Radiators and Drains

A couple of years ago I was chatting to my twin sister about friendships. She said something to me that I hadn’t heard before which was: “You see, in life Laura, there are two types of people; radiators and drains”.

My jaw fell open because I thought that was one of the most insightful things she’d ever said. She laughed when I replied, “That is so true. That’s so clever of you Lizzie”. She was laughing at me because I thought it was one of her wise expressions (and she has lots). She told me it was a very well-known phrase that she definitely couldn’t take credit for.

I later learned that it’s one of  Oprah Winfrey’s but Lizzie, my ten minutes older than me twin-sister, who in my eyes is the more wise version of the two of us, could easily have come up with it! (For clarification and forgive me if I’m telling you something you already know, radiators are those who generate positivity and enthusiasm, filling you with the feel-good factor when you’ve been in their company; drains on the other hand lean more towards a negative outlook on life leaving you feeling flat, empty and low).

Who said this very wise thing doesn’t really matter. What matters, is that it’s true. And it’s important to decide which one you would prefer to be and which one you would prefer to be around.

I’ve had a lot of thinking time recently whilst relaxing on a sun-drenched beach in southern Spain.  I’ve been reflecting on lots of things including this topic and I’ve quickly arrived at the following conclusion: I’m a very lucky lady indeed because in my life I have lots of radiators and very few drains.

Living with secondary breast cancer has had a re-wiring effect on me and put simply, I function better surrounded by family and friends who uplift me, support me and make me laugh (including making me laugh at myself because the ability to retain a sense of humour is a VERY IMPORTANT THING when you live with metastatic breast cancer).

But just like the radiators in my house that are fitted with valves, the level of functioning as a radiator person has to be adjustable because being a fully switched on radiator-type all of the time is draining in itself.  My radiator family and friends are completely adjustable; they acknowledge my down days, know when I’m having one and know when a hug and a listening ear is all that’s needed; listening in a quiet way is a true radiator trait unlike a drain who is prone to talking too much, normally about themselves.

So, confession time……..I’ve had more than a few days in the last couple of months where I’ve behaved like a drain. What I call my ’80/20 balance’ has felt completely biased towards being drain-like.

Dealing with the grief of losing another friend, Allison, to breast cancer coupled with my 83-year-old Mam being very poorly at the start of the year made me sad and a sad Laura is a miserable toad who, if allowed to, turns very quickly into Little Miss Anxious.  I’ve been that person before and she drains me. My radiators rescued me with acts of kindness.  Thank you.

You helped me find my radiation again which in my book means being able to listen to the problems of others, offer support in their hour of need, make them smile when they’ve forgotten how to and remind them that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. And, that if all else fails, watching Car Share with Peter Kay, (Series 2, Episode 1) will cheer them up……”it’s a car not a coaster

Focussing on improving my radiator qualities produces a version of me that I like.  Allison wouldn’t want me to be sad, she’d want me to be happy and behave like a true radiator.

So, peeps, what’s it be? Radiator or drain?



Published by Laura Ashurst

I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunty, cousin, niece and friend. My husband and two children are my anchor and, in the background, which is where we like to place it, is secondary breast cancer. I've had cancer in my life for 17 years but I'm living, hoping and enjoying life. My Dad always used to say, 'take the rough with the smooth and live your life'. So....here's to my life, its challenges and milestones and love and laughter along the way.

12 thoughts on “Radiators and Drains

  1. Wowz. Amazing insight. Radiators
    And drains. A great dear departed friend said Tommie once… plugs or sockets. You are a plug, after diagnosis avoid the sockets. They will drain you. Same theory. Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog. Keep on keeping on. Sunshine vibes to you xx


  2. ”Twas I who introduced the term to our Lizziebeth… no idea where I got it from…. very true though & important to have distance from anyone who’s a drain 🙈


    1. Hiya Dawnie,
      At last we have the original source of these very special words🙏. Thank you for enabling them to be passed in to me. It is an analogy that I’ve taken note of for the last few years. Special lady….. sending you much love❤Xxx


    1. Hiya Kath,
      You are one of life’s radiators. You have given so much pleasure, joy and love to all who have known you throughout your life. I salute you, fellow radiator. Xx 🙏


  3. Love the warmth of a radiator, dislike the cold of the drains. A wonderful description of life.
    Live life to the full, have no regrets. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya Angela,
      We’re on the same page! Writing this blog post has made me think about lots of things. We can waste so much time and energy trying to work people out, when really, all that matters is that we understand ourselves.
      Lots of love,
      Laura xx


  4. You are always warmth and light Laura. It’s very true that Allison would have only wanted you to radiate, she was an amazingly radiant lady. Love you lots my friend xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya Anne. You are another of my beautifully warm radiators. We all carry Allison’s memory close to our hearts and we carry on smiling. That’s exactly what she would want. Love you lots too. Xx


  5. You are the warmest of radiators Laura and you are so right that having radiators in your life is the most important thing! I have needed a few over the recent years and you are one of the most important to me along with my family. Love to you all ❤️❤️


    1. Hola Jeni,
      From the day I met you, you radiated warmth, fun and energy. You are part of my Team Radiator and a brilliant example of a true friend.
      Lots and lots of love to you, my beautiful radiator ❤❤❤xxx


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