17 Benefits And Traits Of A Melancholic Temperament

By: Kelly Spears

Updated December 21, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Rashonda Douthit , LCSW

Everyone possesses an innate temperament-a special nature that defines your behavior and explains your general psychological makeup. Your temperament can be determined by evaluating your emotions and behavioral patterns. There are many free online resources to help you discover your temperament, including the popular quiz available on temperamentquiz.com.

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It takes many different types to make the world go 'round, and it's important to note that no temperament is innately "good" or "bad." In this article, you'll be introduced to the four temperament types, and we'll further explore the traits, strengths, and benefits of a melancholic temperament.

While temperament tends to remain consistent from birth, environmental factors activate particular genes, which may influence a person's temperament.

The four main temperaments are:

  • Choleric
  • Sanguine
  • Melancholic
  • Phlegmatic

It's quite possible that your temperament is a mishmash of two or more of these categories. The quiz linked above will break down your temperament(s) by percentage.

Understanding Each Temperament

In the following sections, we'll take a deep dive into the melancholic temperament, which is often misunderstood. But first, let's get acquainted with all four temperaments and how individuals with these temperaments tend to live their lives:

  • People with a choleric temperament are often natural leaders. They are determined, driven, and goal oriented.
  • Those with a sanguine temperament are lively and enthusiastic. They're often described as outgoing, fun-loving individuals.
  • Folks with a melancholic temperament tend to be perfectionists. They are sensitive individuals who are empathetic and often quiet. (More on this temperament later.)
  • Individuals with a phlegmatic temperament are natural peacemakers. They're known for being calm and easygoing.

If you struggle with certain aspects of your temperament, you are certainly not alone. While each type has its perks, it may also come with some drawbacks. Therapy can help you tap into the strengths and deal with the weaknesses that come along with your unique temperament.

17 Benefits and Traits of a Melancholic Temperament

A melancholic temperament often gets a bad rap, but there is plenty to appreciate about this temperament type. Let's take a closer look at the traits melancholic people have in common:

How They Show Love 

If you know individuals with a melancholic temperament, you've probably noticed they express themselves with actions rather than words. Individuals with a melancholic temperament are often guarded. Because of this, they are not likely to express love verbally or emotionally. They instead show their love and affection by being dependable and reliable, and by doing thoughtful things for the people they care about.

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Melancholics naturally lean toward being analytical and intellectual. They often foresee the result of a project long before its completion. They are able to view situations and problems from all sides and see every possible outcome. This makes them very effective at problem solving, planning, and organizing.

Mood Extremes

Although people with a melancholic temperament generally keep their emotions guarded, they are still emotional individuals. In fact, they may be the most emotional of all the temperament types. Their heightened, ever-changing emotions can result in quick shifts in mood. For instance, they might feel a strong sense of elation, quickly replaced by gloom if something negative happens.

Task Oriented

Because people with a melancholic temperament are introverted, they are often task oriented rather than people oriented. Individuals with this temperament love having a list of chores to complete. They prefer to stay busy, and they tackle their daily to-do list with relish. They tend to be extremely efficient and productive in any career.


Melancholics are often perfectionists. They have a specific idea of the perfect situation, the perfect way to do things, and the perfect outcome. They tend to set incredibly high standards for themselves and others. When the perfect outcome is not achieved, they can become angered; however, these individuals don't typically show their anger until it becomes so pent up over time that they reach a breaking point.


The melancholic temperament tends toward a fierce loyalty to friends, family members, coworkers, and employers. Their loyalty must be earned, but once it's earned, individuals with this temperament are loyal for life. They are quick to commit and make promises to individuals they trust and respect. They consistently meet or exceed the expectations of the people they care about most.


Melancholics are highly self-motivated, thanks to their innate perfectionistic tendencies. They are motivated mainly by their own high standards, and less so by rewards or the threat of punishment. They prefer having multiple chances to complete similar tasks, as they strive to improve with every attempt. Their motivation is derived from their determination to do their very best.

