Temperament Corner


A careless word may kindle strife;Temperament Corner by Phyllis Arno
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A bitter word may hate instill;
A brutal word may smite and kill.
A gracious word may smooth the way;
A joyous word may light the day.
A timely word may lessen stress;
A loving word may heal and bless.
Author Unknown

A word fitly spoken is like Apples of gold
 in pictures of silver. Proverb 25:11

But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37


Communication is the key to all relationships. When we do not communicate properly, the results can be devastating. Miscommunicating can cause anger, wars, murders, family splits, divorces, etc.

The Free Dictionary on the Internet describes the word communication to mean: “a. the art and technology of using words effectively to impact information or ideas. This would be verbal communication.”

Archie Bunker, the rather blunt father in the old TV series, “All in the Family,” made this statement:


I am sure that at one time or another, we have probably all felt like saying that to someone who does not understand what we are trying to communicate to them.

However, when counseling, you cannot say what Archie Bunker said, but what you can do is learn to understand your counselee’s God-given temperament. As a temperament counselor, you know that we are not all “wired” the same. Each temperament acts, responds, and perceives things differently.

When you are counseling a temperament different than yours, you need to learn to set your temperament tendencies aside and counsel this person according to their temperament.

In this issue we are going to look at the PHLEGMATIC in Inclusion to see how to communicate with them according to their temperament.

When you communicate with them:

  1. You should not say:

You are a spectator or observer in life and refuse to get involved.

You should probably say:

You tend to enjoy life from the sidelines because you do not want to get too involved and use up your energy.

  1. You should not say:

You are a “couch potato”; you want to sit around and do nothing rather than go out and socialize with family and friends—unless you just can’t get out of going.

 You should probably say:

You tend to have low energy and do not like to get too involved socially because you do not want to drain your energy.

  1. You should not say:

You have a cruel sense of humor that irritates everyone because it is hurtful.

You should probably say:

You tend to make humorous remarks that can be witty, charming, humorous, dry and sometimes offensive to those around you.

  1. You should not say:

You will use your humor in a cruel way to keep people from pushing or forcing you to socialize.

You should probably say:

You tend to use your humor as a way of keeping people from pushing you into socializing.

  1. You should not say:

You are extremely stubborn, tough-minded and selfish, and you won’t budge when someone wants you to change your plans.

You should probably say:

You tend to be stubborn and once you make up your mind, you usually won’t change it. This is because you have a good mind for envisioning a project, and you have done your best and do not have the energy to change perfectly good plans.

  1. You should not say:

You tend to want peace at all costs, so you will take the path of least resistance and negotiate peace at the expense of others.

You should probably say:

You tend to be a good peacemaker and negotiator, and others will come to you for your input. You must remember to negotiate peace for all concerned.

  1. You should not say:

You are a perfectionist and expect people to “carry their end of the log,” so you tend to get angry and upset when they do not and you have to do their work.

You should probably say:

You sometimes tend to expect more of people than what they can do, and you tend to become upset with them. You need to remember that only Jesus is perfect—the rest of us are works in progress.

When counseling the Phlegmatic in Inclusion, you need to be aware of the following regarding this temperament:

Your approach to the Phlegmatic in Inclusion can be moderately friendly and professional. They tend to respond to the intellect.

When counseling the Phlegmatic in Inclusion, you need to remember that they do not express what they are thinking. You may even wonder at times if they are listening to you; however, they are usually taking in everything you are saying.

Family and friends may try to push the Phlegmatic in Inclusion to socialize, and this will cause them stress. They are task-oriented, and when they have to spend time with people after they have tasked (worked) all day, it is too much for them. This is because they have low energy and have already used up their energy at work or school, etc.

When the Phlegmatic in Inclusion comes home from work or school, they will collapse and want to do nothing. This is because they need this time to triage. Triaging for the Phlegmatic in Inclusion is a must; otherwise, they will not have the energy to accomplish what they need to do.

When the Phlegmatic in Inclusion cannot get their needed down time to rest and relax, they tend to become irritable and angry.

When counseling the Phlegmatic in Inclusion, you need to relate to them that you are working toward helping them have a more peaceful, balanced environment. You can do this by teaching them to learn to maintain balance in their life. They need to learn to work, rest, exercise, and eat properly.

If the Phlegmatic in Inclusion does not learn to maintain balance, they can tend to be overprotective of their energy and become non-involved in life. This will affect the whole family.

The Phlegmatic in Inclusion tends to be perfectionistic and will tend to criticize those who do not measure up to their expectations. They will do this by using humorous remarks, which can be cutting to the person toward whom the humor is directed.

 Please remember, God created the Phlegmatic in Inclusion with the capacity for work that requires precision and accuracy; they can do tedious tasks that no other temperament can accomplish. They also have the capability to be peacemakers and negotiators, all of which are needed for the Kingdom of God. We need to encourage the Phlegmatic to stay involved and use these gifts for the Kingdom.

PLEASE NOTE: These are temperament tendencies, and, as always, while you are counseling the Phlegmatic in Inclusion you must take into consideration their walk with the Lord, learned behavior, personality and birth order.

In the next issue we will look at ways to communicate with a Sanguine in Inclusion counselee.

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