Hard to Be an Introvert?

Not sure who asked me that question but I thought I’d take a swing at it.  Being introverted or extroverted just “IS” – as I’ve said many times, our temperament is inborn and our behaviors grow out of it.

But being an introvert is easy because you were made that way so all the stuff that comes with being introverted — a need to be alone to recharge, being introspective, an active “inner life” — seems natural.

So how is it difficult?  Living in an extroverted world casues stress for many introverts.  Stress from having to interact with what my daughter calls “evil extroverts”, stress from being misunderstood or seen as aloof or conceited, stress from pressure to be “more like others”.

The strongest comments I’ve gotten have to do with introverts discovering that it’s okay to be that way; the way they naturally are.

After years of being told to speak up, don’t be shy, come out of your shell and you’ll be happier, we have the chance to be understood for who we are.

 

Super Simple Temperament Test

There are a lot of temperament tests available; this one simply gives you a hint where you are on the DiSC scale.  For a free temperament test drop me an email at warfieldh(at)gmail(dot)com.

1) Are you naturally outgoing?  Do others consider you outgoing? If you are outgoing, are you naturally talkative?

If you answered yes to these you are most likely an “I” on the DiSC scale.  The “I” stands for Influence and the Greek term is Sanguine.

2) Are you goal-directed and a “driver”?  Are you mainly concerned with getting things done?  Do you tend to make quick decisions?

Yes to these questions may indicate you are the “D” in DiSC.  The Greek term is Choleric and the term “Type A” is often used to describe this temperament type.

3)  If you do NOT consider yourself naturally outgoing, are you detailed?  Do others notice that you are careful about order and details?

If so, you are probably a “C” on the DiSC scale.  “C” stands for Cautious or conscientious and the Greek term is Melancholy.

4) Finally, if you are not known for being naturally outgoing, are you best known for being easy to get along with, calm and steady?

This type is the “S” on the DiSC scale and the “S” stands for Steadiness, demonstrating patience.  The Greek term for this type is Phlegmatic.

I must emphasize that temperament is always modified by life experience and circumstances — we call this our personality.  And each of us is a blend of TWO of these four types.

Send an email to warfieldh(at)gmail(dot)com for a survey that will help you identify your PRIMARY temperament type.

Temperament Search Terms

In looking at the analytics on this site I find some of the following search terms that got people here:

*Choleric and Phlegmatic and Marriage

*Networking Introvert

*Sanguine and Melancholy in Marriage

*Am I an introvert or shy extrovert

*Introvert jobs

*Shy introverted

*MelPhleg phlegmatic Personality

*Cholerics Sanguines compatible

* Basic problems of a Choleric person

What search terms brought you here?

Temperament, Personality and Marriage?

Here’s a question from a reader:  “Hey, I’d like to ask your opinion on marriage.  Do you think opposites make the best marriage?  Is it important in your mind?  The ones that don’t have matching temperaments (and I mean both as we all have two) never quite seem to thrive as those who do.  What are your thoughts?”

My reply – Temperament plays a vital role in marriage.  What most peole don’t realize is that we are often attracted to temperaments that are different thour our own.  A quiet Phlegmatic may appreciate the outgoing, talkative Sanguine.  An organized Melancholy may think that a hard-charging Choleric is just like them.  The problems arise when we find out that their weaknesses are our strengths and we cannot understand how what is easy to us is so hard to them.  A Sanguine is very, very disorganized and a Melancholy finds that infuriating.  A Phlegmatic is very easy going and a Choleric is totally impatient with that approach.  You cannot help your natural temperament type any more than you can help your eye color.  

Therefore it makes sense to find someone who shares some of your temperament traits in some way.  As you said in your question, each of us is a blend of two temperaments types –If you are a Choleric Sanguine (full speed ahead but also socially outgoing), you might do with with a Sanguine Phlegmatic (socally outgoing and easy going at the same time).  The most difficult couple combination are two complete temperament opposites.  A Melancholy Choleric (detailed/critical and hard charging) is going to be very impatient and critical of a Sanguine Phlegmatic (socially outgoing and easy going).  I believe temperament tests are a useful tool when looking (objectively) at choosing a spouse.

Personality Traits or Why Does He Irritate me?

Let’s face it – if you’re human you get irritated with others.  If you study introversion and extroversion and temperament you know that some of it comes from those personality differences. The Choleric is purposeful and direct — and strongly dislikes the “flightiness” of the outgoing Sanguine.  The Melancholy is detailed and analytical and tidy — and strongly dislikes the lack of organization by the Phlegmatic and Sanguine.  And all three are put off by what they perceive as the Choleric’s “pushiness”.

