ASK KATHLEEN

Are you confused about a topic or curious for more? Read Kathleen's answers to common questions below.

And find even more of Kathleen's answers—plus lots of other bonus videos—on the

I Said This, You Heart That YouTube channel.

What if my dominant and secondary temperaments are diagonal from each other?


Although assessment scores do occasionally result in these combinations, diagonal temperaments are not natural. For now, just focus on your dominant temperament (your highest score). Over the next few sessions, you may find yourself relating to a different secondary temperament. It's also possible that another dynamic—"masking" is at play.




What if my two highest scores are the same or very close?


It's not unusual for scores to be very close or even exactly the same for your dominant and secondary temperaments. Over the next few sessions, pay attention to both. You may find that you identify more with one. That's likely your dominant temperament. If you can relate to both temperaments as you learn more about them, that's fine too. Think of yourself as "bilingual"—able to speak the languages of two temperaments. Since the goal of this study is to learn how to speak the languages of all four temperaments, you have a head start!




What if I only have one high score (e.g., 20 or above)?


You have a particularly dominant temperament. Don't worry; this isn't a problem. In fact, it could make this study extra impactful for you. Your goal is to learn to speak the languages of all four temperaments, and since only one comes naturally to you right now, you have an especially big opportunity.




What if I have three scores that are very close?


Learned behavior may appear in your results as a third temperament. We call this "masking." Your temperament is innate; it's what comes naturally to you. But you may have learned to mask your temperament in response to a person or circumstance.

Typically (in up to 80% of cases), masking occurs as a response to parenting. In other words, you adjust your outward behavior to meet the standards or expectations imposed by a parent. Over time, it can be hard to distinguish this learned behavior from what comes naturally to you.

Masking may also be a result of grief, trauma, or other abuse. These difficult circumstances may cause you to adopt behaviors for which you are not otherwise wired in order to protect your mental or physical well-being.

If you have three scores that are very close, masking is a dynamic to be aware of and to hopefully process as you move through this study. But for now, focus on just your dominant temperament. To figure out which one that is, it may help to ask yourself: What am I like when I'm by myself or in crisis?




What if I don't agree with my results/temperament?


That is perfectly normal. Consider chatting it over with a loved one or a close friend. They may be able to reflect back to you qualities that are tough to see in yourself. As you move forward in this study, you may find that results you disagree with now turn out to be more accurate than you think. (Of course, it's also possible that your results are, in fact, incorrect. It never hurts to double-check your scoring sheet.)




What if I identify with more than one temperament (color)?


That’s normal. We all have dominant and secondary temperaments. Some people have a dominant temperament that is particularly strong (i.e., they really only identify with one color). Other people’s dominant and secondary temperaments are much more evenly split. So it’s perfectly normal to find yourself relating to the strengths, weaknesses, and/or needs of more than one color.

If your dominant and secondary temperaments are evenly split, you may notice that someone who shares your dominant temperament is quite different than you. That could be the result of your secondary temperaments.




At what age can you identify the temperament of a child?


You may see indicators of your child’s temperament as early as nine months. Of course, for some kids (especially those who don’t have one particularly dominant temperament), signs of their temperaments may not be obvious quite that early.

Session Five in the study helps you identify the temperaments of others. Use the activities in that session (especially the “Mapping Others” Activity on page 93) to help you narrow down which temperament your child may be.

Here’s one more fun tip: pull out your photo albums. How your child looks in photos can be a really reliable clue to their temperament. Qualities that may be hard to notice in everyday life may be more obvious when you look at picture after picture of your goofy sanguine child or more serious melancholic child.




How is this different than or similar to other personality profiles?


It’s helpful to remember that your temperament is the whybehind your personality. So results from other tests, profiles, and tools might make more sense once you identify your temperament. Hopefully, what you learn in this study adds to the self-awareness gained from other tools like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, Enneagram, etc. All of these tools have something unique to contribute to your self-awareness.

It may also help to remember that individual personality traits can make you very different from someone who shares your dominant temperament. For example, you and a friend may both be sanguine, but you may have different Enneagram types, different Love Languages®, and different Myers-Briggs®types. God wired each of us uniquely.




How do you have a healthy relationship with someone who has the opposite temperament?


Temperaments that are diagonal from one another on the quadrant (i.e., choleric and phlegmatic; sanguine and melancholic) have almost opposite strengths and weaknesses and they speak almost opposite languages.

There are two keys to making these relationships work:

  • Celebrate your differences. You can lean into the other person’s strengths to compensate for your weaknesses. A husband and wife with opposite temperaments may decide to split up family tasks according to their strengths. Or team members with opposite temperaments may each take different parts of a project according to what comes more naturally. Having the awareness and humility to recognize your strengths and weaknesses lets both people optimize how they contribute to the relationship.

  • Translate your words. Meeting the other person’s needs with your words won’t come naturally, but you can choose to speak the words they’re wired to crave. A parent can choose to speak enthusiastically to their sanguine child. Or a boss can choose to say supportive things to their melancholic employee. Pausing to translate your words ensures that the other person can and will hear what you intend to say.





Kathleen will tackle the topics that are most frequently asked about, but is unable to reply to personal or situational questions.