Monday, February 15, 2016

Which temperament are you? I'm a...


And I never knew it! (Which makes sense now.)

Years ago, in a mild frustration, I wrote about being an introvert and the quest to be understood. I wrote about how being an introvert does not necessarily mean one is shy (I am not shy) nor socially awkward (I've been told I am bubbly and charming in social situations!), but it means that one primary recharges one's energy by being alone and quiet, sometimes for long, glorious days at a time. Extroverts, by contrast, tend to rejuvenate and gain energy by being around people.

If you have met me and/or formed an impression of me and are tempted to say, "Leila, you are not an introvert!" I will ban you from this site for all eternity politely set you straight, and then even more politely (through gritted introverted teeth) ask you to do more research.

But I want to go deeper here today, past the question of whether you and I are introverts or extroverts, to the question of our specific temperament (or temperament combo) that God has given us. I have enlisted Connie Rossini, who helped me figure out (FINALLY) that I am the very temperament that I was sure I wasn't: I am a phlegmatic! YES! It's true! And since I discovered that about myself a few months ago (while giving my children temperament tests), everything in my life suddenly makes sense. I finally make sense to myself!   {happy dance! happy dance! happy dance!}

Growing up in my family of origin, I was surrounded by two intense cholerics and one intense melancholic. That experience tended to bring out qualities and characters in me that masked or distorted my phlegmatic nature. As I grew into adulthood and especially as I grew in my faith, more of my true temperament began to emerge. I still tended to think I was a melancholic/choleric, but it felt forced and it never quite fit. And that's because I'm not those! Go figure.

It's so good to have my life and habits make sense now, and to know that I'm not simply "lazy" because I need a lot of time and space to complete a task. I now recognize why I am generally non-committal unless it's one of the few things I'm passionate about, why I don't hold a grudge or live in the past, and why I work to make everyone, even my fiercest ideological opponent, comfortable in my presence (in real life, I avoid conflict like the plague).

Now it's time to throw it to Connie, who knows all about this awesome (and really very Catholic) topic of temperaments. She has even begun a series of books on how to parent your child according to his or her temperament, two that are published (A Spiritual Growth Plan For Your Choleric Child and A Spiritual Growth Plan For Your Phlegmatic Child), and two more to come.

Take it away, Connie!

Do you know your temperament?
By Connie Rossini

What are the four classic temperaments? Do you know yours? Why should you?

Recently on Facebook, Leila mentioned that she is a phlegmatic. That started a long conversation about the temperaments. Since I have written extensively on this topic, including two books in a continuing series for Catholic parents, Leila invited me to post about it here.

The idea of the temperaments began with Hippocrates (of Hippocratic Oath fame). He noticed that people tend to act in one of four general patterns. Some people react to stimuli immediately and strongly. Others react more slowly. Some hold on to their impressions. Others let go of them. Temperament theory eventually settled on four divisions that I picture like this:

The fastest way to determine your temperament is to ask yourself two questions. One pegs you as either an extrovert or an introvert. The other pegs you as a people person or idea person.

Cholerics and sanguines, the two top temperaments on the chart, are extroverts. That does not mean that they are both "people people." Instead, think of extroverts as people who are outwardly focused. They learn what they think by talking. They need lots of time interacting with others and the world around them. They tend to be full of physical energy.

Melancholics and phlegmatics are introverts. In other words, they are inwardly focused. They think first, then speak. They need lots of time alone. They usually have less physical energy than extroverts. They need more sleep to function at their best.

Here is your first question: Do you react quickly to stimuli, news, or an unexpected turn of events? If yes, you are an extrovert. If you need to think before reacting, you are an introvert.

Besides dividing the temperament square horizontally, we can divide it vertically. The temperaments on the left, cholerics and melancholics, are interested in ideas. The temperaments on the right, sanguines and phlegmatics, are interested in people.

The second question helps you determine which side you fit into. Do you hold on to impressions for a long time? For example, do you nurse past hurts? Do you have a hard time moving on? If so, you are choleric or melancholic. If you react quickly, but just as quickly move on, you are sanguine. If you react slowly and mildly and can leave the past behind, you are a phlegmatic.

Why do temperaments matter for Catholics? Fr. Conrad Hock wrote:

One of the most reliable means of learning to know oneself is the study of the temperaments. For if a man is fully cognizant of his temperament, he can learn easily to direct and control himself. If he is able to discern the temperament of others, he can better understand and help them. 

Now that I know my temperament, I realize that most of my spiritual and interpersonal struggles stem from temperamental strengths or weaknesses. Self-knowledge, the saints tell us, is essential for spiritual growth. I understand myself so much better than I used to! I realize that some things I thought were great virtues, were just natural, unlearned tendencies I did not merit. I understand why some habits seem impossible for me to overcome.

I also understand others better. I am more sympathetic towards friends' and family members' foibles. I try to work with their temperaments, especially with my husband and kids. I can see things from their perspective.

Here are some fun ways of looking at the temperaments, to help you grasp the main characteristics of each.

The temperaments as animals:

choleric - lion

sanguine - chimpanzee

phlegmatic - golden retriever
melancholic - beaver

In scientific terms:

choleric - the Big Bang

sanguine - a star

phlegmatic - inertia

melancholic - gravity


choleric - control

sanguine - fun

phlegmatic - peace

melancholic - perfection

Reaction to temperament tests:

choleric - My temperament is the best.

sanguine - Can I be what he is? [The sanguine conforms to the group.]

phlegmatic - I can't decide what I am!

melancholic - I don't believe in temperaments.

Most people have a primary and secondary temperament. These mixes can't be between opposites. In other words, these combinations don't work:

melancholic /sanguine

But most people would be one of these:

phlegmatic/melancholic (or the reverse)
melancholic/choleric  (or the reverse)
choleric/sanguine (or the reverse)
sanguine/phlegmatic (or the reverse)

These pairings share a common reaction time or length of holding on to impressions. The impossible combinations are opposites in both areas.

So, do you know your temperament? Does this knowledge help you? Feel free to ask me questions to help pinpoint yours (and your family members').


Thank you, Connie! Readers?


  1. Hi Connie, I took the quiz you posted on Leila's FB page, and I'm a melancholic/choleric. I kind of suspected it as last year I read the temperament book. Now to figure out my kids and husband. Thank you - your knowledge is so helpful!

  2. Hi Connie - can you expand a little on the difference between melancholic and phlegmatic? I don't dwell on the past or live with regrets, but I am sensitive to past hurts in trying to avoid upsetting the person who hurt me, in the same way again. Leila's self-description rang very true to myself, but my husband's words about me being a "church lady" still hurt and I try very hard to "tone it down" when it comes to him and my faith. I don't know if that made sense ...

  3. I don't see a box for Temperament Fluid. So binary! Sheesh... ;)

    1. Sanguine to the core, ya chimp. Stop having so much fun swinging around before we lion types devour you.

    2. Just throwing coconuts at you ground dwelling carnivores.

    3. I'd join you for the fun, but I'm too busy enjoying crouching, surveying, and then pouncing on unintelligent ideas (I try not to pounce people, but we cholerics get carried away). We are extremely playful, though. The smacking around prey with large paws is actually fun for us.

      Actually, Connie, to compare this to earth elements, I'm equal parts fire and air (people and ideas) but always grounded and earthy. Do you find the four earth elements are a pretty straight comparison to this chart?

  4. Replies
    1. waitwaitwaitwait lol

      Crap, does it show? It shows, doesn't it?
      Actually, according to this, I am chol/sang
      I disagree with some of the criteria for choleric category because my reaction isn't "My temperament is the best", but "That's interesting". It's more idea oriented than person oriented.

      I get the explosiveness, quick to react characteristics, but don't equate those to being arrogant or obnoxious. Maybe if some of you lazy phelmy types moved it, we cholerics wouldn't have to do all the work! Lol

  5. Wasn't St. Paul choleric? I love that site that breaks down what the saints were! Makes all of us feel good!

  6. Nubby, I believe Facebook and the federal government just gave us 52 different temperament options! Bwahahaha!!

  7. iamlori, you may be a combination between the two, as both Leila and I am. Phlegmatics are "stubborn," because they don't like to be moved. They are extremely low energy. They like to focus on just one thing at a time. If someone tries to change their opinion, move them on to something else, or get them to drop a subject, they resist. Movement is just not their thing! You see how Leila loves to discuss things on the internet, but as she said she hates conflict in person. A phlegmatic will do as others bid in order to keep the peace.

    A melancholic is very dutiful. He always does what he thinks is right (or at least tries to). He is often really slow to get things done, because every detail has to be perfect. A phlegmatic may also move slowly, but he usually doesn't care as much about details. He tends to be content with "good enough." If melancholics are stressed, they can't sleep at night. Some of them can't eat at that point either. They often have frail health. Phlegmatics rarely have a problem sleeping, but it can happen (see Leila's story from last summer). Melancholics are very emotional. Melancholic women and girls cry in public a lot. Phlegmatics are stoics. Not only do they resist showing emotion as long and hard as they can, they rarely even realize how they feel. They "put off" emoting until they can put it off no more.

    Melancholics are planners. Phlegmatics can't look farther ahead than what they are dealing with now. They will deal with problems when they arise. Why waste energy planning for something that may never happen? My melancholic son's motto is, "Expect the worst, and it won't be worse than expected." Phlegmatics tend to be hopeful, even to the point of wishful thinking at times.

    I hope that helps. I have to take the kids to piano, but I'll check back in in a couple hours.

  8. St. Paul was choleric/melancholic. Extremely principled.

    Here are some other saints quickly:

    Thomas Aquinas-phlegmatic (yes, really)
    Francis of Assisi-sanguine
    Teresa of Avila-sanguine/choleric
    Thomas the apostle-melancholic
    John of the Cross-melancholic
    John XXIII-sanguine/phlegmatic

  9. Funny, I also couldn't decide (mark of a phlegmatic!) whether I was more phlegmatic or melancholic. I always pictured melancholics as being too hard on themselves and others and therefor maybe a bit of a downer to be around so I was hoping I wan't one of those. I was reading through your comparison of both temperaments, Connie, in your response to iamlori. It seemed a sure thing that was am phlegmatic, since I have no interest in attention to detail - it's too confusing - and if I do plan ahead, I lose the planner. So now my kids know that if it's not Oct 31, then no, I haven't made their costumes yet. But then I read your melancholic son's comment about expecting the worst, and that's something I've also said. So I'll have to say I'm a phlegmatic with melancholic tendencies. Any advice on avoiding the negativity that melancholics can have?

  10. Sanguine/Phlegmatic I guess.
    Wife is no doubt Choleric

  11. Oh my gosh Connie! Those new points about phlegmatics is exactly me! Gosh I never cry, except when someone close to me dies and even then only once or twice! I feel my emotions in my head if that makes sense, but to get those tears out almost takes an act of Congress!

    I cried when I miscarried a baby but it felt cathartic and I moved on without trauma. Sometimes I wonder if I am a freak ha ha!

    My only perfectionism comes in doctrinal or logical truths, and in writing that means something, such as blog posts, letters to the editor, and the book I'm writing ha ha! Then, everything has to be just perfect and I can agonize over a comma.

    I'm wondering if that is my only splash of melancholic? So interesting!

  12. I'd also like to comment that I think it's helpful to know about temperaments in understanding your spouse. It wasn't until a year or so into my divorce that I came across something on temperaments that really explained a lot. A good deal of the conflict in my marriage came because I thought my husband was "mean", railroaded people, and thought he was *always* right. On the other hand, I admired his incredible ability to make decisions on the spot, usually really good decisions, which helped make him a successful leader in business. For his part, he was always annoyed that I could never make up my mind and thought it was ridiculous that I wanted to research before forming an opinion. If I had known about temperaments, I would not have seen my husband's attributes in as negative a light and certainly would not have taken them as personally as I did. Not that phlegmatics always have to be the ones to keep things calm - he could have done his own part to be more patient with me - but given that keeping the peace came more easily to me, I would have used that to my advantage. I definitely think an understanding of temperaments would benefit any marriage.

