Last night while discussing with some friends, I brought up being a ‘Type A’ personality and was asked to define it. My answer amounted to something along the lines of ‘motivated’ and ‘overachiever’. I don’t remember the exact phrasing but I tend to think of it as someone goal oriented. But I realized that I had never actually looked up what the formal definition is and that my notion of it was derived from conversational anecdotes, most hilariously expressed by this comic:
Indeed, people who fall under the ‘Type A Behavioral Pattern (TABP)’ are motivated and achievement oriented, but they are primarily defined by being ‘Competitive’, ‘Time Urgent’, and prone to being ‘Hostile and aggressive.’ Apparently, Drs. Friedman and Rosenman first discovered the personality type because the patients in their office worn down the upholstery in the waiting room chairs in a strange way characteristic of an impatient person who can’t sit still. They went on to publish several studies showing that being Type A made one more prone to coronary heart disease, although the findings have apparently been involved in some controversy as many were funded by the tobacco industry to try to shirk the negative health consequences of cigarettes to the personality type of people who were likely to smoke.
In reading through the ‘official’ characteristics now, I’m not sure that I have a Type A personality. I’m not prone to angry outbursts at others and I feel like I’m quite a patient person, at least with others. However, I’m very goal oriented and I don’t feel super relaxed and ‘go with the flow-y’. Many now agree that it is more of a spectrum (or have other terms like Type A-Minus), but I feel like I strongly agree or strongly disagree with a lot of the elements on both sides. So I don’t actually know what my blood type is, but I’ll go ahead and say that when it comes to personalities, I’m type AB+.
Minor spoiler alert:
The morning after this was posted, this was the theme of the New York Times Crossword puzzle:
I’m not saying that they are following my blog and writing puzzles about it immediately afterwards, but… 😹