People to Avoid
One common way to categorize dating personalities is to make a list of problem partners you'd be better off avoiding.
Most of these lists describe similar characters such as the Narcissist, the Parasite, the Dreamer and the Manipulator. Rather than relying on another person's list, you can probably do yourself more good by making your own. For instance, if three of your exes were unemployed musicians you can add "The Unemployed Musician" to your personal list of people to avoid dating.
Another approach is to categorize people by their dating style.
For instance, some people prefer dates to be small and intimate while others enjoy the energy of a crowd. Some like to plan everything ahead of time while others like to be spontaneous. Some prefer dates with a relaxed vibe while others want to create a romantic ambiance. If you're hoping to impress your date, it's important to know what type of experience your partner enjoys.
Brain Chemistry Dating
A 2009 article in Time magazine described a more scientific approach, developed by biological anthropologist Helen Fisher.
Fisher categorized 40,000 people who responded to a dating questionnaire that was based on their brain chemistry. She discovered four temperaments, each which was associated with a different brain chemical. These types included optimistic, creative and high-energy people. The four temperaments she discovered were Explorers, Builders, Directors and Negotiators. Explorers tend to do well dating other Explorers. Their predominant brain chemical is dopamine. Conservative, loyal Builders are usually happiest in love with other Builders. Their primary brain chemical is serotonin. High-testosterone Directors are ambitious and aggressive, but they tend to prefer high-estrogen Negotiators in their dating life. Negotiators also tend to prefer Directors.
The Four Temperaments
Although Helen Fisher's system for analyzing personality types is based on brain chemistry, it is similar to a much more ancient system used in classical Greece.
According to this system, each person has one of four temperaments. Sanguine people tend to be optimistic and energetic; phlegmatic people tend to be conservative and placid; choleric people are usually ambitious and aggressive; and melancholic types are more creative and high-strung. This goes to show that people have been trying to categorize personality types for a very long time, with varying degrees of scientific validity. It can be helpful to get a broad sense of what type of person you're dating, but don't take any of these systems too seriously. Every relationship is unique.