How To Deal With Energy Vampires: 8 Simple Tips

This is part of the Dealing With People series.

  1. How To Deal With Energy Vampires
  2. 7 Tips To Tackle Naysayers in Your Life
  3. 8 Helpful Ways To Deal With Critical People
  4. How To Deal With Dishonest People
  5. How To Deal With Rude People (3-part series)
  6. 10 Tips To Make New Friends
  7. How To Handle Bullying: An Important Guide
Energy Vampire

Have you ever faced negative people before? Do you know how to deal with negative people? If you are regularly exposed to a fair diversity of people, chances are you probably encountered at least a few negative people, with 1 or 2 really negative ones. How do you feel after your encounters with them?

Negative people tend to leave others around them drained, tired and lethargic. No matter what you say, they always seem to find a way to counter with a negative opinion. When they face a problem, they soak themselves in the issue rather than deal with it constructively. They adopt a self-victimizing mindset, complaining about whatever happens.

Even when you try to change the topic to something positive, they have a way to turn it into something negative. They are constantly fixated with the doom and gloom of (their) life. Everything is black; there is no white. In the event there is some element of positivity that enters their spectrum, they are quick to excuse that as a one-off encounter or see the dark side behind that.

To negative people, life just sucks.

Negative people may leave you a bad taste in your mouth like critical people, but they’re not necessarily the same. The natural reaction of critical people is to criticize and pinpoint things they don’t like. Whereas for negative people, they usually don’t have any malicious intent toward others. What they hold is a disdain toward life in general.

Negative People as Energy Vampires

I see negative people as energy vampires. 2 reasons why:

  1. Like vampires, negative people are incapable of generating their life force. Hence they feed off the energy of others.
  2. Vampires convert living beings into their kind because they feel lonely living in solitude. Similarly, negative people likes to pull others on board. Misery loves company.

Actually, all of us have a connection with the universe that brings us unlimited energy. The reason why negative people can’t access their energy is because they have blocked off this inner source. Hence, being around them can feel like you’re in an energy vortex. They leave people drained in their presence. For the more negative ones, the effect can be so overwhelming that you feel headaches or mild dizziness. These are your king/queen vampires.

Typically you’ll find negative people in the lower rungs of the society, because these are the people who see themselves as powerless against life’s larger forces. The truth though is not that they are powerless, but that they chose to relinquish their power to others.

On the other hand, positive people are in tune with their inner energy sources. Their energy flows outwards, spreading goodness and warmth to people around them. It’s like a fountain of overflowing water. :D  This is why you feel upbeat and energetic when you are around positive people. They have a magnetic quality to them, drawing others automatically. Great leaders, iconic figures and idols have this in them, enabling them to attract large masses of people. When I was in my previous company, there would be numerous leaders in the management who exuded such qualities – it was a very liberating experience just being around them.

My Encounters in Junior College

Some of my past encounters with energy vampires have left me drained for a good half of the day. If it was a king or queen vampire, the aftereffects can spill over to the second or even third day.

There was a notable period when I was 17~18 when I came across more than the fair share of negativity I was used to. I was in Junior College (JC) then. Because the JC I went to was regarded as one of the poorer performing ones of my country (at the time), many of the students who registered with the school did so because they had no other options, rather than out of choice. A number of schoolmates were quite mired in negativity. Some firmly believed that their lives were destined for failure. Some saw living as an obligation, rather than a desire.

Even some of the teachers would enforce these (failing) beliefs on the students. These teachers were clearly not proud of being part of the staff in the school. It seemed that some of them were sent to teach at my school against their desires. They would sometimes draw comparisons with students in the top schools they used to teach in, lauding them and indirectly putting us/our school down.

One of my teachers in particular who was deeply rooted in skepticism and realism. She was highly judgmental, often encouraging my class to settle for mediocrity, because trying to strive for anything else would just be setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. Of course, that was a load of nonsense and a projection of her own issues on the students, rather than a reflection of what we were capable of. If anyone had any dreams or goals, she would be quick to put them out, saying he/she was being impractical.

It’s one thing to hear these from peers; it’s another thing to have the teachers, the very mentors who are suppose to guide you, put you down. That was quite depressing. I remember the first time I heard such comments, I was quite shocked. After that I began to discount whatever he/she said. That wasn’t exactly aspirational behavior of a teacher.

All in all, the school was like a breeding ground of energy vampires. I was quite a positive person, so I would constantly try to uplift my friends around me with positivity. However, it was like trying to go against a huge tidal wave. I couldn’t make much headway in my goal to help them, because a lot of them chose to remain in their mode of thinking. It didn’t help that the jaded teachers often offset whatever little progress or shift I made through their typecasting.

It was quite a frustrating experience, because not only was I not able to help them,  I would be affected by their negativity sometimes. When that happened, my energy level became lower and it would take me a couple of days to recover.

On a side note, I remember the principal at that time as a really positive and passionate man who had great visions for the school. He was actually the reason why I decided to enter that particular JC, rather than others. I really respected him for his idealism and commitment. :D  In retrospect, he probably faced huge difficulties in trying to lead the school toward that goal.

When I was in university, there were times when I came across energy vampires as well. All these different experiences were invaluable and allowed me to how to better deal with them.

