our Seven friends can teach us how to view our cups half full, they need others to gently remind them that life includes grief and anger, too—and that’s okay. Offer to walk with your Seven friends as they learn to confront heavier feelings and remind them that they don’t have to repress pain. They can still be experience pleasure and happiness while recognizing the depth of their emotions.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 7:
Propose a sleepover! Equal parts playful and safe space for deeper connection, a sleepover is a great way to have fun while also encouraging your Seven friends to explore their emotions (over a bowl of popcorn, of course).
Get outside together. Sevens love adventure and physical activity. Celebrate this characteristic and affirm them in their ability to live life to the fullest.
It may come as a surprise because of how energetic they are, but Sevens actually prefer a lot of alone time, and they are very content in their own company. Respect this need and practice healthy boundaries in your friendship.
Enneagram Type 8
Your “Leader” Friend
You likely know if you’re friends with an Enneagram Eight: This number is confident, intense, and not afraid to speak up for themselves or others. As action-oriented individuals, they have a lot of energy and—like Ones—are passionate about justice and order.
But Eights can also struggle to be open with friends as they sometimes conflate vulnerability with weakness. For fear of being controlled, they remain guarded. To help with this, try offering your own vulnerabilities first. Love your Eight friends by respecting their independence while also nudging them to take off their armor. Affirm their strength, but remind them that vulnerability is a strength, too.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 8:
Respect your friend’s opinions, even if you don’t agree with them. Eights don’t fear conflict, and they enjoy healthy debate and dialogue. So be firm in your own values while respecting theirs.
If you need a shoulder to cry on, look to your Eight friends. While their intensity can be mistaken for insincerity, they love to be there for others. Acknowledge them as a safe and strong space. This can also encourage them to practice mutual vulnerability (a trait they struggle with).
Eights are born leaders, so your friend will love it if you let them take charge. They also enjoy when others ask for their opinions when making plans. If planning events or trips together, allow them to take over specific to-do list items (like booking the Airbnb).
Enneagram Type 9
Your “Peace Maker” Friend
Enneagram Nines have an extraordinary superpower: They have the ability to see all perspectives and are acutely aware of everyone’s needs and emotions. Well, that is, except for their own. Nines, as the peacemakers of the group, care deeply about harmony. They will go to great lengths to ensure everyone feels heard and seen so much that they forget they hold opinions and desires. As their friends, it’s essential we remind them their voice matters too.
When interacting with your Nine friends, affirm their compassion and empathic spirit. But also watch for when they may deflect or defer to others as a way to avoid expressing themselves.
Tips For Loving An Enneagram 9:
Nines can struggle with making decisions as they’d prefer to “go with the flow” and do what’s best for the group. Nudge them to affirm their desires by asking yes/no questions as opposed to open-ended questions. For example, instead of “Where do you want to go for dinner?” ask, “Would you prefer sushi or pasta?”
Going off that last point, practice patience with your Nine friends. Then celebrate the moments when they do make a decision.
Keep the peace! While conflict is a part of all relationships, really think hard and pick your battles with your Nine friends. They’d much prefer to spend time quality together than dialogue about politics (*side-eyeing the above number).
In conflict, give your Nine friends a lot of room and talking space. It’s a big deal when a Nine speaks up or out, especially in anger. Listen to what they have to say and thank them for weighing in on the matter.
Do you know your Enneagram number? I’d love to hear how you feel most loved by your friends in the comments below! 💛
Kayti Christian (she/her) is a Senior Editor at The Good Trade. She has a Master’s in Nonfiction Writing from the University of London and is the creator of Feelings Not Aside, a newsletter for enneagram 4s and other sensitive-identifying people. Outside of writing, she loves hiking, reading memoir, and the Oxford comma.