For some reason today I thought I would investigate the “Type A Personality.” I hear people say that all the time but I never knew exactly what they meant. This is just one of those things I had never been educated in. My friend Carrie mentions Type A all the time. Carrie and I have a lot in common. We like to be organized. We have certain standards that we like to see met, in the way people treat each other, in the way people show tact and courtesy, in the way people take care of themselves and be responsible. We are responsible people.
But there are things about the Type A Personality that really just don’t fit me, but that I can see heavily in others who are, in my opinion, the definition of Type A.
Type A people have limitless problems with time. Type A’s need to be on time, they need to avoid running out of time, they need to have a watch or clock handy so they can measure time, they invest time, measure the value of time spent and time left available. These folks have issues with deadlines, as they are restricting, yet they feel they must have them and they must be met. Time is a tool for measuring and a means of limiting, confining and defining. As such, time is important to someone who has always had to meet standards and deadlines for acceptance.
I am NEVER on time. If I am on time, I will feel like I should accomplish something, and I will start another task and then before you know it I am late again. I am on my own schedule. I don’t meet people on time, I don’t make appointments on time, I don’t like ANYONE telling me when I have to be somewhere. That is, in fact, one of my biggest pet peeves. I HATE it when someone else decides when I have to be somewhere. It can push me over the edge. I don’t wear a watch. I don’t like deadlines. I don’t usually care what time it is. I get lost in what I am doing. You see, I have never fit into that mold where you get up early and go to work and you are home for supper by 4 or 5 pm and then you go to bed by 10pm. My husband and I don’t eat breakfast. I don’t get up till 9am. I don’t go to work till 10:30 am. We eat our first meal around 11:30 or noon, sometimes 1 or 2. I don’t get off work till 7pm. We eat supper around 8 or 9, sometimes as late as 10. I am almost NEVER in bed before midnight. Occasionally at 11 or 11:30 if I am tired, and usually more like 1am. Sometimes 1:30am. Type A Personalities are on time and have a problem with people that are late. I could give a shit. I don’t even care if people are late. I don’t care if I am late. You only live once.
As the type A individual is perfectionist and of low self esteem they don’t want to have any association with dirt. Getting dirty makes them feel cheap and worthless. They need neat surroundings.
I love dirt. I like to be ORGANIZED. I do like to do things a certain way, I am sometimes called a perfectionist, but I am only held to my own standards. I want to perform to my own standards. Not someone elses. I like to do things to my own ideal. But I don’t mind funk. My house gets cleaned every two weeks. By someone else. I hate cleaning. I don’t mind picking up. I don’t mind wiping off the counter. I don’t mind running the vacuum for dog hair. But I don’t like to clean. I have too much other stuff that I would rather be doing. These people who are clean freaks… good for them. Die and early death from the stress of cleaning constantly and the fumes from the chemicals. But I am not a clean freak. Ask my mom. I like to pick things up, I like everything in it’s place… but sometimes I am too lazy or sidetracked to even do that. I have one of those artsy personalities where things can just “be” and I am okay with that. My socks can be on the stove. That’s okay. My bra can be in the magazine basket. I don’t care. I tend to leave things where they dropped, and then I spend time picking up after myself and organizing. It is a real task for me to put something away each time. I tend to let things pile up and put them away later. I love to garden. I love to garden in shorts and a tank top, bare handed with bare feet. I wear flip flops outside and I take them off in the dirt. I get grungy. I hose off with the garden hose. I went to school in agriculture, I worked in agriculture. I am no stranger to being dirty. Being dirty gives me a sense of satisfaction. A feeling of a job well done. Type A Personalities feel that being dirty is degrading. Not me. I feel like I have really worked, like I enjoyed myself. Like I did something. I love plants and I love livestock and animals. I don’t mind dog hair here and there and I don’t mind dirty feet. My dad is a mechanic and I am used to his hands looking dirty, and it makes me proud that he can fix anything. I would never be ashamed of that. I get more satisfaction out of a physical job than I ever do from a task in my office.
Type A people have esteem issues, as they don’t base their value on solid ground but rather on meeting standards. As such, rather than by their inherent value as people, they value themselves and what they do by money. What’s it worth, what did it cost, how much do they earn, have and spend? They spend or give money as a way of showing love or affection. It is their empowerment and security. In relationships there is a medium of exchange and of acceptance with others and it is money.
Type A Personalities supposedly have esteem issues? Um. No. I would say I am the farthest from esteem issues of most anyone. I don’t give a shit what you think, for one. I will tell it like it is. I will wear whatever I want. I hate rules. I hate other people telling me what to wear or how to act. I like to do my own thing. I like to be creative. I like to step outside the box. I like to dress, act, talk, decorate, and live how I want. I like to be in control of my own destiny. And I am not worried about what everyone else will think about that.
Type A personalities may deny emotion or not know they have any. They may feel guilty for having or showing emotions as this would take them away from the source of real value for them which is to meet standards like a perfectly performing machine.
Okay, I know some unemotional people. I can be emotional. I tend to keep my emotions to myself, except with people that I know I can trust. My husband, my two best friends. My mom. My sister. Probably my dad. I just know that I can be overly honest and that I tend to tell it like it is. But I am not emotionless. I cry during movies and books, I love animals, I love my family. I know some type A Personalities that don’t even show love to their own children. They are so mechanical it’s absurd. That is not me. I like to be funny. I like to be relaxed. I am not a mooshy emotional type but I am not unemotional. I tend to get angry and upset easily. I just don’t always show it to everyone.
I don’t know about competitive. I like to win. But I hate competitive sports. Probably because I am a klutz and I can’t win. I like games of strategy, like chess. I like to be challenged. I like to succeed. But I don’t care about sports. I honestly don’t like to be on a team. I am more of the loner type that likes to do things my way, at my own pace. I like to know that if I win or lose there is no one to blame but myself. I am competitive, but not in ways that I see Type A’s be competitive.
I took this test: http://www.psych.uncc.edu/pagoolka/TypeA-B-intro.html and scored a 205. It is geared towards college students, but I think it makes some sense. So I was closer to a Type A personality. But I resent the fact that it suggests a person has to be Type A to get good grades and succeed in school and life. That’s just not true.
Then I took this test http://discoveryhealth.queendom.com/type_a_personality_access.html and scored a 22, and was said to be “far from having a type A Personality, as Type A was 50-100 and I was at a 22. I was described as a “stop and smell the roses” type of person. Well. Who shall I believe?A more in depth personality test has Twice (once at work, once online) categorized me as a Champion Idealist~ Having an "Identity Seeking Personality." Go here to read about famous idealists.
You can also see how Idealists relate to other stories, for example the Tin Man is the idealist in the Wizard of Oz, and the Gryffindor House is the place for Idealists in Harry Potter. "Fantasyland" is where Idealists thrive at Disney (oddly the first and place I wanted to go and the only part of Disney we visited on vacation in 2001)... and wouldn't you know that Carrie Bradshaw is the Idealist in Sex in the City? And Deanna Troy (Counselor Troy) Is the Idealist in Star Trek The Next Generation.... I don't see myself as quite as emotionally vulnerable as those people, but still... I get where they are going. Think Ghandi, Orpah, and Audrey Hepburn. Princess Diana and Joan Baez. Mikhael Gorbachev. Eleanor Roosevelt. Charlotte and Emily Bronte (ahhh How I love Wuthering Heights!) Buddha and Plato! And get this- There has NEVER been an Idealist President of the USA.
I really think the Type A/B personality is too strict. There are more than two types of people in this world. So from now on, I will be known as the “Type M” personality.