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Holiday Gatherings and The Personalities

Posted Dec 01 2009 10:03pm

Purely Personalities with Shonda Savage Whitworth

Most people attend more parties in December than they do the rest of the year. We have office parties, church celebrations, children’s parties, our club gatherings and so on and so on.

Inevitably, the more people we come in contact with, the more opportunities arise for personality conflicts. However, if we are familiar with The Personalities, we can understand why people display certain mannerisms and help others comprehend why Aunt Susie must talk all the time. Or why Cousin Kate is usually telling everyone what to do, and why Melody, keeps rearranging the table while everyone else is gathering for the family photo. And why, oh why Phil is never excited or emotional about anything going on around him?

Let us start by using visual clues to identify each personality and how communicate effectively with each personality trait through the festivities.

Popular Sanguine

Christmas girls For the most part, the Popular Sanguine is the easiest to identify. Just listen for the person speaking the loudest with the most people gathered listening to her stories. She may be dressed with the flashiest colors because Sanguines have a tendency to want to be noticed.

If you’re a Popular Sanguine such as Aunt Susie, when at the holiday parties and gatherings, you may want to limit your conversations and give other people a chance to speak. If you’re telling a really great story and you are interrupted, only resume the story if asked. As a Sanguine, I know it is disappointing when no one asks me to resume my story; maybe it wasn’t such a great story after all. Try asking other people questions about their lives. Then REALLY listen to their answer without interrupting with your thoughts.

If you are not a Popular Sanguine and this personality tends to annoy you, try some of these simple communication tips for the sake of peace. Give Aunt Susie your full attention without glancing around the room or at other people. Show her your approval with the nodding of the head, but be sincere and authentic avoiding to many “uh-huhs.” Perhaps relating to her on a specific will show her you really care. That will make her day.

Powerful Choleric

Christmas-lights This personality is the doer. Before the party, cousin Kate ensured all the decorations were out and all the lights worked. They are not much for standing or sitting idle in small talk. For example, Cousin Kate is busy making sure all the drinks are out and the food ready for the designated time. Throughout the party she may ensure that a fresh supply of snacks and drinks are kept out.

If you are a Powerful Choleric, practice requesting help from others rather than  demanding it. “Please take this dish to the kitchen,” is a nicer way to enlist help rather than demanding it like a drill sergeant. Not everyone is as practical a thinker as a choleric. Try slowing down the pace a little bit and listen to some ongoing conversations and actually listen, not cutting others off or finishing their sentences for them.

If you are communicating with a Powerful Choleric, it may be best to keep your conversation to the point. As a Sanguine, I enjoy building up to the point with my stories. But with a particular friend, who is a Choleric, she’ll interrupt me and ask, “What’s the point?” I have to remember with her that I need to speak with the journalistic approach giving the bottom line first. Then if she’s interested, I’ll fill in a few details.

Perfect Melancholy

Holiday party plate This personality tends to be the perfectionist. Melody, for example may want to have the table setting just right before the first photo is snapped. She may try to get everyone to stand and sit in a particular order for the family photo. She’s really not trying to annoy anyone, she just wants everything . . .well, perfect.

If you are a Perfect Melancholy, realize that your attention to detail may frustrate others. Slightly adjust your expectations because no one is perfect. When speaking to other people, try not to overwhelm them with all the details. A Melancholy personality has the tendency to be pessimistic, so focus on the positive aspects of others. Instead of criticizing Aunt Susie’s bright red dress, find some thing about you can sincerely compliment.

If you are communicating with a Perfect Melancholy, ask them if it is a good time to talk because interruptions often upset this schedule-oriented person. When speaking to her, give her the facts and details because she loves them one and all. So where you had to give Cousin Kate the bottom line, Melody will appreciate all the ins and outs of every story.

Peaceful Phlegmatic

Man in recliner This individual can be the most difficult to identify because they can mimic any of the other personalities. For the most part, though, the Phlegmatic is usually quiet and agrees with whatever is going on. If others say they want to eat now, they’ll agree. While the part of the family is arguing over opening the presents before eating, peaceful Phil agrees with them too. While members of the family debate over what to do next, Phil kicks back and watches the ball game or movie allowing others to sort it all out. He’ll participate when a decision is made.

If you are a Peaceful Phlegmatic, remember to express an opinion once in a while. Practice making a choice. If you’re asked, “Do you want pecan pie or pumpkin pie?” Instead of saying, “Whatever is easiest,” choose. Share your ideas in a conversation and speak a little louder than normal.

If you are talking to a Peaceful Phlegmatic, show your respect to him. Tell him what attributes you appreciate as the Phlegmatic needs respect. Phil may not talk much, but when he does, listen to what he has to say. Give him your focused attention not looking around for something else to do. Wait until he is finished before saying what is on your mind.

Based on the visual clues mentioned above for each personality, you should be able to better understand which personality trait you display the most and identify the personality of the one with whom you’re communicating. By better understanding The Personalities during this holiday season, communication will  improve and result in a more peaceful holiday gatherings.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14, NKJV)

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Meet Shonda Savage Whitworth

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