Type A vs Type B Personality: Ask These 6 Questions to Figure Out Which One You Are
Since Meyer Friedman and Ray H. Rosenman first developed their personality theory, people have been exploring the differences between Type A and Type B personalities. Stereotypically, these two types would be polar opposites. Type As are meticulous, organized and driven, which is very different to Type B’s more laid-back attitude.
Today, we know that no one is fully one type or the other. Still, if you’re wondering which way you lean, the following questions might help you figure out the type you’re closest to.
1. How well do I respond to stress?
We all deal with stressful situations differently. For example, some are terrified by the thought of public speaking, while others find it exhilarating. That’s why it’s so important to have individualized strategies to cope with stress, since how well you respond to it depends on many factors, including your personality type.
Originally, the Type A vs Type B personality theory was developed to understand the causes of heart disease. Friedman and Rosenman discovered that Type As are more likely to overwork themselves, and therefore are more prone to developing coronary disease in the future. Type Bs, on the other hand, are more relaxed and flexible and are thus better equipped to stay calm during a stressful situation. So, if you want to find out whether you're Type A, or Type B, ask yourself: how well do I respond to stress?
2. Am I a spontaneous person?
Spontaneity: something I do not naturally possess, and often admire in other people. The truth is, like most Judging personalities, I’m a planner. Having a strategy I can implement helps me stay on top of my game and work towards my goals.
If you’re wondering whether you are a Type A or Type B personality, ask yourself how spontaneous you are. Are you able to make a great presentation at work without notes, relying only on whatever comes to your mind? (If so, I applaud you.) Do you have a tendency to procrastinate? Are to-do lists your best friends?
Once again, there’s no one who is absolutely one type or the other, but understanding how much spontaneity you have could help you figure out whether you tend towards Type A or Type B – Type As being less spontaneous, Type Bs being more so. Do you delay tasks? Do you fail to set long-term goals? Read up on the Type B personality and see if it resonates.
3. Does it bother me if I can’t finish what I’ve planned for the day?
I once read a book that included correspondence from famous writers to their mothers. In one of the letters, the poet Fernando Pessoa stated that, for him, every change was “a partial death.” That quote stays with me, as, over the years, I too have struggled with the idea of change.
I’m telling this story because if you’re the overachiever Type A, you’re probably more averse to change than your Type B peers. In fact, you might see failing to complete everything you’ve planned for the day, month or year as disastrous. After all, organization is key for you.
Type Bs cope better with sudden changes, as detailed planning is not really their style.
4. Is being punctual important for me?
If there’s one thing a Type A personality dislikes, it is someone wasting their time. Your typical Type A person values punctuality, and can see running late as a sign of disrespect.
Punctuality is not as important for Type Bs. Sure, it makes a good impression, but it’s not the end of the world if someone keeps you waiting for a few more minutes than expected.
What we’re really talking about here is adaptability and compromise. Type A is a planner. If someone shows up late to a meeting and complicates their schedule, they won’t be pleased about it. Conversely, Type Bs don’t like to be rushed. As a Type B, you prefer working at your own pace, completing tasks as they come without feeling restricted. Hence, you don’t value punctuality as highly as your Type A peers.
5. Am I a naturally competitive person?
How competitive are you? In general, Type Bs are not inclined to take on complex challenges or engage in competition. Whereas for Type As, competition is the thing that gets them out of bed in the morning!
This doesn’t mean all Type As are go-getting workaholics who are out to smash every target in front of them. Type As are perfectly able to establish healthy boundaries. What it does mean, however, is that Type As tend to seek challenges in their day-to-day lives. As a Type A, you want to be the best, so you don’t play for fun – you play to win. That person who wants to beat everyone on board game night? Probably Type A.
6. Do I tend to challenge other people’s opinions?
Last, but not least, to solve the Type A vs Type B personality conundrum, reflect on whether you tend to challenge other people’s opinions. This may help you discern if you’re more of a dominant or a passive person.
As a Type B, you’re more likely to compromise and “live and let live.” Type Bs tend to be tolerant, reflective and easy going. Type As, on the other hand, are more likely to have a dominant personality and even an aggressive edge.
Let’s be clear: Type A personalities aren’t rude. Sometimes your classic Type A can be direct and blunt due to the high standards they set for themselves and others. This may come across as confrontational in some situations. But unless the Type A is very stressed, the challenge should be made without malice. It is simply the Type A’s way of getting the best possible outcome from the task at hand.
The bottom line
If you’re wondering whether you skew more toward a Type A or a Type B personality, the questions above could guide you in the process. Just keep in mind that these personalities exist on a spectrum, so you might see traits of both in yourself.