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The Pure Sanguine

The sanguine is your classic “people person.” This extraverted temperament is characterized by quick, intense, but not long-lasting responses to stimuli. As a result, the sanguine temperament is interested, lively and volatile--yet forgiving. Sanguines are characterized as having heightened senses that are socially attuned, so they tend to be animated, buoyant, high-spirited, effervescent, imaginative, and optimistic. They are fun-loving and talkative, and are easily captivated by whatever is new and fashionable. Although they usually are quite comfortable taking direction as part of a group, they can also be charismatic and highly motivating leaders. The downside to this engaging and spirited temperament is that sanguines can also be easily distracted, inattentive, lacking in follow-through, superficial, faddish, and forgetful. Their sense of humor can, on occasion, get out of hand.

If you are a sanguine, then you are most likely the life of the party. You are funny and relish the limelight. You are affectionate, enjoy social activities, and make friends easily. You are imaginative and creative, and are often the one who enthusiastically promotes new ideas on the job. People call you vivacious, generous, and light-hearted. You wear your emotions on your sleeve, but you are always quick to “forgive and forget.” You probably struggle with follow-through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful. As quickly as you discover a new hobby or pursuit, you can also lose interest--when it ceases to be engaging or fun.

St. Peter was a lovable, but inconstant, sanguine. “Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you,” he fervently pronounces; a few hours later, Peter denies even knowing Jesus! (Lk 22:56-60). At the transfiguration, Peter enthusiastically offers to set up three tents on the spot—even though, as Scripture notes, “he did not know what he was saying” (Lk 9:33). When Christ appears walking on the water, Peter impulsively joins him—until he begins to sink. (cf Matt 14:30)

The natural sanguine tendency to want to please others can, at times, cause you to exaggerate when speaking and become overcommitted and disorganized, though your intentions are good. Watch out that you do not fall prey to flattery and to fads--even “spiritual fads”! A deep prayer life, constant reception of the sacraments, and a personal relationship with Christ—the true friend of your soul—will lead a scattered and frivolous sanguine to much spiritual depth. With your natural joy and friendliness, combined with a firm commitment to persevere in virtue, you will win over many souls for Christ.