Phlegmatic / Melancholic
The phlegmatic-melancholic is introverted (though less so than the melancholic-phlegmatic), which means that his deep emotions and anxieties tend not to be clearly expressed. They tend to react extremely slowly when confronted by antagonism or strong emotions. They are personable, quiet, and gentle. They value harmonious relationships. When you are first entering a relationship with a phlegmatic-melancholic, you may be struck by how easy-going and agreeable they are, but be aware that they are not revealing the depth of their emotions to you. They are deeply sensitive and value harmony and high ideals within a relationship. As a result of his delayed and sometimes dull response, a phlegmatic-melancholic will be slower to speak out, tempted to procrastinate, and reticent. They may appear – or believe themselves -- at times to be “lazy.” At times when the melancholic aspect dominates, he will have plenty of time in which mull over in his mind what his response should have been. He may become easily offended (though he may not reveal this to you) or discouraged. The phlegmatic attentiveness to relationships, and to getting along and keeping the peace, will “take the edge off” some of the melancholic tendency to perfectionism and critical judgments of others. On the other hand, because he may be more easily offended, he may want to be critical of others yet hesitant to confront directly. The dominance of the phlegmatic temperament may also drive the melancholic proclivity to order and neatness out of the picture.
If you are a phlegmatic-melancholic, you will show a cooperative spirit and a desire to please, and will value harmonious relationships. You are particularly gifted in teaching, mediating among groups, and at counseling individuals. And though yours isn’t the most dynamic temperament, your lack of defensiveness, calmness under pressure, and gift for mediation in critical situations can make you a very effective servant-leader, one who is willing to roll up his sleeves and work along with those he leads by example.
This temperament combination can face at times a greater challenge to his confidence than other temperaments (especially the choleric or sanguine). For this reason, when you are facing a major challenge or have been given a multi-faceted and demanding project, it will be absolutely critical for you to maintain your level of energy and motivation — not to mention your prayer life-- to complete the project. You will want to anticipate the way your moods can get you off track, and take concrete steps to maintain accountability in order to remain focused and energized throughout the task. Motivational tapes, exercise and a healthy diet, spiritual guidance, and a strong sacramental life will be critical. You will also need to maintain your focus on the big picture at all times, and not be distracted by the “urgent” demands of the moment, or by what other people may ask of you. To this end, it is always wise to seek regular professional, personal, and spiritual guidance from qualified individuals. In order for the phlegmatic temperament to achieve success and reach his goals, he should always work with a motivational program that provides structure, inspires confidence, and ensures accountability.
If you are phlegmatic-melancholic, it’s likely that you are a bit more upbeat than the melancholic-phlegmatic, a little less introverted, more trusting, slightly less moody, more generous with your time, and a more gracious host. You will rarely find yourself angry (though your feelings may be easily hurt), forgive more readily, and do not hold onto hurts in the same way that a more dominantly melancholic temperament would. You are compassionate, sensitive, caring, and tend to gravitate to the helping professions. You are a patient and caring teacher. You are not as “perfectionist” as a pure melancholic, and generally struggle with organization, planning, and a tendency to procrastinate. You find it difficult to set limits or turn someone down who asks a favor of you; you may be especially drawn to volunteer or missionary work, the apostolate, or other works of mercy. Though very generous, you may find it difficult to set priorities or limits. Your phlegmatic side makes it hard to say “no” – although you really want to. Sometimes your generosity can result in not enough time to “get organized,” be prepared, or to relax. Burn-out and feeling overwhelmed may result.
If your temperament is phlegmatic-melancholic, for a better understanding of your temperament it is recommended that you read the full descriptions of the phlegmatic and melancholic.
Famous Phlegmatics? Um, none other than St. Thomas Aquinas!! Proud to be in his company! St.Thomas Aquinas
He is often thought to be a brilliant phelgmatic. He was careful in thought and speech, methodical, precise, quiet, even-tempered, simple, and dry-witted. His friends once played a trick on him, because he was so trusting and innocent (hallmarks of the easy-going, sweet phlegmatic): “Look! Out the window! There is a flying cow!” St. Thomas looked, and they all burst into laughter. He calmly and dryly replied, “I would rather believe that the cow is flying than that my friends would lie to me!” As G. K. Chesterton wrote, “There is not a single occasion on which he indulged in a sneer. His curiously simple character, his lucid but laborious intellect, could not be better summed up than by saying he did not know how to sneer.” (102) He was a man of common sense, logical and methodical, yet trusting and innocent. It is said that his last confession was the confession of a five-year old child, so pure and simple was he. “Whenever he was interrupted, he was very polite, and more apologetic than the apologizer” (p 99).