the four temperaments

we all know our astrological sign (i'm a leo), but do we all know what temperament we are? i started reading about the 4 temperaments several years ago and found it quite fascinating and eye opening.

the word "temperament" comes from the latin word temperamentum and means "right proportion or blending". the idea that our behaviors are related to our natural tendencies/temperament has been around for at least 2,400 years. the greeks believed that a person's temperament was made up of 4 fluids with one being dominant. An excess of yellow bile resulted in a temperament believed to be warm/hot and dry,
and associated with the element of fire [Choleric].

An excess of red bile resulted in a temperament believed to be warm/hot and wet,
and associated with the element of air [Sanguine].

An excess of white bile resulted in a temperament believed to be cool/cold and wet,
and associated with the element of water [Phlegmatic].

An excess of black bile resulted in a temperament believed to be cool/cold and dry,
and associated with the element of earth [Melancholy].

T. CocorisJohn , Th.M., Psy.D
The Choleric is an extroverted, hot-tempered, quick thinking, active, practical, strong-willed and easily annoyed person. Cholerics are self-confident, self-sufficient and very independent minded. They are decisive and opinionated and find it easy to make decisions for themselves as well as others. Cholerics tend to leave little room for negotiating. The Choleric is a visionary and seems to never run out of ideas, plans and goals, which are usually very practical. The Choleric does not require as much sleep as the other temperaments so their activity seems endless. Their activity almost always has a purpose because they are by nature result-oriented. They usually do not give in to the pressure of what others think unless they see that they cannot get the desired results. Cholerics can be crusaders against social injustice as they love to fight for a cause. Cholerics are both direct and firm when responding to others. They are slow to build relationships because results tend to be more important than people. They do not easily empathize with the feelings of others or show compassion. Cholerics think big and seek positions of authority.
The Sanguine is an extroverted, fun-loving, activity-prone, impulsive, entertaining, persuasive, easily amused and optimistic person. Sanguines are receptive and open to others and build relationships quickly. They are animated, excited and accepting of others. They will smile and talk easily and often. It is not unusual to feel as if you have known the Sanguine person for years after only a few minutes. Sanguines are so people-oriented that they easily forget about time and are often late arriving at their destination. Sanguines get bored easily because of their orientation to social involvement, activity and general dislike for solitude. The Sanguine never lacks for friends. Their attention span is based on whether or not they are interested in the person or event. The Sanguine can change their focus or interest in an instant. Sanguines are competitive and tend to be disorganized. Unless very disciplined, the Sanguine will have difficulty controlling their emotions. They usually like sports of any kind because of the activity and involvement with other people. Their voice will show excitement and friendliness. Sanguines usually dress according to current fashion. The Sanguine fears rejection or not making a favorable impression. They also fear others viewing them as unsuccessful. Sanguines are very effective working with people. The Phlegmatic is an introverted, calm, unemotional, easygoing, never-get-upset, person. Phlegmatics are both slow and indirect when responding to others. They are also slow to warm-up but will be accommodating in the process. Phlegmatics are by far the easiest person with which to get along. They live a quiet, routine, life, free of the normal anxieties and stresses of the other temperaments. The Phlegmatic will avoid getting too involved with people and life in general. Phlegmatics seldom exert themselves with others or push their way along in their career, they just let it happen. The Phlegmatic communicates a warm, sincere interest in others preferring to have just a few close friends. They will be very loyal to their friends and find it difficult to break long standing relationships regardless of what the other person does. The Phlegmatic tends to resist change of any kind without reason, other than they just do not want the change to occur. Phlegmatics show little emotion and are prone to be a grudge holder. Phlegmatics tend to avoid conflict and making decisions of any kind. They are practical, concrete and traditional thinkers. Their stoic expression often hides their true feelings. The Phlegmatic may be patient to the point of paralysis. Phlegmatics are persistent and consistent at whatever they undertake. The Melancholy is an introverted, logical, analytical, factual, private, lets-do-it-right person. Melancholies respond to others in a slow, cautious and indirect manner. Melancholies are reserved and suspicious until sure of your intentions. The Melancholy probe for the "hidden meaning" behind your words. They are timid and may appear unsure and have a serious expression. They are self-sacrificing, gifted and they tend to be a perfectionist. Melancholies are very sensitive to what others think about their work. The Melancholy is well organized; on occasion you may find a Melancholy that keeps things cluttered, however, they know what’s in the piles. The Melancholy is determined to make the right and best decision. Melancholies will ask specific questions and sometimes they will ask the same question again and again. The Melancholy needs reassurance, feedback and reasons why they should do something. They need information, time to think and a plan. The Melancholy fears taking a risk, making a wrong decision and being viewed as incompetent. Melancholies tend to have a negative attitude toward something new until they have had time to think it over. Melancholies are skeptical about most everything but they are creative and capable people. Melancholies tend to get bored with something once they get it figured out.

