You Are Your Temperament [analysis]

We have all been nagged by someone at one time we have met people we don’t have a connection with, or people we thought we had a connection with at first…

Well, it is important to know that not everyone thinks, acts or works like you. People are inherently and genetically different. Allow them to be it makes life easier. There are several books about temperaments, and many have taken online temperament tests, but nothing beats physically meeting up with a counsellor to assess your personality.

Recently, I visited Joseph Musaalo, a counselling psychologist with Adonai Counselling and Training Services, to help me identify who I am and how to live with others who are not like me. Musaalo is based at Friends Polyclinic at Uganda House. Our agreed time was 7pm. I sat in the clinic’s reception area waiting for him it was running late.

Soon enough he arrived. Heading to his office, Musaalo took his time calling me in. I am not an impatient person, but given the fact that this was a Monday, I began losing patience. But finally, he called me in, inviting me to a cup of tea with groundnuts and dounuts. I was hungry and the tea worked magic. I first talked as a journalist asking about his counseling business and later as a client who wanted to know his temperament.

This took us up to 10:30pm, and given his charges of Shs 50,000 per 45 minutes, I would have paid between Shs 150,000 and 200,000, but he charged me a flat fee of Shs 50,000. He pulled out two pieces of paper a question paper and answer sheet. He handed me the answer sheet where I had to answer “Yes” or “No” as he pushed the questions through for my temperament test.

The questions were as simple as “when crossing the road with a friend, do you hold their hand and cross with them, or you cross alone and wait on the other side of the road?”

And once you have answered all the questions, he begins to award you marks, which are later plotted on a graph. He then joins the lines to determine your dominant temperament, and which other two play the second and third role. It was shocking to discover that I am a melancholic followed by phlegmatic with some elements of sanguine.

A colleague used to say I am phlegmatic, and I didn’t like it because I thought it was the worst temperament – of lazy people. But according to Musaalo, there is no temperament better than the other each temperament has strengths and weaknesses. There are four types of temperaments: phlegmatic, melancholic, choleric and sanguine.

The psychologist uses names of animals to describe our temperaments. For choleric, he uses the lion – because cholerics are hard-working, assertive, aggressive and goal-oriented people, but have got emotional deficiencies and are very insensitive. The sanguine (monkey) are people who are all over the place.

“They are actually referred to as the life of a party. When you are at a party and sadness is hovering around and a sanguine comes in, everyone will start laughing because they are people persons,” Musaalo says. “They will sacrifice anything to make others happy. Sometimes they may forget themselves. They are the MCs, the spokesmen, the politicians.”

The melancholic (ant) are perfectionists.

“Ants are very hard-working insects they will bring soil from far and build an anthill,” Musaalo says.

“This test is very important because that way you realize you need to adjust in some areas otherwise, you can stress your wife, children, family and workmates. The unfortunate thing [is for a melancholic to] marry a sanguine or choleric. When a sanguine comes in the house, one shoe will be in one corner, another one there, the shirt or blouse that way. With a melancholic, everything must be in one place, organized.”

However, the weakness with melancholic is that they can never see anything good. Phlegmatics (giraffes) are very patient people. I see myself more as a phlegmatic than melancholic. No wonder, the giraffe is my favourite animal.

Well, at least I left the counsellor’s office enlightened. There is no need to try and change your spouse to suit your temperament understand them.

1. Sanguine

The sanguine is receptive by nature and outgoing a “super-extrovert” or a “natural salesman” and they tend to join professions that are outgoing, such as acting.


Warm, positive, generous, enthusiastic, fun-loving, affectionate, friendly and cheerful


Loves attention, changes moods quickly, often acts impulsively, gives in to pressure easily, hardly finishes tasks, undependable and talks a lot.

2. Choleric

The choleric is the most forceful and active of the four types. He is g-willed, independent and opinionated. He is the gest natural leader of the four types. It is said the world’s generals and dictators are cholerics. Most entrepreneurs are choleric.


Makes decisions with confidence, sees the positive side of things, sets goals and gets them done, likes new challenges, self disciplined, natural leader, likes action, confident and practical.


Stubborn, forceful, impatient, unforgiving, self-sufficient, likes to urge, quick-tempered, lacks sympathy and controls others

3. Melancholic

The melancholic is introverted. His natural style is analytical and perfectionist. Many melancholics become doctors, scientists or artists.


Romantic, well organized, self-sacrificing, thoughtful and kind, loyal and dependable, loves making things, avoids public attention, likes to do things perfectly.


Sees the negative side of things, doesn’t like making decisions, doesn’t like sociable events, can be moody (grumpy), gets angry easily, critical of self, hard to satisfy, complainer and worries a lot.

4. Phlegmatic

The phlegmatic is best characterized by the words “easy-going”. He is the calm and steady person not easily disturbed. He is the easiest temperament type to get along with. Phlegmatics make excellent teachers, counsellors and administrators.


Has a quiet sense of humour, easy to get along with, thinks before acting, reluctant leader, good listener, peacemaker, loyal friend, patient and calm.


Unmotivated, self-centred, quietly stubborn, self-protective, procrastinates, worries about things, seldom expresses affection, finds decision making hard.

Note: No one is completely one temperament type. Each of us is a blend of usually two or three types – one dominant and one secondary.

Source : The Observer

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