What temperament and personality traits irritate you?  And which of your traits would you imagine irritate others?

Which leads to today’s question from a reader:  “Good Day, Sir.  I am a typical Chinese student from Singapore.  I have just read your explanation on man’s personality.  Frankly speaking, I am mostly Choleric and a little Melancholy.  I have a friend who is a student leader like me and I find him extremely showy.  And I find it very hard to bear with him too since both of us are student leaders.  I don’t see why he is so dominant though I am his “in-charge”.  This really makes me insecure and angry!  If you do not mind, can you tell me a way to correct my perspective?”

And I reply – As a Choleric you are very goal-oriented BUT with a Melancholy secondary you are not particularly outgoing and social.  You are probably not a natural “people person” like your comrade.  Your Melancholy traits cause you to analyze behaviors you observe very carefully, however, the weaknesses of the Choleric/Melancholy are anger and criticism so it is somewhat natural that you find yourself reacting that way.

On the other hand, your friend is most likely Sanguine, that is, an outgoing and warm friendly type who is naturally extroverted.  This person can no more help being outgoing than you can help being dedicated and focused. Since neither of you can change your natural temperament, you must learn to accept (or at least tolerate) each other. You would do well to cultivate some friend with a Phlegmatic temperament.  A Phlegmatic is soft-spoken and easy going and will be a good listener.  Focus on getting things done and don’t let your friend’s natural temperament make you insecure.

Am I Introverted or Extroverted?

I’m often asked why this blog is titled “Introvert”.  Well part of it is because I AM one — but I’m also interested in temperament and how introverts and extroverts react to life, the world, and everything.

There are probably hundreds of articles on introversion and extroversion so I won’t add a long treatise to the list.

I will try to pinpoint a couple of general traits that may help you identify which you are.

First, I personally am an introverted extrovert — by this I mean that I love visiting with people and don’t fear social situations where I know people or have been invited for a specific purpose.  But I am highly uncomfortable in unstructured social situations such as wedding receptions, social get-togethers where I don’t know many people, etc.

But a key to an introverted definition has to do with what gives you energy or makes you tired.  An extrovert can come out of an unstructured social situation with more energy.  An introvert comes out of the same situation, well, tired!  Social situations cause the introvert to need to recharge — typically by having quiet down time reading, listening to music, web browsing, or sitting in nature.

There are degrees of introversion and extroversion.  There are other social factors such as family, workgroup, number of close friends (which is usually a small number with introverts).

So determine your degree of introversion by this simple ratio – amount of social interaction equated to “X” amount of needed downtime to recharge.  The bigger your “X” factor is the more introverted you are.

How to React/Respond to the DiSC Test

In a previous post I described how the DiSC test is used – in a nutshell, this test helps determine your inborn temperament type.

This test may be useful to your company but how can you benefit from the results?  First off, I believe strongly that understanding your underlying temperament is highly valuable in every aspect of life.  It helps you understand why you react the way you do to situations and others.  It helps you understand why others react to you the way they do.  It gives insight into why you like or dislike certain individuals.

Some things to consider as you take the test and get your results – first, it is comletely possible to “game” the test by choosing answers to the questions that don’t reflect your actual way of thinking and reacting.  So you could be a calm Phlegmatic (High S in DiSC) but come out as a hard-driving Choleric (High D) based on how you answer the questions.

So if for some reason you want to give your company or group a mis-leading impression you certainly can.  But if you take the time to answer thoughtfully, the results can benefit you beyond their original purpose.

Secondly, as in any personality test, your answers are subjective.  I’ve had people tell me they’ve taken the test numerous times but gotten different answers.  This is because of a couple of factors – depending on the circumstances of the test, you may answer differently.  In a job interview you’ll want to put on your best “face” based on what you think they want to hear.

In a team building exercise, you may react to the questions in relationship to the group — work, social, personal.

For these reasons I encourage people to take the test more than once — not sequentially but over time — so that you can spot trends in your own reactions.

Learning your basic temperament type can assist you in improving all types of relationships — personal, social, work, team.  If you are interested I have an e-book on how the different temperament types react to each other.  You can find it on the Amazon Kindle bookstore.

