» Choleric and Phlegmatic

 As friends or family members, you will offer each other a unique perspective. The choleric is responsive, take-charge, leans into conflict, and loves a good debate. The peaceful phlegmatic would rather wait to respond, avoid conflict, preserve harmony at all cost, and follow someone else’s lead. You would think this is a match made in heaven: the choleric leads and the phlegmatic follows!

However, in a choleric/phlegmatic relationship, it is also quite possible for the phlegmatic to become intimidated by the more over-bearing choleric. If both are not attuned to differences in temperament, the more aggressive nature of the choleric may cause the phlegmatic to withdraw and lose confidence. If you are the phlegmatic, at times you might find the choleric’s leadership qualities rude and intrusive. When the choleric is being decisive and efficient, you might take this as insensitive or harsh. You may begin to resent the choleric always having the last word and making all the decisions.

In turn, the choleric may become impatient and even angry that the phlegmatic seems to be so passive and unassertive. If you are a choleric, you might wonder why you need to tip-toe around people’s feelings—especially when you are busy and working on a project! You might begin to criticize and nag the slow-moving phlegmatic for his lack of decisiveness and procrastination. This is not a good idea, and can cause the phlegmatic to withdraw and even stone-wall. Give lots of encouragement and give him or her time to respond and come up with his own initiatives.

To avoid this situation, the phlegmatic should try to develop his or her own interests and work to build self-confidence and decisiveness. In turn, the choleric should try to be more gentle around the phlegmatic, give him time in which to come into his own, learn how to build up the phlegmatic partner with praise and appreciation for his diplomatic abilities, and realize that not everyone is as productive as the choleric.

If your choleric friend or family member is in debate mode, they can be exhausting. Your phlegmatic patience and tolerance can be helpful here. Try not to take it personally. They will appreciate it when you let them know when they are right. In turn, you can help a choleric develop empathy and the ability to respond in a less contentious manner. This will help them win more friends and make fewer enemies. Don’t be a doormat to a choleric friend or family member. If you are a choleric, watch out for being too directive and driven. Take time out to smell the roses–with your peaceful phlegmatic friend.