July 20 2015

Hard to Be an Introvert? 05:11 pm

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.

 

July 17 2015

Super Simple Temperament Test 05:41 pm

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.

July 16 2015

Temperament Search Terms 06:03 pm

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?

July 10 2015

Temperament, Personality and Marriage? 03:06 pm

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.

July 9 2015

Personality Traits or Why Does He Irritate me? 04:36 pm

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.

July 8 2015

Am I Introverted or Extroverted? 03:23 pm

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 03:11 pm

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.

July 2 2015

A Melancholy Makes Decisions 03:12 pm

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? 02:53 pm

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.

June 26 2015

And A Child Shall Lead 07:42 pm

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.

August 8 2016

Take a Free Temperament Test 09:44 pm

I am a certified Personality ID consultant – there is a free version of the paid test here:  https://pidteam.crown.org/try_us_out_free_report

If you’d like to ask questions about this test, email me at halwarfield(at)outlook(dot)com

I will respond via email – it is not intended as a comprehensive test but should give you more information as you read the articles on this blog.

December 30 2015

Quora Post – Melancholy Choleric 09:52 pm

August 8 2015

A Melancholy Child 08:51 pm

I get many letters from individuals asking about their temperaments.  This letter comes from a mother with a Melancholy child.  Remember that a Melancholy temperament is very organized but can be overly analytical and critical.  Here’s the letter:

“Good Day, I have looked at your website and found many interesting facts about the various personalities.  I have a 10 year old very COMPLEX boy.  He is most definitely a Melancholy child.  Please advise me as to how I can get the most out of him, for him to eventually WANT to do things for himself, e.g. school work, sports, etc.  It seems as if he goes through cycles of really not liking himself.  He accepts compliments very skeptically.  Thank you, Michelle.”

My answer:  Michelle, you didn’t indicate whether you know his secondary temperament type — Phlegmatic, Sanguine or Choleric.  His age tends to magnify the problem as he is about to enter adolescence which is a difficult time for the happiest of children.

A Melancholy is usually analytical and critical of others but not of themselves.  If he is not naturally outgoing (possibly a Phlegmatic secondary) he needs to have some sort of peer group where he receives positive attention, activity and feedback.  It probably seems like a cliche but activites such as Tae Kwon Do or other martial arts seem to excel in this type of activity.

If he’s musically inclined, get him a guitar and some lessons.  Again the point being to give him feelings of accomplishment and to focus his attention more outwardly.

Whatever you can come up with to give him a feeling of success and divert his attention from himself should have the effect of gradually raising his self-concept.  At the same time I would avoid competitive groups wehre he will have the tendency to be self-critical (sport teams for example).

Don’t expect this to be an overnight change — realize his temperament is inborn and that his personality is temperament plus his life experience and circumstances.  The only part you can influence directly are the latater two.

August 7 2015

All Four Temperaments in One? 03:36 pm

I get many emails with questions about temperament.  Here is one on temperament combinations.

“I ws told that I have all four (types) and was told this is unusual.  Am I blessed or cursed. Ewa.”

My response:  I have encountered many who have said that they had “all four temperament types” and this points up the differences between temperament and personality.  Let’s examine a person with a Phlegmatic (laid back, easy-going) temperament.  If this person is raised by Cholerics (hard driving, non-emotionally sensitive),the Phlegmatic will, by necessity, take on some Choleric behaviors simply by being around Cholerics.

Remember that temperament is in-born; personality is your life experience added to your temperament.  You are still most likely a blend of two main types, but circumstances in your life may have caused you to take on the behaviors of temperament types not naturally your own.

To better see your natural temperament, ask yourself two questions.  First, what are my natural weaknesses; the things I “just can’t seem to help”?  If laziness is your weakness, you are probably Phlegmatic.  If you are disorganized, you may be Sanguine.  If you have a tendency to analyze the behaviors of others you may be Melancholy.  If you tend not to care much about how your behavior affects others, you’re probably Choleric.

Secondly, ask yourself how you respond under stress and pressure.  A Phlegmatic will procrastinate, a Sanguine will have sharp emotional outbursts that will quickly go away, a Melancholy will begin to over-analyze everything and a Choleric will get quiet and angry.

August 4 2015

Temperament and Marriage 08:54 pm

I am not a marriage counselor nor do I play one on the Intarwebs but it seems that some readers think I can help.  Take the following email: “I read some of your info about temperament on your blog.  I am a Melancholy Phlegmatic.  I’ve discovered my temperament capabilities so am cooperating with them and it’s really getting me somewhere!  But I have this trouble; what blend of temperament will suite me as a spouse?  What blend of temperament matches mine?”

