How to Protect Yourself From the Emotional Vampires In Your Life

People Who Suck Your Energy and Happiness

An emotional vampire sucks the life out of a room.
An emotional vampire sucks the life out of a room. Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Unlike the vampires you see in the movies, emotional vampires enjoy sucking the joy out of your friendships.Rather than feasting on blood (like the vampires of legend), they feed on the positive energy that exist in a relationship. The best way to handle these types of people is just avoid them.

Why Emotional Vampires Are Bad for Friendships

Friendships are built on trust, support, and fun, so having someone in your life that diminishes this will make it difficult to be yourself.

More than that, emotional vampires can leave you mentally exhausted, and at worst, can make you question your own choices in life. True friends, by contrast, should be gently honest with you and encourage you. Your friends should be there to give you support and provide an emotional safe place where you won't be ridiculed or made to feel less than you are.

If you are friends with an emotional vampire, your entire view of friendships can be skewed. Emotional vampires are dangerous because they don't attack head on, but rather work their way into your psyche little by little. Their actions are not overt, so in order to figure them out you might question their intentions and loyalty. 

What Do Emotional Vampires Do?

Typically, emotional vampires are all about them. So they will talk about their problems ad nauseam without reciprocating the gesture or, they will manage to change the level of excitement in a room full of people from happy to irritated and angry.

 Suddenly the mood of the room will change to something darker, and the people at the table will leave feeling more "down" than positive and upbeat. If you were laughing or having fun before, chances are the mood is decidedly different after the emotional vampire arrives.

Acquaintances Who Are Emotional Vampires

So, you already know not to become friends with an emotional vampire, but how do you avoid letting them get to know when you're out and about?

You might have to interact with an acquaintance like this who is so annoying and negative that they bring you down on even the best day. 

First, learn how to gracefully change the subject. Nothing annoys an emotional vampire more than when they aren't the center of attention. Also, ignore their jabs and snarky remarks, and instead give attention to the positive people around you. After a while they will get bored with you and move on to bother someone else. 

How Do You Know When Someone Is an Emotional Vampire?

It's not always easy to determine who is an emotional vampire and who is simply having a bad day. Emotional vampires are not unlike negative friends, who tend to bring you down rather than help build you up. 

Emotional vampires may do things like:

  • Turn the topic of conversation to themselves, no matter what you are talking about.
  • Redirect attention to something else when it is focused on someone other than them.
  • Make you feel a bit down, or unhappy, after you leave them.
  • Make you feel mentally exhausted at their lengthy phone calls, emails, or visits.
  • Demand your time when they have a problem, which they seem to have a lot.

In short, if you feel worse after you see or talk to your friend, that person may be an emotional vampire.

Before you decide to pull away from the friendship, however, make sure you know for sure that this person isn't just have a rough time of things, or even just a bad day. Emotional vampires consistently bring you down, so if you notice this going on regularly over time, chances are you have an emotional vampire in your life.