Not all energy vampires are narcissists. We are talking about people who drain your energy, not about people who have been medically diagnosed with the personality disorder of narcissism. We will share some of the key communication characteristics of energy vampires, within this frame of reference.
Communication characteristics of energy vampires:
- They use a lot of me/I language
- They talk a lot about themselves
- They are quick to ask your advice
- They tend not to practice active listening
- They tend not to display signs of empathetic communication
- They might give you the silent treatment
If you notice that you or someone you interact with regularly possess two or more of these communication tendencies, then that might be a great indication of areas for improvement.
How you can communicate and protect yourself:
- Make the conversation neutral
- Ask them for their advice on what to do about a hypothetical issue or real issue
- Set time limits for interactions with them
- Be direct about their communication style and share with them some communication strategies like the ones we share at Explearning
- Learn how to interrupt politely so you can get a word in edgewise
- Ask probing questions about a philosophical or existential question a good place to start with this is Tim Urban’s Wait But Why blog, great brain fodder for this
- Limit interactions with this person if that’s your preference
- Teach them active listening
- Demonstrate to them how to communicate with empathy
- Be upfront about your feeling drained after interactions with them and work together to solve it
If you don’t have to communicate with someone who is constantly draining your energy, then maybe it’s best to keep your distance. However, if they are someone with whom you engage with on a regular basis or are near and dear to you, then work with them to see how they might be draining your energy during interactions. If they mean something to you, and you to them, then they’ll probably be amenable to modifying their communication. And sometimes, they might not even be aware that they are (1) hogging the conversation, (2) making everything about them, and/or (3) draining the living daylights out of you!
Open dialogue and direct communication can sometimes be all you need when handling people who have energy-vampire-like tendencies.
Bottom line, we all like to feel socially accepted and cared for. And communication cuts both ways. A little bit of give and a little bit of take.
Thanks for joining us in this LIvestream conversation and we'll see you in the next one!
Happy Explearning ⚡