Meet the Personalities


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Has a squeak or rattle in your car ever driven you absolutely nuts? I probably get more irritated at unknown vehicular noises than I should. However, once I identify the source of the annoying offense, it hardly bothers me. Did you know that people’s personalities are like car rattles? Someone may grate on your last nerve, but when you understand the source of  his or her behavior it can be easier to tolerate. Do you know what I mean? Maybe you experience this with a co-worker, friend, a church acquaintance, or perhaps a loved one. Well, much of what annoys us in a certain person is just like a car rattle: once we understand the source, it is much easier to deal with.

So, let’s identify some personalities along with their “quirky” traits as well as some of the things that make them so wonderful and unique.


The easiest personality to identify in the sanguine. This is the most lively and animated of all the personality type. They tend to love bright colors and dress accordingly. They love bling and often wear unusual accessories. A female sanguine loves big jewelry and often carries a giant purses that holds everything including the kitchen sink. They tend to walk on the flamboyant side of fashion. Male sanguines often wear bright socks, suspenders, or hats that reflect their sanguine side. My 20 year-old son is sanguine and loves print shorts with bright and wild tee shirts. That shows off his sanguine side.

Behaviorally, sanguine personalities love to communicate and generally are very effective in this area. This can be a problem, however, when they talk too much. When it comes to enthusiasm, they rule the world. They tend to be passionate about their interests and will share that passion with anyone who will listen. When they talk their mouths are not the only things moving, their hand gestures often help with their communication. They love people and are great motivators. If you are planning a party, invite a few sanguine personalities and everyone will have a great time . . . sanguines are charming, social, and love to be among people. Fun is the name of the game for these people. Famous sanguines include Will Smith (actor), Goldie Hawn (actress), and Tigger (Winnie the Pooh’s friend.)


Who you gonna call if you need something done? A choleric!! This personality makes the world go round. They are the most mission-minded of the four personality types. If there is a need, they fill it. If there is a problem, they solve it. If there is an emergency, they dive right in the middle of it. These are all wonderful traits, but sometimes they can be a tad bossy . . . no, make that REAL bossy! Of the four personality types, they need to have control. If they get out of balance in this area, they will drive you nuts with their bossy antics and micromanaging tendencies.

This is one of the more practical personalities and are quick thinkers. Jobs requiring quick decision-making skills fit this personality well. Police officers and fire fighters often have the choleric personality. Famous choleric personalities include Rudy Guiliani, Winston Churchill, the Apostle Paul, and Rabbit (another character from the Winnie the Pooh stories). They all had missions and they got the jobs done.


The melancholy personality is the most sensitive. They are lovers of beauty and tend to strive for perfection in all they do. If you want a job done right, call a melancholy. It could take a LONG time because they are so detail oriented, but in most cases, the job will be done with precision. When it comes to appearance they tend to be the most “well-put-together” of all the four personality types. Women can be very stylish, but unlike the sanguine who dresses with a flamboyant flare, the melancholy woman tends to be more classic. Melancholy men gravitate toward conservative clothing such as khaki pants and button down shirts (or the polo type) usually in conservative colors such as navy or beige. There used to be a melancholy man who went to the same gym as me. He came in always looking perfect: nicely combed hair and tucked in, long-sleeved  polo shirt. The truly amazing thing was, and only a melancholy could pull this off, that he always left the gym looking as good as when he came in. Only this personality could pull that off.

They tend to be quiet people and usually prefer to be alone as to being with a lot of people. They tend to shy away from social events and prefer jobs that allow them to work in a solitary environment. Because they are ardent seekers of perfection they can sometimes be overly critical of themselves and others. However, the world is a more beautiful place because of the contributions of this wonderful personality. Of all the personalities the melancholy tend to be the “bluest” when it comes to emotions. Many artists are melancholy including Michelangelo. Nicole Kidman, Audrey Hepburn, and Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh’s donkey friend) are classic examples of this personality.


Last, but not least, we have the phlegmatic personality. This person is often the most difficult to identify because he/she is unassuming. I affectionately call them the “go-with-the-flow” people or the “chameleon”. They fit in just about anywhere you put them. They tend to be very diplomatic, reliable, and inoffensive. Most everyone loves the phlegmatic because they really don’t have any traits that drive people crazy. Well, almost . . . because they are very laid back they often don’t show passion for things, they can be lazy, and their indecision can drive people nuts.

They love, love, love comfort and their appearance usually reflects that love. This is my primary personality and I love casual clothing: jeans, tennis shoes (or similarly comfortable footwear). I have a low-maintenance hairstyle, and I rarely accessorize. Likewise, phlegmatic men don’t fuss about their appearances much. When it comes to an event that requires dressier clothing, a phlegmatic will dress as casual as they can while still being appropriate. They don’t like to draw attention to themselves.

Like the melancholy, they enjoy more quiet activities. People drain them and when given a choice attend a party on a Friday night or stay at home and read a book, the book will win almost every time. Mr. Rogers, Winnie the Pooh and his best friend, Piglet, are great examples of the phlegmatic personality.

When we understand people and how personality affects the way they act, it’s easier to accept them and not judge them so harshly. And like that annoying rattle in the car, people won’t drive us as insane when we understand them better. Personalities is a wonderful tool that makes it easier to love those around us.

©2013 Shona Neff