Type As and Type Bs are well-documented personality types. They’re easy to recognize in every organization, friend group and even waiting room. But what about Type Cs and Type Ds? These personalities are not as widely talked about as their A and B counterparts, but they’re just as important and can be just as common. 

Here’s what you need to know about Type Cs and Type Ds - what they’re like, how to spot them and how to tell if you’re one of these lesser-known personality types.

What is a Type C personality?

Unlike Type As (who are always striving for more and have a sense of urgency) and Type Bs (who are relaxed and take life as it comes), Type C personalities react to stressful situations in a non-confrontational way. They are the pacifying personality type, prone to conflict avoidance and compliance. While this can help to diffuse a tense or stressful situation, Type Cs are prone to internalizing stress and repressing their emotions. They often stifle their natural reactions and as a result can come across as quiet and subdued.

Key traits of Type Cs:

  • Passive
  • Quiet
  • Conscientious
  • Patient
  • Over-compliant

What is a Type D personality?

Known as D for “distressed,” Type Ds are constant worriers. More so than the other personality types, Type D personalities face stressful situations with pessimism and negative emotions. They try to shelter themselves from stress – and with it many of life’s experiences – avoiding any and all potentially difficult or painful situations. They carry a constant fear of rejection, which means they tend to be isolated, low in confidence and often tense or down.

Key traits of Type Ds:

  • Negative
  • Nervous
  • Tense
  • Methodical
  • Insecure

How to know if you’re Type C or Type D

If you’re not sure whether you fit the Type C or Type D personality, here’s a breakdown of each personality type in three different aspects of your life: career, relationships and your thought patterns.

In the workplace

Both Type C and Type D personality types can find work and school challenging, but their experiences are very distinct:

Type Cs at work and school

As the most conscientious and meticulous personality type, Type Cs are hard-workers. They’re dedicated and detail-oriented employees. However, as they tend to squash their reactions to stress and high pressure environments, Type Cs can often come across as private and reserved, often deferring to other more outspoken personality types in many situations.

Type Cs are generally discreet and compliant, but they can also miss out on recognition at work because of their passive traits. They like stability and prefer to know where they are and what they’re doing, rather than reaching for the next goal or milestone like Type As.

Type Ds at work and school

For Type Ds, work and school can be particularly difficult because of their low self-confidence. They avoid social interactions and are usually uncomfortable in highly sociable environments, like many workplaces and schools. This nervousness also means they avoid taking part in many activities, which can mean they come across as disengaged.

As Type Ds often talk negatively about themselves, and they also lack the confidence to go after their goals. For example, it’s common for Type Ds to avoid putting themselves forward for a new job or promotion because they don’t believe that they’re capable or ready for the next step. This can hold them back and mean they feel stuck, leading to even more negativity and distress.

In Relationships

In relationships, the two personality types are also easy to tell apart:

Type Cs in relationships

Type Cs are characterized by their desire for a settled, comfortable life. In relationships, they are the peacemakers, putting others' needs above their own in most scenarios. They like to have routine and predictability in their relationships and prioritize spending time alone.

Thanks to their conflict-avoidant character traits, Type Cs are often calm and patient in relationships, but they also struggle to make their views heard. This means Type Cs can often bottle up their emotions and avoid talking about their problems with the people closest to them, leading to internal stress and suffering. These emotions may surface as passive-aggressiveness.

Type Ds in relationships

For Type Ds, relationships are often challenging. Many Type Ds struggle to make and maintain relationships because of their ever-present fear of rejection. They try to protect themselves from pain and abandonment by putting up walls and hiding their emotions as much as possible. They also struggle to trust others.

If you often feel like there’s no one you can turn to for help, you might be a Type D. Type Ds have a heightened sense of worry, sadness and concern which means they often approach relationships with pessimism.

In their internal thoughts

You can also tell whether you’re Type C or Type D by looking more at your internal world:

Thought patterns of Type Cs 

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about decisions before you make them? Do you bite your tongue and avoid saying what you think? Do you find it difficult to express your needs and feelings to others? These are classic traits of Type Cs.

You’re probably a Type C if you spend most of your time worrying about other people rather than yourself. If you find yourself keeping quiet rather than opening up about your desires or opinions, this is also a strong sign you’re a Type C personality.

Thought patterns of Type Ds 

Do you often talk negatively towards yourself? Do you put yourself down and criticize your own actions, appearance or choices? Do you worry a lot and often feel anxious? These are all signs you’re a Type D personality.

Type Ds are often sad, irritable or feel low. They’re also prone to worrying and can be easily overwhelmed. In fact, Type Ds may be more likely to struggle with mental health disorders than other personality types, so this is something to watch out for.

Are you a Type C or Type D personality?

While Type A and Type B personalities are often the stars of the show, many people might be classified as a Type C and Type D personality instead. You can recognize Type Cs from their conscientiousness and Type Ds from their risk aversion. Knowing this aspect of your personality means you can work on developing healthy habits, so that you can unlock your full potential.

Elizabeth Harris
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at bethharris.com