Four Temperaments: Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric & Melancholic

The four temperaments are a highly intriguing and well-researched personality hypothesis. In fact, the four temperaments were first mentioned thousands of years ago in Ancient Greek literature.

Understanding your temperament type is crucial for maintaining a successful career and maximizing your personal relationships. Without a solid understanding of your temperament type, you will be less self-aware, and confident, as well as less able to accomplish your goals.

You may believe that getting key insights into your temperament requires hours of research. However, this is not the case, as many simple tests are now available online.

In this article, we will go over what the four temperament theory is and how understanding how knowing your temperament helps you.

What are the Four Temperaments? Definition & Meaning

To understand the four temperament theory, you must first get to know what temperaments are.

Temperament is the way a person display themselves in their personal lives, how they view their everyday experiences, their general approach to life, and so on.

There are four temperament categories: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. The model on which these temperament types are based dates back all the way to Ancient Greece and Hippocrates.

Your temperament will be influenced by key personality traits and meaningful experiences throughout your life. Usually, your temperament stays very similar regardless of which situation you are in.

How temperaments are developed and what influences them is a question scientists are still trying to answer. However, some early data suggests that brain stem development starting in childhood plays a key role.

Since brain stems do not change over time, fundamental personality types and temperaments tend to stay similar throughout your life. However, it is possible to change your personality through environmental factors.

There are some overlaps between the four temperaments theory and Carl Jung’s personality descriptions as well as the MBTI. For example, 4 out of 16 personality types described by the MBTI align very well with the four temperaments.

The sanguine temperament is characterized by high levels of extroversion, energy, optimism, love for adventure, and enjoyment of risk. Those who have a phlegmatic temperament are caring and seek to build lasting relationships before prioritizing their well-being.

The choleric temperament is characterized by goal setting and being what some may call an “over-achiever.”

Finally, the melancholic temperament represents people who are highly traditional and avoidant of risk.

Four Temperaments Types Explained In-Depth

Know that you have a general understanding of the four temperaments, you may be curious about some of the details of each personality type. Each of these types has some key characteristics that set them apart from the others.

Below, we have compiled a list of the general information as well as the pros and cons of being each of these temperament types.

Sanguine Temperament Type

If you are someone who likes to take risks, constantly challenges themselves, adores adventures, tends to be extroverted, and hates being bored, the sanguine personality type may be the one that suits you.

Their aversion to boredom often leads to constant change and an embracing of the unknown. However, this also makes individuals unpredictable and not good with planning.

Still, sanguines are creative and often passionate in their work. They are fantastic artists, and often thrive under pressure, making them excellent performers as well.

Careers in marketing, sports, television, debate, fashion, or travel can all be good options for sanguines.

Pros Of Sanguine Type

  • Willing to take risks and learn from failure
  • Usually very energetic and outgoing
  • Form bonds and relationships with relative ease
  • Tend to enjoy life with their carefree attitude
  • Great at entertaining others and keeping themselves busy
  • Can thrive under stress and in quick decision-making environments

Cons Of Sanguine Type

  • Can be difficult to understand and unpredictable
  • Often give in to personal pleasure, even when it harms them
  • React negatively to routine and easily bored
  • Difficult to keep their attention
  • Can at times neglect their involvement with people they already know in favor of seeking novelty

Choleric Temperament Type

Choleric people are goal-oriented and tend to achieve high levels of success. They also have high standards and work extremely hard to exceed these standards.

These individuals are logic-oriented, thoughtful, and tend to be realistic. They may not have the best people skills, but their book smarts usually make up for that.

Choleric people also tend to be more introverted, making jobs in computer science, statistics, finance, technology, and engineering suitable fields for them.

Pros Of Choleric Personality Type

  • Highly intelligent and make decisions rationally
  • Goal-oriented and have high standards for themselves
  • Focused on their career and tend to achieve high levels of success
  • They are practical and down-to-earth
  • Insightful and wise, as they quickly learn from experience

Cons Of Choleric Personality Type

  • May not be the most friendly
  • Tend to be introverted and awkward when meeting others
  • Have a hard time making emotional bonds
  • May at times neglect their partner’s needs if it conflicts with career goals
  • May struggle with understanding abstract or novel ideas
  • Not the best team players, and easily judge others for their incompetence

Melancholic Temperament Type

Melancholic personalities are the most traditional. They are not fond of change and find value in reflecting on the past.

Most of their personal beliefs and outlooks on life stem from traditional views.

They like doing the things they already know they love instead of searching for something new and exciting. Still, they are very community-oriented and can make for great managers.

Other career options for this temperament type include social work, accounting, or administrative positions.

Pros Of Melancholic Personality Type

  • Work hard to make the community a better place
  • Place others’ needs above their own
  • Feel satisfied with what they have and express gratitude often
  • Reflect on the past and find value in it
  • Can be great at finding risk-averse and proven ways to approach problem-solving

Cons Of Melancholic Personality Type

  • Avoid novelty and change, leading to an over-reliance on proven tactics
  • Not very innovative
  • Tend to be stuck in their ways and stubborn
  • May hold views that are traditional but are no longer accepted by the majority of individuals
  • Could neglect their own needs

Phlegmatic Temperament Type

Phlegmatic individuals are extroverted and social. They are great at building bonds and strengthening relationships.

