PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes Temperaments

Idealist Rationalist Traditionalist Hedonist

The Traditionalist (phlegmatic) Temperament

The Depressive Idealized Image

"Guardians pride themselves on being dependable, helpful, and hard-working" (


The Traditionalist type prefers belonging and disprefers not belonging. The Traditionalist prefers:
  • Belonging.
  • Support.
  • Tradition.
  • Security.
  • Commerce.
  • Peace.
  • Accord.
  • Comfortableness.
  • Order.
  • Peacefulness.
  • Quiescence.
  • Silence.
  • Truce.
  • Friendliness.
  • Moderation.
  • Submissiveness.
  • Homeliness.
  • Reciprocity.
  • Duty.

David Keirsey reconfigured the typology created by Isabel Briggs Myers to a scheme of four groups of four types that corresponds to the classic four temperaments. In Please Understand Me (1984), he defined one group as the Guardian temperament, which I call the Traditionalist:

Traditionalists want to belong, to do their duty, to be useful to the social units they belong to, to be givers, to take care of others, especially the young and the old, and those in positions of authority, to be responsible, to do what they are "supposed to do," to be bound and obligated, to support the work ethic and the rules and hierarchies of society, to establish and conserve the institutions of society, to become an official of some kind, to gain a title and entitlement, to be reverent of elders, to preserve heritage and heritability, to earn status in whatever social units they belong to, to be prepared, to be prepared for the worst (Keirsey, 1984, pp. 39-47; cf., Heineman (SJ)).

The pathological representation of the Traditionalist temperament type is the Depressive Personality.

Areas of interest

Many of the following additional topics originated in ideas expressed by David Keirsey in Please Understand Me.

accounting, administrators, Amish, ancestors, apple pie, authoritarian, auto racing, banking, banquets, barbequing, barbering, baseball, black bile, Boy Scouts, budgeting, calamities, caregiving, care of parents, care of children, celebrations, ceremonies, church, cities, civil service, classic cars, clerking, cliches, common culture, communities, conserving, contributing, cornerstones, corporation, deference, Demeter, dentistry, disasters, drugs and medications, duty, earth, edifices, educators, entitlements, established social norms,


Weblogs | The Doc Searls Weblog | have browser, will travel | | Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report | Pop Culture Junk Mail | CamWorld | synthetic zero | Aprésblog | succaland | HopelessRomantics | DailyDoozer | karenika | All Feet on Deck | The Daily Diversion | spinning jennie | Earthbind | Hollow City | Michael B. Duff | wearing a white hat | Discoveries | | | very | This Year's Girl | Browse--0--Tron |


Positive attributes: acceptable, accepting, accountable, adaptable, aggreeable, amiable, balanced, belonging, calm, caring, concerned, concrete, considerate, consistent, contented, controlled, dedicated, dependable, dignified, diplomatic, dry humor, easy-going, empathetic, even-tempered, faithful, forbearing, friendly, gentle, good-listener, helpful, inoffensive, kind, listener, loyal, mediator, obliging, order-setting, organized, patient, peaceful, pleasant, prepared, prosperous, punctual, reserved, responsible, satisfied, seemly, sensible, serious, shy, solemn, stabilizer, stable, staunch, steadfast, submissive, supportive, sympathetic, thorough, tolerant, traditional, trusting, willing.

Negative attributes: afraid, aimless, ambivalant, awkward, blank, boring, compromising, conforming, dependent, depressed, directionless, dispirited, doubtful, downcast, dull, fatalistic, fearful, hesitant, indecisive, indifferent, lazy, leery, masochistic, monotonous, mumbles, nonchalant, passive, permissive, pessimistic, plain, pliable, reluctant, reticent, self-deprecating, self-righteous, shy, silently stubborn, slow, stubborn, sluggish, timid, uncreative, unenthusiastic, uninvolved, unmotivated, unsure, worrier.

Notewothy Examples

John Adams, Alan Alda, "Alice," Woody Allen, Pamela Anderson, Jim Bakker, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Pat Boone, Pat Buchanan, Edmund Burke, Leo Buscaglia, Barbara Bush, George Bush, George W. Bush, Joseph Campbell, Lewis Carroll, Johnny Carson, Lillian Carter, Rosalynn Carter, Steve Case, Miguel de Cervantes, Marc Chagall, Perry Como, Gary Cooper, Bill Cosby, Kevin Costner, Walter Cronkite, Bing Crosby, Geena Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Ellen DeGeneres, John Denver, John Dewey, Charles Dickens, Walt Disney, Mike Ditka, "Don Quixote," Hugh Downs, Dave Draper, Dwight Eisenhower, T. S. Eliot, Queen Elizabeth II, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jerry Falwell, Sandor Ferenczi, Sally Field, Henry Fonda, Gerald Ford, Anna Freud, John Wayne Gacy, Teri Garr, Mel Gibson, Kathie Lee Gifford, Newt Gingrich, John Glenn, Tom Hanks, W. E. Henley, Herbert Hoover, William Dean Howells, John Irving, Reggie Jackson, Lady Bird Johnson, Garrison Keillor, Grace Kelly, Rose Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Ann Landers, Jack Lemon, Jay Leno, Abraham Lincoln, Heather Locklear, Sophia Loren, "Melanie Hamilton Wilkes," Slobodon Milosevic, Margaret Mitchell, Marilyn Monroe, Mary Tyler Moore, Michael Moore, Florence Nightingale, Oliver North, "Scarlett O'Hara," George Orwell, Luciano Pavarotti, Colin Powell, Gilda Radner, Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan, Rob Reiner, Julia Roberts, Norman Rockwell, Fred Rogers, Andy Rooney, Eleanor Roosevelt, Roseanne, Charles Schulz, Norman Schwarzkopf, Tom Selleck, "Sophie Portnoy," Ringo Starr, Jimmy Stewart, Bram Stoker, William Styron, Harry Stack Sullivan, Mother Teresa, Henry David Thoreau, Danny Thomas, Bess Truman, Desmond Tutu, Mike Tyson, George Washington, John Wayne, Orson Welles, Brian Wilson.

Index of noteworthy examples


Leisurely Serious Self-Sacrificing Devoted

Keirsey, David, and Marilyn Bates (1984). Please understand me: character and temperament types. 4th ed. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis [distributer].

* Sources of Attributes

The positive and negative attributes were compiled from the following four dimension personality instruments:

Littauer, Florence (1992). Personality plus : how to understand others by understanding yourself. Rev. and expanded ed. Tarrytown, NY: F.H. Revell.

Williams, Xandria (1996). The four temperments: how to achieve love, health, and happiness by understanding yourself and the people around you. New York: St. Martin's.

Merrill, David W. and Roger H. Reid (1981). Personal styles and effective performance : make your style work for you. Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Co.

Keirsey, David (1995). Portraits of temperament. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis.

Social Style and Conflict :

Career/LifeSkills Resources Inc. > True Colors :

Hartmann, Taylor (1998). The color code : a new way to see yourself, your relationships, and life. New York: Scribner.

Disc Interconsult - Personality Profiling: DISC History :

Was, Mike, Alan Combs and Julie N. Combs (1999). Finding your strong suit: how to read your spouse, boss, partner, lover, opponent, & yourself. Los Angeles: Renaissance Books.

Idealist Rationalist Traditionalist Hedonist

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