The four temperaments: The melancholic blends

Want a break from freezing your backside off? Excuse my inability to get round to blogging and have a read of part three of this month’s blogging theme: the four temperaments

Melancholic-phlegmatic: usually the most introverted blend, these people are the sort who genuinely appreciate the deeper things in life, be it art, literature, music or reflection on everyday life. Though they are usually inoffensive towards people, they are often inclined to see the negative side of both others and themselves. This stems from the melancholic tendency towards perfectionism – they may set high standards only to be upset when they, or others, don’t meet them. This, combined with their introversion, can lead to a lot of insecurity and a real struggle to connect with people. Because they are very analytical, mel-phlegs tend to have a deep understanding of themselves and their emotions, and may spend a lot of time in introspection.

Although they are shy around people, they will be deeply loyal to those whom they do develop a connection with, as they are often very devoted to anything close to their hearts. They are very emotionally sensitive, which may be a double edged sword – it can be very hard for them to take criticism, but in a bad situation, they would probably genuinely feel for those affected.

Melancholic-choleric: like the mel-phleg blend, mel-chols tend to be introverted and pessimistic. They are often very hardworking, due to the perfectionistic nature of the melancholic with a hint of the choleric’s drive. This combination may also affect their relationships with people; they may be a reliable and dedicated friend to those closest to them, while prone to holding a grudge against others. They may come across as blunt and confident when interacting with people, but are often deeply insecure inside. As with the choleric-melancholic, they may find tasks easier than people.

In a sense, being blunt may be an indicator of their emotional state. As with the mel-phleg, they may be prone to anxiety but might show this by getting irritable rather than sad or worried. They can be very detail conscious, and will want any task they are involved in completed exactly the way it should be.

Melancholic-sanguine: being the most introverted, analytical temperament backed up by the most extroverted and fun-loving, this blend can make for a very complex character indeed. You’ve probably met someone who seems really friendly and warm, yet is picky about how much they socialise, when and with whom? Definitely a mel-san, in my experience. They can make good performers, because of their hardworking nature and their willingness to show off their skills to others. They are also less likely than the sanguine-melancholic to juggle with lots of activities all at once, perfecting one or a few skills at a time, rather than displaying a range of abilities not fully developed.

Mel-sans are a blend of the two most emotional temperaments. They may be an emotional rollercoaster – when high, they may be very high, yet if anything upsets them, they may plummet to despair and depression. At their worst, they can be prone to blowing things out of proportion, becoming highly emotional about their problems. In a less negative sense, this can show in how they talk. For example, they could be very expressive in their use of language and be openly affectionate towards their friends, while exaggerating any bad news – about themselves or others – that they have to bear.

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The four temperaments: The sanguine blends

Another continuation of this month’s first post: The four temperaments. Want an explanation on how temperament blends work? Go to the previous post, read what I said at the beginning, then see how many blends I have written about so far ring close to home. As I said then, each description is based on at least one person I’ve known. Are you the fun loving, bubbly, talkative type who can make the best out of any situation? Just take a peek at…the sanguine blends:

Sanguine-Choleric: possibly the most super-extroverted of all the blends, san-chols can seem like they are always on the go. They are often the first to speak up in a group of people, and like to talk incessantly. They are very open with their emotions, which tend to be explosive but usually brief. They tend to speak before they think, dislike being ignored and can seem impatient, yet don’t dwell on negatives. This means that you can find yourself thinking you have annoyed them, only to be confused when they genuinely seem to have moved on.

Because they are so open and talkative, it is unlikely that a san-chol will keep anything from you for very long. Although this means that they put their foot in their mouth sometimes, they are fun friends to have if you like to always be on the go – and if you let them do the talking. Perhaps due to their choleric tendencies, they can be ambitious and driven. In other words, they may seem flighty but if they stick at something they really want to do, they can easily succeed

Sanguine-Phlegmatic: an easy blend to recognise, as these are the friendly, bubbly, optimistic types who live in the moment and like to have fun. These people like attention, but if ignored are more likely to be disappointed than angry. They get bored quickly, particularly when alone, and tend to prefer casual, fun activities to those that require depth and precision. Although they don’t necessarily strive to dominate interaction with others, they will happily take the spotlight if it is given to them. They like to entertain, and are usually considerate of others when doing so.

