What It Means If You Have A 'Type D' Personality

21% of the population has this personality type.

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All personality types have their own unique approach to life. While some of these approaches may overlap, a Type C personality is not the same as a Type D personality, and vice versa, just as a Type A and Type B personality are dissimilar.

Personality types A, B, C and D aim to give us a simplified overview of the possible personalities around us. But one of the hardest types to understand is the Type D personality.


What is a Type D personality?

A term created by psychologist Johan Denollet, the "D" in a Type D personality refers to "distressed" behavior and thoughts. In one study, Denollet and his team found that approximately 21% of the general population are Type D individuals, which can rise to 53% in cardiac patients.

Because the D refers to distressed — both emotional distress and psychological distress — people with a Type D personality generally have a lot of worry, anxiety and depression regarding the situations and people in their life. As a result, they dislike frequent change and strive for stability, especially in their jobs and relationships.


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Repetition is a big part of the Type D person’s everyday life, meaning you probably won’t find this individual doing spontaneous things or taking risks. They want to feel safe, in control, and without conflict.

The Type D personality has an extremely pessimistic view on life, but this is their way of protecting themselves from disappointment. They are also heavily concerned with appearing to be strong and are prone to being used because of their desire to please everyone. Nonetheless, they are serious about caring for others.


Unfortunately, this personality is usually associated with poor physical health status, having a greater risk of coronary heart disease and chronic heart failure. And due to the high levels of cortisol in their stress responses, in the long-term, this leads to other health issues that affect the quality of life.

Positive Type D Personality Traits

1. Dependable

Consider yourself lucky if you have a Type D friend in your life. It’s safe to assume that you can always count on them, even at a moment's notice.

They pride themselves on being good caregivers and will stop at nothing to make sure you’re okay. Their reliability is a reflection of their desire for security; they will give to others what they expect for themselves and value emotional closeness.

2. Compassionate

A Type D personality involves high levels of empathy and compassion. They find it easy to understand where other people are coming from and are non-judgmental of the experiences of others.


Their kind and caring nature is admired by many. No one has as much compassion as a Type D person, and they are very trustworthy.

3. Hard-working

Since the Type D personality does well with repetition, they are good at jobs associated with consistent tasks. They won’t get bored of doing the same thing over and over, but rather prefer it.

They often want the approval of their boss and co-workers, and while this can be unhealthy, it guarantees that they will give their best effort in whatever they do.

4. Laid-back

Type D personalities are focused on keeping tensions low and relaxation high. They feel best in a calm environment that doesn’t ask too much of them.


That said, their self-care is usually a priority. This relaxed personality trait adds to their ability to actively listen to others and be a supportive person. If the chaos of the day-to-day ever becomes too much, they know how to get grounded.

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Negative Type D Personality Traits

1. Fearful of rejection

Due to their desire to make other people happy, Type D personalities are more prone to negative emotions. They want to help and care for others simply because they want to be accepted.

Any notion that they are not good enough could send a Type D into a tailspin. Being accepted by others gives them a sense of self-worth.


2. Dejected

Type D personalities struggle with their emotions because of their worrying. Oftentimes known for being overthinkers, they will make things seem worse than they really are.

In addition, they choose to keep their emotions bottled up for fear of burdening the people around them. This only leads to more feelings of overwhelm.

3. Insecure

The Type D personality may sometimes struggle with self-confidence and love. They put unnecessary pressure on themselves to be there for everyone, but neglect to do the same for themselves.

They tend to put their own needs to the side as a way to avoid dealing with what really needs to be worked on: themselves. Type D people are also known for partaking in negative self-talk and negative feelings.


4. Inflexible

We can all accept that change alters our lives, but this isn’t even a remote possibility for a Type D personality. If something comes along that messes up the stability they have created, they won’t handle it well.

Since our lives are constantly evolving, it’s necessary to become accustomed to the shifts, but a Type D is not confident in their abilities to do so and may see it as the world being cruel to them.

Best Careers For A Type D Personality

Considering their personality traits, these characteristics can appear in both positive and negative ways in the workplace.

Because they do not crave or even desire social interaction, it may be hard for them to form connections with their coworkers or even their boss. This also means it is difficult for Type D individuals to work with others on group projects, leading to them feeling stressed and unaccomplished.


What Type D personalities crave most in the workplace is appreciation and recognition for their hard work. Though they tend to worry quite a bit, they are entirely capable of growth when they feel they have accomplished things.

Because of these traits, Type D personalities do best in careers in law or business, and do well in job titles such as director, manager, entrepreneur, and executive.

What are Type D's similar personality types?

Type D personalities have equivalents in both the Enneagram personality types, as well as the Myers-Briggs personality types.

For Enneagram personalities, a Type D individual is most similar to type 5 (the Investigator) and type 9 (the Peacemaker) in the Enneagram, as well as in Myers-Briggs types ESTP, ESFP, ISTP, and ISFP.


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Isabella Pacinelli is a former contributor to YourTango, features editor for Ashland University's The Collegian, and freelance writer for Medina Weekly News. Follow her on Facebook for more.