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I wish these types of people only came out to spook us during the Halloween season, unfortunately they are in our lives year round. So what exactly is an energy vampire? No, they’re not the ones running around sucking you’re blood and living eternal lives. They are instead people who suck the energy out of you.

Let’s look at the Urban Dictionaries definition of an energy vampire: A person who boosts his own energy by taking energy from others by means of an argument, belittlement, criticism or other one-sided conversation. Someone who steals or tries to bring down your positive energy.

You know if you’ve had an encounter with an energy vampire because you leave the situation completely drained, yet you haven’t done two hours of cardio to otherwise make you feel that way. Are there certain people that after a brief encounter you just want to go home, lie down and take a nap?

An example of a situation of an encounter with an energy vampire. You’re at home working on some stuff on the computer and your girlfriend calls:

Energy Vampire: “Hey girl how are you? OMG you will never believe what just happened!”

You: “Oh really what? I’m in the middle of doing something important…”

Energy Vampire: “Oh, I’ll tell you really quick! Blah..Blah..blah..blah…” as she cuts you off mid-sentance

You: Put the phone on speaker and continue to listen to your friend blab on and on while you continue working. You leave the room go to the bathroom, come back and she hasn’t missed a beat.

Energy Vampire: “So isn’t that crazy OMG I can’t believe that happened to me!”

You: “Yea, that’s nuts you know yesterday I had…”

Energy Vampire: cutting you off again, “Oh I gotta go back into work my breaks over. Talk to you soon, love ya!” click and hangs up the phone.

See how the conversation is one sided? They called just to vent to you without letting you even say anything in response or really even caring if you were on the line. Conversations are two-sided forms of communication. It’s ok to vent, yet also listen to what the other person has to say once you’re finished. Ask them how their day is, let them blow off some steam too. That’s what friends are for. Psychiatrists are for one-sided conversations, not your friends.

If you know, and I’m sure you do, someone who acts like this let them know you need to participate in the conversation as well. A lot of the time with energy vampires it feels like fighting instead of communicating. It’s so exhausting it’s just not worth your time or energy. I’ve cut out a lot of people in my life like this because I don’t have precious time to waste on these people. I need my positive energy. I’m not about to just hand it away for free to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

If the energy vampire is someone in your life you can’t just cut out like a boss or relative, practice passive listening. I do this a lot with people I know I wont get a word in edge wise. I listen, I smile, I nod, I just don’t say anything back. If I do and they just start talking right over me, I go back to smiling and nodding. Though I keep my energy to myself. I don’t let them suck it out of me. I instead let the energy vampire drain themselves.

Another way to counter attack the energy vampire that uses negativity, argument, belittlement, criticism to drain their victim is to not participate in their game. If they say something like “You could never make money doing that!” or “You’re crazy, why don’t you just go out and get a real job?” Instead of getting upset, angry or arguing back (because this is what they want) diffuse the situation by responding, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Or “I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.” This leaves them no ammunition to fire back.

I hope everyone can stay safe this Halloween from the energy vampires. When all else fails, give them some candy to eat and shut them up!

Tara Richter

Tara Richter is an Internet Dating Coach in Tampa Bay. She is the author of “The Dating Jungle Series” and an Internet TV Show Host.