The Type-A And Type-B Personality Types Affect Our Compatibility More Than We Know

Have you ever been accused of being "Type-A" or "Type-B"? While most people have some surface-level awareness of this common personality categorization system, its history is rarely discussed. Type-A/Type-B personality theory was actually created by two cardiologists in the late 1950s as a way to identify people who were at higher risk of developing heart disease (via The Guardian). Eventually, the study of these personality types and their correlation with heart health received a great deal of criticism for its source of funding and exclusion of women. As an indicator of heart disease risk, the theory was discredited within the medical community.


In the realm of psychology, however, Type-A/Type-B personality theory has lived on. Knowing your own personality type and that of your partner or potential partner can reveal major insights about your compatibility (or incompatibility). Here's everything you need to know about this theory and how to use it to your advantage. 

Type-A personality traits

When it comes to Type-A/Type-B personality theory, the Type-A personality is by far the most well-known. You may have even used it as a descriptor when referring to your anal-retentive boss or chronically stressed and controlling mother. It isn't all bad, though. The same personality type that has become the poster child for impatience, unhealthy competitiveness, and hostility across pop psychology is also known for ambition, motivation, self-discipline, and multi-tasking skills.


There is nothing inherently wrong with being a naturally high-performing, hard-working, competitive person. The negative connotations associated with the Type-A personality come into play when these high standards are either projected onto others or internalized to the point that the person lives in a state of chronic stress. Relying on external validation in the form of accomplishments or productivity can lead to stress levels so high that they can result in burnout or even physical and mental health problems. If you've identified yourself as Type-A, it is imperative that you prioritize self-care and stress management. 

Type-B personality traits

If the Type-A personality is one side of the coin, the Type-B personality is the flip side. This type is known to be easygoing, relaxed, patient, and calm. These people tend to put others at ease as they feel no need to compete with anyone for external validation. They may appear to march to the beat of their own drum and only seek validation from within. On paper, a person with a Type-B personality sounds like a breath of fresh air compared to a Type-A. However, no personality type is without flaws.


The same way a Type-B personality feels no pressure to compete with others, they may lack the drive to improve themselves. People with this personality type tend to struggle with procrastination and have a harder time prioritizing multiple tasks. This can lead to lower levels of academic and professional achievement. If you believe you have a Type-B personality, it is important to create a ritual for setting goals and checking in on their progress in order to prevent sacrificing success to maintain your easygoing nature. 

Personality as a spectrum

Most human behavior exists on a spectrum and personality types are no exception. If you don't completely identify with all the traits of the Type-A personality or the Type-B personality, there is no need for concern. It's perfectly normal to relate to traits from both types. Generally speaking, people who find themselves in the middle of the spectrum may have an easier time relating to and empathizing with both Type-A and Type-B personalities. This ability can make compatibility less of a challenge in relationships and provide you with many viable options when it comes to dating.


If you find yourself fitting very well into either Type-A or Type-B territory, however, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're destined to struggle when it comes to finding a compatible partner. Once you've taken the time to get to know yourself and understand which traits best complement your own, you're just as likely to find a match as anyone else is. 

Do opposites attract?

The burning question surrounding personality types and dating is whether two people of the same type or two of differing types are the most compatible. The answer really depends on your personal relationship goals. Being in a relationship with someone of the opposite personality type can rock your world in an incredibly meaningful way. If you're open to having your own views changed by intimately learning the way your partner sees the world, you'll never be the same. You'll be given the opportunity to gain incredible insight and a higher capacity for empathy.


However, it's likely that you'll eventually take your new perspective on other personality types with you into your next relationship if your personality differences become too overwhelming. When you reach the point in your life where your focus shifts from gaining life experience and developing your inner self through your relationships to finding your forever partner, it may be time to change your approach. 

Birds of a feather flock together

When you're ready to settle into a relationship that will stand the test of time, it's probably best to limit your options to potential partners who share most of your personality traits. When it comes down to it, a Type-B personality is just never going to truly understand why their Type-A partner is voluntarily working 60 hours per week, for instance, the way another Type-A would. A Type-A will never be able to fully appreciate how their Type-B partner always values the present moment over the future to the point where they frequently change plans without warning.


As you choose the person you want to team up with for the foreseeable future, consider how thin the line can be between a trait that is endearing and one that wears you down over time. Two partners of the same type are likely to experience much less interpersonal conflict within their relationship than two partners of opposing types. 

Personality types and mental health

It is important to note that some of the traits associated with both Type-A and Type-B personalities can double as the symptoms of several mental health conditions. If you struggle with extreme manifestations of Type-A personality traits like an intense fear of failure, immense pressure to succeed, compulsive organization, perfectionism, overwhelm, and chronically high levels of stress, you could be experiencing a condition such as generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).


If you exhibit extreme embodiment of a Type-B personality such as chronic disorganization, impulsivity, time blindness, inattention, and task avoidance, you may be experiencing a condition like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) of the inattentive, hyperactive, or combination variety. If traits that you previously ascribed to your personality type become problematic and interfere with your life in undesirable ways, consider seeking out help from a medical professional. You may find that you identify your personality type differently once you've addressed your symptoms and allowed your true self to shine through.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website. 


How to tweak your personality type

If you are naturally a very strong Type-A or Type-B personality, you may struggle to feel connected with others who don't share the same sharply defined traits. Fortunately, it is possible to mindfully mold your personality enough to move it a notch or two one way or the other on the spectrum. One way to do this is to spend a lot of time with people of the opposite personality type. It's hard not to be motivated by aspects of friends and loved ones that you admire and enjoy being around.


Once you've identified a trait or two of your own that you find problematic and a trait or two that you find inspiring in others, it's time to get intentional. Write down your intentions for your personality shift and revisit them often. Practice mindfulness by meditating, journaling, or starting a yoga practice. Learning to be present in the moment will help you think before you act and embrace the traits that will attract the kind of partner you're interested in.