To which I reply: There’s never a guarantee in a relationship without the commitment to work on differences with understanding and acceptance.  It also doesn’t work to try and change the other person.  That being said, let’s look at both good and poor natural temperament combinations for your temperament blend.

As a Melancholy Phlegmatic you are a detailed and organized person offset a bit by the lack of drive of the Phlegmatic.  Your weaknesses – a tendency to be openly critical of others and yet a bit unfocused in yourself – would tend to eliminate a Choleric as a match; unless the Choleric drive was their secondary type.

You would be best suited to possibly a Phlegmatic Choleric (laid back but with a bit of drive and able to handle criticism) or a Sanguine Melancholy where the uplifting Sanguine (who is highly unfocused and can be disorganized) is offset by the organized Melancholy secondary type.

It has always been my contention that you need at least ONE of your temperament types to match either the primary or secondary for a degree of temperamental compatibility.  The opposite seems to be true; a Phlegmatic Choleric would have the most difficulty with a Sanguine Melancholy.  In your case you would be least like a Sanguine Choleric.

I want to emphasize however that temperamental compatibility can only go so far without the commitment to the relationship by both parties.  A good relationship is NOT 50/50; it’s 100/100.

July 31 2015

DiSC versus Myers-Briggs 03:27 pm

My personal experience is that these two inventories do not measure the same things exactly.  The following exchange is with a reader:  “Dear Hal, my name is Bryne.  I have taken both MBTI and the DiSC tests.  On the DiSC test I was a Melancholy Phlegmatic.  As for the MBTI I tested as INFP/INTP.  So how do I reconcile the results of these two tests?  Does INFP correlate well with Melancholy Phleg or does INTP correlate better?”

My response:  I’ve always been interested in trying to reconcile the Myers-Briggs and DiSC; in my observation they are NOT the same way of looking at temperament.  For example I have a friend who, like me, is an INFP — both of us rate stongly for this type.  However I am Phlegmatic Choleric (High S, High D) and he is a Phlegmatic Melancholy (High S, High C).  So while we both tend to be laid back, my friend is much more analytical and critical and I am much more results-oriented (“results-oriented” is a relative term in a Phlegmatic!)

Since you are also an INFP we should share some of the same approaches to life HOWEVER because you are Melancholy first and Phlegmatic second, your personality would seem to differ from my friend’s and mine in many ways.

I realize this isn’t a full answer but it does indicate to be that the two types of inventories measure different qualities.  Wish I had more; I guess I should put some more effort into this but I’m a Phlegmatic so . . . .

July 29 2015

Opposite Temperament Types in the Same Person 02:53 pm

This question relates to the “blend” of temperament types in each of us; specifically, what happens when they are two opposites?

“I noticed that you are a Phlegmatic Choleric and I was wondering if you’ve studied how the opposite temperament types can be in the same person.  Thanks, Taylor”

This question is one I’ve often thought about. I do believe that you can have a blend of two opposite temperament types as I live in one (Phlegmatic Choleric).  My wife has two opposite types (Sanguine Melancholy) and my daughter also (Choleric Phlegmatic).

From my experience understanding this has do with the dominance of each type; by that I mean that in most people one type is dominant and the other is less so.

For instance I have  good friend that is Choleric Phlegmatic (just my opposite).  How do we differ since we share the same two types in differing amounts?  I am almost always the most laid back person in the room (Phlegmatic) but when I get impatient (traffic, slow lines) my Choleric driver wants to come out.  In my friend, his Choleric primary causes him to be a straight-ahead driver who does it in a non-angry way; his Phlegmatic ‘tempers’ his Choleric.

The upshot is that individuals with opposite termperament types will struggle with those opposites; which is partly what makes each of us unique!

July 27 2015

Temperament Percentages 05:35 pm

I got an email a while back asking about a breakdown of temperaments by percentage.  Here’s the letter:

“Hello, I have known about the four temperaments since the late ’90s and have taken several personality tests.  I recently bought a book that says that only 3% of people have Choleric as their primary temperament, 11% Sanguine, 17% Melancholy and a whopping 69% Phlegmatic.  I am a Choleric Sanguine which would make me the most rreof the 16 combos.  Are these percentages accurate, in the ball park, or totally off?  Matthew”

I’ve never thought about that aspect of temperament; I’ve always focused on how each type interacts in life.  However, it doesn’t seem right to me.  Marti Laney in her book “The Introvert Advantage” says that extroverts make up 75% of all people and introverts only 25%.  Cholerics and Sanguines are typically extroverts so the percentages you mention don’t seem right to me.  Also, in my experience, there just isn’t that large a percentage of easy-going, laid-back people!

