Personalities – Why we talk


Last week several of you started reading along with us the book “Talk Easy, Listen Hard” by Nancy Sebastian Meyer. That is text, along with the Bible, we are working from for this series. How many of you read part of the book? Did you get through the section “Personalities – Why we talk”? Well that is what we are going to cover tonight.

This will not be 15 minutes! Agreed?

Before we start this evening let’s make sure that we understand what we are here to do is establishing which personality type is the best… Right!

Obviously this is Choleric/Sanguine. WRONG! J

To get a feel for where we are going let’s take a look at this short video to help us understand personality types. 


If you were here last week then you know I’m just kidding when I say that. In all seriousness, I want us all to remember that there will be no ‘bagging and tagging’ here.  Thinking we can tag a human being as one type and then manipulate them or discount them will guarantee failure. That will do nothing, but cause grief. We need to remember that no one is a single personality type. We are all a unique recipe.

The goal over these days is to better understand how to interact with each other; To see the strengths and the gifts of our spouse, our children, and our friends; To be better at helping and tolerating our loved ones through their weak spots.

We are all different and part of living together and being strong is knowing the motivations of our spouse and our loved ones. Knowing what makes them tick.


We are looking at three different ways of understanding.

·       Personalities – Why we talk

·       Thought – Where our talk comes from

·       Love Languages – How we communicate our feelings

Tonight we talk about personality types.


– The totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behavior, that are peculiar to a specific person.

– The pattern of collective character, behavioral, temperamental, emotional, and mental traits of a person

If someone understands what makes up your personality then they can better interact with you. As Nancy Sebastian Meyer’s husband put it, “I’m sorry. I thought you were trying to annoy me all this time. It’s just the way you’re wired.”




A short review: there are four personality types.


·       Sanguine

·       Choleric

·       Melancholy

·       Phlegmatic

And last week we handed out a personality test so that this week when we said something mean about your type you could be properly insulted. J  No, we handed them out so that we could learn more about ourselves and so that you could share your personality type with your spouse or loved ones. That along with our talk tonight will help us to better know how to appreciate the value of each person’s gifts and to know how to help with that person’s weaknesses. (Say it with me fellow Cholerics, “What weakness?”)

 Of all of the personality types almost no one is one single type we are a recipe of the different types. Here is my recipe.









Now let learn about what makes these different types tick. Like the Bible, you are not going to get all you can on this subject by listening to the preacher. You need to explore the subject fully on you own. But tonight we are going to get started together.

The first type we will be talking about it call ‘sanguine’.


3% are Choleric – Basic Desire: Control

·       Strengths

o   Powerful

o   Concise

o   Strong Leader

o   Realistic

o   Results oriented

·       Weaknesses

o   Arrogant

o   Controlling

o   Brusque

So how do those traits manifest themselves in the life the choleric. Well they…

·       Feel confident and in control

·       Goal oriented and accomplishment driven

·       Enjoys good debate

·       Makes decisions easily and quickly, Relishes risk

·       Speaks quickly and concisely. Gets to the bottom line

·       Doesn’t like to be told what to do


Communications Clues

·       Get to the point

·       Truth resonates

Remember that for a Choleric each extra word or bunny trail you go down is a loss of control. They are being controlled by your talking to them over a long period time. 

All truth is God’s truth (Isa 55:11). Truth will change lives and minds. Remember that Cholerics are generally honest to a fault. So as you exaggerate, embellish, or feather your story with junk you are losing them.  Truth is a control to them.

Likewise remember that if they are harsh or blunt they are not trying to hurt you. They honestly believe that they are helping. They are giving you what they want.

When a Choleric is down it will look different than in most people. A Choleric will appear angry and withdrawn. Remember being down or having failed is lack of control. This will not do…

Clues to relating with your Choleric:

Remember that having this person on your side is good. There are advantages to having the lion on your side of the battle field. Remember that control is the motivator. So work to help them feel in control.  Make your point. Speak the truth concisely and without fluff.