  13. According to this I am both an introvert and an extrovert, which is always how I've seen myself.

  14. Johanne, even though it seems contradictory, my Mom is the same way! She thrives on both being with people but she absolutely has to have her alone time, too. That's why she kept working until she was 80, but wouldn't want to talk to us in the evening for very long because that was her regrouping time. I'm so glad she's finally moving into senior apartments, so she can make friends like a social butterfly but shut her door to the world whenever she wants.

  15. I believe I am a phlegmatic/sanguine. When I was younger, I was very shy in school. I dreaded being called on in school. I also hate public speaking (I made the big mistake of taking a public speaking class in college and would not say a word in class. One day, we had to go around in a circle and say who we felt the most uncomfortable with in class. Guess who the professor said he was the most uncomfortable with? Me!). But in school I'd often be struck funny by certain words and phrases the teachers would say and laugh at the wrong moments with my best friend and then we'd get in trouble (I still managed to always get excellent grades in behavior though.). On my third grade report card, the teacher wrote: "Maria is often very silly and needs to be spoken to." Why? Because the teacher played one of the "Maria" songs in class, I got embarrassed (everyone turned to look at me!), and laughed. I didn't like the attention.

    I grew up in an alcoholic home and often hid in my room and behind a book. I LOVE LOVE LOVE books! My dream since I was eight years old was to be a writer. I still want to write a book, but Catholic pro-life ones. I'm just shy about anybody reading my stuff.

    I am mostly a homebody, but I do like to get together with family and friends. I will talk a lot with them, but if it's people I don't know or at the staff meeting at work, I clam up. Family and friends often describe me as being "fun", "funny", "silly". My husband thinks I'm just quiet with people I don't know, but around people I know he says I'm very bubbly. He doesn't think I'm very quiet. If I attend something like the staff Christmas party, I will go, but I don't like dancing. I can't dance. I will go, eat, talk a little bit, and smile, but as soon as I get home I will take off my shoes, dress, get in something more comfortable, and do something to relax like go on the computer, pray, read a book, or sleep.

    I am also very messy and been that way since I was a child. My Mom used to try to motivate me by buying me books about little girls with big hair like me LOL who had messy rooms, but eventually cleaned them up. I'm also very disorganized. I love my faith, family and friends, reading, writing, photography, laughing, and having fun. I crave peace. I get very stressed out with any type of conflict - people fighting, people unhappy, ect. I hate that. I have a few family members not getting along right now and it really bothers me. Please, please, please pray for my family! Thank you!

    So Connie? Would you say maybe I'm a phlegmatic/sanguine? Yes? Looking forward to hearing your feedback!


  16. I cry if someone hurts my feelings or I feel frustrated or stressed out. My Mom always told me I need to take assertive classes. My boss calls me "passive". I am not very assertive and often people say things that hurt my feelings. I often can't think of a retort at that moment, but after I had time to think about it, I will think of one later - a little too late. I hate this about myself. People think they can say stuff right to my face and since I was a kid, I've stood there and not said anything. Happened all the time when I was in school, I was bullied during my school years.

  17. Nubby, I think you have hit on something! Cholerics don't have to be obnoxious or arrogant anymore then phlegmatucs have to be shy. I always like to repeat that I am not shy. And public speaking? I can do that without batting an eye. In fact I *love* getting up in front of a big group and giving my thoughts to whoever will hear them ha ha!

    I make a terrible employee (deadlines and such?? Shiver!!) which is why I don't like working under anyone, even though when I did I was good. I can't grocery shop because I get paralyzed with small decisions -- it would take me about five hours to pick between the different cereals or canned vegetables, but I can make huge decisions like "let's have a baby" or "let's buy this house" or "let's stop contracepting" in no time flat.

    My father and my sister are big time choleric/sanguines, so I know who you are, Nubby! And you are awesome! But I'm still not going to get off my butt and move!! Inertia is my specialty!!

  18. Maria, I'm going to guess that you are a melancholic/phlegmatic! But Connie can set me straight.

  19. Leila, you really think so? I'm not a planner though. I do not make lists. I'm more of a "let's play it by year" kind of girl. My husband and his Mother love to make lists. Not me. It takes me a long time to do stuff too. I am very low energy and it takes me a long time to make decisions and do something. For example, in this room I'm in right now I have piles and piles of stuff but can't decide what to keep, what to give away, and what to throw away. Drives my husband crazy! How does a phlegmatic conquer this indecision business and clean and organize stuff?

  20. And I LOVE to amuse and joke with people to try to get them to laugh, but not with people I do not feel comfortable with - only people I know well. For instance, in order to make my 77 year old Mom laugh on the phone we do our "eyebrow exercises" - okay Mom, up and then down, up and then down, ect. It makes her laugh! Love making my Mom laugh! I miss her! I'm frequently asked: "Why Maria are you always so happy!" I think I annoy people sometimes esp. if they tend to be depressed like my younger sister. But I've been asked this question by a few other people too. I don't know why. I just am happy most of the time. I can't help it.

    1. Oh and I never want to offend anybody or hurt anybody else's feelings. That's why I won't make jokes with people I don't know well. I want everyone else to be happy too. Okay, that's it. I'm done trying to describe myself. Sorry for all the posts. Hugs!

  21. Ok, I think my hubby is melancholic. He's definitely not a person that speaks to think, he rarely speaks. He needs copious amounts of sleep, but I would not say he's slow or necessarily detail oriented. He's thorough, but not slow. In fact, he can't get enough hours at work sometimes because he works too fast.

  22. Maria, maybe your dominant is phlegmatic then. I don't see sanguine. Great question about the how to get organized… I only wish I knew! I am the worst organizer. The secret I think is to marry a choleric/melancholic. My husband keeps nothing and he loves to throw stuff away, and he hates clutter, so it's a win-win for me! He helps me by being the other extreme and therefore we have a pretty darned uncluttered house! I love it because I do like a clean and neat house but I'm too inert to do it myself.

    Also, forgive me if it takes me a while to answer things here because my Internet is not working at my house, and I'm doing this on my phone. Unfortunately, it makes me sign in every time I want to write a comment.

  23. Can I just be all of them?

    I wouldn't even know where to begin.

  24. By the way, that is why I love to send my husband and the boys on vacations without me sometimes, because it gives me three or four days where I don't feel rushed, I have a big cushion of time and space, and I can actually make some progress getting things done with no one around for long stretches of time!

  25. Bethany, no it's against the law to be all of them! But your answer may say something about your temperament. :)

    Kara, I think I've heard your husband talk maybe twice? So definitely not sanguine! Lol. You guys complement each other well!

  26. Leila, I believe my husband is a choleric/melancholic too. Your husband sounds just like mine. We met on Catholic Match and took the temperament tests on there - mine came out to be a phlegmatic and my husband's came out to choleric/melancholic. He doesn't understand why I'm so messy, why I can't seem to throw out stuff (I want to, but have trouble deciding what to keep and throw away!) and why stuff is stored on the floor. LOL also about sending your husband and boys on vacations without you sometimes! I usually take two weeks of vacation - one week just to be home alone by myself while Hubby is working. LOL! I LOVE being home alone! But really I should be cleaning and organizing right now, but where should I start first? And where do I put the stuff? I have no idea. LOL!

  27. Whew, I have catch up to do (but I'm phlegmatic, so that's the way I live)! So, one at a time here.

    Nubby, I thought you might be choleric/sanguine. Right now I call that the Donald Trump temperament. Hope that doesn't offend you (but you're not sensitive, right?). I have a sibling like that too and one of my godsons. My choleric son always wants to win. Everything is a contest for him. But, yes, more analytical and objective than others. Cholerics don't get offended by criticism, so they don't expect others to either. Others tend to see them as rude or bullyish, while they see themselves as forthright. They don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, they just think people should be tough enough to take criticism without getting so offended. It's a matter of perspective.

  28. Maria Therese, you do sound phlegmatic/sanguine to me. My third son has that mix. He has a mischievous sparkle in his eye, but he is really slow to move. Sanguines are also very emotional, but their emotions don't last. They cry and move on, whereas melancholics brood.

  29. Johanne, I'm interested to hear what mix you see yourself as. One temperament should be at least slightly dominant over another.

  30. Kara, I have never met a melancholic that was fast and didn't pay attention to detail. He must be a mix.

  31. Leila, I am also perfectionist about the faith and about behavior. I don't expect people to perform perfectly, but I do expect them to act uprightly at all times. I have very high ideals, but my predominant temperament keeps me from meeting them much of the time.

    Melancholics are sentimental,so many choleric/melancholics or m/c's keep everything. My mom is c/m and you should see how much stuff she still has after just downsizing to senior apartments. My husband (m/c) is much more likely to keep things than I am, because you never know when you might need something. I say, less clutter, easier to clean.

    I think you should look at some other melancholic characteristics besides perfectionism. I'll list some in another comment.

  32. Bethany, your comment "Can I just be all of them?" sounds either phlegmatic or sanguine. A sanguine would say that because he likes everything and everyone and is not a very deep thinker. A phlegmatic might feel overwhelmed by the very prospect of wading through all the information.

  33. Sharon, I know what you mean about losing the planner. I bought a planner last June and I write important things down--but I never look at it to see what I wrote! I only bought it in the first place because I an trying to overcome my fault of being disorganized.

    Cholerics are hard for phlegmatics to live with. I admire them greatly from afar for their principles, decision-making, forthrightness, and work ethic. But close up I also feel they are trying to control me and make me do things I don't want to do!

  34. Those temperament books (you, spouse, children) really rocked my family, in a good way! I'm a Sanguine/Melancholic and my husband is a Choleric/Melancholic and it just transformed our relationship! We now understand each other so much better and it's helped us to understand our daughters as well! I encourage everyone to know their temperament and the temperaments of those around them! Thanks for sharing!

  35. Thanks for that comment, Sterling, to help all the skeptics. It's helped me so much with my husband and kids too. And even my mom. I laugh at her choleric/melancholic behavior now, when aspects of it used to really bother me.

  36. This has definitely helped us in our marriage and with children. Melancholic-Melancholic married to a Melancholic-phlegmatic. We've decided to really focus on the joy aspect of the household as we can both forget it and it affects the children. We have a really sanguine, extrovert child and he used to just stump us:) we love the life and positivity this child brings to our family even though his social butterfly tendencies can be prrsonally exhausting. A few other children tend to melancholic, too. I just love the book.

  37. Oh, this is interesting! So I was wrong about Maria!

    Are melancholics always sentimental, because Dean does not have one sentimental bone in his body! He has thrown away anything that could even be considered sentimental and he is not even sentimental about family photos! Ha ha! Maybe he is 100% choleric. Or choleric/sanguine, since he would happily go to a party where he literally does not know a soul if it sounds like fun. He's a total cynic but likes to be around people in a way that would make me cringe. I remember he once went to a Kentucky Derby party when we were staying at my parents cabin in the mountains, because one of the neighbors down the street put flyers in everyone's door. He didn't know any of these people! I sent him off happily and I stayed home. He had a great time! It still makes me laugh.

    I call him an open-hearted cynic. He has no filter and he's not self-aware but he's extremely smart and goodhearted.

    1. And he's a neat freak who does his own laundry and has to live with me, phlegmatic! He is a very good man!

      By the way, I don't think I'm very sentimental. Compared to my husband I am, but anyone would be.

  38. Nubby, I thought you might be choleric/sanguine. Right now I call that the Donald Trump temperament. Hope that doesn't offend you (but you're not sensitive, right?).

    Ack! That’s a god awful comparison! I’m not offended but I certainly don’t want to be likened to Trump, ha.

    I can be sensitive, sure, but I typically won’t let anyone know that or I won’t stay offended for long. That’s because I usually have a better comeback (haaaw).