Understand Their Limitations

Because melancholics are naturally analytical and perfectionistic, they know their limits. You will rarely see a person with a melancholic temperament take on more than they can handle. They know exactly what they can and cannot accomplish. When asked to exceed their limitations, they aren't afraid to speak up and be honest about their inability to complete a task or assignment. Because of this quality, they're almost always able to meet reasonable deadlines.

Thought Patterns

Melancholics tend to overanalyze situations and problems. They may be quick to interject during a conversation due to their tendency to be emotionally intense. In social situations, they may jump to unfounded conclusions or suspicions. Any negative thought patterns are often exacerbated by their penchant for overthinking. People with a melancholic temperament can become inactive due to excessive self-reflection or regrets about the past.

Quiet Personality

A melancholic person is typically very calm and quiet despite his or her powerful internal emotions. These individuals often choose to hide their feelings, preferring to remain calm and quiet even during events that typically elicit extreme joy or anger in others. If melancholics are pushed too far or for too long, however, they may have trouble controlling their anger.

Melancholics generally maintain their composure even when surrounded by frenetic activity. Their demeanor projects a certain level of contentment, even when they may be feeling frazzled or out of control. They have a harmless approach to life.


People with a melancholic temperament tend to be extremely patient, which makes them excellent teachers or parents. They do not become easily frustrated when talking to others. They are also able to wait in long lines without much distress.

Societal Order

People with a melancholic temperament love the societal order of friendships, relatives, and even work relationships. They accept their role in life. They prefer that everyone in their social circle have a purpose. They work well in team environments where each person has specific responsibilities and contributes to a shared goal. They also do well in organizations where there is a definitive hierarchy.

Detail Oriented

People with melancholic temperaments love to keep track of details. They remember every birthday, anniversary, and other special occasion. They easily recall the names and personal details of the people they've met. The melancholic individual has an incredible memory.

Comfortable with Routine

Melancholics are most comfortable with set routines, and they aren't keen on surprises. Unforeseen events or abrupt changes in routine can throw them off balance and may cause emotional outbursts. These folks tend to be content with the repetition of everyday life and cannot imagine living any other way.

Goal Oriented

Individuals with a melancholic temperament are almost always goal oriented. Their analytical skills allow them to see every potential outcome of any given situation, making it easy for them to set and keep long-term goals. They prefer to stick to a plan and accomplish their goals within a predetermined time frame. They are efficient planners and great at meeting deadlines.

Deep Thinkers

A melancholic person is almost always deep in thought. They are serious individuals who aren't known for being jokesters. They tend to dwell on events and interactions from the past. Melancholics are prone to holding grudges, as they have difficulty letting go of others' wrongdoings. When a melancholic person is extremely quiet and doesn't seem to be paying attention, they are probably lost in thought.


Melancholic individuals are often quite creative. They may be artists, musicians or writers, and they tend to approach problems with a creative mindset. They're known for thinking outside the box, and their creativity extends to every area of their lives. They come up with creative ways to show people how much they care, and they find innovative processes and ways to tackle complex problems at work.

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How BetterHelp Can Help

While the melancholic temperament comes with many benefits, these individuals are prone to developing mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. If you are such a person, you can join the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken advantage of BetterHelp's online therapy services and receive professional treatment for your condition.

BetterHelp offers convenient, low-cost therapy for individuals struggling to understand the perks and pitfalls of melancholic temperament and the mental health concerns that often accompany it. Their experienced therapists will provide you with coping skills to help deal with the challenges associated with this temperament.

Counselor Reviews

"Shana has helped me tremendously over the past few months. She has assisted me in changing my thought patterns and bad habits. She is very caring, a great listener and is not judgmental. It is clear how much she cares about her patients. I appreciate her and would recommend her to anyone searching for a counselor."