four descriptions by T. Cocoris John , Th.M., Psy.D found here

if this interests you, you can find out your temperament here. i have taken several different tests over the years and always come up the same- i'm a meloncholic through and through. i'm still not 100% sure what my secondary temperament is, i'm thinking either phlegmatic or choleric. knowing your temperament gives much insight to how you behave and react to people and situations. it also helps you work on your weaknesses. after all, knowledge is the first step to overcoming something. knowing your spouses (ruben is a sanguine) is extremely helpful! i feel i have a better understanding of him now that i am familiar with his sanguine ways.

if anything, it's fun to find out more about yourself. so go take the test! and make sure you tell me what you think about the results and this post in general.

♥ anne


  1. Hi, my name's Claire and I'm Melancholic, closely followed by Choleric :)
    I like that the weird balance in my personality is represented by this test.
    I am on the one hand very cool, logical and skeptical. I am on the other hand bossy and bold. One thing is sure, I love the arts.

    Thanks for this Anne, I had a lot of fun with it.
    Hope you're feeling great.

  2. This was such a fun test! I am Melancholic, very closely followed by Phlegmatic.

  3. Wow, this was fascinating! I have heard of the temperaments and I've done lots of personality tests like the Myers Briggs, but never this one. I was overwhelmingly Sanguine, which was what i thought i'd probably be. some of those terms were uncannily right on! now i want my hub to take the test. hope you're feeling good mama!

  4. Yep, Sanguine for me... but you knew that. Followed up by Phlegmatic and Melancholy... Choleric trails behind almost not scoring at all. Would make sense as to why you can't get me away from water!!! haha That was a fun post- thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh fun, I love personality tests. Before taking the test that you linked us to, I thought that I most closely related to the Sanguine temperament, but that I definitely had some of the Choleric running through my veins. Turns I am these two temperaments, but more Choleric than Sanguine. I have a bad temper sometimes; it’s something to work on..

    Another fun & informative personality test is the Myers-Briggs test. Have you taken it? It’s more detailed and concise than the temperaments’ test. I’m curious to know what you are. I am an Idealist Champion.

  6. I've taken this type of test before, I think in a college psych class, forgot all about it! If I remember correctly I scored the same then as I did tonight :D
    Melancholy/Phlegmatic (yep, that's me)

    Fun stuff!

  7. well, before taking the test, i couldn't decide whether i related more to phlegmatic or melancholic. and i was right, because i was right there, scoring a phlegmatic with a strong second in melancholic.

    i found some of those questions hard, so it was probably a good little exercise for me :)

  8. Haha, as I was reading the description for Sanguine I was thinking to myself, that is so Heather! I on the other hand scored a 0 in the Sanguine department (no surprise there!) and a zero in the Choleric department too.

    As I read the Phlegmatic description, I was totally identifying with it, then I read the Melancholy one and thought yeah I could be some of that too. Turns out I was right, and interestingly I scored 14 Phlegmatic and 6 Melancholic for both strengths and weaknesses.

    I want Lucas to take it now, I'm guessing he's Melancholic with a strong dose of Choleric.

    That was totally interesting and fun Anne, thanks!

  9. Thanks for posting this :) I love the pictures that accompany the descriptions. I too think Heather is the most 100% Sanguine ever!

    I got Melancholic and Choleric right behind with just one point less- it makes perfect sense! So interesting.... Thank you-

    Blessings and health to you Anne!

  10. I’ve read a lot of resources about four temperaments; this information is rather interesting. [url=http://undepress.net/temperament-and-its-four-types/]here[/url] you may find something useful.
    Temperament characterizes the emotional and dynamic aspect of a person’s activity. After reading this information I came to the conclusion that I’m sanguine, because I am cheerful and energetic, but I have unstable mood and I am unstable in interests and hobbies.

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thank you so much for stopping by. please feel free to leave a comment! i love reading them :)