These people are also loyal, trustworthy, and loving. They can express their emotions freely, and care deeply for those around them. Many view them as nurturing, and phlegmatics can also effectively keep the peace, even in high-stress moments.

Potential career matches for this type include nursing, nearly all of healthcare which involves direct patient contact, psychology, social services, teaching, or counseling.

Pros Of Phlegmatic Personality Type

  • Can help settle disputes and maintain peace
  • Extroverted and know how to effectively communicate
  • Nurturing and caring
  • Trusted by most individuals and tend to be loyal
  • Maintain relationships even after disputes

Cons Of Phlegmatic Personality Type

  • Find it hard to move on after they lose someone/break up in a relationship
  • Determine their self-worth from the way others see them
  • Can get stressed more easily than others
  • May continue a relationship even if it hurts them
  • Tend to be emotional and sometimes lose control of their feelings

Four Temperaments Combinations

While most people have a leading temperament, they typically also have a secondary temperament to accompany it.

These combinations of primary and secondary temperaments lead to the creation of a whole 15 separate temperament types.

Knowing your combination of temperaments can help you get even more specific about your personality.


There are two types of Choleric-Sanguine blends: the motivator and the executive.

Both of these would describe a result-oriented person. Motivators tend to be more impatient and place more stress on themselves, though.

Executives place greater stress on social cohesion and acceptance. Directors, who are Choleric-Phlegmatic, need to both get results and fulfill the desires of others.

Strategists need to also get results, like all choleric types, but also place a high value on justice and doing the right thing.


There are two Sanguine-Choleric types. One is the negotiator while the other is the marketer. Negotiators first and foremost need social acceptance, and then they need to get results.

Marketers are similar, but they are more energetic and aggressive people. The relator, or someone who is Sanguine-Phlegmatic, needs social acceptable and desires to accommodate others.

Sanguine-Melancholy people, called performers, also desire acceptance but need to also do the right thing at all times.


There are only 3 Phlegmatic types, unlike the 4 types for every other temperament style. Inspectors have the choleric trait of needing results, but firstly require themselves to accommodate for others.

Harmonizers, who are also Sanguine people, need social accommodation in addition to social acceptance.

Helpers, who have a primary trait of being Phlegmatic but are also Melancholic, need to accommodate others, and after that, a, ways do the right thing.


The Trainer, which is a Melancholic and Choleric type, is driven primarily by the desire to do the right thing. However, they are also result-oriented, detailed people like Cholerics.

The Idealist combines Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Melancholic temperaments. These types are highly perfectionist ice and have very high standards for themselves, showing Choleric is a close second temperament for them.

Diplomats are also Melancholic, and they often spend de-escalating situations and keeping the peace. Analysts are similar, but they spend more time analyzing right and wrong.

Why Are the Temperaments Important & Their Benefits

Why is it important to recognize your own temperament? It can save you lots of frustration in the long run. Temperament is a key element of your personality.

It determines how you react in certain scenarios when you succeed, what triggers you to fail, how well you control your emotions, what type of job is right for you, and so much more. If you want to be self-aware, learning about your temperament is crucial.

Most people never take the time to learn about their personalities. If you do, then you will have an advantage over the competition when it comes to finding a job or applying to schools for college and beyond. Being self-aware can benefit you in even more ways than just that, though.

Self-awareness can help you address your bad habits, for example. If you know that your temperament increases your reaction to stress, you may more actively avoid your triggers.

In addition to this, understanding your temperament type can also set you up for success in your career. It can help you find a job that maximizes your efficiency and happiness.

How To Take Online Assessment For 4 Temperament Styles?

After reading this article and realizing the benefits of recognizing your temperament type, you may be thinking: how do I know which temperament I have? Luckily, there is a very simple online assessment available at your fingertips.

The site provides a free temperament style assessment. In addition to this, you can find many other valuable personality tests on the site, including DiSC, Enneagram, 16 Personalities, HIGH5, Dark Triad, and much more.

This test is extremely easy to take; all you need is a device and an internet connection. No need to lay or spend hours of your time analyzing your personality.

You won’t even have to ask your boss for detailed insights into your behavior! This test can be completed within a single sitting and the question styles are straightforward as well.

Four Temperaments FAQ

What is the rarest of the four temperaments?

Out of the four temperament types, the Choleric style is the rarest. These individuals are highly result-oriented and detail-focused. They place a high level of stress on themselves to achieve the lofty goals they set for themselves.

Many Choleric individuals choose to pursue careers that are stressful and demanding, like business and leadership roles. No matter their career, Choleric people make particular goals and ensure they surpass them.

Who should a melancholic marry?

There is no one answer to who a temperament type should marry. There is still diversity within each temperament, after all. Melancholics tend to be a bit misunderstood by other temperament types. So, it may suit you best to find another Melancholic to start a relationship with.

This way, you can easily connect to them and share some similar experiences. Fully Melancholic couples are also less likely to experience negative emotions, go through with a divorce, or fall out of love when compared to other relationship options.

Which temperament gets angry easily?

Every temperament style experiences emotions slightly differently. Out of all four types, Choleric individuals are likely to feel the anger the strongest.

They tend to lash out and be the most visibly angry, too. These individuals are highly ambitious and extroverted. When they set a goal and do not achieve it, they are likely to get quite frustrated.

They are not used to experiencing failure and do not want to get used to it. Anger is a natural reaction to not being able to lead effectively. Many Cholerics are known for their short temper and could potentially get violent under certain circumstances.

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