A Melancholy Makes Decisions

Once we discover that our temperament has something to do with where we are in life, we often panic and want things to change.  I got this letter from a reader –

“Please help!!!! I am a MelPhleg (Melancholy Phlegmatic  or High C, High S in DiSC) with a number of Choleric traits underlying my personality.  I am currently an Occupational Therapist and miserable.  I feel like I am drowning in paperwork and sit on my butt all day.  This is not a good recipe for a “doer”.  I have been thinking about a career change.  I am thinking about being a photographer in the military.  Of course I am analyzing this to death.  I am reading all information I can get my fingers on, seeing a career counselor now, and plan on talking to a recruiter in the near future.

I was wondering if you have any additional advise for me and my situation?”

My answer – First off, s-l-o-w down.  You are going to blow a gasket!  A Melancholy Phlegmatic (High C, High S) is a detailed person who doesn’t feel the need to force their style on others.  The Melancholy has the need to analyze and the Phlegmatic has the tendency to worry which is probably causing some of this anxiety.  If you determine in your (choose your term – heart, innermost self) that you need to change then you’ve already begun some of the steps.

Don’t let your anxiety push you to a decision too quickly but don’t let your Choleric pieces (Driver) push you into a decision you are unsure of.  Finally, and somewhat in contradiction to what I just wrote, there IS NO perfect career/life answer and the thing that is our passion today becomes a job tomorrow.  Whatever you choose to do, make sure you maintain activites that bring balance to your life overall.  Best wishes and let me know if you have further questions.

Why Am I Taking the DiSC?

There’s a scene from the Big Bang Theory where Penny asks Sheldon to teach her physics.  He begins with “It’s a warm summer night in ancient Greece . . .” so I figured I’d start there too.

The ancient Greeks thought that a person’s personality was influenced by “humours” which were a variety of different fluids in the body.  A Choleric was driven, a Sanguine was outgoing, a Melancholy was critical and a Phlegmatic was calm.

We still see that each individual has an inborn temperament type which has been codified in many ways; one of which is the DiSC test.  This test or survey asks how you react to a variety of situations in life and by your answers determines which is your primary temperament type and which is your backup or secondary type.  95% of individuals are a blend of two types though a few people are a blend of three types.

So your company or maybe a company you want to work for has said you will take a DiSC test and you are freaked out.  Too often there is not enough explanation of what the test does and how the results are used and, honestly, the results can sometimes be mis-used.

To start, the D in DiSC is the driven Choleric, the i (which stands for “influencing of others”) is the outgoing Sanguine, the S is the calm, steady Phlegmatic and the C is the conscientious, analytical Melancholy.

So what’s if for and how will it be used and how can you be assured how the results will be used?

Typically the DiSC is used in team building or possibly in hiring decisions.  If a workgroup is having issues then the DiSC may help uncover trends in behavior that are due to temperament.  If a sales role is being filled then HR may utilize the DiSC to look for hard-driving Choleric (D) types.

What many people that use the DiSC don’t realize is that temperament is only one aspect of overall personality.  In other words, inborn temperament is the foundation but temperament plus all life experience equals personality.

So at a foundational level the DiSC is inherently harmless BUT how the results are used may NOT be harmless.

In my next post I’ll deal with how you can utilize the results in your own self-development, how people “game” the test, and how to avoid being pigeon-holed by the results.

Questions? Just add them in the comments or email me at halwarfield(at)gmail(dot)com.

And A Child Shall Lead

Now my mail includes temperament questions about children!  Here is the question:

“My wife and I realize that we have a Choleric child.  She is 7, first born, very bright (school comes easy)  She is also prone to erratic behavior, fits of anger, outbursts and the like.  She tries to dominate by manipulating your actions through hers.  We now know not to spank a Choleric child, but how do you discipline one?  Thanks for any help.”

My answer: First understand that NO ONE is a pure Choleric or any of the other four types.  At 7 it may be difficult to see her secondary type but it’s there.  Is she detailed in her school work or drawing or organizing her toys?  If so, her secondary might be Melancholy.  is she outgoing and talkative?  Her secondary type might be Sanguine.

A Choleric is a task-oriented, goal focused individual who doesn’t care much how they achieve those goals.  Rather than trying to control, I suggest searching out “energy outlets” that are goal oriented.  I’ve not been involved personally but some sort of martial arts where discipline and control are stressed might be a partial solution.

Discipline has to MAKE SENSE to a Choleric or they will just scorn it and you.  Most likely an activity-based discipline like cleaning or picking up sticks in the  yard or something like that; don’t make them take a “time out”; that will just make the pot boil.

Let me know if I can answer further.  Best wishes.