4 basic personality types analyzed – which one are you?

There are numerous systems by which one can analyze human personality types, and there are some similarities between some of them. For example, when I studied Jung at university for my Psych degree in my youth, he had a system of 4 types – intuitive/sensation; and thinking/feeling. Also in my astrology studies I came across the four elements as categories of personality – namely fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius); Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn); Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius); Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). Today I want to describe a third quadruplicity of personality divisions that I recently came across in a book called “Personality Plus” (pub: 1997) by Florence Littauer.

four personality wheel pixa.jpg

You may recognize the four types that the author mentions, as they originate from the Medieval alchemists. Curiously they are similar to the elements, and may overlap with other systems of character analysis, since human nature can be discerned by anyone with enough self-reflection and observation of humanity. See if you can recognize which general quadrant you may fit into. Of course, these are incomplete generalizations, and we all have some secondary traits from other quadrants too. This is just a simple and light-hearted look at human nature.

The four types are as follows:

Popular Sanguine
Perfect Melancholy
Powerful Choleric
Peaceful Phlegmatic

The first two are opposites and benefit from the balance the other brings, and the last two are the other pair of opposites, with the same benefit from their opposite. There may be sub-categories within these four. Jung also added the introvert/extrovert pairing for each of his four types, making up 8 primary types altogether in his divisions, for example.

Here are the traits mentioned by the author that correlate to each of the four types:

Popular Sanguine (Extrovert, talker, optimist)

Appealing personality
talkative, storyteller
life of the party
good sense of humor
memory for color
physically holds onto listener
emotional and demonstrative
enthusiastic and expressive
cheerful and bubbling over
good on stage
wide-eyed and innocent
lives in the present
changeable disposition
sincere at heart
always a child
Makes home fun, liked by their kids’ friends
turns disaster into humor, is a circus master
volunteers for jobs, thinks up new activities
looks great on the surface, creative and colorful
has energy and enthusiasm, starts in a flashy way
inspires others to join, charms others at work
makes friends easily, loves people
thrives on compliments, seems exciting
envied by others, doesn’t hold grudges
apologises quickly, prevents dull moments
likes spontaneous activities

Perfect Melancholy (Introvert, thinker, pessimist)

Deep and thoughtful
analytical, detail conscious, orderly and organized
serious and purposeful
genius prone
talented and creative
artistic or musical
philosophical and poetic
appreciative of beauty
sensitive to others
sets high standards, wants everything done right, perfectionist
keeps home in good order, picks up after kids, neat
sacrifices own will for others
encourages scholarship and talent
schedule oriented
persistent and thorough
sees the problems and finds creative solutions
needs to finish what is started
likes charts, graphs and lists
Makes friends cautiously
content to stay in the background
avoids causing attention
faithful and devoted
listens to complaints
deep concern for other people
moved to tears with compassion
seeks ideal mate

Powerful Choleric (Extrovert, doer, optimist)

born leader
dynamic and active
compulsive need for change
must correct wrongs
strong-willed and decisive
not easily discouraged
independent and self-sufficient
exudes confidence
can run anything, organizes well
establishes goals
motivates family to action, stimulates activity
knows the right answer
goal oriented, makes the goal
sees the whole picture
seeks practical solutions
moves quickly to action
delegates work
insists on production
thrives on opposition
has little need for friends
is usually right
excels in emergencies

Peaceful phlegmatic (Introvert, watcher, pessimist)

low key personality
easygoing and relaxed
calm, cool and collected, peaceful and agreeable
patient, well-balanced, not in a hurry
consistent in life
quiet but witty, dry sense of humor
sympathetic and kind, inoffensive
keeps emotions hidden
happily reconciled to life
all-purpose person
makes a good parent, takes time for kids
can take the good with the bad
doesn’t get upset easily, pleasant and enjoyable
competent and steady
administrative ability
mediates problems
avoids conflicts, easy to get along with
good under pressure
finds the easy way
good listener
enjoys watching people
has many friends
has compassion and concern

The rest of the book goes on to describe the four types in more detail. There are, of course, some overlaps among the four types, and I am simply repeating the theory here for your interest. It is by no means dogma or etched in stone. I just like lists, having decided I’m personally a Perfect Melancholy primarily. I like to see chart, and data, like this.

You can get some ideas from these lists here, which may save you the need to read the whole book. These lists sum up the essence of this system of personality assessment. You can glean from it whatever insight you wish. We all benefit from any type of introspection and self-reflection. Knowing our conditioned nature really helps us to see our blind spots, as others might see us. It helps us to see our inherited predispositions and thereby allows us to be conscious enough to make any improvements if we wish.
It’s not so much about being someone else, but rather being the best version of ourselves possible in these current bodies/mind vehicles. These personality assessments can shed some light in a light-hearted way. What type do you resonate with? Leave your opinion and insights in the comments if you wish.

(image pixabay)

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A quick glance tells me I might fall into a few categories, but not completely, and not all.

We all benefit from any type of introspection and self-reflection.

Absolutely. Its why I live astrology. I try to explain it doesnt matter if its balderdash - its an opportunity for growth.

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Yes these systems are speculative and interesting at most, and we can take from them what works for us at the time.

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When I first came across these four personality types, I was 12 years old. Back then it was quite obvious to me, my parents, and everyone around me, that I perfectly fit into the sanguine characteristic: talkative, outgoing, optimistic, and a very social lover of attention. And supposedly that's how I had always been, but for not much longer.

Not even a year later, when puberty hit, I found myself on the opposite end of the spectrum: withdrawn, pensive, brooding, full of deep thoughts and dark poetry, and highly pessimistic about the future.

This didn't stop until my late 20's when I first moved to Mexico City. That place brought the choleric out in me: highly assertive (trying hard not to turn aggressive), straight forward, brutally honest, with a very short patience that often unloaded in fits of rage.

And now that we find ourselves in the second year of Covid, I can see myself turning phlegmatic. I can't leave the house? - So what. Plans cancelled? - Who cares. This may go on for another year, if not more? - So be it. Could this turn into depression? - I don't care. Unfortunately, this way even small projects tend to take several times longer than usually. Like putting up that curtain rod my wife keeps nagging me about for months now. I really should get it done soon... Maybe even tomorrow! If not, next week for sure.


Great to hear of your insights and experiences friend. Many thanks, it shows how our default state can shift with time and evolution of consciousness.

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