Have you ever greeted a friend with a smile, only to later depart feeling miserable? Have you felt drained after listening to a colleague at work? Have you sighed when a particular person’s name flashes on your mobile phone screen? Chances are, you’re reacting to an energy vampire!
While vampires are fictional creatures from Eastern Europe that prey on humans for their blood, energy vampires are very much real and present all around us. They feed on a person’s energy, and if unchecked, can be just as life-threatening as a cloaked and fanged Dracula. Thankfully, like their mythical counterparts, energy vampires have certain personality traits that are easy to identify. And though garlic and sunlight won’t deter them, there are other effective ways to escape their influence.
Spotting Energy Vampires
1. Always “Me, Me, Me!”
If a friend, colleague or family member is always obsessed with themselves, you need to be concerned. Energy vampires are often extremely narcissistic. Pay attention when you next engage the person in a conversation. Do topics always revolve around them? Did you tell them how you might get a promotion, only to end up hearing about their career goals?
Energy suckers also tend to be poor listeners. They will nod and shake their heads when you speak but really only care about what they’re going to say next. You end up overburdened by their problems, without ever getting the chance to unburden your mind.
2. “It’s Not My Fault!”
Paradoxically, the most draining people in your life will make everything about them, but never accept that anything is their fault. Everything is happening to them. They will be the victims, the martyrs, the ones who are suffering due to society, organizations or other individuals.
“My boss doesn’t like me because he’s jealous!”. “My roommate is just selfish!”. These imaginary problems stop energy vampires from moving ahead. And to make matters worse, the more they stall in life, the more time they spend venting about it to you. It’s a vicious cycle that can cause great harm.
Don’t let energy vampires leave you feeling miserable! Use “The Compassion Meditation” session in the app’s Make Me Fabulous section to boost your sense of self-worth.
3. “Forget This Glass, I Want That One!”
If energy vampires drained you of your energy and put it to good use, it might have been a consolation. But sadly, that’s never the case. energy vampires are needy people who will continue to need after you’ve provided. They remain negative even after sucking you of your positivity. They don’t look at a glass as half full; they don’t even look at it as half empty. Instead, they constantly look around, saying, “Forget this glass, I want that one!” And the glass is never big enough.
Warding Off Energy Vampires
Now that you’re aware of the behavior of such individuals, the question becomes: How do you deal with them?
There is no single, easy solution to this problem because Energy vampires come in all shapes and sizes. Before taking protective steps, it’s important to ask yourself: Is this transient?
Not All Energy Vampires Are Bad
A transient energy vampire is one who is temporarily acting in a negative manner. And the reality is, all of us, at one point or another, become transient energy vampires. Such as when we experience the loss of a loved one, fail in business, or go through a serious physical/mental illness.
Remember, transient energy vampires require our care and attention. Just like lending money to tide a friend over during the tough times, we need to offer our emotional energy when necessary. The key is to gently support a person as they get back on their feet.
Understanding Your Emotional Stamina
How you deal with permanent energy vampires depends a lot on your emotional stamina. In other words, how capable are you of withstanding the energy sucker? Maybe you’re able to brush aside your colleague’s depressing small talk and focus on work instead. But your roommate might be draining you of your energy with endless stories about relationship troubles, problems at work and family issues. In which case, you might have to consider the following tactics:
Option 1: Positive Suggestions
This is both a tactic and a test. How do you confirm if a person is an energy vampire or just temporarily troubled by a problem? The best thing to do is to engage and give concrete, positive suggestions. If your classmate is complaining about her living situation, offer to help her search for a new apartment. Or share the number of a good real estate agent.
Ignoring your advice, or accepting it but still finding issues to complain about, means your classmate has failed the test. Time to adopt better tactics to stave away the energy vampire!
Option 2: Withdrawal and Replacement
Energy and time are limited and therefore precious. You need to be careful about how you spend them. Energy vampires will drain you of both, leaving you bitter, confused and helpless. So don’t feel guilty about avoiding contact with them. But simply ignoring their calls, or making up excuses to avoid hanging out isn’t enough.
Instead, cultivate friendships that are rewarding. Spend time with people who are optimistic, generous, dedicated and fun loving. They will boost, rather than drain your energy levels. And slowly but surely, through the positive connections you make, it’ll become easier to shut out the negativity of energy vampires.
Improve the level of support and bonding between you and your positive friends by trying the “Group Meditation” Challenge in the Fabulous app!
Option 3: Let Them Go
Sometimes slowly moving away from an energy vampire is not an option. The relationship might be so toxic, so damaging to your life, that the only way out is by severing the connection. This might seem harsh, or even inconvenient due to social and environmental circumstances. But some energy vampires are too dangerous to entertain. They will go to any lengths to keep you in their orbit, so gently pulling away won’t work.
It might seem hard to completely cut someone out of your life, or even unfair. But remember that this is about you, your health, and your happiness. Be your own advocate. If your Vampire confronts you, show them some kindness… but stand your ground.
It’s Time to Take Action
Remember, you are in control of who you interact with. The people in your life have an immense influence on your emotions and actions. So take the time to look inside yourself and evaluate your relationships. If there are energy vampires who’ve been steadily draining you of joy, now is the time to take action. Be gentle, but more importantly, be firm. Ultimately, your mental wellbeing is more important than a superficial friendship.
Start “The Fabulous Circle” Journey on the app to build the habits that will allow you to create and nurture a supportive group of changemakers!