top of page

The Drifter


Recognition signs

  • Tend to shotgun their energy across many options

  • In perpetual “mid-life crisis”

  • Often feel dissatisfied; that life is not “adding up”; or that something is seriously missing in their lives

  • Doubt their existing goals; don’t buy into anything very deeply


Two skills best for Drifters – First, focus on more self-affirming relationships, then follow up by pinpointing the satisfying experiences you value most in those relationships.


Root cause - There are two basic types of Drifters. The first, Drifter(1), dabbles in many pursuits. The other, Drifter(2), typically has one all-consuming involvement … usually work … within an otherwise quite barren lifestyle.


The Drifter(1) often seems like a walking paradox. By shotgunning their energy across many involvements, trying to keep all their options open, they typically don’t explore or develop any of them in any depth. So, in effect, they often have no personally meaningful, deeply involving options at all. They become a prisoner of their own freedom … that’s the paradox.


The Drifter(1)’s feelings of low vitality come only secondarily from the very considerable amounts of energy (i.e. stress) they spend across the many possibilities in their life. More so, their vitality is low because they are experiencing so little satisfaction in return from their sizable across-the-board stress investments.


The Drifter(2) has usually been the victim of a slow seduction (of their energy), often beginning early in life. In the early days, one activity (usually work, dating or school) provided relatively high levels of satisfaction, security, meaning, etc. for moderate investments of time and energy. Increasing amounts of effort in, and reliance on this activity, of course, were followed with less and less attention to other areas. As life progressed, returns on energy invested gradually reduced, leading the Drifter(2) simply to try harder, with yet fewer outside interests being pursued. It’s only as this downward trend line in satisfaction becomes painfully undeniable that the Drifter(2) will take action to regain more balanced fulfillment.


Focus for action - Your two top priority skills are (i) developing one or two more self-affirming relationships, and then (ii) clarifying your values and goals … in work or personal life. The following synopsis of these two skills-in-action applies equally for both types of Drifter.


While their beginning to make committed lifestyle choices based on clarifying their values and goals might seem the obvious starting point in a Drifter’s action plan, our research shows that it isn’t. Most Drifters strongly resist getting clear about what really matters … i.e. about what will give them deeper fulfillment.


Only those Drifters who, as an essential first step, become more fully and actively involved in one or two important relationships actually seem to possess the perseverance and the social support that is required to get them to settle down and then to make some more self-fulfilling choices.


So, the Drifter’s starting point is (a) to seriously recognize the pleasure they get, or used to get, from spending time with a compatible someone [not another Drifter], and then (b) to plan the early steps in their action plan around one or two enjoyable activities that really benefit from having a partner.


A real flesh and blood partner gives both the stimulation and the feedback the Drifter needs in order to realize (a) that some activities are more enjoyable than others and, then (b) that they are going to have to set some priorities and make some action choices if they want this pleasure on a regular basis. Only at this point does clarifying their values and goals become motivating for the Drifter.


bottom of page