How To Deal With Energy Vampires

If you’re facing energy vampires in your life, what you need is some helping points on how to deal with them:

1. Ground Yourself

The first important step when facing energy vampires is to ground yourself. To ground yourself is to center yourself such that you do not get easily affected or swayed by negative energies around you. Otherwise you’ll get easily sucked into his/her vortex. Think of it as standing next to a quick sand. Be rooted in your own energy first before you engage him/her.

To ground yourself, first imagine the essence of your soul amassing in the center of your body. Next, imagine roots growing out from underneath your feet, deep into the ground. The roots are extremely sturdy and strong – they are anchoring you and your essence into the ground, such that nothing can sway them. Think of yourself as a big and strong oak tree that’s firmly rooted in the ground.

2. Shield Yourself

The next step is to shield yourself. This is your second layer of protection, after grounding. A shield is like a bubble around you that separates you and the world; it’s an energy barrier which keeps out any forms of undesirable energy from entering into your space. Like a real shield, your shield is a defense tool which protects you from aggressors or attacks from outside. It keeps your energy within you and prevents it from getting sucked by the energy vampire. Read: How to Make a Energy Shield.

A shield is not permanent. The energy of the shield wears off over time, which lowers its ability to protect you. In the face of negative people trying to leech off your energy, the shield’s defense ability can be quickly depleted. The more negative the person is, the weaker the shield becomes. When it reaches a point where the shield’s energy is fully depleted, it will cease to function. To avoid that from happening, you should constantly check to ensure your shield is present and upkeep it where needed.

3. Hang Out in Groups of 3 or More

It’s tricky to deal with a negative person on a 1-1 basis because all the negativity would be directed at you. On the other hand, if it’s in a group of 3 or more, the attention is divided between you and the other people. This way, you don’t have to bear the full brunt of the person’s pessimism.

I find that when I’m in a group with an energy vampire, I get the chance to observe how the others interact, which gives me added insights about him/her. Other people may also have their own ways of dealing with negativity, so it’s a good chance to learn from them too.

4. Provide a Listening Ear

People are usually negative because of several factors in their life or events that have taken place in the past. Sometimes their venting comes from repressing their grievances. Rather than disregard their viewpoints, provide a listening ear. Sometimes what people need aren’t solutions, but just someone to listen and empathize with them. By letting them air out their thoughts, sometimes it leads to realizations on what they should do.

(If you have Personal Excellence Book Volume 2, check out 13 Tips To Be A Better Listener, one of the exclusive articles inside.)

5. Extend A Helping Hand

Is there anything you can help them with? Sometimes people complain as a way of crying out for help. See if there’s anything you can do to support them. Ask them “Is there anything I can do to help you?”. They may not show it, but deep down they’ll appreciate your generosity.

6. Stick to Light Topics

Some negative people are triggered by certain topics. For example, a friend of mine sinks into a self-victimizing mode whenever we talk about his work. No matter what I say (or don’t say), he’ll keep complaining once we talk about work.

In the ideal world we want to help lift the person out of his/her negativity. But in cases where the negativity is too deeply rooted to address in a one-off conversation, or the person has very staunch opinions on that topic, it might be better to switch to a different topic to lighten the mood. Simple things like new movies, daily occurrences, common friends, make for light conversation. Keep it to things that uplifts the person.

7. Reduce Contact

If none of the above works, the next step will be to reduce contact. Limit your contact as much as you can. If it’s a teammate you work with, then limit the communication to just work-related issues.

8. Cut Them Away From Your Life

I’d like to share a quote from John Assaraf with you:

“I just do not hang around anybody that I don’t want to be with. Period. For me, that’s been a blessing, and I can stay positive. I hang around people who are happy, who are growing, who want to learn, who don’t mind saying sorry or thank you… and [are] having a fun time.”

When all else fails, the last solution is to cut them away from your life. Here are 12 signs it’s time to move on from a relationship (while the article is written in the context of romantic relationships, they also apply for friendships/other relationships).

While this may seem drastic, bear in mind that energy vampires hold you down from reaching greater heights since they keep feeding off your energy. Ultimately, you are the average of the 5 people you are with. In spending your time around energy vampires, you’ll soon become negative too, which I’m sure isn’t what you want.

Now that you have learned how to deal with negative people via the tips above, think about the people you face daily. Are there any energy vampires? Who are they? What can you do to better deal with them in the future?

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] How To Deal With Energy Vampires

This is part of the Dealing With People series.

  1. How To Deal With Energy Vampires
  2. 7 Tips To Tackle Naysayers in Your Life
  3. 8 Helpful Ways To Deal With Critical People
  4. How To Deal With Dishonest People
  5. How To Deal With Rude People (3-part series)
  6. 10 Tips To Make New Friends
  7. How To Handle Bullying: An Important Guide

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  • Brownie Bunny

    This article really helped me. You have some great insight into why negative people are negative…and how to handle oneself with them.
    Thank you so much!

    • Celestine Chua

      You are very welcome, Brownie! Thanks for your kind words! :)

  • Sherry

    Sorry, but if you really believe that being someone in power and in the “higher rungs” of society equates with being a positive person, then you REALLY haven’t been paying attention to the world.