Thursday, April 17, 2014

Phlegmatic temperament: Strengths and Weaknesses

Nature of Phlegmatic Temperament

Phlegmatic people are meek, submissive introverts who live to please others.

The soul or mind of the phlegmatic person is rarely touched by impressions. The reaction is feeble or entirely missing. Eventual impressions fade away very soon.

Phlegmatics are generally calm and unemotional, self-content and kind, but their shy personality can inhibit enthusiasm in others and make themselves lazy and resistant to change. They are very consistent, relaxed, rational, curious and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats. Like the sanguine personality, the phlegmatic has many friends, however the phlegmatic is more reliable and compassionate, typically making the phlegmatic a more dependable friend. Known as the fluid and flowing temperament.

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Role in Society

In our distant past, the phlegmatic members of a pack might have been the obedient followers who'd get much of the actual work done at the command of their superiors. They may not stand out, but without them, nothing would work.

Main Features


* Phlegmatics do not act as if they are better than others. They are eager to please, and quick to give in to others rather than asserting their own desires as if they're the most important.
* They take the path of least resistance whenever possible. They so desperately wish for peace, for everyone to get along, and to avoid conflict at all costs.
* Conflict terrifies them. They do not start it (except perhaps in extreme circumstances), or provoke it, and try to defuse it when it comes up. When forced into an argument, they get very upset and distressed, seeking escape rather than victory.
* If confronted, they are likely to admit that they are in the wrong in order to prevent hostilities.
* They don't believe that they know best.
* They have no desire to be a 'winner'; they only wish for peace.
* They are well-behaved; rebelling against established rules would feel deeply uncomfortable to them. They're the sort who'd say, worriedly, 'should we really be doing this?' or 'we might get in trouble!'.
* They really, really do not wish to be a bother to others, and always put others first. This is due to a deep-rooted unease about asserting themselves rather than a lack of confidence, or a conscious desire to be a 'nice person'.
* They are quick to apologize for any mistakes that they may have made, and will sacrifice their own happiness to ensure that others are happy.
* They are empathetic, and acutely aware of the feelings of those that they are interacting with, as they do not wish to hurt these feelings.
* They have tremendous difficulty saying no, and will go along with things that they dislike to make others happy.
* They are extremely trustworthy; if they make a promise, it's very likely that they will keep it.
* They're terrified of doing things wrong.
* They will blame themselves if mistakes are made, even if it was someone else's fault, just to make others feel better and more at ease.
* They try and word things in a way that is not offensive to others. The will be more supportive than critical.


* They'll defer to others to make choices, and will feel upset and pressured if they have to make a decision themselves; this comes from their inability to see themselves in a 'leader' role.
* They are natural followers, and work best when they are told what to do.
* Their language is generally full of uncertain phrases such as 'I think', 'maybe', 'perhaps', 'or something'. Compare "maybe you could do X, or something?" to "do X" or "you should do X".
* Rather than saying or doing the wrong thing, they'll say or do nothing at all.
* Obstacles that get in the way of their steady path will cause them to halt and fumble around, not sure what to do. They're more likely to travel around than through it; their path is easily changed by others.


* Phlegmatics are introverted, and enjoy time alone. However, they are much 'nicer' and more friendly and social than the melancholic, as they're unburdened by 'perfectionism' and as such do not judge others.
* They enjoy spending time with friends, and are very loyal to these friends, sticking with them through thick and thin, even through abuse. This is because they put others first, and will not leave another even if THEY want to because the other person may not want them to leave.
* They are almost immune to anger. They have extremely long fuses, and will only snap after a long period of prolonged and persistent abuse. Even then, they're more likely to retreat within themselves and cry than to try to harm another.
* They like calm and steady lives, free of surprises. They can be relatively confident in familiar situations - if not necessarily assertive - but panic when placed in new ones. They do not seek thrills, and enjoy predictable, quiet, ritualistic lifestyles.
* They are very quiet, and do not share their own inner thoughts readily, as they fear judgement and don't wish to bother others by waffling on about themselves.
* They are however excellent and attentive listeners, who will quietly and politely take in and absorb the conversations of their friends. They will always pay attention, and will offer supportive feedback rather than criticism or advice. They'd never say things like 'bored now', as if it's the duty of others to entertain them.
* Since they hate to offend or hurt others, they generally don't ever resort to aggressive insults or attacks. Belittling or hurting another makes them feel bad, not 'powerful and in control' or amused, so they'll worry about having done this accidentally.
* They could be described as 'nice guys/girls' or, more horribly, 'doormats' by those with different temperaments.
* They barely express emotion at all. While the sanguine might whoop and cheer and jump for joy at the slightest provocation, phlegmatics are unlikely to express more than a smile or a frown. Their emotions happen mainly internally.
* They lack 'passion', as their emotions are mostly internal. They often rely on others ordering them to do things to get motivation.

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Phlegmatic Temperament Strengths

* The phlegmatic works slowly, but perseveringly, if his work does not require much thinking.
* Phlegmatics work well under pressure, long hours, with steady and reliable performance.
* He is not easily exasperated either by offenses, or by failures or sufferings. He remains composed, thoughtful, deliberate, and has a cold, sober, and practical judgment.
* He has no intense passions and does not demand much of life.
* Enjoy good jokes and knows how to tell them.

Phlegmatic Temperament Weaknesses

* He is very much inclined to ease, to eating and drinking; is lazy and neglects his duties.
* He has no ambition. Lofty ideals and goals hold very little appeal to this individual. Even in his faith and piety, he holds no aspirations. Penance and self-sacrifice are avoided.
* Personality is teasing, stubborn, and indecisive.
* Phlegmatic doesn't show interest in events or happenings around him. This can include other people, too, which can lead to egoism.
* Phlegmatic is resistant to change. His tendency to apathy makes change very difficult. He can lack the energy necessary to take advantage of his abilities.

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Development through the Lifetime

* Babies
Positives: easy-going, undemanding, happy, and adjustable.
Negatives: slow, shy and withdrawn, indifferent, unresponsive.

* Children
Positives: watches others, easily amused, little trouble, dependable, lovable, agreeable, and relaxed.
Negatives: selfish, indecisive, avoids work, fearful, quietly stubborn, lazy and sleepy, retreats to TV.

* Teens
Positives: pleasing personality, witty humor, good listener, mediates problems, hides motions, leads when pushed, casual attitude.
Negatives: indecisive, unenthusiastic, too compromising, unmotivated, sarcastic, uninvolved, procrastinates.

* Adults
Emotional Needs: peace and quiet, feeling of worth, lack of stress, respect for who he/she is.
Causes of Depression: life is in chaos, should confront issues, pressure to produce.
Stress Relief: tune out on life, turn on the television, eat and sleep.
Energy Level: lowest energy level, needs much rest, drained by people.

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Sources and Additional Information:
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