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How to refill someone’s “cup?”

Cubicle Buddha
TypeScript nut + head writer at (other loves are cats, my wife, comic books, and VGs)
Originally published at on ・3 min read

Sometimes we rely so much on our friends and coworkers that we often forget to make sure that they are getting what they need. Here are a few quick tips on how to replenish their energy.

Type B personalities are often very good listeners. In fact, some describe type B personalities as those who give their energy when they’re with people and type A personalities as those who gain energy from being with people. If that’s the case, then no one has an unlimited supply of energy.

So regardless of your personality type, do your best to refill that person’s cup:

  1. Directly offer to listen to them. Why be direct? Because some people will be offended by a series of questions even though you’re just “trying to be a good listener.” So by offering to listen to them, you give them the opportunity to say “no, thank you.” Or, if they say “yes,” then they can fully and selfishly use that time.
  2. Buy them a small token of thanks. I’m taking about a candy bar, a coffee, or even an item of fruit. No, I don’t think money solves everything, but sometimes a simple gesture shows that you’re thinking of them. If they feel connected, that might be enough to turn around their day.
  3. Take some work off their plate. If it’s a coworker, take on a small bit of work for them so they can take a break for a few moments. Just be careful to ask them first since the task you selected might have been something they were really excited about. Furthermore, transparency is important because it again gives people the opportunity to say “no.” For instance, new parents are told to be very clear about what kind of help they desire in the early months. But you have to be direct, precise, and clear with your intentions. Neither the new parent or the grandparents want to be surprised with the revelation that the overnight visit was unhelpful. All you have to do is ask if the help is desired in a way that allows your friend to easily decline.
  4. Leave them alone. Next time you think you’re about to “take from his or her reservoir” by speaking to them, ask yourself if you really need to be social. If you need help turning off your talkative mind, I recently wrote another article describing tips on how to avoid being chatty. But briefly, if you gain something from a friend who is listening to you, don’t let them listen to you to the point where they’re drained.
  5. Share with them something that you know they would be interested in. It could be as simple as an article that you think they would find fascinating. I find that sending a link to someone (as long as you don’t pressure them to read it) is a low commitment way of showing someone that you thought of them.
  6. Bonus Point: Just say “thank you” in a sincere way. Nothing fills a person’s emotional reservoir back up as well as letting the person know that their investment in time was well spent.

Replenishing the cups of your friends is part of building a healthy community. There is no doubt that both of you will feel better for the actions you take to show you care.

Which gestures have you used to help lift up your friends and coworkers?

Discussion (10)

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

I'm a Type B who often gets mistaken for a Type A because I can be passionate, and do appreciate a good conversation. (I recharge in large part by being alone.) I tend to get along better with other Type Bs, because we tend to mutually "refill" each other.

When I get to talking with my best friend, also a definitive Type B, people listening sometimes wonder whether one person is monopolizing. Truth is, we take roughly equal turns...very long turns...because we both appreciate being able to share our deep and complex thoughts on a topic, and being able to listen to the other person in the same measure. This also isn't draining because we usually speak the same "language" as it were.

Yet, at the same time, neither of us are afraid of complete silence and long pauses. We don't need to fill the airtime, even on the phone. :)

Interacting with most other people doesn't have the same refreshing effect for us, since it requires so much effort to translate, parse, and then to figure out how to respond in their "language".

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington (he/him)

Great topic, and loving the title!

I think a good one for coworkers is giving them a shoutout in front of the team when they do something particularly cool to help you out. That little extra acknowledgement can go a long way!

cubiclebuddha profile image
Cubicle Buddha Author

Absolutely! :) I’ve worked for a few companies that incentivized their employees to celebrate each others accomplishments by using a website for that purpose. I think one of the products was called Quantum.

But yes, thank you so much for the enthusiasm. :) You’re living your advice by refilling my cup! Well done! :)

desolosubhumus profile image
Desolo Sub Humus 🌎🌍

It's amazing what sharing muffins in the morning can do for the people I work with. Your list is completely common sense, but like people frequently say about common sense - it's not common enough.

Thank you for writing it out here.

robole profile image
Rob OLeary

Word !👊

I find it very important at work to a recharging routine. I have my wired-in headphone time and I go out for a walk, afternoon tea break with friends. This makes the draining meetings a non-issue.

If you are Type B, I mostly am, the hardest thing to handle is "leave me alone" with people you are close to, but drain you.

marvelouswololo profile image

as a type b person this is beautiful. thank you my friend.

cubiclebuddha profile image
Cubicle Buddha Author

Thank you for the appreciation! That's very kind of you. :) Did you see my other article on how to focus as a Type B personality when the office is really loud?

marvelouswololo profile image

not really. but i will.

gabrsmalta profile image
Gabriel Malta

Thank you for sharing these incredible points. I believe that is the best way to maintain some connection with people surround us, something beyond the emptiness mentions in the social media.

cubiclebuddha profile image
Cubicle Buddha Author

Yes! Exactly. Sometimes social media makes us believe that we need to aspire to be a super-hero dev, or rich, or famous. None of that matters when the greatest joy we can experience is by simply helping out our immediate community. Making a friend in your office smile will bring a lot more satisfaction than finally getting over X number of followers.

Thank you for your kind comment Gabriel. :)