When Your Friends Drain You Dry: Beware of “Energy” Vampires

Have you ever heard the term ‘energy vampire’? This is what  I like to call people who ‘suck’ the life-force out of you—friends who always seem to bring you down, friends who can find the thorn in any rose you present to them, friends who take every opportunity to see the worst in you and everything else around you.

These people are so unhappy in their own lives that they unintentionally bring down everyone around them, especially their closest friends. Yet, none of us want to ditch a friend simply because they are depressed or having a hard time…but the reality is, if this friend is taking a negative toll on our emotional health, we might have to.

How do you know if you are dealing with an energy vampire, as opposed to simply a friend who is having a bad day? Ask yourself this: How do you feel after spending with your friend? Do you feel rejuvenated and relaxed, smiling as you recount the funny conversation you shared? Or do you feel down, depressed, or even as though you need a nap? And, when you are with your friend, be aware of your physical state. Is your stomach tight or your hands clenching unconsciously? Do you feel yourself taking a protective stance (putting your arms across yourself or leaning away from your friend)? Or do you feel open, ‘chill’ and comfortable being yourself and sharing vulnerable thoughts?

Here’s the thing: You probably already intuitively ‘know’ if you are dealing with an energy vampire. You just haven’t let yourself accept it yet, probably because you are afraid to end the friendship or face the music of potentially hurting someone else’s feelings. But, despite what you might think, it actually is not kind to continue a friendship with someone who leaves you feeling zapped. It’s not kind to you, or to them—they deserve an authentic friendship, as do you.

Here are my tips for ending the “vampiric” relationship:

  • Own your part in the situation. People don’t just fall into our lives out of nowhere. We attract certain people. Like seeks like, especially when it comes to energy. So, if you have attracted this dark person into your life, you need to be honest about why that might be—perhaps you were feeling depressed, cynical or angry when you met this friend, and they radiated towards that energy. In the future, be more conscious of what energy you are putting into the world—if you don’t want cynical friends, don’t be cynical!

  • Mediate and reflect. Spend 2 weeks mediating on the relationship for 15 minutes each day. Close yourself in a dark closet or sit in your bedroom alone. Use a repetitive chant like “I am that I am” to help center your mind. When thoughts arise, notice them, allow them, and let them go. At the end of each session, journal in your notebook for 5 minutes. Write as quickly as you can and don’t worry about penmanship or writing in a straight line. The thoughts don’t have to be complete sentences. Write down whatever comes to you. It could be just words—like ‘freedom’ or ‘peace’ etc. At the end of 2 weeks, look back at your journal. What themes arise? What are you truly seeking? Your heart’s desire will be revealed to you in these pages, and that desire could clearly show that your friend is no longer part of your life’s journey.

  • Letting go with positive intention. Ending a friendship is never easy. It can often feel like a terrible breakup. You might deal with feelings of loss, guilt, loneliness, or even shame. This will be especially true if you have never set boundaries for yourself before or if you have a ‘people pleaser’ persona that often requires you to serve others at your own peril. Let me share something with you: This could be the EXACT reason why this energy vampire is in your life right now. Yes, this could be the universe hitting you over the head and telling you “Stand up for yourself! Own your worth! Protect yourself!” The only question is: Will you listen? Will you accomplish the soul-work you were put here to do, or will you cling to the status quo afraid to leave your comfort zone?

The answer is up to you. I hope you act with daring. I hope you act with purpose and clear intention. In doing so, you will be giving a gift not only to yourself but also to your friend: You could be the very wakeup call that will start them on a better journey. Even if not, their reaction to your decision to ending the friendship is not yours to control or judge. It is not your burden to take on. You get to choose what bags you take with you as you walk through this life, and I have found for certain that it is better to travel light.

And carry garlic if you have to. 🙂

 

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