The Four Temperaments

Got an email from The Catholic Company with a sale on books about the four temperament types. Anyway, temperaments come up quite often in discussions with people in our lives and I'm always interested in the different types of people there are. In the advertisement for the books, I really liked the summary of the four temperaments...

Choleric: Enthusiasm, energy, intelligence, and a strong will. A classic go-getter who takes charges and gets things accomplished. Extraverted and self-confident, comfortable taking charge. Will always let you know what he is thinking. Values success, optimistic, extremely rational. Can grasp the big picture. Not a very good listener and hates to waste time! Does not like to delegate, is often quick to judge or form opinions and quickly drives ahead, often without planning.

Melancholic: Values the ideal (truth, beauty, justice, all that is noble). Thoughtful, pius, likes solitude and reflection. Sensitive and idealistic, tends to be introverted, deeply concerned with injustice and vice. Principled, consistent, faithful, and persevering, orderly, diligent, and detail oriented. Can often be critical or judgmental of others who don't "measure up." Slower to react, but the reactions last a long time.

Sanguine: Creative, fun-loving, high-spirited, tendency to look on the bright side and seek adventure. Enjoys people and lives "in the moment". Does not dwell on the past and is very optimistic. Enterprising and creative, enjoys inspiring others. Quick to react and quick to make new friends. Eye for detail and appearances. Eager to please. Can be inconsistent, superficial, and impulsive. Often talks before thinking.

Phlegmatic: Reserved, prudent, sensible, reflective, respectful, and dependable. Not easily insulted or provoked. Not exuberant in speech or action. Loyal, committed, supportive. Iron-willed. Often able to diffuse tense situations and is calm under pressure. Very balanced. Excellent listener. Thoughtful in speech. Do not like conflict and confrontation. Dependable, punctual and orderly, but have a tendency to be introverted. Sometimes thought to be unassertive and lacking in spontaneity.

I know which one I am, what are you?

  • Here's a great link with lots of info on the four temperaments - http://www.fisheaters.com/fourtemperaments.html - thanks Julie!

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    I can't believe this classification is still around. Temperament theory has its roots in one of the ancient four humors theory. It may have origins in ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia, but it was the Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) who developed it into a medical theory. He believed certain human moods, emotions and behaviors were caused by body fluids (called "humors"): blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. Ridiculous.

    I would give little credence to this ancient classification. It reminds me of the horoscopes of astrology that are a steady diet of newspapers even today.

    We are all unique individuals, in a state of maturation as we grow, and we can all find some dominant characteristic of each grouping as we age. We might be ambitious as young adults, thoughtful and reflective as we grow older, introverted as we meet with failure, etc.

    P.S. The fellow who described the "melancholic" person as "detail oriented" obviously was not one of that group. He misspelled "pius." However, don't stick me in that group because I can spell.