Oh if only energy vampires were as easy to spot as real vampires. (Wait, are there real vampires?) We would be on the look out for night owls with pasty white skin, sharp fangs, and an uncontrollable fear of garlic and wooden stakes. Wait a sec….I think I just described Angelina Jolie.
But energy vampires aren’t always as easy to spot as the dreaded Lestat. They can be much more subtle in their approach. But make no mistake, energy vampires can and will suck the life right out of you.
These tips will help you to spot them before they sink their proverbial fangs into you.
Trust Your Gut
Have you ever met someone who seemed really nice and outgoing and yet, you just felt like something wasn’t right?
If you’re like most people, you brushed that feeling off and felt that you were being too judgmental. You felt that you needed to give this person a chance. More often than not, you have probably wished that you had listened to that internal gut check that warned you to keep your distance.
After getting to know this person, you may have discovered that they had ulterior motives for getting to know you or they were much more needy than they originally seemed. Which leads us to the second tell tale sign of an energy vampire.
Energy vamps rely on the energy and resources of others to keep them going. They either seem really down or really up. They’re either depressed or they are manic. Either way, they’re a handful. They wear you out because they often:
- Talk about how terrible everything is.
- Talk about themselves nonstop.
- Talk about how amazing they are.
- Show up at your home unannounced.
- Call you too much, sometimes several times through out the day.
- Constantly seek approval and compliments.
- Ask for money.
- Don’t respect your boundaries.
- Will call you at all hours of the night because they were lonely or needed to talk.
- Depend on you to be their social life or to enhance it.
- Won’t leave you alone.
- Talk about personal things too often.
- Have an excuse for everything and do not take responsibility for their own actions.
- Cry or laugh a lot and usually at inappropriate times.
Energy vampires are extremely selfish. They may seem as if they care about you but more often than not, they only care about what you can do for them.
Masters of Manipulation
Energy vampires know how to use feelings of guilt to manipulate others. For example, if they want to borrow money from you, they may come to you saying “Can you please lend me $50? I feel bad asking, but if I don’t get the money, my phone will be shut off and that’s the only way I can talk to my mom who lives out of state. She’s my rock and I don’t know what I would do without her. Just the thought of not hearing her voice everyday makes me so sad.”
They can’t just say “Can I borrow $50? I’ll pay you back when I get paid next week.”
Everything is over-the-top and dramatic with them. If you don’t give them what they need, they make it seem like it is the end of the world.
Energy Vampires love to get their own way and they’re poor sports when they don’t. If you want to go see a movie that your neighborhood friendly energy vampire doesn’t want to see, she’ll give you a million excuses as to why she can’t go. But if you’re going to see a movie that she wants to see, she’ll drop any plans that she has to go see it with you.
What To Do
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that there is no such thing as reasoning with an energy vampire. They are stuck in a victim mentality and if you try to talk to them about their actions, they will use their manipulative powers to make you feel bad for even bringing it up.
The best thing to do is to set boundaries and to stick to them. It isn’t always possible for us to cut energy vampires out of our lives (but if you can, I suggest you do) but it is possible for us to set boundaries and let them know when they’ve crossed them. They may resort to guilt tactics but that’s okay. Their problems belong to them, not you. And it needs to stay that way.
Set up some rules and when they break them, let them know. Be up front about it. If they cry, get angry, or try to lay on the guilt, simply say to them “My feelings are important too and if we are going to remain friends, you need to respect my boundaries just as I respect yours.”
The first time you say this, they’ll be in shock. They’re probably not used to having people stand up to them. So they’ll either be mindful of your boundaries, of they’ll move on to their next unsuspecting victim.