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What does your purse say about your personality?

standard September 16, 2009 8 responses

In an effort to get to know some of the moms at C’s new preschool I resolved to attend the first of their mothers’ group event, which took place this morning. I don’t know why I assumed I’d know anyone there – probably a throwback to when I helped run C’s last preschool – but I walked into the room and was instantly struck completely and utterly speechless with shyness.

Lucky for me most of the people there were beyond nice and in short order I had some coffee in hand and a few lovely people chatting with me. Then the talk on personality types started and I was not only thrilled that I had dragged myself and the girls out of the house early enough to get there on time, but I was even excited to have paid the annual moms’ group membership. Seriously. If all the talks are going to be this good, it was money well spent!

The speaker, Cheri Gregory, was so hilarious, and smart, and just overall wonderful and there’s absolutely no way I can do her credit, but I have to try share what I learned today; it was just that good.

According to Cheri (We’re going on first name basis here, she was that cool. I don’t think she’d mind.), you can deduct a woman’s personality type from the purse she carries. Bear with me for a moment and I’ll explain.

There are four basic personality types: Sanguine (aka popular), Melancholic (aka perfect), Choleric (aka powerful), and Phlegmatic (aka peaceful). We all tend to be a mix of these with some components coming out stronger than others. Understanding personality types and what makes them tick can help you in your day to day interactions with people.

Sanguine: You’ll easily spot, or hear, a sanguine person. She’ll be the loud boisterous one in the room. Her clothes with be bright, just like her personality.
She’s a hugger and a toucher and you can count her to jolly you out of a dark mood.
She’s wide open about everything and first to jump into a conversation.
She brings the fun with her, because that’s her goal: to have FUN!
She needs to feel connected, to feel approved, and to be loved – yes, at all costs.
Her purse? It’s big, bright, and probably cluttered with few compartments and one big wide opening.

Melancholic: The melancholic is the polar opposite of the sanguine. She’s very closed, doesn’t talk much, doesn’t touch or like to be touched. Personal space is important to her. Very important.
Her life is closed. You’ll only be told what you need to know, and only if you need to know. She wears muted sedate colors and she stays out of the limelight.
If she’s interrupted in the middle of a story she won’t pick it back up on her own volition, but she will be hurt if you don’t ask her to continue.
Her goals are simple in nature and complex in execution: to achieve, and maintain, perfect order.
She needs order, craves it really. But she needs more than just that. She’s very sensitive and aware of the needs and emotions of those around her and she expects the same sensitivity back.
Don’t expect an easy apology from this one if something goes wrong. She’ll have trouble accepting that she ever did something wrong.
Her purse? It’s very, very functional and practical. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Plus, it’ll never go out of style; it’s a classic.

You’ll spot your choleric person as easily as your sanguine one. She’s not the loud boisterous one, she’s the busy one. She has 2 or 3 times more energy than the average person and she’s driven to do, do, DO!
She all about function over fashion and she’ll have an abundance of personal presence. Trust me, you’ll know when she’s arrived.
The choleric’s goal is power. She needs to be in control at all times. If she’s not in control she’ll be waiting for a void of power, or she’ll create one, so she can grab the reigns.
Her life is governed by extensive to do lists, because one of her basic needs is to achieve. She only sees value in achievements.
She doesn’t need your approval, she just needs your appreciation. The best thing you can do around a choleric person is to get past your natural intimidation and tell her how much you appreciate what she’s done. One caveat though, be very very specific – she lives in the details.
Her purse? It’s small, compact, and very, very efficient.

Phlegmatic: The phlegmatic is the hardest to pinpoint because she’s the queen of blending in. She calls on what the situation needs, so she might appear to be sanguine, choleric, or even melancholic depending on the moment. You’ll have to find her by process of elimination.
Phlegmatics are sometimes considered to be model people because no single personality trait sticks out. They are perfectly balanced.
The goal of the phlegmatic is to achieve peace. Soothing, lovely peace… at all costs. To them a day full of peace, completely void of confrontation, is a perfect day.
They need you to respect who they actually are and not to try to change them into who you think they should be. And they need you to reflect the great strengths you see in them to build up their sense of self worth.
As a rule phlegmatics are great listeners, but they live in the hope that one day you’ll stop talking and ask them how they are.
Her purse? It’s calm, simple, basic, practical.

Now that you have a better understanding of the basic personality types you can adapt both your expectations and your approach. It’s not helpful to be boisterous around a melancholic person, nor is it great to be timid around a choleric. Even better, now that you know what purses go to what personality type, you can walk into any room and easily find your peeps. Now isn’t that a relief?

As for me? I’m not 100% sure where I fall. I’m leaning towards Sanguine with a big side of Phlegmatic… but when I looked at purses to get images I couldn’t resist buying that adorable giraffe print one… so who really knows.

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8 responses

  • So, how does being a mom affect the categories? I know that moms often have bigger purses to fit all manner of things in. Or does this only work for times when moms are out and about without their kids?

    And another question, does picking a bag to fit clothing and occasion automatically mean phlegmatic? Like a woman that uses a small purse to go to the opera, but a bigger purse for a day strolling around a tourist/shopping location like Carmel? I ask because I’m a guy and a husband and understanding women a little bit better is in my best interest. 🙂

  • @David Awesome questions! And kudos to trying to get a glimpse into the female mindset!

    I think that being a mom only sort of affects the categories. If you look around you’ll see that diaper bags come in all sorts of colors, sizes, and functionality. Mine were always huge and bright, but I have friends who have very tidy, organized, functional bags.

    As for the changing to go out? That kind of screams Melancholic to me. Personally I use my nice big purse for everything. And yes. People trip over it at the movies.

  • Well, you pegged me! The melancholy and sanguine purses were me and those are my 2 dominant personality temperaments! That was too funny!

  • I am Melancholic I think overall, but a bit of the others at times. This is a great post, and very interesting. You know I will be checking out all Mom’s purses now!

  • But this doesn’t fit me.

    Another lack of niche for me.

    I’m trying to not freak out…

  • What a great way to look at it. I think she’s right! I’m not sure where I fit in either. I would say I’m Phlegmatic and Sanguine. How fun?!

  • Interesting! I can see that. I can usually judge a lot about a person based on what they are wearing.

    Now I have no idea which one I really am tho… because I have a huge purse collection and switch it up based on the event and what I am wearing. 😉

    ejsmomej at gmail dot com

  • Heya Jessica —

    My jaw is still on the floor — I don’t think anyone has ever listened to me this thoroughly! WOW!!!

    To those who don’t feel like this info is a “fit,” no worries. It’s not an exact science! Especially as moms, we wear so many hats … (or purses!) … we’re constantly moving in and out of the various Personalities’ characteristics.

    I use the goal information to help me meet my own needs (lately I’ve been so busy, I’ve not had much fun, so I’m going shopping today!) and make sure others’ needs are met (there’s been so much chaos lately, I got the house really neat and clean for my husband because the order and peace are so vital to him!)

    Thanks, again, for such a lovely review! When my English IV class mutters about how “boring” I am, I just may have to put this up on the screen to prove SOMEONE enjoys hearing me talk! 😉

    One Thing I’ve Learned

    What’s One Thing You Learned From School Today?

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