How to spot an energy vampire

Energy suckers
reat emotional energy the same way you treat money. It is a finite commodity that needs to be wisely invested. Don't fight battles that don't matter.

Treat emotional energy the same way you treat money. It is a finite commodity that needs to be wisely invested.


I’ve come to learn that there three types of people – uplifters, neutrals and energy vampires.

Smart people adapt the 33% rule – surround yourself with 33% mentors, 33% challengers, and 33% people you can inspire – you can do whatever you want with the 1%.  However, smarter people will constantly re-evaluate these groups and weed out the energy vampires.  Inherent energy vampires tend to be narcissistic, therefore, very manipulative and lack empathy and can masquerade as anything they want – mentors and challengers.  They can also hide in plain sight in the 3rd category because here they can ‘pretend’ to ‘aspire to you’ all the while consuming all your emotional energy.


These are the people in your life who lift you up.  The people who after spending time with make you feel good and inspired.  Do you sometimes receive a call from a friend and after the phone call you think to yourself, ‘wow that was incredible! I feel happy and enlightened!’  Anyone that makes you feel that way is an uplifter.  This is a highly reliable person in times of need.  Be sure to return in kind and lift them up too. 


These are the ones who don’t add anything of value to you as in, they don’t take anything, and they don’t add anything.  For example – you receive a call from someone, and you talk for ten minutes.  After the call, you think to yourself, ‘well, that was a waste of ten minutes!’  The person added nothing to you, and you most likely added nothing.  They may have taken time off you but added nothing of value or food for thought.  However, they don’t leave you feeling suicidal/homicidal.  You evaluate such people as valueless but harmless and so you’ll only ever answer their call when bored out of your mind.  They are great for grounding you and unwittingly pointing out your flaws – learn from them.

Energy vampires:

These are the ones to watch. Beware.  These ones literally suck the life out of you i.e. your emotional energy.  When you spend time with them (in person, online or on the phone), you end up feeling drained, demotivated, depleted, exhausted and wasted.  A minute with them is taxing, a day with them is death.    

However, as with every rule, there are exceptions to the energy vampires group.  The one-off energy vampire – this person normally uplifts you, but due to some life situations they turn into energy vampires.  They need lifting up e.g. when sick or having suffered some loss.  Although this person needs your emotional strength to see them through a crisis, in the past they have come through for you and others on numerous occasions, and therefore the feelings you get from giving them emotional support, although draining, is ultimately fulfilling.  Unlike the inherent energy vampires who are incapable of reciprocating.   

The ones to be wary of are the chronic energy suckers who perpetually suck the life out of you.  Even when things are going well in their lives, somehow they spin it to sound like they are just surviving.  They report good news like accidents.  For example, if promoted at work an energy vampire will report this news in a tone as flat as a flounder and maybe complain about the extra work they might need to do.  When you congratulate them in an upbeat tone, their tone won’t change and in an instant, they’ll bring you to their level.

How to deal with energy suckers.

According to Dandapani, place the burden of responsibility on them.  When dealing with them, be affectionate, show kindness and compassion but be detached.  Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to, like ‘how was your day’, because whatever they say, will leave you deflated, sad and exhausted.

However, be truthful and sincere to their questions but don’t give answers that prompt follow-ups questions.  For example, if they ask how you are, by all means, tell them you are well and thank them for asking and then stop talking.  Energy vampires ask such questions not because they care but because they want you to ask in kind which opens a portal for them to enter and suck the energy out of you.  Instead, change the topic to mundane general things like the weather or, and by far the best, launch an exit plan,..”Ahh, actually, I’m rushing to a meeting.  Enjoy the rest of the day. Bye.” 

Whenever possible recognise and eradicate energy vampires from your life because a moment of interaction with them can lead to a lifetime of chronic despair, fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability and anger. 

Learn how to draw the line, set boundaries and identify an energy vampire before they spot an opportunity to drain you.  Energy vampires come in all shapes, shades and sizes literally and figuratively.  As you learn to identify them, equip yourself with tools and knowledge on how to deal with them effectively without compromising your integrity.

How to identify them: –

Watch out for these characteristics

Aggressiveness – passive or active

Unnecessary resentment, paranoia or anger – their evaluation of any situation is almost always overanalysed and overdramatized.

They are constantly complaining about people, places and things.

If you find yourself unwittingly entangled in any of the above, try some of the following: –

  1. Agree to disagree and practice calm assertiveness.
  2. Beware of their manipulative nature – most will launch their attack by self-pity in the hope of drawing you in – don’t indulge them.
  3. Limit interaction if you can’t completely delete.
  4. Avoid taking their judgemental nature personally, keep a level head.
  5. Avoid dramas with energy vampires, and most importantly don’t take sides
  6. They are natural gas lighters.

Needless to say, energy vampires are not just people in/out your life; things and situations can be energy vampires too e.g. the internet, TV, phone and neurotic pets.

Should you recognise yourself as an energy vampire i.e. people constantly complain about your intense overbearing or demanding nature, try self-love.  Be gentle with yourself and remember energy vampireness can be a result of years of unresolved issues and pain.  Recognising this is a great step forward and with dedication and patience, you can develop ways to give more than take. 


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