Jeff Bowen & Hunter Bell gave Susan Blackwell the perfect song in [title of show] and could not have said it any better..."DIE VAMPIRE, DIE!"
You know exactly what we're talking about. If you've ever left a conversation feeling exhausted or even guilty, you have fallen prey to the Vampire. Those friends, family and coworkers who suck the life out of you and your dreams. Sometimes we are painfully aware of what they're doing and other times... not so much.
Life is energy that we give and take, so there's nothing worse than the vampire that sucks all of your energy, leaving you deflated, depressed and ready to give up.
There are many types of energy vampires:
The Ego-maniac - Also known as the narcissist, this is a vampire who needs to be the center of attention at all times. They are always right, and will go to great lengths to tell you so. The world revolves around them, and we lose hours of our lives listening to every detail of their "fantastical" existence. Even when you try to participate in the conversation, they turn the spotlight back on themselves faster than you can say "I think...."
The Drama Queen - The vampire that LOVES a good crisis. They grab you by the arm and hold on for dear life as they moan about the world. This breed feeds on validation and sympathy, and, like the narcissist, also finds every opportunity to turn the spotlight back to their unjust woes.
The Judgy-McJudgerson - "Do you really think your voice is strong enough for that role?" or "I really hate to see you wasting your life on this silly little pastime" are common phrases of this vampire. Typically, they're incredibly insecure and would feel better if you were too.
The Time Tyrant - Ever have that friend who needs you to drop everything you're doing and come to their rescue RIGHT NOW? They may not be aware of it, but because you helped move his couch that one time, he sees you as "reliable." Now, he thinks you're available for EVERYTHING from advice to menial tasks because you are his savior.
There are many other variants of the energy vampire, but let's turn our focus to how to deal with them.
Don't engage. Vague posting or trash talking on social media is a bait you should never take. It would be nice if everyone would focus on the good things in life, get along and see common ground, but that just isn't reality. The vague poster wants you to pull it out of them and the trash-talker wants to start another argument. Engaging with either wastes your time as well as your energy.
Don't be alone with them. If this vampire sees you as a crippled doe in the middle of the field, then do your best to pull someone else into the conversation...safety in numbers.
Learn to change the topic. Pivot the conversation and stick to light-hearted topics as many times as needed...hopefully they'll get the hint. Whenever we find ourselves in a draining conversation, we start talking about our dogs. (We talk a LOT about our dogs.)
Find your happy place. If they've launched into another one-man-show about their issues and there's no way out, then there is nothing wrong with focusing on your own positive self-talk. Find a mantra or affirmation and chant away in that beautifully positive head of yours.
It's ok to walk away. Take a deep breath and politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
Vampires have the knack for attacking when we least expect it. We don't want to go through life avoiding people or always being on guard! It's all about balance and knowing how to manage your time.
Everyone deserves support and compassion, and we can always offer both while being cognizant of our own needs. Find your tribe of healthy, like-minded people full of positive energy.