“He’s so Type A!” It’s something that we’ve all heard used to describe someone that is hardworking, demanding or extremely organized — and not always in a positive way. Now a fixture in pop-culture psychology, the concept has been around since the 1950s, when cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman found a link between heart disease and what’s now identified as Type A personality. And while the stereotypes about this kind of person are easy to recognize, concrete criteria for who is and who isn’t Type A isn’t as clear-cut, especially for someone who is, let’s say, on the compulsive side. “You realize you’re a Type A person when you work with Type Bs — and vice versa,” says Michael Sanger, manager for Hogan Assessments, a company that provides personality assessments to businesses. “And true growth happens when you appreciate and learn from the other personality type.” Don’t know if you’re a Type A? Keep reading to see how many of these traits you identify with.
Ambitious. High strung. Perfectionist.
Type A individuals are known for rather uptight behavior, but just like any other personality trait, there’s more to us than what you see on the surface. To know a Type A person is to love them — flaws and all. Below are just a few things Type A people want you to know about the personality.
1. We’re not impatient, just efficient.
Long lines? Traffic? Type A individuals loathe them all. This is because we feel as though they’re slowing our progress of a certain goal, according to John Schaubroeck, a professor of psychology and management at Michigan State University — even if that goal is just to deposit a check at the bank.
2. Arriving late to anything is agonizing.
If you tell us to be somewhere at 6:30, more likely than not, we’re rolling up to the parking lot at 6:25. Type A folks tend to have an oversensitivity to time, because we don’t want to feel like we’re wasting it.
3. We live by to-do lists.
How else are we supposed to track what we’re supposed to get done?!
4. Each task we’re assigned is urgent.
Because of this, we value team members who work with the same brevity and speed that we do. Once again, wasting time is our ultimate enemy. Type A workers “appreciate individuals that can communicate in a clear, concise and succinct manner,” psychologist and project management executive Bernado Tirado wrote in a Psychology Today blog post.
5. We’re extremely goal-oriented.
Once we commit to something, we see it through until the very end, whether it’s a work project or Friday night plans. “[Type A’s] are certainly more occupied with achieving outcomes,” Schaubroeck previously told HuffPost Healthy Living. “And given that they’re so occupied with achieving their goals, it makes sense that they would be more likely to do so.”
6. It’s hard for us to relax.
This is where time sensitivity comes into play again. We hate the idea of letting time pass if there’s something we need to be doing, so relaxing in the middle of our workday is a bit of a challenge (but necessary, as research shows). Downtime tends to feel unproductive to Type A folks — unless, of course, it’s on our to-do list.
7. We get stressed out easily.
According to Friedman, certain personalities — like Type A — are more sensitive to stress (which, as we know, is terribly bad for our health). We also tend to default on the worst possible outcome when working through a situation. Sorry in advance for the slight negativity.
8. We have nervous habits.
For me, it’s hair twirling. For others, it’s nail biting or teeth grinding. This behavior is common for Type A personalities, according to cardiologist and personality researcher Meyer Friedman.
9. We’re emotional.
The reason we behave the way that we do is because we care (some could even argue that we care just a little too much). Researchers suggest that Type A people are highly conscientious — so while it may seem like we’re uptight when we’re organizing our friend’s birthday party, it’s really just because we want it to be spectacular. They deserve it.
10. We’re constantly ruminating over something.
You know when you just replay a mistake over and over in your head? This is a common occurrence for Type A individuals. We are notorious for dwelling on our worries, sometimes to the point where it keeps us up at night.
11. We have a competitive side.
This is perhaps one of our most glaring flaws. Type A’s put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the best possible version of themselves, which sometimes is taken to mean “the best person in the room.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a work assignment or a board game, they’re all the same to a Type A personality.
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and Type A people are no exception. We mean well though, we promise.