Opposite Yet Similar?

How can opposite personalities be similar? I know it sounds weird, but that’s exactly how it works. Let’s start with the choleric and phlegmatic personalities.

opposite but similar

Choleric and Phlegmatic

For those of you familiar with the choleric personality you’ll remember that this is the most intense of the four personality types. They bring an unseen force when they inter a room . . .  what kind of force depends on if they are in a good mood (positive) or bad mood (negative). You never know what to expect from the unseen energy of a choleric. They are go-getters who thrive on accomplishment. They also enjoy recognition for the many things they accomplish.

The phlegmatic, on the other hand, is very laid back . . . the exact opposite of the choleric. They can slip into a room unnoticed and that is the way they like it. They are the chameleon of all the personality types and don’t mind when other people receive all the attention. Phlegmatic people are most comfortable flying under the radar.

So, with such opposite temperaments, we ask the question begs to be asked:  How can the choleric and phlegmatic be similar?

  • Hair – Choeric people have much to accomplish on any given day. Phlegmatic personalities like to mosey down the path of least resistance. These two differences lead to a similar approach to hair. A choleric doesn’t want to waste time doing his or her hair because they have places to go, people to meet, and things to accomplish. A phlegmatic doesn’t want to waste energy on fixing a great hair do. SO . . . . the choleric and phlegmatic end up with similar styles. A quick pony tail or bun can get the choleric out the door and keeps the phlegmatic from lingering in the bathroom with a blow dryer or an extended session with a hot curling iron. An easy to manage hair cut appeals to both the mission-minded personality as well as the personality who likes things done the easy way. A short style or a simple bob often fits the life-style and personality requirements of these opposite people.
  • Emotions – Of the four personality types these two tend to the spend the least amount of energy on emotions. Choleric people just don’t have time to fuss about emotions. It isn’t practical in a choleric world where daylight is burning. Phlegmatic personalities are very relational, but don’t like to make themselves vulnerable. They are the what I call the “poker-face” personality. There may be a lot going on under the surface, but they will rarely let anyone know. So, when it comes to emotions, these two personalities check ’em at the door.

Sanguine and Melancholy

If you are familiar with these two personality types, you are probably wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD COULD THESE TWO HAVE IN COMMON? The outgoing, gregarious sanguine represents everything the quiet and introverted melancholy wants to avoid! How can a “never-look-at-the clock” sanguine remotely resemble the highly scheduled and detail-oriented melancholy? Believe me, there ARE similarities.

  • Drama – The sanguine and melancholy personalities are the most sensitive. Sanguines are highly sensitive to whether people like them and approve of what they are doing. Melancholy personalities are overall sensitive and they thrive when people are in tune to them, but watch the “moody” emerge when there is no support. When the people element of support or love is not present in either of these personalities lives, drama ensues! A sanguine has to talk and act out, while the melancholy tends to experience depression which often times results in much public complaining or criticesm. Both scenarios are draining . . .and if you are a phlegmatic or choleric, both scenarios are ridiculous!
  • Appearance –  Both the sanguine and melancholy devote time to their appearance. The sanguine tends to love fashion and accessorizing is fun and flashy. The melancholy is very fashion oriented, too. However, they tend to seek a classy and well-put-together style. Both of these personalities can turn heads with their sense of style, but the sanguine tends to be more flamboyant while the melancholy seeks perfect look.

So, you see? Opposite personalities can be similar. One similarity I share with the melancholy temperament is organization. I, being a phlegmatic, am not naturally organized. However, because chaos doesn’t mesh well with my phlegmatic love of simplicity, I must have some semblance of order around me. That could lead people to think I have melancholy tendencies, but my need for order is driven more by my phlegmatic desire to keep things simple. So, it is possible for differing personalities to display similar traits, for totally different reasons.

©2013 Shona Neff



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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 at 10:08 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.


4 Responses to “Opposite Yet Similar?”

  1. Lm119 Says:

    Good post

  2. Deb Potts Says:

    Shona, very insightful, thanks! I am constantly amazed at how God designed us, even in our differences we can be mirror images of each other. Human beings are wonderfully made!

  3. admin Says:

    Thanks for stopping by ladies. I’m always amazed at the similarities between us that can be so different. As a lover of personalities, which I know you are too, Deb, it is also a good tool to be aware of when identifying people. We need to be able to pick out what is the bulk of someone’s personality type or we can get it wrong. I love personalities and the little twists and turns that keep them interesting.


  4. Andrea Says:

    You are not going to believe this but these tempermant blends are myself (San/Mel) and my husband (Phleg/Chlor). Tell me we aren’t the epitome of opposites attract. It’s a crazy ride living with me and somehow, he’s still holding on.

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