"Dr. Okuda is a wonderful counselor who supports me in my thoughts while steering me to a positive and healthy mindset within those thoughts. She wants to make sure I am okay by the end of a session, and even if I am not, she acknowledges that that is okay. She helps me look at thought patterns in a way that's helpful in my ability to manage them and be at ease with them even in my sadness, and ideally, too, in my happiness."


Understanding your innate temperament will help you tap into your inner strengths and deal with the downfalls related to your unique temperament. As a melancholic individual, you have so much to offer the world. With the information provided in this article, and the help of one of BetterHelp's online therapists, you'll gain a better understanding of your true self and how you interact with the world around you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a melancholic person?

The Ancient Greek believed humans have four unique personality types. However, according to Ancient Greek, they differ in a lot of ways. A melancholic is a very self-reliant person, and it also defines someone that is reserved, thoughtful, and has anxiety issues frequently. Typically, melancholics aim towards perfection in themselves and everywhere around them. Due to this nature, they usually develop a very neet surrounding, and they are very concerned about details. Most melancholics are agreeable, deep, idealistic, logical, and neat. Also, they may be critical, hard to please, and proud. Amazingly, melancholics also show love to people by expressing themselves by their actions rather than words. Most melancholics are also very task oriented, analytical, and have mood extremes. They also appreciate when one follows their privacy policy. This personality is unique compared to the choleric melancholic, and phlegmatic. If you want to know your personality, you can try out a personality test or a free personality test based on the theory of personality. Some people may have a mix of personality temperaments like the sanguine, choleric, and others. Undergo temperaments test, if you want to know your temperament type.

How do Melancholics behave?

Most Melancholics are very self-reliant, meaning they rely so much on their powers, resources, and strength beyond any other person. Typically, this could work out positive for them, and on some occasions, it may not. Also, the melancholic personality is very thoughtful. This essentially means that they think through their actions and typically weigh their options before taking steps. Also, melancholics can behave very reserved. So, essentially, it means most melancholics don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings, emotions, or thoughts to anyone. Consequently, melancholics usually find it easy to control their emotions and keep their feelings in check. On a positive note, this normally makes them maintain a steady and stable mood most of the time. Unlike the other personalities in the temperament test, the sanguine may be able to keep things balanced and level.

Is it bad to be melancholic?

It never has to be bad to feel melancholic. There are so many benefits that come with being melancholic. First, melancholics are analytical, which helps them in living their daily lives. Also, they are very intellectual and brilliant at carrying out tasks. Due to their analytical nature, they can easily solve daily problems and organize their activities effectively. Melancholics may also have mood extremes even though they are reserved. The only factor that is traditionally seen as ‘extra’ is their perfectionism. Melancholics also has a loyal character towards their colleagues, friends, and family members. However, their loyalty is usually earned because they can quickly make promises to people they trust and look up to. Melancholics have quite personalities, and they are typically patient and goal-oriented.

Are Melancholics introverts?

Out of all the other temperaments, melancholics are the most introverted. The melancholic personality always wants to be alone in their personal space. This is because they feel most comfortable when they are in their personal space and their own company. However, some melancholics may also enjoy spending time with others, but they always feel that they need time alone to recharge all the time spent with other people. Since they have very high standards, they normally enjoy being only with people that make them feel comfortable. When they go out to public places, they typically don't feel the need to meet new friends or to talk to new people. Talking to new people can be very difficult and uncomfortable for them because they think they are not fun to relate with, or you can't hold a conversation with them due to their nature.

Who should a melancholic marry?

Melancholics has a unique character. Some of them are traditionally considered seen as anti-social. Hence, most people wonder who a melancholic will get married. Typically, a melancholic woman and man are compatible. On most occasions, they have a high tendency to fall in love with each other and getting married. Also, they have a low tendency of ever filing for a divorce. Far more than any other personality, the melancholics are normally more attracted to their type. Naturally, they enjoy relationships with their personality type other than any other personality. This is because melancholics typically need to take breaks from other people and recharge after a social gathering. So, it may seem that they are not compatible with anyone but their personality. In some cases, melancholics can marry anyone with any other personality, but their matching personality with other melancholics is a little close to perfect.

