Understanding your personality pairs

Understanding your personality types

“Be yourself, not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.”

Henry David Thoreau

Today, we are diving into the personality pairs mentioned in a previous post, the key to understanding yourself and the people around you. There I mentioned that besides loving yourself, knowing your personality type plays a huge role in understanding yourself and consequently others.

The four personality types (according to Hippocrates) mentioned are two sets of opposites which means that no one is really one type. The two sets represent how you view life (your perception) and how you move through life (your pace) by default.

You are either optimistic and carefree (Sanguine) or naturally cautious and concerned (Melancholy) in your view of life.

In the way you move through life, you are either quick and furious (Choleric) or steady and calm (Phlegmatic). 

We all have one of each, giving us a perfect pair which rightly describes us. If you don’t know which you are yet, You can read all about it here.  

When you’ve identified your primary personality type, there is a secondary one which may or may not be so obvious, decide which you are and read on to understand your personality pair.

Keep in mind that these personality types reflect who you are at the core, you may have changed a bit or/and respond to things a little differently because you are grown or have responsibilities that require you to be a certain way.

Personality Pairs

Phlegmatic pairs

Phlegmatics are usually relaxed in nature, kind, compassionate and very adaptable which are all great strengths.

Phlegmatic – Sanguine:

Understanding your personality types
Photo by Andre Furtado 

Phlegmatic-Sanguines will often dive into their Sanguine nature when they feel comfortable and emotionally safe. They will tell stories, be cheerful, optimistic and even loud. However, they will still be hesitant and careful when necessary and will do their best not to offend anyone.

They see humor in everything, enjoy a good nap, avoid problems and try to have zero enemies.

Phlegmatic – Melancholy:

Photo by Vinicius Wiesehofer 

When in an artistic mode, they may wear bright colours like their Sanguine counterparts but will still be more reserved than the Sanguine. However, the perfect melancholy will insure that this combination never draws too much attention to him/herself. 

These are usually thoughtful and purposeful people who like to mediate problems or broker peace talks.

Choleric pairs

Cholerics tend to be louder and more intense when speaking. People think they are always yelling when they are not (at least they don’t think they are).

Choleric – Sanguine

Understanding your personality type
Photo by Godisable Jacob

Always feels free to speak with a loud voice, invade space, work hard and look around for the next task or fun event.

They brighten and lighten everyone’s load and always love to be in the front with opportunities to talk and boss people around. They’ll do well in it too as long as they function in their strengths.

Choleric – Melancholy

Understanding your personality pairs
Photo by White Gold Photography

When Choleric – melancholies are worried or hurt, they will move into their melancholy mode and be more reserved with their body language, voice and facial expressions.

These people may seem like the most demanding but they’ll be sure to take the whole team to the finish line. Often people with this combination easily impress others with their flashes of brilliance.

The weaknesses and strengths associated with these personality types can be found here.

You can develop more strengths

In a world where it seems like certain character traits are celebrated more than others, you may feel the need to wear a personality mask so that you too will be accepted and celebrated or acknowledged.

For instance, you may feel like being flashy and bubbly could make you appear unserious or seen as not knowing much, so you want to tone it down just to be accepted and seen for your smartness.

Another form is people afraid of being labelled a “peaceful phlegmatic” because they’ll rather be a powerful choleric. Without realising that every personality is “powerful” in its own way.

“More often it’s the stubborn phlegmatic with the steady will of iron who really wins while the frustrated choleric huffs and buffs and eventually walks away”*

Even though you can work hard to develop traits that are natural to other personality types. It is wiser to accept YOUR wonderful strengths that come naturally to YOU, function in them, work towards overcoming your weaknesses while you also work to acquire new strengths. Rather than working hard trying to become another.

Learning other strengths can be slightly difficult.

For instance, if you were born as a take-charge person, sitting quietly with folded arms when you need to, will not come naturally to you. BUT with time and practice, you can develop this habit even though it is not your natural gift.

Also, if you are a natural pessimist who sees the dark clouds even on sunny days, you can develop some balance by seeing the bright side of life but that won’t make you a natural optimist.

Being aware of the strengths of all four personalities and working hard to acquire all the strengths that don’t come naturally to you may be your desired goal. But even as you adopt other’s characteristics, you haven’t really changed your natural personality*.

Your natural default will still dominate when there is no time to think or plan your reactions. Your best bet is to accept your strengths, function in them and work towards overcoming your weakness.

My personality traits

I am a phlegmatic melancholy.

I am supportive, compassionate, kind, sympathetic, thoughtful and smart (the list goes on BTW).

However, I naturally see the worst case scenarios first, want to give up before I start which I often find myself doing because I’m overwhelmed by the amount of work it could take to make it perfect, I procrastinate as a habit.

BUT, I am mostly known to smile a lot and see the bright side of things because I understand that life can get better. I am learning to start whether or not it is perfect and make it better along the way.

I find ways to curb my procrastination by having people hold me accountable and setting deadlines that involve others and a few other tips that I’ll continue to write about in this blog.

Now I remind myself of my strengths and and do my best to function in them, keeping in mind that being too relaxed and comfortable is my enemy while I work hard to overcome my weaknesses.

It isn’t easy but It is worth it.

For you

Have you identified your personality pairs yet? Do you understand yourself a little better?

This will be a good time to start learning to lean into your natural strengths and work towards overcoming your weaknesses

For an even freakishly accurate description of yourself, go to www.16personalities.com. The results will shock you but like they’ll say…you aren’t being watched, even though the results will make you feel like you are.

See you in the next post

*Personality plus at work: How to work successfully with anyone

Feature image by Pixabay 



  1. That’s an interesting post! I would say I am phlegmatic-melancholy but with traits of choleric too…
    It was very nice to read about it. Thank you for sharing x

    1. Thanks Monika for stopping by, I just read your post on body positivity and it is the sensitization that the world really needs. We really do need to love and support each other.

  2. Thank you, Chigo for this great post. I enjoy reading it. Personality traits are usually very interesting concept to unravel.

    1. Yes they are, and once you begin to understand them, relationships both with yourself and others become a lot easier.

      Thanks for stopping by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *