We all know them. They suck the lifeblood from you and drain the creativity from a room in seconds – energy vampires are soul destroyers. Even when smiling, a toxic person like this has an aura of anti-charisma that impacts everyone.
With one single comment they can transform your day for the worse and leave you feeling upset, drained, unworthy or stupid. They have a negative outlook on life and only take away from rather than add anything to your relationship. They could be a friend, colleague, neighbour or even a family member. Some of them mean well and have no idea what they’re doing while others are fully intentional. In short, the energy vampire comes in many forms.
There is The Blamer. Frustrated at the shortcomings in their own life, they never take responsibility and claim anything that goes wrong is everybody's fault except their own. The Guilt Tripper is needy, constantly craves your attention and leaves you feeling culpable. Although not malicious, The Whiner’s continuous complaining is exhausting. Lastly, The Bully expects you to feed their ego, preys on your insecurities and needlessly creates drama.
If you recognise any of these people, then you have an energy vampire in your life.
Dealing with them can be difficult. No one wants to cause a scene. And of course, you can’t simply avoid your work colleagues or your family. But if you want to protect your precious energy, and use it for positive endeavours like your career, you have few options.
Here are tips on how to handle the energy vampires in your life:
1. Identify Them
First of all, you need to figure out who is draining your positive energy. Who do you interact with on a regular basis that feeds off your energy? This could be face to face, through phone calls or on social media. Ask yourself how you feel around them. Do you dread bumping into them? Do you avoid their calls? Do you make excuses not to interact with them? If these people push your buttons negatively then mark their cards.
2. Ground Yourself
This means centering yourself, so you are not easily affected by what an energy vampire has to say. Prepare for your encounters by taking deep breaths. Stay standing when you are chatting, always be going to or coming from somewhere when you meet them. Remain calm and refuse to be emotionally reactive. Visualise a protective shield around you. Be ready to deflect any negative energy.
3. Set Boundaries
Assert yourself. Say to a potential energy vampire- ‘I don’t want to talk about that today’ or ‘I’m really busy right now, maybe we can talk another time.’ Be firm, direct and polite. Never be drawn into drama and avoid becoming defensive. It might even be a lightbulb moment and encourage them to be more self-sufficient and to stand on their own two feet. Be prepared to walk away if necessary.
4. Take A Step Back
When it is possible, remove yourself from any potential encounters with an energy vampire. If possible, reply with an e-mail rather than a phone call or a meeting. Do a social media detox to avoid potential energy sapping comments or conversations. Also, remember that their words are a reflection of them, not you.
5. Change the Focus
Once you feel that an energy vampire is about to lower your mood, change the subject. Talk about something positive that has recently happened in yours or their lives. Keep the mood light. If you feel that the conversation is about to take a turn, politely extricate yourself from the situation.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Affirm your self-worth. You don’t deserve to be dragged down and have your positive energy leeched. Surround yourself with positive, caring and genuine people.
Making progress in your career can at times be stressful and hard work as well as exciting. And, simply put, it is much more likely to happen if you are in a positive frame of mind. If you are serious about making life or career changes then removing the negative influences from your life is an important form of self-care. It will leave you with increased energy and confidence. You owe it to yourself. Remember, if you don’t design a career that you love, someone will do it for you.