Ancient theories believe that people have four dominant temperaments – sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic. These are influenced by our brain’s processes, but our experiences and environment also contribute to the personality traits that we develop over the years.

Four Temperaments – Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic

Even though there are four temperaments, we are going to cover two of the four personality types, the phlegmatic and the melancholic.

The Phlegmatic

The phlegmatic is a common temperament and almost opposite to the sanguine. While sanguines are extroverted and outgoing, phlegmatics are easy-going and introverted.

The phlegmatics are imaginative and intuitive. They like to see the bigger picture and think abstractly. They try to understand your deepest thoughts and feelings.

They’re good at keeping relationships with friends and family and at establishing intimate attachments with pretty much everyone. They’re quite good at establishing connections because they seek to understand other people’s emotions and feelings. They’re a loyal friend and partner. They seek connection, but sometimes others can perceive them as needy and annoying.

They’re empathetic and agreeable. They don’t like conflicts. If there’s one, they’re the type to reach out and give way so that they can satisfy the needs of everyone. They’re cooperative and considerate.

They’re easygoing and calm. Their world is typically quiet and centered around family and friends. They’re unassuming and trusting, but once trust and relationships are broken, they aren’t likely to go back to how things once were.

While they’re good at building connections, they’re not very social, yet when they are, they are warm and pleasant.

They’re compassionate and love to help others.

Phlegmatics can also be indecisive, so they usually prefer others to make the decisions for them. Sometimes, they just let things happen.

They’re not a fan of sudden changes. They prefer to take time to adapt to changes and may resist them. They like routines, patterns, rhythms, and habits. They like predictability and consistency.

Phlegmatics can also be sensitive to criticisms, taking them as insults. They’re also prone to anxiety and depression as they can become highly stressed.

The Melancholic

The next temperament is the Melancholic. People with this type of temperament are cautious and rule-followers. They respect traditions and social norms, and moral issues are a big deal to them.

They’re loyal and deeply attached to their family and the people close to them. They have high standards when it comes to building relationships, so they’re slow at trusting others. However, once they’ve formed a relationship, they view it as something meaningful and a safe place to be.

Melancholics are orderly, highly organized, and focused on details. They’re the type to remember special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries. They like to be accurate and thorough, so precise details are important to them. Distractions frustrate them easily.

They’re patient and don’t get easily bored with what they do. Many are not very adventurous as they like things just as they are. They prefer routines and planned schedules. They’re organized and orderly.

Melancholics may feel hesitant in unfamiliar places, and they tend to be suspicious. Sometimes they’re stubborn, close-minded, and can be pessimistic.

They may also come off as being judgmental, especially when it comes to moral concerns.

Melancholics may also care about the past, thinking about what they should have done. So sometimes, they find it hard to live in the present. They may feel anxious and worried about the future.

Melancholics are excellent people managers because they’re good at sticking with the rules and what is right. They’re careful when making decisions, getting all the necessary details as much as possible. They excel in careers related to management.

In Summary

Now you know the personality of the comfort-seeking phlegmatic and the rule-following melancholic. While you may be able to identify yourself in one of these, if you can’t, there is also the choleric and sanguine personality type. You may be one of those or a mixture of two!

We’re born with these temperaments but our life experiences also shape our personalities. The four ancient personality theories are an interesting way to understand ourselves and how we interact with other people in our personal and professional life.