You've probably heard someone described as "type A" before. And if your first reaction was, "That's definitely not me," you might just be type B.
Here's everything to know about the less-discussed type B personality.
What is a type B personality?
If type A people are competitive, impatient, and achievement-oriented, type B people are the opposite, showing high degrees of flexibility, relationship-orientation, and a generally relaxed attitude. According to doctor of clinical psychology Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy, type B people are like an "energetic retreat from the world," seemingly unshakable by any outside disturbance.
And as licensed therapist De-Andrea Blaylock-Solar, MSW, LCSW-S, CST, tells mindbodygreen, type B people like to go with the flow, take things as they come, and don't worry too much about planning things out or having a regimented structure to their lives.
Flexible and friendly, "They can be seen as pretty charismatic and just very outgoing and energetic," Blaylock-Solar previously told mindbodygreen.
The terms "type A" (or type A behavior pattern, TABP) and "type B" were 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. The theory was that TABP's connection to stress could spell bad news for heart health, but since then, the connection between the two has been further studied and somewhat debunked over time.
Nevertheless, as far as personality typing goes, the differences between these two types definitely do make for very different people.
7 signs you're type B:
Unlike type A people who tend to be a bit high strung, type B people are more peaceful, low-stress people, and don't sweat the small stuff or big stuff, according to Neo. "So in other words, they're people who are incredibly zen," she previously told mindbodygreen. "For type B's, they genuinely are your 'zen-out' types, and they are not quick to anger. They give a sense of being warm and fuzzy, so people like being around them."
With their ability to stay cool as a cucumber, type B people have a certain flexibility that doesn't come as naturally to type A personalities. As Blaylock-Solar tells mindbodygreen, they're "easygoing, highly flexible, and very go-with-the-flow, whereas type As are a bit more regimented and need specific boundaries."
Type B people tend to place high priority on their relationships with others, with Blaylock-Solar noting that they're very social and outgoing. Relative to type A traits, which are a bit more focused on accomplishments, competition, and getting ahead, type B traits tend to lean more toward relating to others (i.e., friendliness, tending to others' needs, being adaptable, etc.), Blaylock-Solar explains.
Speaking of relating to others, a good word to describe type B people is "accommodating." As Blaylock-Solar explains, these folks are "definitely not as beholden to a schedule" compared to type A people, and they understand the benefit of making shifts to meet everyone's needs.
This can make them great team players, collaborators, and co-workers because they thrive on interactions with others. However, Blaylock-Solar adds, they do need to watch out for being so accommodating that they neglect their own wants and needs.
When it comes to their overall mood, type B people can be described as "even-tempered." As aforementioned, they're not quick to anger—and further, they're not quick to fluctuate emotionally in general. As Blaylock-Solar notes, they have no problem adapting to changes around them or with other people and just want everyone to be happy, so their outward demeanor will reflect that.
According to Blaylock-Solar, type B people can be very creative. She describes them as visionary thinkers who can see the big picture and who are "very good at turning ideas into workable solutions, both in the workplace and in relationships." And that creativity comes in handy when they need to be flexible with others, she notes.
Lastly, type B people can have some issues with procrastination. Blaylock-Solar notes these people might need a bit more guidance to get a job done, relative to type A people, adding that "it's easier to procrastinate when not everything is an emergency." And for type B's, things are rarely an emergency, so you get the idea.
Benefits of being type B
Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, and according to Blaylock-Solar, type B's thrive when they can be engaged with other people, collaborating, and helping to keep the peace. Their strength is in their calmness, their patience, and their ability to adapt to different situations.
"I would say a big strength is that they're great relationship builders," she says, adding that they're also creative and can come up with great ideas.
However, depending on who you ask, some might say certain type B traits can be weaknesses. While they are laid-back and low-stress, they can procrastinate, place others' needs before their own, and may even come off as lazy.
"The challenges and areas for growth could be the procrastination—and also making sure that they're prioritizing their own needs, as opposed to only working for fulfilling the needs of others," Blaylock-Solar notes. "If they are constantly putting the needs of others in front of their own, then their needs may not be met, so they definitely have to find a balance with that," she adds.
How do I know if I am type B?
You are likely a type B person if you are laid-back and carefree, placing more importance on relaxing, having fun, and fostering relationships than type A's, who focus on competition and achievement.
What's the difference between the type A and type B personality types?
While type A people tend to prioritize competition, achievement, and structure in their lives, type B people tend to focus more on having fun, being flexible and adaptable, and going with the flow.
Type B's are most well known for being laid-back and flexible people, but that's just one part of the equation. These people love to connect with others and have great ideas, and when they can be mindful not to procrastinate or ignore their own needs, they have the capacity to apply themselves in a way that is effective while also keeping the peace.
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.