Ashley Buenger

by Ashley Buenger


The Enneagram: Learn Your Number (pt. 3)

The Dependent Social Style: Are you a 1, 2, or 6 on the Enneagram?


If you have been told that you are sometimes quiet in social situations and bold and outgoing in others, that you seem to be the first to move toward others, or that you are often a rule follower, then perhaps you are one of these three numbers. 


This grouping of types is known as the dependent social stance. They are the ones that "move with or toward the world." These numbers wait to see what is happening around them and then act depending on what seems to be needed.


Those in this group of numbers act or feel first and think about it later; this is sometimes referred to as "thinking repressed." Each number does it differently, but it is a common denominator. 


According to the Enneagram, we are all beings that think, feel and act, but we all do one of these things first, and one of these things last. So these numbers think last, or, in the case of Type 6, they think so much that they often aren't productive with their thinking and get caught in a circuitous tornado of internal dialogue.


Finally, these numbers are known for allowing the present to inform them more than the past or the future. They often act on the moment.


Each number on the Enneagram is described below in healthy space, average space, and unhealthy space. We move into these spaces back and forth, freely, as if on a spectrum. 


Of course, some may spend more time in unhealthy or healthy spaces than others, but regardless, the path to transformation begins by being aware of these things.


These are basic introductions to the 1, 2, and 6.


Type 1: The Reformer 


Those who are a Type 1 on the Enneagram have the need to be perfect. As children, they felt they weren't valuable unless they were good. This led to them avoiding mistakes in all facets of life and striving for perfection. In addition, they often felt like they needed to be the "hero" of the family, which led to shouldering lots of responsibility at a young age.


At their best, people who are a Type 1 have a vision for how things could be. They are great at seeing things in an improved state and work to make that happen. They make order out of chaos and provide hope to others who don't have the same vision that they do. They are hard workers and complete the tasks that they are given. They are honest, ethical, and reliable.


When they are in average space, they may be bogged down by the weight of their idealism. They may be highly critical and quick to judge others. But, on the other hand, they may act aloof and self-righteous, assuming they are better than others because of their high morals.


In an unhealthy space, they respond sharply and quickly to others in a judgmental manner that is condescending. They can be uptight, impatient, and preachy. They project their perfectionism on others and have incredibly high expectations of themselves and others.


Type 1's are considered thinking repressed because they act out of their moralistic need to do the "right" thing first. But, unfortunately, they do this before they think through what is their responsibility and what isn't.


You might be a Type 1 if you:

  • Are naturally good at making improvements on things that already exist
  • Feel as if you live with a judge inside your head that is highly critical of you
  • Tend to see the world as black and white
  • Find that your principles and ideals are very important to you


Have a coworker who might be a Type 1? You can care for that person by:

  • Understanding that they have a harsh judge in their heads and sometimes their criticality comes from their expectations of themselves, not of you
  • Enlisting their help when something needs improvement
  • Encouraging them to let go of their high expectations, especially if they are unrealistic



Type 2: The Helper


Those who are a Type 2 on the Enneagram are motivated by the need to feel needed. When they were younger, they felt loved and accepted when they met other people's needs. This led to a significant role reversal in which the child took on parental duties. Often, their needs were overlooked, so they began to believe their needs were unimportant.


At their best, people who are Type 2 are genuine and loving. They are aware of others' needs and are willing to meet them without ulterior motives. They are also good at voicing their own needs. They are warm, relational, intuitive, and quick to show compassion. They have healthy boundaries and are aware when they have helped enough.


Type 2's can obsess about their relationships when they are in average space. They begin to define themselves by them. They "people-please" to gain relational equity and flatter others with the hope of being flattered in return. However, they fear that whatever they are doing is not enough.


In an unhealthy space, 2's are prideful about what they do for others. They think that their ability to help makes them better than others. They also take on a "savior" role in people's lives and begin to attach themselves to those that are "needy." They can be intrusive, demanding, manipulative and annoying. Finally, they become angry if their help isn't accepted.


Type 2's are considered thinking repressed because they usually sense or feel how others are doing first, then act on their feelings, before thinking through whether or not their help is needed or wanted.


You might be a type 2 if you:

  • Upon entering a room, you think about the needs of the people in the room before anything else
  • Spend a lot of time thinking about other people and your relationship with them
  • Are highly attuned to your feelings and comfortable expressing them
  • Realize that sometimes you are pleasing people to win them over


Have a coworker who might be a Type 2? You can care for that person by:

  • Asking them about their needs and encouraging them to express them
  • Showing genuine concern and care for them, especially when it's not in response to something they just did to help you
  • Not taking advantage of their willingness to help by asking them to do too much


Type 6: The Loyalist


Those who are a Type 6 on the Enneagram need safety and security. They often came from unpredictable or unsafe environments as children. This leads them to believe that the world is dangerous and scary, and they have trouble trusting that they can keep themselves safe.


At their best, Type 6's are very loyal friends. Once they trust someone, they are committed to their relationship with that person. Highly inquisitive and thoughtful in their question-asking, 6's love defining things and are the most dependable people you know. They are good planners and quick thinkers. They also have courage when it comes to new and unpredictable situations.


Type 6's are uncertain of themselves when they are in average space. They get stuck in spiraling thought patterns in their heads, leading to increased anxiety and fear. Because they don't trust themselves, they either blindly follow authority figures or rebel against them.


In unhealthy spaces, 6's can exhibit paranoia and debilitating anxiety. They can also be pessimistic, anticipating the worst-case scenario in any situation. They are highly skeptical of others. Type 6's can exhibit their fears as highly aggressive in response.


Type 6's are big thinkers. They need to think through situations before they occur. However, due to their anxiety about security, their thoughts can spiral in a way that keeps them repeating thought patterns without taking any action.


You might be a Type 6 if you:

  • Are good at anticipating many different scenarios and planning for each of them
  • Find you wait for people to "earn" your trust before you become their friend
  • Seem to battle a lot of anxiety about what could happen
  • Don't like having a lot of responsibility, especially in situations that require a lot of decision making


Have a coworker who might be a Type 6? You can care for that person by:

  • Listening to them when they need to talk about the things that make them anxious
  • Not dismissing them when they are standoffish, especially if it's in a first meeting
  • Giving them all the information that you have about a task that you are asking them to complete, then patiently answering all their questions


If you felt uncomfortable while reading about the 1, 2, or 6, then perhaps that number describes you. Once you identify this, please reach out, and we can dive deeper into the number that might represent you.


Identifying and learning about your number is a noble task and not an easy one. It can feel confusing and downright off-putting at first. However, as you continue to observe yourself through the lens of the Enneagram and begin to understand more about yourself, you will grow in compassion and empathy toward yourself, which will impact those around you.


It's a journey worth taking.


Need more? 

Listen to Ashley's podcast interview about the Enneagram.

Check out our YouTube and LinkedIn pages for more encouraging content.  

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