Posted by: GPK | 14.October.2009

Are you an Outlet or an Appliance?

We all know people in our lives who require a great deal of energy to be around them.  And we know people around whom we always seem to feel more energetic.  This first group of people are like appliances.  Some of them seem to wander around looking for people to plug into.  They suck the life out of you sometimes, don’t they?

The second group of people are like outlets.  They have extra energy to spare and don’t mind being plugged into every once in a while if you need a little boost.  Mostly, though, if you’re healthy and they’re healthy, hanging around these folks just plain feels good.

Think about your relationships.  Most of the time, are you the outlet or the appliance?

If you see yourself as the appliance, are you constantly requiring an outlet?  Just occasionally?  Honestly?  What can you do to be your own source of emotional energy more often?  What can you do to boost your own emotional reserves?

Requiring a little boost every once in a while is to be expected.  Everyone needs to be supported now and then.  I worry about the folks who never seem to.  The folks who sap your energy, though, you just have to be mindful of them.

If you see yourself as the outlet all the time, is the energy you provide others a healthy amount?  Do they require too much of you?  Do you find yourself giving others a boost way more often than you find yourself chasing your own dreams?

Can you communicate with these people about it?  Should you? Or is that just the meaning of friendship?  Is it more complicated than that?

Hmmmmmm?  What do you think?

Engage, think, share!

Peace and Gratitude,




  1. I find that I am the appliance and the outlet, depending on the people I am with. I have noticed lately, several people telling me how I have such positive energy that they like to be around. This contradicts what my significant other has said about me. So I think we can be both, depending on what certain people bring out in us. Is that codependent? Does it mean that I should distance myself from the relationship that seems to be bringing out the appliance side of me?

  2. Dear Fiona,
    Thank you for posting this. It’s an excellent and important observation. Your observation that sometimes you’re one or the other makes a lot of sense. It’s one that I think we can all relate to. It would make sense that you (and all of us) can be both Outlets and Appliances even around the same people but at different times depending on what we’re going through.
    What I would challenge you with, however, is this…What is it that causes us to be one way around some people and another way around others? I challenge you that it’s NOT the other people.
    I used to be on the faculty of a teaching company with a great speaker whose name is Zig Ziglar. A great quote from ole Zig is “no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” My point is that no one else can “make” you be an Outlet or an Appliance can they?
    I can’t tell you whether you should distance yourself from the relationship you made reference to. If you value being an Outlet more than you value being an Appliance then you need to do what you see is necessary to be the Appliance more. Do more of the things that make you an Outlet and less of the things that make you an Appliance. Explore to find out the things you do that make you an Appliance. Do less of those things. Explore to find out the things you do that make you an Outlet. Do more of those things. I believe that you see this relationship as “bringing out” a certain side of you. What is it about that relationship that you respond to as an Appliance? What would happen if you responded as an Outlet? Is it worth a try? Maybe…

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