The characteristics and optimization analysis of a four-bar compliant mechanism with one flexible member (or flexible joint) are carried out. Firstly, based on the pseudo-rigid body model theory of the compliant mechanism, the kinematics relationship, system kinetic energy and potential energy of the general four-bar compliant mechanism are analyzed, and the dynamic model of the four-bar compliant mechanism is established by using Lagrange's equation. Secondly, through the creation of the energy equation of the four-bar compliant mechanism and the analysis of the first and second derivatives of the input variables, the parametric conditions for the existence of the bistable characteristics of the four-bar compliant mechanism with one flexible member are proposed. Then, taking the compliant bistable switch as an example, the internal relations between the driving characteristics of the four-bar compliant mechanism, the initial motion position of the mechanism and the parameters of the flexible member are explored. Finally, based on the improvement of the performance of the compliant bistable switch, the optimization analysis of the maximization of the motion range of the driving link and the maximization of the deformation energy of the flexible member are carried out. The research provides a theoretical basis for the product development and control of a bistable four-bar compliant mechanism.