July 24 2015

Does Shy Equal Introversion? 03:24 pm

I get this question asked from time to time: Does being shy mean I’m introverted?  I’m an introverted Phlegmatic with a Myers-Briggs of INFP and I feel pretty qualified to answer that.

As a child I was VERY bashful.  I did not interact a lot with others, I didn’t have a lot of friends and my mother tells me I was a very compliant child.  I believe introversion formed the basis of this shyness which lasted well into college.

However I believe that even the most hardnosed introvert can overcome shyness.  As an adult I have made my living in sales and marketing; I dislike cold calling and I don’t “schmooze”.  After a large presentation or meeting I still have the introvert’s need to go hide somewhere to recharge.

But I CAN make presentations and I CAN call people when I have to and I CAN hold conversations with strangers.  So what happened?

I believe that a strong program of self-development over the years helped my self-confidence.  Reading self-help books, listening to speakers, implementing techniques that I learned — all these helped.  That and simply being thrown into situations that MADE me interact with others.

Studying temperament and personality has also helped me tremendously by helping me learn that my introversion was natural and not some sort of social disease!  I believe introverts are born but that shyness is a controllable, changeable behavior.  I’d like to hear other points of view as well — let me know if you disagree!

July 23 2015

Temperament, Personality and Behavior 02:47 pm

I’m a strong proponent of describing our leanings by means of our natural temperament BUT there can be a tendency to excuse behavior on the same basis.

Because you are hard-wired a certain way – easy-going Phlegmatic, detailed Melancholy, outgoing Sanguine, or hard-driving Choleric – is not an excuse for not evolving your behavior.

The dictionary defines EVOLVE as “to develop or achieve gradually” — and this I maintain should be happening no matter what your temperament.

Phlegmatics need to fight laziness — to evolve would mean to become generally more active over time through work and discipline.  Melancholies tend to over-analyze and criticize — to evolve would mean putting these tendencies to good use in helping others actively.  Sanguines can be disorganized and messy — to evolve would mean implementing systems of organization that they would follow regularly.  Cholerics have little patience with others and care little about their feelings — to evolve would mean taking others’ thoughts and feelings more into consideration.

As an introverted Phlegmatic I’ve tried to evolve; while being more outgoing still tires me I no longer totally dread it.  I encourage each of us to evolve by changing behaviors over time.

August 8 2016

Take a Free Temperament Test 09:44 pm

I am a certified Personality ID consultant – there is a free version of the paid test here:  https://pidteam.crown.org/try_us_out_free_report

If you’d like to ask questions about this test, email me at halwarfield(at)outlook(dot)com

I will respond via email – it is not intended as a comprehensive test but should give you more information as you read the articles on this blog.

December 30 2015

Quora Post – Melancholy Choleric 09:52 pm

August 8 2015

A Melancholy Child 08:51 pm

I get many letters from individuals asking about their temperaments.  This letter comes from a mother with a Melancholy child.  Remember that a Melancholy temperament is very organized but can be overly analytical and critical.  Here’s the letter:

“Good Day, I have looked at your website and found many interesting facts about the various personalities.  I have a 10 year old very COMPLEX boy.  He is most definitely a Melancholy child.  Please advise me as to how I can get the most out of him, for him to eventually WANT to do things for himself, e.g. school work, sports, etc.  It seems as if he goes through cycles of really not liking himself.  He accepts compliments very skeptically.  Thank you, Michelle.”

My answer:  Michelle, you didn’t indicate whether you know his secondary temperament type — Phlegmatic, Sanguine or Choleric.  His age tends to magnify the problem as he is about to enter adolescence which is a difficult time for the happiest of children.

A Melancholy is usually analytical and critical of others but not of themselves.  If he is not naturally outgoing (possibly a Phlegmatic secondary) he needs to have some sort of peer group where he receives positive attention, activity and feedback.  It probably seems like a cliche but activites such as Tae Kwon Do or other martial arts seem to excel in this type of activity.

If he’s musically inclined, get him a guitar and some lessons.  Again the point being to give him feelings of accomplishment and to focus his attention more outwardly.

Whatever you can come up with to give him a feeling of success and divert his attention from himself should have the effect of gradually raising his self-concept.  At the same time I would avoid competitive groups wehre he will have the tendency to be self-critical (sport teams for example).