    I don’t believe in running over peoples’ feelings because no one likes a jerk, but, dang it, people need to feel feelings correctly. Totally kidding. ;)

    I am quick to action and love races and movement, yes, but I won’t honk at someone who’s daydreaming on their iphone when the stop light turns green, because I think it’s obnoxious when people beep at other people.

    And God always plays his funny games with me at the grocery store line just to see if I’ll slow down and actually receive a blessing and be a blessing at the same time while being choleric: I always get a person behind me with 5 items after I’ve just unloaded 250 things on the conveyor belt. I always offer, “Please, go ahead of me.” They are always thankful and always gracious, meanwhile, I’m inside thinking, “I gotta bust butt outta here noooowwwww just to get 15 other things done before the witching hour of 4pm!”

    My choleric son always wants to win. Everything is a contest for him. But, yes, more analytical and objective than others. Cholerics don't get offended by criticism, so they don't expect others to either.

    I don’t get offended if it’s accurate but I’ll let them know if it’s accurate or not… (hahahaha)

    To my mom, I’m a treasure. To my sister, I’m a pain in the arse. Go figure. Feeble minded, I call her. In the end, we laugh together and that’s where the sanguine part comes in to save the day.

    “Inertia is my specialty” – Leila. Lol, so what you’re saying is you’d be a helluva sprinter. :) :) :)

    I really think that bloodline (ethnicity) and birth order play a big role in temperament, too.

  39. Leila, yeah, he does not speak much at all. It drives me a little crazy lol.

    Connie, well, I dunno. He's a mystery to me. Lol

  40. Just trying to figure this out...I'm so confused. I feel like I'm some of all of them in different situations (work/home). I feel like my personality is very contradictory. Im not sure if i hold on to the past, or if i react slowly or quickly (it depends on my mood?). I am very detail oriented and self concious, except when I'm angry then I become extremely bold and like super effective with my work. Its like tunnel vision, but not with vision. Lol. I like public speaking but for issues about which I have something to say. I find it very difficult to take rejection (socially). I am very intimidated by people who are pretty and not-awkward, and I don't like social norms (kind of like Sheldon from the big bang theory minus the obnoxiousness). I tend to interrupt people. I don't judge people who quickly, I take a long time to gather in the information and give lots of chances, but once thats done and I figure them out, then I act without hesitation. I have a huge problem expressing myself coherently because I think a mile a minute. I take a lot of time to think and process, and am very patient when I think I ought to be (like with my kids). I'm physically very energetic and out doorsy, unless I have a good book to read then I'll be curled up all day. I don't eat much. I cry, but hate to let people see (but i don't mind if they see me cry during a sappy movie). I like things clean and organizational, but my thoughts even more so (hello Catholicism :D )

    I don't know if all of that information was exactly relevant. If you could figure out my temperament I'd really appreciate it, Connie :) :)

  41. Cholerics are hard for phlegmatics to live with. I admire them greatly from afar for their principles, decision-making, forthrightness, and work ethic. But close up I also feel they are trying to control me and make me do things I don't want to do!

    That's funny, because cholerics would much rather have an open challenge of control than feel like someone is trying to manipulate us by over-calculating their next move. Maybe this is more of a melancholic-type attribute over phleg. I have family stories where the choleric and melancholic went head to head and it's not what the melancholic was banking on ... lol

    The personality types don't take into account the best/worst of the type. So for a choleric, the worst type would be the pushy brute who's really high strung and hyper and always dominant (even when he's just boorish and loud). I cannot take cholerics like this and I'm wired similarly.

    Neither can I stand phlegmatics who pass the buck when it's clearly not a difficult task, it reads to me like lack of love. So the choleric comes along and says, "Gimme that! I'll do it!" And it gets done. Not because cholerics want to do it, but because they're typically energetic enough and willing enough and impatient enough to be efficient enough.

  42. Nubby, yes!! Yes to that last paragraph! Dean has already done all the dishes before company even gets up from the table, ha ha. But truly, even in every day life, I would prefer to linger at the table and maybe do the dishes after everyone else goes to bed, but he needs them done immediately. I'm sure that is annoying to him, but I want to talk with the kids or just hang out. More Mary than Martha. He is a Martha and I'm sure he just thinks I'm lazy ha ha!

    On the other hand, it's impossible for him to go out in the backyard and just sit on the swing and relax and enjoy the beauty! He can't do it because he always is thinking of things he should do like cleaning up the backyard or playing a game of basketball. It stresses him out just to relax when there so much to do! Me? I have no trouble relaxing! :)

    He's at the gym every morning before I'm even awake. Actually, he's back from the gym before I'm awake! Ha ha! And of course he goes to bed early but I'm up late into the night doing my quiet work!

  43. Connie - THE LAST ONE! Overwhelmed is the story of my life. I do tend to react quickly speaking before I think, which is why I was first thinking Sanguine. But I prefer blogs and comments because it gives me time to think before I hit "send". But my extroversion/introversion has always been super close. Plus it's not so much "liking all of them", as it is the ability to see all the sides and understanding why each is good. I was once told by a highly respected English professor that my greatest strength (and greatest weakness) is that I can see and understand every and all points of view regarding a given issue.

    Full disclosure: I get overwhelmed in the cereal aisle at Walmart.

  44. Oh, I'm with you on the dishes, Leila! They can wait! lol I may be hyper about being efficient with larger ideas, but dishes are small beer. I am doer and a thinker in equal proportions. Try that on for size. Fun to live with, I'm sure. I thinnnnkkkk then I do do do do do. I thiinnnnnnk then I dododododgogogogogmovemovmovemove! I love thinking about intrincate ideas and talking aloud to mold those thoughts (as you know), but I also have to move and exert some type of energy or I'll croak. Have. To. Mooooove.

    Personality-wise, I'm more reserved around the talky types but more talky around the socially quieter types. I try to read off what the person needs or might want in the moment.

    Dean and I would get along like gangbusters, I can tell ;)

    1. Yes, you and Dean would!! And oh my gosh just reading the description of the movement here makes me want to fall down into my bed, fluff the covers up around me and stare into space (or at Netflix) for about six hours! I'm exhausted! :D

  45. Let's distinguish between temperament and personality. According to Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP, one of the foremost spiritual theologians of the 20th century (not sure if he's still alive), temperament and character together make personality. Temperament is inborn. It's in your genes, but as with physical characteristics, there can be lots of variation in a family. Since it's genetic, it doesn't change. But character changes. Character is how we choose to relate to the world around us. It's affected by birth order, culture, religion, class, etc. It should get better and better as we grow older. So some people may be very mature and look quite different from people of the same temperament who have made poor choices or been brought up in bad circumstances. And temperament matters less and less as you grow closer to God.

    Nubby, phlegmatics often feel controlled, mistreated, or overlooked. You can see this if you look back at a lot of the comments. We have strong opinions (when we have them at all), but we secretly think we are too weak to stand fast against opposition. So when a choleric tries to change our minds we either give in at once, and get mad in secret, or refuse and maybe even have a shouting match or throw a fit. That's in person. Online, we enjoy debates because we can at last be less personal and just have our say without someone dominating the conversation or calling us names. But we rarely budge from our first opinion.

    As I said, my mom is choleric and always awaited the day I would be in charge. But then our first son was choleric! Ha ha. I've found it's easier for me to have a choleric parent than a choleric child. I always feel he's an upstart, second-guessing me and showing me up, when he really just wants to fix problems with his quick intellect and great energy. We are trying to understand each other. He's the reason I began this book series.

  46. Crystal, I would say you are primarily melancholic, with a guess that choleric may be secondary? We can explore this a little more later today. I need to have afternoon school with my boys.

  47. Bethany, seeing all sides is a classic phlegmatic trait. That's why we find decision difficult. Sometimes I just want someone else to tell me what I should think or do. And being overwhelmed is something I experience daily (hourly?). Right now I am guessing phlegmatic/sanguine for you.

  48. Remember also, that most people (I'd say 80-90%) have a mixed temperament, and every mix is a bit different. For example, out of 20 typically melancholic traits, you might have just one or 19. So if one characteristic doesn't fit you, but the rest do, don't think you're some kind of freak. And then, again, there's character in the mix.

  49. temperament and character together make personality. Temperament is inborn. It's in your genes, but as with physical characteristics, there can be lots of variation in a family. Since it's genetic, it doesn't change

    Right, this is what I mentioned earlier about bloodline being a good indicator of temperament. I'm Hungarian/Polish mostly and the smoldering Hungarians are known for two things in our gypsy blood: A need for freedom to wander and roam, and frequent fisticuffs. We make Italians look downright mild in temperament. If it's in your genes, it's in your genes. No escaping. Lol

    To run a matrix on all the possible outcomes is interesting, not just personally, but when you throw in variables like birth order and sex of siblings, etc., outcomes get interesting.

    And knowing our temperament is self-knowledge which is great, because it falls under Temperance. We can learn how to moderate and navigate our own temperaments, to bring those under control and to exert them when we need to be stronger-minded. Fun to think about.

  50. Thank you, Leila! Thank you, Connie! PS. I bought your new book on phlegmatics in the hopes of learning more about myself. I found it fascinating!

    I think you're right - I think I'm phlegmatic/sanguine BUT I have more phlegmatic traits than sanguine. For example, I don't like crowds, talking in front of a group, ect. Most of all, I want peace and for everyone to get along. I think both my parents, brother (we're Irish twins!), and I are all phlegmatics. Is that common? I haven't figured out my sister yet. She suffers from depression and tends to dwell on things. She used to love starring in plays though (she wanted to be an actress), has no problem speaking up for herself, and seems to love attention. Maybe she is a sanguine/melancholic? Does that sound right? I think my beloved Nana (may she rest in peace) was a sanguine. She loves to have parties at her house, meet new people, and wear beautiful clothing. Nana and I used to laugh for hours together and had the same sense of humor. I miss her so much!

  51. So when a choleric tries to change our minds we either give in at once, and get mad in secret, or refuse and maybe even have a shouting match or throw a fit.

    Oh, I know ;) I have seen some weird stuff from phleg's in my family over the years when they do not like the strength they see in someone else. Like, calculated, pass-agg, non-virtuous responses. Just not cool. It's mostly insecurity in these people, I don't know that it's solely a temperament issue. Some people just do not like people who are strong-willed or strong-minded - because we cannot be manipulated Lol Foils their plans, I guess... wahh wahhh sad trombone... And I'm not even saying there has to be some huge choleric display. I'm saying, as a choleric, I can say nothing, doesn't mean I agree or disagree. And the phleg's are not liking that silence because they want to know what move to do next. More a manipulation thing that I won't play into (heh, oh how they hate my type lol)


    1. LOL Is that you sanguine to me choleric or choleric to phleg?

      that is hilariously awesome tho-- hahaha

    2. Sang/phleg to choleric. Can you give us a moment to THINK!
      My Wife will text " you need to call bob tel him to get a hold of Rick and have him cancel the thing and order thing...."
      Me: " I wonder how old bob is doing...."
      2 minutes later, new text: " never mind, done. Bob is fine now go back to sleep"

    3. Hey, pal, she gits it donnnne! You're over there lollygagging about Bob's potential state of being and she's ON IT. She's like, "Never mind, slowpoke, it's already been tended to, but THANKS FOR YOUR NON-ASSISTANCE!"

    4. This complementarity would be exactly why you guys need to have a podcast!

    5. Hahaha Obviously, Chris wouldn't get a word in edge wise because he's dayyy dreamin over there! I'd be snapping the fingers--- wake up wake up let's go go gooooo!

      I married a Sanguine/Sanguine/Sanguine/Sanguine ^10000, I am sure of it. Saved me from myself. It's a running joke when I start getting all wound up with my usual moving temperament and he's like, all grinning with a hand pat, "There's my sweet little docile flower!" Kills me everytime...

