Cuddly, lovable, quiet Pooh. Everybody loves Pooh Bear. And why not, what’s not to like? Pooh Bear is peace loving, friendly, calm, and never causes a fuss. Pooh is known as phlegmatic, but that is way too much of a pain to type every time so we are going to use the name “Pooh” instead. Phlegmatic is defined as unemotional, and while Pooh is emotional, it is very low key, usually expressed quietly. He is not subject to quick emotional highs and lows like Tigger, or the longer burning, deep depression of Eeyore. He takes life as it comes, shrugs his shoulders at problems, then finds a place to go and relax. In her defining book on personalities, Personality Plus, Florence Littauer says the Pooh Bear slogan is “Why stand when I can sit. Why sit when I can lie down.”
Pooh is the heart of the Hundred Acre Woods, and for good reason. He loves everyone and they love him. He accepts others for who they are, rarely complains and just radiates good humor and gentle kindness. No matter what is going on: games or work, disaster or party, Pooh is ready to join in and help out.
Pooh sits on the bottom left corner of our temperament chart . He is low on the energy scale and much prefers associating with people over doing tasks. Pooh makes a great mediator. He is naturally good at letting others have their say and using his keen intuition to grasp what’s not being said. He rarely gets ruffled when someone confronts him. He shares his people skills with Tigger, without the scatter-gun approach. Pooh will zero in on one person and give them his full, undivided attention. He likes serenity, just like Eeyore, but wants people around. Being alone is stressful.
Calm and Consistent
If there is one thing you know for sure about Pooh, what you see is what you get. No surprises, no sudden changes in….anything. His emotions are stable, his demeanor never takes unexpected turns. As a teen, Pooh is the least likely to turn up at the dinner table with purple spiked hair. He is gentle and uncomplaining, preferring to suffer some discomfort over hurting someone’s feelings. Pooh has the very special gift of being a perfect antidote to any of the other personalities. He can tone down the impulsiveness of Tigger, buffer the tactlessness of Rabbit, and pull Eeyore out of even the deepest slumps.
Pooh in School
Pooh loves to watch the other kids in the classroom and keep tabs on what they are doing. This tendency to ignore his work in favor of wandering the room doesn’t make the teacher very happy, but the other kids love him. Pooh’s do not excel in academics like Rabbit and Eeyore, they are much more apt to excel in caring for others, being friend to the friendless, and showing forgiveness to all. Sadly these gifts are not usually recognized as praiseworthy and Pooh tends to get left out at the school award assemblies. Often he doesn’t care too much because he is so happy for his friends who did get awards.
Parent of the easy going Pooh Bears have a hard time understanding why other parents can’t control their kids. They don’t realize how lucky they have it unless they get blessed with a Tigger or Rabbit themselves later on. One of my daughter’s early babysitters had two Pooh Bear kids. After a couple of weeks with my little Tigger, she asked, rather hesitantly: “Is she okay? Should she be on some kind of medication or something?” After several years of raising obedient Poohs with their peaceful and quiet demeanor, she was unprepared for the whirlwind that is Tigger.
One of the defining characteristics of Pooh is his ability to stay calm, even in the eye of the storms created by other personalities. Tigger gets dramatic, Rabbit gets loud, Eeyore gets depressed and Pooh just keeps on going. He picks up the pieces, calms and encourages everyone, and gets supper on the table, too. Pooh may not be highly organized, but he gets things done; usually the things no one else sees or wants to do. At the church suppers, Pooh is in the kitchen washing the dishes and entertaining everyone with his humor. You’ll find him at the little league game before anyone else gets there. He sets up the food concession, finds the missing bag of balls, cheers for both teams, sympathizes with the kid who struck out for the 3rd time in a row, and he stays late to make sure the trash is all cleaned up and put in the dumpster. He does all this quietly, in the background. He doesn’t want any attention or applause, he just wants everyone else to have a good time.
Every kid should have Pooh for a dad. When a Pooh dad is cleaning the garage and the kiddos want to go biking, Pooh is ready and willing to drop the chores and go have some fun. Pooh mom’s come to all the school events, bake brownies for the PTA and will sit for hours in a sub zero ice rink to watch hockey practice. Because they themselves weren’t superstars academically, a bad report card doesn’t usually upset their equilibrium. Left to their own devices, a Pooh parent is apt to let the rules bend a bit. One night when I was feeling ill and went to bed rather early, I woke up at 11PM to find daddy Pooh and little Pooh/Eeyore still up, watching TV! It’s not that Dad felt it was okay for a 10 year old to be up that late, he just didn’t feel like doing anything about it.
Pooh retains a lot of childhood innocence and tender-heartedness right into adulthood. Added to their ability to be great listeners, Pooh parents are very understanding and sympathetic when the children come home with tales of bullies and unfair teachers. And woe to the teacher or anyone else who mistreats their children. Pooh may be gentle, but underneath, there is a core of steel. They are very firm in their convictions of what is right and what is wrong. They may not like confrontation, but they will not back down when someone they love has been hurt.
Just Relax Already
Pooh is a good worker, but he knows when to take it easy, too. Rabbit, especially, could take a page from Pooh’s life book. Rabbit will coach the little league game, tell everyone else what to do, how to do it, and when, then go home and attack the rest of his to-do list. Pooh goes home and takes a nap.
I was at my Pooh Bear friend Nelson’s house not too long ago. His equally Pooh wife picked up the black cordless phone off the coffee table and went into the kitchen to make a call while the rest of us sat in the living room watching TV. Nelson picked up the black cordless remote control that was also sitting on the coffee table to change the channels. He kept pushing the buttons and when nothing happened he just shrugged and decided to watch what was already on. His wife came in from the kitchen complaining – “no matter which button I push, I can’t get a dial tone, the phone must be broken” She put the “phone” on the coffee table next to the “broken” remote and sat back down, unperturbed. It never occurred to either of them they might have grabbed the wrong instrument and they really didn’t care.
Pooh is the very soul of the easygoing attitude. So much so, he would rather not rock the boat by making a decision that might be unpopular with others. He’s more willing to go along with something he doesn’t like, than to try and enforce his will on others. Here’s a familiar conversation:
“What do you want for supper?” asks the Rabbit wife.
“I don’t care” says the Pooh Bear husband.
“Well, do you want goulash or chicken al fredo?”
“Which ever you want is fine by me”
“ I like both, which do YOU want?”
“Just make which ever is easiest”
Sometimes Pooh really doesn’t care and he’s fine with whatever others decide. Pooh can be so indecisive, he will sit through the whole 2 hours of a mind-numbingly stupid movie just because, well, he’s sitting there, why move?
Being low on the energy output scale can make Pooh appear lazy. As a careful, thoughtful decision maker, he can come across as unmotivated to the faster temperaments. Both these assessments can be accurate though when Pooh lets himself spend too much time in his weak areas. Other temperaments need to be more relaxed, Pooh could stand to be a bit less so. It is easy for him to slide from low key and calm right into apathy. While Rabbit will never, ever, ever be a coach potato, the term was invented especially for Pooh.
In today’s fast paced world, Pooh is the one most often asking: “where’d everybody go?” Rabbit makes things happen, Pooh wonders what happened. Not because he is slow witted, Pooh has more discernment than most, but he takes longer to process what is going on around him. Consequently, while he is busy deeply absorbing all the nuance and detail others are missing, they’ve moved on without him.
Pooh makes a great friend and everyone should make finding a Pooh friend one of their life goals. He is loyal, loving, understanding, sympathetic, ready to be supportive in any endeavor, and is the first one to show up with chicken soup when someone is ill. His insights into human nature and ability to read what others are feeling are valuable assets.