Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician and philosopher, proposed that there were four basic types of personality, which he called the “four humors”. In summary, these four types are:
Sanguine: Sociable, outgoing nature. They tend to be optimistic and enjoy being around people.
Choleric: Characterized by a strong will and a tendency towards anger and irritability. They are often seen as leaders and have a lot of energy.
Melancholic: A tendency towards sadness and introspection. They tend to be thoughtful and sensitive.
Phlegmatic: Characterized by a calm and even-tempered nature. They tend to be easy-going and avoid conflict.
Let’s take a more in depth look at each of these 4 types:
People with this temperament tend to be introverted, thoughtful, and introspective. They may also be highly sensitive and prone to feeling emotions deeply. Some common traits of the melancholic personality type include:
Thoughtfulness and introspection: They tend to spend a lot of time reflecting on their thoughts and feelings, and may have a tendency towards self-analysis and self-reflection.
Sensitivity: They may be highly sensitive to their environment and the emotions of others. They may also be more sensitive to criticism and rejection.
Perfectionism: Melancholic types hold themselves to high standards and may be perfectionistic in their approach to work and relationships.
Emotional depth: They tend to experience emotions deeply and may have a rich inner life.
Pessimism: They may be prone to pessimistic thinking and may struggle with feelings of sadness or despair.
Note that while these traits are commonly associated with the melancholic personality type, everyone is unique and may exhibit a combination of different personality traits. It’s also possible to develop coping mechanisms and strategies to help manage some of the more challenging aspects of the melancholic temperament.
The choleric personality type is characterized by a strong, dominant, and goal-oriented nature. Here are five common characteristics of the choleric personality type:
Ambition: The choleric type tends to be highly ambitious and driven. They have a clear sense of their goals and are willing to work hard to achieve them.
Decisiveness: They tend to be decisive and quick to make decisions. They are confident in their abilities and are not afraid to take risks.
Independence: They are often independent and self-reliant. They prefer to work alone and may become frustrated or impatient with those who they feel are slowing them down.
Aggressiveness: Cholerics can be assertive and even aggressive in pursuing their goals. They may become impatient or angry when they encounter obstacles or opposition.
Impatience: They tend to be highly impatient, and may become frustrated when things do not move quickly enough. They may become easily bored or lose interest in projects that do not hold their attention.
It is important to note that while these characteristics are often associated with the choleric personality type, individuals may exhibit different traits depending on their individual circumstances and experiences.
People with a phlegmatic temperament are generally calm, peaceful, and easy-going. They tend to be slow to react and slow to change, and are often described as being “cool-headed” and “level-headed.” Some common traits of a phlegmatic personality include:
Introverted: Phlegmatic people tend to be more introverted and reserved, preferring to spend time alone or with a small group of close friends.
Calm: They tend to be calm and relaxed, even in stressful situations.
Patient: Phlegmatic individuals are patient and understanding, often taking their time to make decisions and not easily frustrated.
Indecisive: Because they take their time to make decisions, phlegmatic people may sometimes appear indecisive.
Content: They are inclined to be content with their current situation and do not have a strong drive to pursue ambitious goals or take risks.
Non-confrontational: Phlegmatic individuals avoid conflict and tend to be non-confrontational.
Empathetic: They are often very empathetic and have a strong ability to listen and understand others.
Passive: Phlegmatic people can sometimes appear passive and unmotivated, preferring to go with the flow rather than take action.
In summary, the phlegmatic personality type is characterized by a calm, peaceful, and easy-going nature, but may also struggle with decision-making and taking initiative.
The term “sanguine” is often used to describe a personality type that is outgoing, social, and optimistic. People who have a sanguine personality tend to be enthusiastic, talkative, and lively. They are often the life of the party and enjoy being around people. Some common traits associated with a sanguine personality type include:
Sociability: They are often very social and enjoy being around others. They are comfortable in social situations and tend to make friends easily.
Enthusiasm: Sanguine people tend to be very enthusiastic about life in general. They have a positive outlook and are often very energetic.
Optimism: They are inclined to be optimistic and see the best in situations. They also tend to be hopeful and positive, even in difficult circumstances.
Creativity: Sanguine people often have a creative streak and enjoy expressing themselves through art, music, or other forms of self-expression.
Flexibility: They tend to be adaptable and flexible, able to adjust to changes in their environment or circumstances.
Overall, the sanguine personality type is often associated with positivity, sociability, and a zest for life.
It’s a good idea to look at your communication in your personal life or business communication and ask, “What is in it for each of the different personalities?”