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In support of Radiators


I have been meeting people in the flesh and boy doesn't it feel great? And also... really tiring!

I've now been to a few outdoor events with more than 6 people not wearing masks. The excitement has been high. The anticipation has been energising. Being at these events has been joyful. Coming home from these events has left me feeling quite exhausted. I'm not surprised as I think our lurching foray into face-to-face socialising will be energising and draining in equal measure.

This has got me thinking about the energy we derive from other people and the concept that some people in our lives are radiators and some are drains. So, I thought that it would be a good topic to explore today.

Radiators and Drains

The concept of energy Radiators and Drains is well known but, for me, little explored. It is the idea that people in your life either radiate energy which you absorb, or they drain the energy from you.

Radiators make you feel energised and valued. Feeling the benefit of their energy can make you more productive, motivated and engaged. It can also make you feel calm, serene and cared for. They don't need to be bouncy and enthusiastic (although they might be). Sometimes we can get energy from quietly supportive people too.

Drains are those people in your life who leave you feeling diminished after you’ve been with them. Even if your general mood is upbeat, a conversation with a Drain can leave you feeling dull, negative and frustrated, or maybe unexplainably cranky and irritable.

The concept is simple. Clearly, we should be trying to surround ourselves with Radiators and not Drains. But is this what we do?

Audit your relationships

The first thing to do is to work out who are the Radiators and who are the Drains in your circle. Quite simply write down everyone you know, starting with your closest relationships and then work out whether they're a Radiator or a Drain. If you can't decide, think about how you feel when you are planning to see them. Is it someone that you can't wait to see or is it someone who, quite frankly, you'd rather postpone?

The next step is obvious. Minimise contact with Drains and maximise contact with Radiators. Easy!

But ... what if some of your Drains are beloved family members or people that you can't easily minimise contact with? You need a coping strategy.

Coping with Drains

If you really can't minimise your contact with a Drain in your life, then you need to ask yourself a good coaching question which is "What is within my control in this situation?". Now, any coach will tell you that a common response to this open question about any situation is "How I react / feel / am impacted". We can all control how we respond to situations and how we allow them to affect us. This is how you can cope with drains.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Go into each encounter with a Drain with a positive attitude: simply refuse to be drained.
  • See the funny side in the situation. When the attempts at drainage begin, be amused by the process.
  • Refuse to play their game or accept their terms of engagement. By consciously changing your typical response – or by pre-empting their usual strategies - it’s possible to reshape the relationship into a more positive one.

What other ideas do you have?

Celebrating Radiators

Once you have your list, it would be a lovely idea to celebrate your Radiators. We all know that gratitude is a positive mental state that impacts our emotional and physical wellbeing. Look at the Radiators on your list. Why not write a note to some of your Radiators telling them how you appreciate their warmth and energy? You, reciprocally, will be their Radiator.

Be more Radiator

And this leads me to my final point. Being a Radiator yourself is hugely beneficial to your happiness and energy. And, as you radiate, you will attract Radiators to you. How warm and cosy could life be if we all radiate towards each other!

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