Don’t expect this to be an overnight change — realize his temperament is inborn and that his personality is temperament plus his life experience and circumstances.  The only part you can influence directly are the latater two.

August 7 2015

All Four Temperaments in One? 03:36 pm

I get many emails with questions about temperament.  Here is one on temperament combinations.

“I ws told that I have all four (types) and was told this is unusual.  Am I blessed or cursed. Ewa.”

My response:  I have encountered many who have said that they had “all four temperament types” and this points up the differences between temperament and personality.  Let’s examine a person with a Phlegmatic (laid back, easy-going) temperament.  If this person is raised by Cholerics (hard driving, non-emotionally sensitive),the Phlegmatic will, by necessity, take on some Choleric behaviors simply by being around Cholerics.

Remember that temperament is in-born; personality is your life experience added to your temperament.  You are still most likely a blend of two main types, but circumstances in your life may have caused you to take on the behaviors of temperament types not naturally your own.

To better see your natural temperament, ask yourself two questions.  First, what are my natural weaknesses; the things I “just can’t seem to help”?  If laziness is your weakness, you are probably Phlegmatic.  If you are disorganized, you may be Sanguine.  If you have a tendency to analyze the behaviors of others you may be Melancholy.  If you tend not to care much about how your behavior affects others, you’re probably Choleric.

Secondly, ask yourself how you respond under stress and pressure.  A Phlegmatic will procrastinate, a Sanguine will have sharp emotional outbursts that will quickly go away, a Melancholy will begin to over-analyze everything and a Choleric will get quiet and angry.

August 4 2015

Temperament and Marriage 08:54 pm

I am not a marriage counselor nor do I play one on the Intarwebs but it seems that some readers think I can help.  Take the following email: “I read some of your info about temperament on your blog.  I am a Melancholy Phlegmatic.  I’ve discovered my temperament capabilities so am cooperating with them and it’s really getting me somewhere!  But I have this trouble; what blend of temperament will suite me as a spouse?  What blend of temperament matches mine?”

To which I reply: There’s never a guarantee in a relationship without the commitment to work on differences with understanding and acceptance.  It also doesn’t work to try and change the other person.  That being said, let’s look at both good and poor natural temperament combinations for your temperament blend.

As a Melancholy Phlegmatic you are a detailed and organized person offset a bit by the lack of drive of the Phlegmatic.  Your weaknesses – a tendency to be openly critical of others and yet a bit unfocused in yourself – would tend to eliminate a Choleric as a match; unless the Choleric drive was their secondary type.

You would be best suited to possibly a Phlegmatic Choleric (laid back but with a bit of drive and able to handle criticism) or a Sanguine Melancholy where the uplifting Sanguine (who is highly unfocused and can be disorganized) is offset by the organized Melancholy secondary type.

It has always been my contention that you need at least ONE of your temperament types to match either the primary or secondary for a degree of temperamental compatibility.  The opposite seems to be true; a Phlegmatic Choleric would have the most difficulty with a Sanguine Melancholy.  In your case you would be least like a Sanguine Choleric.

I want to emphasize however that temperamental compatibility can only go so far without the commitment to the relationship by both parties.  A good relationship is NOT 50/50; it’s 100/100.

July 31 2015

DiSC versus Myers-Briggs 03:27 pm

My personal experience is that these two inventories do not measure the same things exactly.  The following exchange is with a reader:  “Dear Hal, my name is Bryne.  I have taken both MBTI and the DiSC tests.  On the DiSC test I was a Melancholy Phlegmatic.  As for the MBTI I tested as INFP/INTP.  So how do I reconcile the results of these two tests?  Does INFP correlate well with Melancholy Phleg or does INTP correlate better?”

My response:  I’ve always been interested in trying to reconcile the Myers-Briggs and DiSC; in my observation they are NOT the same way of looking at temperament.  For example I have a friend who, like me, is an INFP — both of us rate stongly for this type.  However I am Phlegmatic Choleric (High S, High D) and he is a Phlegmatic Melancholy (High S, High C).  So while we both tend to be laid back, my friend is much more analytical and critical and I am much more results-oriented (“results-oriented” is a relative term in a Phlegmatic!)

Since you are also an INFP we should share some of the same approaches to life HOWEVER because you are Melancholy first and Phlegmatic second, your personality would seem to differ from my friend’s and mine in many ways.

I realize this isn’t a full answer but it does indicate to be that the two types of inventories measure different qualities.  Wish I had more; I guess I should put some more effort into this but I’m a Phlegmatic so . . . .

