Embracing the Type B Life

Embracing the Type B Life When You’re a Type A Chapter

by Haley Cahill-Teubert

I was working on an entirely different blog piece earlier in the week that lead me to Google: “Characteristics of Type A personality”. Here is the result:

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(Side note: Can my fellow Type A friends agree that “hostile” and “aggressive” aren’t the most flattering of adjectives to describe us?)

I did a bit more reading and found some other descriptions of Type A and Type B personalities.

  • Type A: Self-critical, constant sense of urgency, impatient, fast-talking
  • Type B: Adaptable to change, even tempered, patient

Anyhow, when I read this my mind went straight to recruitment. If recruitment had two personality types, formal recruitment would totally be Type A and informal recruitment or continuous open bidding would be Type B.

When I think of formal recruitment on a large campus, I tend to associate it with words like: competitive, critical, fast-paced, time-bound. Sounds pretty Type A, right?

When I think of COB though, I associate it with things like: relaxed, laid-back, flexible. It kind of puts the (Type) B in COB, yes?

Just like Type A and Type B folks thrive in their own ways based on their own personality distinctions, chapters on campuses across the country thrive in different recruitment settings.

Some members and/or chapters like the neat and tidy structure that comes with a formal recruitment experience. It has time limits, rules and quotas. The details have been perfected–outfits, door stacks, clapping patterns–the works. It’s a fast-moving environment, with pressure to make fast connections via fast conversations. There’s an end goal and part of that goal is to come out on top. And I’m willing to bet the chapters with predominantly Type A members are the chapters who appreciate formal recruitment. (Is it possible to LOVE formal recruitment? Type A friends, let me know, please.)

Other individuals and/or chapters prefer the slower pace that comes with an informal recruitment process or COB where structure is loosely defined and pressure for perfection is minimal. Few things are timed, the need to be best is nearly non-existent and stress levels are low. Type B friends, am I speaking your language?

So why does this matter?

I’ve had some recent discussions with chapters who are participating in COB for the first time in years… Or ever. It was initially super interesting to me how overwhelming, stressful and unnatural COB feels for so many.

But then it started to make sense. Sure, a different recruitment structure (or lack thereof) can be stressful because it’s uncharted territory. But I also think it’s worth exploring that for many of these chapters, maybe that source of stress comes from simple personality differences. Perhaps COB is stressful for many of us because we are used to being in control, having rules, time limits, structure and competition. In true Type A fashion, it’s only natural for some of us to be anxious when we don’t have those things–those things are a large part of our identity, not just our recruitment preferences.

So how do you embrace the Type B recruitment life when you’re a Type A person, or part of a largely Type A chapter?

I could tell you you need to stop stressing. Relax. Embrace it. It’s got to be done. But if I know anything about Type A friends, I know that’s not effective.

Instead, let me offer these thoughts:

Speaking to your goal-oriented side, you’ll be happy to know COB is in fact very goal-oriented. The goal may be smaller in quantity, but that doesn’t make it smaller in quality. Maybe your goal in formal recruitment was to hit quota and welcome 100 new members into your chapter, but you welcomed 94. Sounds like it’s time to adjust the goal. New goal: 6. The number may change, but the quality of human you are recruiting does not.

Speaking to your competitive and status-minded nature, you may be interested to know COB has a surprising competitive edge. In formal recruitment, you likely feel the need to somehow be better than every other chapter. That spirit of competition exists in formal recruitment, but with COB, the only chapter you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday. COB is an opportunity to continue to grow your chapter by offering bids to extremely qualified women who will enhance your chapter in new ways. You get the opportunity to be better than you were the day prior by being in a position to extend bids to women who don’t yet belong to a chapter. You don’t have to wait a whole year to be better than you were yesterday. You get that opportunity with every opening you have and bid you extend.

Speaking to your controlling tendencies (sorry–there’s no pleasant way to say that), you’ll probably be happy to know that because COB is much more laid back and less time-consuming, you can allocate more time and energy to other areas in life you need to control. Many of us feel like formal recruitment tends to control our lives when it’s happening, rather than us controlling recruitment. You know what I mean–when our lives becomes constant states of song practice, outfit review and decor prep. With all the time spent on formal recruitment, we lose our grip on other things. How about a recruitment structure that allows you to have control over other areas of life while still meeting your chapter’s goals? COB for the win.

Speaking to your impatient side, COB may irk you a bit, but you know what might make you even more impatient? Countless standards meetings and chapter votes surrounding members who want to withdraw from your chapter. Retention workshops because people are experiencing misaligned expectations and want to leave the chapter. With COB, you can make more meaningful connections without the pressure of timed rounds, and you can portray your chapter and membership expectations more authentically… Which might just mean extending bids to people who have a really good grasp on what it means to be a member of your organization and who truly want that. More COB now might mean less headache later.

As you can see, there are a lot of benefits to COB. (The lack of frills is my personal favorite.) Maybe it’s uncharted territory, but rather than fear it, I encourage you to recognize which elements actually compliment your personality traits so you can embrace the Type B life (and be successful with it) when you’re more of a Type A human or chapter.