    6. So years ago we were building an addition and we had big problem with permitting because of a ridiculous, obscure, never gonna happen public right of way sidewalk issue. The lady was impossible sitting on her little throne of obstructionist power. Three times I went to plead our case and was stonewalled with impossible red tape. Our contractor said " let me take of this, I know how to deal with these people, leave it to me". Came back with his tail between his legs saying it's impossible, just not gonna happen.
      My wife ( now highly irritated and not buying our explanations), puts on her power attire and battle make-up, tells us to watch the kids and leaves for 2 hours. Returns with all issues resolved as we stood in utter amazement.

    7. Nothing to do with your temperament.
      That's because you're dudes. Leave it to the woman to get anything done. And a choleric woman, to boot. ;)

      Uhoh, was that sexist?

    8. Yes miss Steinam it is. But you'll appreciate us when a running sword fight breaks out in street. That can happen any time ha know.

    9. OhNoUDidn't just call me dat... take it back! take it back, now you happy-go-lucky, starlight, conformist, chimpanzee! (See post descriptors)

      And it's no secret that I'm a fan of the male sex. Huge fan. Huge.

      Do you think your wife is viewed as domineering, being a choleric?

    10. Literally LOL!
      My late uncle would often say " oh, I'm tired of all this happy-go-lucky bs!"

    11. haha OMg I love him already and I never met him!

    12. And yes , sometimes more insecure males will see it that way but they are baked. Or like we discussed before, some women will see her as some dominated flower somehow, incredibly overlooking her obvious total command of her life. Baffling really.

    13. They see her as dominated or domineering? Being choleric, I mean. Usually that, um... surfaces at some point LOLOLOL Blows the unsuspecting people away. "Oh, I thought you were so shy and sweet!" WHOOOPSIE FOR YOU. Wrong assumption, friend. Surprise and Merry Christmas LOL

      Is your choleric wife typically reserved and strongly opinionated or does she talk a lot in social situations and let her thoughts be more up front?

    14. Oh my gosh, I had the honor of meeting Chris' beautiful, no gorgeous, wife and she is as sweet as a flower, truly genteel, but you can absolutely tell that ain't nobody pushing her over. I love that woman!!!

    15. i mean people who hear about her and put her in a category assuming everything about what a mother of 7 homeschooling kids must be like. ( because they never met someone like that before) . Upon meeting her, yes, they are blown away but its takes some people all day to figure out that their preconceived idea was completely wrong. Especially when my wife sends them away with all their problems solved, food to go and little sticker on their shirt saying " good job today".

    16. Ha, then she's a sanguine with that sticker phrase. A choleric's would read, "Try to keep up and don't say anything dumb."

    17. I guess my sang has rubbed off on her chol somewhat. And vise versa . That's how you get 7 kids ya know.
      She used to say " really? I wouldn't put my kids in that school if they paid me tuition"
      Now: "ya know, we looked into it and I just don't think it would be a good fit for my kids....being that the school is in open APOSTACY !!!! What are you Nuts?"
      So a slight change but change non the less.

  53. Thank you for your response, Connie! I think you've hit the nail on the head for me with that distinction between temperament and character. That would explain why I see my personality as contradictory, because my natural temperament vs. what I try to be/forced to be (part of my character) are very different. Does that sound possible? And yeah, melancholic-choleric sounds about right (yay St. Paul!).

  54. This is all so fun and fascinating to me! Connie, can self-esteem be more of a character thing then a temperament trait? I always say, and I stand by this, I have never had a self-esteem problem ha ha ha. If anything, I've thought very (too) highly of myself my whole life, and I've spent time understanding and applying humility. But I think the high self-esteem may have had something to do with my upbringing, rather than my temperament?

  55. Maria Therese and Crystal, when I put a temperament first in a mix, I mean that one is dominant. Son phlegmatic/sanguine is dominant phlegmatic and can have from one or two to maybe half the sanguine characteristics. And choleric/melancholic is similar to, but not the same as melancholic/choleric (a la St. Paul). c/m is and extrovert, m/c is an introvert. I'm trying to think of a saint who was m/c. Not coming up with one easily (I haven't written the book on melancholic yet!) Probably a lot of founders of religious orders were m/c. But here's a literary reference for you: Mr. Darcy. An absolutely wonderful person once you get to know him, but others think him "Proud and disagreeable" at first.

  56. Leila, I used to be really proud, but now I wonder what on earth I was thinking! I did not realize how weak I was as a phlegmatic, because I am smart and have some talents, plus I get along with most people. But I have lots of trouble doing what I know I should do, I get easily swamped, I find it hard to change, and I am the worst person at sports you can imagine. Without exaggeration, I took 7 weeks of tennis in college and by the end I still could not hit the ball at all. Like, not once. Other people have often seen me as weak, but I did not think of myself that way. On the other hand, I was very shy and used to get very nervous with public speaking. I still hate talking on the phone, but I love public speaking, 'cause for once everyone has to listen to me without interruption! Melancholics are less sure of themselves, although the are sure of their principles! So I suspect I may have more melancholic tendencies than you, which also makes me somewhat less social.

  57. Ooooo Connie! A lot of this resonates. I'm the worst athlete, too! Literally that "can't forget how to ride a bike" does not apply to me! At summer camp, which I loathed --and by the way it was in Minnesota! Beautiful country! -- I ran my bike into a ditch! I simply could not turn it! And the one time I went skiing I had to be taken down by the ski patrol because I could not stop or turn! Weak ankles! Thankfully the ski patrol guy was very good-looking and I had to hold his waist all the way down! Also, I never get in the water even though I CAN swim but I hate it. I was never in a sport.

    I always had a good sense of humor and was very accomplished academically. That must be where I got my confidence, as well as being raised to think I was the bee's knees ha ha. And I guess there are all those things I *can't* do which I've written about: cook, clean, craft, throw parties, hospitality… All the things that I believe women especially should do for their families! OK fine now I feel like garbage!!! Lol!! Just kidding, but yes certainly I should not feel as self-confidence as I usually do! Ha!!!

  58. Ha ha, I got my pole stuck on the ski lift and they had to stop the whole thing so my gym teacher could help me get off! And then all I could do was tumble down the hill.

  59. Thankfully the ski patrol guy was very good-looking and I had to hold his waist all the way down!

    DYING laughing-- Poor You

  60. I love to cook and I love to entertain, but I don't get chance at the latter here in the boonies. But, crafts, are you kidding? I can't cut a straight line.

  61. Leila, Where are all of your choleric readers? I feel outnumbered. Outnumbered, but no fear. hehheh

  62. P/M here married to a pure choleric. Wanted to add an "im" before the word "pure" but held back for the sake of the cholerics (Kidding.) Not easy for a phlegmatic to understand a choleric but even harder for a choleric to "get" a phlegmatic. Because we irritate them :) The interesting thing is that we had a discussion on temperaments at a family gathering last year and the entire table pegged me as sanguine. Sanguine??? In my dreams maybe!

    Nubby, your comments here cracked me up!

  63. Oh, Nubby, I wanted to say (after reading Mary N's comment, LOL) that you're right about phlegmatics being passive-aggressive sometimes. But I wanted to address this:

    I'm saying, as a choleric, I can say nothing, doesn't mean I agree or disagree. And the phleg's are not liking that silence because they want to know what move to do next. More a manipulation thing that I won't play into (heh, oh how they hate my type lol).

    This is not necessarily manipulation on the phlegmatic's part. I literally do not know how to act or respond sometimes unless the other person reacts first. That's the indecisive, see-all-sides part of the phlegmatic. Even when I'm reading, say apologetics, and the author quotes what someone else believes without making it clear whether he agrees with the quote or not, I can get all confused. Am I supposed to agree or disagree? Someone, please tell me! I might have to just skip that part, b/c I'm not sure what I'm "supposed" to make of it.

  64. One of the things that interests me about temperaments is that it gives us a better idea of which deadly sins we are more prone to. For instance, a phlegmatic would probably have to watch out for sloth and gluttony whereas a choleric would most likely have to battle pride and anger, though this might differ from person to person. Any thoughts on this, Connie?

  65. Your point is a good one, Connie. I was just thinking of some people I know IRL who try to manipulate me because they're not sure what to do with someone so "fixed" in her opinions or thoughts (even if, or esp if, I don't voice those). I think the failure rate on that test is close to 99%.

    Interesting all around. I'm a "thinking choleric", which is a ball, I'm sure. Ask my husband. I think before I speak, but I think fast. So when I say it, I mean it, because I've already thought about it. I filter what I say. This may not be typical of a choleric, assuming they're highly explosive (weirrrrd) but it goes hand in hand with maturing.

    I could list several phleg's who speak without filtering and it drives me batty. Think. Then speak. And make sure to have a relevant point. Some think it's being rough around the edges. I call it cutting to the chase. It helps move the dialogue.

    I think we cholerics are always misunderstood. It's all temperament infused with Temperance. I am a St. Jerome type. Give me the desert of quiet and solitude, and thoughts, and higher ideas any day. Yet, I love teaching and bouncing ideas, so there's people and interaction. Nice inner conflict. Thanks, Lord.

  66. Yes, Mary! I'd say these sins are typical:

    Choleric-pride and anger
    Melancholic-pride and despair
    Phlegmatic-sloth, gluttony for some, pride for others
    Sanguine-lust and gluttony

    For me as a P/M, it was after learning to trust God that I realized my trust issues stemmed from my melancholic side. So then I thought, If I can grow so astonishingly in that thru grace, I should be able to overcome sloth as well. I've been working on it ever since. Two years now. How do you think I'm doing, LOL? Oh, well, God is patient.

  67. Oh yes! Sloth and gluttony are my two biggest vices!! I just don't even know how to overcome sloth. Solidarity, Connie! And on that note, and I kid you not, I'm off to take an afternoon nap.

  68. choleric would most likely have to battle pride and anger,

    I have no idea what you're talking about... [shifty eyes]

    Actually, it isn't anger as much as it's impatience. We're quick, we expect you to be quick, too. We're focused, we expect you to be just as focused. We're sure of what we mean and we say what we mean, and we assume others should be as quickly responsive.

    If they're not, the challenge is to help them get there while being patient. We're not all boorish bullies. We're just ... light years ahead of you all... lol Totally kidding! My sister would've tried punching me by now. But she'd have lost. LOL

  69. Well, I book I read on anger management said that impatience is from a psychological standpoint a manifestation of anger.

  70. And Envy, envy is primarily a struggle for cholerics and melancholics. I would suspect that avarice would be more of a problem for "the right side of the square."

  71. I wouldn't draw the line back that far. I wouldn't tie impatience all the way back to anger. I can feel impatient but not angry. If there's a real anger problem, then that's legit. But impatience is just feeling ahead of the person and wanting them to be in step with you. It's not anger, so to speak.

    And I am not, at all, an envious person. I do not have a problem with coveting, thanks be to God. I often wonder why people are so envious, actually. Where's the internal joy of being happy with what you have? Melancholics, yes, I can see envy in the ones I know. Sad.

    And I think, as a choleric, we're always looked at as prideful, but I wouldn't really go that far. Prideful means I cannot see my own fault. But being choleric, I know how far I fall from Christ's standard, so by His grace, I am not about to tell Him that I should be viewed as worthy.

    If someone is choleric without Christ, it can be an awful thing.
    Leila's about to nap, I'm about to workout. LOL

  72. Nubby, no wonder I drive my husband batty! Your comments are making me laugh! No doubt my husband would totally agree with you!

  73. As I said in the OP, knowing my temperament also helps me be aware of how much my gifts Like, being patient is a natural virtue for me, not necessarily a result of holiness. And perseverance comes easily for the choleric. Being joyful is native to the sanguine. Having deep longings for spiritual things is part and parcel of being melancholic.

    Now, if you REALLY want to be virtuous, try being a patient choleric, a joyful melancholic, a fearless phlegmatic, or an aesthetic sanguine. That takes grace and spiritual growth!

