good • bad • better • friendships by personality


For every strength of our personality there can be weaknesses on the flip side. What makes us a great friend can also be the very characteristics that become obstacles to being better friends – particularly when interacting with friends with a different dominant temperament than your own. 

SANGUINES

Sanguines make GREAT friends because they bring the spontaneity and joy to pretty much every situation. They celebrate well, they tell great stories and they find the fun in everything. 

Sanguines make BAD friends when they dominate in social environments, forget important details and don’t help with the dishes. 

Sanguines make BETTER friends when they make greater efforts to use their social power to include and draw in quieter friends, show sensitivity to the emotional climate of a situation, and are more reliable. 

CHOLERICS

Cholerics make GREAT friends because they will want to succeed at being a great friend. They’re good decision makers and full of big ideas for fun adventures and accomplishing things together. 

Cholerics make BAD friends when they get caught up in the tasks they want to achieve and don’t give attention to the feelings and emotional needs of others. 

Cholerics make BETTER friends when they make concerted efforts to understand people and give themselves to communicating at a heart level. 

PHLEGMATICS

Phlegmatics make GREAT friends because they are loyal, peaceful and consistent. They are observant, tolerant and can be drawn to laughter and fun. 

Phlegmatics make BAD friends when they are non-responsive or overly sensitive. Their lack of enthusiasm or expression can sometimes translate as a lack of care or concern. 

Phlegmatics make BETTER friends when they are intentional about expressing encouragement and emotional understanding and are more generous with their words and selves. 

MELANCHOLIES

Melancholies make GREAT friends because they think and feel deeply and seek creative forms of expression. Their perfectionism leads them to strive to be a ‘perfect’ friend and they follow through with intentionality. 

Melancholies make BAD friends when their depth of thinking and introspection leads them to overanalyse words, actions or circumstances and they become withdrawn, fearful, critical or suspicious. 

Melancholies make BETTER friends when they choose to believe the best of others and externalise thought processes in order to let others short circuit negative thinking. 
Which friend are you? Do you identify both the strengths and weaknesses of your personality type? What could you do to be a better friend or better understand your friends? 

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Understanding Others #3

In her book “Personality Plus” Florence Littauer outlines generalised descriptions of four personality types. She gives a diagnostic tool that you can use to determine which of these you are most like but you may be able to identify yourself in one of these categories purely on the following brief descriptions.

POPULAR SANGUINE

Pros – The Sanguine is the outgoing personality, life of the party, entertaining, engaging, fun and spontaneous. They are exciting to be around because they are so interactive and energetic. They’re the most likely to shout or cheer if you tell them good news and will probably laugh the longest at your jokes and stories.

Cons – Sanguines generally lack structure and order and pay little heed to schedule or routine which can make them unpredictable and unreliable. They are often running late and leaving tasks unfinished. They can also be socially dominating.

POWERFUL CHOLERIC

Pros – Cholerics make great leaders and CEOs because they are very ‘driven’ and motivated. They are great in directing and overseeing and have capacity to accomplish projects on a large scale. They are confident and respond to challenges. They are ‘can do’ kind of people and work quickly and decisively. Cholerics take on projects that most other would be intimidated by.

Cons – The Choleric is typically strongly task focussed and can often be so to the detriment of helpful relationships and group dynamics. Whilst they are charging off to achieve great things they can often hurt people and leave a wide path of damage in their wake. They can be bossy and domineering.

PEACEFUL PHLEGMATIC

Pros – The majority of ‘people’ are Phlegmatic and this is what keeps the world going around! They are great followers; great supporters. They are able to remain emotionally neutral in difficult situations providing stability with their ‘unflappability’. They are agreeable, amiable and often helpful in mediating others and keeping the peace. They are faithful and loyal.

Cons – The Phlegmatic’s “whatever”, easy going attitude can often morph into laziness and/or stubbornness. They can be hard to motivate to action, difficult to inspire to emotional response or reaction and resistant to change. Their ‘steady’ pace can often bring frustration to those wanting to move a little faster.

PERFECT MELANCHOLY

Pros – Melancholy people are deep and creative thinkers. They do a lot of internal processing and analysing. This makes them great at strategy and logistics. They can identify potential problems and think ahead to possible solutions. They are often musical or artistic. They are great at keeping records and recalling details.

Cons – Because the Melancholy spends a lot of time in thought and internal dialogue they can become TOO introspective, negative or even depressed. They are often fearful in social situations because they over-analyse things. They are often slow to make friends and can tend to hold grudges.

Which one are you? Which one is your spouse, children, work colleagues, family members and friends?

These descriptions are not designed to pigeon-hole or ‘label’ you. They don’t EXCUSE any nuances of your personality but they may help to EXPLAIN something more of who you are and how you are more likely to respond to and interpret situations.
For me personally, this framework was instrumental in my journey to understanding and appreciating myself more (there’s a whole SECTION that describes me, I must not be *that* weird) and radically transformed both my understanding of others and my understanding of how they understood me (or didn’t).

More next time!! …

Understanding Others #1
Understanding Others #2
Understanding Others #4