If you enjoy learning more about your personality, you’re not alone in the slightest.
The sheer volume of online personality quizzes (Which “Game of Thrones” Character Are You? anyone?) emphasizes just how common this interest is.
While it’s fun to match personality traits to your favorite fictional character (definitely not by picking the obvious answers to get the result you want), experts have developed several more scientific, research-backed methods of describing personality.
This includes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Big Five personality test.
You may have also heard of other less complicated measures — some as simple as A, B, C, and D.
While you might have some familiarity with type A and type B personalities, more recent exploration of type C personality traits may not have come onto your radar yet.
Here’s a quick snapshot: People with type C personalities often seem:
They may have trouble opening up emotionally and expressing needs, preferring to let others have their way in order to maintain group harmony.
The “c” in type C can stand for:
These traits can show up more specifically in the following behaviors:
- perfectionist tendencies
- difficulty adjusting to unwanted change
- an interest in small details
- sensitivity toward the needs of others
- outward passiveness
- a tendency to deny or avoid extreme emotions
- an internal sense of helplessness or hopelessness
Personality can be complex, so it’s not always easy (or effective) to pigeonhole your unique traits and abilities into one category.
But if more than a few of the above characteristics resonated with you, you might wonder how to determine whether you do, in fact, tend to lean toward a type C personality.
To get more insight, try asking yourself the questions below:
- Do I try my best to help others, even if it has a negative impact on my work, mood, or well-being?
- Do I research and consider my decisions (and the possible outcomes) carefully before taking action?
- Do I get frustrated when I have to work with other people — both because I prefer solitude and believe I can do a better job alone?
- Do I have trouble with self-control when stressed?
- Do I feel the need to control my environment?
- Do I spend a lot of time making sure my work has no flaws?
- Do I get along well with most people but prefer to spend my time alone?
- Do I tend to keep quiet about minor annoyances and privately stew over them?
- Is it important to me that everyone gets along?
- Do I like to spend a lot of time researching new topics and ideas?
- Do I work hard to achieve my goals?
- Do I have a hard time expressing my needs and feelings?
- Does this inability to say what I want make me feel frustrated or helpless?
Your answers don’t necessarily provide conclusive proof of your personality style.
That said, answering yes to most (or all) of the questions above suggests you align fairly well with the generally agreed-upon definition of a type C personality.
Personality is essential to who you are, but personality itself is neither good nor bad.
Like most people, you can probably name some key strengths, or things you know you do well, and a few areas you might want to work on.
If you have a type C personality, you may have noticed some of the following positive traits in yourself:
You play well with others
People with type C personalities tend to have more sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others.
You may play the peacemaker, working to help everyone come to an agreement — or at least a compromise — at work, school, or in your personal relationships.
Friends and siblings might seek your opinion on disagreements, and you might have a knack for getting people to cooperate.
When you get frustrated or annoyed, you tend to avoid expressing these feelings.
This isn’t always the most productive way of dealing with these emotions, but it does help others view you as good-natured and easy to work with.
You like to help out
Helpfulness is a key type C trait. You want things to go smoothly, and you want to keep people happy, so you might worry about how others feel and whether they’re getting what they need.
As a result, you might be the first to offer a solution when someone gets stuck.
If a coworker worries that they won’t finish their project on time, you might offer to stay late and pitch in.
If you have a type C personality, you most likely have a good eye for details and a well-developed ability to focus.
You also have a strong desire to achieve. This combination can increase your chances of success with your goals.
You have no trouble spotting potential snags and coming up with solutions along the way, and it might seem completely natural to stick with your decisions, following them through to the end.
You’re a planner
In order to achieve your goals, you’re perfectly willing to do some extra legwork to make sure you’ve chosen the best method for success. This might involve:
- researching pros and cons
- preparing for unwanted outcomes
- considering different scenarios
- preparing for future changes
All that planning generally pays off, too.
Didn’t succeed the first time? That’s alright. You have one (or a few) backup plans in your pocket.
You value facts
Who doesn’t recognize the importance of scientific evidence and other factual information?
People with type C personalities tend to have the right answers. If you don’t know something, you’ll typically take the time to do some research to find the answer and some evidence to back it up.
