The phlegmatic personality type was one of the four original temperament theories that were introduced in the days of early medicine. It was originally believed that different bodily fluids would dictate which type of personality you would develop. For this personality type, you would have excessive phlegm, which would allow you to create specific traits over time.
Although science has shown that bodily fluids do not dictate a person’s personality, we still keep these four basic temperaments active because there is truth to each profile. We recognize the personality traits, just not how the personality is caused.
List of the Phlegmatic Personality Type Traits
1. They love to follow and enforce the rules.
People with the phlegmatic personality type embrace the structure that rules are able to provide. They hate breaking any rule. Even if they think they’ve broken a rule, it will make them uncomfortable. Some people with this personality type even becomes bothered by a negative perception of a failure to meet a specific expectation. To avoid this issue, many will question repeatedly if the best possible decisions are being made.
2. They receive joy by giving it to other people.
Phlegmatic personalities like to put other people first. They derive joy from being able to provide happiness to others. For some, this makes it seem like they have a lack of confidence. The opposite is closer to the truth. What a phlegmatic person wants above anything else is a peaceful world. They will do whatever it takes to make that happen, assuming that they are able to work within a set of rules. Choices are made based on degrees of happiness, even if these actions come with a personal cost.
3. They have high levels of emotional intelligence.
Those with a phlegmatic personality are tuned into their emotions at all times. They also sense the thoughts and feelings of others in the world around them. Many with this personality type are able to encounter a stranger, perceive how that person is feeling, and then come up with a decisive course of action. They are very sensitive, not liking to have their feelings hurt. They also hate seeing other people have their feelings hurt as well. To stop this from happening, many phlegmatic personalities seek to bear the burdens of others, so the rest of the world can focus on positive emotions.
4. They blame themselves quickly and often.
People who have a phlegmatic personality often blame themselves for what happens in life. They feel like they could have done better when a negative situation occurs, even if circumstances were fully out of their control. Even when other people make a mistake, this personality type is willing to take the blame anyway. They’re trying to make things easier for each person involved, willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the rest of the group.
5. They are honest.
People with the phlegmatic personality type will do their best to always keep their promises. If they are unable to keep their word for some reason, then they go above and beyond to ensure that things are made right. They feel this way because a promise if viewed like a rule. It bothers them immensely to break a promise because they see it as a violation of society’s rules.
6. They prefer to defer decisions to other people if possible.
When you make decisions, there is a good chance that someone will disagree with you. Some people might even become offended by the choices that were made. Because the phlegmatic personality prefers to keep peace in the world, they will attempt to defer the decision-making process to others whenever possible. They look for the strengths in other people, then delegate a choice to the person who will make the best one. Although this process can make it seem like people with this personality type prefer to follow, it is really another way to take on a leadership role.
7. They like to spend time by themselves.
The phlegmatic personality type is not going to try to find a party every weekend. Instead of drinks and dancing, they prefer a movie at home with their loved ones, their cat, or by themselves. You will find this personality type having fun with a close circle of friends, but that is the extent of their social life. They prefer to play board games and stay in familiar territory.
8. They are warm and cooperative people.
If you need someone to help out at a bake sale, a school event, or serve on the PTA board, then find someone with a phlegmatic personality. These people are cooperative and willing to help whenever they can. Even if they cannot help, they can refer you to someone else who might be willing to get involved with what you need to have done. That happens because people with this personality type want to see society succeed. They take great pride in knowing that their experiences helped others find some type of success in life.
9. They are creative and imaginative.
If you feel like you’re stuck on a project, then try to find someone with a phlegmatic personality. They see problems in a different way than other personality types. Even with their high emotional IQ, this personality looks at problems through a logical lens. They see pieces that fit together to create solutions because of their preference for rules and structure. Despite this need to follow the rules, you’ll find a creative element with this personality type that will take your work to the next level.
10. They like to cook.
People with a phlegmatic personality type really love to cook. That is because they recognize the fact that a good meal makes someone feel happy. Even though it takes work, this action serves as a coping skill for this personality type because they understand that results will create joy. If they aren’t good at cooking, then they will try to find alternative ways to help. They might run to the store to grab some takeout, order pizza, or pay for a meal at a restaurant because they know it will help someone feel better.
11. They like to take long walks by themselves.
Phlegmatic personalities don’t like to sit still. They also don’t like the feeling of being spread too thin. Instead of meditation or other coping mechanisms, people with this personality prefer to take a long walk. This allows them to process thoughts without distractions that call for their attention.
People with the phlegmatic personality type try to create moments of perfection for others. This makes them seem like they try to avoid people. The opposite is closer to the truth. They want to follow the rules, create fair opportunities, and revel in their ability to raise others toward success.
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.