Communication and Understanding
The 4 Languages of Temperament
By Dr. Lovegood
Just because two people speak the same language doesn't mean they can communicate. Being
able to repeat what the other party has said doesn't ensure communication. Even if one person
can clearly articulate the other's beliefs, that does not mean that the two people have come
to a common understanding.
Everyone knows that communication includes many parts, most of which are subconsciously
given and received. This makes true understanding very difficult. Verbal communication can
be broken up into four basic temperament languages along with multiple dialects. Non-verbal
communication is also handled differently by different temperaments. The most important part
of relational communication is the kind in which the two partners are able to freely give and
receive what each one needs. Of course, no one is meant to meet all of the needs of anyone
else, but a good love relationship includes at least some communication at the level of
meeting each other's needs.
A couple can communicate thoroughly in the commonly understood sense of the word and
still have a fatal impasse in their relationship. For example, both members of a couple
can agree that he wants more sex and that she says she's not motivated unless he becomes
more romantic. This understanding does not automatically give her more romance or him more
sex. Even though they have clearly communicated the problem, no solution is guaranteed.
This is a very common problem in many relationships.
If an outsider comes in and tells her to give him more sex and then he'll be romantic,
she, a Guardian, will tell you she's tried that and it doesn't work. If you tell him, an
Artisan, to be romantic, he'll tell you he is. They both use the word romantic, but their
functional definitions are very different. His idea of romance is groping her to show how
hot he thinks she is and cleaning up before sex since he's learned she hates dirt. Her idea
of romance is flowers, poems, candlelight dinners, and massages not leading to sex, which
frustrates him no end.
If the outsider tells him to be more romantic, he'll ask what's in it for him. He'll
tell you the wonderful things he's done for her in the past and ask what her problem is.
One of those things he's done is that he bought her a gorgeous ring for their anniversary.
She liked the ring, but was unhappy that it took 5 years to pay it off. She would have
preferred something more in their price range. What he thought was romantic was basically
another bill for her.
It is said that the Americans and the British are divided by a common language. In the
same way, different temperaments use the same words very differently. This leads to a lot
of confusion and hurt.
The Four Languages
There are four basic temperament languages and multiple dialects. Each person gains
exposure to all four as they are growing up. Generally speaking, one of the languages
will come much more naturally than the others although many people become fairly fluent
in more than one. Few people if any are good in all four.
The language of Guardians is rooted in the past. Their talk includes a lot of past
tense. Their language is the most traditional of the four. A lot of what they say depends
upon multiple social assumptions. For example, a Guardian might say, "Come visit any time
you're in the area!" What the Guardian probably means is that they have enjoyed your company.
They certainly wouldn't expect you drop in without warning. If they really mean that they
want to see you again, they'll pull out their PDA and put you in.
The language of Artisans lives in the present, that infinitesimal moment which divides
the future from the past. Their language is likely to include the latest slang and happenings
in what is important to them. Much of their language is present tense. Even when they are
retelling something that happened in the past, they are likely to use the present tense to
make the story more immediate and real.
The language of Rationals is based on the eternal or what can be proven to be true.
Rationals are generally concerned with using the right word to accurately and expeditiously
say what they mean. Their language tends to focus on ideas and abstract concepts with little
focus on feelings or emotional well-being.
The language of Idealists is based on the future. Idealists look ahead to what they can
see the future holds. When they talk, they often talk about what will be rather than what
actually is. They can see the trends of people's behavior. Their language focuses on the
abstract, like the Rationals, but focuses more on feelings and emotional well-being and
less on ideas.
Let's look at how each temperament might say, "That outfit looks good on you." A Guardian
may say just that or they might say, "That outfit really brings out your best features." An
Artisan is more likely to say, "You look like a million bucks in that!" A Rational may not
notice the outfit, but if asked to comment, is likely to say something like, "Nice." A
Rational who has learned the art of compliments will give a much more satisfying response.
An Idealist might say, "That outfit looks great on you! You look so self-confident!"
Now let's look at how each temperament might say (when asked for an opinion), "That
outfit looks bad on you." Depending on the kind of Guardian, they might say, "That outfit
doesn't do anything for you," or "The color's great, but I liked the first outfit better."
Again, depending on the kind of Artisan, they might say, "Change," or "I've always thought
you look great in your navy outfit." A Rational is likely to say, "I don't like it." An
Idealist might say, "Let's go see what else you've (they've) got to make this outfit really
The point of this is that knowing a person's temperament can help you interpret their
words. If an Idealist Champion says, "You are so smart!" it means something different than
if a Rational Architect says the same thing. The Champion would be encouraging you while the
Architect would be saying that they are impressed with your knowledge or intellect.