#7: Not All People can be Identified Upon Visual Inspection

Very few things in this life are one hundred percent certain with the exception of life, death, and taxes. Visual identification of one’s personality, although quite accurate, is one of the those things that isn’t a one-hundred percent certainty. So, today we will look at #7 on my list of 10 Things You Need to Know About Personalities.


Recently I  misidentified a young father I see on a weekly basis. However, since he attends a personality group I’m leading in my home, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him better than our typical weekly encounters allowed. I originally identified him as a sanguine personality, but after having more in depth conversations and seeing the results of his personality profile, (a “test” consisting of word groups that help assess one’s temperament) sanguine was the personality that LEAST described him. So, why don’t visual clues always match someones actual personality?


Visual inspection weights heavy on HOW someone looks as in the colors they wear, their hairstyle, and clothing style. This wasn’t so much the case with the young man I didn’t identify correctly, but I am a good example of this. My primary personality is phlegmatic with a sanguine secondary. When it comes to colors I am drawn to subdued colors that typify my low-keyed, “blend-in-at-all costs” personality. However, the muted greens I love and the beige tones that always catch my attention look TERRIBLE on me. I discovered this when a fashion expert jumped into the trenches of my closet and dresser drawers!

The consultant taught me that my skin tone required BRIGHT colors . . . hot pink, royal and turquoise blues, blinding purple. My sanguine blend loved those colors, but not necessarily as body coverings! I’ve learned to wear the brighter colors especially since I ended up tossing out all the bland-colored clothing I loved, but looked horrible wearing. My new and improved wardrobe is still simple (plain t-shirts and styles), but I’m much brighter. My sanguine side has always enjoyed more animated accessories, but now I dress brighter while wearing the blingy bracelets/watches and fun colored purses I’ve always liked. So, even though I’m not a sanguine, sometimes upon visual inspection, people mistake me as one.


Behavior is another area that causes us to mistake someones personality when we make a visual assessment. This is the category that tricked me when identifying the gentleman I mentioned earlier. He is a friendly, welcoming guy who contributes heartily to conversations. However, the snapshot many see of him isn’t reflective of who he is most of the time. Most people, myself included, would naturally see him as a fun-loving and gregarious sanguine. However, the personality profile he took (and his wife who lives with him) painted another, more accurate, portrait . . . he is a choleric/melancholy blend. As I got to know him better in my personality group, I DID pick up on a few things he said that were NOT indicative of a sanguine. Then, when he took the profile, it was a truer measure of who he is than my visual assessment. It happens.

Why do people give off visual signals contrary to their personality? Most people have a trait from each of the four personality types and sometimes that trait stands out and is easily noticed by others. Some people take on traits that are not part of their natural personalities. This gentleman grew up around sanguine people and, in college, found himself in differing roles that required a more sanguine disposition. Although he is a well-balanced choleric/melancholy blend, in certain situations he appears more sanguine.

Although visual inspections of people can be very accurate, it is important to remember that they are not fool-proof. The more time we spend with people the better opportunity we have to observe their behavioral traits which helps support our visual assessment or alter it accordingly.

©21013 Shona Neff

Tags: , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 23rd, 2013 at 6:33 pm and is filed under Personalities - Did You Know?, Personalities - Post about all 4, The Personalities - Let's Learn!. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Leave a Reply