Are Melancholics romantic?

Melancholics are very naturally very reserved, which may affect their relationship with other people one way or another. The only reason a melancholic has to be reserved when they care about a person is when they haven't established trust with that person. Melancholics are very analytical and critical, so they naturally make sure people earn their trust before totally giving themselves out. However, they secretly long for ideal love. Love for them is a very beautiful thing because they will give their all to someone that wins their trust. They could also work to make the relationship a beautiful and intensely emotional and romantic relationship. Moreover, melancholics hardly make the first move on someone they care about, but it never means they cannot be romantic.

What is a melancholy mood?

Melancholy mood means a mood that is beyond being sad. It means the person is overcome with sorrowful thoughts and depressed feelings. If not treated, this mood may affect different aspects of life, including school, work, and relationships. Asides those life aspects, it may also affect that person's daily activities. The melancholic mood is synonymous with melancholic depression, a major kind of mental disorder, commonly referred to as MDD. Typically, MDD is known to lead to feelings of serious sadness and usually gives the victim troubles getting through the rest of the day. MDD symptoms include a regular feeling of sadness for a long time instead of random mood swings. Also, it may lead to a loss of interest in activities you previously loved. Other symptoms are eating too little or too much, sleeping too much, difficulty keeping concentration, and the likes.

How do you deal with a melancholic person?

When you're dealing with a melancholic friend, you need to try empathizing with him or her. Showing a bit of empathy and care can make your friend feel that you care and understand how he or she feels. Also, when dealing with a melancholic person, you may want to exercise patience and care. You may also want to be a little analytical when you do things together. Usually, this is because melancholics do a lot of critical thinking, and so, they may also need someone that can do the same to a certain level. This is why a melancholic match is usually a great thing for them. While dealing with a melancholic, you need to ensure that you are not overly clingy. Melancholics are hardly interested in meeting new people or talking to people. Due to this, they tend to be a little distant from social gatherings that may require them to heighten their communication skills.

What is the most common temperament?

Out of the other temperaments, the sanguine is the commonest of them all. The Sanguine is described as being talkative, extremely social, and generally active in even in social gatherings. Sanguines are also optimistic in bad or tasking situations. Unlike the melancholic, sanguines like meeting new people and talking to people. They can be referred to as extroverted individuals. Also, they like being charismatic, social, and outgoing. Sanguines can act like they have known you for a long time, even when you may be meeting them for the first time. They can make you feel very comfortable around them, depending on your personality. Someone can have a mix of two or three personalities. For instance, some individuals are melancholy-sanguine, which is a very friendly temperament compared to the melancholy. Most of the time, a melancholy-sanguine feels the need to be with people for a short while and be alone for a long period of time. Just like the melancholic, the sanguine-melancholic is very analytical and sensitive to the deep needs of others.

Why do we like melancholy?

Melancholy traditionally feels to be a great personality to a large majority. Usually, this is because they have a certain personality of self-reflection. So, they are able to take time out to think things through and reach a life decision. We like melancholy because of this time out for self-reflection that they always take. Self-reflection is very beneficial to us because it gives us time to regain time, recharge, and perform better. Other features that make melancholy a likable personality is their ability to think critically and analyze thoroughly before reaching a decision. When dealing with tasks, melancholics are also very able to put their minds into what they need to do and complete whatever task is required. The melancholic personality is also very self-motivated. They hardly need to find their inspiration in others, and they completely understand their limitations. In addition, melancholics are perfectionists. So, they always want to see everything around them in perfect order, which includes their dressing or their general surroundings.

Why do I like melancholy?

According to humorist, the melancholic person tends to be very analytical and critical in thinking, often called the black bile. According to Greek medicine, there may also be a combination of humor, like bile and phlegm, or a bile black bile combination. It could also be a mix of personalities such as the bile black and phlegm or the blood yellow bile black. Also, melancholics are loved their space or alone-time. Usually, the time melancholics have alone is beneficial for most people because it serves as a means to recharge and put plans together. Most of the motivation comes from themselves other than from people.