This tendency to prioritize facts and evidence doesn’t mean you aren’t creative. In fact, it can actually help you think more creatively.
You might have a talent for finding unique methods of using knowledge without straying from what you can prove, which can serve you well in professions like law and education.
We all have flaws and areas that could use some development. After all, we’re only human.
But learning to recognize these areas of weakness can make it easier to address them and take steps toward improvement.
If you have a type C personality, you might struggle with:
You might see letting others have their way as a way to facilitate harmony.
But not speaking up about what you want, even when it comes to simple things like what movie to watch, can eventually lead to frustration and resentment.
There’s nothing wrong with having concern for others, but this trait can contribute to people-pleasing tendencies.
Wanting others to think well of you can make it tough to say no when someone asks for help, for example.
But if you don’t really want to help or already have a busy schedule, taking on more will only increase your stress.
It’s important to make sure you express your needs, too. Part of speaking up for yourself is saying no when you need to manage your own commitments first.
People with type C personalities tend to struggle with awareness of positive or negative emotions. Others might see you as a logical, private person who always keeps their cool.
While being rational can have its benefits, suppressing your feelings can also have some downsides.
It can have a negative effect on your relationships. Difficulty expressing your own emotions can also make it challenging to understand the emotions and body language of others.
You might often think other people are angry or irritated when they aren’t, for example.
It can also affect your health. People who suppress emotions also tend to have higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and lower immunity to illness.
Dislike conflict? Maybe you find it downright terrifying and avoid it as much as possible.
That’s pretty normal as type C personalities go. You might struggle to bring up feelings of frustration and anger and express them through passive-aggression instead or suppress them entirely.
Most people don’t want to argue. But disagreeing on something doesn’t have to mean you argue about it.
People are very different, and even those who have a close relationship probably won’t always agree.
“Conflict” often seems like a bad word, but you can have constructive, healthy conflict by handling it in the right way.
Learning to work through disagreements productively will usually benefit your relationships, not harm them.
You take pride in your work. You want to have the right answers and make sure the tiniest details are correct.
The satisfaction of a job well done can motivate you, but it’s possible to spend a little too much time making sure every aspect of your work is, well, perfect.
The truth is, perfection is pretty difficult to attain.
When you focus on getting everything just right, whether you’re creating an important presentation for work or agonizing over a letter to the person you’re in love with, you often lose sight of what really matters: your hard work and your romantic feelings, respectively.
Perfectionism can also keep you from moving forward in life.
If you get caught up in trying to make something perfect, like a relationship, living arrangement, or friend dynamic, you might fail to recognize when that situation no longer meets your needs.
By expecting the worst, you can take steps to prepare for those unwanted outcomes, right? In that way, pessimistic tendencies can have some benefits.
But pessimism doesn’t always help. If you fixate on things that aren’t likely to happen, you might end up feeling too afraid of worst-case scenarios to take any action at all.
You may have also noticed pessimism tends to bring along its close friend, negative self-talk.
If you often have pessimistic thoughts, you might also end up feeling hopeless about your future or chances of success or criticize yourself in other ways.
Type C for… cancer?
If you’ve previously read anything about type C personalities, you might have stumbled across claims that people with type C personalities have a higher risk of cancer.
As mentioned above, suppressed emotions can affect your immune system. If your immune system doesn’t function as it should, you may have an increased risk for many illnesses, including cancer.
Increased stress and other hormonal imbalances could make you more susceptible to cancer when you also have other risk factors.
Mental health impact
Type C personality traits have been linked to depression and feelings of hopelessness.
Difficulty expressing emotions can play into depression. When you can’t express your needs and bottle up anger or frustration, you generally end up feeling denied, resentful, or unwanted.
If this pattern continues, you might find it hard to imagine things changing, which can contribute to hopelessness, self-criticism, and low feelings.
If you struggle with depression or hopelessness or find it difficult to share your emotions with others, a therapist can offer guidance and help you explore factors contributing to these issues.
Personality can affect how you respond to challenges and other aspects of day-to-day life, but it doesn’t directly cause those issues.
If you have concerns about certain personality traits or want to learn new methods of coping with distress or interacting with others, talking to a therapist can be a good first step.
Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.