Fillers & Dippers

We all need energy to get through our days, accomplish everything on our to-do lists and take care of those around us. In order to have this energy we must eat well, get our sleep and just generally take care of our health. Depending on how well we do those things determines how much energy we start our day with. Then, as we progress through our day we come across people who add energy (Fillers) and those who take energy (Dippers).

Let’s identify some of the characteristics of both.  Let’s start with Fillers:

  • Fillers celebrate you – They give you that pat on the back or “Happy Birthday” text.
  • Fillers support you – In a bind? They show up. Need some help? There they are. You don’t even need to guilt them into it.
  • Fillers energize you – They get you excited and motivated. They’re fun and energizing.
  • Fillers make you feel good – Maybe with a sincere compliment or downplaying a mistake you made. Just being around them and their joy feels good (think giggling babies and baby animals).
  • Fillers find what’s good about you – They focus on what makes you awesome.

Now for the Dippers:

  • Dippers complain about being unappreciated – They are like human ‘Eeyore’s’ (you know, Winnie-the-Pooh character!)
  • Dippers can be very self-absorbed – Even though you’re checking your watch and talking to them while walking away, they don’t seem to notice that you’re in a rush. They are hyper-focused on their issues – not yours.
  • Dippers are needy – They are high-maintenance and don’t always consider how they are sucking the life out of you. They can be exhausting and endless victims of some injustice.
  • Dippers can be uncooperative and argumentative – They always seem to be there to throw a hurdle up and make your life more difficult. Nothing is easy with them.
  • Dippers can be depressing – They may focus on all the things that are terrible about themselves, their job, their world, etc. and share it with you…often.

Here’s the thing. We are all Fillers AND Dippers. As much as we would like to see ourselves as only the Fillers, sometimes we are the Dippers. And that’s okay! What’s important is the balance. Are you filling more often than you’re dipping? Replay some conversations you had with others this past week. Were you filling or dipping? Were you giving or taking?

When you do have to “dip”, be considerate about it. Pay attention to the needs of your Filler and try to make it an exchange of energy instead of just a one-sided deal. Check yourself to ensure that all things considered, you aren’t taking more than you’re giving.

How should you deal with the Dippers? Very carefully. Limit how many you allow to just take from you. Sometimes you have to tell a Dipper, “No”, or that you unfortunately can’t help them right now. This doesn’t make you a bad person, this makes you an “energy conserver”. In order to take care of yourself and your responsibilities, you have to monitor your energy. Also, sometimes Dippers don’t know they’re dipping. They are just consumed by their “stuff” and are clueless that others are dodging them at every turn. They may need a loving, but candid, tough love talk.

Now you tell me: how do YOU fill others? What special something do you add that makes others walk away with a little pep in their step? Or, share how someone has filled you up…give them that public shout-out right here!

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*A version of this post was originally published in March of 2016


  1. Great article. It’s wonderful that you point out that we are both Fillers and Dippers. And that it’s about balance and choices. So important to not get stuck on either side of this equation. I especially love “try to make it an exchange of energy instead of just a one-sided deal” for those times when we are in Dipper mode.

  2. This post is such a filler for me. I have been a filler and a dipper, and I agree that find a balance is important. As for me, I focus on my energy on my own business and help other people out as much as I can, and this post has inspired me to give more.

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