Vibe Check! Identifying the Energizers and Drainers in Your Life

Vibe Check! Identifying the energizers and drainers in your life

By RCBA President Kenya Bodden

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and had the chance to spend time with family and friends who replenish your energy. I recently read a quote that essentially said you do not have to spend time with people just because they are family or friends during the holidays, especially if they drain your energy. That quote took me down a rabbit hole. I found an article that asked, “Do you feel energized around some people and drained by others?”1   

“Energizers and drainers? Well, I certainly am not a drain,” said almost everyone who is reading this right now. 

So, what are energizers and drainers? How can you tell the difference? 

Energizers and Drainers2


Energizers are people who are authentic, upbeat and supportive. They relate to people with empathy, are reliable, dependable, optimistic and look for solutions rather than dwelling on problems. Energizers are described as team players. They acknowledge the contributions of others by expressing gratitude and assist those around them causing others to flourish. 
Interacting with energizers increases enthusiasm, stamina and effectiveness and is considered a positive social interaction that supports our health, increases life expectancy, strengthens cardiovascular, immune, and neuroendocrine systems. People who identify as energizers increase the morale, engagement, and job performance of the people around them. 
Think of family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, or clients you consider an energizer—how do you feel after spending time with them?


Drainers aggrandize themselves and devalue others. Everything revolves around them. They lack empathy and their interactions are superficial. They can be quite self-centered and demanding, spending time talking about themselves and their problems. They focus on the negative, complain about problems, and are quick to criticize others. 
Not only is spending time with drainers an unpleasant experience, but taking on that negative emotional energy can undermine your health and well-being. 
Most people are energizers. However, we all have moments where we need to lean and depend on others a little more than usual making us feel like a drain. The cliché, “we all have bad days,” applies here. The key, I am told, is the energy we create.

Sensing Energy3 

Positive and negative energy are stored in our bodies and impact everyone we interact with during our day. We give off positive and negative “vibrations” and that vibrational energy can attract or repel the people around us. Your body is a living energy field. The "subtle energy" can be felt inches or feet from the body. We “can’t expect to attract good vibes if [we are] giving off loads of bad vibes.” Our emotional energy can speak louder than words, and it’s very contagious; most of us have experienced taking on the emotional energy of others. 
“Symptoms” of negative energy/bad vibes, include:
  • sudden mood swings
  • fatigue and exhaustion
  • restlessness
  • nervousness
  • headaches
  • confusion and tension

Cultivating Positive Energy

So, how can we counter negative energy? Creating positive energy in ourselves helps to repel the symptoms of negative energy. 

To increase our positive energy we are encouraged to nurture and maintain relationships with positive influences, like upbeat and uplifting people; make a music playlist containing songs we know will always lift our mood; be in the present through meditation, yoga, enjoying nature, and other mindfulness techniques; and embrace compassion and kindness.

Research shows that “the more you give, the more good feelings you receive in return.” 

Many of us spend long days in the office. It’s pleasant to spend time with colleagues who are energizers, but that positive energy also contributes to an empathetic, reliable, dependable, optimistic team that can look for solutions rather than dwelling on problems. The positive energy of one person can create an office with increased morale, engagement, and job performance. An office full of positive energy people is also a great recruiting tool; when you are an energizer, you attract more energizers. 

For those who are energizers, keep it up. Your firm needs you.


“One positive thought produces millions of positive vibrations.”

—John Coltrane.

“Energy is contagious, positive and negative alike. I will forever be mindful of what and who I am allowing into my space.”

—Alex Elle

Kenya Bodden, 2022-2023 Ramsey County Bar Association President, is a partner at Thompson Coe LLP, a 70-plus-year-old national complex litigation law firm with more than 200 attorneys. Kenya focuses his litigation practice in the areas of casualty, transportation, insurance defense, and products liability. He also serves as a board member of Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), a dedicated group of volunteers who raise funds to invest in innovative and integral health care programs at Children’s Minnesota.



1. Dr. Diane Dreher, Ph.D., "Do Some People Energize You While Others Drain You?", Psychology Today, November 27, 2018.

2. Id.

3. Alexandra Tudor, "Understanding Positive and Negative Energy in People", Mind Valley, December 9, 2022.