    1. Oops, that's ascetic! Being aesthetic comes naturally for the sanguine.

  74. Connie, I agree with your thoughts here. Certain of the deadly sins tend to "intertwine" with others and it would make sense that envy would be a choleric/melancholic vice though the kingpin vice in each of us is a door opener to the others. That's why so many people have a problem with ALL the deadly sins today. But even if a person has a problem with all the deadly sins there is always one acting as the "foundation" and when we get rid of that one the others are easier to conquer. Understanding temperaments gives us an idea of what this head vice is likely to be.

  75. "Fearless phlegmatic" - man, I have my work cut out for me!

  76. I mentioned above I'm melancholic but I think a bit choleric as well. For what it's worth, I despise clutter and disorganization and love throwing things away. I also struggle with envy and am shy and kind of an introvert.

    1. I'm learning a lot from these comments!

    2. And I struggle with both despair and anger.

  77. I can relate to Dean and the dishes, Leila! I have to have the entire kitchen cleaned up asap, as I'm cooking, and as soon as we are finished eating. I would not be able to move on to other tasks knowing the dirty dishes are there. And I have a hard time relaxing but yet also feel lazy much of the time.

  78. Connie, your comment about avarice being a "right side of the square' vice fits in with a phlegmatic's struggle with sloth and gluttony. I think of these three as the "piggy" sins.

    Oink. Oink.

  79. Yes, Nubby, we all know cholerics are natural saints. Oops, I'm being passive-aggressive. ;) Seriously, I think you are a mature person, so you have overcome many of your faults. I can also argue that phlegmatics are not really slothful, just low-energy. To some extent that's true. But being low-energy opens the door to sloth and most of us do fall into it. (Mixing metaphors.) I see pride in my son quite a bit. And envy. I think for many cholerics, temptation toward envy stems from their finely tuned sense of justice. They want everything to be fair. They work hard and they want their just reward. And when someone else is rewarded instead, or when everyone gets a participation trophy, they can fall prey to anger and envy.

  80. Hi, Beth B. I didn't mean to ignore you earlier,
    I just had so many comments to respond to. Perhaps your sentimentality shows up in other ways? And do you ever worry that those papers you are throwing out may be needed someday? Seriously, my m/c husband keeps issues of magazines and newspapers for years, because he hasn't had time to read them. I say, if you don't read them when they're current, you're certainly not going to read them five years from now. Throw them out!

  81. Whoah! I never said we're natural saints. lol I'd never assert that about anyone.

    Interesting that you see envy stemming from justice. I would think it's a branch extended from pride, as being envious illustrates a sense of entitlement (IE, why does he/she have x and I don't have it when I am just as good, if not better? ...exalting self, etc.)

    I see envy in the phleg's and melonch's I know. Kind of a begrudging attitude toward others who have things like beauty or money or some type of goal attained, when they, themselves, are too slothful to exert the energy required, which ain't much. Like, "Hey, don't be envious when you could have it just as easily if you tried."

    I had a phleg fam member unleash her frustrations on me for my accomplishments instead of seeing the actual work and discipline that went into achieving those. It was rather pathetic, when she was given the exact same opportunities to succeed in any way she wanted, just like I was given. Truth was, the blame game was the easier route, so she took it. She got to use her laziness as an excuse for her jealousy. Sad.

    I had another melancholic give me her idea of me (waaaaay off the mark) and when I didn't bite, she kind of gave up the fight. 15 years later I smile pleasantly but I don't engage. Mind games bore cholerics. We'd rather duke it out physically and call it good than head trip and play the "Oh, dear, must I walk on egg shells?" Here's your egg shells, lady (Cracked, broken, a yolk-y mess). Cholerics are on to the next gig already.

  82. Whoa, Nellie!! Lol! Who said Phlegmatics don't achieve things? Or don't have beauty? That does not make any sense to me. Remember, knowing about the temperaments is designed to help us understand each other. If we understand you Marthas, you need to understand us Marys as well. I'm pretty sure Martha thought that Mary was a lazy slacker! But we know that's not quite true… God made us phlegmatic and that's OK! We often back off and let the world applaud the extroverts, but our gifts are from God as well. It sounds like your relatives might have some other issues going on, Nubby, not just a difference in temperament.

  83. No worries, Connie! I didn't feel ignored, just didn't want to sound repetitive. I am sentimental when I look at photos of my pre-teens when they were toddlers, that kind of thing. I get very emotional when I think of my parents aging, of family traditions changing. I don't worry about needing stuff I throw out, though. I don't like clutter and function best when everything is orderly and minimalist. In fact, I kind of shut down if I'm surrounded by messes. Everything has to be dealt with in order for me to relax. Not sure where the envy comes from. I just feel like I struggle internally with so many things and I assume others have it all together, but I know logically I don't really know the whole picture. I do find it hard to be content with my many blessings. I pray to do better with this.

  84. ? I'm not saying phleg's don't achieve things or lack beauty. I'm saying the ones I know (since we're generalizing temperaments) tend to want to pass the buck or begrudge when someone exerts the energy and achieves because they fall into sloth. The melanch's I know tend to dwell on the mind-game stuff. Just relating my general experience, since that's what we're doing- generalizing.

    I'm a Martha and a Mary combined. So I'd never say we can only be one or the other. There's greatness in both. How did my comment get misread as an insult? That wasn't intended.

  85. Interesting. I don't think of phlegmatics as being envious. I think we tend to be more disappointed with ourselves for not doing more to reach our goals. But I do agree that envy is connected to pride. Melancholics, by the way, are not at all slothful. They work really hard. They don't always succeed, because they give up in the face of setbacks (in despair, not sloth) and they lack focus (which both the phlegmatic and choleric are good at).

    Of course I was just kidding about the natural saints thing. That's because you seem more willing to point out the faults of other temperaments than acknowledge those of your own. Every temperament tends towards certain evils. That doesn't mean every person of that temperament falls into each one.

    I do think that in general more cholerics and melancholics become saints than sanguines or phlegmatics, unless the latter have a strong secondary temperament. I had a hard time making a list of phlegmatic saints for my phlegmatic book. (I suspect several of the doorkeeper saints were phlegmatics.)

  86. Understood! I think I read it wrong because it seemed like you were saying your relatives, who have a lot of (unjust) issues with you, might have those issues because of their temperament? You referred to them by their temperament as if the temperament made them nasty towards you. I think the pure temperaments are not sinful at all, but gifts. I guess I was reading it as if you were saying melancholics or phlegmatics in general are envious of cholerics, and I don't see that as part of my experience. People who are really off the deep end into sin like that have other issues, and it's not the gift that is their temperament. But I read you wrong and you were just talking about some of the people in your life who probably actually *are* really lazy. But I promise all I want is peace!! I love you!!! :D

  87. That's because you seem more willing to point out the faults of other temperaments than acknowledge those of your own.

    ?? I am first to acknowledge that I'm not worthy of anything. I know my vice toward impatience, I even acknowledged that way up thread. I'll acknowledge whatever faults I have, because I'm not going to try to sell that to Christ.

    Color me very confused. Have a good night and thanks for the convo.

  88. Leila and Nubby arguing makes me upset. I really wish you wouldn't do that.

    1. Were we arguing? Yikes, I don't think so! The above exchange was between Connie and Nubby (both of whom I love!!!).

      Tone is hard to read when there is no body language, sigh...

      GROUP HUG!!!!!!

    2. It was a Sang joke. I hate conflict. :)

  89. "Disappointed in ourselves for not reaching more of our goals" ... Yes!!!!!! If only I had more time and quiet and space and sleep I could reach my goals! Ha ha ha. I have wonderful cholerics in my life. They are doers. I am sure they wonder why I don't "do more" and why I rest and am inert in ways they could never be. But that's the thing… We cannot imagine being each other's temperament. Well, we can imagine it, but we cannot know. I used to look at cholerics (not out of envy) and thought I was lazy. I completely understand now that that is not the case (well, not all the time!). What a happy release!

    I admire cholerics. I'm going to go ask my husband and sister what they admire about phlegmatics, lol!! Ack.... :)

  90. See, now I question again, after reading more comments. Because I am certainly NOT focused. I cannot tell you how many times I will carry around an item to put away, up and down stairs, through, around, near, and in the place it belongs, only to ask myself a little while later why I even have it in my hand. And I'm extremely sentimental, about lots of things.

    I'm a puzzle.

  91. See, now I question again, after reading more comments. Because I am certainly NOT focused. I cannot tell you how many times I will carry around an item to put away, up and down stairs, through, around, near, and in the place it belongs, only to ask myself a little while later why I even have it in my hand. And I'm extremely sentimental, about lots of things.

    I'm a puzzle.

  92. Did I just offend Nubby so much that she left? I wasn't saying you aren't acknowledging your own faults, Nubby, (if you're still here), but the drawbacks of the choleric temperament. As I said, I think you are a mature person who is striving to be holy (I'm adding that part), so you've overcome some of the natural tendencies of the choleric. But I do think that in general those tendencies are there. I do think in general cholerics are challenged with pride in particular. I am not accusing you of being proud or envious or angry. I am a little surprised that "impatience" is the only temperamental drawback you seem to see in cholerics, while seeing introverts in particular as being prone to numerous faults. But maybe I am just being too sensitive, LOL.

  93. Bethany, sanguines tend to be very scattered, because every stimuli moves them. They go from one thing to the next very easily, each with equal amounts of energy.

    The phlegmatic tends to be hyper-focused. Let me illustrate. I hate to be interrupted. I want to follow one path to its end. I can't multitask very well. I have trouble "moving on" from a subject I am interested in. I do things I love to excess. This comes from my low energy and inertia.

    Melancholics lack focus too, but in a different way from sanguines. What I mean is, they can put a lot of hard work into an idea, then the moment they hit a setback, they abandon it. They multi-task and sometimes struggle with prioritizing things. If they are working on one project, they'll leave it half done while they work on another. The phlegmatic doesn't have any energy to waste, so he sticks to one thing until the end. He doesn't want hours of work to go to waste. He wants to finish, so he can feel a sense of accomplishment.

  94. Oh, the worst mother moments come when my kids interrupt me when I'm deep into a thought, or a writing project. I can become enraged. It's awful!!!! That is why I can only really do my hard work of writing when everyone is asleep, and that's why it looks like I get nothing done, at least no serious writing, when people are awake or around.

  95. Leila, I do the same thing--the getting enraged. But I still write while the kids are up. And I don't get to take a nap.

  96. It's funny how often my husband and I misunderstand each other, but the blessing in it is that I grow because of his strengths and he grows because of mine. We've both noticed this. Each of our strengths complement the other's. We have overcome so many weaknesses, ones that I would never have overcome if I were married to another phlegmatic. I appreciate his strengths and (I hope) he appreciates mine! No one would ever grow in virtue if we were all the same. Like your son, Connie, my husband has a strong sense of justice and the deadly sins try to pervert virtue so it's not surprising when we see certain temperaments attacked by particular vices. After all, this is what the deadly sins are trying to do, destroy virtue.

  97. That is something I miss in being married to another introvert--someone opposite to me that would really challenge me. My husband and I are a like in a lot of ways. We understand each other and get along really well, but we tend to be a little out of balance! Like, we never go anywhere, LOL. I'm more social than he is, even though he has choleric as a secondary temperament. (Cholerics are extroverts, but not classic "people people." I think I said that in the OP. They don't socialize just for fun, they interact with others to further their own goals.) But of course, with any mix in a marriage there are challenges. I am so grateful I am beginning to value others' ways of looking at life and be more patient with their weaknesses, as I'd like them to be with mine.

  98. I wish I had my choleric son's energy--or at least part of it. He has plenty to spare. We used to call him the energizer bunny when he was little, because he would just never run out of gas. That's not envy, by the way. More like awe and admiration. And exhaustion at just watching him, LOL.

    I also admire his strength of character. While I tend to back down when confronted, or clam up, he just says what he thinks. That can be good or bad, depending on the situation. But I really, really wish we had more choleric bishops. Or at least more melancholic ones--men who aren't worried about pleasing others, but about doing what is right.

