Skip to content

7 Signs You Have A "Type A Personality" + How To Thrive

Sarah Regan
Author: Expert reviewer:
March 12, 2023
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Kristina Hallett, Ph.D., ABPP
Expert review by
Kristina Hallett, Ph.D., ABPP
Board-certified Clinical Psychologist
Kristina Hallett, Ph.D., ABPP is a board-certified clinical psychologist with a background in neuroscience. She is also the Director of Clinical Training at Bay Path University, and an associate professor in Graduate Psychology.
March 12, 2023
We carefully vet all products and services featured on mindbodygreen using our commerce guidelines. Our selections are never influenced by the commissions earned from our links.

Whether you've heard someone describe themselves as "type A," or you're certain you're a type A personality yourself, what does it actually mean?

Here, we're diving into type A personalities, how they're different from types B, C, and D—plus how to know if you're really type A.

What is a Type A personality?

The term "type A," or type A behavior pattern (TABP), refers to a personality and behavior pattern with high degrees of achievement, impatience, ambition, and competition. According to doctor of clinical psychology Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy, they tend to be go-getters with lots of goals, with a tendency to overbook and overstretch themselves.

"They have extremely high standards, [and] they can be competitive with other people and themselves," she says, adding that type A people tend to also be rational and organized. "And because of their incredibly high standards, nothing's ever good enough—the goalposts are always moving for type A's."

TABP was first coined in the 1950s by two cardiologists, Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman, who actually argued that TABP was a risk factor1 for coronary heart disease, though the connection between the two has been further studied and somewhat debunked over time.

According to licensed therapist De-Andrea Blaylock-Solar, MSW, LCSW-S, CST, the main thing to understand with type A people is that they have a "take charge" spirit, which lends itself to that competitiveness, strong work ethic, and yes, impatience. "They do often have a self-starter within them, where they're able to run businesses effectively—or if they work within companies, they're able to work independently and work very efficiently."

7 signs of a type A personality:


You're impatient.

One of the biggest telltale signs of someone who's type A is impatience. As Blaylock-Solar explains, they work very well in fast-paced situations, and can be impatient with change or other people in general, because even though they adapt to change well, they expect the desired changes they're looking for to happen fast.


You like things done your way.

Type A people like to work independently at their own pace—which is fast. Blaylock-Solar says this can make these folks stubborn in the sense that they like things done their way. "Because they work so well independently, it can be a challenge for them to work well with others if they're not in a leadership position," she adds.


You work hard.

Type A people know how to buckle down to get something done, with an extremely strong work ethic and need to succeed. Of course, this can be their biggest strength, but as Blaylock-Solar notes, "It can be helpful, but in other times it can be seen as a negative if they're committed to the wrong thing."


You can be aggressive.

Type A people aren't ones to beat around the bush, especially if they're trying to get something accomplished or done in general. As Neo tells mindbodygreen, "They can sometimes appear aggressive, because they don't [say] the right socially appropriate things at times, and they don't really think about how they're going to pad their words for different personalities."


You're not afraid to push boundaries.

Type A peronality types are always figuratively "getting after it," whether it's a goal, a task, or a timeline. They might seem a bit high strung, but as Neo describes, "These people are the kind that you can rely on to inspire you, because they are not afraid of pushing boundaries and exploring outside their comfort zones," adding, "If we were to sum it up, they don't ask for permission—they ask for forgiveness instead."


You have a high need to achieve.

If you've always had an extreme need to succeed, you might just be type A. Neo notes that if these people have a dream or a vision—which they often do—they will find a way to make it happen, and don't need to rely on anyone else to get there. "They [think] that asking too many people for opinions is just a waste of time, or it's just a way of talking yourself out or something," she adds.


You motivate and inspire others.

Lastly, as previously noted, type As can be quite inspiring to those around them who need a nudge in the motivation department. As Neo tells mindbodygreen, "If you harness a type A person in your life, they can actually help you reach your goals or motivate you," adding that they can talk you through a situation or give you a high level plan. "So, with them in your life, it can be a lot more exciting, more stimulating, more inspiring—and they might even be very open to connecting you to other people," she says.

Differences between type A, B, C, and D personalities.

You may have heard of type B along with type A, but did you know there are types C and D, too? According to Neo, what's important to remember here is that most people will be some combination of these types, and it's ultimately about understanding your own unique blend and how you can harness the different parts of yourself based on any given situation.

Here's what the other three peronality types are all about:

Type B

According to Blaylock-Solar, type B people are a bit more flexible, fun loving, and friendly, relative to their type A counterparts. "They can be seen as pretty charismatic, and just very outgoing and energetic. They too can do well—but there's just a bit more flexibility with type B," she explains.

And as Neo adds, consider your type Bs the peaceful, zen people who don't sweat the small stuff—or even the big stuff. "They are not quick to anger and give people a warm and fuzzy feeling, so people like being around them—they're a bit of an energetic retreat from the world," she says.

Type C

According to Neo, type Cs are often confused with type As, because they're perfectionists. But she says that type Cs are actually more focused on the tiny details—to the point of being overly technical—than type As. "They like routines, having a set lifestyle, and they don't like having your routines disrupted," she says, adding that this can lead them to spend more time on their own.

This can make them come off as introverted, because they are really focused on stability, where type As are focused on achievement. Type Cs are also creative and dependable, even if they seem introverted or disengaged, Blaylock-Solar notes, explaining that they're also a bit skeptical, while also organized and analytical.

Type D

Lastly, we have type Ds, who are sometimes called depressive types, according to Neo. They might get confused with type Bs, because they seem calm on the surface, but underneath, they have some emotional troubles. "They can also be very sensitive to other people's emotions and a lot more introspective, so a lot of things can be taken personally—and even if they're hanging out with a lot of people, they don't appear to be isolated externally, but can be anxious and isolated internally," she explains.

However, this emotional depth can make them quite wise and philosophical. And as Blaylock-Solar notes, they're also observant, calm, and sincere, according to Blaylock-Solar. "But on the flip side of that, they might be resistant to change and not very assertive," she adds.

Benefits of being type A.

Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, and in the case of type A people, Blaylock-Solar notes that these folks are ambitious, independent, and can be very passionate when committed to a cause. They're also good at multitasking, organizing, managing projects, and taking the lead in general, she adds.

And as aforementioned, type A people can be inspiring and motivating forces to the people around them, not afraid to push the envelope in the name of getting something done.

Of course, whether you consider these qualities a strength or a weakness is a matter of perspective. Some may find type A people aggressive, overly competitive, and impatient, while others may find them to be hard workers, driven, and reliable.

As Neo tells mindbodygreen, "It's not about what's good or what's bad, but rather how can we make use of the way we are wired to serve us in different situations, with different people, and generally to find a sense of peace, mental wellness, and mental fitness."

She adds that when it comes to type As, they need to "reward themselves along the way, rather than wait for a big goal to be fulfilled many years later, and still move the goalposts."


How do I know if I am type A?

You might be type A if you display high levels of success-orientation, impatience, and competitiveness.

What is type B versus type A?

Type Bs are characteristically more laid back and "zen" when compared to type As. They can both succeed, but type Bs will likely have a much calmer approach to their work flow.

Is there a type C personality?

Yes, there is a type C personality, characterized by their acute attention to detail, routine, structure, and organization.

The takeaway.

Type As may be characterized or confused for being people who are neurotic or stubborn, but that's just a small chunk of the equation. These people are extremely driven and hard-working, and when they're able to apply themselves and get behind a cause, you can count on them to see their goals through to the end.

Sarah Regan author page.
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.