Because they are so friendly, yet inoffensive, it is easy for someone to think of a san-phleg as a friend (and vice-versa) after just meeting them. They often have many friends, and tend to take the “broad and shallow” approach to friendships, meaning that they strive for fun and socialising over forming deep connections. That said, there are san-phlegs out there who do “go deeper” with people – they may just do so with group debates, shared activities and generally being open and sociable.

Sanguine-Melancholic: being a blend of opposites, these people can come across as being all over the place! San-mels often have unpredictable emotions – they are friendly and people oriented, yet can suddenly give way to negativity before bouncing back as if nothing happened. They may thrive on attention due to insecurity and tend to (directly or indirectly) share their problems with others. Being so emotional means that they care about others’ joys and sorrows but also that their approach to them may vary.

In my experience, san-mels like to be busy, and to have many things to do in their lives at the same time, due to being both fast moving and anxious to prove themselves. They can be more careful than the other sanguine blends – the differences between their sanguine nature and melancholic tendencies can lead to being torn between doing things quickly and doing things properly. If a san-mel is tired out, chances are they have tried too hard to manage both!

The four temperaments: The choleric blends

A continuation of my earlier post: The four temperaments. According to this theory, people are a blend of two temperaments – a primary and a secondary. I feel like I’ve stopped bordering on being nerdy and am in the realms of nerd central now, but don’t let that put you off. Seriously, you may well recognise the sorts of personalities described below. I do, and each description is based on at least one person I know. However, for the sake of discretion I’m not even going to refer to any of these people. So without further ado…the choleric blends:

Choleric-sanguine: generally the “alpha” girl/guy within a large group of friends. Excitable and short fused, they may be the life of the party and leader of the gang. They usually like to be around people, particularly people who can live up to their need for action and excitement – as long as those people don’t get in their way. They are quick to act and speak; the choleric’s drive to achieve, combined with the easy openness of the sanguine can make the chol-san* prone to losing their temper and arguing openly without thinking through what they are saying. They are fairly open with their emotions, but less so when it could expose weakness.

In my experience, chol-sans struggle with subtlety. For example, what may appear to be ostracising someone they have argued with by talking to someone else, is more likely to be them dealing with a strong urge to vent to someone, while struggling to forgive the other person. If they apologise, it may come across as forced. If this is the case, the best thing may be to calmly but firmly explain exactly how their actions have affected you, rather than assume they don’t care.

Choleric-melancholic: I haven’t known many of this type closely, but they tend to be less excitable and sociable than the chol-san. They are the most task-oriented of all the temperament blends, and work to the bone to achieve their goals. Chol-mels may be ambiverted i.e. able to handle being around people, but can enjoy solitude. They may be pickier than the chol-san about the company they choose, finding work easier than play. They are often argumentative, but they are more likely to dominate an argument with both force and fact, than explode openly only to falter over something they have not thought through.

Despite this, chol-mels may be emotional and insecure inside, but may not find it easy to show it. If they are your friend, they may show they care through actions, rather than communication. They can be fiercely devoted to causes close to their heart, and are unlikely to ever waver in defending them.

Choleric-phlegmatic: The quietest of the choleric blends, these people tend to be the “firm but fair” types. They are tough, but fairly laid-back. Being a blend of opposite temperaments means, in this case, that their temperaments meet in the middle somewhere. They tend to be very unemotional, and may be at a loss when someone cries, for example. Chol-phlegs are often very stubborn, but this tends to show in how they calmly carry on as they are rather than blow up when opposed. Although they may often feel angry, they may see losing their temper as a weakness, expressing themselves with a scowl or sarcastic remark instead.

