8 Ways Type A And Type B Personalities Express Anxiety Differently

Anxiety looks different on everyone.

anxious woman Bricolage / Shutterstock

It doesn't matter whether you're a Type A, overachieving organizer or a Type B, laid-back slacker — many people have to learn how to deal with anxiety.

Even people you see as outgoing and "King or Queen of the World," or those who are so laid back they couldn't possibly stress a thing, can struggle when it comes to dealing with anxiety.

Sometimes, it's easier to tell who's anxious from who's not, but an individual's personality type can play into how anxiety presents itself to the outside world. Here are 8 unique ways in which a Type A personality and a Type B personality express anxiety differently.


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Here are 8 ways Type A personalities and Type B personalities express anxiety differently:

1. Taking too much vs. avoiding doing something

An anxious Type A person will take on the world. Literally. When anxiety kicks in, Type A personalities sink their teeth into a bunch of projects and frantically chew themselves out. Most will complete everything they said yes to but might kill themselves in the process.


Type B is another story. The Type B personality will avoid, avoid and avoid, even if the issue is staring them right in the face. Type B will dig several different tunnels to busy oneself and hide out, doing meticulous work, but still won't do or face what they need to.

2. Constructing social situations vs. completely avoiding them

An anxious Type A might take to constructing and organizing social situations and parties, not just because they are good at that, but also because it might minimize anxiety. Planning and choosing everything can minimize anxiety for a Type A in a lot of ways: Avoiding people they don't like, maintaining predictability to soothe any anxious feelings, and providing comfort and knowledge ahead of time to make an event more enjoyable.

Anxious Type B' love to avoid when their anxiety comes to a raging head. It's not that this is a situation where someone is introverted; it's a situation where a Type B is anxious and avoids social situations to Avoid feeling uncomfortable around new people, evade discussing or confronting something or someone that may be present in a social situation, and quell the fear of being inadequate or not knowing how to behave in a situation.

The individual could really want to see the people involved in a social gathering, but there could be any number of reasons why their anxiety will keep them at home.


3. Behaving in an irritable manner vs. behaving in a passive-aggressive manner

While Type As and Bs could behave in either manner due to anxiety, you may see more Type As prone to getting outwardly irritable. It's not that Type A wants to be mean or rude, but a situation or person could make them anxious, leading to getting irritable or grouchy upon facing that situation or person. When confronted, the Type A personality is more apt to admit that they're anxious and frustrated.

Type B might behave in a more passive-aggressive way, afraid to say outright that something or someone is making them uncomfortable. This individual also doesn't mean to be difficult, but since avoiding is the anxious Type B's biggest default behavior, they might be prone to being passive-aggressive for fear of completely spilling out anxious feelings.

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4. Making excuses instead of saying no vs. being unreachable

The anxious Type A will have lots of excuses for why they "just can't make it tonight" or why they won't be doing something. You might never get a straight answer, but you'll get an answer of sorts. The Type A person likes to be prompt and RSVP, so they won't avoid you, but you'll get a runaround. Sometimes, coming clean about your fears is just difficult.


Type B will probably retreat into a man or woman cave or be "too busy" to get your calls, texts, and emails. Instead of talking about it or giving you an excuse, Type B will just hibernate socially, maybe even just from particular people they feel will know right away what the problem is, cause the anxious response, or make them confront the issue before they are ready.

5. Obsessing over being perfect vs. shrugging off desire completely

Your fretful Type A will kill themselves to make something perfect. This person will cancel plans with you and be late, dealing with whatever they are obsessing over. Perfection is not impossible in this person's eyes, but just a tiny bit difficult to achieve.

Then, you've got the Type B who is laidback enough that they can act as if something doesn't really matter, even if deep down inside, it really does. They'll end up convincing themselves that it didn't matter if something didn't happen to them. Doing this makes the anxiety lessen and keeps the person from admitting how they really feel.

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6. Choosing every wellness activity under the sun vs. taking a quiet path

The anxious Type A will try to control their constant worry with an arsenal of activities that would tire anyone out. Each day will have another activity: walking, yoga, meditation, therapy, and so on. You name it, and Type A will resort to organizing, perfecting, and constructing a treatment to combat anxiety. Of course, this plan will often only mask the issue. If only the Type A would stick to a few things, instead of overdoing it.

The concerned and worried Type B will choose a quiet path to combat those fears. This is often more effective than Type A's strategy; however, sometimes, a nervous Type B could benefit from taking more action.

7. Refusing to ever give up vs. retreating before receiving the results

Determination is wonderful, but when it's clear that something is a no-go, it would be nice for the anxious Type A to walk away from it. That won't happen, though. A worrywart Type A will steer the course, no matter how bad the storm and no matter if the boat is about to sink.

Type B will take their worries with a white flag. This person will give up, even on something that matters a lot, to dodge what could happen. And by "what could happen," we mean anything from success to failure. The feelings are too overwhelming.


8. Pressure to win vs. seeming apathetic

The nervous Type A will be at rocket-high stress levels trying to win, for fear that if they lose, everyone will deem them a failure. And that just cannot happen! Type As hates to lose, but an anxious Type A will be worried that losing will kill their social status altogether. It might seem like the Type A is just a jerk, but it's really a deep-seated need to be loved and accepted.

A hand-wringing Type B doesn't care about winning, but if they are stressed over losing out on something, the response is different than the pressured Type A. They pretend that losing doesn't matter. They can seem almost indifferent, but it's more than the worried Type B really cares, which is unlike Type B behavior. In this case, the person would rather hide these feelings than call attention.

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Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality currently writing about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, marriage, and more for YourTango, New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more.