How different is a type B personality from the better-known type A? It may start with how driven you are to find out.

You might be surprised to learn that cardiologists originally developed the type A and type B personality theory to find out more about the causes of heart disease.

That wasn’t the first or last time someone tried to categorize personality traits, though. Even today, many popular personality models and tests exist, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Enneagram of personality.

You’ve likely even taken an online personality test for fun.

While categorizing the way you think, feel, and behave may help you better understand some aspects of yourself, it’s important to note that human personality is complex. Personality can be defined as consistencies or tendencies in individuals across situations and time.

Even people who fall within the same personality type might not share all the same traits. Plus, most people tend to fall somewhere on the spectrum.

Despite what a personality test may say, you are unique. In fact, you might find you have traits for all types of personalities. And they’re not permanent! Change is always possible.

Some people might associate a type B personality with the pop culture representation of it that emphasizes so-called negative traits, like laziness and procrastination. That’s not accurate, though.

In general, type B personalities tend to manage stress well and adapt to change. People with this personality type can often be described as easygoing.

There’s no formal list of characteristics that are considered exclusively type B. But if you have this type of personality, you might be described as:

  • passive
  • accepting
  • relaxed
  • creative
  • flexible
  • accommodating
  • a dreamer
  • a nonstarter

People tend to associate type A personalities with jobs requiring a high level of drive and ambition, such as lawyers, health professionals, and corporate CEOs. Even though this may be a trend, that doesn’t mean it’s always the case.

One 2014 study involving 500 Pakistani medical students found that most participants actually had type B personalities. However, researchers noted that toward the final year, more people with type A personalities remained enrolled in the courses.

In general, type A personalities tend to exhibit character traits such as:

  • punctual
  • career-focused
  • goal-oriented
  • organized
  • ambitious
  • self-critical
  • competitive
  • rigid
  • opinionated
  • impatient
  • blunt

Type A personalities may also have a harder time managing stress because of some of these traits.

Some of the type A traits notably differ from those associated with type B personalities, including acceptance, flexibility, and creativity. But, this doesn’t mean that type A people can’t be accepting or creative, or that type B people can’t have ambitions or opinions.

Whether you fall under type A or type B, you can still have traits from both groups.

Research on personality types also tends to be limited. Often, participants are assessed once, rather than over time. This may not offer the whole picture when it comes to tendencies or behaviors in different situations.

That’s why it’s so important to avoid categorizing people into only two categories. Ultimately, personal experiences, environment, time, and biology play an important role in the traits you develop and in helping explain your decisions and behavior in different circumstances.

Think you might be more of a type B personality but aren’t sure whether you fit the bill?

According to Molly Muniz, a clinical social worker and executive director at Connections Wellness group, you might fit into this personality category if you:

  • tend to be aware of deadlines but aren’t controlled by them
  • are altruistic
  • usually remain calm and collected
  • don’t mind experiencing new things or considering new ideas
  • are well-liked by others
  • tend to be social
  • are more concerned with the journey than the destination
  • usually think that everything will eventually work out

“Type B folks are highly aware of others and enjoy keeping harmony at home and at work. They often appear to be free of stress and anxieties,” says Muniz.

She adds that because type A individuals can be highly competitive, it makes them potentially great for competitive sports. Type B people, on the other hand, are often excellent supporters but might not be as interested in competitions.

“No one perfectly fits any personality type completely,” adds Muniz.

Type B personality in relationships

People with a type B personality often thrive in social situations, says Muniz.

“Type Bs are often seen as the person who makes everybody feel like somebody. If you have ever seen Adam Sandler in the movie ‘Mr. Deeds,’ I feel that is the quintessential depiction of a person with type B personality,” she adds.

A type B person may also have a carefree approach to conflict resolution with their partner. They may be less likely to exhibit jealousy or to control their significant others.

In the same way, they could be less likely to put together elaborate romantic plans or to be proactive when dating someone.

If friction arises, a type B person may let things cool off before circling back to the issue. They may even avoid the topic altogether, thinking things will resolve on their own.

Research from 2011 suggests that people with type A personalities may be more likely to develop some mental health symptoms like:

  • social anxiety
  • generalized anxiety
  • depression
  • disturbed sleep patterns

However, it’s important to note that the study involved a small participant pool.

This doesn’t mean type B people live a stress-free life, though. It’s just that their tendency to let things go and adapt to change might help them manage challenges in a different way.

For example, a 2014 study suggests that a person with type B personality reacts less intensely when goals aren’t met than a person with type A personality.

Plus, because type B people tend to manage stress well, they seem to have a lower incidence of heart disease than type A people.

People with type B personalities are also usually less anxious than type A individuals, says Muniz.

Many personality theories and different ways of categorizing personality traits exist. One of them is the type A and type B personality model.

Type B personalities tend to be easygoing, adaptable, flexible, and relaxed about what the future holds. This is a direct contrast to some type A people, who can be competitive, resistant to change, and goal-oriented.

But personality isn’t black or white. It’s possible everyone has traits that belong to different personality categories. There’s also room for change and different trait expressions, depending on the situation.

In sum, there’s no such thing as positive or negative personality types. As your personality develops, you have an ongoing chance to build your character and core beliefs.