Don’t be a wimp and take it, but when they are wrong calmly and logically tell them. Give them space to work it out and gain control of it. Trying to force them to conform will fail.

Don’t expect the lion to never roar. If you are crushed by the occasional lack of kindness then you are going to get your feelings hurt. But if you can weather the storm then you can grow to appreciate the protection of this lion.

Choleric Homework:

Learn the value to be gained from others. The more you can learn to work with others the more control you will have. Who knows… Maybe someone else will be right. Learning to slowdown and cooperate or play the game will often get you to your result faster than charging through and roaring. Actively listen to the others in the room. Stop planning your response while they talk. Slow down. Stay put. Don’t pace or leave.

Plan time meaningful time with God.


11% are Sanguine – Basic Desire: Fun

·       Strengths

o   Popular

o   Talkative

o   Dramatic

o   Optimistic

o   People Pleaser

·       Weaknesses

o   Forgetful

o   Lacks follow-thru

o   A poor listener


So how do those traits manifest themselves in the life the sanguine. Well they…


·       Blurt spontaneous thoughts, thinks out loud

·       Keep things fresh and interesting

·       Quickly admits mistakes and asks forgiveness

·       Lives in the present and doesn’t hold a grudge

·       Overflow with creative ideas, but this can crowed our responsibilities

·       Enjoys having fun and can seem to lack depth


Communications Clues

·       Need Acceptance

·       Love to Entertain

·       Insecurity may drive

Remember that for a sanguine needs acceptance as a person. So they feed off of praise of their personal qualities, not so much specific things they did.  Part of how this comes out is in the way they talk about everything and even about things they have no intention of doing.  They enjoy the idea of doing cool things almost as much as doing them. Tomorrow they may not even remember talking about doing those things. They think out loud.

Imagine being held responsible for everything you thought. I would be in prison a thousand times over and I would not have a job. Remember that when you hear your sanguine partner rambling on. They are thinking to you, imagining to you, enjoying with you… Not making solid plans.  If you can… Play the game. Enjoy the imagination and life of this fabulous gift from God.

Then tomorrow, see what is still there. J These people are the fire that keeps the engine going. They bring the fuel to the engine. We need that.

To quote Kermit the Frog, “The Lovers, the Dreamers, and me.”

Clues to relating with your Sanguine:

Remember that having this person to keep things fun and spontaneous s good. Relax and go with it from time to time. Help them to feel encouraged by giving them affection and affirmation the way that they give it. Tell them how fun an idea is, encourage them to work through that dream they have. 

Don’t expect them to do all of the things they have voiced in those dreams. But do help them recognize the things that should be done and help them follow through.

If you have listened and gone along as long as you can gently explain that you don’t want to miss a bit of this awesome idea. Then ask if you continue later when you have time to give them your full attention.

Sanguine Homework:

Focus that energy on pleasing God. He is always accepting and always approving.

Find places where your presentation skills and creative mind are able to be used. Then Do it.

Don’t use your personality as an excuse. Focus on your organizational and follow through issues. Get strong there on purpose.

Discipline your tongue. Slowdown, think, listen

Be who you are. Don’t be ashamed to be the life of the party. WE NEED YOU to be the life of the party.

Imagine a party with Cholerics and Melancholies only.






17% are Melancholy – Basic Desire: Perfection

·       Strengths

o   Perfect

o   Analytical

o   Sensitive

o   Conscientious

o   Task oriented

·       Weaknesses

o   Critical

o   Moody

o   withdrawn

So how do those traits manifest themselves in the life the sanguine. Well they…

·       Tries to be perfect as possible

·       Expects others to do the right thing

·       Wants to know the expectations at the beginning of the project

·       Needs time, space, and, silence to process thoughts

·       Wants a place for everything and everything in it’s place

·       Sensitive to details and feeling that others often miss


Communications Clues

·       Give Space, Time, and Silence

·       Be real or be quiet

I stopped just short of leaving this at saying, ‘don’t be Sanguine’, because for a Melancholy the chit-chat of a Sanguine who is thinking out loud is torture. Remember that for the Melancholy there is great risk in speaking without knowing you are right.