  99. Mary N., great comment! And Connie, I agree with you about the bishops!!

    Also, putting in the reminder here that once we hit 200 comments, you have to hit "load more" or else you won't see the rest of the conversation. Either that or subscribe to these comments via email.

  100. I'm questioning again too...doing extra reading and reflecting more I now feel like I'm sanguine lol. Maybe I didn't do a good job of explaining myself earlier.

    I must say your posts are always food for thought Leila. Thank you Connie, Leila!!

  101. Connie- from your last set of descriptions. Sanguine or Melancholic seem to fit better than Phlegmatic. I am definitely scattered. And I also have numerous half-finished projects around the house. I wish I had the time and focus to finish them, but once I've been interrupted, I forget about them until I notice them again.

  102. Connie- from your last set of descriptions. Sanguine or Melancholic seem to fit better than Phlegmatic. I am definitely scattered. And I also have numerous half-finished projects around the house. I wish I had the time and focus to finish them, but once I've been interrupted, I forget about them until I notice them again.

  103. I am late to the party!

    I'm definitely Choleric/Melancholic. Which explains why Nubby and I get along and occasionally butt heads. :-) Hahaha!

    Keep the fact I am Choleric in mind for the rest of the is meant in good fun.

    Nubby, I was totally "You Go, Girl!" throughout your comments and found it utterly hysterical when they accused cholerics of not seeing our flaws but gave the impression in the same post they are blind to their own. (Good fun laughter, not mean laughter.)

    Most Cholerics will happily admit our flaws. We just do so unapologetically. To a choleric (at least this one) expecting me to apologize for my tendency to anger or pride when I have not harmed you or acted in anger or pride is ridiculous. I'm incline to view it as a passive-aggressive, manipulative and/or envious act by others. (But I am mature enough to understand that may not be the person's motives.)

    But because I see it as manipulative tactic, when I know someone expects me to tear myself down I tend to be even more unapologetic because I know it drives them clean up the wall. That's because I am not very mature or spiritually advance. Neener-Neener-Neener.

    This is a very interesting post. I am in awe so many people have married someone of with an opposite temperament. It sounds very aggravating....hahaha. My husband is likely a mix of choleric and melancholic as well just with different traits.

  104. Most Cholerics will happily admit our flaws.

    Ha, I know. It’s like nothing’s a newsflash to us. Like, “Yeah, you mean I suck in behavior sometimes? Well, that’s very interesting. So do you.” I don’t dwell on it, I acknowledge it as a lifelong struggle and move along.

    And cholerics are probably our own worst critic. When I apologize, I mean every word. When I say anything, it’s loaded from the heart. We know no other way to be. So when I cross the line, I say, “I’m sorry for being an ___.” Self-accusation is normal to us. It’s not empty or for show, prideful basis of temperament or not. We know how far from the mark we fall, so we say so. Earthy, grounded, I like to think.

    Also, flakiness is revolting to a choleric. Do not distract us with a bunch of useless words or emotions. Just. Get. To the point. So that we can get onto the next one.

    And I’m not big on generalizations overall because they’re ideas that people want to stick, even when they are inaccurate. For instance:

    (Cholerics are extroverts, but not classic "people people." I think I said that in the OP. They don't socialize just for fun, they interact with others to further their own goals.) - Connie mentioned.

    Well, I don’t socialize to further any goals. I socialize because I enjoy the people, so I think there’s a hole in that characterization. I don’t use people to reach goals and, in fact, I detest when people use other people for their own gain/goal attainment.

    I'm choleric according to this post's criteria and I'm not really a solid extrovert also, I do socialize strictly for fun. I'd be likely to join Dean when he ventured out for that party where he knew no one - just for the social aspect, if the mood struck me. My temperament is social without the underlying motive of using people to reach goals.

    I am a little surprised that "impatience" is the only temperamental drawback you seem to see in cholerics,

    It's not the only drawback for all cholerics, but I didn't realize I should've put a list together. My top three, personally, are impatience, impatience, impatience. My confessor knows this. It's what I deal with all the time. Not anger, but impatience. And lack of charity, just as everyone lacks charity, no matter which temperament, so…

    As I said before, the worst type of choleric is the loud, brash, blowhard. No one likes a jerk. A choleric without Christ is a nasty thing. Pride- or whatever sin is the root sin in this temperament -is not pretty. I already said as much.

    We cannot capture an entire picture of each personality with a four box, 8-input chart, obviously. So I think as interesting as temperaments are to consider, it’s to always force some kind of defense when we hear the generalizations that do not apply to us, particularly as individuals, even given our general temperament. That’s the useless part about generalizations. I don’t agree with 70% of the criteria I’ve heard for my temperament, personally, but I understand it’s a category and that statistically we’re more like one than the other three.

    It might be a good pigeon hole for sketching someone, but then again, maybe not. But it was fun to consider for conversation. I just wouldn't form a hard opinion of anyone from the four box characteristics or quiz results, and some people do that, because it gives them a nice label to smack on that box and they think they, therefore, have someone or themselves "figured out". That can help or hinder, in my experience.

  105. Hi, StarFire. See, I am seeing things the opposite of you and this just confirms the reality of different temperaments. First, Leila and I admitted that phlegmatics:

    have temptations towards sloth and procrastination
    can struggle with gluttony
    can be passive-aggressive
    are generally terrible at sports and fine motor activity
    have very low energy
    are easily overwhelmed

    Not only that, we admitted that we personally have failed in most of those areas. And we also both admitted to having struggled with pride.

    On the other side, we were told that cholerics did not really struggle with pride or anger, and certainly not envy.

    So, I am glad that you are admitting that anger and pride are a part of your natural tendencies. As Catholics (and I think that does not describe you, if I remember correctly?) we believe that pride and anger are among the capital sins. We are not saying that cholerics are any worse than the other temperaments. Neither are we saying they are better. As I stated, each temperament has particular evils it is prone to. I think it is important for each of us to recognize what our natural temptations and weaknesses are, so that we can then work on them.

    Let's not make this a contest about whose temperament is the best/strongest/most admirable, etc. That's not the purpose. Each temperament has strengths and weaknesses, natural virtues and natural vices. Instead, let's help each other understand the others' viewpoint, get along better, encourage each other in virtue, and so on.

    But I suppose that a a choleric you will find that less interesting! (If I'm wrong, please explain, so I can understand you better.)

  106. On the other side, we were told that cholerics did not really struggle with pride or anger, and certainly not envy.

    Who said this?? Of course we struggle with root sins. ?? Was I unclear? I am a sinner. Name a root sin, we cholerics have it. Just like phelgs do. There. Even playing field.

    Also, I gave my own take, it's a very small sample size. I didn't paint all cholerics. Connie, let's not force a smaple size larger than the data set.

    I don't believe StarFireKK is making it a contest - you're assuming too much based on your box chart. She's saying we have no problem admitting our faults, not competing that she's better. See, the defense is always going to be forced and the conversations will turn trite if that's the case.

    Cholerics struggle with sin just like Phleg's and the rest. We're just not going to be as ill at ease about that and that disposition itself is what usually throws other weaker temperaments off. Like they see it as prideful. Noooooope.

  107. Well, Nubby, I just read your comment (after writing the above). All I can say that this is probably another area where we won't see exactly eye to eye. I indicated earlier (not in the OP, so you may have missed it) that temperamental mixes can lead to great variety. A choleric/sanguine could be 49% sanguine or 2% sanguine. So, not everyone is going to behave alike. And besides temperament, there is character, which we already spoke of as well. I'm actually (from the melancholic part of me) naturally averse to putting people in categories. Yet, since understanding the four temperaments, I find I get along with people so much better. I find that these distinctions work. I'm not asking you to confess all your personal struggles in public here. I do imagine there are other cholerics lurking who could learn from this, however, to maybe start recognizing some of their natural weaknesses for the first time. Just as the same would be true of the other temperaments.

    Just to clarify what I said about socializing, you are not the first choleric who has taken that as saying cholerics use people for their own ends. I did not say that, however. My understanding and experience (which, of course, can only be generalized) is that cholerics who don't have a strong sanguine mix are not classic chatty types. They don't go on and on about whatever subject happens to come up, as a sanguine might. They talk a lot about a few subjects that really interest them. In this focus, I find them more like phlegmatics. Cholerics (again, without a strong sanguine aspect) are often a bit quiet in social situations. My mom is a choleric who is shy (c/m). Cholerics are idea people. They like to get others involved in their project, make them part of their team, etc. I don't see that as using people, just as being agenda-driven. Cholerics are doers and they get an amazing amount done, partly because they are so good at organizing others around a goal. (And in social situations, that goal could be as simple as, "I really want to meet so-and-so." So they might get impatient with the mindless chatter of others until that goal is advanced.)

    That's my experience, having had parents who are choleric/melancholic and sanguine/choleric, a son who is pure choleric, and a husband who is melancholic/choleric. The only one of them who is a classic people person is my dad, the sanguine/choleric.

  108. I get the overall analysis, here. I do. I am not a stranger to looking at data. And I am not disparaging any work of yours, that's not the intention. But we eventually get from generalizations to detail and that is what we look at-- the particulars. Because that's the truer picture. So first I need to see the holes in the generalization and funnel down.

    I do imagine there are other cholerics lurking who could learn from this, however, to maybe start recognizing some of their natural weaknesses for the first time. Just as the same would be true of the other temperaments.

    And that's fine. I don't disagree and I don't paint cholerics as perfect already. I don't think it's fair to assume we cholerics are always looking to win or compete, either, because that always draws out a defensive response. See? You cannot assume about people, even with box charts. That's my point.

  109. My mom, husband, daughter, and two of my sisters are cholerics and all of them seem to struggle with similar things. One of these is that they don't like to apologize and they don't like to be wrong about anything. I kid you not! It causes arguments that border on hilarity at times :) The other thing the cholerics in my family do is they use anger to manipulate others or to "put them in their place" so I'm not sure we can say that manipulation is a phlegmatic trait but rather - certain MEANS of manipulation are phlegmatic traits. Phlegmatics don't like to be manipulated emotionally, and anger is a sharp weapon often used against phlegmatics. To be clear though, I am not suggesting that all cholerics wield the Sword of Damocles in this way, but those in my family On the plus side, all of them are quick to make decisions, excel at almost anything they put their mind to and they get things done. And when they turn to Christ they are a force to be reckoned with. In a good way! If you were to ask them about me they'd tell you I'm a procrastinator, can't make quick decisions and give in even when I shouldn't to keep the peace. But this works out well for all of us because when anyone in the family wants things done they go to the cholerics but when they are suffering and need support I am the first one they come to. So it balances out. All the temperaments have their good points along with their less than stellar qualities.

  110. Connie,

    I didn't mean to imply you couldn't admit any flaws. Of course, you can. I just found the exchange funny because it was a clash between two personality types.

    I don't view it as a contest. The world would be very boring if we were all the same. My best friend is a p/m and I adore her. She helps me temper my "get the beeping beep over it" attitude and I help her to understand not all observations are insults.

    I really was trying to foster understanding between the types. I was explaining that cholerics are never going to approach their flaws the same way the other types do. We aren't going to trip over ourselves to apologize for being fallen people. We accept it as a fact. We utterly resent it when people think they have the right to lord it over us just because we are fallen people. Like Nubby said, "Oh we are bad at are you."

  111. Nubby, I had already posted my comment before I read yours so it wasn't meant to refute your words about cholerics and winning. It was just a coincidence :)

  112. Connie, after what you wrote above about what you and Leila struggle with as phlegmatic a, I now wonder if I'm phlegmatic a bit too? When I took your test, I got melancholic but choleric and phlegmatic I believe tied for second. I just assumed I was more choleric, but who knows! I guess I'm just a mess! Lol

  113. Beth, secondary temperaments in particular can be hard to figure out. I really spent lots of time thinking about this before I figured myself out. But now I'm glad I did. The opposites do have some things in common on the surface--e.g., sanguine and melancholic are both emotional, choleric and phlegmatic both avoid emotional displays. But their reaction times and the length of their impressions are opposite.

