The Four Temperaments
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Comparison

Melancholic

Choleric

Phlegmatic

Sanguine

Hard

Melancholics are 'intense', serious, and 'deep'. They care strongly about things and it's important to them that things are as close to perfection as possible.

Hard

Cholerics are tough, strong, and focused. They set their minds on a goal and strive to achieve it, to get things done. They do not back down when challenged.

Soft

Phlegmatics are calm and submissive; they wish for peace and quiet, a simple life free of worries and conflict. Compromising to achieve peace is more important than being right.

Soft

Sanguines are fun-loving and easy-going. They believe that people who take things too seriously need to take a chill pill, get a life, go out and have some fun.

Introverted

Being around other people is fine in small doses, especially when the Melancholic can exchange thoughts, feelings and ideas, but it gets draining fast. Melancholics need time alone in order to recharge; being alone is when they feel most at ease.

Extroverted

Being superior to others needs others to feel superior to. You can't rise above the heads of others in a crowd of one, so cholerics seek other people to add to their tribe, to lead and command, to give them a sense of authority.

Introverted

Phlegmatics are social - as quiet listeners, anyway - when approached, but feel that it's not their place to approach others. They do enjoy social gatherings because they like making people happy, being useful to them, but they prefer quieter, calmer interactions.

Extroverted

Sanguines get BOOOORED when not surrounded by people. They don't feel alive unless they're with friends, strangers, anything, expressing themselves and being involved in the energy of social interaction.

Reserved

Melancholics have very specific ideas about what they like and what they don't like. The outer world is chaotic and full of things that they dislike, so they keep inside their inner worlds. They are sensitive and fear being hurt, so they keep things to themselves.

Expressive

Cholerics are not afraid to speak their minds. They want to have influence and control over the world, to make themselves known. As natural leaders, if someone's doing something that they don't like, they'll stop them. If they want something, they'll get it.

Reserved

Phlegmatics are calm and quiet; they are great listeners, but don't assert themselves because they don't want to be a bother. They'd rather let others speak or run things, keeping their own thoughts to themselves.

Expressive

Sanguines express their extreme and ever-changing emotions very openly; you can always tell how they're thinking or feeling because they make it very apparent. This gets them attention.

Slow Reactions

Melancholics will grit their teeth and bear the things that they dislike over a long time before finally snapping. It takes them a long, long time before they can learn to love and accept any given thing, because their perfect worlds of feelings and opinions are built up carefully, deliberately, and are difficult to change once established.

Quick Reactions

Cholerics have short fuses, and will snap if challenged before their dominance has a chance to be threatened. They are quick to jump to action when a leader is needed, quick to seize opportunities before others have the chance to.

Slow Reactions

Phlegmatics are calm and reserved, and they seek peace and hate change. Their emotions tend to stay at a constant relaxed level. They will endure all kinds of abuse because they put others above themselves, and they are reluctant to seize new things because they are indecisive.

Quick Reactions

Sanguines' moods are all over the place; elatedly high one minute, maudlin and melodramatic the next. They 'live fast' in terms of emotions, and are very quick to make friends. They flit about between views and interests as the world changes around them.

Long Duration

Once a melancholic has added a truth to their perfect, carefully-built inner universe, this truth will stay there for a very, very long time. They hold grudges, they are upset for ages by the slightest things. If something makes them happy, it will continue to do so for a long time because their love for it was built up slowly, and with much thought and planning, rather than being a whimsical, impulsive decision. They become deeply devoted to their interests.

Long Duration

Cholerics remember their enemies, their rivals, as they assert their power by making any who wrong them deeply regret doing so. They honour their friendships, keep their promises, as any good leader should.

Short Duration

Phlegmatics are quick to forgive and forget, as they are nice and eager to assume the best of others so that everyone can just get along. Grudges bring conflict, which they avoid. Their moods are like still pools; any ripples are fleeting, and soon the calmness returns. Positive and negative moods are expressed weakly and disappear quickly. They rarely get very high or very low, and will usually be back to normal the next day.

Short Duration

If the phlegmatic's mood is a still pool, the sanguine's might be a raging ocean. Up one minute, down the next, forever in motion and never staying in any state for very long at all. They'll be raving mad one minute, in tears the next, happy again moments later, then asking what's for dinner as if nothing ever happened at all.

Emotional

Melancholics are deeply sensitive, and moved strongly by emotion. They are prone to tears, either by beauty or by distress, and they feel fear readily and strongly too.

Unemotional

Emotions are a sign of weakness. The only emotions that cholerics are likely to show are rage when defied, and joy when their enemies are humiliated. Crying is for wimps.

Unemotional

Phlegmatics are calm, their minds are at peace. They rarely stray from this peace, and any emotions are fleeting. They don't want to be a bother by expressing their own feelings on others.

Emotional

Sanguines blow the smallest things out of proportion. I can't find my keys! AGH!! I HATE THE WORLD!! EVERYTHING IS MISERY!! I'M CRYING NOW!!! Oh! Here they are! Hooray!! Doin' a little jig! This is like the best day ever!!

Low Self-Esteem

No matter how hard they strive for perfection, melancholics know that they can never reach it. They spend much time alone, and their analytical minds become aware of every one of their faults through deep and rigorous introspection. They can't be perfect, which makes them feel unhappy about themselves.

High Self-Esteem

Cholerics are the biggest, toughest, strongest, bestest people around. They're great, they're better than you, they're at the top of the food chain. Could an alpha be any other way?

Low Self-Esteem

Phlegmatics defer to others, and never seek to glorify themselves. They feel they are not more important than anyone else. They'd hate to brag, because that'd be a bother, it'd assert themselves above others. If mistakes are made, they blame themselves for upsetting the calmness, being a bother. Could it be anyone else's fault but theirs? No, it'd be mean to think so.

High Self-Esteem

Sanguines are great! They're excellent at everything they do! They love how showing off about their many varied abilities and excellent tastes make people compliment and praise them! Oh happy, oh joy! Everything's great! Look at me, everyone!

Pessimistic

The world is not a perfect place... The worst always seems to happen. People are nasty to eachother, and it's so distressing... Why try anything? I'll probably only fail... I'll never reach perfection.

Optimistic

I'm confident that I'll succeed. That other guy? Not so much. I'll beat him, that's right. I'm just so great, I can't see how I'll fail. Haha, those jokers in politics are always screwing up, though, lemme tell ya! If I were in charge, I'd do things right.

Pessimistic

Oh, I hope I can do this right... I'm worried that I might not be able to. I'm not really very good at things, after all! Someone much better than me would be able to do this a lot better than I could.

Optimistic

Things'll turn out alright, you'll see! Look on the bright side! Every cloud has a silver lining! Just sit back and enjoy the show, that's what I always say! Don't stress so much!