Do You Radiate or Drain?

Dame Stephanie Shirley by Anita Corbin, radiating!

Are you a Radiator or a Drain?

A good friend of mine uses this analogy a lot and I’d like to share it with you.

A life changing experience caused my friend to re-evaluate her life; part of that was a stocktake of her many friends. As a form of shorthand she divided them up into radiators and drains.

Giving Warmth

Radiators were those who left her feeling warm, who gave something back. They obviously had their own issues from time to time when they needed support, but generally, being with them was life enhancing and a positive experience. They were warm people who happily shared their joy and interest in life and quite simply, made her feel better about the world.

Taking Energy

Drains were the opposite; they were literally energy draining people to be with and, generally took more from the friendship than they gave. They were focussed on their own issues and rarely properly listened to others. Time spent with them was exhausting, dispiriting and predictably downbeat. They may have started out as good friends but over time things had changed and habit was keeping the friendship going.


It sounds cold hearted to talk about ridding yourself of drains but ask yourself, why you are still in this relationship? How do you think your friends and family would categorise you? And how do you feel about your friends? Maybe it’s time for your own stocktake. When you see certain names pop up on your phone does your heart leap a little, or does a sigh escape your lips and guilt make you pick up? Scroll through your contacts list now and make a mental note of how many radiators it contains.  I hope you have loads. If you don’t, well, maybe it’s time to fill your life with more sunshine and warmth and break some old habits? It’s not easy to end old friendships that have run their course but sometimes it’s the most honest thing to do.

What do Radiators Do?

I’ve pondered this a while. We all know radiators when we’re with them. They simply make us feel better. But what they actually do? Well, it’s lots of things but I think principally it’s about paying attention. Radiators listen. They don’t just politely wait for us to finish before talking back at us, they actively listen to us and make reference to what we have said. When we are genuinely listened to we feel respected, valued and good about ourselves. It helps us to express ourselves, often to find out what we actually think or feel. Being able to order our thoughts out loud is valuable. Of course, conversation goes back and forth, and radiators freely share of themselves, too. But, crucially, they don’t leap in with their own experiences or views while we are trying to explain ours. Like tends to attract like so if you want more radiators in life you’ll need to hone your own radiating skills. Good luck!

Changing People

Changing People works primarily with women to help them achieve success. Sometimes that’s with individual through coaching, or groups with courses, both public and in house. We have licensed trainers to run RenewYou across the world, and I personally deliver Speak Up and coach. If you’d like a coaching session on how you can up your own radiator count get in touch.


Posted on October 28th, 2009 by

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