  114. Mary, I agree that all four temperaments can use manipulation, just each in its own way. Here is how Protestant author Florence Littaur (whose work is excellent) break that down:

    Sanguine controls by charm
    Choleric controls by threat of anger
    Melancholic controls by threat of moods
    phlegmatic controls by procrastination

    This is a simplification, of course. For example, procrastination is only one form of passive-aggressive behavior and the phlegmatic can use the other forms as well.

  115. Sanguine controls by charm
    Choleric controls by threat of anger
    Melancholic controls by threat of moods
    phlegmatic controls by procrastination

    YES!! THIS!!

    Funny story: Several months ago, I told Dean that when no amount of perfection is enough from the rest of us, I become passive-aggressive and do less (because why bother if nothing is ever good enough anyway?), ha ha!! It made us understand each other better! And, he's a FABULOUS man, so don't read "mean" into that description of him. But he is such a WORKER bee, and he just cannot relax and enjoy as much as he should. So, I respond, almost instinctively, by relaxing and enjoying smelling the roses even more....

    So, you're exactly right, there, Connie!!! LOL!!

  116. Question for Connie:
    Can 4-bin generalization lead to negative assumptions that turn into negatively fixed opinions that are actually unfounded, inaccurate, and uncharitable?

  117. No prob, Mary N.

    You mentioned this:
    All the temperaments have their good points along with their less than stellar qualities.

    I agree. And I think that's as accurate as we can be.

  118. Funny, Leila! And I bet those roses are perfectly pruned ;)

    Connie, very interesting. What a bunch of control freaks we all are! I can't decide which one is worse! But I'll go with sanguine because I don't like my poison sugar coated :)

  119. I'll let Connie answer that, Nubby, but for me personally, I don't mind if someone points out that phlegmatics struggle with sloth and gluttony, and that we manipulate with procrastination. Because for me at least, oh my gosh it's TRUTH!! In fact, I am so dang happy that someone just pointed that out. LOL!!!! I am so happy to tackle this now, with so much more clarity! :)

  120. Mary N, ha ha, he's getting too old and tired (or maybe mellowing?). It's so funny, because I want him to have peace in his surroundings, and so I had a fabulous Catholic colorist come in and help me with paint colors and furniture arrangements for our bedroom (we have a big bedroom) that would make my husband happy and peaceful. He deserves it!! So, we did that and I think he truly appreciated it. And, he has done the same for me over the past years by not caring so much about the messes that the kids (or I) leave in his wake. He lets much more of it go (we still have a pretty clutter-free house for the amount of people living here). I feel like we are going out of our way to accommodate and love the other person where he/she is at, and that is just deepening our love and strengthening our marriage. I will never have the energy or need for perfection as he does, but that's okay. And he will never just let it all go and relax, and that's okay, too! Works in progress, for sure! :)

  121. Well, let’s look at the truth here then. Because I’m a huge fan of truth, too.

    Some light assumptions were already made (which I would define as (-) because they’re inaccurate) which is fine, because it illustrates my point. I.e., cholerics are hyper and high strung so, therefore, that must mean we must always do the dishes right after a meal. But I don't care about dirty dishes, and I'm a choleric. Dash-1. Cholerics can't relax. I can relax. Dash-2 Cholerics are always competing. Not always. Dash -3. Cholerics are prideful and blind to that. Not me, I’m well aware of that tendency and root sin. Dash-4.

    Minus 4 of 4 is 0% accuracy within a single temperament generalization itself. Assumptions are untrue, right. That removes me from the bin, to be accurate, yet the chart criteria throws me in there, so the assumptions abound inaccurately and unfoundedly.

    Inaccurate assumptions drive untrue opinion, is my point-- even if harmless ones. So it’s not really “true”. It’s bad generalizing.
    My beef with generalizing people is that it results in a certain stamp, a firm idea where a firmness shouldn’t be.

    This person- under no derailment of his/her own- is bumping up against your assumption so they, what, have to prove you wrong?

    Need an example? Tell someone where you’re from. "I live in ___ suburb." Let the assumptions fly. Tell them your ethnicity. Watch the assumptions unfurl.

    Same principle across the board. Generalizations limit reality and they tend toward the negative in opinion. We cannot assume things accurately with 4 bins or 12 or 100.

    And for me, if it's not a firm method or conclusion, it's not a useful tool. That's my beef with generalized data and swift labels as a catch-all for a personality. Just too many variables and dotted lines. Firmness of opinion where firmness shouldn’t be because the assumptions don’t really represent the label and vice versa.

    Statistically, there is no more truth to four bin assumptions than there are to the 12 zodiac signs. Same “truth” there, too, in descriptions of temperament, but astrology is also a heap of generalizations and assumptions (and anti-faith) so to me it reads like, ‘okay, well….’

    My 2c.

  122. "cholerics are hyper and high strung so, therefore, that must mean we must always do the dishes right after a meal."

    Gosh, honestly, I never said this, and I am pretty sure no one else did, either. So I had to stop right there. :/

    If the temperament stuff is not helpful to you, that's totally fine and legit. It's been amazing and fun and helpful to me and my family. :)

  123. Well, wait. You mentioned the dirty dishes up thread, and how Dean washes them right away. That's an assumption of cholerics. That we are ALL neat freaks, right? That's why that label is on that particular bin.

    I don't fall under that, that's what I am saying. Even as a choleric.

    I am not offended. I am thinking. I am saying truth of generalizations only goes so far.

    We take a quiz where only so many choices are present. We have to select one, by default, to get an answer. So we give one. It throws that in a general bin. There's a large chance that it's not representative of ALL people of a certain stripe and it's also probably not representative of a particular type all the time. This is what I am saying about data collection. Lol Nevermind. Enjoy what you get out of it. If it's useful for you that is good. The firmness should be a little less firm in the certainty of our generalizations, is my overall point.

  124. Nope, my point is he's a WORKER. He's a mover, a doer, "get things done".... just as you've said about yourself. That was an example of my husband. There are many more examples of how he works and gets things done. I would never think to apply that "dish washing" to all cholerics universally. I am sure there are many cholerics who do not touch dishes. But they are all workers, they all move, and I'm guessing they (most) see anything other than that as "lazy" or the result of a "weaker temperament".

    I don't think you would deny that? I am sure you are a hard worker and someone who moves, moves, moves when others don't. That's part of a choleric temperament, no?

  125. "That we are ALL neat freaks, right? That's why that label is on that particular bin."

    I look up at the chart (is that what you mean?) and I don't see anything like that at all. My mom is a pure melancholic and she keeps her house very neat. But she's not a mover, not at all.

  126. "Control through threat of anger"

    See this is why I married another choleric.

    This is such a passive-aggressive, manipulative thing to say.

    It pins me in a box so I can't express anger (even rightful anger) because then all I am doing is trying to control the situation and that's bullcrap. I have a right to be mad if I am being insulted or treated unfairly.

    Maybe I am just angry, maybe I'm upset about something and not really giving a single beep about how you are going to react to my anger. Just because you are easily swayed by anger doesn't mean someone is getting angry to just manipulate you.

    1. "Get a rap on the beak. Get some respect around here." - Clanton from Tombstone

      Don't none of ya's forget it

  127. I understand that. The point is drawn from 1) This person is a worker to... therefore, his temperament is more high strung comparatively speaking to these 3 other bins/temp's. Therefore, he's x,y,z... It extrapolates out into further assumptions that are most likely not accurate. And the reality is that inaccurate assumptions are not true.

    I am not always a worker. I said, repeatedly, that I am equal parts thinker/doer, Mary/Martha. I don't believe choleric applies to me. But it was the default choice, based on what was available 'bin wise'. The determiners put me there. This is what I mean about generalizations and generalized data.

    K- gotta go.

  128. Nubby, if I am being honest, these types of tests bring about a certain sense of unease in me as well for the reasons you mention above, but at the same time I have to admit that this particular one has helped me understand and relate to my daughter and husband a lot better. To appreciate their strengths more and to be more compassionate with their weaknesses. In some ways tests like these are a moot point because grace encompasses all but I find it does help me, especially in the area of communication. I have changed how I word things with my daughter and she has been more open to the things I have to say. So I find it a useful tool while also keeping in mind that any tool used incorrectly can be used as a bludgeon.

  129. I'm not feeling uneasy, Mary lol
    I'm looking thru analysis. I'm not as ruffled as people seem to think I am-- see, another reason why generalizations aren't right.

    I'm not worried about a bludgeon. The method itself is too watered down for that.

  130. #CholericsLivesMatter

  131. Bethany, the phlegmatic peacemaker!!

    Okay, does anyone else find this funny??? I am laughing!! Think about it: The cholerics here *appear* to the phlegmatics be ticked and or annoyed. The phlegmatics here *appear* to the cholerics to be passive-aggressive. Do you get the hilarity and irony??? I do!!

    And StarFireKK, I don't think the "manipulation" on the part of any of the temperaments is willful. I can tell you that in my family of origin, I have two very strong cholerics. The rest of us always are a bit "afraid" of setting them off, but I don't even think they know that, and I don't even think those reactions they have are willful. It's just who they are. It's not worse than the other ways that others (non-willfully) manipulate the situations at hand.

    I am not offended by the procrastination thing, I don't think a melancholic would be offended by the moody thing, and so on. So, who cares? Who cares if cholerics are more prone to an angry response? It's not like that makes a choleric a bad person.

    (I'm guessing most phlegmatics won't touch this thread, and I don't blame them because I'm scared and I don't want to be yelled at!!! .... runs away... please don't yell..... )

  132. WHOLE new topic (because it interests me and has nothing to do with temperaments this time, since we ALL get angry)....

    StarFireKK you said this:

    "I have a right to be mad if I am being insulted or treated unfairly."

    Where does this fit in Christian virtue? Honest question. My understanding is that we are to bear wrongs patiently and not be quick to anger. Christians are to bear personal insults and turn the other cheek, and we can expect to be treated unfairly. It's something I struggle with, totally. I want to justify my anger, all the time. I've tried to justify my anger all my life, but I don't think we are supposed to. I think we are supposed to be docile and humble in the face of personal injustice. Clearly, not a doormat, of course! You know what I mean, I hope. Thoughts?

  133. Well, after reading all of this, I am definitely primarily phlegmatic, as my worst problems are sloth/procrastination.("Disappointed in ourselves for not reaching more of our goals" -THIS x1,000) So for all you phlegmatics out there who struggle with procrastination like I do, here's I few blog posts about procrastination from a guy's blog, that I found one time because, and I kid you not, I searched the internet for "procrastination" as a way to procrastinate (while having a very weak excuse that I was looking up something important). Seriously, though, please, PLEASE read these. This guy described procrastination so well it was like he was in my head putting my experiences to words. Seriously, these articles will help you better understand yourself or others. Okay here they are (warning, there might be some profanity in them, I forget if there is or not):
    On the website, read How to Beat Procrastination Part 1, How to Beat Procrastination Part 2, and The Procrastination Matrix.
    (I love this guy's blog, by the way, because his blog posts are really thought-provoking, though I don't agree with his philosophy on pretty much everything, since he's an atheist. Unfortunately, though, he likes to use profanity, and a few of his posts are pretty sacrilegious. But still, really smart guy.)

    Oh, and could somebody elaborate more on how phlegmatics use procrastination as manipulation? I have a bad feeling I'll recognize myself... :(
    Also could someone say more explicitly what the good is in being a phlegmatic?? I always wish I were something else, but there has to be a reason God made me this way... unless it's to force me to become holiness by overcoming my sloth???

    1. Leila, I have been laughing too! It IS funny!!!

  134. I'm with Leila. Nubby does not like to be "pegged" as a choleric. Fine. I have found, like Mary, that I understand, appreciate, and get along a lot better with the cholerics in my life by studying their typical reactions and modes of thinking. Yes, each of them is different. But they all have some similarities, and recognizing those similarities when I see them helps me understand them. And my choleric son appreciates that I appreciate him and his strengths, instead of saying, "Holy cow! I can't handle this child!" as I used to do. We work together as a team, instead of butting heads. And I am so glad I dug deeply into this, to get to the roots of what was going on with him.

