Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Personalities at Play Today

If you've had a chance to read Being Me, Being Free, you know it deals with four distinct personality types:
  • Playful Sanguine
  • Powerful Choleric
  • Perfect Melancholy
  • Peaceful Phlegmatic

I witness these everyday -- and I'm sure you do too.

For instance, last night, as soon as my daughter Meredith got home from her summer job working at a children's camp, she was ready for a crash session. Working with those children all day drains her physically and mentally. I, on the other hand, had been home all day and was looking forward to a run to the mall. My Playful Sanguine personality allows me to go, go, go and the more I'm around people, the more energized I become. Meredith, my Peaceful Phlegmatic, needs downtime after a long period of human exposure -- aka elementary aged kids at church day camp! So what did we do? Did we make it to the mall? Did we retreat to separate rooms?

What I've learned from my years as a teacher and from my training on personality profiling, led to a compromise. Meredith got to veg out in front of the TV for a while, got a bite to eat, and refueled. After about an hour, I brought up the subject of an outing to the mall. She reluctantly relented and three hours later, when we arrived home from the mall, we were both in good moods and actually got something accomplished that she had been putting off (getting a much needed new pair of glasses)!

Moral of the story/teachable moment: Peaceful Phlegmatics must have downtime, especially after a long day at work or school. Playful Sanguines have to realize that not everyone can run like the Energizer bunny and not everyone needs human interaction 24-7. So watch out for those people in your life who need to withdraw for periods of time. It's not that they're depressed and it's not personal -- it's just how they're wired.

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