Way back in the 1950s, cardiologist and personality researcher Meyer Friedman coined the term “Type A” in response to a pattern he was seeing in his patients. In particular, Friedman was trying to understand the link between incidences of heart disease and personality type – and noticed that individuals who were very easily stressed, very driven, and very impatient were far more likely to have a cardiac event than his relaxed, chill, go with the flow patients. He called the first group Type A, the observation was put into writing in the book he co-wrote, Type A Behaviour And Your Heart, and the rest is history.
Nowadays, Type A is no longer used to refer specifically to people who may be at a greater risk of suffering from some type of cardiac event. It’s become a bit of a nickname for a certain type of person – someone who, as Friedman observed, is extremely goal-oriented, focused on success, driven, etc. There are several personality traits that have become associated with Type A personalities over the years, and the comment “you’re so Type A!” has transcended the medical world and moved into popular culture.Everyone likely knows at least one person who fits the Type A stereotype and traits impeccably – and if you’re having a tough time picking out who that person in your life is, it might just be you! Here are 15 signs that you might be Type A.
15 You have some kind of nervous habit
While there are a ton of positive traits associated with Type A personalities, there’s one particular downside to all that overachieving – they tend to be far more easily stressed out and anxious about things than spontaneous, go with the flow Type B personalities. As a result, according to Meyer Freidman, many Type A individuals develop some type of nervous behaviour. This could be anything from biting your nails to tapping your toes to grinding your teeth to constantly tucking your hair behind your ear. It’s something you might not even be aware that you’re doing, but if you pay close attention you’ll notice it’s a habit you tend to bust out whenever you’re anxious about something. If your nervous habit is fairly innocuous, and it’s not hurting your health, don’t worry about it – however if it’s something that has an extremely negative impact on your well-being, you might want to identify and address that pesky habit.
14 You set goals for everything
Type A personalities don’t typically make a decision based on what is most appealing to them spur of the moment – their choices are almost always informed by a deeper reason, and more often than not, they’re made to help the individual achieve their goals. For example, you might set a goal to wake up earlier and establish a morning routine that sets you up for productivity the rest of the day. You might have a goal to reach a certain point in your career by a certain age, or to attain a certain net worth within a specific time frame. Heck, it might even be something as simple as setting a goal to cook more meals at home because you’re trying to watch your health. The point is, Type A personalities rarely do something for no apparent reason – there’s always a goal at play in the equation, even if it might not seem obvious at first.
13 Your schedule is insane
When you look at your schedule, you see a nicely ordered look at all the things you have coming up, from actual appointments and meetings to quasi-appointments with yourself to squeeze in things like personal development tasks or that morning work out. It calms you down to see everything all laid out and know what’s coming up. If anyone else looks at your schedule, though, they get heart palpitations almost immediately at the sheer volume of things, the specificity with which everything is scheduled, how every minute of the day is somehow accounted for. To you, it makes sense and adds value. To them, it’s terrifying. If your color-coded, ultra-organized schedule would send the average person running for the hills, that’s a surefire sign you just might be Type A. I mean, if your day isn’t scheduled, how on earth are you supposed to know what tasks need to be accomplished and what to do next?
12 Relaxing is a foreign concept
You see all those lovely lifestyle spreads and YouTube videos about having a relaxing evening to yourself – and you check them out for some tips. You’re told to do things like light scented candles, draw a warm bath filled with bubbles, get out some magazines and fun reads, put your phone on airplane mode so that you won’t be disturbed by urgent text messages or e-mails, go for a leisurely walk, etc. And the whole time you’re reading you can’t help but think – what?! Who has time for that?! For Type A personalities, it’s tough to just sit around and relax – they’d rather be working on something that helps get them closer to their goals, whatever those goals might be. I mean, sure, you need to take time to do things where you can’t multi-task, like sleep, but if you have a choice between working on something and just laying around pampering yourself, it’s a no brainer – you obviously go with the former. '
11 You hate wasting time
Type A personalities know how productive they can be – they know exactly what can be accomplished in a limited time frame and how much they can check off their to do list if they just set their mind to it. So, it’s incredibly frustrating to them to waste time. There’s nothing that drives a Type A personality crazier than having to wait in line somewhere where you know that you need whatever good or service is at the end of that line, but you also know you won’t be able to accomplish much standing around because you didn’t come prepared. Same thing with being stuck in traffic – if you can arrange to listen to a Podcast or something in the meantime and improve your mind while you’re idling in a traffic jam, that’s one thing, but if you’re stuck just sitting in the backseat of a cab, trapped in traffic on your way somewhere? Maddening. Utterly maddening.
10 You’re always trying to multitask
This one goes hand in hand with the whole hating to waste time thing. A Type A personality recognizes that a ton can be accomplished in relatively short periods of time, but they also realize that sometimes you can pack even more into your busy schedule by just multi-tasking. Most know the limits, and don’t try to do things like eat a steak while driving on a highway or something insane like that. However, there are a ton of tasks you can combine for maximum efficiency. For example, catch up on your favourite television show while getting in your cardio at the gym. Read those articles you’ve been meaning to read while eating lunch. Talk to a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with while you’re dusting your house. There are a lot of great ways to incorporate multi-tasking in your life, and Type A personalities know that very well.
9 You’re competitive
For someone with a Type A personality, the idea of coming in second is a completely foreign thing, something that they certainly aren’t going to be happy with. Sure, sometimes your best just isn’t as good as someone else’s best – it’s a humbling thing, but it’s a fact of life. However, that doesn’t mean that someone with a Type A personality is just going to lay back and let the other person win – they’re going to try their hardest to improve every facet of themselves until they’re virtually unbeatable, in every sphere of their life. They want to be the best at everything, and they’re willing to put in the work required to make that happen in many cases. A Type A personality isn’t content to get a good mark – they want to get the best mark in the class. They’re not content to win a game in their rec league team – they want to be the one that scores the game winning goal.
