From Phlegmatic to Choleric: How Did Your Temperament Change During the Quarantine?


By: Nina Tambal, Senior Editorial Associate

People change. This is a fact of life. So, what happens when you’re all of a sudden cornered into a situation you weren’t prepared for? A drastic circumstance that life had to throw at you in the most challenging of times.

Sound familiar? With the two months of strict quarantine measures we had to endure, everyone was required to stay at home. A dreaded scenario that many joked as reminiscent of countless zombie or doomsday movies.

During the first few weeks, a lot of TeamAsians had a difficult time adjusting to it while others just liked the fact that they were home. Little did we know that in the coming weeks, the adjustment period would come with a few modifications to our personalities. 

The Four Temperaments is a psychological theory that there are fundamentally four personality types: phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, and melancholic. Phlegmatics are the peacemakers and make it a point to preserve all the relationships in their lives. Sanguines are the free spirits and are the kind to believe in the saying, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time”. Cholerics are the hustlers and lead with conviction in order to achieve their goals. Melancholics are the perfectionists and can be sensitive to what others think of their work.

That said, I don’t remember who or what gave me the idea to take the test again. But knowing the amount of interest I have with psychology and personality tests, I probably just thought it was a fun experiment to try. I took the test last year and was phlegmatic. Several months and life-challenging experiences later, I’m now choleric.

To take it a step further, I had everyone else in our content department take the test as well. Majority of our team members’ temperaments unexpectedly changed.

Some previous cholerics became sanguines and another fellow former phlegmatic became choleric. For the cholerics that maintained their glorious temperament, their secondary temperament was replaced with either sanguine or phlegmatic. Distant from the usual choleric-melancholic personality they had at the office. The most interesting results came from Elton, a dominant choleric who turned into a choleric-phlegmatic (both temperaments with the same value), and Vince, who was a phlegmatic then and is still a phlegmatic (with a slight increase in his melancholic temperament) now. 

So, what happened? We unanimously agreed that it’s the quarantine. It must be. After all, we have different coping mechanisms and with the current pandemic, change has certainly been in the spotlight.

While there are individuals who are saddened (melancholic) as they go inward and dissect their many thoughts to cope, there are people who are frustrated and angered (choleric) by everything that’s happening. There are those who just want to have a good time outside (sanguine), even if it’s just to visit the mall. And of course, there are some who have found peace and quiet (phlegmatic) in the safety of their house.

The global health crisis is a matter that is not just affecting the entire world as a whole, but specific entities that contribute to its overall wellbeing, from big companies and small businesses to agile employees and hopeful families. The best we can do is show compassion to one another and keep holding onto that light at the end of this challenging tunnel, for the sake of what still remains good and pure for humanity.

Do you think the quarantine has changed you too? Take the Four Temperaments test here. Let us know what you think and start an insightful discussion about it.

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