No, I’m not talking plumbing or heating, but rather the personalities of the company you keep. I was first introduced to this classification of people by a woman I met on a plane, I honestly can’t even remember how we had gotten on to the topic, (I think I had mentioned something about negative people around me) but she said that there are two types of people radiators and drains.
At first, I thought she’d had a bit too much of the prosecco we’d been drinking but she explained that radiators are the people that radiate energy, warmth and enthusiasm. They are the people you enjoy being around and they make you feel good about yourself as well as bringing out the very best you. They have a cup half full mentality.
Drains on the other hand have more of a negative outlook on life and their glass is always half-empty. They drain your energy levels and you often feel worse about the world and the people within it after spending time in their company. Drains can be very demanding, self-absorbed and will leave you feeling diminished after you've been with them for a while.
She continued that you should always try as hard as possible to surround yourself with radiators and in turn be a radiator because positivity can allow for so much, if you are in a group of people that can enliven, invigorate and motivate each other and always try to make the best out of any situation, anything is possible. Negativity and unconstructiveness literally get you nowhere, do you think any of the greatest inventions or businesses were born out of negative thoughts and giving up on the vision? Definitely not!!
Understandably, even the warmest radiator can have occasional drain-like moments. When very bad things happen it's obviously difficult to be a radiator and nor should anyone try to be. We all need to vent now and then and people’s negativity is often driven by stressors in fundamental parts of their lives (jobs, family situations, health issues, financial difficulties).
What my airplane counsellor had said resonated with me so much and I started thinking about the people in my life and if they were radiators or drains. Friends are easy to keep at arm’s length if they are drains and luckily, I had no very close friends who were drains however with close family members or colleagues at work that you have to deal with on a daily basis it’s not so easy and I recognised that I might have a couple in my life.
To work out what to do in this case I decided to do some research, I found that a great way to get around this If you are not in a position to sack the drain from your life is to downgrade rather than dump. The idea is to shift the persons position rather than cutting them out. creating some distance physically and emotionally by reducing the time spent with them and staying away from topics you know will cause contention; or even speaking to them about the way they’ve been making you feel could help, it is completely possible that they have no idea and will evaluate their behaviour. There have been and will continue to be many people who have transformed themselves from energy sapping monsters to cheery encouragers when they have either made a conscious effort to change or have extricated themselves from difficult or stressful life situations. The classification of Radiators and drains therefore are more suited to describe forms of behaviour rather than personality types as it is possible to change them.
So, maybe have a think about the people in your life and choose wisely those you spend time with. Life is way too short to spend time in the company of those who bring us down.