8 You’re likely very career focused
We’re not saying that everyone with a Type A personality is a complete workaholic, but, well, there are many traits within Type A individuals that lend themselves to career success. A Type A person has goals they want to achieve, they’re not content to come in second, they’re always trying to improve themselves, and they’ve got unstoppable energy when it comes to getting things done. That means that, quite often, they excel in their chosen career paths. And while certain industries like business get associated with Type A personalities quite often, being career focused can happen in every field – for example, a creative individual working tirelessly to build his or her brand. Type A personalities aren’t the type to get looked over for a promotion because they’re willing to put in the extra hours, they’re willing to improve anything that needs to be improved, pitch in an extra hand at a moment’s notice, and more. All those factors spell career success!
7 You live by lists
Ask any Type A person what they think about lists and they’re almost guaranteed to tell you that they literally could not live without them. From creating things as banal as grocery lists to daily ‘to do’ lists to larger lists focused on helping them achieve their goals, there’s something about writing things down and creating a plan of action that Type A personalities absolutely love. It may not compare to hurtling down a ski hill at full speed or bungee jumping, but you can’t deny that there’s a little thrill you get when you check a finished item off your to do list. If you always have multiple lists on the go that you constantly refer to and edit, that’s a surefire sign that you’re probably a Type A personality. I mean, how do people even live without lists, right? What do they do when they complete a task?
6 You’ve been described as a perfectionist/overachiever/workaholic/etc
Look, no one likes to be made to feel badly about themselves, and even though they don’t intend to do so, many Type A personalities can make others feel a little bit down on themselves for not being quite so organized or quite so hyper-productive. Moments like that are generally when the names start flying – you get called a perfectionist for not wanting to turn that project in until it’s done to your satisfaction, you get called an overachiever for reaching a life milestone before the majority of your peers, you get called a workaholic for being willing to put in the extra hours necessary to reach your goals instead of going for drinks with your friends. Type As are incredibly driven, and that can be unsettling for a lot of people – hence the name-calling. If you’ve ever been called one of the aforementioned names, you’re probably a Type A personality – so own it!
5 You’re almost always stressed about something
Type A personalities are all about doing the best possible job, taking on the most possible responsibility, and just trying to kill it constantly. On the positive side, that means they often experience a lot of successes. On the negative side, it also means they’re pretty much always stressing out about something. Perhaps it’s that reaching a particular goal is going to take longer than they had anticipated, or that they’re waiting to hear the feedback on a project that they’re proud of and spent a lot of time and effort on. If you find yourself stressing constantly, even about little things like making sure your BFF has a great birthday party, there’s a chance you’re a major Type A. While others are always telling you to relax, take a chill pill, and have confidence that everything will work out in the end, it doesn’t make a difference – you know you’re going to stress and you’ve just come to accept that.
4 You catastrophize
This without doubt comes from the same part of your Type A brain that makes you stress about every little thing. Type B people don’t get too crazy when imagining what could go wrong in a situation – they just know that there’s a chance that something might go awry, and if so, it’ll somehow get handled. No sweat. For a Type A personality, it’s a little more complicated than that. You’ll probably find yourself imagining every worst case scenario that could happen in a given situation, and convince yourself of something like if you go camping without being properly prepared and taking a wilderness course and being the best camper ever, you’ll inevitably end up eaten by a bear and then caught in a tornado. I mean, if you’re not imagining the worst case scenario, how are you going to motivate yourself to get crazy prepared for everything life might throw at you?
3 You get frustrated easily
Type As have a bit of a reputation for being aggressive or even angry, but there’s a specific reason for that – many Type A personalities get easily frustrated. It’s not because they have anger issues, it’s simply because they’re so used to being goal-oriented and always giving 110% that they can get frustrated with others who don’t look at things the same way, who are content to just be lazy or not work towards anything. They realize that you can’t dictate what other people do and how they live their lives, but they can’t help but wonder why on earth someone would choose to be so relaxed about things and just meander through life. If you’re constantly finding yourself swallowing your frustration with other people who are just giving 75% and plodding through life, if the idea of someone wasting time and just not even worrying about it drives you crazy, you very well might be Type A.
2 You’re always on time
This might seem obvious, given their love for things like scheduling and lists and their hatred for things like wasting time, but we’ll go ahead and say it – if you’re a Type A personality, chances are, ‘on time’ means 5 minutes early to you. You hate wasting your own time, so you would hate to waste someone else’s by making them wait for you. Plus, who knows what the consequences could be – if you’re a few minutes late to one thing in your day, it might take a few minutes longer than you anticipated to accommodate your lateness, and then your next task is a few minutes later, and the next, and it just creates a chaos-inducing domino effect that drives you mad. If you’re a Type A, there is no ‘fashionably late’ – you’ll arrive precisely when you’re told and not a minute later. Invitation at 7:00 pm? See you at 6:55.
1 You will make things work, no matter what
There are several negative qualities associated with Type A personalities’ goal-driven way of looking at things, such as that they’re stubborn or too aggressive, but there’s one silver lining to all that – Type A personalities are not really willing to take no for an answer. They want to reach their goals and they want to do their best and they want to succeed – so they’re willing to figure out what it takes to do that, and they’ll do it. If someone throws a wrench into their plan? Not to worry – they’ll find a way to accommodate that. If someone tells them it can’t be done? They’ll work twice as hard to prove that individual wrong. If you relentlessly focus on how to get things done, no matter how difficult or even impossible it might seem, if you know that you’ll make things work no matter what obstacles arise, that might be a sign that you’re Type A.