A Melancholy may go on a speaking spree, but if they do it will be to explain how broken something is. Do not attempt to ‘happy talk’ them out of it. Give them facts, fix the problem, or get out of the way. They will fix it; silently.

They intensely fear being wrong. Their perfectionism can cause them to lock up. Yes, the people who are so hard on others getting things done on time will procrastinate rather than do it wrong.  They may shutdown in confrontation.

Clues to relating with your Melancholy:

Remember that having this person on your side is good. The clear measured and precise thinking of this person will eventually come to a solid (if not perfect) solution. If you can give them the whole picture they can generally give you the whole answer. They love concrete measurable things and orderly details. Working through this stuff will be their idea of a good time. Participate! This will build trust, faith in you, and happiness (security) for them.

Help you Melancholy see the all sides to the world including the good things. Help them to talk deeply with you about how you honestly see the world and your life together.  Understand when they can’t get as up or excited as you can at first. Give them space and time to work through it.

Melancholy Homework:

Practice makes positive! (Yes I hear you telling me, “Oh grow up!”) But the real point is that you will gain more positive solutions if you can practice making statements in a positive voice.

“I really like it when we keep the living room straight like this.”


“I hate it when you guys leave stuff all over the living room.”

Recognize when your perfectionism has caused a project to become a non-starter. Just Do it! Likewise in your relationships with people try to take more risks in conversation and in sharing. You will find that people work better with people who are more transparent.

Try to see the whole picture and not lock onto one issue.


69% are Phlegmatic – Basic Desire: Peace

·       Strengths

o   Peaceful

o   Good listener

o   Loyal

o   Relaxed

o   Rational

·       Weakness

o   Procrastinator

o   Non-confrontational

o   Tuned out

So how do those traits manifest themselves in the life the sanguine. Well they…

·       Quiet and enjoys watching others rather than participating

·       Can crack a joke without cracking a smile

·       Will only say what they truly mean

·       Has a calming effect on others in stressful situations

·       Relaxed and laid back

·       More comfortable in small groups of friend than in a crowd


Communications Clues

·       Can’t we all just get along

·       Respond well to praise

·       Deep loyalty

Remember that for a Phlegmatic the goal is to keep it peaceful and casual. They will not rock the boat or call attention to themselves. So our goal needs to be not forgetting them or leave them out of the mix. Phlegmatic are the grease the keeps the engine going.

These internal thinkers, unlike Sanguine, do better in small groups of two or three. They prefer to sit back and listen; take it all in. Then out of the blue they will hit you with a hilarious observation. If you don’t get it then it will hit you on the way home that the weird remark was a joke far beyond the crowd.

Don’t over load these people with details and responsibility. They are more about getting through the day comfortably than conquering it.  

Clues to relating with your Phlegmatic:

Remember that the phlegmatic is there to get along and enjoy the presence of those around him. Be patient with them. Come along side them and work with them. They will love the connection and work for it.

Compliment them but don’t make a big production number out of it. Just be sincere. Don’t embarrass them if at all possible. This will not motivate them. They will simply avoid the conflict. They can be procrastinators due to fear of being wrong or because they lose focus.

Give the Phlegmatic time to process and contribute. Their input will be well worth it. But they take longer to process stuff and see their place in it. Remember they are not looking to jump in, but they love being a part of what you are doing.

Phlegmatic Homework:

Talk to people and let them know how you are feeling about things. They want to understand you. Find a friend that you can confide in and trust to talk through things.

When in a group speak up. People value what you have to say. If you have to speak to a group of people take the time to speak through the presentation over and over to get confidence.

When you deal with others try to be positive.



About toddcbrown

The body of Christ will never grow if the Pastor is the one using his gifts to MAKE IT grow through some cool program or inspiring turn of a phrase.
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