Do you hang out with Radiators or Drains?

By , April 29, 2010 12:00 am

iStock_000005300342Small“I just don’t hang around anybody that I don’t want to be with. Period. For me, that’s been a blessing, and I can stay positive. I hang around people who are happy, who are growing, who want to learn, who don’t mind saying sorry or thank you…and (are) having a fun time.”

John Assaraf, Author.

It’s true that we are influenced by the people around us. This is because our energy interacts and influences the energy of everyone and everything that we come into contact with. We become like the people that we hang out with. These people influence how we think, feel and behave.

Do you remember your parents not allowing you to hang out with ‘those kids’ because they are a bad influence?

Jim Rohn, author and self made millionaire puts it this way:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

It’s interesting to consider who we spend most of our time with and how they influence our thinking, feeling and behaviour. Your five could be a combination of family, friends and colleagues at work.

Have you ever worked in a job where you were surrounded by negative naysayers who whine and moan about everything? Over time you become infected by this negativity and it reduces your motivation and performance. You may even dread getting up and having to go to work in that environment every day.

Sometimes the negativity of others can hold us back and even sabotage our dreams. Especially if we are around them a lot of the time.

I call these people Drains because they infect you with their negativity and drain your energy leaving you feeling anxious or deflated. They remind me of a Dementor sucking the Soul out of their victim in the Harry Potter books by J K Rowling!


  • put you down at every opportunity
  • criticize your decisions and actions
  • undermine your self confidence and self belief
  • make you feel unworthy
  • tell you that it will never work
  • try to dissuade you from pursuing your goal
  • always complain or gossip
  • will blame other people for their current circumstances
  • dismiss your ideas as ‘just a phase’ you’re going through
  • try to hook you and pull you back down to their level

In contrast there are people radiate positive energy. I call these Radiators because just hanging out with them makes you feel inspired, happy and motivated. They are fun to be around.


  • believe in you
  • support and encourage you in your goals and dreams
  • celebrate your successes with you
  • are nourishing and uplifting
  • are positive and authentic
  • genuinely wants you to succeed
  • are inspirational
  • listen with an intent to understand

To be successful we all need to be nourished by those we choose to spend our time with. They key word here is choose…Because you always have a choice.

You no longer have to allow toxic people to drain your energy.

Here’s how you can start to improve the energy around you.

…And none of these involves you getting a divorce or leaving your job!

  1. Stop colluding – don’t get hooked into a Drain’s negative conversation. Stop colluding and joining in. Don’t get involved. Focus on solutions and not blame or walk away.
  2. Reduce your time with toxic people – if possible, stop spending time with them completely. If you work with these people then decrease your time around them.
  3. Surround yourself with Radiators – consciously look to make friends and build relationships with people who have positive energy and who support you in your growth. Spend more time with these people. Find out where they hang out. They are everywhere!
  4. Surround yourself with success – When I decided that I wanted to be a successful coach, I started to hang out with successful coaches. I joined a Mastermind Group of like-minded people. This really helped because people shared their ideas and success strategies. Join a club or become involved in social activities where these people hang out.
  5. Model the behaviour of successful people – What are they reading? How are they learning? Immerse yourself in the person that you want to be. Look for role models and copy their behaviour. This will help you to build your self confidence and commitment to your goals.

Are you surrounded by energy Radiators or Drains?

11 Responses to “Do you hang out with Radiators or Drains?”

  1. katherine says:

    Esp. like #’s 4 and 5. Not only are we not surrounding ourselves with negativity, we are boosting ourselves to a new level of all we can be…which can be scary. However, your article makes it perfectly clear that the alternative is to be a drain. And we don’t want to be that!
    Thanks for this article. I am forwarding along as one of my pay it forwards today! (today is national pay it forward day)

  2. Connie says:

    Excellent post! I can always tell when I have been around someone that “drains” the life out of me. I am still learning to recognize and avoid those situations and not be a drain myself 🙂

  3. Elaine – brilliant article coming after a weekend where I ended up exhausted because my visitors totally drained me following a week visiting my dad and stepmother where I needed a vacation after my vacation. Mostly I get to hang out with inspirational people in my life and work, my manager, my peers, my husband, my supportive neighbors, all you amazing UYB peeps and my energy is usually radiating to the point that people notice and comment on it. But it is times like this – when I feel the need to take the lost and struggling friends and relatives into my home (or visit them in theirs) and infuse them with some positive vibes. They suck my energy for sure. But I notice exactly what is happening now and limit my interactions with these people. I am happy to report that after a little self care and time with my radiators I am back to my radiating self today!!

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tony Noland and Emily Long, Elaine Bailey. Elaine Bailey said: Do You Hang Out With Radiators or Drains? […]

  5. Great post, Elaine! It is so true what you wrote. I have seen Drains pull down the entire energy of a classroom full of students. As the professor, I can recover the positive ambiance, but it takes A LOT of energy to do so. I like your use of language!

  6. Steve says:

    In the company I used to work for, we called the drains “mood hoovers” because they could suck the life and fun clean out of you. We all knew who they were and just did our level best to steer clear of them; now I try to work only with radiators and it makes life so much more enjoyable. Great post and great advice.

  7. Elaine says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments and for calling by!

    Katherine – thanks for paying it forward – much appreciated!

    Connie – Yay! to you for continuing to work on them. I think it’s easy to get hooked because being a drain can almost be socially acceptable sometimes…

    Kathy – It’s great to be able to top up your tanks with Radiators and their positive vibes! Self care is an awesome way to do this! I can feel you radiating from here girl!

    Laura – You’re so right! It only takes one person to pull down the entire energy of the others. I’ve experienced this in the classroom too. Yay! to you for turning it around. It does take a lot of energy to do this.

    Steve – I’ve heard of ‘mood hoovers’ too. I love the description you’ve given! I’m with you about only working with radiators!

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  10. Thanks so much for the blog.Much thanks again. Great.

  11. Fran Jellings says:

    I always pop and invisible glass dome around me when I come into contact with ‘drains’. This makes me more aware of my surroundings and prevents their negativity rubbing off on me!

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