Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Article Written by Jack Falt, INFJ

Guardian individuals have the temperament with the highest percentage in the total population— nearly half. They are the ones who act as the steadying element in our society. Today, our society is in an ever-accelerating state of change. Without the Guardian's stabilizing effect, can you imagine the chaos our lives would be in?
Guardians tend to use more concrete words rather than abstract ones. At social gatherings they tend to talk about their everyday lives, the happenings at work and about their families rather than new and different ideas.

Guardians tend to find satisfaction in doing work that involve details. They do well in accounting. They are good at assembly work where quality control is important. Much of the detail work of an architect would be Guardian in nature. They fill jobs from the most basic to the highest level of intellectual capacity. They just feel more comfortable with what they can see and touch.

The animal metaphor representing Golds is the beaver that industriously keeps working the whole day long. “Be prepared” is their motto. When thinking of the future, they want to be prepared for any contingency.

The main thing that separates the different temperaments is their behaviour which is in turn influenced by their core needs. One core need of Guardians is to belong. They need to know where they stand in the hierarchy of a group. Even being at the bottom of the ladder is better than being an outsider. They form the backbone of institutions. They fill the places of worship, the service clubs and businesses. Having a title is important and they respect the office even though they may not particularly admire the person holding the position. That is why family is so important to them. They know they belong to that clan or tribe.

As learners Guardians are more interested in the facts rather than ideas. They want the details. They prefer that the teacher just tell them what they need to know. Having to do research and find out on their own can leave Guardians feeling that they might miss out on something that the teacher expects them to know. They like learning in groups but expect the group to conform so that the task is completed. The majority of elementary teachers are Guardians and they get along well with their Guardian charges that follow the rules.

During their teen years Guardians take on increasing responsibility. They will want to get jobs to save for their future such as their further education. They will have their rebellious times but these don’t tend to last as long as they might for other temperaments. They need to feel grown up and they want to take their place in society.
As adults Guardians like the predictability of life patterns. They grow up, get a job, find a mate, raise a family, and if all goes well, they'll live long and prosperous lives with a loving family at their bedside when they pass on. Another aphorism they live by is: “Hope for the best but expect the worst.”

Guardians expect to be held accountable and to take responsibility. They cheerfully shoulder the load that they know needs to be done. They just know someone is going to come along and ask them if they have finished some specific project and they want to be able to say that it is done. They are not going to be found wanting. They take on serious responsibilities even though they may grumble about being put upon by others; but when it is suggested that they should let others do it, they will say it's all right, they'll do it. They want to see that it gets done when it should and it gets done right.

This temperament is concerned about the welfare of people and will look after the physical needs of one another. It's not that the other temperaments don't also share. It is more that they don't always see the physical needs of others. Some societies have elevated sharing as a sacred duty. Not to provide shelter to even their enemy is considered a grievous fault in some cultures.

As lovers and spouses Guardians value family life and take pride in caring for their families both by earning money to maintain the home and by looking after the needs of family members. Often they are attracted to Artisan lovers who provide a vicarious excitement in their lives. The Artisan lover benefits by having a stabilizing partner. Unfortunately, Guardians like to make their lovers over in their own image. The partner will only tolerate this to a certain level and then quarrel or leave. Guardians would be better off if they could learn to appreciate the differences of others and accept them as they are. This allows people to become all that they can be rather than wasting their energies trying to live up to someone else's standards.

You have permission to copy this handout as long as you acknowledge the author. You can pull it into a word processing program and reformat it if you prefer.

To help you determine your temperament go to the Temperament Colour Rating Quiz.

Jack Falt is a trained facilitator in the use of Personality Dimensions®, True Colors®, MBTI® and Self-Discovery Process®. He leads an ongoing Appreciating Differences group that studies personality types including the Enneagram and Emotional Intelligence in the Ottawa area. You may reach him at (613) 256-3276 or by e-mail at (To use the e-mail address, replace the # with an @ symbol. This will help reduce the amount of spam mail received.) He has further information on his web site at

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