(Song of Songs 2:8)
Does your new boyfriend take you to political rallies instead of romantic candlelight dinners? Do his eyes gleam in anticipation when you disagree with him? Does he like to make all the plans, call the shots, and have the last word? If so, you may be dating a choleric.
Cholerics (whether male or female) have strong personalities, analytical minds, and boundless enthusiasm. With a capacity for “thinking big” and their can-do attitude, cholerics are often leaders in their community and quite successful at work. Cholerics attack their goals with vigor and determination—sometimes even their relationship goals.
Your choleric date is confident, decisive, ambitious and competitive. He probably pursued you until you gave in and agreed to an evening out. And he enjoyed the pursuit, too. A choleric is likely to be intrigued by someone whom he considers his equal– intelligent, charming, and even aloof. He likes a challenge. He may appear romantic (flowers, gifts, creative outings, dazzling evenings), but he is actually quite pragmatic, and will take whatever steps necessary to achieve his goal (that would be you).
Once a choleric has committed to a person or a project, he is passionate and loyal, and expects loyalty in return. If you are hoping to catch a choleric’s attention, then don’t be overly eager. Engage him on tough topics (no trivialities or idle chit-chat) and be prepared to keep up with his energy and activities. Above all, do not appear wimpy.
One successful choleric reluctantly revealed that he had a weakness (something cholerics don’t readily admit): when he met a girl he liked, he became overly pushy to the point of scaring her away. He would insist on reaching certain milestones within what he considered an acceptable time-frame and would move the relationship along at a fast clip. This worked for him, but not always for his dates.
If the choleric has a secondary sanguine temperament, he is likely to be more flexible, fun-loving, and personable. He will be charming and persuasive, hard to resist! If he has a secondary melancholic temperament, he will exhibit a greater intensity, righteousness, and zeal for noble causes. He may have to be on guard against a tendency to sarcasm or harshness.
If you are the choleric (especially one with a secondary melancholic temperament), you might need to take it down a notch. Cholerics can, at times, be domineering and intense…they might even scare away a potential partner! This is why phlegmatics (who are adaptable and easy-going) are often a good match for them. Plus, phlegmatics actually appreciate someone else making their decisions and doing all the talking. On the other hand, cholerics also get along well with other cholerics, because they each appreciate each other’s strong will and independent spirit, along with their general feistiness. Rousing debates often ensue. (Think: Katharina and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.)
Cholerics who are hoping to make a good impression might want to practice the gentle art of attentive listening, empathy, and patience. Listening, because cholerics often have a tendency to think listening is a waste of time, preferring to cut straight to their proposed solution–which they assume is the best one!
A choleric’s fondness for the bottom line often transfers to his communication style: he can be direct, concise, and blunt to the point of insensitivity. The concept of “empathy” sounds like caving in to the whiners, to a choleric. (“Somebody call the waaaambulance!”) Nonetheless, empathy is the Christ-like virtue of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It means listening and understanding what your partner is saying or feeling. When cholerics take the time to listen attentively and with empathy, they will find that their relationships will improve dramatically.
And finally, patience. Cholerics love being pro-active and solving problems. But relationships take time to unfold and pushing things along may scare away your friends. (On the other hand, phlegmatics often need a little nudge in the right direction—and they usually don’t mind.)
If you are a choleric, try to view the gradual process of growing closer in a relationship as an opportunity to practice the virtues of patience, charity, and humility. You are not always right, and you have to learn to be open to influence and advice. You need to grow in empathy and compassion, and to trust that there is wisdom in taking the time to smell the roses. If you are dating a choleric, enjoy his or her enthusiasm, magnanimity, leadership, and zest for life. It will be an eventful and exciting ride!