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Energy Vampires: They Suck Your Productivity Dry

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If you work in an office, then you’ve probably come across a person who seems to just make your work day miserable. You’ve met the Energy Vampire and you need to prepare yourself for battle against this foe! But what exactly does that entail?

Working outside of your house for a company can present you with a lot of fantastic opportunities. You get to meet new people, network, and some of us work better in an office environment. The problem is that we can’t control others around us. Fast Company published an article warning against the Energy Vampire. The author interviews Dr. Judith Orloff, who wrote The Ecstasy of Surrender to give us tips on how to tell if we have met an Energy Vampire and the different types we may come across.

Types of Vampires

The drama queen, the victim, and the narcissist are all types of energy suckers. The drama queen is the one who pulls you into their chaotic world, complaining so often about their family and love life until you want to strangle yourself (or them.) How do you avoid them? Don’t feed drama! Give short responses. The victim is easy to spot. They’re the eternal pessimists. Try to remind them to be positive but don’t get sucked into their negativity. Narcissists are also easily spotted but harder to deal with. Just give them what they want to hear (praise for how wonderful they are) and walk away. Don’t waste any more time than necessary.

office gossip

© Flickr user star5112

So how do we avoid becoming victims of these people? Garlic? Crosses? No, it’s actually much easier than that.

Ignore Them

Most people aren’t trying to be energy thieves. It’s usually not their goal, it’s just something they’ve become quite good at naturally doing. But they feed on our responses. It’s only our responses to their energy-draining cues that keep those behaviors alive. So if they say things that set you off, just don’t react. Don’t give them a response. Just nod and smile, or shake your head, and walk away. They’ll have nothing to feed on. This is one of the only ways to keep yourself sane around these types of people.

Flip The Story

Negative feeds on more negativity. The best thing to do when confronted with someone who is a big ball of negativity is to try to insert something positive into the conversation. That’s hard to do though. Most of us instinctively meet negativity with our own negative responses. It’s only through being intentionally positive that we can combat this energy-sucker. While at work, try to let go of some old opinions and habits. Be willing to not always be right. You’ll find that, in turn, your energy is your own again!

But What If It’s Me?

Of course, we have to honestly entertain the possibility that sometimes we’re the Energy Vampires. It’s not others, but ourselves who are sucking the life out of our coworkers. How can we tell if we’ve turned into one of these monsters? Dr. Orloff has some tell-tale signs:

  • People avoid you or glaze over during a conversation
  • You’re self-obsessed
  • You’re often negative
  • You gossip or bad-mouth people
  • You are critical or controlling

As Dr. Orloff points out, don’t be worried if this is you once in a while. It happens to all of us. The key is to own up to where we are emotionally and work on changing the negative behaviors. Dr. Orloff also encourages people to have open discussions about these behaviors with a friend or therapist. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance. You can’t kill the vampire by yourself.

Looking for more tips on how to be more productive at work? Reach out to our business process improvement consultants for more information!

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Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea transplanted from Illinois to South Carolina. She loves to write, read, and spend time with her dog and her family. Alyssa is very active on social media. She has been part of the AccelaWork team since 2013.
Alyssa Shea

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