July 29 2015

Opposite Temperament Types in the Same Person 02:53 pm

This question relates to the “blend” of temperament types in each of us; specifically, what happens when they are two opposites?

“I noticed that you are a Phlegmatic Choleric and I was wondering if you’ve studied how the opposite temperament types can be in the same person.  Thanks, Taylor”

This question is one I’ve often thought about. I do believe that you can have a blend of two opposite temperament types as I live in one (Phlegmatic Choleric).  My wife has two opposite types (Sanguine Melancholy) and my daughter also (Choleric Phlegmatic).

From my experience understanding this has do with the dominance of each type; by that I mean that in most people one type is dominant and the other is less so.

For instance I have  good friend that is Choleric Phlegmatic (just my opposite).  How do we differ since we share the same two types in differing amounts?  I am almost always the most laid back person in the room (Phlegmatic) but when I get impatient (traffic, slow lines) my Choleric driver wants to come out.  In my friend, his Choleric primary causes him to be a straight-ahead driver who does it in a non-angry way; his Phlegmatic ‘tempers’ his Choleric.

The upshot is that individuals with opposite termperament types will struggle with those opposites; which is partly what makes each of us unique!

July 27 2015

Temperament Percentages 05:35 pm

I got an email a while back asking about a breakdown of temperaments by percentage.  Here’s the letter:

“Hello, I have known about the four temperaments since the late ’90s and have taken several personality tests.  I recently bought a book that says that only 3% of people have Choleric as their primary temperament, 11% Sanguine, 17% Melancholy and a whopping 69% Phlegmatic.  I am a Choleric Sanguine which would make me the most rreof the 16 combos.  Are these percentages accurate, in the ball park, or totally off?  Matthew”

I’ve never thought about that aspect of temperament; I’ve always focused on how each type interacts in life.  However, it doesn’t seem right to me.  Marti Laney in her book “The Introvert Advantage” says that extroverts make up 75% of all people and introverts only 25%.  Cholerics and Sanguines are typically extroverts so the percentages you mention don’t seem right to me.  Also, in my experience, there just isn’t that large a percentage of easy-going, laid-back people!

July 24 2015

Does Shy Equal Introversion? 03:24 pm

I get this question asked from time to time: Does being shy mean I’m introverted?  I’m an introverted Phlegmatic with a Myers-Briggs of INFP and I feel pretty qualified to answer that.

As a child I was VERY bashful.  I did not interact a lot with others, I didn’t have a lot of friends and my mother tells me I was a very compliant child.  I believe introversion formed the basis of this shyness which lasted well into college.

However I believe that even the most hardnosed introvert can overcome shyness.  As an adult I have made my living in sales and marketing; I dislike cold calling and I don’t “schmooze”.  After a large presentation or meeting I still have the introvert’s need to go hide somewhere to recharge.

But I CAN make presentations and I CAN call people when I have to and I CAN hold conversations with strangers.  So what happened?

I believe that a strong program of self-development over the years helped my self-confidence.  Reading self-help books, listening to speakers, implementing techniques that I learned — all these helped.  That and simply being thrown into situations that MADE me interact with others.

Studying temperament and personality has also helped me tremendously by helping me learn that my introversion was natural and not some sort of social disease!  I believe introverts are born but that shyness is a controllable, changeable behavior.  I’d like to hear other points of view as well — let me know if you disagree!

July 23 2015

Temperament, Personality and Behavior 02:47 pm

I’m a strong proponent of describing our leanings by means of our natural temperament BUT there can be a tendency to excuse behavior on the same basis.

Because you are hard-wired a certain way – easy-going Phlegmatic, detailed Melancholy, outgoing Sanguine, or hard-driving Choleric – is not an excuse for not evolving your behavior.

The dictionary defines EVOLVE as “to develop or achieve gradually” — and this I maintain should be happening no matter what your temperament.

Phlegmatics need to fight laziness — to evolve would mean to become generally more active over time through work and discipline.  Melancholies tend to over-analyze and criticize — to evolve would mean putting these tendencies to good use in helping others actively.  Sanguines can be disorganized and messy — to evolve would mean implementing systems of organization that they would follow regularly.  Cholerics have little patience with others and care little about their feelings — to evolve would mean taking others’ thoughts and feelings more into consideration.

As an introverted Phlegmatic I’ve tried to evolve; while being more outgoing still tires me I no longer totally dread it.  I encourage each of us to evolve by changing behaviors over time.