    But we're not talking dogma here. If you don't find temperament theory helpful, feel free to ignore it.

  135. Oops! Accidentally used the reply thread! Yes, this conversation has tickled my funnybone!!! Love it!

  136. The cholerics here *appear* to the phlegmatics be ticked and or annoyed. The phlegmatics here *appear* to the cholerics to be passive-aggressive.

    And it illustrates my point. Bad assumptions. Bad generalizations. That's what I am laughing at. I'm not assuming you're being passive aggressive. I just wanted to see if you'd agreed with the idea of the snapshot of how extrapolation of assumptions can skew the truth of someone. Cholerics are prone to things, that's fine. Let's stop it there, then. Let's not lump assumption on top of assumption and start coloring in what we believe their personality is. I'm sitting here thinking wth? I'm just hoping someone can see this, too.

    I find that generalizations can lead to firm opinions that are inaccurate.

  137. I don't care how someone pegs me, lol, Connie.
    I am saying peg-away, it's not accurate. It's most likely lead you to frustration with me. Right?

    You're extrapolating an opinion of me now, based on what you believe my temperament to be. Is it accurate? Who knows? This is my point on generalizations.

  138. "This is such a passive-aggressive, manipulative thing to say."

    Nubby, that is from StarFire, to Connie.

    And maybe I'm nuts and reading it all wrong but it does seem like you guys are a little bit annoyed ....

    {runs like crazy, don't be mad at us!!!!}

  139. Ann, thanks for posting. Love that about procrastinating while reading about procrastination. Only as a joke of course. I'm not recommending anyone do it.

    Let's start with the good about phlegmatics. There's lots of it!

    1. They get along with almost everyone. My youngest brother is pure phlegmatic and the whole family loves him. So agreeable and everyone's friend.

    2. They are obedient and compliant. Great asset here for family life, religious life, the workplace, etc.

    3. They are willing to do boring jobs that no one else wants. After all, boring is better than taxing!

    4. They are great listeners.

    5. They are sensitive of others' feelings.

    6. They take a while to adapt, but when they come around, they embrace the new status quo wholeheartedly.

    7. They are loyal, loyal, loyal.

    8. They love peace and try to make life peaceful for others.

    9. They are quiet. (I'm a homeschool mom of 4 boys, so you'll see why I consider this a virtue.)

    10. They are level-headed and can see both sides of a situation. Now this can sometimes be a problem, but it also helps them avoid snap judgments.

    11. If they are committed to a project, they will keep at it through thick and thin. Just don't expect them to commit to more than one thing at a time. (See the Summa, by Thomas Aquinas.)

    12. They have a heart for God.

    13. They love people, even though they need time alone.

    Of course, all this is more nuanced than I'm stating here, and these are generalizations. :) But I think phlegmatics are fabulous. And I've surely forgotten many things.

  140. Mary, ha ha, thanks! And Ann Onymous, I will definitely be looking into that! And goodness, I sure hope there are good things about being a phlegmatic! :)

  141. Oh, good! I'm just now seeing your list, Connie! I think that's good for us to read because honestly I think a lot of times people just look and see the inertia, rather than the gifts. And I think phlegmatic some pretty hard on themselves for that inertia.

    1. "phlegmatics are pretty hard on themselves for that inertia"

  142. "This is such a passive-aggressive, manipulative thing to say."

    Nubby, that is from StarFire, to Connie.

    K, so? That wasn't something I said. I said I don't believe you're being passive aggressive. All cholerics don't think alike. lol

    And maybe I'm nuts and reading it all wrong but it does seem like you guys are a little bit annoyed ....

    Why are you assuming I'm annoyed? I didn't say I was.

    Am I nuts or reading wrong that no one has answered my data dilemma?
    If I get annoyed it's because an idea is incomplete. It's hanging there. That'd be the only annoying part.

    Is this far apart from astrology in terms of generalizations and accuracy?

  143. Unlike astrology, I find this to be amazingly accurate! I'm no expert on anything, but I've lived 48 years and from my experiences, it makes a whole lot of sense. If I didn't think so, I wouldn't have written about it. Understanding myself, my children and husband, my parents, my extended family, my friends.... it's been so helpful, and yes, accurate!

    1. And this does not mean I don't look at people as individuals. We are all unique. But we also are knowable. Just like we cannot say that all women are this or that, or all men are this or that, we still can make generalizations about femininity or masculinity, no? They why can't we generalize about phlegmatics? I don't mind it a bit. And if something does not apply to me, then it doesn't. No biggie. But the general idea holds, and it helps me. Again, it may not help you and that's okay.

  144. Now, Ann, about procrastination, let's make some distinctions.

    Phlegmatics need time to transition. So, give yourself and other phlegmatics a minute to finish what they are doing before they respond. Change takes energy, and phlegmatics ain't got much. That's annoying to others at times, but it's not procrastinating.

    Often we procrastinate because a project sounds too hard or disagreeable or we are just too worn out. That's not passive-aggressive.

    However, if a phlegmatic feels that he is being taken advantage of, or that his opinions are being brushed aside, or he just doesn't agree that a certain action should be a priority, he might agree to it aloud, but have no real intention of following through. At least, not right away. He might feel that since his "opponent" (and he often does think in terms of opponents when someone disagrees with him) wouldn't listen to him, he (the phlegmatic) will now have his say through lack of action. "I'll do it when I feel like it, if I feel like it." Eventually he might feel guilty enough that he grudgingly digs in before he planned to. Or on further thought, he grudgingly admits to himself that his opponent was right, sighs (perhaps loud enough for that person to hear), and then acts.

    Now, before people pile on the poor person, I am not saying that any of this is admirable. Nor am I saying we do this routinely. But most phlegmatics will struggle against this temptation at some point(s) in their lives. And once you as a phlegmatic are aware of your tendency toward passive-aggression, you may see many of your actions in a new light--a less than pretty one.

    But just because someone is phlegmatic is no reason to assume all their slowness stems from passive-aggressive procrastination. I have never met anyone for whom this was the case, and I have known lots of phlegmatics.

  145. Connie, you have perfectly described me and put it in a way that makes me understand myself! And you added a bit of a spiritual direction so that I can follow through, and become a better person. That is why this is so valuable to me. I was completely confused for many years.

  146. I don't want to get into the "not all cholerics are the same--if there even is such a thing as choleric" argument again. I'm done responding to that.

    I did want to address the difference between temperament theory and astrology.

    The biggest difference is that astrology says that our destiny is controlled by the stars and we can't do anything about it. Temperament theory is simply saying that we can identify common, inborn behavior patterns in people. The whole point of Catholics understanding our temperament is to help us OVERCOME our weaknesses and maximize our strengths, while understanding others. Astrology says we have an unchangeable destiny. Temperament theory for Catholics says, "God gave me certain gifts and He wants me to use them. How can I identify those gifts? How can I appreciate others' gifts? What are the natural weaknesses I have that may be hurting my relationship with God or others? How can I work on them?"

  147. This has been a most interesting discussion. Thank you to all participants. I have the qualities of a phlegmatic and melancholic temperament and the comments have helped me understand myself a little better. I usually beat myself up because I am not as smart, witty, easy-going and talkative as my dear sanguine husband.

  148. I don't want to get into the "not all cholerics are the same--if there even is such a thing as choleric" argument again. I'm done responding to that.

    I never made this argument.

    Good luck with your books. I hope the knowledge does help people. I don't agree with what you guys have just said about the generalizations of astrology being so diff than temperament theory, because the same descriptors of temperament apply, but, anyway. I am sure it helps some people so that's good.

  149. Maureen, I'm glad it helped!

    Nubby, I don't understand this part:

    "I don't agree with what you guys have just said about the generalizations of astrology being so diff than temperament theory, because the same descriptors of temperament apply"

    Can you clarify?

  150. Comparison:

    Choleric: Symbolized by lion, temperament traits include love of power, domination, control,impulsive, restless, task oriented, exuding self-confidence, natural leaders, desire to prove themselves greater than, extroverted, high energy, can be defiant, magnanimous heart, proud.

    Leo the lion: Symbolized by lion, temperament traits include love of power, domination, control, impulsive, restless, task oriented, exuding self-confidence, natural leaders, desire to prove themselves greater than, extroverted, high energy, can be defiant, magnanimous heart, proud.

    Choleric = Leo (or even the 2 other fire signs)

    Descriptors are identical here.

  151. Oh, I'm not annoyed or anythin. Just passionate in my opinions. :-)

    If you are saying it is non-willful manipulation then I don't have an issue with it. I was reading it as willful manipulation- which is an issue of character.

    As for the right to be mad, I'm not talking about nursing hurts or acting out in anger. I mean just feeling the emotion you feel when someone wrongs you or hurts your feelings. It is perfectly fine to say "That's not cool" which to me is still an expression of "anger" just a much better one than "Yeah, well, you are a poopyhead!" which occasionally comes out of us fallen people. :-)

    Maybe anger is the wrong word. But it has been a long day and I'm beat.

    Have fun everyone!

  152. This comment has been removed by the author.

  153. If I am correct and I may not be, Hippocrates was the first to identify the temperaments ad the early church picked up on it. I know it was used later as well because St. Teresa had a lot to say about certain temperaments and what they had to be careful of. So, I'm not sure that its similarities to astrology applies. Maybe someone connected the two later? Connie, do you know where this theory of the temperaments originated?

  154. Identifying personality traits is routine. But with astrology, those traits are assigned by "the stars" (bad), as opposed to ingrained by God (good).

  155. Leila and Nubby, I think I see where you're misunderstanding each other about the differences between astrology and temperaments (or maybe I don't, but bear with me):
    I think the descriptions of different personalities can be as accurate as the descriptions of the different temperaments, if they're based on legit observations. (If they're not, then they won't be). I don't read them, so I don't know the extent that they make you feel like you're powerless to change your character flaws or not. But I'd say the main difference is this: astrology says that anyone born in a certain time frame will have the characteristics that they associate with that time frame (which is hogwash; the day of your birth has nothing to do with your personality), whereas temperament theory would say that humans generally fall into certain categories/combinations of categories (birthdays being irrelevant). Make sense? (Sorry if this wasn't what needed clarifying.)

  156. It doesn't matter, Leila. The descriptors are identical as it pertains to temperament. Leo is a classic Choleric. The descriptors are, literally, a one-to-one cut and paste replacement. No one need consult the stars to see destiny. I'm talking straight up temperament descriptions.

    Mary, I don't know how you can say there are no similarities when I just gave a complete list of Leo to Choleric. There are no discrepancies in temperament.

    I say this as someone who (in her 20's) was heavily involved in astrology- charts, the whole thing. I found the temperaments amusing and interesting. Accurate, too, if you wanted to really buy into it. You get even more detail in temperaments because there are 12 sections not just 4 bins. So the argument I just put forth holds.

    I don't like it when I give a plain fact and the reach is really obvious that you guys don't want to see it.

  157. It can all be seen as hogwash, that's my point, Ann

  158. Ann, agreed!

    Nubby, it almost sounds like when people say, "well the pagans had a resurrection story too, so Christians just copied that". I mean, this doesn't make sense to me at all…

    Of course we know that the stars don't give us our temperaments. But it doesn't follow that therefore God did not give me an introverted temperament, for example. No he did not give us a chart, but he also did not give us a chart on the three stages of holiness either, and yet we know that those stages follow certain patterns.

  159. I'm talking straight up compare the temperaments. Not about stars or God. Not pagans to Christians copying anything. Just line up the two lists I gave.
    Leo v. Choleric.

    Show me one discrepancy and I'll relent. There are none. That is my point, when I said the "descriptors of the temperament are exactly the same". The descriptors are the variables I'm looking at.


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