What is a Phlegmatic personality? The Phlegmatic is the PEACEFUL personality that avoids chaos and conflict! They are very pleasant, good listeners and have a dry sense of humor. Sometimes this exhibits itself with “one-liners” which can sound sarcastic if not careful. Watching life, rather than active participation—people watching, uninvolved but interested in how things are going—could describe the phlegmatic personality. They are great peace-makers in families, on committees, and seem to always “explain” people (i.e. “She really didn’t mean that the way it came out. You know she is under some stress lately.”) to the one who may have been hurt by another. The Phlegmatic resists change because they like the “routine;” however if the reason for change is understood first, they are more likely to be in favor. This personality can tend to “dampen” enthusiasm because it takes way too much energy to get “all worked up” over something that may never happen anyway. They are the original “couch potato” and relax by watching T.V. or reading; they are very content to sit in a cozy corner and read undisturbed. As much as the Phlegmatic doesn’t enjoy change, they adapt well to many different job assignments. The Phlegmatic will mentally calculate how much energy it will take for the various responsibilities during the day and take naps if needed to keep them calm. This personality can control others by procrastination. When you ask this Phlegmatic personality where they want to eat lunch, likely they will say “I don’t care.” Often they just don’t want to make the decision, but if your suggestion ISN’T suitable to them, they will say, “Oh, there?” When they finally do make a decision, please don’t try to change their mind! That is when you will find the “quiet will of iron.” Everyone needs a peacemaker in their family, on the job, in their church, on their committee. They are usually very well liked and so pleasant to be around!
If you have a Phlegmatic in your life: Recognize their need for peace in their environment. Encourage them to accept responsibilities; and don’t take their first “no” as a final answer. Appreciate their even disposition, help them to make decisions when asked, because they will take the path of least resistance in life, often missing great opportunities for growth! Help them set goals, and give reward for accomplishing them. Don’t expect overt enthusiasm, because they try not to get all excited about your idea—it may not happen anyway—and then they will have wasted all that energy! Phlegmatics will put things off, quietly controlling by procrastination; they don’t want to come right out and tell you they aren’t going to do it, because that would cause conflict—they dislike that even more! If you have a Phlegmatic friend, they listen to all of your stories, problems and try to help you see the best outcome.
Strengths carried to extremes become weaknesses. Their easy-going and peaceful nature is admirable yet it can become or appear to be apathetic, indifferent, and indecisive. Peace at any price often means resentment and conflict later! (For further study, Personality Plus at Work, by Florence Littauer and Rose Sweet)
An apt Scripture for the Peaceful Phlegmatic is “How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live together in harmony.” Psalm 133:1 (TLB)
The Care and Feeding of the Phlegmatic Personality:
Plant: in shady area with lots of peace; away
from the chaos, but will adapt to surroundings.
Care: will grow best when shown her value and
worth in the garden.
Feeding: fertilize with encouragement to stretch
beyond her fears and comfort zone.
Watch Out for: indecision to bloom where planted;
may lack self-esteem, tends to lie dormant if not
moved to the hot house first!