The perfectionist, the competitor, the high-strung friend of yours.
They are the Type A personality and there is more to them than just their uptight behaviour. Beneath the surface of their personality traits, lies a whole slew of things to which you might be unaware.
Back in 1976, Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman concluded an eight-and-a-half year study of men between the ages of 35-59 and found some interesting facts about personality types through using questionnaires. Some examples of what was asked to them:
• Do you feel guilty if you use spare time to relax?
• Do you need to win in order to derive enjoyment from games and sports?
• Do you generally move, walk and eat rapidly?
• Do you often try to do more than one thing at a time?
Based on the responses they received, each participant was placed into one of two groups:
Type A behavior: competitive, ambitious, impatient, aggressive, fast talking.
Type B behavior: relaxed, non-competitive.
Even though 1976 was a while ago, their findings are still thought to be currently relative. John Schaubroeck, a Michigan State University psychology professor, has written many research papers on Type A personalities and says, “Type A is a shorthand way of referring to a predisposition that people have. It’s not like there are ‘Type A’s’ and then there are ‘Type B’s,’ but there is a continuum that as you’re more on the Type A side of the spectrum, you’re more driven, and tend to be impatient and competitive and get irritated easily by impediments to your progress on things.”
I know myself to be more of a Type A personality, and I have struggled with trying to relax for a good portion of my life. There’s a lot more to us than being an oxymoron of chaotic organization. Below are just a few of those things Type A personalities would like you to know about them.
1. It’s not impatience, it’s efficiency.
Anything that hinders us from achieving our goals- yeah, we pretty much hate that. Traffic, waiting in line, and being put on hold all fall under our umbrella of annoyance. We don’t dislike these things because we are impatient, we dislike these things because we could be doing something more productive with our time, and we have to-do lists to complete before dinner.
2. Showing up late (and early) is torture.
If we have an appointment at 7:00, you can bet we will be there at 7:00. Type A and Type B personalities have a different sense of time. Type A’s will usually always guess a minute has passed in nearly 58 seconds, whereas Type B’s casually assume a minute has passed around 77 seconds. We would never be late, and would prefer it if everyone else was just as punctual.
3. Our days revolve around to-do lists.
How else are we supposed to keep track of the numerous things we have to get done? Our brains are impressive, but we all need a bit of help now and again.
4. Each task we are given is urgent.
If you ask us to do something, we are going to get it done- and quickly. This urgency we feel makes us appreciate co-workers who have the same resolve, and who can work at the same speed as us. Again, we can not stand wasting time. Type A personalities “appreciate individuals that can communicate in a clear, concise and succinct manner,” psychologist Bernado Tirado told Psychology Today.
5. Goal-oriented? Yes, right here!
When we commit to something, we really commit. We will see something through til the very end, regardless if it is a presentation or Saturday night movie plans. “[Type A’s] are certainly more occupied with achieving outcomes,” Schaubroeck said to 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. We find it difficult to relax.
Again, this is where our sensitivity to time comes into focus. If we could be doing something productive, why would we ever relax in the middle of our workday? Downtime can feel like a challenge to us, unless we have previously scheduled it on our to-do list, of course.
7. We are easily stressed out.
Friedman’s study found that Type A’s are more sensitive to stress, and that is not good for our health. In fact, Type A personalities were found to have an increased risk of coronary heart disease due to our levels of stress. So yes, we are bundles of stress and we know that. It’s a work in progress.
8. We tend to fidget.
I click pens, but tapping your foot, grinding your teeth, and biting your nails are all considered common behaviour for those with Type A personalities. In fact, it is one way we handle our stress levels, according to researcher Meyer Friedman.
9. We have emotions and we make you aware of them.
Sometimes we go above and beyond what is expected, and we do that because we care (maybe even a little too much at times). So when we react or behave how we do, it’s because we are highly conscientious. We just really want everything to go well, especially if we have a part to play. If we seem uptight or frustrated when we are planning someone’s birthday, it’s only because it should be spectacular and we think they deserve it.
10. We don’t have an “off” switch.
Our minds are constantly going, and sometimes we can dwell on a mistake for what seems like eternity. Type A personalities often worry and overthink so much that it can keep affect our sleeping patterns, as well as our daily lives.
11. We are competitive… Especially with ourselves.
This is the one thing that most would consider a “flaw.” We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best we can be, and then expect others to put forth just as much effort for themselves. We are often disappointed. Type A’s have a need to succeed, and if that means turning a game of Monopoly into a legal battle with legitimate property rights, so be it.
Despite what you may think of us Type A personalities, we really do have the best intentions, and we care about you. You’ll see just how much on your birthday.
Written by Raven Fon