Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Personality Types and Traits

I'm a Type A personality. It comes with being a capricorn. Although truthfully, that's not right. I'm not strictly a Type A, because Wikipedia offers some pretty helpful descriptions of A versus B personality types and I'm not so black and white.

Type A

The theory describes a Type A individual as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, care for other people, are truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics" who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.
In his 1996 book, Type A Behavior: Its Diagnosis and TreatmentFriedman suggests that Type A behavior is expressed in three major symptoms: free-floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents; time urgency and impatience, which causes irritation and exasperation usually described as being "short-fused"; and a competitive drive, which causes stress and an achievement-driven mentality. The first of these symptoms is believed to be covert and therefore less observable, while the other two are more overt.[5]

[edit]Type B

The theory describes Type B individuals as a contrast to those with Type A personalities. People with Type B personality by definition generally live at a lower stress level and typically: work steadily, enjoying achievements but not becoming stressed when they are not achieved. When faced with competition, they do not mind losing and either enjoy the game or back down. They may be creative and enjoy exploring ideas and concepts. They are often reflective, thinking about the outer and inner worlds. May have a poor sense of time schedule, Can be predominately right brained thinkers

Granted, most people are not so exactly defined. In terms of personality traits, very few people are either 100% this or 100% that. I identify with some parts of being Type A (mostly those parts recognized in the first paragraph); I am ambitious, organized, sensitive, truthful, impatient...basically everything listed in that first section. Although the second paragraph (which sounds rather rude and scathing to me) doesn't apply to me all that much. I'm not filled with "free-floating hostility" or an overly "competitive drive". In fact, I'm not very competitive at all.

I also identify with many parts of being a Type B; I'm creative and reflective, I enjoy achievements, and I don't mind losing or backing down. I have a carefree attitude about many things that aren't school-related, as well as some that are. I like relaxing, spending time on my own, going out and enjoying nature...things that are low in stress. The idea that these two personality types are so black and white, cut and dry, one or the other - that doesn't sit right with me.

These two categories are so broad and hold so many individual traits that finding someone who is truly a Type A and fills every requirement on the extensive checklist must be near impossible. I mean, I guess I can see it being approached as a psychological diagnosis, like the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (a checklist of various characteristics to determine if an individual is a psychopath). If you fit 'x' number of traits under the Type A category, then you can be put under that classification. Although wouldn't it make more sense to have Type A traits and Type B traits? Example: Type A traits include punctuality, organization, ambition, impatience, etc.

I don't know what the point of this rant was. I guess it was to say that people can be described, but not defined. They can be introverted, studious, punctual, fun-loving, and witty...but to pick a bunch of traits and suddenly make it a type? People aren't so black and white. Take love, for instance. Most of us have ideas of characteristics we want in a partner (tall, knowledgeable, music-lover, adventurous...), but to limit our interests to a specific 'type'? That's just dumb.

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