Because of this, chol-phlegs may not come across as choleric, yet they do have a natural “dominant” streak, which tends to emerge in everyday conversation or group activities. They can be a source of irritation for the fiery chol-san – possibly a clash between their matching drive for dominance, the chol-san’s excitability and the chol-phleg’s unaffected refusal to back down! Trust me, I have witnessed this many times!

*For some reason, a lot of people abbreviate “choleric” to “chlor” instead of “chol”. I don’t get why, no-one shortens “sanguine” to “sgna”, so I’ll just splle it the way that flees rghit for me. Yes, that was dleibreate.

The four temperaments

I’ve decided this month’s theme will be more radically different than the last because I’m actually going to try and inform, rather than ramble about my life, my writing or the strange things that happen in my head. Actually, scratch that last point. I’m hoping to explain a way of understanding what happens in many people’s heads and why. Without further ado let me begin with…the four temperaments.

The temperaments system was originally an old-fashioned way of exploring personality, based on traits and motives. Your temperament could be seen as the base of your personality, yet your interests, beliefs, education, background, etc. could make you and another person with the same temperament as different as chalk and cheese. I first read about it in a psychology book that had been gathering dust for months after purchase. I was fascinated, and soon found various websites that gave more detail on the subject. My favourite one, which I frequently refer to, is this website:, which is the main inspiration for this month’s blogging theme.

So what exactly are the four temperaments?

To begin with, there is the choleric temperament. Ever come across someone who is clearly a born leader, a doer who seems unshakable when it comes to getting things done? If so, you are already familiar with at least one choleric. Cholerics are the task-oriented extroverts, whose main subconscious motive is “to lead”. Despite the potentially negative implications, this is not necessarily a bad thing; these people are simply pre-programmed to achieve, to get things done and to just make their point. If ever I have needed a choleric on my side, it would have to be whenever I have had to go out on a journalism-based mission that is not built for introverts who do not like approaching people…Having said that, the above choleric traits mean that this temperament’s main weakness is anger. In my experience, if these people feel rivalled, impatient or undermined in any way, you will certainly know about it!

Then you have the super-extroverted, people-oriented sanguine temperament, who love to socialise and have fun. Sanguines are arguably the easiest temperament to identify, simply because they tend to be outgoing, open and very quick to make friends. It is easy to feel like a sanguine is your friend because, chances are, they warm to you instantly, while you may be drawn to their natural charisma. They are generally friendly and excitable – they can gain and lose interest in anything at the drop of a hat. This leads to the concept of sanguines being flighty and shallow. I have met plenty of sanguines who have a lot more going for them than that, and a minority who, though often well meaning, sometimes come across that way. Again, this is simply a trait they are predisposed to, not one that describes them all over.

Then there are the task-oriented introverts, the melancholic temperament. These people are the most uncomfortable around other people – their motive is “perfection”, which leads to them being discontented by their own and others’ shortcomings. Melancholics may be life’s thinkers, and are more analytical and introspective than most. This can lead to them being emotionally intelligent with a deep understanding of themselves, but it does mean they are more prone to dwelling on the negatives, which at worst can lead to a long-lasting dislike of themselves and/or anyone else. Their perfectionism often means that they are studious and highly skilled in their area of expertise. As friends, they may be hard to bond with, but their depth and their serious, careful approach could make them the longest lasting.

And finally, the phlegmatic temperament. A people-oriented introvert, a phlegmatic person’s main inclination is inoffensiveness. They are the low-key types who sometimes have the most trouble standing out; this is more due to their quiet, “slow but steady” approach to life, rather than lack of any ability. Phlegmatics are the slowest to show emotion, because they can take a while to experience it and don’t express themselves naturally anyway. They can be slow to get moving, but they usually do what’s expected of them because this is easier than risking making a mistake and causing trouble. This may show in their relationships with others: they may not be the most dynamic company, but they are gentle and dependable, if their slow and hesitant nature doesn’t cause exasperation.

So there you have the four temperaments! Now, to complicate things further, on to the temperament blends…