Understanding yourself and those around you can make a tremendous difference in your relationships and your writing.
Hippocrates first labeled the four personality types with words that are still used today. The sanguine personality is the happy, playful person. They dress to be noticed. When you attend a party, you immediately notice the sanguines – they are the life of the party. The melancholy person is also known as purposeful, introspective, and dedicated. At a party you will find the melancholies away from the action, possibly engaged in deep conversation with one individual. He or she may also be content to sit quietly and enjoy observing those around. The choleric individual will probably be involved in group settings in some way. They enjoy short conversations but prefer to keep things moving toward the goal of the gathering. If need be, they can help with that by taking charge. The phlegmatic person loves to be around people but can tire easily of high energy gatherings.
Why does personality make such a difference? Usually our expectations are for people to react and enjoy things just the way we do. But with four distinct personalities in the world, rarely is there a gathering of more than two people that would include only one personality. And no matter what the program, entertainment, or topic of conversation every personality will interpret it differently.
It is so helpful for those involved in groups to understand how other react. Group dynamics work much smoother and relationships grow through that understanding.
For example, our extended family is made up of all four personalities. When there is a family crisis, this is what happens.
The cholerics immediately begin to make a checklist of what we need to do to fix it.
The melancholies handle the emotional side of things, comforting those involved, organizing prayer chains, and doing the practical things.
The sanguines are, as always, glad to have a group of people around. Being very tenderhearted, they want to console and help even though they are sometimes easily distracted.
The phlegmatics tend to withdraw. If we give them a specific assignment, they rise readily to the task and do an excellent job.
You can see from above, that some of all those things is needed in time of crisis. God knew what He was doing when He made us all different. But sometimes we need to realize that everyone is not like us. It is up to us to love each other for who they were created to be and not try to make them fit into our personality mold.
As writers, we need to keep in mind that our readers are from all personality types. So we need to vary our style so that we reach sanguine, melancholy, choleric, and phlegmatic readers with the message God has given us.