Do different personalities drive you nuts during the holidays? We can try to run, but it isn’t always easy to hide when 1) every nook and cranny of your house has been invaded by company or 2) you are an “invader” in someone else’s home and you don’t know WHERE to hide. In part one of this holiday series we looked at understanding sanguine and choleric personalities. Today we take a look at the two introverted temperaments, the melancholy and phlegmatic.
The Holiday Melancholy
The holidays are beautiful because of this personality. Their presents are usually the prettiest ones under the Christmas tree, they have a reputation of giving the most delicious treats to friends and neighbors, and they can decorate a Christmas tree worthy of the Baby in the manger. Holiday Melancholies strive for perfection during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, but are easily disappointed when Holiday Sanguine shows up late or Holiday Choleric forces his or her “better” ideas into their precision schedule.
Holiday Melancholy is usually one of the best cooks around, so if you are lucky enough to receive a dinner invitation from this personality, take them up on their offer. However, in the midst of all the holiday hoopla, don’t be surprised if the melancholy steals away for some quiet time. Thank goodness for these beauty-loving people.
Keys to surviving Holiday Melancholy:
· Don’t be offended if they are more schedule oriented than you
· Be sensitive to their need for perfection and structure in the midst of holiday chaos
· Recognize their need for solitude if they don’t participate in games or group activities
· Spend some quiet one-on-one time with a special melancholy in your life
The Holiday Phlegmatic
Phlegmatic personalities enjoy the holiday season as much as the next guy but, you’d never know it from looking at them; they tend to be even keeled even during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holiday Phlegmatic will attend social functions but, they often find such gatherings stressful, especially if they don’t know many people or the party gets little raucous.
If you give Holiday Phlegmatic the choice of a social night out on the town or a quiet evening curled up with a book in front of a toasty fire…they’ll usually pick the book and the fire. Social settings tend to drain this personality so don’t be surprised if a phlegmatic guest quietly disappears from the action like Holiday Melancholy. Lots of people and too much activity tend to overwhelm both these intorverted personalities. Bless these peaceful people.
Keys to surviving Holiday Phlegmatic:
· Don’t be offended when they enjoy celebrations in a subdued manner
· Recognize their need to flee social chaos
· Don’t be surprised if they step in to keep the peace if family feuds erupt
· Remember to spend some quiet quality time with the important phlegmatics in your life
Understanding people’s personalities can help diffuse perceived insults during the holidays. People are people and usually aren’t trying to offend others with their actions, they are just being who they are. That isn’t an excuse for bad behavior, but it may prevent non-issues from ruining holiday festivities. As we celebrate with others we need to keep the Apostle Paul’s words in the forefront of our minds, “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18 NRSV). If we use personalities as a tool we can keep the “happy” in Happy Holidays and the “merry” in Merry Christmas.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!