These are the people who seem to get your attention at the most inconvenient times. They draw you into a convo that leaves you feeling drained. You’ve most likely tried to graciously get away, but you feel cornered.
An energy vampire may hinder you at every turn. Take entirely too long to leave because they have “one more thing” that is so important, or maybe they’re the purveyor of office gossip. You leave the communication feeling off-kilter and depleted.
You can’t change other people, but you can take action to get back in charge of your time. Here are some very useful steps you can take to reduce the distraction and keep your energy shielded from this type of problematic person.
This person has a weak concept of personal boundaries. They aren’t conscious of what’s appropriate to share with others and what isn’t. They lack an understanding of the meaning of your relationship.
Whether it’s about a mutual friend’s food choices or deeply personal information, you truly aren’t interested. They take up irrational amounts of your time talking and appear to think you are closer friends than you actually are(or want to be).
These people are highly attuned to rejection, so much so that they can’t seem to separate and move on when required. Whether you like it or not, you get engulfed in and need to extricate yourself from the circumstance.
What to do: Be sweet but short. Make sure you are audibly communicating. Complement your words with powerful non-verbal signals too. Stand up and move towards sealing your office door, start typing, or step away.
This energy vampire is qualified to take up your time (obviously) because their agenda replaces anyone else’s. They drop names, brag about accomplishments, and downplay the participation of others. They somehow achieve all this in one short encounter. They may even blame you for being overly dramatic or too sensitive if you speak up to counter their point. Personalities like these are hard to take but not impossible to work with.
What to do: Initially, recognize that this behavior is an effort to meet a need. In this instance, it’s usually a desire to feel valued and important. The individual may lack the self-awareness to satisfy their need more competently. Knowing this makes it much simpler to remain emotionally aloof since there’s a good chance they will take a definite shot at you, too.
This person wants reassurance and detailed instruction daily. He or she really doesn’t want to let you down and doesn’t want to make any choices that could jeopardize a project or your team’s success. Regrettably, this behavior leads to learned helplessness. This kind of energy vampire, while well-intentioned, may continually be scared to take action independently or ask too many questions. As an outcome, they pull down productivity and your bandwidth along with it.
What to do: Responding to every single question to get them to leave you alone will only make the situation more serious. Provide a bit of positive feedback upfront, teach them to find their own solutions, or solve queries creatively. Show gratitude when the task is finished. Politeness is also key. Responding with frustration will only make matters worse.
You’ve listened to all this before and attempted it, but it’s not working. Or is it?
If you’ve tried these ideas and it didn’t end, you might be a “slot machine” for that person, sadly. What do slot machines do? Reward you a tiny bit every so often. How does this fit here? An energy vampire is used to being compensated when people engage with them. Suppose you tried these approaches and found the vampire returning for more later regardless of your efforts, they’re expecting the next reward to be right around the corner. The hardest part of all this is that you have to adhere to the plan every time, without fail.
Are YOU the Energy Vampire?
Is it possible that the energy vampire is you? If, while viewing this, you thought, “I think people are giving me those messages when I talk to them,” or “This sounds disturbingly like me,” take comfort. You have the position of knowledge and can nip it in the bud immediately. Be proactive and hold back your interactions with everyone. In the process, you’ll discover more about what you can develop within yourself.
Energy vampires don’t have to consume you or those around you. By taking these actions, you’ll find communications are easier, freeing up your time and mental energy along with it.