Recently, I’ve been learning about the four temperaments. I’m reading a book called The Temperament God Gave You, by Art and Laraiane Bennett. The four temperaments are choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine and melancholy. Understanding each one’s strengths and weaknesses can help you understand yourself and others better.
The four temperaments are a very old method for figuring out personality. Hippocrates (460-377 B.C) may have been the first to discover them. His theory was that each temperament was created by an imbalance of fluid in the body, which is why they each have strange names.
Choleric: yellow bile from the liver
Phlegmatic: phlegm from the lungs
Sanguine: Blood from the heart
Melancholy: black bile from the kidneys
I’ve also found that knowing the four temperaments is also helpful for figuring out characters. It’s a very concise method, since there are basically four types (there are secondary temperaments too). This method is my second favorite for characters, next to the enneagram types. I’m melancholy, and in my current novel, my protagonist is a choleric.
Here is an overview of the four temperaments.
Choleric (The Achiever)
Generally, cholerics are people who get things done. They are extraverted, confident and decisive. They react the quickest out of all the temperaments. The choleric temperament is the opposite of the phlegmatic temperament.
A natural leader
Not easily discouraged
Prone to anger
Makes rash choices
Doesn’t like to listen to others, always wants to be in charge
Phlegmatic (The Diplomat)
Generally, phlegmatics are people who like peace and quiet. They are introverted, reserved and slow to anger. The phlegmatic temperament reacts the slowest out of all the four.
Settle arguments (as long as they are not directly involved in the conflict)
Not easily stressed
Easy to get along with
Plans, but never starts
Struggles with change
Hard to motivate themselves
Sanguine (The Enthusiast)
Generally, sanguines are partyers. They like having fun and are people-oriented. They are extraverted, excitable and spontaneous. The sanguine temperament is the opposite of the melancholy.
Life of the party
Inspires others to join in the activity
Wants to please
Doesn’t hold grudges
Makes things fun
Likes volunteer work
Wants to be popular and fit
Talks too much and interrupts others
Doesn’t see the long-term effects of their actions
Struggles to be alone
Melancholy (The Idealist)
Generally, melancholies are people who are serious and focused on the ideal. They are introverted, intelligent and empathic. Melancholies are the most introspective of all of the temperaments. Many writers were melancholy.
Likes serious discussions or debates
Sees long-term effects of their actions
Tends towards depression and anxiety
Hard to please
Critical of others
Not open and friendly
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Writer's Resources and tagged Author, character, choleric, four temperaments, meloncholy, Personality, Personality test, phlegmatic, sanguine, Strengths Weaknesses, temperaments, writer.