Moreover, melancholics are very much able to put their mind to the task, which is an attribute everyone craves to have. The neatness of their body and immediate surroundings is essential for a melancholic. When dealing with limitations, melancholics are always able to completely understand their limitations and forge ahead. Overall, these are features that a regular person will find attractive or mind-blowing.

Is melancholy a mental illness?

Melancholy is a personality that is strongly affiliated with people that don't sit well with social gatherings or meeting new people. Melancholy could be a personality with many benefits, such as the ability to set time apart for critical thinking, loyalty, and commitment to a task. However, melancholics also tend to be very self-motivated. Unfortunately, other disadvantages may be involved. For instance, melancholics may not have a lot of friends even when they may need one; they end up doing things all by themselves. Due to just a little glitch in the performance of a worker, they may lose confidence in the worker immediately. Please note that melancholic depression is very different from the melancholic personality itself. Melancholia or melancholic depression is now regarded as a specifier for MDD.

How do you talk to a melancholic person?

Talking to a melancholic may require a high level of analysis sometimes. On some occasions, there may be absolutely no need for that. Relating or talking to a melancholic person solely depends on the conversation you both are having. If the discussion seems to be trending towards sympathy, you may need to try sympathizing with them and seeing things from a specific point of view. When you show them a form of appreciation, there’s a tendency that they feel very good about it.

How do I live with a melancholic husband?

It may be quite tasking to live with people that have different personalities. All of the four temperaments have different things that govern them or different things that they are interested in. One of them is the melancholic husband. If you're wondering how to deal or live with your melancholic husband, this is because you may not have a melancholic personality. Melancholics are very analytical people. They also tend to crave some time alone just to recharge themselves. Due to this character, it may seem rather difficult to deal with a melancholic husband. One of the helpful techniques for dealing with them is to try to be very sensitive to how they see things and all the things that concern them. Also, since melancholics are perfectionists and they are obsessed about organization, try very much to help them keep up.

How do you deal with a melancholic wife?

Dealing with a melancholic wife may require a little bit of sensitivity. A melancholic wife is analytical, engages in critical thinking, and well- organized. When dealing with a melancholic wife, you don't need to follow strict guidelines to help you out. You may start by paying extra attention to the things that they really care about and figuring things out together often. When you're in a conversation with a melancholic wife, try your possible best to be to keep sympathizing with her. Since you know your wife's personality and how she likes things in their perfect position, help her by making things in the house stay organized. Most importantly, you may need to give them some space when they feel down.

What causes melancholy?

Melancholic is a unique personality associated with people from childbirth. People with this personality type need space. Also, they need some time to charge up after a social event. There is no actual cause of melancholy that can be traced to the person himself. However, it may be due to biological factors. So, if the parent of a specific individual is melancholic, there may also be a possibility that the offsprings also have that same personality. In some cases, stress can also trigger melancholy or melancholic depression. Please note that stress only contributes to the probability of melancholic depression, but it's never the root cause.

Can you change your temperament?

There may be certain ways to alter your personality. However, you cannot totally change your temperament because it is biological. Altering your personality requires a bit of a comprehensive plan that makes you act a certain way for a certain period and ultimately get used to that action. Please note that altering your personality doesn’t change your personality or temperament. All that does is to change your character. It is vital to note that a specific temperament may take on different appearances due to age, appearances, or living conditions. Overall, you can only change your behavior and not your temperament.

Can a sanguine marry a melancholic?

The Sanguine and the melancholic have completely opposite personalities. Sanguine likes being around people and social gatherings. They are talkative, and most times, they relate with new people like they once knew them. On the other hand, melancholics tend to dislike too much of a social gathering. Typically, they feel the need to take some time out and recharge after leaving any social gathering. Interestingly, the sanguine personality and the melancholic personality often find themselves in a relationship with each other. The melancholic can help the sanguine develop principles and reflection.

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