Are You A Radiator Or a Drain?
I can’t remember where I first heard about the concept of people being radiators or drains but it was many years ago and I’ve never forgotten it. It has kept me free from getting too close to any drains ever since!
Drains are those people who suck the life out of you. They are the ones moaning about something when you are feeling content with the world, not just once or twice, but all the time. They are the ones putting other people down and bitching, when you haven’t got any major gripes with anyone. If there’s a negative spin to put on anything, they will find it. Drains demand lots of attention for the most trivial things that only they are interested in. As if that wasn’t enough, they can be super-critical and minimize everything you’ve achieved while scoffing at your dreams. Friends like these you don’t need.
Radiators, on the other hand, see the good side of things and buoy you up a bit. They have their ups and downs like everyone else, but barring major upset, they often see the funny side and laugh at the absurdity of the world and their own reaction to it. They support you and wish you well and they are happy to celebrate the good stuff with you. Radiators are good company and you’ll be drawn to spend more time with them.
Radiators and drains are exactly the same in a relationship. Pity the partner of a drain who offloads all her bad moods and trivial complaints onto her partner as soon as she sees him, asks him why he couldn’t be more like her friend’s guy, and tells him he has no dress sense.
Now, you’d probably recognize (I hope) that supporting your guy and not being super critical are important for a good relationship, but you may not see yourself as quite the drain you are, when you talk to your partner about everyday stuff.
See the other articles in this series here: How To Bring The Spark Back Into A Relationship.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK (in fact, desirable) to seek and get sympathy from your man when you’ve had a bad day. That’s not what this is about. It’s when every day is a bad day, no matter what happens, that this is a problem. You are draining the life out of him. If you suspect that you are a bit of a Moaning Minnie or a Drama Queen when you talk to him, it’s time to lighten up before he seeks a radiator for warmth!
With that in mind, you might be tempted to lighten up with him and seek other ears to listen to your complaints and gripes. But the answer is not to offload your constant woes onto your friends instead of your guy. You will only spread the misery around! The answer is to actually lighten up – find the radiator in you. You’ll be a happier person as a result too. Talk about a win-win.
So how do you become a radiator and be more positive, if your natural tendency is to see the gloom and doom in everything?
Look For The Good
You can’t always influence events, but you can always choose how you react. You have to get into the habit of looking for the good or interesting in whatever happens. Is there a positive or humorous spin you can give, if you try hard? There’s usually something you can find, if you are looking out for it.
And if you can’t, because something really dreadful happened like you got fired or the heel on your $300 shoes snapped, then you will get a lot more sympathy and understanding if you are not moaning about every little thing.
If what happened is neither good nor interesting and it’s trivial, why talk about it? For example, you are late for work because the bus didn’t turn up. It doesn’t need talking about 9 hours later to your guy unless being late got you fired or reprimanded. Talk about something more interesting instead.
Appreciate What You Have
What would you miss if it was not there? Your job (or at least, the salary from it)? Your guy? Your home? Your friends? Be grateful for everything you value while it is here! You’ll be less likely to be critical and unhappy with it.
There will always be someone prettier, richer, more successful, more popular, better dressed, less stressed and with more supportive parents than you. You are also in a better situation than a whole host of others. Comparisons are pointless and will make you unnecessarily miserable, so don’t even bother to go there!
Don’t Look Back
There’s nothing you can do about the past. It’s all behind you. Of course, there are things that you will grieve over and no one would expect you to be at your most positive when the truly bad stuff happens like the loss of a loved one.
But we all have regrets and things that we wish hadn’t happened (or that we had done differently) and it does no good to rake them up and give ourselves a hard time about what we did or didn’t do or say. You can’t influence the past now, but you can do everything in your power to have a fantastic future. That one’s up to you.
If you need to clear up past hurt or misunderstanding to be able to move forward in a positive frame of mind, do that, but if you’re not truly grieving, don’t just go on about what can’t be fixed. Move on.
Seek Out Radiators
Misery loves company. If you spend a lot of time with co-workers or friends who moan all the time, you can get into the habit of being just like them. It feels like the norm. In some ways you have to rise above it and not take the bait when a group bitching session begins. Seek the company of radiators and you will soon see how much better you feel after you talk to them than to your friends who constantly complain. Take note of what the radiators talk about. How do they talk about other people? Their work? Their guy? How do they react when bad stuff happens?
Say It With A Smile
If you have a list of trivial woes that, added together, mean you had a really bad day, see if you can tell your story with a humorous note instead of whining tone. “I’m going to need an extra big hug tonight because the bus was late, I got soaked and the boss gave me a huge pile work that was due yesterday AND the sandwich shop was out of pastrami”.
But don’t do the bad day humor routine night after night. There must be something you like about your life, interesting things you see or people you talk to.
Have More Fun
If your life is indeed boring or depressing, then it may be your life that needs changing not just your attitude. You might need to work on injecting some fun into your life. Check out these date ideas so you can have fun with your guy and turn into a positive influence in his life instead of a drain. Perhaps, you should even think about changing your job, if it is making you fed up. Get as much positive stuff going in your life as you can, so there’s less misery to talk about.