If you’ve never felt like you were “Type A” ― competitive, efficient and goal-oriented ― or “Type B” ― laid back, creative and living in the moment ― then perhaps you may fit into another category. Enter “Type C” and “Type D” personality traits.
The character types, which some psychologists say are frequently overlooked, are classified by a person’s inherent behaviors. Experts say Type Cs are similar to As in that they’re focused on achievement, but go about it slightly differently. Those who have a Type D personality may be more worry-prone, which makes them susceptible to mental and physical health issues.
Curious if you fall into one of these categories? Below is a breakdown of how to tell, and things to be mindful of when it comes to personality traits:
Someone with a Type C personality can be classified as an overly conscientious individual, said Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor emerita of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Like Type A folks, they are also considered to be incredibly organized and hardworking.
“They strive for accuracy and perfection, and so are constantly trying to live up to their own high standards,” Whitbourne told HuffPost. “They may also hold others to these standards and become frustrated when others are sloppy or careless.”
“They strive for accuracy and perfection, and so are constantly trying to live up to their own high standards.”
But what sets them apart from their Type A counterparts is their diligent nature. While Type As may rush through a task in order to get it off their to-do lists, Type Cs are more focused on quality and being thorough rather than the timing. In other words, they devote hours to that important work assignment ― even if they have 20 other items on their to-do list. Completion is important, but so is excellence.
Type D individuals worry more than usual and may make a fuss over unimportant things. People with Type D characteristics often don’t complain or express their anger, Whitbourne said.
“The Type D personality is, in short, ‘distressed,’” she explained. “People with a Type D personality tend to be anxious and depressed, but they also try to suppress those feelings so that the feelings never become expressed openly.”
If someone answers “yes” to statements like “I am often irritable,” “I tend to keep to myself” and “I tend to hide my feelings from others,” it’s typically an indication he or she has a Type D personality.
“People with a Type D personality tend to be anxious and depressed, but they also try to suppress those feelings so that the feelings never become expressed openly.”
Recently, psychologists have studied how Type D characteristics can affect a person’s physical and mental health (and, spoiler: it isn’t great). Research shows aspects of a Type D personality may play a role in a person’s overall mental health as well as affect their chances for cardiac disease.
“The disadvantages seem to outweigh the advantages in terms of an individual’s mental and physical health,” Whitbourne said. “Their tendency to withhold expression of their feelings means that they are unable to vent and instead turn their negative emotions inward.”
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Take note before you start disclosing you’re a Type C in a job interview or on a dating app. While some of these might sound familiar ― and perhaps even a little too accurate ― this doesn’t mean you’re squarely sorted into one personality type.
Most personality trait designations are oversimplified, Whitbourne said. In reality, people exist on a spectrum. These assessments are just designed to help you figure out what works and doesn’t work for you and your lifestyle.
“The key is knowing yourself and understanding the pros and cons in terms of your happiness and health,” Whitbourne stressed. “The designations of personality types are a bit generic, and so rather than try to squeeze yourself into a type that doesn’t completely fit you, take a more nuanced approach. That said, knowing your own inclinations in terms of personality type can help you take steps to avoid the health problems associated with each general type.”
And just because you might identify as, say, Type D or Type B right now, doesn’t mean that you’ll stay that way forever.
“Personality traits are enduring dispositions, but they can change over time,” Whitbourne said. “Your personality is not set in ‘plaster,’ but it can moderate as you gain experiences and a more informed perspective on yourself and your life.”