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What is a Workplace Energy Vampire? How to Stop Coworkers From Draining You

Man leaning over a woman at work

Picture this: You’ve rolled into the office with a cup of coffee. You haven’t even had a chance to start opening all your emails. Suddenly, your chattiest coworker appears at your desk to talk about last night’s episode of The Bachelorette. You haven’t had a moment to start sipping on your morning brew, and, by the time they leave, half an hour has flown by and your drink has gone cold. You’re feeling exhausted already, and the day has only just begun.

If this sounds a little too familiar, then you’ve had your vitality sucked out of you by an energy vampire. But what, and who, is an energy vampire, and how can you recognize one? We’ve got the answers, so read on for how to defeat this sinister workplace villain.

See also: Micro-stressors: what they are and how they work.

Woman and man working and looking at a black notebook

What is an energy vampire?

Unfortunately for fans of Edward Cullen, energy vampires don’t sparkle. Instead, they have a habit of dulling your shine by either talking your ear off, manipulating you or overloading you emotionally while at work. They come in all forms, whether it be that overly friendly co-worker who burdens you with their personal problems or the toxic boss who dumps all their tasks onto you.

As Tessa West, associate professor of psychology at New York University and author of Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them told CNN, it’s best to look at these people as depleters because “every time you interact with them, it’s a stressful experience.”

Related: How to set healthy boundaries with your boss and coworkers.

How can you stop an energy vampire from draining you?

If you’re someone who is more on the shy side, you’re likely the perfect prey for an energy vampire. However, that doesn’t mean you need to let them drain your energy. Luckily for you, there are a few ways you can stop this, and no — and they doesn’t involve any garlic. In order to handle them, try the following:

  • Create an excuse to end the conversation. Whether you need to go to the bathroom or get up to refill your water bottle, make sure you have an escape route planned out.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. If you’re happy and busy with other upbeat co-workers, an energy vampire is less likely to seek you out.
  • Be blunt when necessary. As awkward as it may be, you need to simply tell them you don’t have time for a conversation.

If all else fails, you may just have to practice the art of saying no and creating personal boundaries.

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